Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has said that Nigerians must under the education and training of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to understand his effect on governance.
The minister stated this in a documentary titled, ‘The Buhari Effect: Undeniable Achievements’, which was aired on Channels Television on Saturday evening.
The one-hour documentary chronicled some of the “achievements” of the Buhari regime across sectors of governance including infrastructure development, housing, agriculture, transportation, health, amongst others.
Speaking during the documentary, Fashola, a former two-term Lagos governor, said, “The best way to under the Buhari effect is to understand the man himself and appreciate his connection in a simple way to the most vulnerable members of our society.
“It is also to understand his education and his training.
“When you go back to his previous enterprise in government, whether as a much young officer, as GOC (General Officer Commanding) or as military governor or as Minister for Petroleum or as Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund, you will understand what the man is all about,” he said.
Controversies had surrounded Buhari’s academic credentials as opposition Peoples Democratic Party had, on October 26, challenged Buhari to show proof of his integrity by presenting his academic credentials “if he has any,” to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The President was reported to have informed INEC that his credentials were in possession of the military board.
Buhari’s position had, however, continued to trigger some comments from political observers.
To salvage the situation, the West African Examination Council, in November 2018, had presented an attestation certificate and confirmation of school certificate result to Buhari in a much-publicized photo session.
Buhari, 78, a former military Head of State between 1983 and 1985, has been Nigeria’s democratically elected President since May 2015, but many Nigerians continue to lament the worsening security situation, inflation-riddled economy, and soaring unemployment rates during his government.
Travellers no longer sleep on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway —Minister
Speaking further during the documentary, Fashola later delved into the various road projects undertaken by the Buhari regime in the last six, many of which were funded by local and external loans.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria boasted that travellers no longer have a hectic time on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway because of the “Buhari effect”.
“If you look at the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, people use to sleep on that road, people use to sleep on the Benin-Ore-Sagamu Road, all that are now in the past except when you have non-compliant behaviour,” he said, adding that the Apapa-Oworonshoki Road, as well as a number of road projects across the country won’t have been embarked upon but for the “Buhari effect”.
Contrary to the minister’s claim, considerable portions of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway remain travellers’ nightmare. Kidnappers and hoodlums have been reported to take advantage of the dilapidated portions of the road to attack road travellers.
Nigeria’s intervention outperformed those of advanced countries —Mamora
The well-edited documentary was a compendium of sorts of the records of the “Buhari effect”.
After Fashola, it was the turn of the Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, who majored on the “Buhari effect” in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic since the index case of the lethal virus was recorded in in the first quarter of 2020.
Mamora claimed the Buhari government did something that some advanced countries didn’t do and that was responsible for the “effective management” of the infection in the country.
The health minister, however, failed to mentioned the “Buhari effect” on the management of health workers as perpetual industrial actions by the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, the Nigerian Medical Association, the Joint Health Sector Unions and the Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations ground medical services at successive intervals.
The PUNCH findings show that dissatisfied doctors and protesting lecturers have spent more than 552 strike days under Buhari in the last six years, that is about two years.
As a result of the “Buhari effect”, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, is known for being in marathon closed-door sessions with the striking doctors who protest lack of modern equipment, failure of government to pay their salaries, amongst others.
Ngige has always been seen having a tough time with members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities as they demand certain entitlements from the government. In 2020, due to the “Buhari effect” ASUU embarked on a nine-month long strike, the longest in the history of the association.
While all the industrial actions were in full force, members of the elite class including Buhari frequented the United Kingdom for medical attention. The President’s children as well as those of other top-ranking government officials also graduate from world-class tertiary institutions abroad while ordinary Nigerian students grapple with incessant strikes which elongate their stay on campuses all over the country.
After Mamora, the Managing Director, Nigeria Railway Corporation, Fidet Okhiria, also spoke about the “Buhari effect” and “Railway Transformation” in the country.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, in an interview in June 2021, had said the Federal Government borrowed $2bn Chinese loan for the construction of the Kaduna-Abuja and the Lagos-Ibadan railways, amongst others. The debt profile of the Buhari regime which had risen by N20.8tn has been a source of concern to many Nigerians.
The documentary on the “Buhari effect” also featured the Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze; Chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Buba Marwa; and the Director General, National Lottery Regulatory Commission, Lanre Gbajabiamila.
The documentary, however, failed to chronicle the “Buhari effect” on education; commerce; manufacturing, security; youth empowerment, falling naira; information, communication technology; amongst many other critical but wobbling sectors in Nigeria.