Titi Omo-Ettu
       

THIS MY CANDIDATE SEF

February 22, 2019

I have waited long enough to see if the campaigns would force a change of my mind. Not so far.

Mr. Omoyele Sowore comes strong on my score-card but PMB beats him.

Let those who think Atiku is not a Kleptocrat hold on to their belief. I consider PMB, with all my disappointment in his ways, a better president material than Atiku.

I have just read Mr. Tony Ede’s piece on “Sixty Quiet Achievements of the Buhari Regime” and I endorse it. I was so disappointed in PMB’s attitude I hardly wrote down many positive things. I even forgot to record that my pension, which OBJ unilaterally withdrew with a
rather unfair compensation, was restored only recently. (Bydway, many people do not know I am a pensioner. Perhaps because I am lucky not to depend on it as thousands of my colleagues do). If I could be so wrong, why should I expect anybody to be so perfect? And if I could do it better than PMB, why didn’t I put myself forward in those days?

Talking of PMB and his ways: His lackluster attitude to the herdsmen violence; his insensitivity in appointments; and his attitude of ‘we are at war and nothing else matters’ were strong turnoffs. However, he is the President, so he has his right to his approach, but I disagree with him on those three major issues.

So what should count? What people say or what is on ground, not for me, but for Nigeria?

Now to Tony Ede, except that I would have used 62 where he uses 52.

“It is now almost exactly four years to the day, that Nigerians gave President Buhari the mandate to change the story of Nigeria. Elsewhere and a few months back, I scored the Buhari-led APC administration 52% for its achievements in the last four years.

Here are 60 indelible achievements of the President Mohammadu Buhari-led APC federal administration between 2015 and 2019. Discounting even eight achievements, the Buhari administration obviously merits the 52% I scored the administration. Though very clearly, the administration could do more and has shown the capacity and ability to do more.

The list is in no order. But some inactions of many previous administrations which were in better position to do, but did not, give an idea of how and why many more serious things have remained undone in Nigeria. I have deliberately started with some unbelievably simple things that were not done for decades, that this Buhari civilian administration has done to merit a second term. Who can disprove any of the following claims?

1 – Payments have begun, of 25 years old Arrears of Civil Service Pensioners.

2 – Ex Nigerian airways workers’ pensions approved for payment and payment begins, more than a decade after the sale of the organisation.

3 – Ex-Biafra police officers paid their pensions, almost 50 years after the Nigerian Civil War ended.

4 – The Nigerian govt agreed to out-of-court settlement of 88 billion naira for the reconstruction of public infrastructure damaged in Biafra.

5 – N1.3 Trillion naira fund bailouts was given to help with clearing humongous backlog of allowances and salary arrears of civil servants in 22 states.

6 – June 12 recognized as Democracy day. Chief M.K.O. Abiola as now been honoured along with Alhaji Babagana Kingibe and Chief Gani Fawehinmi and other heroes of the June 12 Struggle.

7 – The Federal Govt has suspended new Laws enacted by a preceding administration, mandating maximum tenure for heads of religious organisations. The Law is now to be modified.

8 – History has been returned as a School Subject in the Nigerian curriculum

9 – Christian Religious Studies has also been restored as a Subject in School curriculum in the country

10 – The historic value disparity between HND graduates of Polytechnics and University graduates has now been resolved and laid to rest. Polytechnics now to become Universities of Technology to be awarding the Bachelor of Technology Degree. Lower lever Polytechnic certificates are now to be rated as technician certifications.

11 – Successful enumeration of all abandoned infrastructure projects in the country and technical evaluation for reactivation needs of all identified projects. Among the abandoned or suspended Projects now reactivated and currently in various stages of completion are

12 – The Mambila Plateau Hydropower Project abandoned 40 years ago, has been reactivated.

13 – The Ajaokuta Steel Projects has now also been reactivated after more than 30 years of being under construction!

14 – The Esan Water Project in Edo, awarded in 1997 was also reactivated and is now essentially completed

15 – The Dadin Kowa Dam Project in Gombe, started since 1975, some 43 years ago, was reactivated and now nearing completion.

16 – Commissioning and completion of technical review and evaluation for the construction, reconstruction or rehabilitation needs of 322 federal highways, including some road projects which were abandoned more than 40 years ago.

