My Approval Ratings Are Still High – President Buhari

PMBPresident Muhammadu Buhari has shrugged off suggestions that his public rating and acceptance among majority of Nigerians has nosedived over a year after he was overwhelmingly voted into office.

He insists that the generality of Nigerians still believe in him as they did pre-2015 presidential elections.

The president also faulted the assumption that his government focused all its attention on the anti-corruption war to the detriment of governance.

Buhari, who spoke in an extensive interview with the magazine, African Leadership, pointed out that there is nowhere in the world where transition from an old order to a new one has ever been easy.

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It would be recalled that a national survey by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), entitled The Buharimeter Report, had indicated that there were gaps between campaign promises, public expectations, government policies and actions.

“These need to be aligned properly going forward”, the report said, adding “Attempts sometimes by the president’s party to disown certain promises made during the elections will not serve the government well”.

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“What is required is to focus on achieving the promises by prioritizing them and carrying Nigerians along if there are challenges along the way”, it added.

But President Buhari debunked these findings by the CDD in the African Leadership interview, insisting that he has neither lost the goodwill nor alienated the masses.

“Yes, I was elected by an overwhelming majority of Nigerians, and I am ever grateful for the opportunity I have been given to serve.

“However, I don’t consider the result of the so-called survey a slip in my public rating and acceptance. I appreciate the high expectations of Nigerians and as an administration we are working assiduously to deliver.

“We came in with a mantra of Change and the zeal to give a new lease of life to governance. Our zeal has remained the same and we are always prepared to make the difference.

“You will recall that when I was being sworn in, I emphasized that as a government, three key areas will be the priorities. The first is the need to rebuild the economy. I also pledged to fight insecurity while the third and equally important area is the fight against corruption”, he said.

The president also pleaded with Nigerians to be patient with his administration, saying: “Nigeria will soon be back on track”.

According to him, “Before now, we have been having sleepless nights in Nigeria with Boko Haram having field days in tormenting people, most especially in the North-Eastern part of the country. So far, we have shown resilience in stopping these people and yet many criticize the approach we are using.

“What I think our people should know is that a process of change is difficult as it requires endurance and patience. China, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and other great Asian countries had at different times passed through processes of change. They are far better off today.

“And some of these countries were at par with Nigeria in terms of development some five decades ago. We are attempting to do the same here to say let us stop building individuals, let us stop making those who serve in government get stupendously wealthy at the expense of ordinary Nigerians they had sworn to serve.

“Rather, we should concentrate on building strong institutions. Let us introduce economic prosperity by bringing in more investors to catalyze a sense of competition to grow our economy. Let there be law and order in our ways”.

President Buhari also asked Nigerians to continue to exercise patience, assuring that his government will not rest on its oars until it brings succour back to them and to the country.

On the worsening state of power supply in the country since he took over, the president said the nation will overcome the problem under his administration

He said:  “Let me assure you that we will surmount the challenge of power supply. We have mapped out a mix of electric power generation sources inclusive of thermal, solar, hydro, nuclear, coal and windmill.

“The idea is to adapt and embed these sources to areas that they are easily adaptable to. But more than that, we will reinvigorate and conclude the power sector privatization process and thereby ensure the whole value chain in the sector is populated by the private sector”.

On speculation that he has abandoned governance for only anti-corruption war, Buhari said: “it is not true that the fight against corruption is distracting my attention from the task of governance. You can sit back and review what we have done in the past one year and come up with your judgment. That will certainly assist you and other concerned Nigerians to reach the right conclusions”.

 

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