Nigerian Governors React to Aisha Buhari's Criticism

Aisha Buhari.
1 December 2019

The Nigerian Governors' Forum (NGF) says state governors are not the sole target of a comment by First Lady Aisha Buhari that things are 'getting out of hand' in the country without the governments doing much about it.

Mrs Buhari, who has criticised various government organs in the past, took a swipe at the governors, saying citizens do not have access to potable water in some states.

"People cannot afford potable water in this country while we have governors," she said on Friday at the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) general assembly meeting in Abuja.

However, the NGF in response through a statement signed by its spokesperson Abdulrazaque Barkindo, on Sunday, said any interpretation that Mrs Buhari's comments were targeted as governors was "incorrect and mischievous."

The forum said the governors are not the target of the criticism as they are working in their states to lift millions of citizens out of poverty.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported the NGF in November announcing that it launched an initiative, Human Capital Development (HCD), which aims to move 24 million Nigerians out of poverty before 2030.

The plan is a collaboration with the office of the Vice President.

"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 state governors throughout the country. The nation is replete with remarkable improvements in different facets of public life.

"It is therefore incorrect and mischievous to allude to the warning by Mrs Aisha Buhari as only directed at state governors as there is nowhere in the speech where the First Lady referred directly to the governors," the NGF said.

The forum said the entire political class is affected by the first lady's comment as not the governors' alone.

"To insinuate 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 State Governors would meet God on the day of judgment. The statement partly says.

Read the full NGF statement below

"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 state 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 State Governors would meet God on the day of judgment.

"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 State Governors throughout the country. The nation is replete with remarkable improvements in different facets of public life.

"It is therefore incorrect and mischievous to allude to the warning by Mrs. Aisha Buhari as only directed at state governors as there is nowhere in the speech where the First Lady referred directly to the governors.

"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 state 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."

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