17 – The Lagos – Ibadan Express Road reconstruction and rehabilitation is now nearing 80% completion, after almost 18 years of unsuccessful efforts to rehabilitate the road.

18 – The Lagos – Abeokuta Express Road and Federal Highway is now being reconstructed too, after almost 30 years.

19 -The Ikorodu-Sagamu Federal Highway is also now being reconstructed after almost 35 years too.

20 – The rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Apapa Port Road and the rehabilitation of the Ijora Causeway is more than 60% completed

21 – The Port Harcourt- Enugu federal Highway reconstruction has reached an advanced stage

22 – The 40-year- old East-West Highway Project has been reactivated.

23 -The Ikom-Itu Federal Highway reconstruction Project and many other roads in the South-South

24 – Work has started and foundation pilings and all land pillars have been completed on the 2nd Niger Bridge construction, again after almost 30 years of planning

25 – North East insurgency is being gradually suppressed. Nigerian territory, including 16 Local Government Areas, which the Boko Haram had taken under the Jonathan administration, have now been recovered and rebuilding commenced.

26 – The Nigerian military under President Buhari, has ensured the release of more than 26,800 persons who had been kidnapped by the Boko Haram.

27 – More 70% of the almost 300 school girls kidnapped by the Book Haram in Chibok under PDP have now been released. Only one school girl is now still being held by the Boko Haram after similar kidnapping of more than another 100 school girls in Dapchi under the Buhari regime.

28 – Military barracks are being restored nationwide after more than 20 years of dilapidation.

29 – The Environmental Cleanup of Ogoni Land has begun, after almost 30 years of clamour.

30 – The abandoned National Cancer Centre Project in Abuja, has been completed and opened. Equipment for the Cancer Centre was abandoned in shipping containers since 2012, yet Nigeria had no functional public Cancer Centre.

31 – All unfinished railway and abandoned transportation projects across the country, were successfully evaluated, reviewed and restarted, with all and every possible bottlenecks and hindrances removed.

32 – Plans for new railway projects across the country including one transborder railway project, have been completed and the construction agreements now being signed. Under the new Railway transportation plans for the country, every Nigerian state capital will now be connected to the national railway network which will also connect all major Ports in Nigeria to major industrial centres and agricultural production hubs in each of Nigeria’s six geo-political regions.

33 – Kaduna-Abuja Rail Project, approved in 2002 and started since 2007 is now finished and fully operational

34 – The Abuja Light Rail Project also started since 2007, is now finished and running

35 – The Warri-Itakpe Railway link, started and abandoned 35 years ago, was restarted by the Buhari administration and is also now running

36 – A new Lagos-Ibadan Express Railway Project has been kicked off by the Buhari administration, as part of a new standard-gauge railway lines project between Lagos and Kano, through Abuja. The Abeokuta-Lagos section of the project is now ready and is being test run. The Project started just two years ago in August 2017.

37 – Repair of the over 25-year old Abuja Airport Runway which had been overdue for over 10 years, was started and successfully completed in an unbelievable 90 days of 24-hour daily construction operations.

38 – Payment of cash gifts promised to Golden Eaglets of 1983, some thirty five years ago

39 – Redemption of promises of House gift made to Bonfrere Jo, Coach of Nigeria’s Super Eagles 1996 Olympics Football Gold winning Team

40 – Resolution of the Issue of Title Deeds of Property Gift to the Christian Chukwu-led Nigerian Green Eagles Team which won the 1980 Nations Cup.

41 – Major rehabilitation and expansion works are now going on, in three major Airports, Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja. The Port Harcourt Airport (voted world’s worst in 2015, is now a brand-new airport). A new international Airport has also been completed in Abuja, while work has reached advanced stages for modernisation of the Benin, Kaduna, and Enugu Airports among others.

42 – Estimated Electricity Consumption billing has been outlawed and electric power meters are now being provided for homes for free, 10 years after they were promised, when Nigeria’s power assets were sold.

43 – Verification of claims and Payments have begun, of part of outstanding debts to contractors across the country, estimated to be more than N2 Trillion as at 2015.

44 – Payment of significant portions of debts owed to Oil companies, including outstanding long-delayed counterpart funds for Joint Venture Projects.

