The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, has said an “army of corrupt people” want to gag President Muhammadu Buhari’s attempt at resuscitating the comatose economy which he inherited.
In a piece titled: ‘In defence of President Buhari’, Shehu said some Nigerians have been unfair in their criticisms of the current administration.
He said Buhari had succeeded in trouncing Boko Haram, describing it as a feat that the United Kingdom and United States could not achieve.
Shehu appealed to Nigerians to be hopeful, saying things will get better.
“The last couple of weeks have witnessed the heaviest public criticism of the Buhari administration since he came to power after inflicting a heavy defeat on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and their candidate Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
“Much of it has been on account of the unresolved social and economic problems facing the country.
“Unfair criticism of the Buhari administration especially on account of escalating prices of foodstuff and the liberalisation of the currency exchange needs to be challenged before it overshadows the commendable job the president has done in fighting terrorism as part of overall effort to secure the country, reduce corruption and yes, arrest the economic slide before it sinks the nation.
“Everyone living in Nigeria knows that there is a major movement against corruption as part of the ongoing change. This war has forced the return to the treasury of billions of naira and millions of dollars stolen by past officials.
“On account of this war, government suspects that the biggest trigger of the opposition to the change agenda is the army of the corrupt. With the enormous resources at their disposal; money that is unearned, these forces are ready to throw in everything to gag the Buhari administration,” he said.
Shehu, according to an online portal, The Cable, said while some Nigerians have not appreciated the efforts of the president, the same cannot be said abroad.
He accused the media of giving more attention to the negative aspect of the government.
According to him “Wherever they go these days, in London, Dubai, Beijing, Washington, New York or Tokyo, Nigerians get the good feeling of being asked the question, how is President Buhari?”
“The lavish praise the president gets abroad and the wide public support he enjoys among the lower segment of the population is, by contrast, given a short shrift in the local press, mainstream and online.
“At its lowest point, this unambiguous media rebuke has created a wave of sympathy for anyone with a view that runs counter to the president’s.
“Boko Haram terrorist leader, Shekau or the pipeline vandal from the Niger Delta region is more likely to get newspaper front pages today than the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige or the Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, talking about jobs creation in the economy.
“I don’t say that media criticism is not reflective of the feeling of the citizens. “President Buhari has himself on numerous occasions admitted that the change mantra has brought with it pain and suffering which he likened to the pains of labour. It is a passing phase. “When they ask the question, is this the change we voted for? The critic forgets how far we have come from the scam-tainted years of the PDP rule.
“How many people have given a thought to the possibility of Nigeria doing something that the combined strength of Europe and America have failed to do?
“There are many today who take for granted the declared victory over the Boko Haram terrorists, forgetting the reign of the bomber who made it almost impossible for regular attendance in churches and Mosques in many of our cities, including the Federal Capital Territory Abuja.”