The National Publicity Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, says the government and the party have reasons to celebrate if the situation of Nigeria is looked at “closely”.

Abdullahi, in an interview with journalists yesterday in Abuja said President Muhammadu Buhari promised to focus on three key issues; fight against insecurity, a renewed battle against corruption and employment.

The APC spokesman said there might be temptation to say that nothing had been achieved because of the difficulties being experienced by Nigerians.

He, however, said that the fact that no part of the country was now under the Boko Haram group which has also released over 100 among the Chibok girls kidnapped three years ago, was worthy of celebration.

He said corruption, which had been considered a ‘normal’ practice in the past, is now being tackled head-on as more achievements are being recorded following introduction of the whistle-blower policy by the federal government.

He said, “Two years down the line, what is the size of Nigeria territory occupied by Boko Haram? Zero, including the dreaded Sambisa forest. For us, this is a remarkable achievement and we believe that in that respect, President Buhari and the government of APC have justified the purpose of coming to power. “Yes, many of the Chibok girls are still in captivity, but some of them have been recovered and more are still being recovered.

“For the parents of those recovered, you cannot tell them there is no reason to celebrate. For those who had to abandon their families and homes two years ago because of the menace of Boko Haram and have returned home today, you cannot tell them that there is nothing to celebrate.

“Let us take the issue of hear people talking about whistleblowers, people talk about huge amount of money being recovered, people being dragged before the court and former governors being remanded in prison custody for corrupt practices. You hear about former ministers being held in detention and prison for corruption. These are things that were almost impossible two years ago. The challenges are still there, but this is the progress we have made in two years.

“For us, we would also like to argue that there is the tendency to look at the APC from the perspective of the federal government. But the performance of the APC as a party is the aggregate of the performance of our 24 state government. You go to each of our 24 states and you will find out from the people the progress that has been made in two years in those respective states.

“So, when you want to assess whether the APC has delivered or has justified our being in existence, then you have to look at the totality of the federal government and the 24 states that are being governed by the APC. So, we believe that we have a lot of reasons to celebrate. The reality which we have acknowledged is that the economic recession has created difficulty and those hardships still exist and nobody has ever denied that reality.” To tackle the challenge of youth unemployment, Abdullahi said it required a new and comprehensive approach.

“You hear about NPower which is what is being done at the moment among others. Like I said, unless we go back to the nature of our education that retools young people for a different kind of occupation, we will continue to deal with this. So, I believe that it is not something that we can say we have solved in two years.

“It is a problem that needs to be dealt with, but when you are operating an economy in recession, it is even more difficult to manage the impact that some of these things can have. But you will agree with me that if the President promised three things and he has delivered well on two and he still has two years to go, I think he has done well,” he said.

The acting spokesman for the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bernard Mikko, told Daily Trust on Sunday, that the APC-led government performed well in some areas but failed in other areas.

“On the war against corruption, the president has performed above average; on fight against insurgency in the North East, the administration has recorded an increasing progress from the past administration.

“But the claim on the achievement on economy appears to be more political and passive, considering the conflicting reports from the presidency and the Federal Bureau of Statistics and even the National Assembly.

“We urge the electorate to hold political leaders at all levels; from local, state and federal government to account for their years of stewardship,” he said.

The spokesman of the PDP National Caretaker Committee, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, could not be reached at the time of filing this report.

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