FIRST LADY Aisha Buhari’s criticism of government’s poor performance is not limited to the state level, the Nigeria Governor’s Forum (NGF) said on Sunday.
NGF faulted media reports to the effect the Mrs. Buhari criticism was directed solely at governors, “when she actually spoke about governance at all levels”.
Mrs. Buhari was reported to have expressed displeasure at the state of affairs in the country and regretted that people still lacked access to basic needs.
She spoke at the National Mosque during the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the National Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) in Abuja.
NGF’s spokesman, Abdulrazaque Barkindo, in a statement, faulted the impression created that the wife of the President attacked only governors.
The statement reads: “That Aisha Buhari’s rebuke at the National Mosque during the National Executive Council meeting of the National Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) could not have come at a better time.
“That the nation’s religious leaders have to be told by none other than the First Lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, that things are getting out of hand, is an indictment not just of governors, as the reporters would like the general public to believe, but of the nation’s entire political elite.
“Unfortunately, the haste to paint governors with one brush or the race to hit the front pages in this case, destroyed the message that the First Lady seeks to convey, Mrs. Buhari was sermonizing on anyone in a position of power or authority to fear Allah in whatever they do because, according to her, as it is said in the scriptures, everybody would eventually account for his deeds before the Almighty God.
“To insinuate, therefore, that the First Lady was referring to governors when she said, ‘People cannot afford potable water in this country while we have governors,’ erroneously suggests that only governors would meet God on the day of judgement.
“It was in the same breath that she said, ‘we should either fasten our seatbelt (meaning tighten our belts) or do the needful or we will all regret it very soon because, at the rate things are going, things are getting completely out of hand. The VP (Yemi Osinbajo) is here. Some ministers are here, they are supposed to do justice to the situation.’
“How the reporters at the occasion conveniently forgot the above part of the speech and singled out governors in passing the message, therefore, remains a mystery.
“Governors are doing their best to lift Nigerians out of misery and Nigerians are beginning to witness an improvement in their standards of living because of the conscious efforts of governors throughout the country.
“The nation is replete with remarkable improvements in different facets of public life.
“For example, public schools in Kaduna have received a serious boost, aged women in Ekiti State are receiving stipends from government to keep their bodies and souls together, food security has taken the front burner in Ebonyi, Lagos and Kebbi states, unqualified Permanent secretaries have been uprooted in Adamawa State and youth empowerment has taken center stage in Ogun.
“There are similar examples in every single state of Nigeria, all thanks to the hard work governors are putting into their jobs.
“It is, therefore, incorrect and mischievous to allude to the warning by Mrs. Aisha Buhari as only directed at governors as there is nowhere in the speech where the First Lady referred directly to the governors.
“Meanwhile, governors have also lent their voices to the social Media Bill that is currently setting the tone for a showdown between the public and the National Assembly.
“The First Lady also made reference to the Social Media Bill in her speech at the NEC of the NSCIA.
“At its last meeting this November, which was chaired by the governor of Sokoto State and Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, Rt Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, the governors stated categorically that, because the Social Media Bill affects everybody, it is necessary for the National Assembly to consider holding a public hearing on the Bill before it is passed.”