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BUHARI: Prominent Nigerians speak


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NOTABLE Nigerians were yesterday divided over the inaugural speech of President Muhammudu Buhari. While some expressed optimism that the Buhari presidency will herald a new dawn for the nation, others were of the view that the speech fell short of the expectations of Nigerians.

Eminent Nigerians, who spoke to Vanguard on Buhari’s inaugural speech and their expectations from the new administration include legal icons, Professor Itse Sagay (SAN), Mr Rickey Tarfa (SAN), Chief Mike Ozhekome (SAN); a former Commissioner of Police for Lagos State, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav;

Second Republic lawmaker, Dr Junaid Mohammed; National Secretary of the Labour Party, Mr Kayode Ajulo; the National President of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Alhaji Yerima Shetima and Lagos based lawyer, Ebun-Olu-Adegboruwa.

Buhari should eliminate corruption and instil discipline—Sagay

Constitutional lawyer, Professor Sagay, SAN, urged President Buhari to eliminate corruption and instil discipline in the country.

Sagay said “in the latter part of the speech he made, it gladdens my heart. The first thing he has to do is to eliminate corruption and instil discipline. Those are the two things that are missing in this country. Because of corruption, there is impunity, there is stealing, there is wastage and there is total lack of consideration for other human beings by the few cabals, who are bleeding the country white. That is why today, we have been bled white and the country is nearly at the very bottom of its existence. We are virtually on our knees.”

Also, the legal icon said “the first thing is to tackle corruption and then, introduce discipline and a lot of the losses we have made, will be recovered and we will be on our way back to political health.

On Buhari’s comments that Nigerians should not expect a miracle from him, Sagay said “what he (Buhari) meant by that is that we should not expect a magic wand. We should give him time and that is fair. We are going to give him time.

The right man has come to lead Nigeria — Mohammed

In his reaction, Second Republic lawmaker, Dr Mohammed said expressed delight over Buhari’s ascension to the presidency saying “the right man has come to lead Nigeria”.

He said, “to say I am happy is an understatement. I believe the right man became the President at the right time. We have a leader whose patriotism is second to none and with every sense of belonging. Without trying to be immodest, I wrote in 1985 when General Buhari was overthrown, I said in time Nigerians will understand Buhari and that history will have a place for him. The challenges he faced in 1985 have now become more amplified and he needs people who are upright to help him solve the problems”.

On his expectations from the new administration, he said, “I expect him to succeed but he must establish new benchmark as far as government cost is concerned, he must lift the economy even though it will take time and he should ensure that those who stole Nigeria’s money and too it outside the country, they should bring the money back so that we can use it to develop the economy. He must be ready to defeat the Boko Haram as well”.

Buhari is ready to work for Nigeria—Tsav

Also speaking, a retired Police Commissioner, Alhaji Tsav, said he was optimistic that the new president is ready to work for the country.

Tsav said: “It was a great and remarkable event. It was historical in every way. Buhari in his speech touched every thing that concerns Nigeria. That was a testimony that he has good plans for this country. Saying that the military command structure is going to be moved to Maiduguri was a sign of his determination to end the Boko Haram menace. No one was left in doubt that Buhari was going to do well. The hand over was symbolically . It was a great and remarkable event. It was e owe it a duty to support this government. Having shown the determination to confront our challenges, Buhari should be supported.’’

Buhari cannot do it alone — Rickey Tarfa

However, a legal practitioner, Mr Tarfa (SAN) said the incoming administration must identify the root causes of the problems Nigeria is going through saying “Buhari cannot do it alone.” He also said the new administration cannot tackle the problems alone adding that all Nigerians must be ready to join hands with him.

His words: “I want to be realistic in this situation. Even though I quite agree that expectations are very high but if we will not deceive ourselves, we have to first identify the root causes of those problems before we start tackling them. If we don’t identify, how do we forge ahead”.

“Expectations are very high and I believe the new President, Buhari will not fail us. But we also have to pray to God to give him the grace to face the challenges ahead. We all have expectations and I pray he will meet it”, Tarfa added.

To whom much is given, much is expected — Ozhekome

Reacting to the swearing in of the new administration, another legal practitioner, Chief Ozhekome (SAN) said the new administration should drop the mantra of opposition.

He said, “To whom much is given, much is expected. The administration of President Buhari must understand tolerate opposition and try not to annihilate the opposition. The President needs to understand that this is democracy, so he has to respect the civil liberties and right of Nigerians must not be trampled upon”.

Ozhekome added that “the new government must understand that they cannot do it alone, he needs the input of the two other arms of government namely the judiciary and the legislature to achieve its aims.”

