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Director General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr. Osita Okechukwu at the weekend advised those attacking President Muhammadu Buhari over the statement of President of World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, to in the fullness of time judge him by his project performance across the length and breadth of the country.
Accosted by Journaliists in Enugu at the weekend to react to the statement credited to the President of World Bank, to the effect that President Buhari directed them to focus their intervention projects in Northern Nigeria, Okechukwu said: “Gentlemen of the Press, methinks it is better we judge President Muhammadu Buhari in the fullness of time with his project deliveries across the length and breadth of the whole country.”
“The statement Kim made is not as it sounds as our dear sister, Oby Ezekwesili posits; for as we approach 2019 general elections more stories will surface either fake or real. After all, the simple definition of election in liberal democracy is a referendum on the performance of the incumbent. Use your vote to judge his project performance not propaganda performance. Leaders like Buhari come once in a generation I bet you.”
When confronted with more adverse reactions and criticisms from Nigerians of diverse cultural groups, Civil Society Organisations and politicians condemning the said statement as unpresidential and unpatriotic, Mr. Okechukwu said, “whether you agree that the North in question is the Boko Haram devastated North East or not, my primary position is that instead of listening only to the propaganda of the likes of Governor Ayodele Fayose and his clan, the cardinal questions are – are the $11 billion Coastal Railway, the N14 billion 2nd Niger Bridge payment, the $1.5 billion Lagos-Kano Railway Standardisation, $500 million East-West road completion, N120 billion Bony-Bodo road, Enugu-Onitsha, Enugu-Port Harcourt etc in the North?”
On Ohanaeze’s visit to the President last week, Okechukwu who had lamented about Buhari’s letter of November 2014 and his January 2017 congratulatory message, which were all rebuffed by Ohaneze leadership, said he was happy indeed that Ohaneze Ndigbo finally has opened this vital channel of communications with President Buhari, instead of throwing stones from the sidelines.
Okechukwu maintained that, “nations do not have two leaders like Buhari in a generation, since nature is not lavish, adding that as innovative and enterprising people Ndigbo need to focus on the big picture, which Buhari provides.”
Asked what big picture he was talking about when our people are sidelined in appointments in the high echelon of the security agencies, Okechukwu said: “Appointments in the high echelon of the security agencies are very important, but as I said before it is transient and temporary. I understand that some are retiring, so let’s wait and see.”
” For me the big picture is infrastructural development, since to bridge infrastructure deficit is Buhari’s main objective. Our big picture and target is Enugu Coal to Power, Port Harcourt-Maiduguri standard railways, gas pipeline reticulation in the South East as submitted by Ohaneze, urban water schemes and the focus on human capital investment which Mr. Kim emphasized as well” he said.
On the recent requests by the President for external borrowing, and possibility of Buhari sliding Nigeria back into debt trap, even when economists warn against debt burden, Okechukwu said by his simple understanding, Buhari is borrowing for only critical infrastructure, not for flimsy items.
In this connection, he explained that if Mr. President borrows $200 billion to arm us with adequate electricity supply, modern rail, water and road transport and agrarian revolution, the future generations would remain ever grateful for the progress and prosperity it would engender.
“USA is indebted to over $10 trillion and remains the most prosperous and progressive country.” Okechukwu said.
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