APC, PDP Disagree on Midterm Scorecard

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  • Ruling party: We promised, we delivered Opposition: It’s been two years of monumental disaster

Onyebuchi Ezigbo

As the country marks the second anniversary of the coming to power of the All Progressives Congress tomorrow, the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party has accused the ruling party of failing to fulfil its promise to the citizens, saying it has been two year of massive non-performance. This was as the President Muhammadu Buhari government and APC patted themselves on the back for doing a good job in the last two years.

APC said the Buhari administration had kept faith with most of the party’s campaign promises, which it said included principally a resolve to fight corruption, root out Boko Haram insurgency, and revamp the economy.

Speaking in Abuja during an interview with THISDAY, the national publicity secretary of APC, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, said apart fighting Boko Haram to a standstill, the Buhari government had made significant progress in the fight against corruption and implemented several policies that were helping to revamp the economy.

Abdullahi stated, “I would like to say that there are three things that President Buhari promised as we went round the country campaigning. One was he promised to fight corruption. Secondly, he said he will fight insecurity, especially, as it relates to Boko Haram, and, thirdly, he said he will create employment opportunities for the young people.”

The APC spokesman said a lot had been achieved in the military campaign to dislodge the Boko Haram insurgents from the North-east, which has been a nest of the Islamic sect’s rebellion since 2009. He said at the time the country was preparing for the general election in 2015, more than 50,000 square kilometres of Nigeria’s territory was occupied by Boko Haram, which declared a caliphate and planted their flag in the occupied areas.

Abdullahi said, “I remember that in trying to make a joke of it, it was said that the area occupied by Boko Haram was the size of Belgium.

“Two years down the line, what is the size of Nigeria’s territory occupied by Boko Haram? Zero, including the dreaded Sambisa forest.”

Abdullahi said the Buhari government had proved beyond doubt that it was genuinely determined to tackle and possibly eradicate corruption in the country. He said the president had done what was almost impossible in the previous administration.

According to him, “You hear people talking about whistle-blowers, people talk about huge amount of money being recovered, people being dragged before the court, former governors being remanded in prison custody for corrupt practices, you hear about former ministers being held in detention and prison for corruption.

“These are things that were almost impossible two years ago. The challenges are still there, but this is the progress we have made in two years.

“We would also like to argue that there is the tendency to look at the APC from the perspective of the federal government. But the performance of APC as a party is the aggregate of the performances of our 24 state governments.

“You go to each of our 24 states and you will find out from the people the progress that has been made in two years in those respective states. So, when you want to assess whether APC has delivered or has justified our being in existence, then you have to look at the totality of the federal, government and the 24 states that are governed by the APC. We believe that we have a lot of reasons to celebrate.”

However, Abdullahi acknowledged the tough times the citizens were going through due to the economic recession. But he assured that the APC administration was doing everything within its powers to end the recession and return the country to the path of economic growth.

He said, “The reality which we have acknowledged is that the economic recession has created difficulty and those hardship still exist and nobody has ever denied that reality. We believe that in spite of this reality as a result of the hardship, we have enough reason to celebrate two years as a government.

“I believe very strongly that there is every reason to celebrate. I know that because of the difficulty that people are going through, there is a temptation to think that there is no much to celebrate. But I think that if we look more closely, paying more attention to where we are coming from and where we were two years ago, you will see that we have more than sufficient good reason to celebrate.”

But the Senator Ahmed Makarfi leadership of PDP described the APC administration as a disaster that had brought untold hardship on Nigerians. The party dismissed APC’s assertions about performance, saying rather than making progress, the last two years have been a period of monumental setback for Nigeria.

Publicity secretary of the National Caretaker Committee of PDP, Dayo Adeyeye, said the APC government had failed in almost every aspect of the management of the country’s affairs. He said contrary to APC’s claim of degrading Boko Haram, a long period of inaction that trailed its assumption of power actually empowered the insurgents who had been almost defeated by the preceding PDP administration.

Adeyeye stated, “It was because when they came, they had no tact, there was lethargy, the president did not appoint any minister, and there was no action at all, that was why Boko Haram regained territory. If the PDP had remained in government and continued with the massive attacks against Boko Haram, before December 2015, Boko Haram would have become history.”

He accused the Buhari government of worsening the security situation in the country by doing nothing to stop rampaging Fulani herders, who had even tended to kill more people than Boko Haram.

According to him, “In the area of security, to make matters even worse is the herdsmen attack, which we never saw before, which began to raise its ugly head since the APC came into power. If you talk about Boko Haram, it is confined to three states, but herdsmen are now in virtually all the states of the federation.

“It is also arguable whether more people have not been killed by the herdsmen than even Boko Haram. And to compound the problem of herdsmen attack is that not only do they kill the village people, they also pillage farms so that people cannot embark on agriculture, which is the means of their livelihood. So as far as security is concerned, I will score them negative.”

The PDP caretaker spokesman also scored the APC administration low in economy.

He stated, “Let us look at the issue of the economy. First, it took the APC administration a very long time to come up with its economic policy. If it took you two years to come up with an economic policy, how could you claim that you have achieved anything within that period? As far as the economy is concerned, it has been a disaster.

“Look at the indices. Inflation quadrupled, the exchange rate skyrocketed, and industrial production declined completely. Agriculture also declined considerably and every major sector of the economy suffered in the last two years, so much that the standard of living of Nigerians dropped drastically. Many of them are now committing suicide because of the economic hopelessness that we have now found ourselves in, in this country.

“Now the power sector has declined and so is every other sector of the economy. For instance, in the transport sector, the only project that was commissioned by this government is the railway line from Kaduna to Abuja and that one was a project already completed by the former PDP administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.”

Adeyeye also said, “The APC government has not added one single meter of railway track. The same thing goes for the road transport sector. It has been a complete disaster. Whereas, the administration of former President Jonathan expanded the road network from 5,000 km to 35,000 km. The government has done nothing. Even to repair the existing ones has been a disaster for them.

“What is more pathetic is the issue of surging unemployment rate in the country. It has quadrupled. What you get as a result is massive crime, kidnapping, and armed robbery in the country.”

On the anticorruption fight, Adeyeye accused the government of embarking on a campaign deliberately skewed against the opposition. He said, “The anticorruption fight, to say the least, has been a one-sided fight, which has been aimed basically to harass PDP members and to subdue the opposition.”