Democracy Day: Mixed reactions greet Nigeria

Democracy Day: Mixed reactions greet Nigeria

Issue

*Citizens rate Buhari low in security, anti-graft, high in agric

Democracy Day: Mixed reactions greet Nigeria 

 

From Christiana Gokyo, Plateau; Umar Danladi Ado, Sokoto; Isma’ila Muhammad, Jigawa; Mustapha Saye, Kaduna; Yahaya Wakili & Sani Gazas Chinade, Yobe; Sule Aliyu, Bauchi; Bala Abubakar, Zamfara, Suleiman Lawal, Nasarawa; Muawuya Bala Idris, Katsina; Joseph Asegba, Adamawa; Abba Dukawa, Abdulyassar Abdulhamid, Salisu Baso & Mahmoud Gambo Sani in Kano  

Since the return of the country to democratic rule in the year 1999, the authorities in the nation made it a policy each year to celebrate democracy day on May 29, being the day former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was sworn in as a democratically elected president.

Since then, the day was observed on the date above by the subsequent administrations, till the year 2018, when current President Muhammadu Buhari declared June 12 as the new day for the celebration.

Last year, 2019, the president took oath of office for his second tenure on the May 29, but celebrated Democracy Day on June 12 though on a low key for certain reasons around security.

The reason advanced by President Buhari for the change of the yearly democracy day was that the June 12 remains more appropriate and worthy for such celebration to happen based on the recognition that the day coincided with the date former Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (rtd) annulled the election of the presumed or acclaimed winner of the then or precisely the 1993 Presidential election, late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, popularly called Chief MKO Abiola.

The nation’s new day for democracy was formerly known as ‘Abiola Day,’ celebrated in Lagos and some South Western states of the country, but since then, the incumbent President Buhari adopted it as a public holiday through out the nation and as well, a day to commemorate the restoration of democracy in the federation.

Today’s celebration is coming after 27 years of the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election and 21 years of uninterrupted civilian administration in the country.

Like it has been mentioned earlier, the celebration of the new day started last year in a low key and the event was aimed at remembering the day which many citizens and foreigners referred to as the best free and fair election day ever conducted across the nation.

Accordingly, our correspondents in various states of the federation have sampled opinions of the citizens on the day as well as the tenure anniversary of administrations at various levels of governance in the country, which are divergent.

It would be recalled that as President Muhammadu Buhari is using the celebration to mark five years of his administration, some governors in the nation are also either celebrating their five or one year in office.

The Triumph’s finding in Plateau state reveals that the state chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Hon. Chief Letep Dabang viewed what is happening in the state as a miracle story, noting that for the past five years of Governor Simon Bako Lalong’s administration, the state has been relatively peaceful.

“If you look at what is going on, if you have been in the state, you will know that what is happening here is like a miracle story, because for the past five years, it has been relatively peaceful,” said the party chairman.

He added: “We hardly witness some activities of criminals here and there, and also the issue of kidnapping has reduced, but the major communal crisis, religious crisis are now history.”

Also, according to the state APC secretary, Bashir Musan-Sati, the Federal Government, under President Buhari, has done well, especially on the introduction of school feeding to enable every child to go to school to acquire basic knowledge.

The scribe said the administration came on board when the country was almost collapsing; noting that under the leadership of President, the nation was reversed to the trend.

While commending the administration effort in tackling the security challenges in the country, he noted that the rate of killing, kidnapping robbery and other crimes, especially the issue of Boko Haram has reduced.

Speaking on the leadership of Governor Simon Lalong, he said: “I can say without any mincing of words that the APC in the state has been able to protect lives and property of the citizens.”

According to him, Lalong has been able to harmonise conflict between the different tribes in the state within the period under review, advising opposition parties that if they have to criticize the ruling party, they should come up with constructive criticism, so that the administration could look at it for consideration.

However, a former Speaker of the State House of Assembly, who is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Hon. George Dika had lamented that the present administration under the leadership of APC has not done well, compared to the past leadership.

He said the ruling party has succeeded in drawing the state back to 50 years, stating that the nation was going backward under this dispensation, saying that it lacked fair justice and accountability.

The former Speaker noted that there is no single project that has been executed by the APC-led administration, adding that even the inherited ones during President Goodluck that reached 90 to 70 per cent, only few of them were completed.

According to him, the present administration has caused high level of poverty, insecurity as well as increase in crime and the worst in corruption.

Speaking also, the PDP caretaker chairman in the state, Hon. Gwoth Chocho observed that what the Lalong administration has done was just meager compare to the expectation of the people in the state.

