Wednesday 12th June saw Nigeria’s democracy day changed officially from May 29 which had hitherto been the officially recognised democracy day since May 29 1999 when Nigeria officially transitioned from military to civilian rule.
So far, it has been twenty years of unbroken civilian rule, a record Nigeria indeed ought to celebrate. Never in the history of this nation has such a length been recorded. So yes, Nigeria really has something to celebrate.
And the drums were indeed rolled out.
An elaborate Democracy Day celebration held at Eagles square Abuja plus a gala night which had top dignitaries and presidents in attendance sealed the day.
In his speech to mark the day, the president inspired Nigerians in what has been alluded by many to being a message filled with promises.
The President said that his administration would ensure rapid and positive growth in the economy to move Nigeria away from poverty.
“Our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expected to grow by 2.7 per cent this year.
“Our external reserve has risen to 45 billion dollars enough to finance over nine months of current equal commitments.
“This administration has laid a foundation of taking bold steps in transforming our country and delivering our people from the shackles of poverty.
“First we will take steps in integrating the rural economy to national economic grade by extending access to input to rural farmers as well as credit to rural micro businesses and opening up many critical feeder roads.
“Secondly, all small scale enterprises in towns and cities would share facilities currently available so that we can continue to encourage and support domestic production of basic goods to improve our lives,’’ he said.
The president added that in the next four years his administration would remain positive to improve the lives of people by consolidating on efforts to address many issues.
One of the highlights of his speech was the promise to lift a total of 100 million Nigerians from poverty in the next ten years. Part of his speech read;
In face of these challenges, our Government elected by the people in 2015 and re-elected in March has been mapping out policies, measures and laws to maintain our unity and at the same time lift the bulk of our people out of poverty and onto the road to prosperity.
This task is by no means unattainable. China has done it. India has done it. Indonesia has done it. Nigeria can do it. These are all countries characterized by huge burdens of population.
China and Indonesia succeeded under authoritarian regimes. India succeeded in a democratic setting. We can do it.
With leadership and a sense of purpose, we can lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.
Following the 60 percent drop in oil prices between 2015 and 2016, through monetary and fiscal measures, we stimulated economic growth, curbed inflation and shored up our external reserves.
The question here is this; how exactly does Presdent Buhari plan to get this done? Is the President already thinking of a third term bid.
If he has just four years to make any impact and effect changes within the Nigerian socio-economic space, why then is he mulling and proposing the idea of a ten year plan to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty? Why not tell Nigerians the exact number your government is looking at moving out of the poverty space within the next four years.
Several notable personalities have also picked holes in the President’s proposal.
The candidate of Action Democratic Party (ADP) in the 2019 presidential election Mr Yabagi Sani in his reaction described as a mirage the promise made by President Muhammadu Buhari to move 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.
“He has just four years and he is promising to move 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years, how does he want to achieve?” Mr Sani, who is also the National Chairman of ADP asked.
Buhari said that if China, Indonesia and India could do it, then it’s not impossible for Nigeria under his leadership to achieve the same feat, “These are all countries characterised by huge burdens of the population”.
But Sani said there was nothing inspiring about the Buhari’s June 12 speech, stating that the All Progressive Congress (APC) led government has not done anything inspiring between 2015 to 2019.
The former ADP presidential candidate said Buhari was sounding like an activist instead of him to sack his service chiefs, who according to him had failed to secure the country.
According to Sani, virtually all the regulatory agencies under the leadership of Buhari have failed.
Reacting also to the entire celebration, presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 23 presidential 2019 election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, lamented the fact that Nigerian workers were languishing in hunger as President Buhari celebrated democracy day on June 12, stating that the President was not living up to the June 12 ideal.
Now for president Buhari to have promised Nigerians that 100 million Nigerians will be lifted from poverty within ten years possibly points to the several things going through the president’s mind.
First this as stated earlier could be a way of the president intimating Nigerians of his plans to possibly explore the option of a third term, he wouldn’t be the first to mull such an idea. President Olusegun Obasanjo too nursed such an idea back in his days even though he has continually denied ever having such an idea.
If this is so, then Nigerians will be sore disappointed in him since he had before now severally made it known that he was now in his second and last lap as president and was looking forward to his retirement by 2023.
The second angle to look at his promise from is that he is looking at this spilling into the next administration that will come in by June 2023. While this might be a laudable idea, shouldn’t the president be more concerned about what happens within his next four years? Why concern himself with another six years of which he will definitely have no influence over what happens or who takes over from him and what policies will be deployed by the person in power?
The president and his handlers may have had the best of intentions at heart while preparing the speech, but it is far from being realistic and the president will do well to ensure he leaves a lasting impression during this next four years.
Right now, everything appears to be in his favour and as such he has no more excuses. Nigerians will be looking forward to his landmark projects going forward and will definitely expect nothing short of a sterling performance. For the possibility of a third term, he might do well to permanently rebuke the voice(s) singing such songs into his ears.
Lets have your thoughts below.