The Presidency on Wednesday urged leaders of the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) to rise above petty partisanship and stop misleading Nigerians “with blatantly false propaganda and misinformation to serve ulterior motives”.
Reacting to an article entitled: “Seven Months After, President’s Change Agenda Scorecard written by Idayat Hassan”, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said it is very mischievous to attribute to President Muhammadu Buhari promises he didn’t make during the campaign, and now hold him accountable for them.
Any honest advocacy for democracy, he said, should not include distortion of facts and a misrepresentation of what the president had promised to deal with during the campaigns.
According to the presidential spokesman, it is misleading to invent issues to suit one’s political bias and prejudice and then turn around to blame Buhari for not attending to those issues within one’s mischievous and chimerical deadline in order to play down the significant aspects of what the president has accomplished within those seven tough months.
He said that the CDD leaders cannot objectively serve the cause of democracy if they are primarily preoccupied with negativity and cynicism, constantly looking for something to condemn rather than appreciating the areas of progress made by President Buhari within those seven months.
He noted that anybody or any group that focuses on negativity at the expense of objectivity would never see any good in the appreciable and significant progress made by the president.
Shehu insisted that no sincere and fair-minded Nigerian would refuse to recognise the courage of President Buhari to take on corruption in a country where impunity was once celebrated.
According to the Senior Special Assistant, within seven months, President Buhari has successfully blocked the leakages for corruption, saying as a result of these efforts, the Nigerian Customs Service has quadrupled its revenue base to incredible level within seven months, something they didn’t achieve in years.
“Doesn’t the President deserve credit for this and other efforts to confront the monster of corruption?” Shehu asked.
On the economy, Malam Shehu said it is wrong to blame Buhari for the falling oil prices in the world market, a challenge which has made the president lay greater emphasis and priority on economic diversification.
He recalled that President Obama of the United States had inherited an economy in crisis, something he didn’t bargain for, and that it would be unfair to blame him for not fixing it in seven months.
He further pointed out that President Buhari’s experience is a double whammy because he inherited an economy in crisis on account of declining oil revenues and an economy also ravaged by incredible and large-scale corruption.
He said: “He is making good strides towards improving governance, by tackling corruption. To-date a good number of persons believed to have collectively stolen billions from the taxpayer have been arrested, and are facing the courts; we are working with our allies across the world – from Britain and America to France and Germany to China and UAE to source, locate and repatriate misappropriated funds.
“So far, an escrow account has been opened for money that is being returned. This is the only the start: the return of stolen funds is important, but it is just as critical to ensure those who seek to steal realise that no longer will there be such impunity in Nigeria. Only by ending belief in such licence we can we fully institute the rule of law.
“A few hours from now, the President addressed the European Parliament upon their request. As the Italian Prime Minister said a few days ago at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja. President Buhari’s war against corruption and terrorism has become a template for Africa and the rest of the world.
“It is amazing to see here at home, some individuals are not prepared to give these successes the recognition they deserve.
“The latest CDD episode is a shocking reminder to their failed attempt to hold the President to ‘one hundred promises in one hundred days, which disastrously crashed on the head of the proponent. The elevation of the act to a new high of 220 promises is a knee-jerk reaction that seeks to play to the galleries and score cheap points against the President. This is a clear case of solution looking for problem”, he stated.