Dishonesty of Jonathan led to economic hardship – Pro-Buhari group
A Coalition of Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, under the aegis of Stand Up Nigeria, SUN, on Thursday said the current hardship being experience by Nigerians could have been averted if the past administration had being as honest as President Muhammadu Buhari’s government.
The CSOs made the remark during a rally, tagged “One Million Man Rally for President Muhammadu Buhari” in Lagos.
The group urged Nigerians not to despair, stressing that Buhari’s current economic policies were healing Nigeria’s “past wounds and we all know how painful the healing process can be whether after an accident or after surgery and the country has had both.”
SUN called on Nigerians to rally round the President in order to achieve his goals of flushing out corruption and diversifying the country’s battered economy among others.
A statement signed by the South-West Coordinator of the group, John Blessing said, “The economic recession is real. The fall in the value of the naira is real. Inflation that has taken away the purchasing power of Nigerians is real. But these are not the only real things we know in this country. The looting of public treasury by previous administrations is real. The neglect of critical infrastructures by previous leaders is real. The failure to diversify the economy from being dependent on crude oil is real.
“There are more things that are real as well. The sabotage of oil and gas installations by sponsored militants is real. Economic sabotage to frustrate the intervention of the current government is real. The fight back by corruption against the anti-graft war is real. Scheming to block Nigerians from enjoying the gains of reforms being implemented by this government is real. Political Boko Haramists sponsoring terrorism is real.
“Why then would some people ignore these realities, these other realities, and take to the streets to accuse the present government of inflicting hardship on Nigerians? Are they saying that they are not aware that the only reality they see, the economic recession they are lamenting about, might have been averted if the past governments, on behalf of which they are now acting, had been half as sincere as the government of President Muhammadu Buhari? Where was the United Action for Democracy (UAD) when different democratically elected governments were organizing bazaars and converting budgetary allocations into personal allowances?
“The UAD actors and all their affiliates were all there of course. They could not talk that time because their mouths were full. They were obeying the saying that say “you don’t talk while eating” and these guys could not even whimper that time because their mouths and tummies were filled with stolen funds beyond comprehension. They never reckoned that an accountable government would one day be in place – the same way the governments they ate under failed to save they also failed to save or invest as individual. They have therefore been forced back on the streets by hunger that is not in any way connected with the economy but rather a product of corruption induced lifestyle that can no longer be sustained.
“But dear compatriots let us not waste time on these yesterday men. Instead of giving them undue publicity let us focus that energy on making contributions towards supporting Mr President to deliver the Nigeria of our vision. Let us see where and how we fit into the anti-corruption fight, diversification of the economy, supporting made in Nigeria goods, becoming employment creators and doing other things that change Nigeria for good.”
Stressing that Buhari has been able to manage the “disaster” he allegedly inherited from the past administration, theCSOs highlighted the gains of the current administration to include the ongoing Conditional Cash Transfer, CCT, programme, payment of stipends to N30,000 among others.
The statement reads further, “This confidence with which we canvass support for Mr President is evidence based. Even while managing the disaster he inherited from the past government we can already see things turning around.
“President Buhari’s government has directly impacted the poorest of the poor through the ongoing Conditional Cash Transfer programme that has started paying N5000 to poor households.
“His government has not left out the unemployed youth who are now getting monthly stipends of N30000 while they have been matched with work places where they will acquire skills and experiences for future job. 200,000 youths are part of the first batch while more is to follow.
“No one is in doubt as to the impact the Homegrown School Feeding Programme will have. Not only are children being provided the nutrition to help them focus on learning, the vendors that supply this food are providing employment while agriculture is getting a much needed boost from the food orders being placed.
“Even as the country struggles to make headway with the electricity situation, small scale industries and businesses are beginning to have greater prospects of survival as Nigerians now look inwards and patronize goods made in their country.
“The fight against terrorism has witnessed the kind of progress some people never expected they will see in their lifetime. The military has dislodged Boko Haram terrorists from what was once described by several “experts” as impregnable on account of terrain, geography and the terror group’s fabled invincibility. December 24, 2016 thought us differently. The terrorists learnt the lesson that taking flight is the only option left for them even as troops continue to chase after and arrest them.
“The funds stolen under those government that gave “rosy” economy are being recovered. The sums involved are mind boggling. The impunity with which the theft was done, confounding. But for the first time we have a large chunk of the budget being financed with recovered loots. Today, Nigeria is no longer regarded as “fantastically corrupt”.
“This progress was possible thanks to President Buhari’s doggedness and the political will to do the right things. In our various cultures we have sayings that gratitude begets more goodwill. This is why we are here today, one million Nigerians, on the street to endorse the actions of Mr President, give him our vote of confidence and assure him that he has our support to do more.
“While Mr President continues to do the work he was elected to do, we will be educating ourselves on the relationship between the failings of the past government and the economic hardship of today while preparing to be beneficiaries of the years of economic booms that lie ahead because of the sacrifices being made to lay a solid foundation for Nigeria.”