President Muhammadu Buhari, during a nationwide broadcast speech to mark the nation’s 61st Independence Day anniversary, reeled out achievements of his government and outlined several key areas the government scored high points despite the various challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
The President in his broadcast offered insights into his inner-thinking and policy direction for the next two years, as well as plans to tackle the challenges confronting the nation, including the need for unity and clampdown on secessionists, agitators, devastating impact of COVID-19, insecurity, economy, enactment of PIA among others.
Buhari said the federal government had made plans to end the “disruptive and unpatriotic hoarding activities,” as well as ensure that food prices were affordable for Nigerians.
However, mixed reactions have continued to trail the broadcast.
Commenting on the President’s speech, the spokesman of the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), Abdul-Azeez Suleiman decried policy lapses, which according to him has led to inflation across the country.
On the high cost of living, he said that was caused by insecurity as most farmers can’t go to the farm anymore.
“It is unfortunate that the President just blamed the middlemen for the crisis rather than owning up to his failure to tackle insecurity in the country. Farms are largely abandoned, a major reason why inflation is increasing in the country,” he said.
On leadership, he noted that the nation is yet to have a Nigerian President who is selfless. “All we have is a Northern President or a Southern President,” he said.
On her part, founder of Akasoba Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution (ACPCR) and the Akasoba of Kalabari Kingdom, Rivers State, Queen Zainab Abiola called on President Muhammadu Buhari to implement the 35 per cent affirmative action, where women’s representation in power and decision-making will be enhanced.
She also hailed Nigerian women for actively participating in the struggle for Nigerian independence.
Queen Abiola said the role of women like late Hajia Gambo Sawaba, Queen Sambassa of Bonny, Mrs Margaret Ekpo, Queen Ida, and the Duke-Africa Royal Women of Niger Delta had proved their mettle as foremost nationalists, who struggled for the emancipation of Nigeria.
Queen Abiola, a widow of the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1992 Presidential Election, Chief MKO Abiola, said as a mark of honour for the Amazons, who fought for independence, there should be legislation on Affirmative Action to ensure that a reasonable percentage of all political offices is reserved for women.
Meanwhile, Nigerians have continued to express mixed feelings over the skyrocketing prices of foodstuffs attributed to bad policies and insecurity.
A trader in Utako market, Amina Mustapha noted that most of her customers are complaining of lack of money and the high cost of foodstuff.
A customer, Matilda Joseph lamented that her family has decided to buy affordable foodstuff pending when prices will get back to normal.