The presidency has rejected a report on President Muhammadu Buhari’s fulfillment of his pre-election promises.
The report by a non-governmental group, Centre for Democracy and Development, assessed the president’s scorecard after seven months in office, concluding that Mr. Buhari had achieved only one of 222 campaign promises.
Mr. Buhari’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu, described the report as “a false propaganda”.
Mr. Shehu said it was mischievous to attribute to the president promises he did not make during his campaign, and to hold him accountable for them.
According to him, any honest advocacy for democracy should not include distortion of facts and a misrepresentation of what President Buhari had promised to deal with during the campaigns.
“It is misleading to invent issues to suit one’s political bias and prejudice, and blame the President for not attending to those issues within one’s mischievous and chimerical deadline in order to play down the significant aspects of what the President has accomplished within those seven tough months,” he said.
Mr. Shehu said the CDD leaders could not objectively serve the cause of democracy if they were primarily preoccupied with negativity and cynicism, and constantly looking for something to condemn rather than appreciating the areas of progress made by the president within those seven months.
He argued that any group that focuses on negativity at the expense of objectivity would never see any good in the appreciable and significant progress made by the president.
Mr. Shehu explained that no sincere and fair-minded Nigerian would refuse to recognise the courage of the president to take on corruption in a country where impunity was once celebrated.
“Within seven months, President Buhari has successfully blocked the leakages for corruption, saying as a result of these efforts, the Nigerian Customs Service has quadrupled its revenue base to incredible level within seven months, something they didn’t achieve in years,” Mr. Shehu said.
“Doesn’t the president deserve credit for this and other efforts to confront the monster of corruption?”
On the economy, Mr. Shehu said CDD got it wrong to blame President Buhari for the falling oil prices in the world market, a challenge which has made the president lay greater emphasis and priority on economic diversification.
He recalled that President Obama of the United States had inherited an economy in crisis, something he didn’t bargain for, and that it would be unfair to blame Mr. Buhari for not fixing it in seven months.
“President Buhari’s experience is a double whammy because he inherited an economy in crisis on account of declining oil revenues and an economy also ravaged by incredible and large-scale corruption,” he said.
“He is making good strides towards improving governance, by tackling corruption. To-date a good number of persons believed to have collectively stolen billions from the taxpayer have been arrested, and are facing the courts.
“We are working with our allies across the world – from Britain and America to France and Germany to China and UAE to source, locate and repatriate misappropriated funds.
“So far, an escrow account has been opened for money that is being returned. This is only the start: the return of stolen funds is important, but it is just as critical to ensure those who seek to steal realise that no longer will there be such impunity in Nigeria.
“Only by ending belief in such licence we can wilfully institute the rule of law.”
He further said that while the president was receiving accolades abroad for his fight against corruption and insurgency, at home individuals were not prepared to give the successes the recognition they deserved.
“The latest CDD episode is a shocking reminder to their failed attempt to hold the president to ‘one hundred promises in one hundred days’ which disastrously crashed on the head of the proponent,” Shehu submitted.
“The elevation of the act to a new high of 220 promises is a knee-jerk reaction that seeks to play to the galleries and score cheap points against the president.
“This is a clear case of solution looking for problem.”