Why Buhari can't stop blaming past governments - Fashola | Nigeria News Today. Your online Nigerian Newspaper

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The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), has made excuses for President Muhammadu Buhari’s habit of reminiscing on the past and blaming past administrations for the economic turmoil in the country, saying “yesterday remains relevant in understanding today in order to make choices that make tomorrow different and better”.


Fashola, who spoke Tuesday at the Wilson Centre, Washington D.C. at a lecture titled: “Leadership and the Politics of Reform in Africa: Lessons from Nigeria”, was however optimistic about the capacity of the present government to turn things around for the good of the country.



He said although “we manage the time, we do not control the time. We need people to work hard. We are changing the unproductive practices of yesterday”.

Elaborating further, the minister said practices “where the government chose to distribute cash, rice and imported kerosene in order to win votes, rather than invest it in the payment of contractors, got them to build roads, power projects, housing and real infrastructure,” were some of the factors responsible for today’s economic recession.

According to him, “Yes, the global economy is not in the best place across Africa, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The impacts are local and diverse, and those who invested well yesterday are better able to cope with a harsh winter while they expect a glorious spring.
“In Nigeria, the choices of yesterday make this winter a very harsh one for our people, because we did not invest in the right things.

“Our government of yesterday expressed its preference for providing ‘infrastructure of the stomach’, giving handouts instead of real infrastructure.
“This is how the seeds of today’s recession were sown. For those who say that today’s government should stop talking about yesterday, with due respect, I disagree.

“Yesterday will remain relevant in understanding today in order to make choices that make tomorrow different and better.
“I once used the allegory of the patient, and I think it deserves repetition. If a patient complains about stomach pain, the first question that the physician is likely to ask is: ‘What did you eat yesterday?’

“The answer helps the physician make a diagnosis and choose a prescription first to solve the problem, and to recommend further dietary habits about what to eat and what not to eat. This is what the current leadership is addressing.”
The former Lagos State governor stressed that what Nigerians ate yesterday was “that we wasted our money”.

“We did not invest in roads, highways, bridges, schools and hospitals. Money was taken out of the larger society and invested in private accounts. The economy began to shrink, construction companies laid off workers, who in turn lost income, which resulted in shrinking demand for goods and services, and in turn led to national under-productivity.
“That was what we ate yesterday. The stomach pain is comparable to symptoms of bad dietary choices that manifest in the recession we now deal with.

“The solution is to spend on infrastructure, which has started. The recovery time is a function of what we can spend and how quickly it will go round… If an arid area of land has not witnessed rainfall in two to three years, you know what happens when the first rain falls. It literally disappears into the ground.

“In order to reach a point where any moisture is visible in the soil that may support the germination of a seed to be planted, more rain water needs to be injected. This is the best analogy I can offer for where our national economy is.
“But I will conclude by saying I am optimistic that we will turn things around,” he said.

Fashola expressed the view that the current leadership led by Buhari and a large number of other leaders in the public sector, at the national and state levels, and in the private sectors were sufficiently mindful of the responsibilities of leadership rather than the status of leadership, saying: “They have started to make choices and will continue to do so in order to provide for the millions of people they are responsible for.”

Making references to the size of the ministry he heads and the progress so far made, Fashola said as far as power was concerned, “I wish to state very clearly that the problems are not technical. They are man-made”.
“As long as they are man-made, they can be solved by men and women and that is what the administration led by President Buhari is determined to do.

“The problems range from liquidity issues, to errors of commission or omission in the privatisation process and the usual teething problems of transitioning from the mindset of public sector-managed power for 63 years, from 1950-2013, to a mindset of public-sector regulated power managed by private sector, between November 2013 and today (a period that is under three years),” he said.

While acknowledging that the problems cover poorly designed projects, which must be corrected and completed, he said they also included contractors that have not been paid for three years and therefore have no funds to complete the projects; community issues over right of way; issues of land and compensation claims resulting in disputes some of which led to court cases; and anger resulting in vandalism of public assets.

He said these issues were not technical in nature, but man-made. “They require proper analyses, understanding and decisive choice-making to get to the heart of the problems and resolving them.

“We have evolved a clear roadmap which we have started implementing, to deliver first incremental power, because we do not have enough, stable power, by knowing how many people need energy and what quantity they need, to uninterrupted power that requires us to conserve energy because what is wasted will never be enough,” he added.

On works, especially the roads and bridges development, he identified the problems as not different from that of the power sector, saying: “It is not that we have not built roads before. It is man-made issues or budgeting, lack of payment to contractors for three years, project supervision and discipline to manage 206 road contracts that were not budgeted for, or if budgeted for were poorly funded.