He said the APC government in the state has achieved little or nothing compared to their change slogan, rating the administration as the worst in the history of the nation.

In Sokoto State, our correspondent reports that the year 2020 Democracy Day has come at a most critical and difficult time, whereby the nation was ravaged by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Some people interviewed view the Democracy Day as lacking any significance to them as President Buhari’s administration has failed to fulfill its campaign promises.

They looked at sectors like security, health, economy and infrastructure among others, positing that such sectors have not yielded any positive change nationwide.

They noted that the recent Covid-19 pandemic has further exposed the inefficiencies of all the three tiers of government across the country, especially in their fire brigade approach to approaching issues concerning the pandemic.

Malam Altine, a residence of Sokoto metropolis lamented how the state government executed projects far below the expectations of the citizens of the state.

He called on the state government to brace up and tackle issues such as those on economy, security, portable drinking, health and education among others with a view to improving them.

Malam Abubakar Sokoto, a supporter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said so far, people in the state and the nation by extension, for the last five years, have not started enjoying the much-talked dividends of democracy.

Abubakar Sokoto explained that the teeming electorate who came out under sun en-masse and voted for the present leaders into power, were disappointed with their leadership styles and how they failed to fulfill their campaign promises.

In Jigawa, the state APC chairman, Alhaji Habibu Sara declared that the Federal Government, under the Buhari administration, has recorded  remarkable achievements in the areas of boosting agriculture, security, economic growth, youth empowerment, fight against corruption and jobs creation through its N’ Power Programme, where thousands of employments were created.

“In Jigawa state, the people of the state had felt the impact of APC government where Emirateship dichotomy was abolished and each and every part of them has enjoyed one project or the other without political discrimination or inclination.

“Agriculture is main focus of Governor Muhammad Badaru Abubakar. He introduced anchor borrower system of farming which boosted the annual farming in the state, constructed general hospitals in Birnin Kudu, Kazaure and second College of Nursing and Midwifery at Hadejia to which each of them attained completion level and encouraged youth and women empowerment,” he added.

But however, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) faulted the APC administration in almost all sectors of the state.

Speaking to our correspondent, the state chairman of SDP, Alhaji Abba Anas Adamu said: “APC government came as a result of the PDP failures. In fact, Buhari came and he was referred as a messiah to Nigeria’s socio-political, security and economic problems, but instead of solving these, the harms continue to thrive in the country.”

Turning to the state government, Adamu said: “The system of governance, youth, women empowerment, and health and education have collapsed under APC government. Civil servants go to work at will. It was unfortunate that the governor manipulates everything, especially related to finance. He is the governor, commissioner of finance and accountant general, therefore, the state budget is not implemented properly due to his action.’’

On his part, the state PDP Deputy Chairman, Alhaji Minu Nuhu Jahun stated that: “The APC government, both at federal and state levels, has nothing to show in terms of achievements, no any success story; even the Coronavirus pandemeic has devastated everything.

Alhaji Sabo Garba Ringim, a rice farmer, is of the view that the administration of Governor Muhammad Badaru Abubakar was the only one that assisted Fadama famers with modern seeds which had doubled their yields because of the quality of being improved variety seeds supplied to them on loans basis.

Malam Musa Fagoji rated the five years of the Buhari administration low as it was bedeviled with many challenges in the areas of security, economy, poverty, kidnapping, cultism in schools, herders/farmers clashes and now inefficient handling of Coronavirus pandemic, describing these as the factors responsible for failure of the administration.

Fagoji advised: “I want to encourage Buhari to brace up within the next three years left for his administration to try as much as possible to complete Ajaokuta Steel Company in Kogi State, also the bridging of River Niger, begin exploration of oil in Borno and Bauchi States as well focus attention on the exploration of solid mineral resources.”

 

In Kaduna State, the Acting Chairman of Northern Elders Forum, Prof. Ango Abdullahi is of the view that the present administration led by President Buhari has failed woefully in its fight against corruption.

Prof. Ango spoke to journalists, including our correspondent, stating that    prisons should have been filled up with corrupt politicians if President Buhari is serious about his anti-corruption war.

He said  many  corrupt  politicians  have  been  going freely  because  the  ruling  party, APC has  forgiven  their sins, adding  that corruption is now on massive scale and nobody is doing anything.

“I don’t believe in President Buhari fighting corruption because if he is sincere in his bid to curb corruption, our courts and prisons should be full by now,” Ango believed.

But in a swift reaction, a chieftain of APC in Kaduna, Alhaji Aliyu Birma said President Buhari has so far recorded a significant improvement in the area of security, economy and fight against corruption.

