They Have Eyes But Cannot See. Pity!
By FEMI ADESINA
It has been a hectic week. Frenetic. We set forth at dawn on Monday from Abuja to Bauchi, to attend the Presidential and gubernatorial campaign of All Progressives Congress (APC) candidates. It was only Muhammadu Buhari, the Mai Gaskiya (honest man), that could have commanded the number of people that turned out. Without inducement. Endless sea of heads. He remains the greatest political crowd puller we have ever seen in the country since the beginning of time.
From Bauchi, same Monday, we flew into Lagos. To commission the $1.5 billion Lekki Deep Sea Port, then West Africa’s largest rice mill at Imota, and a lubricant plant at Tin Can, Apapa, owned by MRS Petroleum Company.
Tuesday saw the President commissioning two more projects, including the Blue Line Rail. And from there, we flew to Dakar, Senegal, to attend a summit on food security in Africa, billed for Wednesday. Our President delivered a Keynote Address, and we left for Nigeria in the evening. We didn’t reach Katsina, and Daura till about 1 am Thursday.
Now as I write this Thursday morning, we are in Katsina, commissioning legacy projects, including; Kofar Kaura Underpass, Kofar Kaura Waterworks, Revenue House, Meteorological Institute, Darma Rice Mills, Kofar Kwaya Underpass, Katsina General Hospital, among others. The spree continues Friday, then same at Kano on Monday, and Jigawa on Tuesday.
Our President is 80 years old, don’t forget. And he does all these at a sprint. We that are far younger struggle to catch up with him. On Thursday, after going to bed around 3 am, on return from Senegal, I refused to get out of bed till my colleagues came to evacuate me, saying the President was ready and raring to go. I sprang up. President Buhari is a blessed man, despite a debilitating health challenge he had in 2017. God has been truly merciful.
Now, all these projects being commissioned in States are because the Federal Government created an enabling environment, and enunciated the right policies.. There are even counterpart relationships in some of them. I tell you, this President has done great things for our country, including fighting insecurity to a standstill, and on the verge of winning the war.
Some cynics claim they’ve not seen anything Buhari has done. Yes, the Second Niger Bridge is so small, so they need a magnifying glass to see it. The Lagos/Ibadan Expressway is so minuscule, and they need to wear their medicated glasses. Rail line like catacombs in certain parts of the country? Bring my microscope, let me check. Same for Enugu/Port Harcourt Expressway, Bodo/Bonny road and bridges, Loko-Oweto road and bridge, brand new airport terminals in Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Enugu, Port Harcourt, rice mills everywhere. “We can’t see.” Purblind people.
What of Abuja-Zaria-Kano expressway in the works? AKK pipelines. And many other projects. No, they can’t see, because Buhari has done nothing. Fickle minds. Caviling. Carping. Flippant. Unserious.
Those who know and are honest testify to what President Buhari has achieved for the country. And because there’s no need reinventing the wheel, let me adopt the chronicle of Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in a recent press briefing. I then challenge anyone who wants to countermand the achievements to openly come out and say so.
“Let me use this opportunity to comment on the increasing tendency by some opposition presidential candidates to downplay the achievements of this Administration, in their desperation for power, ahead of the 2023 elections. The worst offender in this regard has been the presidential candidate of the PDP, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. During his recent campaign in Akure, the former VP was quoted as saying the APC had not done anything for Nigeria in eight years. What a preposterous statement from somebody who should know. I guess we can excuse His Excellency the former Vice President who, until recently, had fully relocated to Dubai, thus losing touch with Nigeria.
“And if anyone would accuse the APC-led Federal Government of doing nothing, it should not be Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. Why? Because for the 16 years of the PDP rule, eight of which Alhaji Atiku Abubakar was Vice President, there was no motorable road to the former VP’s hometown and indeed to key local governments in the Southern Senatorial zone that served as Adamawa’s food basket and economic nerve centre until the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari
assumed office. Today, gentlemen, the Mayo Belwa- Jada- Ganye- Toungo road has been constructed fully and it’s the road that Alhaji Atiku uses to get to his hometown of Jada.
“What about security? Before this Administration came into office, all the five local government areas in Adamawa’s Northern Senatorial District were effectively under the control of the Boko Haram terrorists. All state institutions, the local government administration, the police, the judiciary, schools, hospitals and markets had been sacked. Traditional rulers, including Emirs and
Chiefs, had been displaced with their palaces taken over by the terrorists as their headquarters.
The affected 5 local governments in the Northern Senatorial zone are:
3. Mubi North
4. Mubi South and
5. Little Gombi
“In the Central Senatorial zone, two local governments were effectively under the control of the Boko Haram terrorists: These two local governments in the Central Senatorial zone are:
1. Maiha Local Government
2. Hong Local government.
“Today, not an inch of these local governments in Adamawa, the home state of the former Vice President, is under the control of terrorists. All institutions of state have relocated back and are operational. All Emirs and chiefs have returned to their palaces. Schools and markets have opened. Please note, gentlemen, that
throughout that period, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar could not even go home. As a matter of fact, when one of his right hand men, Mr. Adila, was killed by the terrorists, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar could not even go to condole with the family of the deceased. It was that bad.
Now that he can travel home freely, thanks to the Buhari Administration, it is not sweet in his mouth to accuse the same Administration of doing nothing. As they say, the bedwetter should not join those who are insulting the washerman.
“In the area of Social Investment Programmes, there have been 29,641 beneficiaries, from Adamawa alone, of the N-POWER Programme of the Buhari Administration. Under the Home Grown School Feeding Programme, some 162,782 pupils from Adamawa are benefitting from one meal a day. That programme employs 2,259 cooks in Adamawa and has covered 1,236 schools in the state. How many school children did the PDP feed in Adamawa or anywhere in the eight years that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar held sway as Vice President in Abuja!
“We are not done. Under the Conditional Cash Transfer, some 64,607 vulnerable people have benefitted in Adamawa alone, while Trader Moni and Market Moni have reached a total of 38,000 people in the state.
“In the area of infrastructure, some 8 roads projects totalling 714 kilometres are currently being rehabilitated or constructed in the state. That’s out of 43 road projects in the North East alone. These are not phantom projects. We have the full list of the roads and can make it available to anyone who so wishes.
“Similarly, the North East Development Commission (NEDC) has either completed or is currently working on 140 projects, including construction of classrooms, healthcare facilities and ICT training centres, in Adamawa alone. Overall, NEDC has a total of 593 projects in the entire North East. Again, we have a full list of the projects.
“Gentlemen, you can now see that we didn’t even need to go far to disprove the former VP’s soap box statement. You can also see the irony of someone who held the number two position in the country for all of eight years but could not positively impact on his own hometown, state or region now condemning an Administration that has made it possible for him to even access his hometown, anytime he flies in from his new hometown of Dubai! The Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has had a positive impact on all parts of this federation. No amount of fallacious soap box rhetorics can change this fact.”
True. Projects abound in all zones of the country, done by the Buhari Administration, and you will get to have a compendium soon. But let those who have eyes, and deliberately refuse to see, continue. They will fall into a ditch, and great will be that fall.
In the words of Jimmy Scott, a Nigerian drummer, made popular by the Beatles, “O-bladi, O-blada , life goes on bra, la-la-la-la life goes on.”
*Adesina is Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity