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What Buhari must do differently this year — Afenifere, AREWA YOUTHS, Ohanaeze, PANDEF

Buhari can better the economy, security- Ohanaeze, ADF, ASETU
Declare emergency on security, economy —Arewa Youths
Reorganize top hierarchy of armed forces – PANDEF
He sounds like a broken record—Afenifere, CAN

Buhari, 2023
President Muhammadu Buhari

By Emma, Amaize, Soni Daniel, Anayo Okoli, Dapo Akinrefon, Dirisu Yakubu, Luminous Jannamike, Naomi Uzor

ABUJA—Reactions, yesterday, trailed President Muhammadu Buhari’s New Year address, where he reiterated his resolve to withdraw from any political contest after his tenure in 2023.

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The President, had also noted that his government will be guided by the rule of law, saying “our actions at all times will be governed by the rule of law. At the same time, we shall look always to engage with all well-meaning leaders and citizens of goodwill to promote dialogue, partnership and understanding.”

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Picking holes with some of the claims in the address, Afenifere, Ohanaeze, Arewa Consultative Forum, PAN Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, among others urged the Federal Government to do more to address the challenges plaguing the country, rather than self praise.

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Also, the groups advised the President on what he needs to do differently this year to address the challenges of insecurity and the economy.

Meanwhile, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, has stated the need for the Federal Government to come up with practical strategies to promote economic inclusion in the Nigerian economy.

He sounds like a broken record—Afenifere

Reacting to the nationwide broadcast, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, said the president was sounding like a broken record,  noting that what Buhari should do differently is to restructure the country and ensure true federalism.

Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yinka Odumakin said: “He is sounding like a broken record. He has been making promises all the time but this government needs to get down to business. When they begin to do what they are supposed to do, they don’t need to make promises because people will see what they are doing.”

On boosting the economy, he said: “We have said it and we are repeating it, there is no way out except they restructure this country. To have a productive economy, the government must look at solid minerals, agriculture. Do you know that Niger State alone is bigger than the Netherland? Netherland is the fourth largest export of agriculture in the whole world.

“What are we doing with land in Niger State? We must become a productive economy. Instead of borrowing money, we can generate enough resources from this country. The only way we can become a prosperous country is to practice true federalism and allow every part of the country to process their resources.”

On insecurity, Odumakin said: “The whole idea of central security should be decentralized and allow each state to have their police. Even as it is now, the victory recorded by the military has been mostly aided by the civilian Joint Task Force. They are more effective.

“They should stop all the propaganda on Boko Haram when it is still intact. Tell no lies claiming victory. They should sit down and work and it should be less propaganda, let the work they are doing speak for themselves and not just making a proclamation.”

Shun ethnic chauvinism, exhibit open mind in his appointments —Ohanaeze

Ohanaeze Ndigbo on its part, called on President Buhari to shun ethnic chauvinism and exhibit open mind in his appointments in order to get the nation back on good track.

Speaking through its Publicity Secretary, Prince Uche Achi-Ogbaga, the Igbo apex social cultural body said  if the President could look beyond Fulani/Islamic divide to tackle the problems, Nigeria would be better for it.

“The problem of insecurity and the nose-diving economy are interrelated and the common denominator is ethnic chauvinism. If he could look beyond the Fulani/Islamic divide to bring the security and economic experts from any part of the country, the story will be different.

“The security apparatus is left in the hands of a particular ethnic group. So, when security chiefs meet, be it the police, military and other paramilitary agencies, it is one ethnic group of the country that gather to x-ray the security challenges and it becomes difficult for them not to be prejudiced, wittingly or unwittingly, in their decisions.

“It is the same with the economy. You do not play ethnic politics with the economy of a country. Note that if the government is able to fix security, economy and education every other thing will fall in line,” he said.

In its part, Alaigbo Development Foundation, ADF, a South-East based group, through its spokesperson, Chief Abi Onyike, tasked the President to overhaul the nation’s security architecture if the desired result is to be realized.

“PMB should overhaul the nation’s security architecture. He should remedy the lopsided appointment of service chiefs by ensuring that there is federal character in the appointments. This will boost loyalty of the troops.

“On the economy, he should revisit the exchange rate of the Naira and open up the closed borders. PMB should hire new hands to run the financial and economic sectors of Nigeria.

