President Muhammadu Buhari’s election in 2015 saved Nigeria from becoming a failed state, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has said.The Minister said in a stern reply to former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s rebuke of President Buhari’s administration as heading the country towards a failed state, that contrary to the former president’s claim, Nigeria was on its way down the slope after 16 years of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) rule before Buhari ascended power and brought the country back from the brink.
Obasanjo had on Thursday said that Nigeria was slowly becoming a failed state and a basket case that urgently needed to be pulled from the brink of collapse.
Nigeria’s ThisDay newspaper report on Monday quoted the minister as saying in a statement on Sunday that Buhari took office at a time some parts of the country’s territory were under occupation and many cities, including the capital city of Abuja, were a playground for Boko Haram insurgents.
It added that the presidency too backed Mohammed yesterday, coming down hard on Obasanjo over his comment on the state of the nation, describing him as the country’s “Divider-in-Chief”, while the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) joined the fray and said that it was ironic that political actors that midwife and institutionalised corruption, impunity and eroded the country’s value systems are the same characters posing as voices on the way forward.
Mohammed, who described the leadership of the opposition as ”rapacious and rudderless,” said until now the nation’s wealth had been looted dry, with little or nothing to show for the nation’s huge earnings, especially in the area of infrastructure.
The minister described as a cruel irony that those who frittered away the country’s resources at a time of financial buoyancy and planted the seed of insecurity in some parts of the country, were the same people now lashing at a reformist government.
”Nigeria today faces a lot of challenges. But whatever situation the country has found itself in, things would have been much worse but for the deft management of resources, unprecedented fight against corruption, determined battle against insurgency and banditry as well as the abiding courage of Mr. President in piloting the ship of state.
”Nigeria today is not a failed state, but a nation that is courageously tackling its challenges and building a solid infrastructure that will serve as the basis for socio-economic development, a nation that is unrelenting in battling insecurity and working hard to ensure the greatest prosperity for the greatest number of people,” he said.
The minister noted that in spite of declining revenue at 60 percent less of national income, the present administration had made progress on all fronts and set the country on the path of sustainable growth and development, adding that no government in the history of the country had done so much.
He berated the opposition for playing up the instances of insecurity in the country, insisting the country could have been overrun by insurgents and bandits had President Buhari not rallied regional and international allies to retard the insurgents who at a time, controlled an estimated 20,000 square miles of the nation’s territory and were recklessly bombing many targets without check.
Apart from Obasanjo’s comments, some professional groups and unions in Nigeria have also scored the government’s handling of the economy and security issue low, saying that it was under this present administration that Nigeria has been named as the poverty capital of the world.