Major opposition party in Nigeria, the Peoples Democratic Party has dismissed President Muhammadu Buhari’s exclusive interview granted Arise Television on Thursday as nothing but a presidential demonstration of the challenges confronting Nigeria without a modicum of solution proffered, either now or in the future.
The party said it was dismayed that President Buhari bungled a perfect opportunity to address salient issues confronting the nation by being evasive and dodgy, while attempting to lay claims to projects executed by PDP administrations.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP said, instead of addressing issues and providing direction for the nation, the president exposed his cluelessness, paucity of ideas for development, while making very provocative comments that could embolden terrorists as well as serve as recipe for further division and violence in the country.
On President Buhari’s response on infrastructure, the party said it was ludicrous that the president tried to detract from PDP’s landmark achievements while trying to tout his administration’s lackluster performance in the same sector.
It said: “The PDP places it on record –and we know that Nigerians are also aware – that President Olusegun Obasanjo, who was elected on the platform of the PDP, introduced a 25 years national development plan upon assumption of office in 1999.
“This included the massive construction and expansion of road network, power plants, railways projects, inland and coastal waterways, airports, housing, agricultural and health projects as well as establishment of new universities and other legacy projects in various parts of our country.
“We want to inform President Buhari, since he is not always aware, that successive governments elected on the platform of the PDP built on these development plans leading to the expansion of major trunk roads across our country, railways and other legacy projects which, probably, his handlers are making him to believe are his.”
The PDP said it is on record that President Goodluck Jonathan also took on a massive expansion of the country’s international and domestic airports, across the country, built and commissioned railway stations – and that Buhari only stepped in later to complete and inaugurate them .
“The PDP, therefore, considers it tacky for Mr. President to seek to claim any credit for projects he never conceptualized, commenced or built to near completion, just because he found himself in office at the point of completion,” Ologbondiyan said.
The party added that even the expansion of the Presidential Villa, including the Banquet Hall, which the president’s party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), now uses as its National Secretariat was conceptualized and built by the PDP government.
The PDP also accused Buhari’s administration of being responsible for the current drawback in the country’s infrastructure development
It said the only project that could be positively put on the president’s account is the ongoing refurbishing of Akwanga-Maiduguri road.
All institutions of good governance under the contemporary dispensation, it said, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Independent Corrupt Practices and other related matters Commission, the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) and Debt Management Office (DMO), among others, were PDP’s creation, the party said.
“Even the Sovereign Wealth Fund, which has become the referral point for his administration, was created by the PDP with stiff opposition from leaders of the APC, like former Governors Rotimi Amaechi and Adams Oshiomhole,” the party said.
On devolution of power, state police and restructuring, PDP said it was disappointing that President Buhari had no direct response to these burning issues even in the face of a national consensus for the amendment of the1999 Constitution to address these pertinent issues.
It said further: “On the issue of fuel subsidy, it is a known fact that cross-border crimes like smuggling have their negative effect on prices of petroleum products.
“While this constitutes a challenge to our economy, the fundamental issue which Mr. President dodged in the interview is the sleazy nature of subsidy policy under his administration.
“Mr. President failed to tell Nigerians how the volume of PMS used in our country progressed exponentially from 35 million litres per day to the current fictitious 100 million litres per day, upon which his administration’s subsidy payout is calculated.”
The party said it was instructive that President Buhari himself admitted in the interview that corruption is endemic in his administration; that there are corrupt persons in his administration and his party, but that he devised a way of easing them out and thus giving them official covers instead of exposing such persons and allowing them to face the law.
“This validates our position that the Buhari administration is a sanctuary of corruption,” it said.
It added that it was alarming that Buhari proffered no solutions to insecurity bedeviling the nation, even when he admitted that insecurity had almost overwhelmed his administration.
“From the interview, it is clear that President Buhari has no legacy project to point to except infrastructural backwardness, false performance claims, covering corruption, destroying of our national institutions, wrecking of our economy, dividing Nigerians as well as reckless borrowings with nothing to show.”