Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, says the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has fulfilled all its campaign promises.
Assessing the performance of the current administration so far, Mohammed said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government has measured up to expectation.
“It (one year in office) has been very challenging, very fulfilling, but I must say with all sense of modesty that we have fulfilled our pledges,” he told Channels Television.
“We campaigned majorly on three issues: insecurity, fighting corruption and revamping the economy, and I can say again with all sense of modesty that we have fought Boko Haram to a standstill; we have launched a campaign against corruption with the change narrative, and we are taking steps to revamp the economy.”
Asked if he was sure about what he was saying, the minister’s response was: “Absolutely!”
He then went further to justify his point by speaking more on what he termed the successes of the government in power.
“Let me take the issue of fighting insecurity. Nigeria was bedeviled with various types of insecurity ranging from cattle rustling to kidnapping for ransom to Boko Haram but clearly the most challenging when we took over was the menace of the Boko Haram,” he said.
“When we came into office on May 29, 2015, Boko Haram was hoisting its flag in many parts of Nigeria, they had their own system of government, their own caliphate but we have been able to chase them out of those places and even the remaining fortress, which is the Sambisa forest. Today, we’ve maintained a bombardment in that area and if anybody wants to know what we’ve achieved in the last 12 months in the fight against Bokoro Haram, then they must look at what it was before and what it is today.
“Today all the highways leading to Maiduguri have been re-opened. A month ago, a league match was played in Maiduguri and that is evidence that normal life is returning there. But this didn’t come by chance; it came as a result of the dedicated and committed leadership of President Buhari.”
He said his party had also done well in its fight against corruption, saying under the past government Nigerians were celebrating corruption, but that the “change narrative” had put an end to such act.
Mohammed also said the APC did not set out to probe the campaign funds of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), but the quest to unravel why insurgency lasted so long brought about the investigation of the funds which former President Goodluck Jonathan used for his re-election bid.
“Whatever emphasis you put on fighting corruption can never be misplaced because if you see the major problems facing us today, they can all be traced directly to corruption. It is because of corruption that Boko Haram lasted so long. Money meant to fight Boko Haram was shared and that was what led many innocent Nigerians to their untimely graves,” he said.
“It is because of corruption that Nigerians are relying more on generators than on conventional power because after billions of naira was allegedly pumped into the power sector, what we see is darkness. Before now, we used to celebrate corruption at least if not anything, Nigerians no longer celebrate corruption. Now, again, if you look at the way we have addressed the issue of corruption, it is not to vilify anybody.
“We never set out to probe PDP campaign funds. No, it is not our business. It is INEC that has the right to probe the campaign fund of any political party. But we set out to find out why the Boko Haram insurgency lasted for so long. How come our gallant soldiers were running away from a ragtag army? How come there was so much mutiny within the army? Why were wives of the soldiers protesting that their husbands would not go to the war font? This was what we set out to probe, and then we stumbled on the fact that actually what happened was that when a $2.1 billion contract was given, rather than use the money to buy arms and ammunition, provide for the welfare of soldiers, they were used for political purposes.
“The interesting thing about this $2.1 billion is that not one person accused of sharing in this loot has denied it, instead they have given excuses why they took the money. One claimed that he took the money for spiritual purpose, another claimed he used N3.1 billion for publicity, another said he was asked to go and buy a land for maritime university for N13 billion.
“So far, no one has denied partaking of this money.”
Mohammed dismissed the negative projections about the country’s economy, saying the federal government was doing its best to make things go on well.
“When people make assessments and judgements and pass verdicts about another country’s economy using their own universal standards, they can’t always be correct for a simple reason, why would someone just say a person’s economy is heading for recession?” he asked.
“We came in and met the price of crude plummeting from $100 to 30 dollars, ask any economist what they will do in this situation… What we have going for us is our political will and discipline.”