45 – The inspector General of Police has been ordered to revisit the issues surrounding the death of Chief Bola Ige and other unresolved political assassinations in the country.

46 – Restocking and re-equipping of the Nigerian military, something abandoned for many years
– New fighter jets acquired as against no serviceable fixed wing fighter Jet in 2015.
– Six New helicopters, the first time in almost twenty years and
– 12 Super Tucano Fighter Jets have been fully paid for. Deliveries have already started and will be concluded by 2020.
– The largest hardware investment in the Nigeria military in almost 25 years has been under President Buhari.

47 – Approval has been given for the dredging of the Warri Ports, as was being agitated for in the region for decades.

48 – Official Recognition of Anambra and Lagos State as Crude Oil producing states devoid of the old politics and unnecessary bureaucracy

49 – Handing over of wasting federal assets on state-donated lands, such as the Tarawa Balewa Square, National Stadium and old Airport Presidential Lounge in Lagos and the International Trade fair Complex to the Lagos State government

50 – Clearing of over 700 out of 800 containers of Power Sector equipment abandoned in the Nigerian Ports since 2005 instead of installation for more reliable power supply in the country.

51 – Correction of the trend of depletion of foreign reserves and savings by growing foreign reserves from 29 billion dollars to above 47 billion, and adding fresh funds to sovereign wealth fund for the first time since the inception in 2005.

52 – Establishment of long overdue Infrastructure Development Bank of Nigeria.

53 – Correction of the injustice of no rolling over of data roll by mobile phone companies to consumers. Before now, unused but paid-for data was cancelled at the end of the month. Today the government has ordered that to stop. This touches the masses right away.

54 – Clamp down on the Islamic movement of Nigeria, a group that has for over two decades shown itself as not recognizing government and terrorized citizens. The clamp down is seemingly high-handed though for now

55 – Establishment of Petroleum University in Okeronkoko in the Niger Delta region, a project long sought after in the region.

56 – Order to Oil majors to relocate headquarters back to the Niger Delta Region, another long-sought move.

57 – One of the largest free school feeding projects in the world. Some 9.3 million Nigerian children are now being fed free of charge in schools, in a project that has seen school enrolment increase by as much as 34%.

58 – The youth employment programme, the N – Power Programme now has 500,000 Youths being paid N30,000 monthly while they are been trained and taken through diverse skills acquisition programmes.

59 – For the first time in Nigeria’s history, the poorest of the poor in trading and other ultra-small scale businesses, are now being given interest free loans starting from N10,000 each graduating to a maximum of N100,000. More than one million traders have been won nationwide and brought under the special programme being administered by the Nigerian Bank of Industry.

60. There is a FarmerMoni Programme like the TraderMoni, but for ultra-small-scale farmers, working through different farmer cooperatives. This is the smallest scale support for farming in the country. It complements the massively successful Nigerian Central Bank backed anchor borrowers programme for agriculture. The Anchor-borrowers programme gets a Bank to provide all the needed funds and other support, to groups of farmers to maximise output of the agricultural produce, while it works directly with ready off-takers of the agricultural produce as a marketing guarantee. This has accounted majorly for Nigeria’s 10-fold increase in Rice production and threefold increase on Cassava production. It has also caused substantial increases in the production of Yam, Pal Kernel, Tomatoes and Maize.

Please not that I omitted the adoption and implementation of the very important institutional controls like the adoption of the Single Treasury Accounting for public funds, because it is a positive achievement just like the current Presidency’s effort to avoid riding rough shod on states or other arms of government, except for issues tending towards the criminal.

I also have been unable to confirm other improvements in the education sector for proper documentation. Neither could I confirm plans and executions in the health sector among others. Nigeria obviously still has a long way to go, but we are evidently in moving up.

It is obvious from the list, that this first term of the APC is more of repairing and restoring as well as completion of long abandoned projects. The APC needs a second term to conclude many of the projects and lay a good foundation for Nigeria’s future. Let us give the APC another four years, then it will be fair to compare the APC’s eight years and the PDP’s ruinous 16 years that are better forgotten.”

Nigerians know their friends and their enemies, and I wish them a good, peaceful, process as they vote tomorrow.

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