OPENING SPEECH BY THE HON. MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND CULTURE, ALHAJI LAI MOHAMMED, AT THE ‘TESTIMONIES OF CHANGE’ SHOWCASING THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE BUHARI ADMINISTRATION, AT THE BANQUET HALL, STATE HOUSE, ABUJA, ON SUNDAY, 20 JAN. 2019
I welcome you all to this event, tagged the TESTIMONIES OF CHANGE, which is designed to showcase, in a unique way, the achievements of the Buhari Administration.
2. We have used many platforms to communicate the numerous achievements to Nigerians. These include Town Hall Meetings, which we have now held 16 times across the country; media tour of infrastructural projects; regular visits to media organizations, press conferences and media interviews, and the FGN/iAPP.
3. However, we decided to add another platform, which is personal testimonies. The simple, dictionary meaning of testimony is ‘evidence or proof of something’. There is no better evidence of what this Administration has achieved than that given by Nigerians, who have been positively impacted by the policies and programmes of government.
4. No one can better tell Nigerians about the impact of the Home-grown School Feeding System than the 9.2 million school children who are fed one meal a day, five times a week, or the over 90,000 cooks who have been employed under the programme. No one can better tell Nigerians about the impact of the N-POWER than the 500,000 graduates who have been employed under the scheme.
5. If you want to know about the success of Tradermoni, ask any of the 2 million beneficiaries. If it’s Marketmoni, ask any of the over 350,000 beneficiaries. Who can better communicate the efficiency of the Abuja-Kaduna rail transportation that the thousands of people who are daily ferried between the two cities. And if the government says it has paid pensioners from the defunct NITEL and Nigeria Airways, among others, is it not better to hear directly from those who have received their pensions after waiting for many years?
6. This is exactly what we have done. We asked Nigerians, volunteers all, who have benefitted from the various programmes of government, to relate their experiences to fellow Nigerians. That’s how the testimony series was born.
7. Starting late last year, the testimonies have been running on radio and television stations across the country, as well as in the social media. Just as we envisaged, this testimony series has been a huge success. In fact, it so rattled the opposition that they were forced to issue a statement in which they acknowledged that the media space is awash with the testimony series.
8. Now, we won’t be surprised if the naysayers, who have never seen anything good in this Administration, say that those who participated in the testimony series are either card-carrying members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) or were even coerced to do so. That is not the case. These are everyday Nigerians who are simply giving their personal testimonies.
9. We therefore decided to present them to Nigerians, in flesh and blood, hence this event, tagged TESTIMONIES OF CHANGE, which is unprecedented in our recent history. The achievements of this Administration are real, and the Administration has impacted positively on millions of Nigerians, in just three and half years and with very limited resources, compared to other Administrations that have presided over the affairs of our dear country since 1999.
10. Your excellency, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, we will now present to you the video clips of the testimonies, after which you will meet the men and women who appeared in the videos. Please sit back and enjoy the testimonies.
11. I thank you for your kind attention.