By Suleiman Umaru
This may not be the best of times for President Muhammadu Buhari of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC. This is because Tanko Yakassai, an elder Statesman, had taken advantage of the country’s 59th Year Independence Celebration to take a sweeping look at the Admiration, since May 29, 2015, rating it very low. Compared to previous Administrations.
Appearing on Channels Television on Tuesday, October 1st, 2019, an aggrieved Yakassai lamented that that the APC logan of change which brought the party into power in the first instance in 2015, has failed to produce the desired changes in the polity and economy of this country, , and thus called for the restructuring of the country. The elder Statesman who could not hide his feelings stopped short at saying that Buhari and APC has failed the nation as the restructuring of the country would’’ help in the building of a better country for the upcoming generation’’. But the Katsina born Nigerian President would not take it from Yakassai.
Addressing Nigerians at the 59th Indepence anniversary celebration, an elated Buhari, gave his Administration passmak in the area of food security in the country. ‘’ We have made remarkable progress in almost all segments of the country’s Agricultural chain, from fertilisers to rice production and animal seed production.
The President who was not bordered by the people’s verdict on his Administration has vowed to sustain the policies on the nation’s Agricultural sector to ensure additional investments were channeled , noting that that the era of the government throwing its seaports and borders open for food importation and thereby exporting labour was over.
Recall that that the government had ordered the closure of the borders with the neighbouring Republic of benin, Niger, Chad and the Central African country of Cameroon since last August.giving the Presidential order, Hameed Ali, a retired Army Colonel and Comptroller General, Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, in Collaboration with the Mohammad Babadende, Comptroller General, Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, and other Security agencies including the Department of State Security, DSS, under the close watch of the Magaji Bichi, embarked on the border drills Coordinated by the office of Babagana Munguno, a retired Major General and National Security Adviser, NSA to check mate the activities of smugglers, particular smuggling of foreign parboiled rice and vehicles into the country through unapproved borders. The government had insisted as a condition for reopening the closed borders with the neighbouring West African countries and Cameroon that they must not allowed their countries to be used as a base to smuggle prohibited items into the country.
Recall that President Buhari had banned the importation of foreign rice and vehicles, into the country through the land borders in 2017. Mohammad Issoufou, the Niger President and Buhari close ally, has bowed to pressure from the Nigerian President to ban the re-exportation of foreign rice from Republic of Benin to his landlocked country to avoid playing into Buhari’s hand. He had expected President Patrick Talon of Benin to stop the importation of foreign parboiled rice, since the country do not eat but only eats white rice, to encourage the Nigerian President to reopen the borders to reduce the suffering. of the people of the border Communities. But the revenue generated by the Talon’s government on the foreign rice importation from the Companies given license to import rice into the country . Given the high level discussion s at the highest level of government, there were speculations that the President may take advantage of the the country’s 5th Independence Celebration to reopen the borders for facilitate ease movement of goods and srvices around the Border Communities. There are indications that that the border drills may still hold on for the next one or two months, an indication that indication that it may be reopened between now and November. The President may have been encouraged to still stick to the border closure because of the reports from office the office of the NSA and Ali, the Customs Comptroller General, , on the performance of the border drill across the country as the cross-border rice and petroleum Products smugglers syndicate have been forced out of the business.
The President who is impressed his Administration with the level of food security and self –sufficiency in the country, appears to have shifted attention to the revenue generating agencies, warning against failure to meet their yearly revenue targets. Among the revenue generating agencies are the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, NCS, Federal Inland Revenue Services, FIRS, among others.
The President was said to have made it clear that the revenue generating and reporting agencies will come under much greater scrutiny as a way to move the country forward. He may have gladdened the heart of Ali , the Customs boss and his officials who had been meeting and surpassing their yearly revenue targets over the last four years, that it had has hit the trillion naira market as he has given his words to reward ‘’exceptional revenue performance ‘’. He has a bad news for revenue generating agencies which fail to pay into the Federation Account agreed revenue targets. This is because of the dire consequence that awaits them
The President may have thrown a challenge to Abba Kol Kyari, Group Managing Director, NNPC, and Babatunde Fowler, Chairman, FIRS, to take a cue from the Customs Comptroller General to block areas of revenue leakages in their Organisations.
In spite of the President’s plans to push the revenue generating agencies, particular, NNPC, NCS and FIRS, to double their effort in revenue collection, Bismarck Rewane, Chief Executive Officer, CEO, Financial Derivatives Company limited, believes that ‘’ Nigeria lack the mental discipline to execute plans for the growth of the economy’’.
Rewane, who could not hide his feelings disclosed that the country does not lack good economic ideas but lacks the mental discipline to execute the plans.
According to him, Nigerians are tired of being told one thing and then seeing another thing. This is an indictment on the Buhari Administration which started with the slogan of Change but nothing has changed in the country as Infrastructural facilities are still in a state of decay.
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