2016: CSOs Score Buhari High, Urges Nigerians To Pray For Better 2017

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Despite numerous challenges and problems it inherited, the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has managed to turn around the fortune of the country which was on the verge of collapse by tackling insecurity, fighting corruption and diversifying the economy.

This was a resolution of an interactive session of Civil Society organizations and concerned groups in Nigeria on the Sectorial Performance of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration in the Year 2016.

The communique was signed by Comrade Okpokwu Ogenyi and Alhaji Muhammadu Gambo Muhammadu,
Chairman and Secretary of the Communique Drafting Committee, as well as 3 other members of the committee, Bishop Musa Fomson,
Charles Ibekwe, and Promise Ebikepine who represented other Civil Society Organizations.

The CSOs said President Muhammadu Buhari was inaugurated as President at a time the country was on the brink of total collapse in all sectors of the economy owing to sustained years of misrule, mismanagement and mindless pillaging of national wealth and resources by a greedy political elite.

It said the administration has however managed to rework collapsed national structures and institutions of governance to deliver democracy dividends as well as answer to the yearning and aspirations of Nigerian people for a prosperous nation.

It said, in spite of the meagre resources at the disposal of government because of declining oil revenues, the journey in the last one year and a half has posted impressive results in most sectors of the economy.

It reads in part, “Nigeria was in a near state of anarchy occasioned by insecurity in most regions of the country. Boko Haram Terrorists in the Northeast had held the country hostage with their lethal weapons, bombings, killings, and destruction of properties and abduction of innocent Nigerians was the norm. The fanatical Islamic sect had declared a caliphate hoisted its black flag in several communities in the NorthEast.

“The morale of Nigerian troops in the anti-terrorism campaigns was severely dampened basically due to lack of weapons, poor welfare packages, unpaid salaries and allowances. The government has been able to reverse the situation, through organizational restructuring of the Nigerian military. With the able leadership of the Nigerian Army under the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. TY Buratai, complemented by other segments of the armed forces and security agencies, Nigeria has been able to defeat terrorism, which has earned it international applause.

“Presently, no Nigerian territory is under the occupation by terrorists, normalcy has returned to affected communities and camps for IDPs are gradually being dismantled. And the current exercise of Operation Rescue Final of the Nigerian Army is routing out the remnants of the terrorists. The country should be appreciative of what the members of the armed forces have achieved and in this regard the federal government must demonstrate gratitude by seeing to it that members of the armed forces receive the highest salary in the country, highest pension and gratuity and their spouses and children should have special endowments that cater to them in the event of any eventuality.”

Other areas which it said the administration has done well includes agriculture, anti corruption and eleectoral reforms.

It said the administration spared no effort to recover looted public funds and nearly N550 billion has so far been recovered, through plea bargain with suspects, which will fund part of the deficit in the 2017 budget.

The communique reads further, “agriculture remains a viable alternative for the diversification of the Nigerian economy, since the wholesale reliance on oil revenues has proved to be problematic. Thus, in 2016, government granted zero-interest loans in cash and farm inputs to farmers across the country.

“The CBN has also offered loans to farmers as part of this palliative. The essence is to achieve food security and change the present status of Nigeria as a food importer to food exporter. These initiatives have paid off handsomely with the bumper harvests been experienced by farmers nation-wide at the moment.”

SEE FULL TEXT OF COMMUNIQUE BELOW:

Communiqué Issued at the end of an interactive session of Civil Society organizations and concerned groups in Nigeria on the Sectorial Performance of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration in the Year 2016.

The organisation after a careful activity based on internationally accepted analytical indices have concluded as follows:
1. President Muhammadu Buhari was inaugurated as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces on May 29, 2015 at a time the country was on the brink of total collapse in all sectors of the economy owing to sustained years of misrule, mismanagement and mindless pillaging of national wealth and resources by a greedy political elite who did not wish Nigeria well.

2. The administration berthed with a clear vision and mission to rescue and emancipate Nigeria, rework collapsed national structures and institutions of governance to deliver democracy dividends as well as answer to the yearning and aspirations of all citizens of Nigeria for a prosperous nation.

3. This vision and mission was subsumed and or, enunciated by the campaign mantra of attitudinal “Change” in Nigerians approach to governance and public affairs. In spite of the meagre resources at the disposal of government because of declining oil revenues, the journey in the last one year and a half has posted impressive results in most sectors of the economy.

4. Nigeria was in a near state of anarchy occasioned by insecurity in most regions of the country. Boko Haram Terrorists in the Northeast had held the country hostage with their lethal weapons, bombings, killings, and destruction of properties and abduction of innocent Nigerians was sustainably carried out. The fanatical Islamic sect had declared a caliphate, hoisted its black flag in several communities in the North-East.

5. The morale of Nigerian troops in the anti-terrorism campaigns was severely dampened basically due to lack of weapons, poor welfare packages, unpaid salaries and allowances. The government has been able to reverse the situation, through organizational restructuring of the Nigerian military. With the able and committed leadership of the Nigerian Army under the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. TY Buratai, complemented by other segments of the armed forces and security agencies, Nigeria has been able to defeat terrorism, which has earned it international applause.

