President Muhammadu Buhari has done a lot to deepen democracy and strengthen democratic structures in the country in the last five years.
According to the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO), this is more than what any administration has done since the return of democracy in 1999.
In a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, BMO said that the President’s actions in ensuring autonomy of other arms of government at sub-national levels are unprecedented.
“We invite Nigerians to note how President Buhari displayed a political will to free local government councils from the apron strings of state governments by simply ensuring that Constitutional provisions on financial autonomy for the third tier of government is respected.
“Section 162 (6) and (8) of the 1999 Constitution on state joint local government account has, as far back as the Obasanjo years, been implemented in the breach, but this administration without much ado simply enforced the provision through the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).
“This has for about a year now drowned agitation for local government autonomy in the country and strengthened the Buhari administration’s hand enough to move for the autonomy of state Assemblies and Judiciary through an Executive Order.
“All of these were unthinkable in the past until the President opted to invoke part of his powers to strengthen democratic structures at sub-national levels”, the group said.
BMO noted that President Buhari is also laying the groundwork for Agriculture to eventually become the mainstay of the economy after decades of almost total dependence on oil.
“Aside from infrastructure development doting the landscape, agriculture is almost certain to be the single most important legacy the Buhari administration will bequeath to Nigerians, judging from what is on ground.
“It all began with the launch of the Anchor Borrowers Programme in 2015 to pave way for smallholder farmers to have access to farm inputs in cash and kind through an arrangement by the Central Bank, as well as a direct link to off-takers.
“At the last count, 1.5m farmers across all 36 states of the Federation have benefitted in such a way that local rice production, especially, was boosted to the extent that Nigeria did not feel the impact of Covid-19 on food supply.
“Only recently, Nigerians saw rice pyramids in Kebbi state and a few days ago, the government inaugurated a 200,000 yam storage facility with well-paved, interconnecting roads in what has been described as the world’s largest yam market in Benue state.
“Even as the Anchor Borrowers programme is set to capture more farmers in the 2020 farming season, the Buhari administration has sealed a government to government $1.1bn agricultural mechanisation deal with Brazil.
“This initiative tagged ‘The Green Imperative’, is perhaps the most revolutionary step made by any government in decades to change the face of farming in the country across the entire agricultural value chain, and is expected to touch all 774 local government councils.
“We make bold to say that It is one project that will put the country firmly on the path to mechanized farming, especially with plans to set up assembly plants for tractors and other agricultural machinery and processing centres”.
The group added that President Buhari would continue to do much more to cement a positive place in Nigeria’s political history.