[email protected]: Afenifere faults President Buhari’s Independence Day speech

Pan-Yoruba sociocultural group, Afenifere, has said it is against military takeover of any kind. In a statement, National Publicity Secretary of the group, Comrade Jare Ajayi, described military intervention in government as a curse.

Pan Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, has picked holes in the Independence Day speech of President Muhammadu Buhari, saying it didn’t address the feelings of Nigerians.

“The 61st Independence broadcast by President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday, October 1, 2021, further showcases the dishonesty on the part of those governing the country and the disconnection between them and the people they govern,” Afenifere said in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Jare Ajayi.

The group pointed out that “the President has failed in a basic area of tackling the insecurity, tasking him to be more sincere in dealing with insecurity issue.”

Afenifere said the impression created by the President in his address flies in the face of the situation on the ground.

The statement said: “In the 16th paragraph of his 2020 Independence anniversary speech, the president conceded that the country’s major institutions – and by implication, the services they were supposed to render to the nation – were on the decline. In his words, “institutions such as civil service, police, the judiciary, the military all suffered from a general decline”.

According to Afenifere spokesman, “there is no indication on the ground that this assessment given last year by the President has changed for the better. The services being rendered to the people of Nigeria by these institutions continue to be on the decline in terms of value delivery.

“The reason for this being lack of requisite resources and motivation. It is therefore unfair on the part of the president to accuse ‘critics’ of misdiagnosing “incremental progress as stagnation” as he did in his 2021 independence anniversary speech.”

Afenifere further said that the president’s claim that a lot has been achieved in the last six years “in infrastructure, social care, governance, Nigeria’s image and influence in Africa and the international community is against the reality on the ground.”

“There has never been a time in the annals of modern Nigeria that the country’s infrastructure was this decadent, social care near-absent and the image of the country was so battered. Indeed, the difference between now and in the days of the late Sani Abacha was that the head of state then was wearing Khaki while the present head of government wears a civilian dress and there are democratic institutions like the legislature that were absent then. In terms of the country’s influence in Africa, how many countries in Africa now respect Nigeria going by the inhuman treatments Nigerians are subjected to in different parts of the world including Africa these days? Afenifere added.

On the economic front, the group said “Nigerians have never had to pay through their noses for services and commodities as they are now forced to do.”

“As at the time President Buhari assumed office in 2015, a bag of rice was around N7,000 while a US dollar exchanged for about N180 even in the black market. Today, a bag of rice is almost N30,000 while a dollar exchange for nearly N600. The situation was so bad that Nigeria has been declared as the world capital of poverty. What is the justification therefore for the president’s claim that the lot of the poor in the country is better under his administration than it was under the previous administration?

Ajayi also picked a hole in the president’s claim that “No government since 1999 has done what we have done in six years to put Nigeria back on track.”

Afenifere insisted that Buhari’s administration “has taken Nigeria off the track going by the quantum of indebtedness the country now carries without much to show for the heavy debt, the level of disunity and mistrust among Nigerians, the hopelessness among the youths and the elderly and the collapse of the social services such as education, health and transport.”

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