TheNigerianVoice Online Radio Center

What Buhari Has Done In 100 Days – Garba Shehu

Listen to article

SAN FRANCISCO, August 29, (THEWILL) – As Nigerians wait anxiously for President Muhammadu Buhari to mark his 100 days in office on September 5, with the aim of assessing his performance so far, his senior special assistant on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, has stressed the need for an understanding of how the President emerged victorious at the polls and the situation he met on ground before judging him.

Apparently anticipating the barrage of commentaries, analyses and criticisms from Nigerians to commemorate the day, Shehu said : “I myself do not deny that 100 days is long enough to know and understand the man who is the head of a government. “

He is however of the view that Buhari took over power with strong support from young men and women and Nigeria’s poor, adding that “The new government was not favored at election by the money power-brokers, although that did not stop the President from taking measures such as improving security that are good for business and investment.”

Maintaining that the Buhari administration is business-friendly and not one that is for crony capitalism, Shehu lamented that “The new government inherited enormous problems created by the tainted PDP administration, largely caused by the lack of governance, corruption and lawlessness. “

He added: “This was mostly evident in the last two years of the Jonathan Goodluck administration. As the President continues to point out, the drift is most evident in the oil sector. I believe that there is enough on the ground in those 100 days to understand President Buhari, his government and what it stands for.”

He maintained that contrary to the much-touted promise purportedly made by Buhari to clean the “mess” the polity had become within 100 days of assuming duties, the President never made such promise.

Explaining the genesis of the purported promise, Shehu said: “In the course of electioneering, the presidential campaign had so many centres of public communication which, for whatever reason were on the loose. There is a certain document tagged “One Hundred Things Buhari Will Do in 100 Days” and the other, “My Covenant With Nigerians.”

“Both pamphlets bore the authorised party logo but as the Director of Media and Communications in that campaign, I did not fund or authorise any of those. I can equally bet my last Kobo that Candidate Buhari did not see or authorise those publications.

“As a consequence of these publications, expectations have been raised unreasonably, that as President, Muhammadu Buhari will wave his hand and all the problems that the country faces- insecurity, corruption, unemployment, poor infrastructure would go away.”

Listing the backlog of unpaid workers' salaries as one of the major challenges Buhari inherited on assumption of office, Shehu said most Nigerians did not know the enormity of the problem and the national crisis it had become.

According to Shehu, “In the recommendations and notes the Ahmed Joda transition committee presented to him as President -EIect, Muhammadu Buhari was informed that a section of the Federal government as well as 27 states hadn’t paid salaries, in some case for up to a year.

“The Joda committee advised that this was a national emergency and should be treated as such. It is on account of this that one of the activities- please note the choice of this word: activities, not achievements – of President Muhammadu Buhari in these past three months is the settlement of unpaid salaries. This is going on right now.”

Shehu said the challenges notwithstanding , “President Buhari has given the job his best shot and the whole country is saying that we never had it so good. He has re-instituted the values of hard work and administrative efficiency. The President says times without number that this country needs to fix governance and that he won’t tolerate laziness.”

Enumerating further, Shehu said: “Some of the other activities I wish to enumerate also include the fact of his taking relations with the country’s immediate neighbors to new heights. By their open admissions, this country’s neighbours did not have someone they could talk to on the deteriorating security situation in the Lake Chad Basin area in Aso Rock.

“Buhari embarked on his foreign policy on Day Four of his administration. When he met Barak Obama, the U.S president told the Nigerian leader that he was getting it right and that it is only when Nigeria gets it right that Africa will get it right.

“The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon who came calling this week said that our president is “courageous, focused and firm.” Relations with the “G 7″ group of industrialised countries have since been “reset” and the dividends of this have begun to flow inwards.

“In the area of economic management, Nigerians are already seeing things happen that they thought were not possible in so short a time. He didn’t put a Kobo to finance the power sector. Yet, reading his body language alone and knowing that there are things you cannot do and get away with under Buhari, electricity supply all over the countries has risen to unprecedented heights.

“Actually, some cities are on the verge of calling 24-hour, round the clock power supply. The country generates more power than can internally be taken by the deplorable distribution system we have on the ground, which points to the next challenge that the country faces.

“Framework for the management of the country’s finances has been put in place. The wobbly Naira is being stabilised and inflation is headed towards a single digit. President Buhari is keeping a close eye on the government treasury.

“Agriculture is getting its own shot in the arm. Rice importation has been curtailed and seven governors whose states are priming a massive local production of the commodity have had a strategy meeting with the President on the next steps that are coming. Americans say their intervention in our agriculture will come next year.

“Boko Haram, which had more or less been allowed to fester for about five years is about being ended but what is even more interesting is that intelligence coming from the fired-up armed forces who now work in synergy with each other is raising hope that the Chibok girls may, repeat may be found in good numbers in a geographic location of interest somewhere in the North-East.

“President Buhari is being praised at home and abroad for his ongoing fight against corruption. He said from the beginning that his government would not tolerate this vice.

Borrowing the words of India Narendra Modi’s, he said himself that “I won’t steal and I’ll not allow others to do it.” President Buhari has walked his talk since he came to office.”

“He and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo have not only given up half of their salary, they have cut a good number of funding lines to their official homes and offices. President Buhari also takes the environment seriously. He blames the lack of security in the Lake Chad region on the recession, almost drying up of the lake. He has undertaken to clean up the Ogoniland.

“In this country, appointments and removal from office are done usually in accordance with a spoils system. A new government sacks officials on the basis only that it did not appoint them, but the predecessor administration. President Buhari has shown that his government is different. He wants to look at each case on its own merit and it is clear by now that he is not ready to surrender the country to burnt out politicians. Technocrats will have a big place in his administration.”

“He has appointed no ministers yet, but the government is running smoothly. In this period of three months, government certainly deserves a pat on the back for improved power, reform in the energy sector, foreign relations fight against corruption and insurgency and the fact of Nigerians being at peace, not only among themselves but with their neighbours and the rest of the world.”

Assuring that President Buhari will turn out to be a leader in the tradition of Lee Kuan-Yu and India’s current reform-minded Prime Minister Modi with strong and clear emphasis on detail and execution, Shehu however said that “ he may however differ with them by not micro-managing things.”