A chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has said that any Nigerian who dares to praise President Muhammadu Buhari in public risks being stoned by Nigerians who are angry about the country’s economic woes.
This is not to say that Mr Buhari is responsible for the hardship in the country, he said.
“If you say that President Buhari has done well in the marketplace and church, you may be stoned or criticised,” said Andrew Uchendu, a former senator who had represented Rivers East District.
“But the truth is that he (Buhari) has performed well,” he added.
Mr Uchendu made the remarks in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, shortly after his inauguration as grand patron of the Frontier for Peace and Unity, a Non-Governmental Organisation in the state.
“The gullibility of the society has made it difficult for us to reason and see the truth in the tremendous milestones this administration has made.
“People forget that Nigeria’s problems have been made complex by the failures of successive administration since 1992, which cannot be solely pinned on one government or anybody,” he said.
The former senator said the current administration’s “heavy” investments in agriculture and the ban on rice importation have resulted in tremendous growth in local rice production.
He mentioned other achievements of the administration to include reactivation of oil palm production, reactivation of ports, railways and the building of roads and bridges.
“Currently, the second Niger Bridge is being constructed while the airports have been expanded and upgraded to increase commerce in the country.
“Also, programmes such as N-power and Trader Moni have been created to gainfully engage unemployed citizens,” he added.
He challenged Nigerians to mention one past administration that made the right policies and programmes that completely addressed the challenges in the country at the time.
He appealed to states in the South-south to “realign and identify workable strategies to benefit from the federal government policies and programmes as other regions had done”.
Ikalama Owadiktorusinya, the national chairperson of Frontiers for Peace and Unity, said the group was satisfied with successes of Mr Buhari’s administration and that they would like to partner it.
She said the group was committed to ensuring that the country would transit from one administration to another peacefully in 2023.
On his part, the group’s secretary in Rivers, ThankGod Okannah, said the group appointed Mr Uchendu as patron because of his “vast experience in uniting people across different backgrounds.”
“We are focused on talking to Nigerians on the need to be peaceful and shun divisiveness.
“Besides Senator Uchendu, the Minister of Transportation, Mr Chibuike Amaechi, is also one man that can help advance governance in the country.
“So, we plan to organise seminars across the country to preach the importance of peace, especially as the nation heads towards another general election in 2023,” he said.