Alhaji Birma told The Triumph that the nation’s economy under President  Buhari in the  last five has been repackaged with good economic blueprint, adding that he has revitalized the nation’s economy through diversification  from rallying on oil to agriculture, describing it as glaring that the people of the nation have now stood on their feet and could now feed themselves without importing rice from any other nations while billions of Naira have been saved.

According to him, one can now go to Potiskum, Damaturu or Geidam and even Maidguri to invest without any fear, unlike before where everybody was frightened if North East was mentioned.

He applauded the President in his fight against corruption, noting that the  president is not relenting in his effort to curb corruption, expressing delight that strong measures have been put in place to ensure that nobody could steal public funds and go freely as currently money launderers have been arrested and the nation’s economy is waxing stronger and stronger.

In similar vein, Rilwanu Muhammad Abdullahi of the Nigerian Association of Persons With Physical Disability, has commended the president for his pragmatic step to ensure that Disability Affairs Commission has become a reality.

While applauding Buhari for promising to implement National Disability Act which was signed by himself last year, Abdullah called on the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs to consider people with disabilities in their palliative exercise.

A renowned academician and political scientist at Kaduna State University, Dr. Tukur Abdulkadir has expressed worry and dismay over the incessant killing by armed bandits in some parts of the North-west states, describing the act as tragic and condemnable.

The university Don lamented that in his five years of administration, President Buhari has performed below average more especially on security, corruption and general wellbeing of the electorate.

According to him, it is a no longer a story that states like Katsina, Kaduna, Zamfara and Sokoto have been taken over by armed bandits, noting that majority of the people there have been displaced.

“I doubt if Buhari administration is sincere about the security. His government should wake up from its slumber and save the lives of its citizenry,” the lecturer stressed.

“On the agricultural sector, he has improved the local rice production and most of the farmers in the North have focused on and benefitted from rice production,” Dr. AbdulKadir pointed out.

In Yobe State, Alhaji Abdullahi Garba Alele, an APC chieftain and also chairman of the Nigeria Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) Potiskum Local Government Area branch gave Governor Mai Mala Buni of the state some credits.

He said the governor did a lot, adding that within one year of his administration, Buni had brought rapid development to the state.

“We in Zone B, APC didn’t win the whole seats since the restoration of democracy in 1999, but during Mai Mala Buni, the party has won the whole seats from the state and National Assemblymen down to Presidential,” said Alele.

But, the state chairman of PDP, Alhaji Adamu Muhammad Rama refuted that there is no any development in the state within the one year of the Buni administration, lamenting that the governor took a loan of N17 billion to construct 3,600 housing units in the state, which would only benefit Buni’s senior government officials, he alleged, stating that had he constructed roads, many people would have benefited from them.

According to him, the previous administration was giving free treatment to pregnant women, children from one to five years and emergency accident, but during the Buni administration all this was cancelled, he affirmed.

Also an electorate, Malam Isa Baba Dafa said: “We have seen many changes in the state in terms of development, the governor did a lot of things that the people of the state will not forget his successes even if he left office.”

However, an APC chieftain in the state, Alhaji Muhammadu Ibrahim has commended the Buhari administration for improving the economy of the country in the last five years.

He said: “We are witness to some of the developmental projects executed by President Muhammadu Buhari administration. We also commend him for tackling the issue of Coronavirus in the country.”

But Alhaji Garba Adamu, a chieftain of PDP in the state said that President Buhari has failed the nation in many ways contrary to those praise singings.

“He promised that he will bring an end to the problem of Boko Haram insurgency in the country immediately he was sworn-in to office, but the issue of insecurity in the country has worsen under his watch. Not only in the Northeast, but in all the states of the nation,” lamented Alhaji Adamu.

Another resident, Idriss Manu said: “We the people of the Northeast, we are grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari administration, because during his administration, we are sleeping with our two eyes closed, not like in the 16 years of PDP government.”

Dr. Manzo Razak, a lecturer at Yobe State University, said the five years of Buhari administration are a total war on education system in the country.

“The president has not fulfilled the agreement between the Federal Government and education stakeholders, he crippled education in the country,” the lecturer said.

Speaking, the head of vulnerable group in the state, Malam Abbas said: “People living with disability suffered during the five years of Buhari administration. But l commend him, because he brings peace to the people of the Northeast region.”

The state chairman of Traders Association, Alhaji Usman Mu’azu appreciated Governor Buni in his one year in office particularly on how he tried to complete the Damaturu Cargo Airport, which could boost their businesses.

But one of members of the opposition PDP in the state, Aliyu Umar from Fune Local Government Area had totally condemned the Buni administration, describing Buni administration and that of former Governor Ibrahim Gaidam administrat as bird of the same feathers.

