An Islamic human rights organization, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has risen to the defence of the immediate past president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari. The group insists that nobody could rubbish the good works of the former president whom it describes as standing tall among all past leaders of Nigeria.
This was disclosed in a statement issued by the Executive Director of the group, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
“We as a group always find it amusing when some people try to rubbish the achievements of ex-President Muhammadu Buhari. He stands tall among all past leaders of Nigeria.
“Apart from the first prime minister of Nigeria, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, the former Sardauna of Sokoto, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello and former military head of state, Muritala Muhammed, no other Nigerian leader stands to be counted for altruism, patriotism, transparency, credibility and integrity like Muhammadu Buhari.
“Those who describe Buhari as a failure are either being deliberately mischievous for the purpose of scoring cheap political points or suffering from collective amnesia. Judged from the standpoint of the circumstances of the time, Buhari achieved a lot for Nigeria.
“17 local governments were still under the full control of Boko Haram when Buhari took over in 2015. It was so bad that the British Brodcasting Corporation (BBC) said Boko Haram was controlling the size of Belgium but Buhari pushed them back and recovered all territories. Nigerian troops who used to flee to Niger or Chad during fierce clashes with insurgents due to lack of better weapons became emboldened under the Daura-born president.
“This was made possible because instead of diverting funds meant for weapons and military hardware, Buhari made Nigeria’s money count. He strengthened the military by purchasing the most sophisticated weaponry from everywhere in the world, including American Tucano fighting jets and attack helicopters.
“This was a president who miraculously escaped the most deadly assassination attempt in history. He was exposed to the most perfect gas poisoning plot of all times and was pronounced dead by his adversaries on different occasions. But like the cat with nine lives, Buhari lived on. Of course this attempt on his life took its toll on him as he laid incommunicado for five months.
“His list of achievements include, but not limited to, the Mambilla Hydropower project of 3050 megawatts which he started 40 years after it was abandoned. Buhari reduced out of school pupils from 10.5 million to 8.6 million in two years according to statistics from both UNICEF and UNESCO and introduced the feeding of over five million pupils every school day in 19 states.
“Buhari also increased saving in Excess Crude Account and increased foreign reserves to $40 billion from $29 billion which he inherited. He constantly bailed out states with trillions of naira to be able to pay workers and run their governments. He reduced monthly import bill from $5 billion to $1.5 billion. The N-Power Volunteer Scheme created jobs for hundreds of thousands unemployed graduates in all the 36 states and the FCT. The construction of the second Niger bridge is a feat worth celebrating but nothing is being heard even from the region which enjoys it most.
“If those achievements could be seen as books, his magnum opus is the reintroduction of rail services in the country. Ibadan-Lagos, Abuja-Kaduna and Itakpe-Warri standard gauge rail lines will remain Buhari’s bold signatures for a long time. The latter had been abandoned since 1987. This is why MURIC once described Buhari as the father of modern Nigeria. We still stand by this description.
“If former President Muhammadu Buhari had been corrupt, the $2.1 billion spent on the Lagos-Ibadan railroad would have gone down the drain. The painful frustrating journeys to those destinations would have continued till date. Ditto for other railroads constructed by him.
“If Buhari had elected to divert the billions of dollars spent on the acquisition of weapons, the whole North would have fallen to the insurgents. But he closed his eyes to Nigeria’s money and refused to be distracted by riches. Buhari had just two houses before he became president, one in Kaduna, the other in Daura, his hometown. He has not built an additional house even after eight years in office.
“That alone is a major achievement. This man should be celebrated. But unfortunately Nigerians love to hate him, particularly avaricious politicians who saw him as a stumbling block in their gluttonous desire to steal Nigeria dry. However, it is gratifying to note that hitherto, nobody has pointed an accusing finger at him for a missing kobo. Buhari remains the father of modern Nigeria.”