The Federal Government has said if not for President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria would have become a failed state in 2015.
The government’s response may not be unconnected to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo’s recent statement that the country was fast drifting to a failed and badly divided state.
Obasanjo gave the damning verdict last week at a closed door two-day consultative dialogue convened by him which involved major socio-cultural political organisations such as Afenifere, Northern Elders’ Forum, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the Middle Belt Forum and Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF).
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in a statement by the Special Assistant to the President (Media), Office of the Minister of Information and Culture, Segun Adeyemi, said Buhari’s assumption of office in 2015 prevented Nigeria from becoming a failed state after a long stretch of rapacious and rudderless leadership.
Mohammed, in the statement, added that President Buhari came into office at a time that a swathe of the country’s territory was under occupation, a period when many Nigerian towns and cities, including the capital city of Abuja, were a playground for insurgents.
He stated that prior to Buhari’s taking over of the governance of the country in 2015, it was a moment that the nation’s wealth had been looted dry, with little or nothing to show for the nation’s huge earnings, especially in the area of infrastructure.
Mohammed also said it was a cruel irony that those who frittered away a great opportunity to put Nigeria on a sound socio-economic footing, at a time of financial buoyancy, and those who planted the seed of the insecurity in some parts of the country, were today, the same ones pointing an accusing finger at a reformist government.
“Nigeria, today, faces a lot of challenges. But whatever situation the country has found itself in, things would have been much worse, but for the deft management of resources, unprecedented fight against corruption, determined battle against insurgency and banditry, as well as the abiding courage of Mr. President in piloting the ship of state.
“Nigeria, today, is not a failed state, but a nation that is courageously tackling its challenges and building a solid infrastructure that will serve as the basis for socio-economic development, a nation that is unrelenting in battling insecurity and working hard to ensure greatest prosperity for the greatest number of people,” Mohammed said.
Mohammed also said no government in the history of the country has done so much with so little as the Buhari administration is currently doing.
He added that with 60 percent less national income, the Buhari administration was making progress on all fronts and setting the country on the path of sustainable growth and development.
Mohammed further said while naysayers were hyping the instances of insecurity in the country, they conveniently forgot that the country could have been overrun by insurgents and bandits if President Buhari had not rallied regional and international allies to tackle headlong, the Boko Haram insurgency that saw bombs going off like firecrackers before his assumption of office, and an estimated 20,000 square miles of the nation’s territory occupied by insurgents.
“They tout the downturn in economic fortunes without putting things in context. With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing a global shutdown and a drastic fall in global oil demand, Nigeria lost 60 percent of its earnings, yet the administration has ensured that not a single worker has been retrenched, has paid salaries as and when due and has continued to build infrastructure like roads, rails, bridges and power, among others, that will serve many generations.
“They aggravate the national fault lines with their angry and unguarded actions and rhetoric, forgetting that while national fissures are amplified at a time of dwindling economic fortunes, what is needed to foster peace and unity is not reckless elocution, but responsible and responsive leadership, the kind being offered by President Buhari,” Mohammed added.
Mohammed further said the country was on the road to greatness, despite the challenges confronting the nation.
He added that this was evidenced in the hard push towards food sufficiency by the government; the modernization of the rail system; the nationwide construction of roads and bridges; the reform in the oil and gas sector; the unprecedented anti-corruption battle, the diversification of the economy and the renewed effort to ensure a steady power supply anchored on a three-phase project that was expected to deliver 25,000MW of electricity in the next few years.
“The Minister thanked Nigerians for their perseverance and understanding, especially against the backdrop of the stifling effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, and appealed to them to continue to support the administration as it seeks to lift 100 million people out of poverty in the next 10 years.
”In one of the most difficult moments in the nation’s history, Nigeria is fortunate to have at the helm, a leader who is not only dedicated, selfless and patriotic, but one who is globally acknowledged for his discipline, integrity and vision. Those who genuinely love Nigeria will support, rather than subvert this committed leadership,” the statement read.