By Ayo Fadimu
The new year message by President Muhammadu Buhari has elicited different reactions from various sectors and groups in the country.
While the Organized Private Sector OPS lauded the robust reference to infrastructure in the speech, the Civil Society Organizations described the message as another set of empty promises by the President.
The oppostion Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) described the speech as depressing, saying it failed to address serious economic and security challenges confronting the nation.
In an exclusive interview with our Correspondent, the Director General of Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Muda Yusuf described the President’s promise to accelerate infrastructural development of the country as a welcome development.
” For us in the private sector, one of the biggest problems is the infrastructure deficit. It is taking a huge toll on efficiency, productivity, competitiveness, profitability and sustainability of investments. It is good to know that the president equally appreciates the need to give urgent attention to this challenge
On the fuel scarcity problem being faced by Nigeria, LCCI commended the President for empathizing with Nigerians but challenged him to do more by finding lasting solution to the problem.
“The president also demonstrated commendable sensitivity to the plight of citizens over the fuel shortage at such a critical and important festive period. This is very well appreciated. However, the approach to fixing the problem and avoiding a recurrence should go beyond the conspiracy theory implied in the speech. Addressing the policy and governance issues in the oil and gas sector seem to be more important. It is also too early to exonerate the NNPC from the problem. It better to await the outcome of a holistic investigation into the issue”.Yusuf said
In a separate interview with the Executive Chairman, Centre for Human Rights and social Justice (CHRSJ), Comrade Adeniyi, Alimi Sulaiman and the Publicity Secretary of Campaign for Democracy, Comrade Lanre Ogunyinka (CD), they described Buhari’s speech as mere fake promises without substance.
In his submission, Sulaiman insisted that Buhari has failed in his assignment as the nation’s president by continuous shift of blames, instead of taking the bull by the horn and fulfil his earlier campaign promises
He said until the President obeys the court order on release of Shiite sect leader, Ibrahim Zakzaky and former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki from detention, then he cannot seen to respect Nigerians whose constitution he flagrantly disrespect by disobeying court judgements.
On its part, CD said it views the entirety of the contents of Mr President”s New Year broadcast, as quite unfortunate, a calculated, but empty campaign, devoid of every inspirational tendencies that could evoke the spirit of genuine hope and assurances of better tomorrow among the teeming suffering masses of this nation, in the first place.
” It is therefore, a wasted opportunity, lacking merit and credibility, but also devoid of meaningful solutions to the myriad of pains and discomfort the administration has caused the nation with its much talked change agenda” Ogunyinka told our Correspondent.
“More important, it is full of unwanted rhetorics, needless blame game, deceitful and empty promises, without concrete solutions to the endless pains of the people in terms of their worrisome socio-economic situations” the renowned pro-democracy group said “By the way, one is forced to ask, whose interest was Mr President”s systemic substitution of the rising clamour for restructuring of the country, with what appears to be self styled “process” of the country as he stated? the group asked
On the promise to address infrastructural deficit in the country, the group said “the much touted infrastructural promises in the speech at this eleventh hour of his administration, and which to be funded by borrowed loans, rather than partnerships with multinational companies and agencies through a social responsibility policies, was equally empty rhetorics. The most unfortunate, was the acclaimed power generation improvement, and which has not till moment, translated to any meaningful or significant pointer in power supply across the nooks and crannies of the nation,as power outage remains a constant experience of over 80% of all the communities across the land!
It is quite disturbing, disappointing and deceiving, that Mr President again, chose to bugle another strategic opportunity to enliven the sufferings of the people, with discuss on immediate remedies to better their lots through robust economic recovery agenda”
On its party PDP described Buhari’s message as depressing, saying it failed to address serious economic and security challenges confronting the nation.
In a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party lampooned the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for treating “Nigerians to another round of false claims and empty promises, which has become a routine in close to three years of APC-controlled Presidency.”
While noting that it had earlier advised government not to issue any message in the New Year, the party said President Buhari’s speech failed to elicit hope in Nigerians, some of whom looked up to it for inspiration.
“We already knew the pattern and we advised against it this year. We knew their New Year message would heighten Nigerians’ despondency rather than providing us hope”, the statement read in part.
The party also expressed disappointment that rather than accept its failure, the Presidency attempted to appropriate and claim credit for the achievements recorded by the PDP.
“Instead of offering solutions or providing the indices for development, the Presidency deployed over 2,000 words passing the buck, begging the question, making empty claims and attempting to appropriate achievements of the PDP administration.
“What could be more depressing than the fact that the President, who is also the Minister of Petroleum Resources, did not give a clear-cut solution to the acute fuel crisis bedeviling his nation today?
“The President’s speech neither addressed how to raise the fallen value of the naira nor how to rescue the labour market from the 8 million job losses and acute unemployment being suffered by Nigerians under the APC.
“The address completely failed to respond to issues of corruption under the APC regime, including allegations of budget padding, secret oil subsidy deals, illegal lifting of crude worth trillions of naira, pillaging of Nigeria’s foreign reserve, diversion of billions of naira for insurgency related matters, all by APC interests.
“Furthermore, the speech had no assurances on the worsening economic recession ravaging families under this regime; it had nothing on the dilapidated infrastructure and attendant stress on the economy, which the APC government has caused Nigerians. electorate is to kick out the APC in 2019.
“Nigerians have now seen that the APC has nothing to offer but has only succeeded in wrecking the nation and inflicting hardship on the people.
“The option before Nigerians is to kick out the APC come 2019 and return the PDP, which is now repositioned to bring the nation back to the path of national unity and prosperity we all once enjoyed.
“The PDP stands with the people to once again present a government that is serious, truthful and transparent, with an array of best hands harnessing and channeling our national resources for the good of all, as was the order before the unfortunate incursion of the APC,” it stressed.