On the fight against corruption, he said “I will advise that in fighting corruption, Mr President must understand that he needs to change the orientation and psyche of Nigerians”.

“The President must also understand that Nigerians are impatient people. Today they shout hosanna and tomorrow, they will shout prosecute him. So he has to be careful in making his decisions and he must realize he is now a father of all nation and not the All Progressives Congress, APC. So he has to ensure he brings everybody together irrespective of party, religion or tribe”, he said.

Let’s give Buhari # a benefit of doubt—-Shetima, President, Arewa Youths

On his part, President of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Alhaji Shetima called on Nigerians to give the new administration the benefit of doubt to deliver on his promises.

Shetima said “it is obvious that we are transiting from one government to another without crisis. This is a welcome development and from all indications, democracy has come to stay. Let us not forget that expectations from this new government are high because the country is on the verge of collapse.”

He, however, said “I will urge Nigerians to remain resolute, calm and let us give the government a benefit of doubt. We should not expect magic over night but let us give him (Buhari) a benefit of doubt. The days of cheap blackmail, failed promises are over, now we are faced with a lot of challenges. We must be calm and see Nigeria as our home. The president must see himself as father of the nation.”

His speech lacks direction says Ajulo, LP scribe

In his remarks, Labour Party’s secretary, Mr Ajulo picked holes in the president’s inaugural address saying the speech lacked direction.

He said “the speech was vague, not direct and very disappointing. Yes, he mentioned that he will tackle the rot in the power sector but he never said how. Nothing was mentioned on his government’s foreign policy despite having 40 foreign leaders listening to him.”

“He also needs to be reminded that election campaigns are over as he still sounded as if he is wooing electorates for votes. In a nutshell, the speech lacks direction and therefore a disappointment. He refused to dwell on burning issues like unpaid salaries for Nigerian workers. He failed to say corruption will be tackled despite directing the Army command to overrun Boko Haram, a decision which is commendable”, Ajulo added.

Buhari’s inaugural speech is illusory and vague—Adegboruwa

In his remarks, Lagos lawyer, Ebun-Olu-Adegboruwa condemned the president’s speech saying it was illusory and vague.

The lawyer, in a statement, argued that President Buhari, in his speech failed to touch certain issues.

While he said the speech failed to show how certain problems he identified would be tackled, he said it fell short of a presidential speech for an inauguration.

Listing areas that the new president failed to address to include foreign policy directive, issues relating to global warming and climate change, the violence in the Middle East, the general global economic downturn, the mode of tackling corruption among others, he said “it would seem that the President is still on the soap box, whereby promises and promises and intentions, are the order.”

He said “he is the President of Nigeria now and my expectation was that since March 28, 2015, when he won the election, when he received the certificate of return from INEC, when he got assurances from Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, that his election would not be contested, General Buhari would have outlined his main policy direction. But alas, that has not happened today”.

Fayose hails Buhari’s inaugural speech, says it brightens hope for Nigeria’s democracy

Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose has hailed the inaugural speech of President Mohammadu Buhari, describing it as a sign that the president was ready to serve all Nigerians, not minding their

political affiliation.

The governor said “the content of the president’s speech showed a man who is desirous of making a success of his administration.

According to the statement issued by the governor’s Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, the governor also hailed the immediate past president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, saying; he laid foundation for democracy in Nigeria.

The governor said; “Nigerians, including those who voted and did not vote for President Buhari were eagerly waiting for his inaugural speech.

“The speech, if followed in practice shows that he is ready to govern Nigeria. It is a sign that the president is ready to live above board and lead a government that accommodates all.

“It is my prayer that the Almighty Allah will grant our president the courage and wherewithal to make a success of his administration and further deepen democratic governance, especially in a confederation like Nigeria by sustaining rule of law.

Speaking further, Governor Fayose, who urged the president to make sure that his name was not used surreptitiously by anyone to muscle the opposition, added that as the president of Nigeria, he had the constitutional duty to protect all Nigerians, not minding the political party they belong.

While praising former President Goodluck Jonathan for his love for peace and progress of the country, Governor Fayose said; “With what Dr Goodluck Jonathan did, history will never forget him as the man who laid an enduring foundation for democracy in Nigeria.”

He said the event of today midwifed by Dr Jonathan and President Buhari proved to the whole world that the black people of Africa were capable of piloting their own affairs.

Hon. Temi Harriman

Hon. Temi Harriman, GMB Coordinator in Delta State and member of the Presidential Campaign Council, said:““I congratulate President Muhammadu Buhari on his inauguration. The goodwill of Nigerians all Nigerians including the political opposition is indicative of his acceptance and the mandate given him to lead the change he has purposed. It is also gratifying that the international community by the presence shown today is willing to support us in at this time. I wish him all the best.

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