The Muslim Congress (TMC), at the weekend took a critical look at the state of the nation, giving the Federal Government knocks and praises, where it had slacked and recorded successes respectively.
Dr Luqman AbdurRahman, Chairman, Committee on Social Mobilisation, the Economy and Politics of TMC, a faith based organisation, gave the assessment in its “State of The Nation Quarterly Address”, held in Lagos.
Assessing the economy, security and supply of electricity and petroleum products considered to be the four critical areas that immediately affect the overall well-being of the populace, the organisation scored the government average, good, poor and poor respectively.
“Our score for the government in these four critical areas, using a 3-point grading of poor (1), average (2) and good (3) are as Electricity Supply – Poor, Petrol Supply – Poor, Security Provision – Good and the Economy – Average,’’ AbdurRahman said.
He explained that he Ministry of Power, Housing and Works would have to do so much more to ensure uninterrupted gas supply to power stations by fixing the security gap in the electricity supply chain.
“Security needs to be beefed up around electricity infrastructure, especially the gas pipelines, which are being destroyed by conscienceless and unpatriotic Nigerians.
“As this tinkering goes on, government will have to ensure that it does not lose sight of the immediate term goal, that is, making sure that petrol is readily and easily available at the petrol stations and at reasonable price.
“The way to go is to ensure that this pumping of petrol goes on to Ilorin in Kwara State and further northwards.
“If this is achieved, trucks would only be needed for intra-state supply rather than the present inter-state supply using trucks and the distribution will be greatly improved.
“As regards the fight against the Boko Haram group, the government has recorded tremendous successes and continues to sustain and strengthen its fight against this conscienceless group that is credited with the death of more than 20,000 people, especially in the North-East of Nigeria.
“This is not to say that we do not have numerous security challenges that this administration needs to contend with ranging from kidnapping, infrastructural sabotage, armed robbery, the Biafra struggle, ethnic clashes to the herdsmen/farmers’ clashes,’’ the chairman, who doubles as the Amir (President) of the TMC, said.
In the area of economy, he said that there was significant Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow and that government had been able to restrict importation so that our foreign exchange caters to the most important things we need to achieve.
“The courage and tenacity with which the government has implemented the Treasury Single Account (TSA) for most of government MDAs has greatly reduced the issue of corruption and non-remittance of funds to the appropriate quarters.
“We commend the government for charting a new direction for the economy,’’ AbdurRahman added.
Giving its position on the ding-dong theatrics’ play by both the presidency and the National Assembly on the 2016 budget, the TMC underscored the need for early budget passage and assent.
“The president has done the right thing by withholding his assent since he needs to scrutinize the entire budget to be sure that it is a document that he can use to actualise his promises to the teeming masses that voted him into power.
“The National Assembly erred in law to have sent only the highlights of the budget.
“The law stipulates that the details of the budget be sent before assent can be sought.
The lesson to be learnt moving forward is that preparations should begin in earnest to present the 2017 budget at the end of October this year so that within November and December we have a budget that has already being passed and assented to.
“Government should know that the mistakes of today will never again be tenable tomorrow,’’ the chairman said.
Also taking a swipe on the `change mantra’ a political slogan used by the ruling political party to win the 2015 election, the committee noted that the All Progressives Congress (APC) controlled federal government needed to do a lot of work towards ensuring that the change process “ is successfully managed and communicated.
“This change needs to have distinct phases, indicators and deadlines.
“The government must realise that people are emotionally charged on account of daily miseries caused by rising exchange rate, inflation, fuel scarcity and failed power supply’’.
The committee gave the government a knock for what maintaining “a poor communication strategy.
“Spokespersons of government have become reactionary in their approach rather than being proactive in dealing with the public.
“The government will need to tidy up its game by appointing ambassadors of change in every state of the federation.
“Why is government not using flyers and tracts to propagate its message to the people?
“Where are the innovative cartoon messages that the APC used during the electioneering process? Why can’t the APC deploy the same innovative communications strategies that it used while campaigning even now that the government has better resources to achieve same?’’ the committee queried.