“The total outstanding contractual liabilities are in the region of N1.5 trillion and this administration is taking them in batches starting from the critical high traffic highways that evacuate goods from ports, fuel from tank farms, and move foodstuff and-agro produce across the country.”

The housing sector, he said, is plagued by how to design houses that respond to the diverse cultures and climatic conditions in Nigeria, but noted that “we have resolved this by developing two broad categories of designs comprising blocks of flats for the southern states and bungalows with courtyards for the northern states”.

“We have completed the process of standardising fittings with a view to using only Made-in-Nigeria windows, doors, hinges, tiles, plumbing and electrical appliances in order to stimulate production by local small and medium businesses,” he added.
Meanwhile, Buhari has cautioned western countries that failure on their part to return funds stolen from Nigeria and other African countries will make it difficult for Nigeria and others to achieve sustainable development.

Speaking in New York at the High-Level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Declaration on the Right to Development, the president called on development partners to also step up the fight against corruption by returning ill-gotten financial assets and halting future illicit financial flows to their countries.
He warned that the non-repatriation of illicit financial assets could impinge on the determination of states to achieve an all-inclusive 2030 sustainable development.

Buhari said such collective action “will guarantee a stronger international defence of the right to development”.
He notes further that illicit financial assets stashed abroad deprived developing countries, including Nigeria, and invariably denied their people the enjoyment of their national wealth and resources needed for development.

Buhari therefore called on the United Nations “to remain vocal and active in addressing the negative impact of the non-repatriation of illicit financial assets on their countries of origin”, adding that “as soon as stolen assets are legally established, they should swiftly be repatriated”.
Buhari explained that his administration was fighting corruption headlong because it contributed to the denial of the resources required for development.

The president, while welcoming the commemoration of three decades of the Declaration on the Right to Development, which he observed coincided with the first anniversary of the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, said: “It reminds us all of the essence of development and provides us with the opportunity to reaffirm commitments to converting this right into the policies and operational activities of relevant actors at the national, regional and international levels.”

Buhari said that as a developing country, Nigeria considers the right to development an inalienable right of fundamental importance, stressing that at the national level, his administration had been making strenuous efforts to ensure that the right to development is at the centre of all development initiatives.

While reaffirming Nigeria’s commitment to the UN Charter and other international conventions that uphold the right to development, he also drew the attention of the international community to the urgent need to address the lop-sided terms of trade between developed and developing countries which he said had impacted negatively on the capacity of many developing countries to embark on development programmes for the benefit of their peoples.

“Nigeria is convinced that the right to development is a shared responsibility considering the growing inequality and poverty resulting from climate change impact, natural disasters, violent extremism, social unrest and deprivation,” the president said.

He said that the right to development must be promoted and protected like all other rights.
“Its universality and interdependence are indisputable,” he declared.

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  1. Continue the blame game, end of your term will soon be here. Nigerians will see what you have done with the mandate they gave you.

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  2. This man has proven that APC has no agenda. OK.., keep blaming Jonathan.

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  3. We never voted you in to blame the past administration, we voted APC to fix the economy but you have wasted two years aportioning blames, 2019 is here, I wont vote for APC again since you have nothing to offer to the Nigerians that voted you in. APC is annoying me....Get to work Mr Man

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  4. Hmmmmmmm, did Fashola and Ambode not shared indomie during campaign? Haba,didn't you guys shared money also?continue your blame game.

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  5. Wen u guys were conversing 4 votes non of u said d economy was bad, rather u were saying u will take nigeria 2 another height, now u have won and tins has deteriorated beyond repair and u are here talking like u drank brukutu mixed wit stout. If u ppl are overwhelmed pls step aside 4 progressives 2 move d ship.

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  6. Let us give them time to fix Nigeria so that things can change for better once in the history of this Nation. He had it rosy in the past but it ends up in private lockets and now we are in deep shit. I trust APC had better plans for Nigeria but when an economy is down it takes more time to fix.

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  7. So nobody is saying u should not find out what your patient ate before the stomach ache. But after finding out your patient ate a lot of corruption, will you as a doctor start crying that the cause of the stomach ache is corruption or will you rather prescribe a drug plus lifestyle change (stop crave for foreign goods etc.) and assure the patient of the stages of recovery to expect.

    Rather you have been administering every and any kind of medication available, suggesting you are quack doctors. At first it was bitter chloroquine and antibiotics then inhaler and amputation etc.

    you have told us what caused our stomach ache but have not told us the actual sickness we have and d suitable treatment for it, rather you are still crying about what we ate (corruption) and the symptoms, we already know these two, please tell us how you will treat us and get to work or allow someone else that can treat us to get to work.

    ReplyDelete

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