Some prominent Nigerians and groups on Wednesday assessed the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.)’s New Year speech and said it was uninspiring.
The Committee for Defence of Human Rights, a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr Obadiah Mailafia; an elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, and the Peoples Democratic Party, said they were not moved by the President’s speech.
But the All Progressives Congress and the Secretary General of the Arewa Consultative Forum, Anthony Sani, lauded Buhari.
Buhari had, in his New Year message early on Wednesday, said he would not seek a third term in office.
“I will be standing down in 2023 and will not be available in any future elections,” he said.
Buhari, whose regime was accused of lawlessness in 2019, also said his actions “at all times will be governed by the rule of law.”
He added, “The revolution in agriculture is already a reality in all corners of the country. New agreements with Morocco, Russia and others will help us access, on attractive terms, the inputs we need to accelerate the transformation in farming that is taking place.”
Buhari said the regime would use the change in technology to harness the potential in the youth “and tame some of the wilder elements.”
He said the regime’s investments in infrastructure such as the Second Niger Bridge, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the Abuja-Kano highway were yielding positive results.
The President, had on January 1, 2019 sent a similar New Year message to the nation, where he promised to ensure that last year’s general elections would be free and fair.
He had said, “I also reiterate my many promises and declarations that the general elections will be free, fair and credible. Elections need not be a do-or-die affair, and we should not approach that eventuality in a democracy with trepidation and mortal fear. Happily, a large number of presidential candidates have committed to peace, and peace we shall have. Those who continue to trumpet falsehood and negativity are on their own, fighting a losing battle.”
But the local and international groups had after the polls said there were many cases of violence and intimidation during the elections.
For instance, the European Union Election Observation Mission in its report stated that the elections were “overshadowed by systemic failings” and demonstrated “the need for an inclusive national discussion on electoral reform.
“The environment for this election has been difficult with cases of violence and intimidation,” the mission had said.
Also, there were violence and killings during the November 16 governorship polls in Kogi and Bayelsa states.