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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Buhari’s 61st Independence Speech

THE HOPE in its modesty appraised and concluded that the October 1st, 2021 broadcast by President Muhammadu Buhari seems the best speech ever heard by Nigerians in his six years of holding power as the President and leader of the most populous African country in the universe.
In his other speeches, the President had in no case less than one hour talked over the head of Nigerians, and satisfied only his consciences than the nation has been addressed. In his independence speech however, the President touched every aspect of the nation, identified some of the clamours and also expressed a sympathetic understanding that he is aware of Nigeria’s problems.
HOWEVER, we observe that his speech also portrays a leadership that is not in full grasp of the true cause(s) of events in Nigeria. For example, Mr. President myopically assumed that the increase in prices of foodstuffs in Nigeria was caused by those who hoarded food materials with the intention of selling at high prices. Little did he realise that so many agricultural produces in Nigeria could not be hoarded as the storage facilities are just not available.
HE neither considered the population of the country vis-à-vis the activities of rampaging bandits, killers and destructive herdsmen as well as the activities of kidnappers that have prevented farmers from cropping their lands. Furthermore, the President seems at sea over the increase in the prices of agro-chemicals, equipment and other related facilities that have made production of food inadequate in the country.
PRETENDING that the problems of Nigeria could be laid at the doorsteps of those clamouring for self-determination was nothing but a fallacy of ambiguity and over generalization. The joy over the abduction of Nnamdi Kanu, and the arrest of Sunday Adeyemo also in a foreign country, and the ‘detection’ of their sponsors raise a lot of questions and suspicions. The Hope wonders why the speech did not include information on the arrest of the leadership of murderous bandits, the extermination of Boko Haram’s Shekau (if true) and the detection of the sponsors of killer herdsmen? Once again, sectionalism and nepotism were at play in the President’s speech.
THERE was no better time, than on the Independence Day, for the President to succumb to general, international and National Assembly’s demand that the bandits be labelled as terrorist groups. For this, THE HOPE questions the President’s sincerity on his presentation that “… the security and welfare of Nigerians continue to be the prime focus on which programmes and projects of our government revolves…. Our resolve for a peaceful, united and one Nigeria remains resolute and unwavering”. Contrary to the President’s illusion, we emphasize that given the unrepentant bloodletting activities of the murderous men all over the nation, it is time for the President, given constitutional demands, to change his hope and truly fight for peace in this nation.
TO many, we would like the President to note, the self-examination and resultant statement that “No government since 1999 has done what we have done in six years to put Nigeria back on track”, is an over-exaggeration and deviation from the path of truth. For the past six years, there has been selective infrastructural development, while many others have collapsed. The health and education sectors are retrogressing, while the level of inflation has increased astronomically. The cost of living is way beyond the minimum wage, and the government’s economic policies had more than less exacerbated the sufferings of many Nigerians. Truth be told, the level of hardship in the past six years is a far cry from the ‘change’ and the ‘next level’ promises of the President.
WHILE the “recent appointments of young people into positions of authority” is quite commendable, the President should consider the unconnected many who need appointments in order to cater for their families and develop the country with their skills by lifting the embargo on the appointments into the Federal Civil Service and other agencies of government.
ADDED to this is the need for the creation of peaceful, secured and enterprise friendly environment in which beneficiaries of N-power, small scale entrepreneurs and industries could triumph. This would show a government that is transparent, understanding and allows nationals employ their skills so as make “our goal of lifting 100million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years” achievable.
IN summary, THE HOPE views the President’s speech as intent for years to come, but not a chronology of immediate panacea that would revamp the economy, safeguard Nigerians and ensure the non-sectional peaceful co-existence of the diverse people of this country. Governance is a hard job, but a listening and hearkening President would swim easily against the tide. Mr. President, for Nigeria at 61, there remains many more rivers to cross.

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