THE Presidency has promised to get President Muhammadu Buhari, who is on indefinite vacation in London, to speak to Nigerians to douse welling controversies and disquiet in the country over his health status and well-being.
Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, who disclosed this in Abuja on the sidelines of an interactive session with Nigerian youths organized by the Citizens Support for Good Governance in Nigeria , yesterday, also dismissed fears of a division in the nation’s seat of power regarding the performance of Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, who has held sway since President Buhari went on medical vacation last January.
He also said it was not true that some close appointees of President Buhari had constituted themselves into a cabal with the aim of whittling down the influence of Acting President Osinbajo.
Asked why the President’s handlers have not deemed it fit to get him to talk directly to Nigerians through Nigeria’s media, Shehu said the suggestion would be forwarded to the president to see if he would agree.
‘’Okay, if you are making a suggestion, we will put it to him, in case he would agree. We will put it to him, ‘’he said.
On the issue of a cabal in Presidency, Garba said: ‘’This country has one government. When Nigerians voted, they voted for Buhari/Osinbajo on one ticket. Nobody can divide that ticket, so if Prof. Osinbajo achieves a milestone, it is a milestone by the Buhari administration. It is one government, no division in this government.’’
He also added that Nigerians have to be grateful to the President, whose emergence, he said, halted the menacing advance of the Boko Haram terrorists, who by now, according to him, might have overran the Presidential Villa in Aso Rock.
‘’He (Buhari) wants a future that is secure and stable for young generations that are coming, that is yourselves. This is why in his messages, he has stayed on three key issues; he has repeated this over and over again.
‘’He says this country cannot make any progress without security. And look at all the efforts that has been put in rolling back Boko Haram. There are many people who believe that if not for President Buhari, if the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had continued in this country in 2015, Boko Haram would have taken over Aso Rock by now,’’ he said.
Hold Buhari responsible for APC campaign promises
Also speaking, a member of the Board of Trustees, BoT, of ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, Barr. Ismaila Ahmed, urged the party to be open to criticisms and asked Nigerians to hold the President and other leaders of the party accountable for their campaign promises.
Ahmed said while the APC had tried in delivering on some of its mandate, there was no disputing the fact that some Nigerians were not satisfied with the status quo, and advised the party not to shut out critics.
He said: ‘’As a government, we have to be open to criticisms. Some people are not happy, people have to express their frustration, people have to express their anger, we cannot and we should not have a problem with that.
‘’We campaigned all through because I headed the youth wing during the campaigns; I knew from day one that it was not going to be an easy task, even the President knew it won’t be an easy task.
‘’So the responsibility is not for us to start promising anymore because we are two years into the administration.
‘’This administration has to be convinced by its own performances and not its own promises anymore. We have made promises during the campaigns, now we have to act on those promises and that is what the President will continue to do and our responsibility, as members of this party is to tell Mr President you can choose who you can work with, but we will make sure that we can hold you and those you appoint to account.
‘’We have so many things we have done right and we also have so many things we have done wrong, there is no doubt about that. But the things we have done right we will continue to strengthen them, those we have done wrong, please tell us.’’
Speaking on the fight against corruption, one of the panelists, Alhaji Tahir Abubakar Umar, identified greed, poverty and illiteracy, among others, as factors, lamenting that the country had lost over a trillion Naira to corruption.
Umar said President Buhri’s anti-corruption fight was responsible for the celebration of his death rumours recently by some people he described as ‘corrupt elements’ and urged the government not to be deterred by the antics of some corrupt individuals.
On his part, Engr. Chinedu Okpala, said the President Buhari-led administration had laid a good foundation that had created fears in the minds of those who might wish to perpetrate evil in public offices. Noting that the citizens had a right to criticise the government, Umar said, in turn, the same citizens had to show patriotism to the country and support for the government.
The CSGGN National convener, Moses Abdullahi, told the gathering that Nigerian youths were at the receiving end of past looting of the national patrimony, hence the need to support the administration of President Buhari to fight corruption to a stand still.