However, it has been stated that the priority of the APC-led administration under President Buhari is the welfare of the common man.

An APC stalwart in Bauchi State, Hon. Garba Aliyu Gumli, who made the remarks on the five years of APC-led administration, noted that President Buhari is committed to the welfare of ordinary citizens of the nation as corroborated by the introduction of the Social Investment Programmes (SIPs) to ameliorate poverty and unemployment.

According to Dr. Ahmad Mai Abba, Buhari’s administration will go down well in history as one that inspired the youths and the entire citizenry on creativity, innovation and quality leadership, noting that the president has initiated the Lekki Sea Port Project, the Ruga Project, the North East Development Commission and the Mambila Hydro Power Project to mention but few.

Comrade Sabo Muhammad is the state APC’s chairman of Media/Publicity Committee who described the one year of the PDP administration in the state as a waste, insisting that the situation the state found itself is worrisome and most unfortunate in its history.

He equally described the 70 claimed projects worth over N45 billion in one year of the administration as a lie.

But, a PDP chieftain in the state, Alhaji Bibi Dogo, accused political opponents of Governor Bala Abdulkadir Muhammad of trying to sabotage the achievements of his administration as they are envious of his track records and are doing their best to bring him down by making false allegations through engagement of political debates.

Similarly, a chieftain of PDP in Zamfara State, Alhaji Yusuf Maimota, Dan Hausa has said that no administration in Nigeria had taken bold steps to recover looted funds from government officials like that of President Buhari.

Dan Hausa, said the president in the last five years has done very well on the recovered loots from corrupt officials which part of it was used to fund the nation’s budget and provide infrastructure in the country.

He noted that corruption and insecurity are a huge problem in the country that had defied solution, urging the president to speed up action and tackle insecurity in the country.

On his part, an APC chieftain, Alhaji Lawali Kaura said: “If we must develop the country, the president must fight corruption and insecurity.”

He lamented that the problem of insecurity remains the most challenge of the administration.

He described the president as a leader of good qualities, attributing that he has done a very wonderful job within the review period, mentioning a few of his achievements to include education, agriculture, empowerment of the youths as well as employment.

A civil servant who spoke to our reporter on one year anniversary of Governor Bello Muhammad Matawallen Maradun on condition of anonymity, described the governor as a vibrant and excellent icon who scarifies his life and wealth for the welfare of workers in the state.

As President Buhari clocked five years and Governor Abdullahi Sule administration clocked one year in office, citizens of Nasarawa State expressed divergent their views within the period under review.

 

Umar Jibrin Nuhu, a staff with Nasarawa Agricultural Development Program (NADP), has commended the leadership style of Buhari for his ability to fix the nation’s economy for the betterment of all.

 

One Musa Umar Aboki, who was a former Clerk of Lafia Local Government Council, said Governor Sule’s one year in office has nothing to celebrate.

 

Another resident of the state, Malam Jibrin Muhammad expressed gratitude to Allah for sparing his life to witness the democracy day in good health.

An electorate and quantity surveyor, Mr. Basel Osheka in a phone interview said when Buhari came on board, there was a lot of good expectation from citizens on him, but the reverse is the case now.

 

On his part, a PDP chieftain in the state, Alhaji Danjuma Abubakar described the five years of President Buhari in office as a misplaced of priority.

 

“In the last five years, there is nothing to show about APC governance in Nigeria, they are worse than the previous government.

 

“When you look at the purported fight against insecurity, you will agree with me that it is just a mere child play.” he stated.

 

Meanwhile, the state leader of vulnerable, Mr. Ado Emos Auta commended Buhari’s laudable initiatives of transforming all the socio-economic sector of the nation.

 

Auta decried that the previous administration in the nation had left them behind.

“We were not being carried along in the area of appointment and other privileges as citizens of this country,” he noted.

 

In Katsina State, mixed reactions greeted the five years of Governor Aminu Bello Masari in office.

Some people posited that the Masari administration has performed poorly within the review period; others insisted that it is too early to assess the administration in view of insecurity challenge facing the state.

Ibrahim Musa of Unguwar Madaki quarters in Katsina metropolis said Masari has failed to execute and commission one single project within the last one year.

Musa explained: “Governor Masari has failed to provide clean water to the people; no single project was executed within the last one year in office.

“If you go round all the 34 local government areas, you cannot see one single project executed by Masari Administration.”

Isah Muhammad, an indigene of Dandume Local Government Area, lamented on the insecurity problems facing the area, accusing the administration for failure to address them.

