Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari has again accused the opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of presiding over Nigeria’s near destruction and telling the party “you have the impudence to attempt to criticize our efforts.”
In his 60th Independence Day address to Nigerians, Mr. Buhari went on a well-worn path of blaming the opposition for his cluelessness and incompetence in steering the ships of Africa’s biggest nation.
Mr. Buhari came to power in 2015 following a democratic revolution that saw the PDP government of President Goodluck Jonathan defeated in a general election and a peaceful handover of power to the opposition.
But a hall mark of the Buhari administration has been to blame the PDP which ruled Nigeria for 16 years for its own failures and inability to fulfil its electoral promises to Nigerians.
“No government in the past did what we are doing with such scarce resources. We have managed to keep things going in spite of the disproportionate spending on security. Those in the previous Governments from 1999 – 2015 who presided over the near destruction of the country have now the impudence to attempt to criticize our efforts,” President Buhari said.
Not a few Nigerians however, would disagree with the President over his claims as indicators suggest the country is far worse than it was in the days of the PDP. The three pronged pillar of Economy, Security and Corruption which the Mr. Buhari promised to work on have all failed-miserably.
The President also attempted to justify the recent increment in the pump price of petrol and the attendant inflation across the country by comparing Nigeria with other oil producing countries.
“Petroleum prices in Nigeria are to be adjusted. We sell now at N161 per litre. A comparison with our neighbours will illustrate the point,” he said of his decision to increase the pump price without due consultations.
“Chad which is an oil producing country charges N362 per litre, Niger, also an oil producing country sells 1 litre at N346. In Ghana, another oil producing country, petroleum pump price is N326 per litre.
“Further afield, Egypt charges N211 per litre. Saudi Arabia charges N168 per litre. It makes no sense for oil to be cheaper in Nigeria than in Saudi Arabia,” Buhari said.
However, before winning his election, President Buhari had consistently denied the existence of subsidy payment on imported petroleum products. He has also been at the vanguard of protesting against any increase in petroleum prices and his party the All Progressive Congress (APC) often organise nationwide protest to kick against the deregulation of the oil sector.
While the President has increased petrol price three times in five years, he had permitted none of the protests on which he rode to power from the citizens. Any form of protest in Nigeria today is dealt with by the operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS).
Omoyele Sowore, popular journalist and Publisher of online newspaper Sahara Reporters who called for a “Revolution Now” rally was arrested and detained in spite of several court orders for his release.
In Lagos today, Olukayode Jaiyeola, a photojournalist from Punch Newspapers, was brutalised and needed hospitalisation after his head was broken by policemen while he covered a peaceful protest.
The President concluded by asking Nigerians to increase their commitment to the country and do that “which is right and proper even when no one is watching.” This however is what the President ironically has not demonstrated.
He has not disguised his preference for his ethnic Fulani tribe and northern Muslims in general. He has refused to mark up on his promise to run a frugal cabinet demonstrating this by selling off most of the aircraft in the Presidential fleet.
The fight against corruption, a major mantra on which the President was elected was dead on arrival.
“Fellow Nigerians, let us collectively resolve to continue our journey beyond the sixty years on the clear understanding that as a nation we are greater together than being smaller units of nationalities. By the special grace of God we shall come through any transient challenges,”Buhari told his bewildered nation.