Olusegun Bamgbose, leader of the New Nigerian People’s Party (NNPP), described President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty as pure illusion, unrealistic and tantamount to giving false hope to the people.
In his recent speech at the retreat of ministers, permanent secretaries and other senior government officials, Buhari informed Nigerians of his administration’s commitment to lift 100 million citizens out of poverty in the next ten years.
“This is pure sophistry. It is fundamentally unrealistic. It amounts to giving false hope to Nigerians,” the lead attorney said in a discussion with the Tropics Nigeria on Friday.
“One of his ministers once told us that about 90 million Nigerians live in poverty. How is it that the President is now telling us that he is going to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty?
“How did he get the extra 10 million Nigerians,” he asked himself.
Mr. Bamgbose said this indicated that the statement lacked merit but was just politically motivated to deceive innocent Nigerians and give them false hope for a better future when there is absolutely no concrete plan to achieve it.
He wondered how many Nigerians the administration can boast of having lifted out of poverty in the last five years, while warning the president to stop giving false hope to Nigerians.
“Nigerians can no longer be fooled. In the same retreat, the President urged his ministers to blow their trumpets, which they have accomplished a lot,” he added.
“It is laughable, because there is no trumpet to blow, except that of misery, poverty and suffering. The poor masses are in pain because of rising electricity rates and the price of fuel at the pump.
“Poverty is on the rise. Unemployment is not yet decisively combated, insecurity is everywhere. What trumpet will the ministers sound?
“The most appropriate thing to do is to dismiss them, it is high time. The statement credited to President Buhari at the retreat, “I must charge all of you to vigorously defend the government and not allow any IRRESPONSIBLE and politically motivated statements …
“At the very least, this statement is not presidential. The fact that the president calls the critics irresponsible is unjustifiable.
“The critics deserve an apology for that. In May 2013, Buhari asked Jonathan to resign and make way for a competent hand to govern the country.
In 2012, Buhari was quoted as saying that “the dog and baboon would be soaked in blood” if the election was rigged.
“He spoke freely without anyone calling him irresponsible, so why should he now call his critics irresponsible.
“This is not justifiable for any reason. He must apologize to his critics. President Buhari must be informed that he is democratically elected as president of Nigeria and that he has sworn to defend the constitution.
“The constitution guarantees freedom of speech and expression. It is never a military regime. Nigerians should be free to express themselves without fear of being molested and harassed in any way. I call on the President to be cautious when addressing his fellow citizens,” he said.