Information, Culture and Tourism Minister Alhaji Lai Mohammed yesterday joined issues with the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, over the latter’s remarks on President Muhammadu Buhari’s performance.
The PDP candidate at a rally in Ondo State claimed that the Buhari-led administration for claiming that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has not done anything for Nigeria in eight years.
But the minister said the one-time vice president has lost touch with events in the country having relocated to Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)
According to Mohammed, when Atiku was in office for eight years, there was no motorable road to his hometown, adding that the Mayo Belwa- Jada- Ganye- Toungo Road has been constructed by the Buhari administration.
Besides, the minister said the Buhari government has curtailed Boko Haram insurgency in Adamawa State.
Speaking at the seventh edition of the PMB administration, Mohammed said: “Let me use this opportunity to comment on the increasing tendency by some opposition presidential candidates to downplay the achievements of this administration, in their desperation for power, ahead of the 2023 elections.
“The worst offender in this regard has been the presidential candidate of the PDP, former vice president Atiku Abubakar.
“During his recent campaign in Akure, the former VP was quoted as saying the APC had not done anything for Nigeria in eight years. What a preposterous statement from somebody who should know.
“I guess we can excuse His Excellency the former Vice President who, until recently, had fully relocated to Dubai, thus losing touch with Nigeria.
“And if anyone would accuse the APC-led Federal Government of doing nothing, it should not be Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. Why? Because for the 16 years of the PDP rule, eight of which Alhaji Atiku Abubakar was Vice President, there was no motorable road to the former VP’s hometown and indeed to key local governments in the Southern Senatorial zone that served as Adamawa’s food basket and economic nerve centre until the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office.
“Today, the Mayo Belwa- Jada- Ganye- Toungo road has been constructed fully and it’s the road that Alhaji Atiku uses to get to his hometown of Jada.”
He added: “What about security? Before this administration came into office, all the five local government areas in Adamawa’s Northern Senatorial District were effectively under the control of the Boko Haram terrorists.
“All state institutions, the local government administration, the police, the judiciary, schools, hospitals and markets had been sacked. Traditional rulers, including emirs and chiefs, had been displaced with their palaces taken over by the terrorists as their headquarters.
“The affected five local governments in the Northern Senatorial zone are: Madagali; Michika; Mubi North; Mubi South and Little Gombi
“In the Central Senatorial zone, two local governments were effectively under the control of the Boko Haram terrorists: These two local governments in the Central Senatorial zone are: Maiha Local Government Area and Hong Local government Area
“Today, not an inch of these local governments in Adamawa, the home state of the former vice president, is under the control of terrorists. All institutions of state have relocated back and are operational. All emirs and chiefs have returned to their palaces. Schools and markets have opened.
“Please note that throughout that period, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar could not even go home. As a matter of fact, when one of his right hand men, Mr. Adila, was killed by the terrorists, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar could not even go to condole with the family of the deceased. It was that bad.
“Now that he can travel home freely, thanks to the Buhari administration, it is not sweet in his mouth to accuse the same administration of doing nothing. As they say, the bed wetter should not join those who are insulting the washer man.”
The minister reeled out the achievements of the Buhari administration.
He said: ”In the area of Social Investment Programmes (SIPs), there have been 29,641 beneficiaries, from Adamawa alone, of the N-POWER Programme of the Buhari administration. Under the Home Grown School Feeding Programme, some 162,782 pupils from Adamawa are benefitting from one meal a day.”
“That programme employs 2,259 cooks in Adamawa and has covered 1,236 schools in the state. How many school children did the PDP feed in Adamawa or anywhere in the eight years that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar held sway as vice president in Abuja!
“We are not done… under the Conditional Cash Transfer, some 64,607 vulnerable people have benefitted in Adamawa alone, while Trader Moni and Market Moni have reached a total of 38,000 people in the state.
“In the area of infrastructure, some 8 roads projects totalling 714 kilometres are currently being rehabilitated or constructed in the state. That’s out of 43 road projects in the Northeast alone. These are not phantom projects.
The minister said the government was ready to come clean on its claims for verification.
He added: “We have the full list of the roads and can make it available to anyone who so wishes. Similarly, the North East Development Commission (NEDC) has either completed or is currently working on 140 projects, including construction of classrooms, healthcare facilities and ICT training centres, in Adamawa alone.
“Overall, NEDC has a total of 593 projects in the entire North East. Again, we have a full list of the projects.”
He said no amount of fallacious soap box rhetorics can erase performance records of the Buhari government.
Mohammed said: “You can now see that we didn’t even need to go far to disprove the former VP’s soap box statement.
“You can also see the irony of someone who held the number two position in the country for all of eight years but could not positively impact on his own hometown, state or region now condemning an administration that has made it possible for him to even access his hometown -anytime he flies in from his new hometown of Dubai!
“The Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has had a positive impact on all parts of this federation. No amount of fallacious soap box rhetorics can change this fact.”