The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Muhammadu Buhari, said the insecurity, bad economy and corruption in Nigeria is a “terrible troika” disrupting meaningful progress in Nigeria.
Mr. Buhari said three form the most pertinent of the grievous challenges that Nigeria grapples with and must be tackled before the country can chalk out any path to development.
“Once again, Nigeria is in crisis. Our country is facing grievous challenges in numerous sectors. In the light of recent events, the three most pertinent at this time are security, the state of the economy and corruption forming a terrible troika that must be tackled all at once before we can achieve any meaningful progress,” Mr. Buhari said.
He spoke at the Delegates’ Conference of the National Labour Congress, NLC, that held in Abuja, on Monday.
The APC presidential candidate regretted the growth of Boko Haram to international notoriety and blamed the Nigerian government for the sect’s capacity to unleash extreme violence and capturing of parts of Nigerian territory even after committing over $32.88 billion to defence budget.
He said: “In August 2011, a vehicle smashed through two security barriers at the United Nations headquarters in Abuja just after 11 a.m. Its driver crashed the car into the reception area of the building which housed 26 different UN agencies, and then detonated a bomb. Twenty-five people were killed; around 60, wounded. The then little-known extremist group, Boko Haram, claimed responsibility for the gruesome attack.
“Since then, Boko Haram has gained international notoriety and become a major national menace – kidnapping girls from their schools and women from their homes; slaughtering boys in their dormitories and men in their farms; exploding bombs in public and private venues; and taking town after town in the northeast of Nigeria. And, for some reason, our defence forces are unable to cope and unable to defend. Despite the federal government’s defence budget that has gulped over$32.88 billion in the past five years.
“Our security situation in this country has never been so dire. Today, Nigerians have to endure, not just terrorist attacks in the North, but militancy in the Niger Delta, communal violence in the Middle Belt, cult wars in the South, and kidnappings, armed robberies, and common acts of thuggery throughout the country. Most are left to fend for themselves. Those who turn to the police, the army or any other state security agencies usually have the means and personal connections to buy help and protection. Those who don’t simply move on, resigned. The bitter ones may form vigilante groups, others join mobs that dispense jungle justice on suspects and scapegoats alike. Too many believe they have nothing to lose, and everything to gain, and the most alienated are easy prey for terrorists, militants, and thugs. This must change!”
Discussing the economy, he maintained that monetary policy measures taken by the Central Bank of Nigeria to stabilise the Naira have led to inflation and raised prospects of “hard times ahead.”
“And then, the economy. A few weeks ago, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) took monetary actions to reduce the pressure on the Naira by devaluing the currency and increasing interests rates – both directly and indirectly, by raising interest rates and restricting the amount banks can lend from their available cash. These actions, while necessary to reduce the slide in our currency, have reduced the amount of goods the ordinary Nigerian can purchase with the money he or she has.
“We are likely to experience a rise in the prices of all goods, especially fuel, bread and foodstuff. The hard times ahead will affect Nigerians in every part of our country, 67 per cent of whom already live on less than N200 per day,” the former Head of State said.
Presenting the remedy to the state of Nigeria’s economy, he said the APC “in line with our party’s manifesto, we will identify and promote growth of industries and give incentives for the use of local content.”
He listed youth unemployment, lack of social services, corruption, and poor governance as other challenges facing Nigeria
Mr. Buhari said these challenges will be tackled by a crop of people “who have the competence, the experience, the know-how, the leadership capacity and, most especially, the courage to move Nigeria forward. APC is that group. An APC government at the centre will treat Labour as a partner in moving the nation forward”.
“An APC government will protect and respect labourer’s right to organize, guaranteeing the rights to collective bargaining in good faith in law. We will promote new skills, equip youth for a modern economy through a network of local technology institutions to provide free training in courses for the unemployed,” he promised.
He said the APC could not accomplish the task alone and solicited the support of the Labour.
“I know you (NLC delegates) made this journey for a good reason. You came here because you believe in what this country can be. That is to say, you all believe in change.
“You believe that the labour of our heroes past and present shall never be in vain. You believe that our hopes and dreams can become reality. You believe in a nation bound in freedom, peace and unity. You believe that we can rebuild the broken walls. You believe that our great country can set a standard for all of Africa to see. I pray that you will give me the opportunity to play a part in bringing about this CHANGE that the All Progressives Congress, the APC, so strongly desires for our country, Nigeria.
“As most of you know, I am not a novice when it comes to participating in the struggle to deliver Nigeria from the power of darkness. Many times, my efforts have earned me the wrath and vengeance of crooks and thieves. What I want to assure everyone in this room and across the length and breadth of this vast country is that I will do my best for you,” said Mr. Buhari.