By Ibrahim Ado-Kurawa
Recently while on an official visit to Imo State, President Muhammadu Buhari lamented that his administration is underreported. Mr President further added that those who are expected to publicise the achievements of the administration are not doing it, therefore he has to do it.
The news in the media about the administration is mostly negative. This is because the philosophy of the purveyors is that no good news is news. Therefore, government agencies must take responsibility because they are paid to do it.
On July 11, 2020, I wrote an essay titled “The Unfortunate Official Misrepresentation that Nigeria Still Endures!” in the Premium Times and The Guardian of July 16, 2020, published it with the title: ‘Official misrepresentation of Nigeria’. This essay was on the negligence of Nigeria’s two premier foreign missions: Nigeria High Commission, London and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Washington DC. Both missions had no information on the then five-year-old Buhari Administration. The Nigeria High Commission website’s history of Nigeria ended with President Umar Musa Yar’ Adua, no mention of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. It did not mention any of the economic programmes of the administration such as the National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017-2020 or the more recent Economic Sustainability Plan but the Seven Point Agenda of President Yar’ Adua. No mention of the post -COVID-19 efforts of the administration.
The Nigeria High Commission removed the history section that terminated with the Yar’Adua Administration and replaced it with no other entry. But unfortunately, as at September 19, 2022, the entry ‘Economy Overview’ does not even recognise the current governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. This is because it is still discussing the economic issues of 2008-2009; 13 years out of date with total disregard to the current realities facing the country: “According to the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, inflation declined from 15.1% at the end of 2008 to 11.1% at the end of July 2009”.This is despite the fact that the current governor of the Central Bank has received several awards from journalists who apparently have not done any due diligence to inform him that one of the most important foreign missions of Nigeria does not even recognise him.
In addition, the website of the Nigeria High Commission, London’s ‘Overview of the Economy’ has nothing about the social investment programme of the Buhari Administration. This programme is the most encompassing in the nation’s history that has changed the lives of millions of people. The website only discusses the poverty alleviation programme of the Obasanjo Administration: “In January 2001, the government announced a new poverty reduction programme the Poverty Eradication Scheme to which US$231m was allocated. The existing Poverty Alleviation Programme introduced in 2000 had fallen far short of its aim to create a total of 200,000 new jobs”.
Apparently, no one will be sanctioned in the Nigeria High Commission, London or the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs more than two years after alerting them.
The president’s remark in Imo State made this writer to check the website and behold the shocker is still there! No one cares in the Federal Ministry of Information. What about the Central Bank of Nigeria where billions are spent on various programmes and projects, which have impacted the lives of many poor people and yet remain under reported?
The Central Bank has transformed agriculture in recent years. Rice and maize production have risen because of the policies of the Buhari administration leading Nigeria to sustainable crop production and eventually food security. Nigeria has now become the leading cereals producer in Africa as a result of these policies. Is it not worth reporting? Yet they are only concerned about the poverty eradication programmes of over 20 years ago. Are people doing their jobs?
The Buhari administration has provided over N1.7 trillion capital interventions in education. This is highly underreported. Even the information concerning the CBN Centres of Excellence is not easily available on official university websites but on the site of the contractors. The CBN has provided billions of naira, for these projects how much does it take to provide pictures and other images of these interventions online?
Some of the newly established institutions where the federal government has expended billions of naira do not even have official websites to chronicle these major achievements. How much does it take to have such websites by educational institutions with all their human resources? Even other important organisations have no profiles of their leaders but are only disgracefully available on the Wikipedia website. The profiles of distinguished Senators and Honourable Members of the House of Representatives are lazily presented on the official website of the National Assembly. What does it take to have profiles of leaders? I experienced this while editing the Nigeria Year Book and Who is Who, a three-volume compendium on Nigeria. Most of the other credible compendia are online and are mostly foreign.
Sixty-two years after independence, we cannot narrate our story because those who are paid to do it never do it. Two years have passed since those concerned about Nigeria High Commission, London were alerted and they have done nothing.
Kurawa is the Editor, Nigeria Year Book and Who is Who and can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org