Also, the National President, Association South East Town Unions, ASETU, Chief Emeka Diwe, said,  Nigerians expect a better economy and well secured Nigeria in 2020.

“First, we want to see a revamped and diversified economy in which the recent increment in VAT would lead to greater dividends to people, and local manufacturing aided by sound policy frameworks.

“Again, we want the Federal Government to revisit the automotive policy of the past administration and to rethink its deal with Hyundai in order to protect Nigerian indigenous car makers.

“The government should urgently address the various security challenges in the country. It must realise that the security of lives and property is its first mandate.”

Declare emergency on security, economy —Arewa youths

Northern youths on their part, called on President Buhari to declare a state of emergency on the security situation in the North and the nation’s economy.

National President of the Arewa youths Forum, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, while reacting to the New Year speech by Buhari, said that despite concerted efforts by the military to end the ravaging insurgency in the North, the security situation in the region was far from desirable and needed more strategic approach to contain the challenge.

According to him, “it is only when people are alive and happy that there can be governance. What we have today in Nigeria in terms of security is really worrisome.

“That is why we are asking for the total overhaul of the entire security apparatuses in the land with a view to bringing in other people with new vision, zeal and commitment to deal with the security challenges in the country,” he said.

He also suggested the adoption of new economic strategies and measures to bail the nation out of its current state in order to bring in new investments revive the industrial sector and create jobs for teeming Nigerians.

Reorganize top hierarchy of armed forces – PANDEF

On its part, PAN Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, the umbrella body of monarchs, leaders and stakholders of the coastal states of Niger Delta, has asked President Buhari to rejig the top hierarchy of the armed forces and bring in new hands with fresh ideas to tackle the mounting insecurity in the country.

Deputy National Secretary of the regional body, Mr. Ken Robinson, told Vanguard, last night, “Buhari should also ensure that appointment of persons to such offices is not based on religious or sectional considerations, but on character and competence.

“He needs to improve the weaponry and welfare of officers and men of the armed forces, the police and other security agencies, as well as provide adequate training and retraining to expand the capacities of personnel.

“Nigeria urgently needs a massive economic stimulus. Our expectation in this regard, is that the newly constituted Presidential Economic Advisory Council, made up of persons of notable professional pedigrees, should be encouraged to carry out their assignments judiciously, while Mr. President would be applicably mindful of their contributions to improve the economy and the overall well being of the Nigerian people.

“The President also needs to muster the political will and energy to increase spending in sectors, projects and programmes that would boost economic growth and create jobs.

“In addition, he should correct the huge infrastructural deficit, especially the poor state of roads that impact heavily on the movement of goods and persons.

“With a comatose economy, insecurity of lives and property at its peak across the country, high unemployment and gross infrastructural deficit, it may be difficult to be optimistic as the President wished in his New Year message to Nigerians. But as we begin the New Year, which is also the dawn of a new decade, there is opportunity for the President Buhari to correct the mistakes of the last four and half years.

“PANDEF’s expectation is that President Buhari would do things differently in order to improve the nation’s security situation and the abysmal economy, with their ominous ramifications.

“PANDEF therefore, urges President Buhari to tackle headlong the insecurity and criminality challenges in the country to strengthen the nation’s security, and guarantee the safety of lives and property of citizens.

“There is an urgent need of change in strategy and approach, and this requires immediate overhaul of the nation’s security architecture and apparatus.”

You have no option than to go in 2023, PDP tells Buhari

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has urged President Buhari to withdraw what it called his “unnecessary remark,” in his new year message about standing down in 2023, saying the President and the All Progressives Congress, APC, would have no other option than to exit office in 2023.

The party described Buhari’s new year message as completely uninspiring, tasteless, repetitive, vacuous, saying it failed to “galvanize any form of hope for a despairing nation like ours.”

In a statement signed by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party said President Buhari “should have the courage to issue a fresh new year message to show remorse for the corruption, incompetence and misrule of his administration as well as admonish the APC against “its crass insincerity, violence and divisive machinations that have brought so much pain, anguish and despondency to our nation.”

“President Buhari should stop presenting a picture as if he has the option to continue in office beyond 2023.

“The PDP holds, in total submission to the letter and spirit of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), that it is not an issue of “standing down” or not being “available” for future election, but a decided and inevitable position as contained in our constitution that he must quit office after two terms which will end in 2023. Mr. President, therefore, does not have any other choice before the law.

