The farewell speech delivered Sunday by outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari has drawn criticisms from Nigerians from all walks of life.
Buhari, in the national broadcast, apologised to Nigerians for the pain and suffering associated with the implementation of some of his policies.
Daily Trust recalls that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had introduced the redesigned naira and cashless policy which inflicted suffering on Nigerians and left many businesses comatose.
Buhari had, while defending the policy, said it was meant to revamp the economy.
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Buhari, who will hand over today to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, said he was leaving the country better than how he met it.
However, the leader of the Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, said the outgoing president left Nigeria worse than how he met it.
Adebanjo, in a chat with our correspondent, described Buhari’s exit as a good riddance.
“It is very false to say that he is leaving the country better than he met it. That’s not correct. He is leaving the country worse than he met it. His departure is good riddance to bad rubbish,” he said.
He said the president failed to tame insecurity, especially herdsmen attacks across the country, adding that the herdsmen became emboldened to carry arms illegally.
But in sharp contrast, the National Publicity Secretary of the group, Jare Ajayi, said the eight-year tenure of Buhari would be remembered more for good than bad.
He said, “There are quite a number of remarkable things that can be pointed to both in positive and negative terms.
“Without a doubt, the Buhari administration was audacious in its desire or drive for infrastructural revival. But given the enormity of infrastructural decay and infrastructural needs of the country, the efforts made by the administration appear to be too little in meeting the needs. It is fair though to concede that the significance of the efforts made would better be understood and perhaps acknowledged after the administration might have gone.
“Some of the areas in which kudos may be given to the administration include the Electoral Reform Act in 2022, some electricity projects being opened up and reduction of items in the Exclusive Legislative List which would enable state governments to have greater elbow rooms.
“Considering the fact that the inflation rate is presently over 22 per cent, it can safely be said that the rate is at an all-time high thus seriously and adversely affecting the welfare of average Nigerians.
“This was compounded by the shrinking economic activities as a result of paucity of capital, insecurity that greatly reduces social interactions; high-level corruption that imperils business transactions and dysfunctional infrastructures that make ease of doing business quite daunting. The latter is responsible for the shrinking of businesses and heightened unemployment.”
We feel let down – PANDEF
Also, the leader of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Dr Edwin Cark, said Buhari was leaving the nation, especially the Niger Delta region, worse than he met it.
Clark said the outgoing president was “bequeathing a bouquet of unfulfilled promises, divided nation and the myriad of critical federal infrastructural projects in shameful states, especially roads, and particularly in the Niger Delta region.
“In addition to the debilitating state of insecurity in most parts of the country, being perpetrated by the menacing killer herders, Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists, heinous bandits, kidnappers and sundry criminals; to the extent that a vast majority of citizens, particularly the youths, are gripped by feelings of annihilation, fear and desperation due to lack of adequate protection by the government resulting to the now common “japa syndrome”, where leaving the country has become the aspiration of most active Nigerians.”
Besides, the elder statesman further said, he felt let down by Buhari for not recognising his efforts in securing some of the abducted Chibok girls.
“The situation whereby the Niger Delta Region continues to suffer marginalization and isolation in critical sectors of the country, especially in the oil and gas sector, should be unacceptable to all fair-minded humanity.
We are not totally in agreement – Ohanaeze
The Director-General, Implementation and Strategic Planning, Ohanaeze Ndigbo General Assembly Worldwide, Ambassador Tony Obizoba, in a chat with one of our correspondents said the outgoing president failed in the area of security and the economy.
He however said the president did well in the area of infrastructure, citing the railway project, the Second Niger Bridge, and the remodelling of Enugu International Airport, among others.
He said, “When you say a government is bad, we may not say totally he is actually bad. He has not done well in the area of security because a lot of people were relieved when he took over coming from his background as a retired general. No country would gain meaningful development without being secured.
“We can agree with Mr President that to an extent, he has done well in infrastructure, but he has not been able to manage the economy well. The economy was not properly managed,” he added.
Farewell broadcast admittance of failure – Obi
Also speaking, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr Peter Obi, said Buhari’s farewell national broadcast was an admittance of the failure of his administration.
