Wednesday, 2 September 2015

100 days: Buhari didn’t make specific promises – Presidency

Presidency yesterday stated that President Mohammdu Buhari during his campaign never made specific promises of what to achieve within his first 100 days in office.

It also denied circulating documents which contained such promises, saying that two booklets titled “One Hundred Things Buhari Will Do in 100 Days” and “My Covenant With Nigerians” which allegedly made rounds were not products of the Media Department of the All Progressives Congress, APC.

The Presidency’s position followed public concerns of apparent denial of such promises and existence of the documents during the campaign by appropriate authorities.

The  Senior Special Assistant to the president on media and publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu who incidentally was the Director, Media and Publicity Department of the APC presidential campaign organisation made the disclosure in Abuja on Tuesday.

Shehu who urged Nigerians to ignore the claims from certain quarters submitted that he never signed any such documents where the president as a candidate made achievable promises within 100 days in office.

He further backed up his claim by recalling the lecture of given by the president at the Chattam House in London.

According to him, it was more timely to talk about milestones since the advent of the new government than speaking about achievements.

“The president never promised anything to anyone. It is on record in that lecture at Chatham House they asked him a question relating to expectations and what he specifically would do in relation to certain documents that were flying around committing him to this thing or that thing within 100 days.
“In that lecture- the video is already now viral on the web- he (Buhari) said ‘it contained falsehood and I am not going to be engaged in deceit. I will go in there, I will see what is there and the get the intelligence – the knowledge of things that are going on- and I will fully commit myself to serving Nigeria'”.

“My point is that as the director, media and communications of that campaign, I was responsible for internal and external communications and these so p-called documents that are been flown around didn’t have my signature.

“I didn’t fund them and I didn’t authorize them. From what President Buhari himself had said at Chatham House, he had no iota or knowledge of those documents. So, people cannot hold him to account on something to which he did not commit himself”.

“We prefer to talk about milestones instead of achievements. Whether the milestones represent achievements or not, that is left for the people to decide. Milestones have been achieved  which is important for the country”, he stated.

Reminded that the documents had gone viral on social media platforms including APC’s website, the presidential spokesperson said the party had many centres of communication, some of which were on the loose.

He said, “APC had a campaign in which there were so many centres of public communication and unfortunately there were some among those centres that were more or less on the loose. Yes, it was possible that things were being done without the knowledge or the usage of the proper channel of communication.”

Shehu also recalled that the president discarded the idea of 100 days at the Chatham house.

Quoting from President Buhari’s transcript, Shehu said: “The second one: high expectations and what to do with the first 100 days. Yes, I respect that question because quietly I was thinking about these high expectations. Those who are following the trail of our campaigns can see how people are turning out, some becoming emotional and crying.

“I am really getting scared that if I get there they will expect miracles within the next week or months. That would be very dicey handling that one. I think we have to have a deliberate campaign to temper high expectations with some reasonableness on the part of those who are expecting miracles to happen.

“Just to go first to the ‘first 100 days’, some of it is fraudulent and I don’t want to participate in any fraud in any form. Nigerians know that we are in trouble as a people and as a country.” When we get there we will quickly get correct intelligence of what is on the ground and inform Nigerians and just learn what I have just read.

“We will make sure that the misappropriation and misapplication of public resources will not be allowed. You would be surprised by how much savings we will realize. That saving will be ploughed back into development and this is what I can promise. But I would remove that ‘100 days’”.