Former Minister of External Affairs, Ibrahim Gambari has said that the ‘change’ promised by President Muhammadu Buhari’s All Progressives Congress, APC, government remained elusive in the last one year.
Gambari, who was the guest lecturer at the 2016 Nigeria Democracy Day lecture in Abuja organised by the Save Democracy Group Africa, SDG-Africa, with the theme, ‘The Change Agenda and Sustenance of Nigeria’s Democracy,’ declared that lack of common principle by the citizenry had largely contributed to the obstacles witnessed in the course of national development.
He expressed shock that until this moment, some Nigerians still contemplate that the nation should revert back to regionalism, a system of government which, according to him, was consciously and deliberately jettisoned many years ago.
He maintained that wide spread corruption, disillusionment and disconnect between rulers and the ruled, deficit in leadership vision and socio-economic inequalities were factors that had inhibited the enthronement of desired change.
Corruption, he said, includes but is not limited to stealing of public funds, adding that impunity is a worse form of corruption.
“A situation where people indulge in wrong doing with the mindset that nothing will happen is the worst form of corruption,” he declared.
Gambari warned that what was more important is the building of strong institutions, as no one person could fight corruption, even as he cautioned that the best and easiest way to destroy a country was to favour one side and leave one out.
He alluded that government should not let any section of the country perceive that they were being sidelined.
Earlier in his keynote address, the governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, represented by his deputy, Chief Moses Ekpo, eulogised former President Goodluck Jonathan, whom he said despite pressures from selfish politicians and regardless of all visible and contestable flaws of the 2015 general elections, refused to even resort to court to challenge the election, but rather put a call across to President Buhari and by so doing, saved the country the looming bloodbath to the shame of prophets of doom.
Similarly, the lecture chairman and governor of Bauchi State, Mohammed Abubakar said “democracy is the best form of government,” but went further to ask: “Was democracy actually practised in the last administration? But for the intervention of God and the voting of Buhari, this country would have collapsed,” he maintained.
Meanwhile, President Buhari, represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Babachair Lawal, thanked the Nigerian electorate whom he said made the right choice by voting him at the right time, considering that his government came into power at the very brink of the collapse of the nation.
“Before then was 16 years of flagrant misrule, seemingly resulting in unimaginable corruption, insecurity, massive unemployment and economic meltdown.”
According to the president, 2016 change budget of N6.04 trillion is aimed at diversifying the economy to agriculture and solid minerals. He added that the half a trillion provided in the 2016 budget for social programmes was a deliberate palliative for the harsh policy decisions of the government.
The president averred also that on the fight against corruption, several billions of naira had been recovered while on the international front, efforts were being made to repatriate the money and assets starched out of the country.
On the issue of insecurity, President Buhari stated that his government had recovered all territories under the control of insurgents in the North-East while the federal government was partnering with the state governments to find a lasting solution to the unfortunate menace of cattlemen and farmers across the states. He promised that there would be no sacred cow as he had ordered all security agencies to bring those perpetrators to book.