Disagrees with minister, says Nigeria is on auto drive
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led presidency has no honour left after reports emerged that it allegedly concealed a N10 billion theft perpetrated by its officials at the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
The party said Nigeria is being shoved to the precipice as the â€œBuhari presidencyâ€™s incompetence manifest in the daily activities of government.â€
The party in a statement issued on Monday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said it was shocking that the NHIS money was siphoned through the Federal Government Treasury Single Account (TSA) in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which is under the direct purview of the presidency.
â€œNigerians can now see the level of debauchery associated with this administration. It is appalling that a government can be so depraved that it superintended over the stealing of money meant to provide healthcare for the citizens.
â€œWe challenge the presidency to speak out on this report as well as similar reported sleazes that have (sic) occurred under its watch.
Â â€œWho in the presidency authorised the withdrawal of the money from the TSA and who are the beneficiaries thereof? â€œWhat has the presidency to say about revelations that it ordered the reinstatement of the indicted Executive Secretary of the NHIS, Prof. Yusuf Usman, to help conceal this illegal withdrawals and shield members of the presidency cabals involved in the deal? â€œUntil and unless the presidency clears its name by investigating, exposing and prosecuting those involved, it must directly be held responsible for this wicked act against Nigerians, who daily suffer hunger, depravation and death owing to the corruption in the All Progressives Congress (APC) government,â€ the statement read in part.
The party also expressed dismay over President Buhariâ€™s alleged â€œrefusal to act on the leaked memo showing corrupt oil contracts at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to the tune of N9 trillion ($25billion) in a sector under his supervision as Minister of Petroleum.
â€œNigerians are aware that the presidency has continued to shield fraudulent cabinet ministers including those known for extorting funds from agencies under them in addition to those indicted for corrupt enrichment.â€
Also, the PDP has rejected the assertion by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, that the country is in safe hands.
Rather, the opposition party said the reality on the grounds showed that the country is on auto pilot and drifting to the precipice.
The party said due to the incompetence and corrupt proclivities of its current handlers, Nigerians have suffered untold hardship.
The PDP expressed shock that the minister could make such a flagrant statement while watching Nigerians agonise under the tragedies of economic and security problems inflicted on them by the President Buhari-led government
Ologbondiyan, in a statement yesterday, said either the minister had lost touch with reality or just trying to play with words to please the incompetent Buhari presidency or its crisis-ridden party, APC.
The party said it sympathised with the information minister in his job of trying to launder the image of a failed and rejected government, but added that he should not incur the opprobrium of Nigerians in the course of performing this onerous task.
â€œIf an information minister who ought to give the correct state of affairs can announce that a government which collapsed the countryâ€™s once robust economy and plagued it with violence, ethnic division and political tension, is indeed a safe hand, then our country is in much more trouble under the APC.
â€œHow can anybody say that the same presidency whose incompetence and bad policies are directly responsible for the unabated killings, massive unemployment and job losses, collapse of businesses and Â even the lingering fuel crisis which has brought untold hardship in the land is indeed a safe hand?
â€œThis is a government under whose watch the country has become heavily polarised along dangerous fault lines and where citizens now live in fear and mutual suspicion; where citizens are slaughtered by the day by marauders; where hunger and strange diseases Â ravage the people due to its bad policies.
â€œThe reasonable take-away from the statement of the minister is that this government has come to its wits end and has no solution for the troubles it caused the country.
â€œMore so, the ministerâ€™s statement has further exposed the fact that this failed administration is not the least remorseful for the pain it has caused the people, which underpins its arrogance and disdain towards Nigerians.
â€œWe however urge Nigerians not to despair as the repositioned PDP stands with them in the collective quest to end the misrule of the APC in 2019,â€ Ologbondiyan said.