Ahead of the 2019 general election, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, has said it will require more than one election cycle to fix Nigeria and deliver all they promised to change.
He argued that the change promised by his government was not an event but a process and it would, therefore, require time to deliver. While urging Nigerians to re-elect him for another term of four years, the President gave the assurance that the fruits of the efforts he had made in fixing the country in the last three and a half years would soon begin to manifest.
Buhari also countered the argument that Nigeria lacked institutions, describing the claim as one of the “hyperbolic expressions that fly around these days.”
The President said this on Monday in Lagos while delivering the 75th anniversary business lecture of the Island Club.
The lecture titled, “Nation building and institutional development, lessons for Nigeria from the Island Club at 75,” was delivered on behalf of Buhari by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola.
Buhari, who is the grand patron of the club, recalled that unlike now, there was a time when the club held its major events in the open air because it had no hall and could not afford one then.
“It took more than one term and one election cycle of the Chairman of Island Club to build this hall just as it will require more than one election cycle to build the nation and deliver change,” the President said.
He argued that the fact that the Island Club had existed for 75 years had put a lie to the claim that there were no institutions in the country. This, he said, was another lesson that the nation had to learn from the club’s 75th anniversary, stressing that the fact that people expected more from the existing institutions did not mean that the institutions did not exist.
“The process of change and reform did not happen because Island Club did anything; it happened because people, members of the club, and I believe, non-members, who were men of goodwill, chose to act,” he added.
Buhari said he had put the country on the path of food security by banning the importation of rice despite opposition by vested interests, who frustrated earlier government food security policies such as Operation Feed the Nation and the Green Revolution.
As a result, he said, his administration had produced millions of rice and wheat farmers, adding that his vision was to industrialise the nation’s food sector.
Buhari said under his watch the manufacturing sector had made progress, citing recent statistics by the National Bureau of Statistics. He said his reforms in the power sector had led to improved power supply, which had rubbed off on small-scale businesses.
“It is because of these small business owners, hard-working Nigerians that I am offering myself to serve for one more time,” the President said.
Meanwhile, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday said he and President Buhari would never be found deceiving Nigerians. He said the two of them could be accused of anything, but not about deceiving Nigerians.
A statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Laolu Akande, quoted the Vice-President as saying this while featuring on a programme, Brekete Family, on Human Rights Radio, Abuja.
Osinbajo said the administration was concerned about the plight of ordinary Nigerians and would continue to carry out programmes that would improve their lives.
He said, “The focus of our government is on how things can be better for the common man. We are not in the business of trying to deceive Nigerians. You can accuse me and the President of anything, but you will never find us deceiving Nigerians.”
While making references to the present administration’s National Social Investment Programme, Osinbajo noted that the administration was able to do more with less resources.
He added, “The President has ensured that nobody steals money from the treasury. The major problem Nigeria had before now was the fact that people stole from the nation’s coffers. Once the country is able to stop corruption, it would be better.”