May 29, 2023 Handover Date is Sacrosanct, Buhari Assures Nigerians
•FG hits opposition for downplaying president’s achievements
•Describes Atiku as ‘worst offender’
•We’ve created 16,648 jobs in 2022, says water resources minister
Iyobosa Uwugiaren and Deji Elumoye in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, reiterated his commitment to handing over the leadership of the country to an elected president on May 29, 2023, saying his term in office would end on that day in line with the constitution of the country.
This is as the federal government has condemned the opposition parties over what it described as “increasing tendency” by some of them to downplay the achievements of the Buhari-administration, in their quest for power, ahead of the 2023 elections.
The government, which particularly picked on the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar identified him as ‘’the worst offender’’ in this regard, arguing that if anyone would accuse the APC-led government of doing nothing, it should not be Atiku.
At the same time, the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, has disclosed that in line with President Buhari’s directive to actively collaborate with the private sector to create a large number of well- paying jobs for the Nigerian youths, the ministry had increased the number of jobs created from 8,882 in 2019 to over 16,648 in 2022.
However, speaking yesterday while playing host to the Kingdom of Morocco’s Minister of National Education, Pre-School and Sports, Mr Shakib Ben Musa, as Special Envoy of King Mohammed the VI, at the State House, Abuja, Buhari reiterated that his term of office would end with the inauguration of a new president in May next year.
He promised to study the message sent from Morocco and respond accordingly, giving assurances that he would continue to cherish and strengthen the very warm and cordial relations between the two countries.
Accompanied by Mr. Moha Ou Ali Tagma, the resident representative of the Kingdom in Nigeria, the Special Envoy, restated to the resident, the friendship and solidarity of the King, the government and people of Morocco with Nigeria.
This, nonetheless, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who spoke at the seventh edition of the ‘PMB Administration Scorecard Series (2015-2023), which featured the Minister of Water Resources, Sulieman Adamu, yesterday, in Abuja, said during his recent campaign in Akure, Atiku was quoted as saying the APC had not done anything for Nigeria in eight years.
“What a preposterous statement from somebody, who should know! I guess we can excuse His Excellency, the former vice-president who, until recently, had fully relocated to Dubai, thus losing touch with Nigeria. And if anyone would accuse the APC-led federal government of doing nothing, it should not be Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
“Why? Because for the 16 years of the PDP rule, eight of which Alhaji Atiku Abubakar was vice-president, there was no motorable road to the former VP’s hometown and indeed to key local governments in the Southern Senatorial zone that served as Adamawa’s food basket and economic nerve centre until the government of President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office.
“Today, gentlemen, the Mayo Belwa- Jada-Ganye-Toungo road has been constructed fully and it’s the road that Alhaji Atiku uses to get to his hometown of Jada. What about security? Before this administration came into office, all the five local government areas in Adamawa’s Northern Senatorial District were effectively under the control of the Boko Haram terrorists” the federal government’s spokesman stated.
Mohammed claimed further that all state institutions, the local government administration, the police, the judiciary, schools, hospitals and markets were under the PDP administration, while traditional rulers, including Emirs and Chiefs, were displaced with their palaces taken over by the terrorists as their headquarters.
His words: “The affected five local governments in the Northern Senatorial zone are Madagali, Michika, Mubi North, Mubi South and Little Gombi. In the Central Senatorial zone, two local governments were effectively under the control of the Boko Haram terrorists. These two local governments in the Central Senatorial zone are Maiha Local Government and Hong Local Government.
“Today, not an inch of these local governments in Adamawa, the home state of the former Vice President, is under the control of terrorists. All institutions of state have relocated back and are operational. All Emirs and chiefs have returned to their palaces. Schools and markets have opened.”
The Minister claimed that throughout that period, the former vice-president could not even go home, noting that when one of his right hand men, Mr. Adila, was killed by terrorists, Atiku could not even go to condole with the family of the deceased.
He said: It was that bad. Now that he can travel home freely, thanks to the Buhari administration, it is not sweet in his mouth to accuse the same administration of doing nothing. As they say, the bed wetter should not join those who are insulting the washer man.”
Explaining what the federal government had done to better the lives of people of the former vice-president’s state, the minister said in the area of Social Investment Programmes, there had been 29,641 beneficiaries, from Adamawa alone, of the N-POWER Programme of the Buhari administration.
According to him, “Under the Home Grown School Feeding Programme, some 162,782 pupils from Adamawa are benefitting from one meal a day. That programme employs 2,259 cooks in Adamawa and has covered 1,236 schools in the state. How many school children did the PDP feed in Adamawa or anywhere in the eight years that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar held sway as vice-president in Abuja? We are not done.
“Under the Conditional Cash Transfer, some 64,607 vulnerable people have benefitted in Adamawa alone, while Trader Moni and Market Moni have reached a total of 38,000 people in the state. In the area of infrastructure, some 8 roads projects totalling 714 kilometres are currently being rehabilitated or constructed in the state. That’s out of 43 road projects in the North East alone.
“These are not phantom projects. We have the full list of the roads and can make it available to anyone who so wishes. Similarly, the North East Development Commission (NEDC) has either completed or is currently working on 140 projects, including construction of classrooms, healthcare facilities and ICT training centres, in Adamawa alone,” the federal government explained.
The minister, however, said the irony was that someone, who held the number two position in the country for all of eight years but could not positively impact on his own hometown, state or region was now condemning an administration that has made it possible for him to even access his hometown, anytime he flies in from his new hometown of Dubai.
He boasted that the administration of Buhari has had a positive impact on all parts of this federation, saying no amount of fallacious soap box rhetoric could change this fact.
Adamu, on his part, while explaining the importance of the controversial National Water Resources Bill before the National Assembly, said the Bill was structured as a compendium of existing Acts to actualise Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) strategies as stipulated by the National Water Resources Policy.
“It is designed to provide the required instrument needed to support efficient management of the nation’s water resources and accelerate the contribution of the water sector to national development,” he stated
The water resources minister added that, the Bill, if passed into law, would also address the problem of proliferated groundwater exploitation without due consideration of its implication on the ecosystem.