Ayantunj Benjamin Gbenro (PhD)
This is response to Olusegun Adeniyi’s latest article on THISDAY. My answer to the question raised will be an incontrovertible “YES”. I will try to respond to every issue raised by the highly respected journalist not as Buhari’s spokesperson, which I am not, I expect them to respond to him as a colleague. I will respond as a Nigerian who have lived in this country and has been politically conscious for decades. My first response to why Buhari should get another four years will be quoting Olusegun Adeniyi himself when he was analyzing their most hyped interview with Buhari on AriseTV. In his words “..The interview was suppose to start by 8pm and the President came exactly 8pm. We were not kept waiting..” When was the last time Olusegun Adeniyi saw that level of seriousness and commitment to time in Nigerian big men either in or out of power? If Buhari can trusted with something as little as keeping to time, which can be testify to by anybody that has ever attended any public engagement with him, He can be trusted with running the country and setting it on the path to greatness. The Bible tell us that whoever can be trusted with a little, can be trusted with much.
I will agree with the respected journalist that seeking a reelection should be a referendum on the stewardship of the incumbent but disagree that APC or the presidency has been shying away from doing that. The president has consistently projected the achievement of his administration at every forum. In the interview he granted AriseTV, the president spoke about the achievements of his administration in Agriculture, Security, Infrastructure, fight against corruption etc. He presented the scorecard of his administration during the 2019 budget presentation. The VP use any available opportunity to present the achievement in Social Investment Programs. He usually uses every opportunity to tell the nation how this administration is doing much with little. Rotimi Ameachi has always bragged about rails and other infrastructures in transport sector the administration is building. There was a particular interview with Seun Okinbaloye on Channels TV where the minister said “..we will show them the rails we build in 3yrs and ask for what they did in 16yrs..” Other spokesmen of the President have consistently spoken about the achievements. I am glad that the writer acknowledged the work that Tolu Ogunlesi is doing. It would have been nice if Mr. Segun Adeniyi had applied same measurement standard to PDP and its candidates. PDP has 16yrs to showcase and the candidate has 8yrs as VP he can talk about. There is a viral video where the PDP candidate said PDP paid 100% for projects but did nothing. The writer should have also make the campaign about such issues. The writer shouldn’t have portrayed APC as the party doing mudslinging. If APC has been guilty of anything, I am of the opinion that it is the party trying to be too clean in a dirty game of politics. Most of the things the party is accused of doing by the writer is in reaction to mudsling by the PDP. The writer insinuating, we shouldn’t talk about 16 wasted years of PDP is like saying we should stop teaching History. The comparative analysis the 16yrs of PDP with 4yrs of APC will not only tell us how far we have come under APC but also tell us about the wasted opportunity that PDP represents and why we shouldn’t allow them close to power any more. For APC having achievements to showcase after 4yrs and PDP only having doctored audio, lies and conjectures to sell despite 16yrs in power, the answer to the question posed by the article is another resounding YES!
The writer tried to tactically insinuate that the presidential handlers tried to insulate him by not allowing AriseTv crew at the interview but also on the other hand gave kudos to Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu for given them the exact copy of video and audio recording of the interview. He went on to say “With my own experience of that delicate terrain, I have nothing but respect…”. This is an acknowledgement that things are now done differently from his knowledge of PDP days. This is another reason for the writer to on his own answer the question posed by his article with a resounding YES!
I can’t understand the writers complain about the President’s position about the issue of minimum wage. The President was sincere in his position about the ability of States to pay. Will the writer in all sincerity say he doesn’t have such apprehension? To show his commitment, the President has set up committee on how to raise the money to pay at Federal level without affecting the economy. It has been announced that bill on minimum wage will be sent to the National Assembly by the 23rd of January. Is it not wise that we should start asking question that the President asked? A President that has consistently gave bailout to ensure that workers welfare is not taking lightly should be given a second term.
I was taken aback by the writer’s concern that Buhari outsourced his campaign to Tinubu. This is ridiculous to say the least. APC has the right to run their campaign as they deem fit. The party ab initio announced Buhari and Tinubu as Co-chair of their campaign. Buhari in his wisdom and patriotism felt the issue of governance is more important than his reelection and asked Tinubu to take charge of day to day running of his campaign. This in itself is a reason why the answer to the question of this article should be a resounding YES! A President that takes governance more important than his reelection shows he is not desperate. Mr. Segun Adeniyi served in a government were desperacy to holds unto power killed the President. He is a member of PDP when a President said election is do or die. He was a supporter of a President that threw open the vault o CBN and converted money to fight insurgency to election war chest. Mr. Adeniyi should give credit where it is due. Buhari should be commended and not vilified for not been desperate. APC as a party has a manifesto and the program been implemented is based on the manifesto. The issue of first 100 days raised by the writer is either out of ignorance or mischief. For not been desperate about reelection and concern about delivering good to Nigerians, the answer is a very loud YES!
Mr. Segun Adeniyi is within his right not to be excited with the election but to compare Buhari to Atiku or any President we have had since the advent of this democratic experiment is a disservice not only to humanity but to God. If Buhari is building infrastructures after years of neglect, if he has increased power generation and transmission to over 8000MW in three years from just little above 3000MW of PDP in 16yrs, if he has recovered 17LGs seeded to insurgence by PDP after 16yrs in power, if he has recovered more looted money than any President in our history, if he has developed a clear policy to ends agelong herdmen/farmers clashes, if he is providing for the forgotten downtrodden through the SIPs, if he is introducing election financing reform by not been extravagant with public fund in his bid for reelection, then, Buhari is setting Nigeria on the path to development. If it took Lee Kuan Yew 30yrs to achieve his dream for Singapore, another 4yrs for Buhari to continue on this path will not be a bad idea. Mr. Segun Adeniyi should help us to deliver our appreciation to the Euroasia Group. We appreciate their concern and acknowledge their expertise but Nigerians have chosen to continue with this slow pace that is yielding tangible result. We love this lame duck and we are not ready for the superficial boost as they describe an Atiku’s Presidency.
On a final note, I retain a great deal of respect for Mr. Segun Adeniyi. Your accomplishment in your chosen field of endeavor cannot be overemphasize. However, on this issue you got it wrong. You can support an Atiku without masking it with innuendoes. But as far as 2019 election is concern, majority of Nigerians have decided. A clear answer will be delivered to your question on the 16th of February and I can assure you that it going to be resounding YESSSSSS!!!!!!!