A pressure group, Forever One Nigeria Initiative (FONI), has backed President Muhammadu Buhari for a second term in office. National President of the group Chief Peter Agu speaks on why the group endorsed Buhari.
Nigerians are hungry and they look up to election year when politicians come to buy their conscience, don’t you think it would be tempting to resist such offer next year?
Yes, it will be difficult for a hungry man to resist monetary inducement put to them by politicians. Poverty is a strong weapon deployed by our leaders to deliberately bring the masses on their knees. It is unfortunate situation we find ourselves and we cannot allow this to continue. On our part, we are sensitising the electorate against mortgaging their conscience for a token. So far, people are responding overwhelmingly to our campaign as they are beginning to realise the importance of participatory democracy.
Equally of note is that, because politics is too important for the wellbeing of the people, it cannot be left in hands of politicians alone. So, there is need for the people to participate in the political process. There is hunger in the land as a result of bad governance of previous administrations and that is why we must join hands with the present administration to right the wrong done to our commonwealth by voting for credible individuals irrespective political affiliations.
The Buhari-led government has been accused of impoverishing Nigerians, why do you want Buhari to continue in office when they now have alternative in former Vice President and Presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar?
Nigerians especially those in the rural areas are not aware of the achievements of this government. This informed the decision of FONI to initiate the nation-wide sensitisation programme. As leader of the group, it behooves on us to tell the direction of policies of the Buhari administration. This becomes necessary because some of the achievements of this government are not made known to majority of Nigerians because President Buhari and his media handlers don’t believe in the old order when projects are constructed on billboards and on the pages of newspapers. These achievements are very sensitive to the feeling of the common people. So, those of us who know how much effort President Buhari and the APC are putting in to revive our ailing economy, decided to come together and showcase Buhari’s achievements. It is a two way thing because we feel the impulse of the people and also pass it across to the government who will in turn increase capacity of what they are doing to impact lives of the citizenry. With the improvement in the rating of doing business, Nigeria, no doubt under President Buhari has done well. The ban on some items created opportunity for producers of those items to thrive especially in agriculture. Before now for instance, the need of these items were not met locally but the ban has triggered local production of the items.
Recently, the Minister of Agriculture was on air to inform Nigerians that over N165 million has been given to the Ahmadu Bello University for procurement of maize in order to have high production in terms of per hectare. What government is trying to do is to ensure farmers labour less and earn more through smart farming. The value chain of this farming method will lead to more animal protein because the animals will have enough to eat. The market is there, we don’t have to look for market. So, the farmers are happy because they are getting reward for their efforts. Yes, government is looking into other areas on how to improve the living standard of the people.
It is easy to bring a house down, but rebuilding it could be painstaking. The last three and half years have been very difficult for common people in the country. This is sensitive and it is the sensitivity that made government to begin to invest more on infrastructure and social welfare which include N-Power programmes.
So, FONI is sensitising the people on all these policies and inform them to be careful of those they listen to because some are out to rubbish the efforts of the Buhari administration.
Are you saying Atiku who was Vice President when Nigeria had her foreign debt written off cannot find an answer to our economic problems?
The question begging for an answer is, who put Nigeria in the present economic mess? PDP-led administration for 16 years and Atiku was part of that administration. Voting for Atiku is like asking PDP to come back and I’m sure Nigerians will not make such a costly mistake in 2019. So, this is why we embark on the sensitisation targeted at the rural areas and states and it is driven by well meaning Nigerians who believe in what the government is doing. So, it is difficult to do all at once. We have done it in the North-East and the next is North-Central. The high level of corruption that bedeviled Nigeria is what government is fighting hard to end or reduce. Government is eager to recover these monies. President Buhari is the best thing that has happened to Nigeria because all the monies recovered so far has been plunged into the 2018 budget.