On Sunday April 30, the Media Office of the President released a 91-page document on the achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari over the past eight years. It was a job painstakingly done for many weeks by the Presidential Communications Team.
I must confess that I was awed by things recorded in that one-stop shop of presidential accomplishments. Successes, achievements, landmark deliveries everywhere. On infrastructure; rail, roads, bridges, airports, air and seaports, power, housing, water resources. Legislative reforms. Executive Orders. Ease of Doing Business. Digital Economy. Oil and Gas. Solid minerals. Agriculture. Social Investment and Poverty Alleviation. Support to States. Law enforcement and security. Youth and Sports Development. And many others. I say again: I was awe-struck when the document became ready.
Why do some people, cynics, skeptics, caviling, belabor themselves to prove that President Muhammadu Buhari hasn’t done anything for Nigeria in eight years? Facts don’t lie, and they are always there, staring you in the face. “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations or dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” (John Adams). “Truth, like cork, cannot sink. It cannot be sunk. It always floats. Time will vindicate him.” (Prof Tam David-West, on Muhammadu Buhari).
There have been two basic reactions to the released Fact Sheet. Good Nigerians, in untold numbers, are delighted, asking us for copies, so they can use the content to countermand the antics of fake news merchants. We gladly oblige.
Others, caterwauling, wailing and whining, say ‘it’s not true. It can’t be true.’ And they are secretly going through the document with a magnifying glass, wanting to disprove some of the assertions. Alas, they are not succeeding, to their sorrow and disquietude.
Why do the heathens rage, and the people imagine vain things? What benefit is it to them, if President Buhari failed? Is it not to their disadvantage, that of their children, and the country in general? But beyond their shenanigans and negative wishes, the President has succeeded, and is still achieving; till the last day in office.
On Tuesday, President Buhari was in Zuba, Abuja, to commission the 748-unit FHA Mass Housing Estate, covering a total 18.5 hectares of land area, which comprise of one bedroom, two bedrooms, three bedrooms block of flats, and three bedrooms terrace duplex.
It is promise made, and promise kept, as the country’s housing deficit is further reduced. Senator Gbenga Ashafa, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Federal Housing Authority (FHA) disclosed that work is also ongoing on Bwari Estate, which is expected to provide 336 units of various house types.
Ashafa added: “At the national level, we have set for ourselves a target to do a project in all the zones of the country where we operate. All our zonal offices throughout the country have been repositioned to this effect. We are happy to be associated with Mr President’s housing revolution in the country.”
Of the N9.5 billion spent on the Zuba project, Federal Government provided N7.5 billion. This is despite the economic headwinds the Buhari government had faced since inception. Truly, there’s a difference between a leader who has come to serve, and the one who came to be served.
About 13,600 Nigerians were employed both directly and indirectly in the Zuba project. You can imagine the number of jobs that will be provided through housing projects nationwide. Yes, government just needs to provide the enabling environment, and the people will be gainfully employed. But the ignorant don’t know, and expect government to employ everyone. Where does that happen?
Speaking at the Zuba commissioning, President Buhari told the new homeowners: “Our promise of change has been fulfilled for you,’’ while charging them to consciously work together with the FHA to ensure the maintenance of the property and safety of the environment.
‘The President further said: “One of the measures that we have consciously deployed to attack poverty, create prosperity and develop our economy is the aggressive provision of infrastructure nationwide,’’ noting that such investments also lead to creating employment opportunities for artisans and other skilled members of the society.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said the completion of the project was a product of team work and leadership by the President, who gave approval for appointments into the leadership of FHA Board and Management.
‘‘Instead of abandoned projects, we now have 748 completed housing units for Nigerians and their families to shelter,’’ he said, adding that 75 contractors were engaged in the course of the project.
Fashola told the President that the 5 beneficiaries who received keys to their flats, including Tina Orkpe, Salisu Iliyasu, Ado Maude, Rabina Abdulkadir and Flight Sgt. Musa Mohammed, subscribed through FHA Rent-to-Own delivery model.
‘‘Although many of the beneficiaries of this project will never meet the President personally, your policies and programmes have met them personally at the point of their needs,’’ he added.
The Lagos-Ibadan Expressway is coming. The Second Niger Bridge, and many others are coming before the administration touches down on May 29. No single government finishes all the job that needs to be done in a country. Not anywhere in the world. President Buhari has done his honest bit. He has succeeded well. And his footprints will be indelible on the sands of time.
*Adesina is Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity