By Omeiza Ajayi
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party PDP may have recently touched the tiger’s tail with its advisory to the ruling All Progressives Congress APC to throw in the towel and agree that it has failed Nigerians.
But the APC would have none of it as it noted that the PDP has lately been engrossed in concocted tales and ramblings on the polity, advising that Nigerians be spared the trauma of a reminder of the disaster of the PDP’s years of misadventure in government.
“The party should allow Nigerians forgive it for the numerous transgressions and agony it had put Nigerians through many years of misrule”, APC said in a statement.
According to the APC, the PDP deludes itself that “Nigerians desire their return to power”, adding that PDP is only seeking a return in order to kill the country and bury her.
Following the kidnap of some students of Government Science Secondary Kankara in Katsina state, National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus had told President Muhammadu Buhari that rather than the “belated lamentation on deteriorating security situation in the country, he should resign and give way to competent hand to govern the country”.
He said; “rather than the belated lamentations after 67 months in power that he has been unable to perform, he should do the honourable thing by resigning and giving way for fresh ideas and new vitality.
“Prince Secondus recalls the advice of President Buhari while in opposition in 2013 to the then President Goodluck Jonathan saying ‘Jonathan should vacate and give way to a competent hand to govern the country’”.
While the APC described PDP’s position as truly laughable and a collective assault on the sensibilities of Nigerians, the ruling party said, perhaps the PDP needs to be reminded that Nigerians have consistently and resoundingly rejected them in two consecutive cycles of general elections as well as other off-cycle elections and displayed their preference and endorsement of APC as the Party of choice for the majority of Nigerians.
To the Gov. Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee CECPC, the PDP has no moral authority to even contemplate comparing themselves to APC after the former’s “wasteful years in governance”.
The APC has also warned against what it described as PDP’s insensitive and callous political campaign against Nigeria’s security services, particularly the Armed Forces fighting terrorists, bandits and other criminal elements, saying it is a lingering pastime of the failed opposition party.
“From the onset, the PDP’s intentions was to play politics with the grief of citizens affected by recorded security incidents.
“Again, while naysayers and opposition partisans chorus their doomsday wishes for Nigeria, our dear country is nowhere close to becoming a failed state. The President Muhammadu Buhari government is not oblivious to the country’s challenges and is visibly and frontally addressing them.
“From the economy to security, it is easy to sum up Nigeria with some recent recorded security incidents and the economic downturn. However, this government has displayed the political will and capacity to contain any criminal/terrorist activity and return the economy to growth”, the ruling party stated.
Failed state controversy
Relying on an article by the Financial Times of London, PDP said the Buhari Presidency’s arrogant trivialization of Nigeria’s tragic descent to a failed state further confirms that the nation is on autopilot with nobody in charge,
“Indeed, the editorial by Financial Times is only stating the obvious, as our nation under President Buhari has presented all the trappings of a failed state including having a rudderless government with a dysfunctional command structure that cannot guarantee security, manage our economy or even perform very simple tasks of governance”, the PDP stated.
In a riposte, APC said the President Muhammadu Buhari government is not oblivious of the country’s challenges and is visibly and frontally addressing them.
“While naysayers and opposition partisans chorus their doomsday wishes for Nigeria, our dear country is nowhere close to becoming a failed state.
“President Buhari’s administration which sees the urgent need to have a better policing system for the country and is embarking on sweeping police reforms and supporting community policing, is definitely not governing a country close to becoming a failed state”, the ruling party stated.
Secretary of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee CECPC, Sen. John James Akpanudoedehe who now speaks for the party said, amid the COVID-19 induced economic slowdown, President Buhari’s administration is stimulating the economy by preventing business collapse and supporting labour-intensive sectors such as agriculture.
He said; “Nigerians will recall the ignoble pastime of past administrations which will rather bury its head in sand and spin conspiracies in the face of insecurity and engage in voodoo economics to hoodwink Nigerians while national resources were stolen and diverted to political cronies. Those days are gone.