Muhammed said: “There is nothing to show in the area of project to enhance people’s living standard in our area.”

In his opinion, Chairman of Academic Staff Union (ASUU), Umaru Musa Yar’adua University, Dr. Ibrahim Kankara said the administration of Masari should be commended for ensuring constant payment of salaries to workers.

Kankara said within the last one year, Governor Masari implemented new salary structure for workers and settled clear backlog of allowance for the university staff.

In Adamawa State, the situation is not far from the truth like other states in the country.

Our correspondent, who went round, reports that the state publicity secretary of APC, Abdullahi Muhammad said that President Buhari has a good intention for the nation that is why he has performed creditably.

The APC scribe noted that in order to justify his initial intention within the five years, Buhari had taken the bull by the horn especially on security, corruption, road infrastructure, promotion of local food production, healthcare delivery, education, transportation and social welfare of the citizenry.

While at state level, he said, they were not impressed with the performance of Governor Ahmad Umaru Fintiri, saying that the governor had performed below average, alleging that there are no tangible projects executed in his one year in office.

A Special Assistant on Public Affairs to the Governor, Barr. Sunday Wugira said Governor Fintiri has completed some projects started by the previous administration under, Senator Jibrilla Umau Bindow, adding that he took up with other rural roads where 314 kilometres road were under taken and social cooperation galvanized so as to restore peace in the state.

Mr. Desmond Mapio, in his reaction, said President Buhari started well after the first four years, but in his fifth and second term, the country is left in the hand of God as nobody knows where it is heading, noting however that within one year of Fintiri in office, 200 housing projects have been awarded and farmer/herders conflicts minimized in the state.

In Kano, Yusuf Shu’aib Yusuf said that democracy in the country in the last five years is but a misadventure as the ruling party, the APC has failed to deliver on its campaign promises.

“Democracy in the last five years under the APC-led government is nothing to bring home about looking at how especially the Federal Government is performing below the expectation of Nigerians.

On his part, Abdulkarimu Dogo said that although insecurity in the Northwest and Northeast is undermining the Buhari administration, at the inception of the administration, many giant strides had been made.

“Before APC-led administration came in, we were being attacked from almost every angle. In Kano State, for instance, everywhere one went was an army mounting roadblock. Life was so difficult then and everyone knows this.

“At state level, Kano State has witnessed monumental achievements. Projects inherited from the past administrations have been completed and new ones executed. Despite this, the administration needs to do more especially in the area of job creation,” Dogo said.

According to Abba Rabiu, the situation in the country is very difficult to describe as there is low and high levels of democracy within the last five years.

“In Kano State there is unprecedented infrastructural development in almost all the local government areas. Yet, efforts should be doubled to invest in human capital. Jobs should be created, too,” he said.

Alhaji Dalha Abdullahi, a politician opined that for the Northern people, there was no any indices that show the region benefited from Buhari administration either from infrastructural or economic developments, despite the votes given to him in his first and second term elections.

However, Bashir Dahiru said since 2015, the administration started with a problem between the executive and the legislative.

“I can even say that the whole first tenure of Buhari-led government was without a good relation between the executive and the legislative.  This was what had crippled the government in its fist tenure,” Dahiru stated.

 

He added that, in the second tenure also,  the government is experiencing problem of devaluation in the price of oil in the global market and the issue of coronavirus pandemic which also helped in crippling the economy of the world which Nigeria is also being affected.

According to Alhaji Aminu Ahmad Tudun Wada, a physically challenged person, described the five years of office of the President as a big challenge to the entire citizens.

Hajiya Rabi Yusuf Gezawa, Women leader of the Joint National Person with Disabilities, commended the Buhari administration for carrying the physically challenged along, saying that since he assumed office, the president appointed two Senior Special Assistants to him on disabled matters, whom are physically challenged persons.

Also an APC elder from Tarauni Local Government Area of the state, Alhaji Talle Mai Unguwa described the Buhari administration and that of Governor Ganduje of the state as bringing succour to the people of the nation and the state in view of the unfortunate situation occasioned by the past PDP administration, which pushed the country into poverty, unemployment and insecurity.

A former Commissioner of Commerce in the state, Alhaji Ahmed Rabi`u said: “even though there are rooms for improvement, we have not performed badly. If our democracy can last for 21 years without any interruption by the military, then we have every cause to celebrate.”

According to him, there is no country in the world that has not got its own problem.

He added: “As we have a security problem that does not means it is the end of life for us. Many countries in the world presently are also having security challenges and their own problems.

“So, Nigeria has done very well in the last 21 years of democracy. We can do better and we must do better.”

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