In this interview with Comrade Odeyemi Oladimeji, President, National Committee of Yoruba Youth (NCYY), he spoke on issues surrounding the Health of President Muhammadu Buhari, the state of the Nation and the recently released Chibok School girls.
There has been general apprehension over the health of President Muhammadu Buhari, considering his recent decision to return to the United Kingdom on health grounds, coupled with various issues raised by a cross section of Nigerians, as an organisation, what is your view on this?
Well, as you may have known, the National Committee of Yoruba Youths is the apex organisation of Yoruba Youth groups, spread across the six states of the Southwest and other Yoruba speaking parts of the country, and we have been at the vanguard of advocacy, campaign against insurgency and terrorism, and any issue that threatens corporate existence as a Nation. This question you have raised, borders on the issues that we have spent the last few weeks sensitising our members and the general public on. I think the time has come for us as Nigerians and lovers of democracy, to urgently address and arrest, this growing trend that could undermine, the unity of this great nation. We are particularly worried as a people, that the threat to our corporate existence, might not be from the now defeated Boko Haram insurgents, but the activities of some people, that I view, as tribal war leaders, ethnic jingoists, religious zealots and self-acclaimed activists, who feel that they can play politics with the health of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Like every other Nigerian, I have read various inciting statements and attempts by these people, to stampede the President out of office, and I think the activities of these persons, constitutes the greatest danger to our democracy.
Should Nigerians not query the health status of the president?
Not at all. As a democrat, I quite agree and appreciate the right and freedom of people to express themselves, on issues which directly or indirectly affects us as a nation. This has never been in contention, as far as our position is concerned. However, we are concerned about how some people have mischievously attempted to hijack the genuine concerns, being raised by concerned Nigerians, on the health status of President Buhari for their own selfish political gains. These category of people, who have been trying to politicize the health of the President, are those who have made derogatory comments on President Buhari’s Health, and have constantly derided his temporary incapacity. We see this as highly distasteful and diversionary. For the sake of emphasis, governance is systemic and cannot tolerate a lacuna (gap) in our country. The acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo is a competent man and key members of the cabinet, are proving to be highly resourceful.
As a Nigerian, what are the significant achievements that you have seen, since the current administration was inaugurated almost two years ago?
Let me say firstly, that my view may not represent that of the government, because I am not an employee or appointee of the current administration. Yet, as a patriotic citizen of Nigeria, I must say that President Buhari’s administration had, in the last two years, struggled to put Nigeria back on the path to greatness. This we can see in the unprecedented successes being recorded in the war against corruption in the country. You and I will agree, that the major factor that has been responsible for the underdevelopment of this country is the catastrophic rise of corruption in our country. But today, the story is different. As a country, this government is saving, despite a fall in oil prices, this government is upgrading infrastructures at ten times, the rate we have at any time in the last eighteen years.
The Buhari administration is plugging all loopholes through the Treasury Single Account and the administration has shown enough courage and effort to tackle unbridled corruption and insurgency in our country.
How soon do you think the president will return to the country, in the light of the dust being raised on his long absence from office?
To be ill, as far as humanity is concerned, is not abnormal. We must also realise that President Buhari has so much burden on his shoulders as the Commander-in-Chief, thereby making it necessary, that we advise him as Nigerians, to take due time to attend to his health, before resuming duties. Like I said earlier, the country will continue to function, even in the absence of the President. The president has done the most important thing required, by transmitting to the National Assembly, his desire to proceed on medical vacation, as demanded by our law. He can stay for as long as the need to fully recover is assured and he transmits a contrary declaration to the National Assembly, to the effect that He has now resumed duties. This action of President Buhari, has effectively blocked any vacuum, or lacuna, in the governance of the country.
Recently, there was a major breakthrough after three years search for the abducted Chibok school girls, with the release of another batch of 82 of the girls, what is your take on this?
As a nation, we must appreciate, the determination, focus and compassion of President Buhari and the leadership of our security agencies, especially the Nigerian Army, ably led by Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, which led to the recent release of the 82, of the abducted Chibok School girls. I also want to implore Nigerians, not to see the willingness of the government to negotiate and meet the terms that led to the exchange for the girls as a sign of weakness. Rather, it shows compassion on the part of the country’s leadership. Prisoner exchange is a known global practice by any nation, who values the lives of her citizens. We must equally appreciate the role of the Swiss government and other international agencies, who have supported the Buhari’s administration to ensure that more of our Chibok girls are rescued.
Do you think the government made the right decision in the swap deal that led to the release of the girls going by a recent video credited to one of the released Boko Haram commanders?
For those who have watched the purported video, one thing that will be clear to you, is the fact that it is spurious, and mere hallucination, by the Boko Haram elements, who have been decisively dealt with, by the determination of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and the resilience of the nation’s security agencies, particularly the Nigerian Army. Its content are empty threats, which cannot stand in the face of the landmark defeat, that the insurgents have suffered, in the hands of the Nigerian government, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari. Let me appeal to Nigerians, not to be distracted or worried, over the poorly conscripted video, because it is one of the universally known antics, of defeated terrorist Organisations, and isolated elements, who will desperately seek to remain seen, in the scheme of things. We strongly believe, that the Boko Haram insurgents, have been seriously decimated by the Nigerian Army under the leadership of General Tukur Buratai, in active collaboration with other security agencies, and the victory so far achieved in the war against insurgency under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, is visible to the blind. We challenge those in doubt of these achievements, to freely explore the opportunity of visiting the communities in those axis, to understand the successes so far achieved, by this administration
Finally, I want to call on Nigerians, to sustain their support towards the untiring effort of President Buhari’s administration, to salvage Nigeria, from the decadence of the past. I also want to urge Nigerians to continue praying for the quick recovery of President Buhari. Our prayers should also go to the men and officers of our armed forces, particularly the Nigerian Army, who have shown uncommon courage, dedication and commitment, in protecting our corporate existence and our sovereignty as a nation
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