Early in January, President Muhammadu Buhari, in one of his rare interaction with the Media, sat with Maope Ogun-Yusuf and Seun Okinbaloye of the Channels Television at the State House, where he spoke extensively on burning national issues. Of more focus were the trial of the leader of the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, the Chinese loans his administration is securing, the poor state of power supply, the Electoral Act Amendment Bill and other crucial matters affecting Nigerians.
It should be noted that unlike President Olusegun Obasanjo, who during his administration maintained constant interactions with Nigerians via live interviews on national television, President Buhari’s posture to interview is a direct opposite of his former military boss.
Speaking on the insecurity situation in the country, President Buhari said the three promises made to Nigerians during the 2015 presidential campaign, which were, improving security; improving the economy; and fighting corruption, have been fulfilled. “If you ask anybody from Borno state, from Yobe state from Adamawa state there were several local governments, about 18 were in the hands of Boko Haram. None of any local governments now is strictly in the hand of Boko Haram or ISWAP. In that respect, we have done something.
“The economy, don’t forget, and I challenge so many people to go and check with the Central Bank, or NNPC the production from 1999 to 2014 was 2.1 million dollars a day average production, at the average cost of a hundred American dollars per barrel. When we came, somehow the militants were unleashed in the South-South, and production went down to half a million dollars a day. And I think by a fabulous coincidence, the price again collapsed to about 37 dollars per barrel, but look at what we did, within the time frame and the resources available to us relative to the government we inherited from.”
When asked about the incarcerated IPOB leader, he reiterated his stance that he would not release the secessionist agitator, nor would he want to interfere with the activities of the judiciary. “Nigerians know that I don’t interfere with the judiciary. Let him be listened to. For those who are saying that we should release him, no we cannot release him.
“There is a possibility of a political solution; if people behave themselves, all well and good, but you can’t go to a foreign country and keep on sending incorrect economic and security problems against your country and thinking that you will never have to account for what you have been doing. Let him account for what he has been doing. There is one institution that I wouldn’t dare interfere with – that is the judiciary.
The president justified the massive Chinese loan his government acquired and stated that it would be hard to turn down infrastructure that the loans are powered with. He insisted that he would be willing to take loan to fix the infrastructure deficit in the country if any country would be willing to provide such loan.
On education and the youth, Buhari expected youths to change the mentality that the government is solely responsible for providing all graduates with job. He said the objective of getting a university education is to be able to analyse and proffer solution to life and national challenges.
When asked about the electoral act, President said he would only sign the amended bill into act if the legislators include consensus candidate and indirect primary mode of selecting candidate for election, as options.
For us, IMPACT NEWS, President Buhari’s interview with Channels TV, like the previous one he had with Arise TV further exposes the fact that the President’s grasp of the situation across the country is parallel to the realities on ground. His critics have consistently raised the alarm that the president is not in charge of running the country as he has lost, either willingly or technically to cabals and power-hungry group of persons who are bent on twisting government policies in their favour.
For the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed forces of the country, to score his administration high in security, in the face of kidnapping, banditry and general insecurity in the country is unfortunate. In spite playing the ostrich, IMPACT NEWS is hopeful that the president can still retrace his steps and put the country back on track for development.