Six Years After, President Presents Achievements
•Predicts critics will give a resounding applause by end of tenure in 2023
Deji Elumoye in Abuja
As the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration clocks six years today, the Presidency has reeled out major achievements of the regime, with a prediction that even known critics of the President would give a resounding applause to the administration when it finally ends on May 29, 2023.
A statement titled: “The Buhari Administration At Six: Counting The Blessings One By One”, issued yesterday by the Media Adviser to the President, Mr. Femi Adesina, captured the President’s score card under 26 subheads, including extension of over N2 trillion to the 36 states as bail out to pay workers’ salaries and issuance of nine executive orders, as well as assenting to 14 legislative bills.
The Presidency stressed that the six years of Buhari’s administration afforded it an opportunity to reflect, and recount the impact that had been made, “and is being made on different sectors of national life.”
According to the Presidency, the administration is recording giant strides, from infrastructure, to finance, education, healthcare, sports, anti-corruption moves, human development, housing, oil and gas, foreign relations, and many others, enough to make Nigerians proud, “that is, those who are dispassionate and fair-minded, not beclouded by political partisanship and undue cynicism.”
The sector by sector breakdown of the achievements of President Buhari from 2015 to 2021, as listed by the Presidency, showed that under infrastructure category, came the Presidential approval, in 2020, for the establishment of InfraCo Plc, a world class infrastructure development vehicle, wholly focused on Nigeria, with combined debt and equity take-off capital of N15 trillion, and managed by an independent infrastructure fund manager.
Other efforts under this category include the establishment in 2020 of the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF), with more than $1 billion in funding so far.
On investment committed to rail transportation in the country, the statement listed the 156km Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge Rail nearing completion; the 327km Itakpe-Warri Standard Gauge Rail which was completed and commissioned 33 years after construction began.
Others are the Abuja Light Rail, which was completed in 2018; the ground-breaking for construction of Kano-Maradi Standard Gauge Rail, and revamp of Port-Harcourt-Maiduguri Narrow Gauge Rail.
It also listed ongoing financing negotiations for Ibadan-Kano Standard Gauge Rail project.
On road projects, the statement listed the PIDF, the investment of over a billion dollars on three flagship projects: Lagos-Ibadan expressway, Second Niger Bridge and Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano expressway.
Other efforts in this regards included the Executive Order 7 to mobilise private investment into the development of key roads and bridges like Bodo-Bonny in Rivers and Apapa-Oshodi-Oworonshoki-Ojota in Lagos.
The Buhari administration, according to the statement, has done well in boosting the capacity of the nation’s ports.
Adesina cited such efforts as the completion of new terminals for International Airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt; Construction of New Runway for Abuja and Enugu International Airports and the Presidential approval for four International Airports at Special Economic Zones: Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt.
Others include, the approval for new private-sector funded deep sea ports: Lekki Deep Sea Port (construction already well underway, for completion in 2022); Bonny Deep Sea Port (ground-breaking done in March 2021); Ibom Deep Sea Port; and Warri Deep Sea Port. The list includes the development of capacity at the Eastern Ports.
In the power sector, Adesina listed President Buhari’s effort to include the implementation of Energising Education Programme, which involves taking clean and reliable energy (Solar and Gas) to Federal Universities and Teaching Hospitals across the country. Projects in four Universities have been completed and commissioned: BUK (Kano), FUNAI (Ebonyi), ATBU (Bauchi) and FUPRE (Delta). Others are ongoing.
He listed another achievement to include the National Mass Metering Programme, which involves the nationwide rollout of electricity meters to all on-grid consumers, launched in August 2020.
Listed as achievements were the ground-breaking on 614km Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano Gas Project, successful completion of Nigeria’s first Marginal Field Bid Round in almost 20 years, expected to raise in excess of half a billion dollars.
The achievements also included the Policy, Regulatory and Funding Support for the establishment of Modular Refineries across the Niger Delta.
On agriculture, the administration maintained that the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) of the Central Bank of Nigeria, launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 17, 2015, has made more than N300 billion loans to more than 3.1 million smallholder farmers of 21 different commodities (including Rice, Wheat, Maize, Cotton, Cassava, Poultry, Soya Beans, Groundnut, Fish), cultivating over 3.8 million hectares of farmland.
It noted that the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) has helped anti-corruption agencies devise clearer strategies for obtaining forfeiture of assets suspected to have been acquired fraudulently, mainly from State coffers, before prosecuting suspected culprits.
The Presidency noted that the administration had been able to secure billions of dollars in concessional infrastructure funding for critical road and rail projects. It noted, for instance, that President Buhari’s April 2016 official visit to China has unlocked billions of dollars in infrastructure funding, primarily for road, rail and port projects, as well as the implementation of a Chinese Yuan (CNY) 15 billion Currency Swap Agreement between the Peoples Bank of China and the Central Bank of Nigeria.
It noted that the administration had been able to secure international recognition within the period of six years and this include the designation of President Buhari as the African Union (AU) Anti-Corruption Champion for 2018, and by ECOWAS Heads of State as West Africa’s COVID-19 Champion in 2020.
It also listed the appointments of eminent Nigerians into international posts. These include, Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), appointed 2017;’ Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) (first African and first woman to hold the position, elected 2021; Akin Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, elected in 2015 and re-elected 2020;; Benedict Oramah, President of African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), re-elected for a second term in 2020; and – Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, Secretary-General of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC); elected 2016, re-elected 2019, among others.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has cautioned President Buhari to use the May 29 speech to accept his lapses in his administration and avoid exasperating Nigerians with his usual prepared text of false performance-claims and empty promises.
In a statement by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party said the President and the All Progressives Congress (APC) “must know that Nigerians are no longer interested in their stage-managed Presidential addresses, as well as the circus show of their so-called APC Legacy Awareness Campaign, particularly in the face of the horrendous situation they have plunged the nation.”