“While the PDP and their hirelings engage in their unfortunate and apparently orchestrated attacks on the Armed Forces and other security services, the APC will rather support their efforts and charge them to do more to further degrade the capacity of terrorists and other criminal elements to attack soft targets”.
However, Ologbondiyan accused the APC of stealing over N15 trillion since it came to power in 2015, an allegation denounced by the APC which instead said, “going by the cankerworm of revelations after the descent of PDP, the CBN’S vault was thrown open and virtually abandoning professionalism; where individuals drove in to cart away raw cash as political patronages and without recourse to paperwork and inflationary consequences.
“We need to remind all patriotic Nigerians, once again of the missing $20 billion from the coffers of Government as reported by the then country’s Number 1 banker (Sanusi Lamido Sanusi). Monies (Billions of Naira meant for arms importation) were reportedly discovered in private jets belonging to “allies of the then government” in far away South Africa, by the South African authorities, yet no questions were asked and no answers were given by the Nigerian government.
“There were indeed, reasonable grounds for a cover up. Over $16billion, as was the yet rotten revelation from public hearings, that was shared amongst friends in the name of power sector reforms by the PDP government, yet nothing to show for it. This much was established by the “Elumelu Committee’s report.”
It said ahead of the 2023 general elections, Nigeria is on a rebound in spite of what it said was the decision of the PDP to play to the gallery in an attempt to play deniability and take away the gaze of Nigerians from the remarkable strides which the APC-led Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is carrying out amidst very trying circumstances.
According to the CECPC, Nigerians are aware that due to the monumental sleaze and leakages of her collective patrimony actively supervised by PDP, the Buhari Administration inherited an empty treasury, coupled with the global decline in oil prices since 2014, which significantly trimmed the well-laid out plans of the APC Administration.
Challenges PDP with scorecard
The APC also invited the PDP to challenge it on several fronts, including the Treasury Single Account (TSA) which it said is in operation and has successfully curbed the excesses of government officials who may be prone to graft.
It said unlike the PDP, it has has successfully aligned the budget cycle with the JAN-DEC budget window to allow for better delivery of benefits to Nigerians.
The APC also dared the PDP to challenge its exploits in other areas of the economy.
“The ease of doing business initiatives as implemented by PEBEC has propelled Nigeria’s ranking (moving down 13th place) in the Ease of Doing Businesses Ranking as published by the World Bank Group in 2020. In simple terms, this means that Nigeria is the 131st attractive country for investment out of a survey of 190 countries as against 145th it was placed in 2018.
“The 326km Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri railway (with stations) which has been abandoned for more than 30 years is in full operations with modern coaches.
“The 156.5km Lagos-Ibadan double track standard rail line is now in operation. Evidence abound. A lot of other rail lines that are underway, with varying funding needs due to the PDP recklessness in times of abundance.
“In the power sector, the APC-led Administration is battling the reversal of years of neglect despite the Billions of dollars sunk into the cesspool of corruption in the sector; the 3050 MW Mambilla Power Project, conceptualised over 30 years ago is now receiving concrete attention. Imagine if all these had been done in the years when excess revenues were at the disposal of PDP!
“The Siemens Presidential Power Initiative of this Administration seeks to ramp up the nation’s entire Electricity Value-Chain (Generation, Transmission and Distribution) and add about 25,000 MW of electricity to Nigeria. This will be fundamental to the growth of the manufacturing sector.
“The Social Intervention Programmes of this Administration is massive and unprecedented. These include the 774,000 SPW program of NDE, supervised by the Federal Ministry of Labour which kicked off January 5th 2021, the N-power scheme that has accommodated over 500,000 beneficiaries thus far and another 1 million beneficiaries about to be engaged, the Trader-moni, Market-moni, and the Schools-feeding Programme are all targeted at the poor”.
