Reply to "some notable achievements" by 'third-term’ campaigners

Many arguments have been presented in favour of Obasanjo remaining for a third term. Here we list them together with a reply.

Listed below are claims in a national ad by pro-third term supporters and a reply to them.

Banking reform:

The change this administration has brought to the banking sector has gone a long way to solidify the capital base of the existing banks.

Reply:

Over 5,000 workers sacked, over N177 billion depositors’ funds stock in the process and the existing banks are still unstable. ‘Solidified capital base’ in no way eliminates bank distress nor is it a sign of good health. Interest rates are still very high and the banks are not supporting manufacturing; 80 percent of banks’ income still comes from dubious foreign exchange trading. More crisis impending.

Due process:

This is the system in which government contracts and transactions are executed with accountability

Reply:

Where are the roads, schools, power supply, hospitals, universities, etc? Billions of naira contracts are allocated but nothing to show for it.

Telecoms:

The revolutionary introduction of the GSM into Nigerian telephony has greatly improved business and private relationships.

Reply:

Nigerian’s GSM is the most expensive on Earth! The technology implemented is now obsolete in the advanced countries. Where is NITEL? Who are the looters of NITEL? Where are the real telecom infrastructures? How many real jobs, not contract jobs, did the GSM companies create in spite of the billions they make or what real developmental projects are they doing?

Transparency policy/Anti corruption:

Through the efforts of the ICPC and EFCC, the government of the day has been able to combat misappropriation, mismanagement and other corrupt practices.

Reply:

Ha! Corruption reigns in Nigeria; it still ranks top of the top ten of the most corrupt countries on earth. Only those who fell out with Obasanjo are harassed.

Privatisation:

The privatisation policy embarked upon by this administration created room for accountability and expansion in the affected sectors.

Reply:

Wild claims! Hundreds of thousands have lost their livelihood thanks to privatisation. The privatisation programme is a crime against humanity! Sale of public corporations or utilities to a few rich individuals, who in most cases have suspicious wealth, is nothing but robbery.

Debt relief:

The foreign debt forgiveness achieved by the Federal government is a feat that has rubbed off positively on all citizens.

Reply:

Pensioners have not received pensions for months and sometimes years. "Twelve billion dollars [repayments] in Nigeria would have gone a long way towards saving children, immunization, healthcare, all kinds of things" – Prof Jeffrey Sachs.

Foreign investment:

It is apparent that the enabling environment fashioned out in the last eight years has attracted investment into the Nigerian market. This has also translated to job creation, industrial growth and lots more.

Reply:

This actually does not merit a reply, as they are talking about another place not Nigeria!

Emergence of the middle class:

For the first time ever, the wide gap between the two extremes of the socio-economic classes is now being filled with people.

Reply:

Obasanjo’s ministers say they know this because of the increase in the numbers of fast food joints!

Foreign reserve increment:

The national foreign reserve has experienced drastic increase during this era.

Reply:

What is the magic? Could it not be that this is due to the increase in the international price of fuel? Why keep the nation’s money in another country’s bank, when it could be turned over in your own country?

Exploration of more natural resources:

For instance, agriculture is now being used to generate national income.

Reply:

The Nigerian rural farmers have never had it more terrible. In addition, food prices are going through the rooftops and more out of the reach of the masses.

The empty claims and phrases put forward by the faceless pro-third-term people expose their desperation. If there were any truly positive results for the regime it would be clear to the masses. What is known to the masses is poverty and pain.

May 2006