Chris Steven, Abuja
A coalition of about 17 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) yesterday said the present administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari has to a large extent achieved some of its campaign promises which include security of lives and properties, employment, war against corruption and others.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, the Convener of the CSOs Dr. Emmanuel Ogah said they went round the country including the Northeast, assessed the performance of the present administration and came up with their findings.
“It is the end of the year already. Year 2016 opened for us as Nigerians on a positive note. It turned out to be a defining year as our collective resolve to stick with the change we demanded from our leaders was tested on more than one occasion. It was a year in which we heard Nigerians questioned the propriety of embarking on change from the way we used to do things.
For this reason, a group of CSOs, CBOs and several independent organisations went round the country to assess what is on ground and see what further interventions are needed to positively impact the life of citizens”.
On the war against terrorism, Dr Ogah said “We found, from visits to affected communities and informal interviews with affected persons that the war on terrorism has been largely successful in the North-East where the military has succeeded in pushing Boko Haram terrorists from the area.
“Some displaced persons have been able to return to their ancestral lands. Concerns remain about the wellbeing of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at the various camps where they are currently resettled while authorities have repeatedly assured that they will improve on their living conditions with more support to the military in preventing resurgence of the terrorists.” He said
Speaking further on anti-corruption, he said “the anti-corruption war is one aspect that touches on everyone in the country. In most of the places we visited for assessment, there was a general consensus that the country would have fared worse if the cancer of corruption was not addressed.
“Citizens remained dazed at both the extent and magnitude of theft by persons in position of trust under the previous dispensations. They however acknowledged that there is some measure of pain arising from the fact that slush funds from corruption no longer flow to sustain unrealistic lifestyles which has now forced people to live within their means.
“The sense is that people that had earlier subsidised their earnings with questionable funds have come to the realisation that they need to be more creative in earning their living. This perception is backed by appeals to create palliatives in the wake of the dismantling of what was once the nation’s leading industry”.
On the the economy, the CSOs said “the economy, like the anti corruption fight, is an all encompassing issue for Nigerians. There was the general acceptance that the hardship occasioned by the fall in crude oil price, sabotage of oil exportation by Niger-Delta militants and the consequent fall in the naira’s value, threaten to overshadow the multiple gains recorded by President Buhari.
“What would have been a gloomy outlook has however revealed a silver lining as Mr President’s stance on finding home-grown solutions has led to small businesses rising up to begin meeting demands for goods that are no longer profitable to import. What was termed economic hardship has also stimulated genuine intensification of alternate sources of revenue to crude oil. The appeal in this instance is for palliatives to be put in place for vulnerable populations in the country.
The CSOs however urged Nigerians to support the efforts of the present administration in combating Boko Haram and war on corruption, which will in turn, have positive impact on the economy for the benefits of all Nigerians.
According to Ogah “our military needs to be further encouraged in getting rid of the remnant of the Boko Haram terror group. This could be in the way of provision of new equipment and hardware for troops with additional funding provided to combat the menace.
“The anti-corruption drive should be strengthened with key institutions shielded from politicisation. The war on corruption must be allowed to go on full blast as we have seen that recovered loots can be put to good use in funding the national budget”.