Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (retd.), has said that the change agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has been derailed because it failed to fulfilled its promises to Nigerians.
Ali said this at the unveiling of an ultra-modern Buhari Support Organisation office complex in Jabi, Abuja, on Friday.
The BSO is the umbrella body of all pro-Buhari support groups that articulated and coordinated the President’s 2015 presidential campaigns.
The customs boss said the challenge ahead of 2019 elections was bigger than that of 2015.
He said the event was designed to rekindle “what we started in 2015 and what we used as a vehicle to fight in the trenches, out of the trenches, along routes and in so many different terrains to see to the success of vision and mission.”
Ali recalled that in the pursuit of the vision, so many lost their jobs and businesses in a bid to bring the change required for a better Nigeria. He noted that some started the journey (with Buhari) in 2003, others in 2007, 2011 and others joined in 2015.
The customs boss said, “Let me say here without fear of being contradicted that I think halfway through the journey, we are losing our core values. We are losing our vision and mission and I think that the idea of our being here today is to look critically at what we need to do to get back on track.
“There is no doubt that we have derailed because we are not doing what we say we want to do. Why is it so? We need to find an answer to that. If we do find an answer; then, what should we do to get us all back on track? We owe this great nation and the 180 million Nigerians the duty to give good governance.
“Good governance is what they voted for and good governance is what they expect to get and they deserve that. We, therefore, as BSO, have a great task ahead of us. My dear comrades, the battle and the job start now.
“We have won one battle by taking over power. But what we make of this power is essential to us and to humanity. Therefore, I want to take this opportunity to tell my colleagues here that we have to change the narrative. When we were out there working and jumping on the streets and reaching every corner, we were shouting change, change for a better Nigeria.
“Now, the keyword is good governance for Nigerians. We must agree that we cannot finish our four years without delivering and leaving something to be remembered for in this country for a long time to come. We have no problem with our President because he is on course.”
He re-echoed sentiments earlier expressed by the Wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, that, “We have been infused by people who were not part of this journey and these people are the ones that call the shots today. That is why we are derailing.”
Ali said “We are the ones that will be asked to account for what happened. Are we willing to face Nigerians and tell them that we have failed? I think this is the time for us to come together, create a system that is very robust enough to fight back and take back government in our hands and ensure that we deliver.
“I will, therefore, ask my colleagues of the BSO to go back to the study room. This is a commission, but it is also the beginning of the fight for good governance. We must get back to the trenches, draw our own battle plan and battle line. I enjoin you to have the same commitment we had in 2015; I implore you to bear with us and commit yourself to a better future for Nigeria.
“We will be calling on you from now on and we will be working day and night. We must do so because we want to save our name at the end of the day and the name of the President for what he is doing.”
Ali was addressing a gathering of most of the President’s most visible supporters including the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, his counterparts from Bauchi and Plateau states, Mohammed Abubakar and Simon Lalong respectively.