As Buhari’s New Year Message Sparks Ray Of Hope, By GIDADO IBRAHIM

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On New Year day, President Muhammadu Buhari, again, affirmed his servant leadership disposition by demonstrating that the trademark of presidential democracy is transparency, stewardship and accountability. He made this a reality in a nationwide broadcast to usher on January 1, 2022.

The presidential broadcast was yet another platform for the president to talk directly to Nigerians who, no doubt, are nursing high expectations for the New Year. But who would blame the citizens? Last year was turbulent for them as they grappled to cope with the atrocities unleashed by enemies of the country. In this regard, Buhari gave words of hope to Nigerians. He praised their courage and resilience, which he said was evident in 2021 as the country got enmeshed in significant challenges.

In a nifty but straightforward rendition, the president pithily laid bare the record of what he did in the previous year, as well as the roadmap and projected line of action for the year 2022. Again, Buhari intimated Nigerians on the frantic efforts made by his administration to deliver on key strategic priorities of security, economy and anti-corruption war. And to make assurance doubly sure that 2022 will not be business as usual, he capped his nationwide broadcast with the popular saying that “the past is but a story told, the future will still be written in gold”.

First of all, the president acknowledged the fact that in 2021, the growing insecurity in some parts of the country threatened to thwart incremental gains recorded in the real sectors of the economy as well as his administration’s bid “to position the nation on the irreversible trajectory of sustainable growth and progress. But he left the citizens with hope for 2022 when he promised that his government will remain bloody bold and resolute in forging ahead with people-oriented programmes and plans.

The revelation by the president that his administration is re-energising and reorganizing the security apparatus and personnel of the armed forces and the police with a view to enhancing their capacity to engage, push back and dismantle the operations of both internal and external extremist and criminal groups waging war against communities in some parts of the country is instructive, just as it is also a pleasant New Year gift for 2022.

Apart from totally eliminating the terror groups, bandits and other criminal elements, Buhari also promised that he would secure the peace and security of affected citizens because according to him, government is not unaware that victory on the battlefield is just one aspect of sustainable victory.

This is a tall order. The president is not unmindful of the fact that 2022 will certainly be a game changer in the life of his administration and this is what he is promising Nigerians. To this effect, he restated his administration’s commitment to upholding constitutional provisions that protect all Nigerians from internal and external aggression of any kind.

The results of the president’s resolve to end insecurity are overwhelming. On the same New Year day the president made his broadcast, wanted bandit leaders, Alhaji Auta and Kachalla Ruga, were killed in a forest in Zamfara State. The notorious bandit commanders met their end after a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) aircraft, under Operation Hadarin Daji, acted on credible intelligence, and bombarded their enclaves. The multiple airstrikes by the NAF jet, which were carried out in the early hours of Saturday, also eliminated Auta and Ruga’s men.

A flourished economy is the engine room of every nation. Any nation that is not able to sustain its economy, especially Nigeria that is living in a compromised security situation, is dangling loosely on the precipice. This explains why the issue of high level of resilience to record some significant achievements mentioned in the presidential speech is instructive. The measures the Buhari-led government has adopted so far has helped in reducing the growing food-related inflationary figures and have in considerable measure positively impacted Nigeria’s food security status.

President Buhari spoke of major wins recorded by his administration. He said these wins are evident in Nigeria’s most recent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). He attributed the 4.03% growth recorded in the third quarter of 2021 to the recovery being recorded in the nation’s economy as a result of the policies his administration came up with following the outbreak of COVID-19.

On investment drive, President Buhari has created the enabling environment for businesses to thrive not just in Nigeria but also across the African continent. What the president is bent on achieving by the business trips he and his deputy, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, embarked on in the last part of last year is job and wealth creation. He is ensuring that the ideas behind the creation of AfCFTA are actualized by creating the platform to further identify and proffer solutions to challenges militating against intra-African trade and generate market information needed to connect buyers and sellers throughout the continent.

The Buhari administration, through the ease of doing business policy, intends to transform Nigeria into an investors’ hub by investing heavily on infrastructures across the country. Nigerians have every reason to be optimistic about 2022 because President Buhari is ready to turn things around and ensure and wriggle the citizens out of poverty. This, he has demonstrated by the pace at which he and Osinbajo have been traversing the length and breadth of the globe to woo investors.

Buhari mentioned this when he made reference to what he stated during his recent investment trips. He applauded the National Assembly for passing the Petroleum Industry Bill which he signed into law on August 16, 2021, saying the legislation is expected to serve as a liberalizing force in the energy industry.

To say the least in the mildest way, Buhari’s international investment drive through his recent trips towards the close of the year 2021 were a clear indication of the president’s passion to fulfill his campaign promise of revamping the economy as he prepares to wrap up the final lap of his tenure in office this year.

Solid infrastructure is to business what blood is to the human system. Comparatively, between 2015 when President Buhari took over and now, the difference in improved infrastructures is clear. The president has deployed a larger chunk of the resources available to his government to build critical national infrastructures. All around the country, Nigerians are witnessing massive transformation through the rehabilitation, modernization and expansion of the railway system, national roads and bridges, both in rural and urban centres, alongside the airports and seaports.

As a strategic and purpose-driven government, the Buhari-led government has continued with these trends. On the humongous progress recorded so far in his anti-corruption bid, the president in the New Year broadcast announced the commitment of his administration to the fight against corruption which he described as the bane to the growth and prosperity of Nigeria. The cumulative effect, he said, are the results to show that the anti-corruption drive of his administration is making remarkable progress. He said the nation’s anti-corruption agencies have received the necessary support needed to effectively prosecute their duties.

Last year, I had the privilege of talking with a few of ECOWAS and European leaders at some of the regional and global meetings. From their thoughts on the Nigerian situation, there was a congruence of opinion about President Buhari’s governance style as encapsulated in his New Year broadcast to the nation. They all agreed that it is a model that would serve as reference point for constructive and purpose-driven leadership.

Again, the broadcast bears eloquent testimony to why the pan-African body, the African Union (AU), chose President Buhari to champion its anti-corruption fight tagged, “Winning the Fight Against Corruption: Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.’’ The AU’s choice of President Buhari was in recognition of his administration’s commitment and success in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.

– Ibrahim is director, Communications and Strategic Planning, of the Presidential Support Committee (PSC). For the mail

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