Here are all the lessons we learnt from Buhari’s new year speech.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s New Year message to Nigerians was a terse and sometimes professorial one; outlining government’s achievements and plans for the year ahead.
Pulse has scribbled seven take-aways from the speech below:
1. Buhari says he’ll deal with marketers who caused scarcity of petrol
The President appeared to be fuming when he touched on the scarcity of petrol that made life harder for Nigerians during the yuletide and beyond.
The queues are yet to disappear at gas stations.
Buhari considers the scarcity a blackmail from independent marketers.
“Unfortunately, I am saddened to acknowledge that for many, this Christmas and New Year holidays have been anything but merry and happy. Instead of showing love, companionship and charity, some of our compatriots chose this period to inflict severe hardship on us all by creating unnecessary fuel scarcity across the country.
“The consequence was that not many could travel and the few who did had to pay exorbitant transport fares. This is unacceptable given that NNPC had taken measures to ensure availability at all depots. I am determined to get to the root of this collective blackmail of all Nigerians and ensure that whichever groups are behind this manipulated hardship will be prevented from doing so again.
“Such unpatriotism will not divert the administration from the course we have set ourselves. Our government’s watch word and policy thrust is CHANGE. We must change our way of doing things or we will stagnate and be left behind in the race to lift our people out of poverty and into prosperity”, the president said.
2. Power supply across the country has improved, according to the president
President Muhammadu Buhari used the occasion of his New Year’s address to tout his administration’s gains in the power sector.
“More Nigerians across the country are experiencing improved power supply to their homes and businesses. However, power remains a concern to this government because too many people still do not have regular and reliable supply”, the president said.
Enumerating ongoing efforts to fix and install power plants, Buhari added that;
“The Payment Assurance Guarantee Scheme which started in January 2016 has enabled the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader to raise so far N701 billion to assure Generation Companies of at least 80% payment for any power delivered to the national grid.
“Consequently, generation has now reached 7,000MW. On December 8, 2017 the country achieved 5,155MW of power delivered to consumers, the highest level ever recorded.
“This administration is working with the privatised distribution companies to overcome the continuing challenges of distribution”.
3. Restructuring is not Nigeria’s problem, process is
The president says when it comes to the buzzword that is ‘restructuring’, Nigerians must learn to be patient.
There has been a deafening clamour for restructuring from Nigerians amid secessionist chants from the Southeast geopolitical region.
“In respect of political developments, I have kept a close watch on the on-going debate about “Restructuring”. No human law or edifice is perfect”, Buhari said.
“Whatever structure we develop must periodically be perfected according to changing circumstances and the country’s socio-economic developments.
“We Nigerians can be very impatient and want to improve our conditions faster than may be possible considering our resources and capabilities. When all the aggregates of nationwide opinions are considered, my firm view is that our problems are more to do with process than structure”.
4. Politicians have been exploiting religion and ethnicity to cause trouble
According to Buhari; “As the electioneering season approaches, politicians must avoid exploiting ethnicity and religion by linking ethnicity with religion and religion with politics. Such must be avoided at all costs if we are to live in harmony.
“In this respect, the rest of Nigeria could learn from the South Western States who have successfully internalized religion, ethnicity and politics.
“Political discourse should be conducted with civility, decorum and in a constitutional manner. We all have a collective responsibility to strengthen our democracy and entrench the rule of law”.
5. Rice importation will end this year, Buhari says
Ok, guys, 2018 will be the last year Nigeria imports polished rice from Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and elsewhere, according to the president.
Read this from Buhari: “Two years ago I appealed to people to go back to the land. I am highly gratified that agriculture has picked up, contributing to the government’s effort to restructure the economy. Rice imports will stop this year. Local rice, fresher and more nutritious will be on our dishes from now on”.
6. Days of business as usual are over, says Buhari
In the president’s words;
“The government is slowly stabilizing the economy.
“It was in order to change the steady and steep decline that we adopted the more sustainable policies and programmes captured in the Economic Recovery Plan. Diversification efforts have resulted in improved output particularly in agriculture and solid minerals sectors. The relative exchange rate stability has improved manufacturing sector performance.
“We have got to get used to discipline and direction in economic management. The days of business, as usual, are numbered”.
7. Buhari is grateful for your prayers when he was ill
Buhari spent over 100 days tending to his health abroad in 2017.
He credits your prayers for his recovery.
“Finally, let me again express my heartfelt thanks to all Nigerians who prayed for me during my illness last year. I feel deeply humbled by your prayers and good wishes and I am more determined than ever to serve you to the best of my ability”.
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