The spate of attacks from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and counters from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and President Muhammadu Buhari is on the increase, as the trio continues to trade words over the nation’s political administration and governance.
The latest salvo fired from the PDP is that the present government may not be free from sleaze after all. Indeed, the PDP has condemned President Buhari for idling away, while officials of state in several federal ministries steal public funds recklessly.
According to the PDP, stealing of government funds has been on the rise since President Buhari replaced ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, on May 29, 2015, even as the new administration revels in appropriating the achievements of much vilified predecessor.
The PDP, which ruled Nigeria for 16 years, on Monday said the volume of stealing and other acts of corruption ongoing under the watch of President Buhari was becoming worrisome.
A statement by Olisa Metuh, National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, accused the Buhari government of deceiving Nigerians that his government his working.
The PDP insisted that the inability of the president to put together his cabinet, three months into his government was innaugurated, has left the ministries and the other government agencies to the whims and caprice of some members of the APC, now capitalising on the lacuna to enrich themselves.
The PDP said instead of trying to poach achievements to earn an undeserved praise, the APC and its government should brace up, articulate a precise economic policy, assemble an economic team and urgently commence the delivery of their promises for which they were voted.
The party said it finds it unacceptable, not withstanding the reasons being adduced, for a government in a democratic setting to run for almost three months without a cabinet and any policy direction whatsoever.
This is the first time since independence that our nation has stayed without a complete composition of government for three months.
“Unfortunately, the negative effect of this anomaly, which has taken a huge toll on the country’s economy and the welfare of Nigerians, will be with us in the coming years.
We express this concern against the backdrop of information that unpatriotic persons close to government are already hounding civil servants for inflated concessions, allocations, jobs and other favours being unduly granted, making the system fertile for heavy financial sleazes in the absence of appropriate statutory supervising officers.
This is in addition to the avoidable economic downturn now manifesting in the abandonment of ongoing infrastructural projects, crippling of foreign and domestic investments and continued slide in the money and capital markets.
”We want to reiterate our earlier call on Nigerians to continue to pray for President Muhammadu Buhari, who for obvious reasons is surrounded by people whose divergent personal interests have become a huge burden on our dear nation, the integrity of this government, the health of our economy and sustenance of our democracy.”
Accusing the current government of claiming the achievements of former President Jonathan as it’s own, the PDP said the APC should concentrate on giving good leadership to the people rather than laying claims to what it knows nothing about.
Metuh expressed disappointment that a government which came to power on a high moral ground, rather than focusing on delivering its promises, is dancing around the achievements of the previous government in an attempt to make the public believe that recorded successes in critical sectors are theirs.
“For instance, how do we explain APC’s spirited effort to make the public believe that the equipping of the country’s military for the fights against insurgency; the turn around of the nation’s oil refineries; and the polio-free certification of Nigeria were products of their government even when it is common knowledge that they have not been able to find their bearing for governance since their election into office.
“If the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki had not been courageous enough to release those incontrovertible facts that the Goodluck Jonathan-led PDP administration actually fortified the country’s military before leaving office in May, the APC would have succeeded in its propaganda against that administration and led Nigerians to believe that the equipping was a product of President Buhari’s recent diplomatic shuttles.
“It is an obvious fact that before the May 29 handover to the APC, the Nigerian armed forces, using these equipment sourced under the watch of the PDP government, had already pushed the insurgents to the verge of surrender in the Sambisa forest, only for them to now resurge under the APC-led government due to apparent lack of direction and confusion that have characterized this administration.
“In the same way, this government has positioned itself to claim credit for the turn around and resuscitation of some of the nation’s oil refineries without reference to the past administration that initiated and executed the Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) of the facilities years back, which dividends the nation now enjoys and which we expect will result in steady supply of petroleum products in our nation,” he added.
Crying Over Nothing
But the APC’s leadership said the opposition party was crying over nothing, because the distractions being orchestrated by certain elements in the polity would not deter the administration of President Buhari from its avowed determination to rescue Nigeria from the clutches of those who are holding the country by the jugular.
The statement issued in Lagos on Monday by Lai Mohammed, the APC spokesman as well as earlier ones by the two media advisers to President Buhari- Femi Adesina and Mallam Garba Shehu, condemned the latest round of criticisms.
They said the people, including fringe elements, who have frenetically engaged in fault finding with the Buhari Administration, are those who either have skeletons in their cupboards or those who are acting at their behest, for a fee.
‘’These paranoid and skittish people daily run to the media to disparage the Buhari Administration. Grasping at their straws, they condemn and criticize everything from appointments to the war against corruption and the battle against insecurity, even though the party to which they belong had 16 years to make things right for Nigeria but chose to suck the country dry, enthrone insecurity and pauperize the citizenry.
‘’Their design is simple: Make enough incoherent noise in the media with the hope that the Administration will be distracted.
“Unfortunately for them, they have failed in their evil machination, because this President can neither be deterred nor be distracted.
“While their dogs continue to bark, the caravan of the Buhari Administration proceeds on its steadfast journey,’’ it said.
APC said while a virile opposition is indispensable in any democracy that is worth its salt, no opposition can succeed by dwelling on the mundane or engaging in bare-faced lies, adding that only good research, strict adherence to the truth and a focus on real issues rather than frivolities can make the opposition relevant.
It wondered how the APC-led Federal Government would be blamed for the blatant refusal of the last Administration to adequately equip the military to confront the Boko Haram insurgency, when even an appointee of the administration told the whole world that he was the head of a military that lacked the relevant equipment and motivation to fight an insurgency
‘’What achievement is there for anyone to appropriate from an Administration that will go down in history as the most rapacious, incompetent and clueless in the history of our nation?’’ it queried.
APC said in less than three months of its existence, the Buhari Administration has started off on a strong footing in many areas, including the fight against insurgency, the battle against corruption, the reorganisation of the oil sector that was the private piggy bank of the last Administration, the bailout of many states that could not pay the salaries of their workers, the revival of the Nigerian dream, the resetting of Nigeria’s diplomatic relations with the rest of the global community and the overdue clean-up of the Niger Delta region, which was shockingly ignored by a President from that region.
‘’With its sure-footed efforts in all the listed areas already attracting national and international acclaim, does it not beggar belief that the same Buhari Administration will be accused by the apologists of the failed regime of appropriating their dubious achievements?’’
This is coming on the heels of the President’s response to earlier criticism of his government few days ago by the PDP and its senators, who accused him of partisanship in the anti-graft war, alleging that state agencies were being deployed selectively to hound leaders of the main opposition to strengthening the APC.
Acting National Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus, last week also took a swipe at the President’s anti-corruption drive, challenging him to allow the probe of APC leaders like former governors of Lagos and Rivers states, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Rotimi Amaechi, respectively, seen as the major financiers Buhari’s campaign allegedly with stolen government funds.
Buhari was quick to fire back.
The president rebuffed the allegations, asserting that the unfolding war against corruption would not be tempered by media blitz of a witch-hunt against political interests as he said that only the guilty should have reason to fear.