Governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should be apologizing to Nigerians for their party’s profligacy while in power.
According to the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO), this is more honourable than peddling unfounded claims and half-truths about the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The group, in a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, described the communiqué issued at the end of the Governors’ meeting as a criminal attempt by senior opposition figures to not only distort recent history, but to also revile it.
“We view the PDP Governors’ 14-paragraph communique as either a public show of their lack of understanding of issues, or outright mischief and that’s why we consider it necessary to demand an apology from them.
“It beggars belief that a group of active politicians would describe the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) under President Muhammadu Buhari’s watch as one that operates in an ‘opaque manner’ when every discerning Nigerian knows that was what obtained in the PDP years.
“We make bold to say that it was not until the Buhari era that the NNPC began a monthly publication of its operational expenditures as well as an annual release of its audited report. This is only a few years after we were told, in very clear terms, by previous government officials, that it would be difficult to open the national oil company’s finances to public view because Nigerians would not understand it.
“We wonder whether those Governors were not aware of the very public endorsement of NNPC’s operation by the global watchdog for the extractive industries, Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) after the corporation published its first audited account in 10 years that captured details of all of its 20 listed subsidiaries, including companies floated offshore for the corporation’s international business.
“If this qualifies as ‘opacity’ in the view of PDP Governors, then we can clearly describe them as mischief-makers, playing politics with a serious matter with the intention to hoodwink members of the public.
“We also find the Governors’ buzzwords ‘think outside of the box’ advice on the Power sector laughable, especially as it came from chieftains of a party that spent about $25bn on the sector in 16 years but the country could only generate about 4,000 megawatts of power. Meanwhile, the Buhari administration they are advising has creatively entered into government-to-government arrangements on Power with Germany and China, as well as built a number of power infrastructure in six years.
“There is also the more serious issue of PDP Governors describing the Central Bank as a ‘Leviathan’ and a ‘father Christmas of sorts’ apparently based on the manner the Apex Bank has been rejigged as a major contributor to the Buhari administration’s Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP).
“We invite Nigerians to compare a CBN which today has 37 interventions that are putting money in the hands of Nigerians of all classes, to one that operated like a microfinance bank where sacks of dollars were taken on demand and delivered in homes of a few public officers and ruling party officials.
“And in case the PDP Governors had forgotten, we believe the chairman of the forum, Aminu Tambuwal can still easily recall the rowdy scenes on the floor of the House of Representatives, at the time he was Speaker, over the manner a former CBN governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was removed from office after he raised the alarm over the disappearance of $20bn of NNPC’s unremitted revenue.
“So we believe he and his colleagues should have been patriotic enough to tell themselves the truth about the Buhari-era CBN and the one that their party presided over”.
BMO also noted that that the Governors’ position on the country’s debt profile, local government autonomy, and the decision to suspend the microblogging site, Twitter, was unfortunate.
“We view their stance on the national debt as the height of deception, especially the manner they suggested that the Buhari administration eroded the gains of PDP governments.
“We wonder which party handed over a debt profile of $63bn to President Buhari at the inception of this administration in 2015? This was also a time Nigeria’s oil receipts were high to the extent that the country was said to have made $780bn from crude sales in 16 years, so the question is how could they accumulate a debt of $63bn in five years?
“This is why we challenge the former ruling party and its officials to show evidence of what they did with the loans secured by their administration and let Nigerians compare it with the about $20bn added to the debt stock by the Buhari administration.
“On the so-called Twitter ban, the opposition Governors showed yet another lack of proper insight by holding on to the jaded opposition view of ‘personalised reasons’ without considering the generality of issues raised by the Federal Government and which the social media platform is gradually committing itself to respect.
“Our piece of advice to them and the leadership of their party is that they should take a cue from opposition elements in France who rallied en mass in support of President Emmanuel Macron when he was recently slapped by a misinformed citizen, and stand up for national interest rather than a resort to political gimmicks, always”.
The group urged Nigerians to see PDP Governors’ belated support for constitutional provisions on judicial and legislative autonomy as a reflection of the dysfunctionalities that the former ruling party and its institutions are known for.