The Federal Government on Sunday said President Muhammadu Buhari’s assumption of office in 2015 prevented Nigeria from becoming a failed state after a long stretch of rapacious and rudderless leadership.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in a statement issued in Abuja, said Buhari came into office when the country was under occupation by terrorists and the treasury was wantonly being looted.
“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.
“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,” he said.
The minister said it was therefore 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 were those accusing government of not performing.
He added that it was unfortunate that those who planted the seed of the insecurity in some parts of the country were the same ones pointing an accusing finger at a reformist government.
The minister, who said that the country was going through a lot of challenges, however, pointed out that the situation would have been worse but for the deft management of resources and unprecedented fight against corruption by the Buhari government.
He added that the determined battle against insurgency and banditry as well as the abiding courage of the president in piloting the ship of state had saved the nation from a worse situation. Mohammed said contrary to the position of a certain political leader, Nigeria is not a failed state.
He described the nation as one courageously tackling its challenges and building a solid infrastructure that would serve as the basis for socio-economic development.
According to the minister, Nigeria is unrelenting in battling insecurity and working hard to ensure the greatest prosperity for the greatest number of people.
The minister also said no government in the history of the country had done so much with so little as the Buhari administration had been doing.
“With 60 per cent less national income, the administration is making progress on all fronts and setting the country on the path of sustainable growth and development,” he said
The minister said while naysayers were hyping the instances of insecurity in the country, they had forgotten that the country could have been overrun by insurgents and bandits if the president had not rallied regional and international allies to tackle headlong the Boko Haram insurgency.
He recalled that “bombs were going off like firecrackers” before the president’s assumption of office while an estimated 20,000 square miles of the nation’s territory were occupied by insurgents.
The minister added: ‘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 per cent of its earnings.
“Even with this downturn, 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.”
He accused them of aggravating ” the national fault lines with their angry and unguarded actions and rhetoric.”
According to the minister, the critics had forgotten that ” while national fissures are amplified at a time of dwindling economic fortune, what is needed to foster peace and unity is not reckless elocution but responsible and responsive leadership, the kind being offered by President.”
The minister reiterated that Nigeria is on the road to greatness inspite of the challenges confronting it. He cited the hard push toward food sufficiency, the modernisation of the rail system, the nationwide construction of roads and bridges, the reform in the oil and gas sector and the unprecedented anti-corruption battle as achievements of the administration.
Mohammed also cited 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.
He 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,” he said.