Obi, who spoke through the Director General of the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Organisation, Akin Osuntokun, said this in an interview with Daily Trust in Abuja.
According to him, the broadcast showed a typical Buhari hypocrisy whose incumbency was a personification of a schism between precepts and examples; between the grandeur of illusion and stark reality.
“Remember that, just a few days ago, he committed Nigeria to the expropriation of nearly one billion dollars in the payment of dubious judgment debts. If there was no ulterior motive to this suspicious abuse of power, why not leave the decision to his successor?
“Yet, with his head buried deep in the sand, like the ostrich, he kept saluting himself as the avenging angel of corruption in Nigeria.”
Also, the chief spokesman, Obi-Datti Campaign Council, Yunusa Tanko, said he wished the outgoing president a good rest although he underperformed and Nigeria became heavily indebted under him
“The inflation and skyrocketing of prices of goods is another issue apart of insecurity.
“Also is the connectivity of roads and making sure that the economic situation of the country has improved and so on is not confirmed to be true, so he has left us with lots of issues.
Thus we cannot regard this government in high regard; we can only score him below 30 per cent,” Tanko said.
Buhari wrong – PDP
Also reacting, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said it is not true that Buhari is leaving Nigeria better than he met it.
The party’s spokesman, Debo Ologunagba, in a chat with Daily Trust, said, “Is he talking about inflation, insecurity, corruption, is it on disunity, employment or on the exchange rate? Which one is better that he is talking about?
“As of the last time, there were 58,000 Nigerians who were murdered officially, not talking about the ones that were unaccounted for. So what are we talking about?
“Look at the inflation rate when the president came in and now. Nigerians are frustrated across the country. Is that not the fact?”
A cross-section of residents who spoke on the farewell message also expressed diverse views.
In Kano, many said he performed better in some areas while in others, the reverse is the case.
Auwal Usaini, 29, scored the outgoing president high in security but he would not forgive him for the cashless policy.
“I can commend him for tackling security challenges. We were facing challenges in the North East… but even that is like swap because it is now in the North West.”
Another resident, Aminu Idris, said the president didn’t fulfil promises he made when he was campaigning.
“We voted for him mainly to address issues of insecurity because in 2015 there were serious security challenges. But today even Abuja is not secure. Many people are under captivity, even in his state.
“On employment and economic development, we can see that things have deteriorated and people are suffering. People no longer afford three square meals. Foodstuff prices are increasing, people are living with hunger. All I can say is that none of his key promises has been fulfilled.”
But Jamilu Sulaiman’s view is different, saying the economic crisis across the world was responsible for the hardships faced under his administration.
“People should remember how the crude oil price crashed globally and also the COVID-19 pandemic. There were a lot of crises. Despite all these, the president managed to build a lot of rail lines, roads and other infrastructure. I think he said the right thing; he left Nigeria more than how he met it.”
A resident of Gwarinpa in Abuja, Moyo Shola, said Buhari did not care about the citizens so she would not forgive him.
“What can forgiveness achieve now? People are suffering and dying. His remorsefulness means nothing. Forgive? What will anyone’s forgiveness do? Will it put food on our table? Will it improve the economy? He should please leave office because he has failed.”
Another Abuja resident, Alhassan Jumma, said Buhari’s farewell speech is historic like his coming in speech 2015.
“His speech should’ve addressed the roller coaster Nigerians faced under his regime. In his 2015 speech, I can recollect him saying ‘I belong to everybody, and I belong to nobody.’
“The naira was redesigned without considering the hardships the masses would face. And many more failed promises, such as the Mambilla hydro, insecurity in the North West and North Central.”
The President of Young Leaders Rights and Patriotic Initiative of Nigeria (YOLPIN), Amos Ugbede-Ojo Andrew, said Buhari’s speech was laced with apologies, which is an indication of self-reflection, admitting his performance was below expectations.
From Abdullateef Aliyu (Lagos), Zahraddeen Yakubu Shuaibu (Kano), Victor Edozie (Port Harcourt), Abbas Jimoh, Baba Martins & Dalhatu Liman (Abuja)