I Have Three More Years To Go – Buhari Replies Critics
BEVERLY HILLS, March 25, (THEWILL) – President Muhammadu Buhari has responded to critics who berate the rather slow performance of his 10-month presidency, by insisting that the criticisms were too early and hasty as he has three more years to prove he has a lot in stock for the country.
The President stated this at the opening of the meeting of the National Executive Committee, NEC, of the All Progressives Congress, APC in Abuja on Thursday, where he briefed his party leaders on the progress made so far by his administration.
According to him, “I know you are being harassed since the election that they haven’t seen anything on the ground. Well, if you have any explanation that could be accepted, it is that you have three more years to go.
“Sometimes, you need to present your case on a personal basis to your economic colleagues and neighbours. Nothing is better than personal touch and I believe that we are learning a lot and eventually, the nation will realize so.”
Buhari told his party leaders that his administration appeared slow because it had used the last 10 months to restructure the government, explaining that it had to prune the 42 ministries that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP-led government left behind to 24 for greater efficiency and to save cost.
He further stated that it is shameful for Nigerians to experience brutality during elections at this stage of its political development, stressing that more Nigerians were killed or killed themselves before and during the March 19 Rivers re-run elections more than any particular state.
“At this stage of our political development, to be brutal is shameful and as a government, I promise we will do something by the next general elections,” he said.
The President said that he would like to be remembered after leaving office for being fair to INEC officials and law enforcement agencies in the discharge of their duties during elections.
He added that he would also love to be remembered for ensuring that Nigerians exercise their franchise with confidence for whoever they wanted and in whichever elections.
He said that though the leadership of INEC had been changed, the leadership of the military, security agencies, INEC and Nigerians should know that he respects them.
Buhari urged the electorate to see their Permanent Voters' Card, PVC, as a personal entitlement which they could use to vote into power candidates of their choice at any election.
“If they voluntarily sell their PVC, it is part of their right; let them sell it and remain at home and not participate in any election.
“But let law enforcement agencies give them the confidence that nobody will come with money to hire thugs, give them drugs and stop them from exercising their fundamental right.
Commenting on the state of the economy, the President said that the fall in the prices of crude oil was a disaster since Nigeria is a mono-economy.
He said it was unbelievable that 27 out of 36 states of the federation were not solvent and were not able to pay the basic salaries of their workers.
“If from 1999 to 2003, oil sold for above 100 dollars per barrel and Nigeria exported about 2 million barrels per day, how come we failed to make arrangement to cushion the effects of a probable volatile oil market,'' he asked.
Buhari blamed the PDP-led administration for failing to take advantage of the revenue generated during the years of oil boom to fix the economy, stressing: “the APC-led government is now picking the pieces and so, there is no need complaining.”
He said that the APC administration was also making efforts to create employment and produce goods and services, adding that militants in the Niger Delta were sending conflicting messages.
The President stated that while some of them were ready to drop their arms to join in building the nation, others were still sabotaging installations.
He said that the action of some of the militants was hindering investments in the area, saying that investors would not want to invest in an area where they would not make profit.
Buhari said that his administration was doing its best with the military to persuade the militants to join in building the nation.