Patrick Osadebamwen in Abuja reports on the PDP’s answer to the recent statement form the ruling APC, lauding the President’s first month in office
Few weeks after the ruling party’s spokesperson, Alhaji Lai Mohammed lauded as sterling the President Buhari’s one month’s stay in office, the rival Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said that the present celebration of achievements by men of the President and his party in one month of governance was unnecessary even as it was premature. According to Mohammed, President Buhari has performed well in three fronts, namely corruption with the revelation that out of N8.1 trillion generated by the NNPC in three years, N3.8 trillion was not remitted to the Federation Account. He said: “Nigerians now know that the cash in the Excess Crude Account has been depleted by $2 billion without explanation.
A panel of four governors has been set up to investigate what happened to the money that was not remitted to the Federation Account,” He said it was noteworthy that some Western nations had also assured the Buhari administration of all possible assistance in its efforts to recover the billions of Naira spirited away from the public till by public officers in the past. On insecurity and terrorism he said: “The President travelled to Chad and Niger, and then hosted a summit of the Lake Chad Basin Commission that comprised Cameroon, Chad and Niger, with Benin also invited.
“The result is the decision to deploy the Multi National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), with headquarters in N’Djamena, Chad, on July 30 to pep up the fight against Boko Haram. “President Buhari has also rallied the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) to work with Nigeria in battling the Boko Haram insurgency.
“A joint summit of leaders of both economic blocs is to be held shortly to concretise these efforts that will complement the one by Nigeria and its neighbours. “President Buhari also travelled to Germany to meet with G7 leaders to present to them a wish list that included getting their support for the battle against Boko Haram. The leaders of the countries affected by the Boko Haram insurgency have compiled their requirements, which are being forwarded to the G7 for appropriate action. “While waiting for that, the US has announced a $5 million assistance for the fight against insurinsurgency and the relocation by the Nigerian military of the command centre to Maiduguri.
These are no mean achievements.” “The latest is the US President Barack Obama, who will play host to our President at the White House on July 20. There is no better indication of how much Nigeria is regaining its lost glory than the recent election of former Agriculture Minister, Mr Akinwumi Adesina as the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB).” But the party in a statement by the National publicity Secretary said, “ it believed that one month is such a short time to assess any government, however when this administration and your party started rolling out premature scorecards of imaginary achievements, it became necessary for us and indeed most Nigerians to X-ray them.”
The PDP said it was important to bring to President Muhammadu Buhari’s notice certain indices that if not properly corrected are capable of derailing the smooth running of your administration. The opposition party said “It is incontrovertible that instead of focusing on the promises you made to Nigerians and on policy thrusts that will move our economy forward, the ruling party has been made to be very high on propaganda, deceitful engagement and cosmetic governance. “We believe you should extricate yourself from these agents of propaganda who continue to believe that Nigerians would be swayed by these cosmetic interventions instead of real business of government.
“As the leader of the most populous black nation in the world, we believe you should not allow your Presidency to be pushed into the gimmicks of playing to the gallery and attempting to use the dramatization of promissory notes and pledges by foreign interests, false premature claims of victory against insurgency, dramatization of salary cut and rejection of official cars, all to gain cheap popularity and create an impression that the government is on course when in the actual fact, the new administration has not been able to locate a bearing since its inauguration in May.
The party stressed that while it appreciates the symbolic gesture by Mr. President in ‘cutting’ his N14 million annual basic salary by 50 percent, it should be noted that Nigerians would not be wavered by the N7million annual donation and rejection of official cars, and forget their expectations for the implementation of his long list of campaign promises for which he was elected into office. “The Presidency should know that these orchestration, no matter how populist it may seem does not in any way address the burning issues of employment, worsening security situation, decline in the economy, avoidable inactivity in government businesses, and continued apparent slide of the naira which has dipped from under N200 to the dollar in May to an all time low of N238 under the APC administration among others.
“Moreover, Nigerians cannot be overwhelmed by the gestures especially given that they are pretty aware that the salary is a mere drop in the ocean of personal allowances and privileges that come to the president. They cannot therefore be deluded by impressions aimed to make government appear to be on course when it has only been a case of all motion, no movement, spiced with unnecessary excuses. Nigerians, going by feelers have not been thrilled by such orchestrations as other leaders who at one time or the other adopted similar stance did not dither or become laidback, but hit the ground running with governance. What the citizens want is a government that is urgent in living up to its billings and campaign promises.
Instead of allowing his government to be taken over by needless showmanship, Mr. President must realize that the people would not judge him by such measures but on the extent to which he addressed critical issues of governance for which he was voted into power. The issue is about the President facing the challenges of governance and assembling his team of experts and capable hands to manage the economy, which has been on the decline since he assumed office. It is also about allowing the different arms of government, especially the National Assembly to work smoothly and encourage conducive democratic environment where the rule of law, personal freedom and security of lives and property are guaranteed, the PDP stated.