The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is appalled by President Muhammadu Buhari’s deplorable performance at the exclusive interview on Arise Television this morning.
Our party is dismayed that while millions of Nigerians eagerly expected President Buhari to use the interview to address salient issues confronting our nation, Mr. President bungled the opportunity by being evasive and dodgy while attempting to lay claims to projects done by PDP administrations.
Instead of addressing issues and providing direction for our nation, President Buhari 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 Infrastructure, it is ludicrous to us in the PDP that Mr. President can disingenuously seek to subtract the deliverables achieved by past PDP administration from his so-called achievement on infrastructure.
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.
It is on record that President Goodluck Jonathan also took on a massive expansion of our international and domestic airports, across the country, built and commissioned railway stations.
It is instructive to state that where projects were yet to be completed, it is only a natural occurrence for any Nigerian elected as President to proceed, in the national interest, to complete such projects.
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.
Should Mr. President be reminded that even the expansion of the Presidential Villa including the Banquet Hall, which his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) uses today as its National Secretariat was conceptualized and built by the PDP government, though leaders of the APC stood stoutly against the project while it was on-going?
President Buhari also needs to accept the bitter fact that the current draw back in infrastructural development in our country started with his administration. Like a relay race, successive PDP administrations furthered infrastructural development only for him to run the opposite direction when the baton was passed to him.
It is important to state that only the on-going refurbishing of Akwanga-Maiduguri road that President Buhari can lay claim to as the singular and only project in which he has demonstrated capacity.
The expectation of Nigerians is that in an interview like this, Mr. President should give honour to those who conceptualized and built these projects to near completion and, in most cases, only for him to perform the commissioning ceremony.
Mr. President must also be reminded that all institutions of good governance under the contemporary dispensation including the EFCC, ICPC, the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) and Debt Management Office (DMO) among others were PDP’s creation.
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.
On issue of devolution of power, state police and restructuring, it is disappointing and heartrending that Mr. President was evasive, dodgy and 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 is also alarming that Mr. President, in his own words, dismissed two governors who ran to him for solution to issues of national security, with escalated killings, kidnapping and violence in their states.
That action as revealed by Mr. President is very disturbing because, as the commander-in-chief, on whose shoulder rests the responsibility of securing our nation, and who also promised to lead from the front, his reaction ought not to have been dismissive of the said governors.
This action as narrated by Mr. President clearly showed how he abdicated his responsibility and yet was audacious to come to the public arena and made open his personal flaws and failures that have affected the foundation of our national security and emboldened terrorists, kidnappers and bandits to attack and kill our compatriots.
On the issue of fuel subsidy, it is a known fact that cross boarder 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 liters per day to the current fictitious 100 million liters per day, upon which his administration’s subsidy payout is calculated.
In an interview in which for the first time in the history of his government, President Buhari flamboyantly faced the camera, the opaque nature of the subsidy regime under his administration ought to have been topical. The expectation of Nigerians was for Mr. President to address the demand for openness in his administration’s subsidy regime as well as why Nigerians are paying humongous sums on subsidy.
On corruption, we invite Nigerians to note that President Buhari admitted in the interview, that corruption was 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 is also distressing that President Buhari used the interview to issue threats to Nigerians as well as justify the nepotism that has characterized appointment of key officials of his administration to the chagrin of our national sensibilities.
Such disposition to our national sensibilities is a recipe for further divisions and violence in our country.
Most disheartening is that in the face of grave security concerns across the federation, President Buhari proffered no solutions, even when he admitted that insecurity has almost overwhelmed his administration.
Also, though he lamented the invasion of our national territory by Sahelians, Mr. President did not introduce any concrete measure that can vanquish these set of criminals.
The interview session was therefore a Presidential demonstration of the challenges confronting our nation without a modicum of solution either now or in the future. It was all about buck-passing, grandstanding and a holier-than-thou disposition of the Buhari Presidency.
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.
National Publicity Secretary