President Muhammadu Buhari’s scorecard took the spot yesterday at various events by government officials in the countdown to the February 2019 presidential election.
Responding to the request in various quarters for the campaign to be issue-based, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha declared that Buhari would run on his rich scorecard, unlike in 2015 when he ran on promises.
Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello also described the president’s performance in superlative terms.
At a town hall meeting in Ibadan, two ministers handling the critical areas of infrastructure development – Babatunde Fashola and Rotimi Amaechi – said the Buhari administration had done more in three years than the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration did in 16 years.
The President himself blamed the PDP for wasting the nation’s commonwealth during their regimes.
Speaking at a dinner for youthful political appointees at the new Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Mustapha said: ”If we have to make a comparison of what has been achieved in the last couple of years, the 16 years of PDP administration will not constitute one-tenth of what we have been able to achieve in the last three and half years.
“We went to the 2015 elections with promises, but we will go to the 2019 elections with our scorecard.”
He added that “as a government arm, we have achieved so much and I am going to make available to you a document that we have put together, which captures what the government has been able to achieve in just about two and half years; what I call a mid-term report.”
Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello, at the same event, said: “President Buhari is a good product we know, but we must go out to sell him to Nigerians. Perception is very critical in times like this. If we fail, God forbid, the ugly narrative of PDP will overtake the land.
“Our score card is very rich and very rich enough. We must market the incredible accomplishments of Mr. President and of his administration to every voter and in a language he or she understands.
”If we don’t market our product very well, a tough and progressive victory against a terrorist threat, which continues to cost the lives of our brave military and law enforcement agencies, will be mistaken for inaction.
“If we don’t market our product very well, try our politically exposed offenders using long extant laws, which previous leaders were not willing to deploy against cronies, accomplishments will be mistaken for extra-judicial measures and disdain for the rule of law.
“If we do not put Mr. President’s achievements before our people so that they can sight it themselves, we will be agreeing with the PDP that in fighting corruption, which he is offering again, is somehow better than the alleged incompetence of the APC which has accomplished everything I have enumerated above.”
Bello, however, warned his party not to underrate the PDP in the election.
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He said: “All that the crooked PDP is offering Nigerians is that corruption is better than incompetence in quote. 2015 was about change, 2019 will be about progress.
“As members of the APC, we will not deny that our party has a huge task in the 2019 general elections; the election will never be a walk-over; the PDP will not be a push over.
“And we must take nothing and no one for granted. If we cannot defeat PDP, maybe we should not be influencers or we should not even go to politics.” he said
The President expressed disappointment that the media had not highlighted the massive achievements recorded by his administration in agriculture.
He again challenged the PDP over the power generated after claiming to have spent $16billion, Buhari added: ”I’m very disappointed with the Nigerian press. They didn’t give this government the credit of the go-back-to-land programme. We have cut down the importation of rice by at least 90 per cent.”
He said the country had achieved food security and remarked that he appointed Mr. Audu Ogbe as minister of agriculture because “he is somebody who has suffered in that sector.
“Ogbeh went to a bank, borrowed money and invested in agriculture. He suffered but eventually he paid the money. So, you cannot have a better person (for the job).”
Executive Director at the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) Jasper Azuatalam, one of those hosted at the ceremony, said: “The worst thing we can do to this country, Nigeria, is to allow PDP to come back to power in 2019. It is the worst thing we can do to Nigeria.
”I will liken PDP to a lion that has been put in the cage for a long time. I have interacted with their members and I know how hungry they have become because they don’t see free money as before.
”If we loose this lion again in 2019, then Nigeria is going to walk more than 1,000 steps backward.
”Like we always said in those days we lost elections, Mr. President will always get 11 to 12 million votes whether he operates from a party or not. That’s the goodwill we had that time.
”But that is because a lot of people believed that by Mr. President’s integrity and his anti-corruption, he is going to do magic when he resumes office as President. That in two months, Nigeria will change. They don’t know how it would happen.
”But the truth is that most of these have been disappointed because they didn’t see the magic. That is why we need to do the real work.”
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