Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity titled ‘In defense of Buhari: Is this the Change we voted for? Yes, It Is!’ on August 14th, gave reasons why critics and supporters should ease off on the heavy criticisms targeted at the present administration.
1. Mr Shehu said unfair criticism of the Buhari administration especially on account of escalating prices of foodstuff and the liberalization of the currency exchange need to be challenged before it overshadows the commendable job the President has done in fighting terrorism as part of overall effort to secure the country, reducing corruption and yes, arresting the economic slide before it sinks the nation.
2. He said the praise the President gets abroad and the wide public support he enjoys among the lower segment of the local population is, by contrast, given a short shift in the local press, mainstream and online.
3.The president’s spokesman said this unambiguous media rebuke has created a wave of sympathy for anyone with a view that runs counter to the President’s.
4.He further stated that Boko Haram leader, Shekau or the pipeline vandal form the Delta region are more likely to get newspaper front pages today than the Minister of Labour, Governor Emeka Ngige or the Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun talking about jobs creation in the economy.
5.Mr Shehu said President Buhari himself has on numerous occasions admitted that the change mantra has brought with it pain and suffering which he likened to the pains of labor. It is a passing phase.
6.When they ask the question, is this the change we voted for, the critic forgets how far we have come from the scam-tainted years of the PDP rule.
7. There are many today who take for granted the declared victory over the Boko Haram terrorists, forgetting the reign of the bomber who made it almost impossible for regular attendance in Churches and Mosques in many of our cities, including the Federal Capital City, Abuja.
8.He said calls on Hausa radio by a rabble-rousing section of the opposition for the “reopening of borders” to “allow food come in” are redundant and mischievous because all the county’s borders remain open till date.
9.Following the budget, the administration has begun rolling out several social welfare programs. The direct cash transfer to the poorest of the poor, the school feeding and the recruitment/skills training of about one million jobless citizens are such an example
10.Mr Shehu noted that President Muhammadu Buhari’s infrastructure initiatives will see country making progress with intractable projects such as the Second Niger bridge, the East-West expressway, the green field Lagos-Abuja expressway and important national railway projects, Lagos-Calabar and Lagos-Kano which had been on the drawing boards for as long as anyone can remember.
11. The currency liberalization and the deregulation of the petroleum products sale will make President Buhari one of the best presidents till date.The removal of subsidies on the petrol products has saved the government more than two trillion Naira annual expenditure in this respect.
12.The Spokesman noted that President is a different kind of leader, who just happens to be a victim of the tyranny of high expectations saying that Buhari’s knack for prudent spending and effective management of resources is in the belief that this country can only prosper when there is transparency, reduced corruption and a drastic cut in bureaucratic red tape.
13 President Buhari should be credited for the unblemished record of his ministers. This is a government that has stayed above scandal for a year. Adding that if all of these are not desirable changes, to be appreciated and adored, it is hard to know or determine what some of our critics want.