6. Presently, no Nigerian territory is under the occupation by terrorists. Normalcy has returned to affected communities and camps for IDPs are gradually being dismantled. And the current exercise of Operation Rescue Final of the Nigerian Army is routing out the remnants of the terrorists. The country should be appreciative of what the members of the armed forces have achieved and in this regard the federal government must demonstrate gratitude by seeing to it that members of the armed forces receive the highest salary in the country, highest pension and gratuity and their spouses and children should have special endowments that cater to them in the event of any eventuality.

7. Similarly, threats of militancy in the Niger Delta are being tackled. The Ogoniland Clean-up and Restoration Programme has commenced in earnest. Government has also received the 16-point agenda which originates from all stakeholders and interest groups in the Niger Delta region, which it hopes to eventually, start implementation. Government has not only sustained the Presidential Amnesty Programme for ex-militants in 2016, but it is also exploring ways to increase its outreach and make it more beneficial. Calm is retuning to the oil-rich region with the concomitant effect of increased daily crude oil exploration.

8. The deadly threats of secessionists in the South-East and the menace of armed banditry and cattle rustling in the North-West have been effectively curtailed and contained mainly by the Nigerian Army. These communities now live in abounding peace and harmony, free from the molestations of these groups.

9. The administration inherited a country severely damaged by the corruption of public officials. In 2016, government launched the attitudinal renaissance and national re-orientation campaign christened #ChangeBeginsWithMe. The administration spared no effort to recover looted public funds and nearly N550 billion has so far been recovered, through plea bargain with suspects. This fund has formed part of the deficit in the 2017 budget.
Some accused persons are also standing trial in various courts and the arms purchase scandal in the office of the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) is an apt example. Government was able to also secure the understanding of Western countries and other foreign nations in custody of Nigeria’s looted public funds and soon the repatriation of this wealth would commence.

11. Sufficient power supply is the bedrock of national development and the incentive to attract foreign investments. The unbundling of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) notwithstanding, the administration inherited a diminutive power supply base of less than 2,500 megawatts of national grid. Despite disruptions by militant activities in the Niger Delta, the federal government has been able to shore-up national grid supply to about 5,500 megawatts by last October. There are long term investments and measures in the power sector to push national grid capacity to 10,000 megawatts hopefully in early 2017.

12. Agriculture remains a viable alternative for the diversification of the Nigerian economy, since the wholesale reliance on oil revenues has proved to be problematic. Thus, in 2016, government granted zero-interest loans in cash and farm inputs to farmers across the country. The CBN has also offered loans to farmers as part of this palliative. The essence is to achieve food security and change the present status of Nigeria as a food importer to food exporter. These initiatives have paid off handsomely with the bumper harvests been experienced by farmers nation-wide at the moment.

13. The sanctity of the vote is what the administration holds in high esteem. It is the conviction of this government that Nigerians should be free to elect their leaders and representatives at all levels. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has improved tremendously. Even at that the attitude of the policies have remained a source of concern. The country is still bugged with the problem of inconclusive elections which is aided and abated by disposition of politicians to electoral violence.

14. The electoral umpire is undergoing some electoral reforms and the conclusive governorship elections in Ondo state and the Rivers state re-run elections are the attestations to the reforms in INEC. Politicians-induced electoral violence has been a source of worry to government and Rivers state governor Nyesom Wike and his likes unfortunately exemplify this oddity. A situation where security agents on election duty are assailed and beheaded in cold blood should not be tolerated henceforth.

15. The administration inherited a sick economy. With no foreign reserves to fall back on; decline in oil revenues and the naira nose-diving against the US dollar and other major world currencies, inflation peaked incredibly. Again, months of owed salaries of workers at all tiers of government and contractual debts in excess of trillions of naira, government faced a heavy burden. Over N400 billion has been paid to the local contractors in 2016.

16. But ultimately, the solution to Nigeria’s economic woes resides in the diversification of the economy to earn foreign exchange. The modest effort so far has been the support to the agricultural and solid minerals sectors. In spite of the severity of the problem and with the measures adopted by the CBN, government has been able to maintain an exchange rate of below N400 to the US dollar in the parallel market. And in the last couple of weeks, the naira has stabilized at an exchange rate of N305 to one US dollar.

17. This is a summary of the performance of the Buhari administration in select sub-sectors in 2016.

Appeal and conclusion

We believe it is a good work in progress which its wheels must continuously be oiled with our positive contributions in whatever manner we are capable.
As we move into the year 2017 with greater hopes of consolidating on the gains already made, we seize this opportunity to appreciate you for your time and audience.

Finally, we implore you to join us in prayers, as we collectively work to make Nigeria, our dear country better and prosperous in which we will all be proud to call ours.

Signed:

Comrade Okpokwu Ogenyi E
Chairman, CDC

Alhaji Muhammadu Gambo Muhammadu
Secretary, CDC

Prince Promise Ebikepine
Member CDC

Patriot Charles Ibekwe
Member CDC

Bishop Musa Fomson
Member CDC

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