James Emejo in Â Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Caucus in the House of Representatives on Tuesday took a swipe at the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led federal government, challenging it to respond to the recent concerns raised by American billionaire, Bill Gates over the lack of human face in the administrationâ€™s economic policies.
It said rather than diverting public attention with its usual deceit and propaganda, the Buhari-led administration should seriously heed the advice by the American billionaire by making life more meaningful for Nigerians who had waited endlessly to see the actualisation of APCâ€™s campaign promises.
House Minority Leader, Hon. Leo Ogor, in a statement, noted that life had become â€œmore unbearableâ€ for even millions of those who voted for the ruling party in 2015.
The caucus said the federal government should gear up efforts and deliver on its numerous unfulfilled campaign promises to Nigerians.
The lawmakers, further berated the ruling party over its uncharitable use of the Chibok girlsâ€™ abduction during the 2015 political campaigns, adding that its current propaganda cannot help the party win the forthcoming 2019 general election.
The group also expressed regrets that Lagos residents were put into much discomfort during an APC jamboree for the commissioning of a bus terminal when the man they were celebrating had been responsible for truncating the $100 million modern metro line project started by the Jakande administration, and for which the state paid huge legal costs.
According to the caucus: â€œWith fiendish mercilessness, APCâ€™s 2015 campaign milked the unfortunate abduction of Chibok girls for every available ounce of propaganda and disinformation against the preceding administration; its campaign rhetoric and official hoopla from the lying minister had included freeing of the Chibok girl and achieving total defeat of Boko Haram insurgents.â€
He said: â€œToday, the APC government nurses palpable fear over any scrutiny of its errors in Dapchi or its unusual generosity towards Boko Haram which it promised to defeat but now almost sees as a partner with which to share deep and befuddling confidence.â€
Continuing, it added: â€œAlthough the APC government is known not to be a listening one, last Thursday, the Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr. Bill Gates emphatically stated that Â the federal governmentâ€™s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan was not reflective of the peopleâ€™s needs.
â€œIt is an open secret that under APC, Nigerians have fared worse on the misery index; those who were rich before are no longer investing, the poor are becoming poorer while almost thirty million Nigerians are either unemployed or under- employed.
â€œAccording to Bill Gates, the APC governmentâ€™s concentration on physical infrastructure (and fat contracts) to the detriment of human capital development exposes the undesirable inadequacies in the health and education sectors.â€
The group, quoting Gates, said: â€œThe Nigerian governmentâ€™s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan identifies investing in the people as one of three strategic objectives. But the execution priorities donâ€™t fully reflect peopleâ€™s needs, prioritising physical capital over human capital.
â€œPeople without roads, ports and factories canâ€™t flourish. And roads, ports and factories without skilled workers to build and manage them canâ€™t sustain an economy.â€
The PDP caucus, therefore, urged the government to take its advice in good faith instead of taking it as another chance for its propaganda machinery to get busy once again.
It said: â€œDeceitful lies under a minister who is the grand guru of lying methodologies and ceaseless propaganda along with endless blame shifting cannot and will not help the APC government and Nigeria; it is time for this government to have a sober reflection on Bill Gatesâ€™ non-partisan observations and change its ways.
â€œUnder APC, all available statistics indicate poor level of investment and job creation while countless negative attributes of underdevelopment including dilapidated classrooms, poorly-equipped laboratories, uninspired manpower, inappropriately funded tertiary institutions, infant and maternal mortality, crime and insecurity have all ballooned.
â€œIn the interest of coming generations, we plead with this government to desist from the endless futile promises of â€œWe will, we will, we willâ€ which has foisted three years of economic pain and existential anguish on the people.
â€œIt is only by building on the National Health Insurance Scheme which it inherited from the PDP and by making sound judgments in the education and other sectors that impact directly on the peopleâ€™s well-being that Nigerians can believe that this government is changing for the better.â€