BY Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja
The Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has said that the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led federal federal government failed to deliver on the basic needs of Nigerians in the last two years because it lacked the experience and technical-know-how to administer the country.
The former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, who stated this in an exclusive interview with THISDAY in Abuja, said that rather than focus on how to fulfil its campaign promises to the Nigerian people, the ruling party spent two years blaming PDP for its failure to perform.
Apparently mocking APC leaders, the two-term governor of Akwa Ibom State said, â€˜â€™If it is not Panadol, it canâ€™t be the same as Panadol. I believed that if it were PDP–between 2015 and 2017, we would have made more significant progress.
â€˜â€™A lot of plans have been outlined but, not much has actually been seen in terms of progress and delivering of campaign promises; most of the campaign promises have actually not been met.
â€˜â€™But from a politician’s point of views, I am just imagining that probably, we could have handled the recession better, if it were PDP and that is how I looked at it.â€™â€™
Explaining why the ruling party failed to fulfil its campaign promises, the PDP chieftain accused the government of lacking focus and experience; and it kept blaming the so-called mess created and left behind by the PDP for its inability to perform.
â€˜â€™But they canâ€™t say that; before you go into government you must do a critical analysis of what you intend to do. You canâ€™t go and promise free education when you are not sure of whether you are readyâ€™â€™, Senator Akpabio added.
â€˜â€™Before you make promises to the people you must have done not just the detailed analysis of the economic situation of the government, but a review of the economic policies of the government. So, if they say they underestimated the mess created or left behind by the PDP that means they, on their own part, were not prepared for governance.â€™â€™
Drawing an analogy from former American President Barack Obama, he said that Obama met America in almost comatose situation, saying for instance, with the General Motors—one of the biggest auto industries in US, about folding up and with a lot of industries in America having the same challenges, the US President never blamed his predecessor but came up with economic stimulus by injecting money into the private sector.
The Senator Minority Leader added, â€˜â€™President Obama was concerned about how to fix the economic problems when he came into office; the government was out to save the jobs of the average Americans; to make sure that those companies survived, and by the third year, general motors started making profits.
â€˜â€™I donâ€™t think Obama spent almost two years talking about the previous administration; we should stop passing the buck, we should stop blaming the previous administration because, itâ€™s almost like saying the PDP came into office in 1999 and kept blaming the entire years of the military rule, and kept saying because of the military we cannot do anything.â€™â€™
Â He advised the federal government to place little emphasis about what happened in the past, turn things around and stop blaming the past administrations, saying there was no need for blame games.
â€˜â€™We must accept that we have not been able to get the policies right. It is one thing to have the policies and itâ€™s another to implement them wellâ€™â€™, he added.
â€˜â€™The summary is that many things have not stopped till today, a lot of unnecessary waivers are still being given by the federal government; importation of so many things is still going on. We cannot be producing rice in Sapele and importing rice from Thailand and expect the rice factory in Sapele to continue to work.â€™â€™
On the part of PDP, Senator Akpabio said that the party is more interested in the country rather than the politics, saying that what PDP members at the National Assembly as a whole, have done is to support almost all economic thrust of the administration to see how they could get the country out of recession.
He added, â€˜â€™If we say we are an alternative government or an alternative political party—waiting to take over the country, we would like to take over a country that is a whole. We have decided to support the government in the interest of Nigerians.
â€˜â€™They said they want Eurobond; and we say okay, we support Eurobond. They said they want so, so billion dollars from china, we supported it. We will continue to support the government and bring more ideas. I think they need to do more consultations.â€™â€™
The PDP chieftain advised the ruling party to look beyond APC for the solutions to Nigeriaâ€™s problem, saying there is nothing like experience.
â€˜â€™I think one of the things they have not done right, is the fact that, they are wasting human resources. We have so many reservoirs of experienced people who could have assisted the governmentâ€™â€™, he further stated.
â€˜â€™When a government comes in place like in the United Stated of America, the government (President) goes beyond party lines. He picks some Republicans, and yet, he is Democratic President. The Republican President picks some Democrats and fixes them. What they think first is the country.
â€˜â€™But, here; itâ€™s not the same thing. People say, oh! Itâ€™s the winner takes all. A winner takes all in the sense that what they want to do is to spend their energy on how to kill the opposition.â€™â€™
Senator Akpabio accused APC of not running an inclusive government and by extension not been able to follow strictly the issue of federal character to ensure that they tap the brains of all sections of the country.
Meanwhile, the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee of the party has said that there is no tangible achievement for the APC to celebrate about.
In a statement issued on Sunday by the spokesman of the party, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, the opposition party accused the APC of squandering all the chances it has to leverage of the achievements it met on assumption of office through its intolerance and highhandedness to any form of opposition, as well as crass ineptitude in governance.
It said: “We make bold to state that our deepest concern as a party to grow democracy in Nigeria engendered the solid foundation we put in place and guaranteed the agreeable atmosphere that enabled oppositions to thrive and consequently won elections.
“Unfortunately, this same party, the APC that benefited from free access to political space has left no stone unturned in suppressing the PDP and denying it to provide credible opposition in the country. It is Ironic!â€
It dismissed the Buhari administrationâ€™s fight against corruption as nothing but grandstanding and harassment of the opposition politicians.
The PDP said the APC had run the nationâ€™s economy aground.
According to the party: “Record show that Nigeria became the favoured investorsâ€™ destination in Africa with the highest investment of $8.4 billion USD; and it attracted $20 billion USD worth of foreign investments in 3 years.
“But two years into the APCâ€™s governance, as a result of incompetence and President Buhariâ€™s de-marketing of Nigeria while globetrotting; investors (both local & foreign) have withdrawn their monies from the System thereby creating economic inactivity and consequent depression that we are being faced with alarming rate of suicide.â€