Arguments for and against were rendered as academics of the University of Ibadan, on Tuesday, joined the 2019 political discourse on whether President Muhammadu Buhari should be reelected or voted out.
Gathered at a round table themed, “Of Wailers and Hailers of the Nigerian Space,” at the institution’s Staff Club, critics the three points agenda of the Buhari administration of security, economy and corruption posited that the nation had become worse off than 2015, while supporters maintained that Buhari deserved a second term to consolidate upon the achievements recorded.
At the event with Professor Remi Raji-Oyelade as moderator, ‘Hailers’ to include Professor Idowu Farai posited that Buhari is right to be reelected going by his achievements in road and rail infrastructure like the Lagos-Calabar, Lagos-Ibadan-Kano, Port Harcourt-Maiduguri, Ajaokuta-Warri rail projects.
Farai also mentioned the completion of the Ajaokuta steel project, the resurrection of the 3,050MW Mambilla power project, the existence of 21 large integrated rice mills and near completion of Dangote refineries and 25 modular refineries as pieces of evidence of Buhari’s commitment to the country.
Similarly, Professor Rahman Akinoso lauded the increase in power generation from 3,500 to over 5,000 megawatts, the revival of moribund fertilizer plants and reduction of hardship through social investment programmes like N-power, conditional cash transfer and school feeding.
Akinoso also lauded the current administration’s recognition of June 12 as democracy day, the synergy between Buhari and his vice, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and that Buhari remained a man of integrity.
On the other hand, ‘wailers’ like Dr Kemi Ademola-Aremu argued that Buhari does not deserve a second term going by high unemployment, low life expectancy, high poverty level, erosion of the middle class and non-functionality of the local government system.
She reckoned that the nation needed a revolution to crash the oligarchy of the ruling elite, praying that youths rise to save the nation for further deterioration.
While noting that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was not a credible alternative, she called for the coalition among other parties than APC and PDP to form a third force that can wrest power.
Contributing on security, Dr Gani Adeniran held that Boko Haram was still as deadly as before herdsmen attacks were still being recorded.
Another panellist, Mr Wale Akinremi posited that the nation’s education sector, epitomised by industrial actions of tertiary institutions and health sector, evidenced by the lack of confidence in the nation’s healthcare system, pointed to leadership without ideas to fix the country.
Akinremi further lamented the fact that the nation borrowed to finance its budget as showing poor economic planning, while also pointing to instances of disrespect for the rule of law by the Buhari administration.
Others to include Professor Olabode Lucas and Professor Tunji Olaopa lamented that corruption in form of killing Nigerians’ creativity and nepotism was the order of the day.
Amid questions on what alternatives to Buhari and Atiku existed, Olaopa noted the need for an organised opposition and more sensitisation of Nigerians to engender informed electorate.
Professor C.B.N Ogbogbo, in his contribution, charged the National Assembly to interrogate the health status of Buhari and inform Nigerians before the election.