• FG To Inject $1.2b In Agric, Target 7000 Megawatts Power By 2021
• PDP Accuses President, APC Of Pulling Nigeria 60 Years Backward
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, yesterday said that President Muhammadu Buhari has put Nigeria on an irreversible road to sustainable development in the past one year of his re-election, saying the President recorded the feat by some actions “mostly bold and highly visionary” taken.
The minister, who made the declaration at a news conference in Abuja to mark the first anniversary of the second term of Buhari, also disclosed that the federal government has laid out plans to inject at least $1.2billion into agriculture in the next one year to strengthen its drive for food sufficiency, while also promising to deliver 7000 megawatts of power by 2022.
But the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) described the last five years of Buhari’s administration as wasteful, adding that the administration has pulled Nigeria 60 years backwards.
Briefing journalists in Abuja yesterday, the party, through its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, lamented that “the Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) government has turned our nation into a wasteland, devastated her economy, shattered our national dreams, crushed the hope of citizens and set our country backward.”
Mohammed insisted that the past one year had been momentous, adding that never in the history of Nigeria had so many positive steps been taken in so short a time, saying: “Buhari was elected in 2015 on the strength of his promise of change. Nigerians are satisfied with his performance, especially in the cardinal areas of fighting corruption, tackling insecurity and revamping the economy, and overwhelmingly re-elected the President in 2019.
“One year later, the President is taking Nigeria to the Next Level of irreversible change for the better.”
Mohammed disclosed that the stage is set for the implementation of the greatest agricultural revolution in the history of Nigeria with the unprecedented injection of $1.2billion loan into the agriculture sector, adding that the funds would revolutionise agriculture at a huge scale and would be through the government-to-government bilateral loan from Brazil, with support from Deutsche Bank and the Islamic Corporation for Insurance of Export Credit of the Islamic Development Bank.
On power supply, he said the government recognised that inadequate power supply and blackouts have stifled Nigeria’s economic development and has become the single most formidable obstacle to the country’s economic development.
But following an agreement with German company, Siemens, in July last year to boost power supply in Nigeria, he said the stage was now set for the perennial power problem to become a thing of the past, adding: “Under the three-phase agreement, Nigerians will enjoy 7,000 megawatts of reliable power supply by the end of 2021 (phase 1), 11,000 megawatts by the end of 2023 (phase 2) and 25,000 megawatts in the third phase.”
This is as against the current power generation capacity of about 13,000 megawatts, out of which only an average of 3,400 megawatts reach consumers.
While listing other achievements of the administration in the past one year, Mohammed noted that the President has taken some bold and highly visionary actions and which have now put the country on “an irreversible road to sustainable development.”
The minister listed some of the achievements in the year to include Border Drill/Exercise Swift Response; food security, particularly in domestic rice production; reduced smuggling; enhanced security; new visa policy and infrastructure development.
On job creation, he said the N-Power Programme is continuing, while the administration inaugurated the committee for the pilot special public works programme to be implemented by the National Directorate for Employment (NDE) in five councils.
According to him, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the President has approved the engagement of 774,000 Nigerians for the special public works programme to cushion the effect of the pandemic, under which the 774,000 Nigerians would be engaged for a period of three months, with a payment of N20, 000 monthly allowance to each beneficiary.
He also listed the gains recorded by the administration in the fight against corruption within the year, saying the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) achieved major legal victories in asset seizures and graft interdiction.
Mohammed said the icing on the cake was Buhari’s signing of Executive Order 10 granting financial autonomy to the local government, state legislature and judiciary.
In reaction, the PDP claimed that the administration has failed woefully in its three major governance planks of provision of security, economic recovery and fight against corruption, insisting: “In the last five years, the APC administration has done nothing, but driving our nation along the precipices, ruined our productive sector, frustrated our farmers, manufacturers and small scale entrepreneurs, devalued our naira, wrecked employment opportunities for our youth, turned our once prosperous nation into the poverty capital of the world, while accumulating huge foreign debts for this generation and the ones unborn.”
Condemning the huge loans accumulated so far, the party noted that under five years, Buhari has borrowed from every corner of the world, thereby placing Nigeria on the international auction market and corruption has also worsened in government circle as shown in Transparency International (TI)’s corruption perception index.
On security, the party lamented that under the APC administration, insurgents, marauders and bandits, who have been pushed to the fringes under the PDP, have resurged and are now having field day ravaging communities and killing our compatriots.
“It is distressing that instead of heeding wise counsel to accept failure and avoid making false performance claims, the Presidency, just yesterday, released a list of recycled fictitious achievements, including the very insensitive claim of having routed out bandits, even as marauders were pillaging communities and killing our compatriots in Sokoto and other states, particularly in the Northwest.
“Our party once again asks Buhari to wake up to the reality, accept failure and seek help, since it has become clear that his administration, as presently constituted, has devastated our nation and leading us on a journey to nowhere.”