The Presidency has risen in stout defence of the eight-year rule of President Muhammadu Buhari saying he will leave Nigeria much better security wise as against what he met on ground when he assumed office on May 29, 2015.
It also defended President Buhari on his alleged lopsided appointments of security heads in the past eight years, stressing that appointment of service chiefs and heads of security agencies cannot be subjected to ethnic balancing or federal character.
Speaking while appearing on Channels television programme on Monday night, Media Adviserto the President, Femi Adesina, emphasised that no matter what people say, President Buhari will be leaving Nigeria better than he met the nation in 2015.
According to him, prior to the emergence of the present government, about 17 local government areas in the northern part of the country were under the control of the insurgents, adding however that no single local government council area is presently being controlled by Boko Harm.
Commenting on allegation of nepotism in the appointment of security heads, where it was said that about 70 percent of heads of security agencies are from the north, Adesina said appointment of security heads was a prerogative of the President which should not be subjected to ethnic balancing or federal character.
His words: “Don’t subject security to ethnic balancing, don’t subject security to federal character. In fact, the constitution that prescribes federal character even gives the President some prerogative that he can appoints on his own.
“What the constitution requires of you is balancing in terms of each state being represented in terms of certain positions. Those positions are prescribed, security is not part of it. President will always have the prerogative to appoint those he feels can help him secure the country and have the kind of country you deserve to have. I Would say that the President has been able to keep to his promises.”
On the report that Nigeria had recorded more deaths under President Buhari’s administration than the previous government even though security was one of the cardinal areas the administration promised to focused on, the presidential spokesman said credit should be given to the administration because the country witnessed the lowest number of deaths in 2022.
He said, “Do you also know of the report which says in the past 12 years, that 2022 was the year that recorded the least number of deaths in terms of insurgency and insecurity. We know in this country, the figure has been coming down over the years.
“No life ideally should be lost not a single one. One life lost is too many, not one life should be lost but then, when reports tell you that between 2015 and 2021 so so number of lives were lost and in 2022 the lowest figure came up, it calls for something positive, you don’t ignore it.
“Buhari is leaving the country far better and I said it from the beginning in 2015 we knew where Nigeria was, 17 local governments in this country were under the control of insurgents. NYSC could not do orientation, they were not sending people in those places, is it what is happening today? No.
“The Emirs are back in their palaces, local government chairmen are back in their offices, NYSC orientation is happening in those states, youth corpers have been posted to those states, are you now telling me that there has not been improvement? No, no. Let’s be factual, let’s give the government some credit please.”
On the alleged worsening economic situation under the present administration, Adesina also said the economy has been diversified by the government of the day and that the economy no longer depends solely on oil.
According to him, “This government met a mono product economy, an economy that depended solely on oil so that any time oil prices crashes in the international market, Nigeria crashes with it, but today it’s no longer so. Oil contributes less than 10 percent of our GDP (Gross Domestic Product) today. Oil that used to contribute about 90 percent.
“For the first time in our history Nigeria has a diversified economy. Diversification has long been a promise but today it’s no longer a promise, it’s a reality. I think people must credit the Buhari’s administration for that because we now have agric, we now have ICT, we now have manufacturing to an extent.
“We have so many things contributing to Nigeria GDP apart from oil. The economy has been diversified first time in over 60 years, that is something nobody will deny the Buhari administration .”
Deji Elumoye in Abuja