“He should also be prepared to waste no time in signing the bill into law when retooled to meet current exigencies and passed by the current National Assembly.

“President Buhari should also order the immediate prosecution of those who perpetrated violence in the 2019 general election as well as the governorship elections in Ekiti, Osun, Bayelsa and Kogi States where thugs and compromised security agents were used to unleash mayhem and killed innocent compatriots who came out to perform their civic responsibility at the polls.

“Mr. President should apologise for the violation of human rights, attacks on institutions of democracy, disobedience to court orders and constitutional violations under his administration as well as order an immediate investigation and prosecution of all those who played roles in these ugly episodes.

Nothing spectacular in Buhari’s message – CAN

On its part,  Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has reacted to President Buhari’s New Year message to Nigerians, saying it was neither eye-catching nor impressive.

Speaking in a chat with Vanguard, CAN’s Vice Chairman (Northern region), Rev. John Hayab, said: “It is unfortunate that New Year speeches by our political leaders have become objects of mockery and deceit.

“We look forward to the 2020s as new opportunities for the government to give some bite to its promises. Over the years, we have read and heard many new year messages that were never translated into actions.  Our leaders have become so insincere with their speeches that the ordinary Nigerian finds nothing spectacular in them.

“The President said he will be standing down from politics in 2023, but we consider that announcement as a political statement. He once told Nigerians that he won’t be running for President after 2011 poll, but he ran in 2015. President Buhari had also said he would do only one term in office but he is on a second term today.

“So until he really shuns the ‘enemies’ of our nation, who are always urging him to recant his promises and actually stands down from politics in 2023, we won’t take him seriously on this matter.

“If the  Federal Government was sincere about the true state of insecurity in the country, it won’t be praising itself the way it has done in the President’s new year speech, because Nigerians are still feeling unsafe and live in fear of kidnapping, highway robbery, banditry, and herdsmen attacks.

“We are all aware of the Christmas day killings and several other attacks by insurgents in the North East region. These clearly show that violent extremism and the networks that help finance and organise terror in the country are yet to be dismantled by the security agencies.

“So, the government must first come clean and be honest about the true state of insecurity in the country before it lasting solution can be found and adopted for the good of all.

“It was absurd for the President to have said government’s actions at all times have been governed by the rule of law. If that was the case, all the drama we witnessed about Sheikh El-Zakzaky, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd), and Omoyele Sowore would have been unnecessary.

“As we speak, there are many more unreported cases of human rights abuses perpetuated by government agencies but the President merely glossed over the issue as though all is well.  The Federal Government is already failing in the area of providing room for well-meaning citizens of goodwill to engage with it and promote dialogue, partnership and understanding.

“Not all critics whether on social media mainstream media wish the government ill.  We expected the President to assure Nigerians that the Federal Government will not in any form bridle their rights to freedom of speech and expression through the social media and hate speech bills.

“The President celebrated the revolution in agriculture, particularly in rice production. But he failed to ask how many Nigerians had the resources to actually buy these locally grown agro produce? It shows clearly that some of his economic policies are not working and the results continue to show more clearly by the day.

“We are not bothered about the closure of the land borders. In fact, we support the exercise. But we expected the President to tell Nigerians what specific measures were in place to check the security concerns, illegal migration, and smuggling activities linked with cross-border movements.”

FG must take practical strategies to promote economic inclusion — LCCI

The LCCI in its reaction to the President Buhari’s new year speech, said “The key things that government must focus on  which include : to undertake urgent reforms of the oil and gas sector; to unlock the huge potentials in jobs, investment, revenue and forex earnings. Reform will also reduce the corruption and leakages in the sector;  fix the problems at the nation’s ports in the area of ports infrastructure and equipment.  Also fix the seemingly intractable problem of inefficient cargo processes at the ports; put in place urgent measures to attract private capital into infrastructure financing to address the huge deficit problem in infrastructure; fix productivity issues in the real sector of the economy, especially industrial production.

“Others include commit more resources to roads and railway infrastructure; put in place a framework for faster resolution of commercial disputes; ensure more investment regulatory environment; come up with practical strategies to promote economic inclusion in the Nigerian economy; promote the institution of true federalism; promote an urgent review and restructuring of the power sector; urgently review automotive policy and ensure effective implementation of Presidential Executive orders.”

Vanguard

 

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