Presidency: Buhari has not failed Nigerians

The Buhari administration has not failed Nigerians, the Presidency said yesterday.

Besides, a proper assessment of the government’s performance could only be done at the end of its tenure, officials said.

Special Adviser on Media and Publicity Femi Adesina, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity Garba Shehu and Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity Laolu Akande fielded questions from reporters at the State House in Abuja. It was a review of the administration’s two years at the helm.

They also spoke on why Sheikh Ibraheem El Zakzaky and Col. Sambo Dasuki are still in detention in spite of court orders for their release.

Adesina said the All Progressives Congress (APC) “has four years to deliver and not two years”.

“The person that asked the question said there is a buzz in town. I am sure that you have not conducted a scientific survey that shows you that is a popular position. People can always express their opinions; there is liberty on that but you don’t have a scientific survey that has given you the percentage of people that believed that the APC has failed.

“Like the minister of transportation said recently, the APC did not promise to solve all the country’s problems in one year or two years.

“This administration will take Nigeria far beyond how it met it. So if anybody says APC has failed, just tell them it is too early in the day because it is a four-year term and this is just two years. You don’t reach definitive conclusions in two years.”

On the alarm by Army chief Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai: Adesina said: “The Army has spoken and let us take that position. What the Chief of Army Staff said was a routine warning that goes to military officers – don’t hobnob with politicians – and the army has explained the position, let’s take that position and not stretch it beyond what the military has said because they are the ones that can give us the definitive position and they have spoken on it.”

Stressing that the masses were happy with President Buhari, Mallam Garba Shehu said: “If elections were held today, Buhari will win overwhelmingly.  The masses are still with him.

“The ordinary Nigerians are the pillars of the Buhari administration and their confidence in his administration has remained unshaken. The whistle-blower policy has excited them. They are happy that their stolen money is being recovered. The masses are happy but those elite whose sources of ill-gotten wealth have been blocked are not.”

On why Dasuki and El-Zakzaky are still in detention, Shehu said: ”It is a common thing in all nations of the world that there are matters of public safety.

“The Attorney General and Minister of Justice has made his points here. In all cases, public good should override individual interest.”

He said El-Zak Zaky family members and relatives had unhindered access to him.

“On the issue of El-Zak Zaky, the information we have is that he is being kept more for his own safety than the offences he committed.

”If you set him free today, what do you think will likely be the reactions out there on the streets of Kaduna or in the streets of Zazzau where he comes from?.’’

He said Dasuki was being held because he had other criminal cases to answer, adding that his release might affect the investigation of cases against him.

On the Chibok girls, Shehu said the government had no peculiar interest in keeping them, stressing that most of them preferred to stay in Abuja and “don’t want to return home.”

“The human rights records of this administration are impeccable; they are unimpeachable. I think we should avoid speaking in general terms. The thing to do is to pinpoint specific cases to buttress assertions that people make and then we can tackle them.”

Shehu defended the power situation, saying: “It is also a mistake to say power has deteriorated under this administration because when we came in 2015, power generation was 3,324MW, it increased to 4,357MW as at August 2015, barely three months after President Buhari came to power and rose to the peak of 5,077MW in 2016, it was the highest power generated in the country.

“At present, the average generation is about 3,000mw. This is as a result of vandalism or gas pipeline infrastructure and also low water in our dams. The power sector is also gaining gradually from the peace in the Niger Delta. Usually, we experience low generation of power during dry season and this is not because of the Buhari administration.

“Government is investing heavily in power and has been licensing a lot of renewable energy projects, which is the future. We are doing what is called energy mix, we are not just doing gas power, we are doing hydro etc.”

On alleged weak prosecution, Akande said: “Our criminal justice system does need a profound and deep reform. The important thing is that this government is working on it. The Acting President has put together a national prosecution coordination team for all the cases to see how in the medium term we can bring some progress but also working on justice sector reforms in the long term, on criminal justice system to strengthen both the investigation and prosecution at the courts. And I know it is going to take a while for us to address it.”

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