Chris Steven, Abuja
Nigerians from all works of life on Thursday converged on Abuja to hold a one million man march in support of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
The march which took off at the popular Wuse market took the protesters through the popular Berger roundabout to the Wuse 2 District and thereafter terminated at the Ascon filling station in Wuse 2.
The Ascon filling station which used to be known as the Occupy Nigeria ground during the Goodluck Jonathan Adminustration is now renamed after President Buhari as the Prosperity ground where Nigerians are expected to gather to appraise the performance of the government from time to time.
The Chairman, Movement of the people, Comrade Okpokwu ogenyi who led the protest alongside other leaders spoke glowingly about the excellent performance of the present government.
Okpokwu said, “let me thank you for taking time off your busy schedule to attend this rally in support of our dear President Muhammadu Buhari today. Your willingness and sacrifice to enable you come here today speaks to the positive impact Mr President’s government has had on our lives.
But it is a sacrifice we must make. It is important that we come here to let President Buhari know that he is doing a good work while we also point out areas that can be better. This is because of a new trend where people try to make political gains out of the ongoing economic recession.
A lot of them have been grumbling in the wings. They lament how they are no longer able to jet off to Dubai for shopping or London to attend orgies. They cry over their inability to gift cars like toys to their mistresses. They panic for not being able to continue be medical tourists. Imported goods are no longer available for them to buy.
Private jets have become burdens. Impunity is becoming history. People now consider every naira before spending. They have an array of many other complaints about how things are no longer business as usual.
“They dare not show their faces to tell are the true victims of the economic depression precipitated by their past administrations, about these things. So what did they do? They got consultants under the United Action for Democracy (UAD) and added other from smaller firms to stage protests that there is suffering in the land.
It is a fact there is economic recession. When UAD and its partners take to the streets to sing about the recession we should ask them what they contributed to creating the present situation.
They should mention what they did to stop previous governments from plunging us into this mess. When top shots speak about not having money we should be bold to ask them what they do for their living – we must differentiate hangers-on that no longer have access to government patronage from long suffering Nigerians that were denied gainful employment by administrations that refused to diversify the economy.
“This is not denying the fact that there is economic resetting going on. It entails citizens no longer having access to slush funds.It entails hard work paying before cronyism. It entails people being ingenious in their thinking and becoming entrepreneurs as opposed to jingoist jobbers that were earlier promoted above competence.
“While UAD and the rest are crying hunger, Mr President has already commenced a Conditional Cash Transfer programme that is catering in part to the needs of the very poor through a monthly N5000 grant to each family. If these people are as hungry as they said they can sign up in the next batch of the programme, it is open to all indigent Nigerians.
“They do not have to insist their children stay on in private schools. If the parents have decided to keep chasing life of luxury they can at least enroll their children in public schools where they are guaranteed a quality meal each day of school under the Homegrown School Feeding scheme. No one has to pay for that and if they have the requisite they can bid to become suppliers of food either as farmers or as bulk suppliers. These are opportunities that Mr President has created.
“By now these protesters should be wondering why they struggled to find hungry youths to populate their protests. In case they do not know, it is because Mr President’s N-Power programme is fixing young graduates with employers. They are also getting monthly stipend of N30,000 while getting work experience that will shape a better future for them.
“The money going into these projects would have been stolen in the past with the chant that government has no business being welfarists. What they will not tell you is that the funds for these project were formerly pocketed by them. So it is okay for Nigeria to be welfarist when they are beneficiary but wrong when the masses benefit.
“They are also unhappy that the portion their friends and family stole are being diligently pursued for recovery under the anti-graft war in which Mr President has done excellently well. He has similarly done well with caging Boko Haram, which is why Nigerians are again able to congregate in large numbers whether for carnivals, this rally or the UAD protest without the fear of being blown up by terrorists – the exception of course being the northeast where our gallant troops are mopping up the terrorist escaping from the capture of Sambisa Forest.
Because we see things in the light of what benefits have come to the masses we dare to ask you to “Believe Baba”. Believe in Mr President even when scare mongers see doom. Instead of joining their ranks we suggest Nigerians should rather think in terms of tangibles – like designing self help projects and pressuring the government into counterpart funding them. Instead of protesting we should have clear requests on which we can hold the government accountable.
“As Nigerians we should not allow the toxic lies of unhappy yesterday men make us lose sight of the great things happening around us. Where they see hardship let us see opportunities that are up for grabs.
Another speaker during the March, Solomon adodo who is the executive secretary of the empowerment for unemployed youths initiative eulogized the federal government on the payment of 5000 stipends to poor Nigerians
He advised the government to continue to embark on ventures that will improve the lives of Nigerians.