The President had on Sunday said considering the condition in which his administration met the country allegedly without savings and the economy vandalised; “we have not done too badly.”
According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President spoke while receiving some members of the Buhari Diaspora Support Organisation, led by Mr. Charles Sylvester.
Buhari noted that Nigeria was gifted with human and natural resources, but regretted that past leaders failed to capitalise on the nation’s resources to improve the lot of Nigerians.
“Failure of some of the leadership we had in the past led to our not being able to capitalise on resources to improve the lot of the people,” the President said.
He added that those he described as wicked people plundered the country “and kept Nigerians poor.”
Buhari said the damage done to the Nigerian economy in the years of plunder was massive, adding that the government was doing its best to recover some of the loot.
“If they had used 50 per cent of the money made when oil prices were as high as $143 per barrel and stabilised at $100, with production at 2.1 million barrels per day for many years, Nigerians would have minded their business.
“The stealing was so much and they were so inept that they could not even cover the stealing properly. I wonder how all those things could have happened to our country,” the President said.
He commended members of the Buhari Diaspora Support Organisation for deciding to identify with the country when they could have stayed abroad where they were comfortable.
“I am happy that people like you are here, on your own, defending the country. You have shown courage and sacrifice. I assure you that your confidence in us won’t be abused; we will do our best to justify it,” Buhari said.
Sylvester was quoted as saying that members of the group were happy with the achievements of the Buhari administration so far.
He said the same God who healed the President when he was sick would grant him victory in 2019.
He said, “You met a difficult situation, but you have overcome most of them. We are happy with the agriculture revolution, the ease of doing business, the anti-corruption war, the employment of youths through the N-Power programme, and the blockage of leakages in the public sector through the Treasury Single Account.
“We are proud of the speed with which you recovered the abducted Dapchi schoolgirls. It shows you as a worthy general. We are happy that you have declared for 2019. Majority of Nigerians are happy, but agents of corruption and darkness are unhappy.
“The same God, who healed you when you were ill, will grant you victory in the 2019 elections. You are a General who does not fear combat, either with Generals or non-Generals.
“We declare our love and support for you. You are fixing the faulty foundations of our country and second term is when you will build the enduring structure.”
But the Peoples Democratic Party said it was wrong for the President to mark his own scripts, saying there was no way Buhari could judge himself fairly.
It said it would be better for the President to listen to the cry of the electorate, who had been regretting voting the former army General into power in 2015.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, who spoke with one of our correspondents in Abuja on Sunday, wondered why the President had not been able to initiate and complete a single project since he assumed office about three years ago.
He said, “Only a failure will set questions for himself and sit down to mark it. In this case, ask the President if he was the one who elected himself. He should ask those who voted for him, campaigned for him as well.
“If he has done well or he has not done badly as he claimed, let him point to a single project he initiated and completed in three years. Nigerians are tired of a leader like him.”
Ologbondiyan said if the President had done his best and the country remained the way it was, it would be better for him to pack his load and leave the Presidential Villa.
‘Buhari never displayed competence in governance’
Also, the Coalition for Nigeria Movement, supported by a former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, lambasted Buhari for always blaming past leaders.
The spokesman for the CNM, Mr. Akin Osuntokun, said this during an interview with one of our correspondents on Sunday.
Osuntokun said Buhari should not forget to blame himself for Nigeria’s woes since he is also a former leader having served as a military head of state from 1983 to 1985.
He said, “He has never displayed competence in the area of governance. It is therefore expected that he will give himself a pass mark. However, while blaming past leaders, he should not forget to blame himself since he also ruled Nigeria in the past.
“The President continues to blame everyone for what he fails to do. Transparency International has exposed the deception of his anti-corruption war. This is the same President who indicted his own government when he revealed that the Inspector-General of Police failed to relocate to Benue to curb a crisis as commanded.”
The CNM spokesman urged the international community not to be deceived by Buhari’s utterances in London because he would never accept blame for anything.
The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights and the Campaign for Democracy, on Sunday said it was not proper for the President to blame past governments for the country’s woes, noting that his “goodwill among Nigerians was fast receding.”
The CDHR President, Malachy Ugwummadu, said, “I just hope that there will be an end to passing the buck with this present administration. The energy the government is dissipating on castigating previous governments can be deployed in reorganising the country.
“One of the reasons Buhari was voted in was the belief that he would be able to deal with Nigeria’s exigencies, not to come in, pass the buck, and abdicate responsibility. Buhari should not fritter the goodwill of Nigerians he has, which is fast receding.”
Also, the CD President, Usman Abdul, said, “The President should be mindful of what he says about past leaders because he was also a former leader of the country. The President has not done any better than the previous governments.”