While Ologbondiyan said the APC is attempting to change the narratives through propaganda, he added that the ruling party had become rattled because of pressure from the PDP and other well-meaning Nigerians asking President Buhari to go after APC leaders as well as Presidency officials involved in the reported stealing of N9.6 trillion ($25 billion) oil revenue as detailed in the leaked NNPC memo.
“APC leaders are having sleepless nights because the dragnet would soon catch up with all of them involved in the reported stealing of N1.1 trillion worth of crude using 18 unregistered vessels; the looting of over N2 trillion in hazy oil subsidy regime, including a criminal under-recovery for unnamed West African countries as well as illegal tax per liter of petrol running into trillions of naira.
“APC leaders are also jittery because they would soon explain how they siphoned N500bn Social Investment Programme and the N16bn meant for Mosquito Net Project, as exposed by First Lady Aisha Buhari in addition to the N90 billion stolen from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), in a racket in which certain top APC leaders were alleged to have received N3 billion each.
“Very top officials in the Buhari Presidency have gone under over their alleged involvement in the looting of N33 billion NEMA fund as exposed in the findings by the House of Representatives that the funds were never used for provision of emergency food for victims of insurgency in the Northeast among other items as claimed.
“Some known APC leaders are now running amok over their involvement in the siphoning of the N48 billion meant for the rebuilding of six northeast states ravaged by insurgency as well as the looting of N25 billion from the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), among others.
“This is in addition to those fingered in the relooting of repatriated funds, the alleged extortion of N1.2 billion from poor beneficiaries of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, the fraud allegation in the EFCC leading to the suspension of its acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, as well as the looting of billions of naira Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)”, said Ologbondiyan.
Entrenching Democracy, Credible Elections
On democracy, PDP’s spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan said his Party notes that “the US election serves as a strong lesson to corrupt and power-drunk leaders in the All Progressives Congress (APC) that no matter how desperate they seek to manipulate the system, the will of the people and the constitution will prevail in the end”.
It accuses the APC of brazenly manipulating the institutions of democracy including the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies, saying the United States experience strengthens the determination by Nigerians to stand up against such manipulations ahead of 2023.
“The APC must stop being a community of people with common selfish interest and desperation for personal enrichment, who are not ready to stand up for the truth in the face of acts of injustice, deprivation and callousness against the Nigerians people and our constitutional order”, said Ologbondiyan.
In its reaction however, APC said, the bloody brand and ignominious “do-or-die” politics which the PDP introduced and foisted on Nigeria’s electioneering process remains one of the lowest points in the country’s democratic history.
APC said it has also never interfered in the functions of INEC and that electoral reform is a core plank of its programmes while other institutional reforms include the excision of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and inauguration subsequently by Mr. President, as advised by the EGMONT GROUP, to eliminate the siphoning of Local Government funds and to entrench financial autonomy for local government Councils in Nigeria.
“Recall that successive PDP governments rejected local government autonomy which hitherto encouraged undue interference in the running of local government administration by state governments and was linked to restiveness among the youth.
“The signing into law by Mr. President in May 2020, of “the Executive Order No. 10 of 2020 for the implementation of Financial autonomy of State Legislatures and State judiciaries and other related matters” is a bold statement on institutional reforms”, the Gov. Mai Mala Buni-led CECPC stated.
On his part, Akpanudoedehe said Nigerians will recall how a third-term agenda, procurement of result sheets, vote buying, voter intimidation and other election fraud became the PDP’s stock-in-trade in their desperate and unpopular bid to stay in power.
“Under the PDP, the Judiciary was corrupted and weakened; security services were literally converted to party agents; our national resources, including monies budgeted to fight terrorism were brazenly and criminally diverted to fund PDP political activities and shared to its cronies.
“Evidently, those criminal and undemocratic practices are fast fading under President Buhari’s watch. For us in the APC, it is one person, one vote”, Akpanudoedehe declared.