Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir David Lawal, has expressed disappointment with Nigerians wishing President Muhammadu Buhari dead, saying the president will outlive all of them.
Speaking yesterday, while addressing pro-Buhari protesters, from Citizens Support for Good Governance in Nigeria, at Unity Fountain, Abuja, Lawal argued that with the solid foundation the current administration had laid, Nigeria would never return to the pro-2015 era, especially by the time President Buhari finishes his second tenure in office.
While reassuring Nigerians that the economy would be buoyant as from next year, the SGF lamented that those who crumbled the country were the ones accusing government of going at a slow speed.
He said: “I’m here to thank you for the support you have rendered this government. As a government, we are encouraged by your support. It is this type of support that encourages the president to do more. We want to assure you that this government is on top of the situation.
“As much as we understand the challenges we are facing, there is no cure without medicine. It is for no reason that quinine is very bitter, but after you have taken it, you get well.
“Baba Buhari didn’t anticipate the problem we are in. I’m sure you are all aware. The people who caused this problem are the ones challenging the government. I tell you that they will fail, in the name of God. In fact, they have failed.
“You are aware of the economy the president inherited, the economy in which revenue has virtually collapsed. The infrastructure was nowhere to be seen. The roads were dilapidated. The schools were dilapidated. The hospitals were abandoned. The people who caused it are not worried. Shamelessly, they accused the president of not performing. And, in fact, some of them wished him dead. But I can assure you that, by the grace of God, he will outlive all of them.
“I assure you that by the grace of God, in the next one year, Nigeria will have a booming economy. We know what they are doing to sabotage the activities of government to bring Nigeria back to economic prosperity. They will fail.
Nigeria will never go back to the position it was before 2015. The foundation being laid by the government is solid. And nobody, even after the president has finished his eight years, can ever take us back to the pre-2015 days.”
Lawal said President Buhari was aware of suffering Nigerians are going through, adding: “It pains him. But the pains have to be borne this way for prosperity and goodness to return to our country. Once more, I want to thank you for the support you have shown this government. It is this type of support that encourages the government to work round the clock.”
Meanwhile, convener of Truth and Justice Movement of Nigeria, Johnson Ondoma, said the essence of the rally was to show that Buhari had been doing his best.
“The rally is important because, as commoners, we express ourselves through public actions and not politicians and contractors, who prefer to discuss governance in the State House and lobbies of hotels,” he said.
Ondoma said despite repeated attempt to portray the Buhari administration as non-performing, Nigerians know that in the last two years, Buhari has done “far better” than his predecessor, in areas of anti-corruption, infrastructure and security.
“Those who are sincere will acknowledge the investment in infrastructure. Unlike in the past when the money for road contracts were usually shared and made to circulate round, the funds released are now actually going into getting the jobs done. If people are not getting slush funds passed down to them it means they have to review their personal economic activities within the reality of an anti-corruption era.”
In a related development, the Federal Government yesterday admitted that its war against corruption is facing serious threat from wealthy Nigerians, who are fighting government to submission.
According to Mallam Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, while addressing pro-Buhari protesters in Abuja yesterday, the war against corruption has many powerful enemies, which needs a collective effort to subdue.
Shehu said: “The war against corruption has enemies, very powerful enemies, enemies who have resources, the kind of money that even the government doesn’t have. So, we need a popular support like your own, otherwise the war against corruption will be defeated.”
The presidential spokesman apologised to the group for the initial disruption of the protest by the security agents at the main gate of the Presidential Villa, noting: “There was a communication gap at the Villa gate because the police there did not know who was coming and I hope we will learn from this.”
Convener of the group, Comrade Moses Abdullahi, said though the country was passing through a difficult phase, as a result of bad governance since the return to democracy in 1999, it is not a creation of the present government.
“Nigeria is going through a difficult phase, a phase not of the making of this administration, but rather a consequence of decades of bad governance, decay and maladministration by a few under a banner now synonymous with corruption. Nigeria can only change when we support the government and do our bit and not allow ourselves to be used as agents of destruction and political thuggery,” he said.