Notable individuals and groups in Nigeria have knocked President Muhammadu Buhari for rating his government the best since Nigeria’s return to civil rule in 1999.
Buhari did the chest thumping during his broadcast on October 1, as Nigeria marked its 61st Independence anniversary.
They said with several parts of the country turning to killing fields, poor economy, the President’s silence on the activities of murderous herdsmen among others, Buhari’s government could not enjoy any positive value judgment from Nigerians.
The Association of Middle Belt Ethnic Nationalities (ASOMBEN), for instance, said contrary to Buhari’s claim, Nigeria has never witnessed the level of threat to its existence than it is experiencing now.
The National President of ASOMBEN, Mr. Sule Kwasau, said Nigeria, since independence, has never had it so bad on all fronts as it is under the current administration. He said it is unfortunate that Buhari could come up with a baseless comparison, adding that available indices and data show otherwise.
“In terms of economy and security, the country is worse off. This is a government that has lost focus and bearing.
“I am sure he wanted to say he has performed worse than his predecessors or probably his speechwriters, out of overzealousness, slotted that in his speech.
“This is the worst government Nigerians have ever witnessed. The country has never been so divided like we are experiencing today.
“So, as far as I am concerned, we cannot wait for Buhari to leave. He has taken Nigeria 50 years back. The blood that has been spilled under his watch can irrigate the entire farmland in the North.
“Security-wise, things are getting worse every day. Six years down the line, the economy is still in the woods. Buhari came with three-point agenda and none has been achieved. My sense of objectivity compels me to acknowledge that some of the infrastructure he is putting in place will outlive him.
“The level of poverty in this country is so alarming that if something is not done urgently nobody will sleep again. The so-called elite who think that they are safe may never sleep again because the children of the masses will keep knocking at their doors for food.
“People have been angling for restructuring, but because of the dictatorial posture of the government, it has refused to listen to the yearning and aspiration of the people.
“So it is their selfish interest they are pursuing. We may have what is called a civilian government, but it is a complete dictatorship,” he said.
On his part, Afenifere leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, described Buhari’s administration as the worst since Independence in 1960. The nonagenarian urged the president to tell that to his cabinet members and not Nigerians, insisting that his claims are untrue.
“Those of us who are watching are saying that he is the worst since independence. Up till today, kidnapping is on the increase. He is not ashamed.
“He should say that to the members of his cabinet. He just wants to be relevant. They are deceiving themselves in Aso rock. He should stop disturbing our ears,” he said.
Also, a group called Southern and Middle Belt Alliance (SaMBA) accused Buhari of deliberate refusal to put an end to daily massacre of innocent citizens across the country.
The group said it viewed with shock and consternation, the daily killing in the Middle Belt, particularly in Southern Kaduna, Plateau and Benue states.
The spokesman of the group, Rwang Pam Jnr., said his group condemned the current situation where the government appears to have surrendered totally to terrorists who have for years turned the Middle Belt to a killing field with “none or mere cosmetic response from government.”
Pam said SaMBA recognised the sanctity of life and the constitutional preservation of the right to life, charging government to wake up and prosecute bandits and their sponsors.
“It is very unfortunate that no government has ever under its watch have citizens being slaughtered like chicken by Boko Haram, unknown gunmen, Fulani herdsmen, bandits, ISWAP and other terrorists organisation with security architecture completely degraded and broken down like the present administration.
“We insist that government must discharge its constitutional responsibility by providing adequate security for citizens and if this is not urgently done, we will not hesitate to call on all Nigerians to organise and defend themselves forthwith,” he said.
He lamented that the Middle Belt had not benefited anything from its long romance with the North.
“Within the six years of this administration, the Middle Belt holds the national record of unpaid civil servants salaries.
“We are the only region where IDPs were ejected from their place of shelter, exposing our widows, daughters to prostitution, human trafficking, early marriages and no hope for education,” he said.
He tasked the Middle Belt governors to remain committed to the wishes of their people and stop kicking against zoning of presidency to the southern region of the country in 2023. He noted that some Middle Belt governors were at the meeting of Northern governors and emirs recently in Kaduna where the zoning arrangement was kicked against.