Re: The Looters Curse

0

RIGHT OF REPLY

The release of a list of purported looters by the Muhammadu Buhari administration is a desperate attempt to divert attention from its monumental failures, writes Kola Ologbondiyan, publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party

After perusing the article by erudite Dr. Sam Amuta entitled ‘The Looters Curse’ and published on the backpage of Monday, April 16, 2018, edition of THISDAY, our party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), considered it imperative to join in this conversation and help set the narrative.

The PDP, built on the ideals of democracy, particularly the principles of free speech, appreciates Amuta for creating the needed intervention voice in the polity at a time like this.

In the piece under review, Amuta drew an analysis of the two major political parties in Nigeria with a witty observation that showcased the electoral desperation by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in its diversionary recourse to smear campaign against the PDP as a political party, ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Indeed, every good spirited Nigerian is worried about the prevailing political and economic trajectory under the failed APC administration such as the constitutional violations and erosion of democratic tenets; the general restiveness, widening divisiveness, daily bloodletting and biting recession with attendant hunger and starvation in the land.

It is against this backdrop that the PDP appreciates every intervention in the all-important quest to salvage our nation and redirect the course of the ship of state for the good of all our people.

For us in the repositioned and rebranded PDP, what is paramount today is the unity, cohesion, stability of our dear nation, improved economy and the safety of Nigerian citizens. We are also very conscious of the fact that there can only be political parties and elections if our nation remains united as one entity in an atmosphere of freedom, peace and justice.

As we approach 2019, our basic responsibility as a people, and, particularly, as political parties, must be the deliberate commitment towards creating a cohesive atmosphere and adopting approaches that will promote peace and ensure that Nigerians see each other as one, irrespective of creed, ethnicity or class.

All over the world, the primary duty of government is to ensure the security, freedom and economic wellbeing of her citizens. It is needful to state that these essentials, which have failed in the last three years of the APC rule, form the basis for which the generality of Nigerians are earnestly seeking a return of governance vehicle to the platform of our repositioned PDP.

Expectedly, this trend has sent the APC to a panic mode thus forcing it to resort to a self-help mechanism of publishing names of eminent Nigerians that have not been convicted in any court of competent jurisdiction and stigmatizing them as “looters”. This method is against the letters and spirit of the 1999 Constitution (As Amended).

This is not to suggest by any measure that the PDP is made up of angels or an inference that Nigerians, including members of our party, found of malfeasance bordering on corruption should not be tried in a court of competent jurisdiction.

It is however imperative to state that in spite of various allegations that are being contrived against the PDP, in her 16 years of governance, our nation did not witness the kind of hunger, starvation, economic distress, abuse of rule of law, daily bloodletting, widening division and arrogant disdain by leaders that is plaguing Nigerians and our dear nation today.

This was fundamentally so because unlike the APC’s nepotic, restrictive, divisive, repressive and undemocratic policies, the PDP, in keeping with the dreams of its founders, operated an all-inclusive nationalistic system that nurtured mutual respect for and understanding of the religious and cultural diversity to achieve national cohesion.

In the PDP years, deliberate polices that ensured the happiness and economic prosperity of Nigerians through equitable distribution of resources, access to power and the channelling of the energy of citizens towards productive labour through promotion of private entrepreneurship and provision of critical infrastructure were put in place.

While the APC, in the last three years, had engrossed itself in restrictive approach and absence of a potent economic team, the PDP, with its broad-based policies while in government, was able to assemble the best hands and minds into a virile, responsible and responsive economic team that drove the critical sectors and opened the space for an unprecedented productivity.

Despite inheriting a comatose economy in 1999, where a barrel of crude oil sold as low as $9USD and a foreign reserve that was just above $1billion, successive PDP administrations revamped the economy, cleared Nigeria’s foreign debt overhang, consolidated the financial and banking sectors, set up critical infrastructures, opened the nation for influx of foreign direct investments, while empowering private initiatives to flourish through the policy of transfer of wealth from the public to the private sector.
In its tenure of 16 years, the PDP opened the space for Nigerians to profitably engage and record unprecedented successes in oil and gas, aviation, agriculture, telecommunication, education, health, transportation, real estate, power, construction, hospitality, manufacturing and other critical sectors.

It is on record that under the wealth transfer policy, the Nigeria economy recorded a golden era wherein business concerns such as the Dangotes, Innosons, Stallion Groups, Globacoms, among others, thrived. Many multinationals opened businesses; several small and medium businesses sprung up, more transport companies, hotels, banks, airlines, hospitals, schools, farms, reputable diners, car manufacturers such as Kia and Nissan as well as retail giants, like Shoprites opened businesses across the country, all, offering millions of jobs while the stock exchange witnessed an unparalleled leap.

The GSM and Internet revolution inspired by the PDP transformed the lives of Nigerians and eased the burden of activities in business, education and inter-personal relationships. Internet banking brought more transparency and speed in business as well as interpersonal financial transaction

During the PDP 16 years in governance, more Nigerians built houses while many more had access to mortgages. Many bought new cars, had access to better medical care, food, leisure and better saving opportunities. The artisans had patronages while market men and women had booming businesses.

Within 16 years, Nigeria rose from a pariah and economically disadvantaged nation to become internationally graded as the third fastest-growing economy after China and Qatar, with her citizens’ purchasing power becoming one of the most competitive in the world.
It is instructive to state that the economic success recorded by the PDP did not come by chance or stroke of fortune but by sheer application of robust policies, which enabled the nation to weather the adverse effects of a global economic meltdown that devastated even major economies of the world at some point.

On health, one of the major decisions of the PDP, drawing from its policy of all-inclusiveness, was to create world-class referral tertiary hospitals in the six geo-political zones in addition to primary and secondary facilities in communities and cities in states across the country.

The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Roll Back Malaria Initiatives, Kick-out Polio project, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), the Tuberculosis intervention among other people based initiatives show PDP’s commitment to the wellbeing of ordinary Nigerians in line with its manifesto.

In education, successive PDP governments expanded the learning and enrolment capacity of primary and secondary schools, established the Almajiri School system, consolidated school curriculum; ensured that all states of the federation has a federal university in addition to the establishment of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), all granting unfettered access to quality education to the generality of Nigerians.

On the fight against corruption, the PDP established the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (EFCC) and other anti-graft agencies and amended the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) for speedy dispensation of corruption cases. Our party and government never provided cover for any fugitive of law or anybody accused of corruption, whether low or high.

It is, therefore, very saddening that within the space of three years of APC harsh, restrictive and stifling policies, all the gains of the PDP’s 16 years rule have been reversed. Our economy has gone into a biting recession, businesses are folding up, foreign multinationals are leaving for other countries, while over 24 million Nigerians have lost their jobs.

The APC government has not been able to initiate and implement any physical development projects, critical infrastructures are collapsing, while direct foreign investments have taken a flight from our shores. The once third fastest growing economy has been returned to borrowing and is no longer among the ten investment destinations in Africa.

In a space of three years, our country has become sharply divided along primordial lines promoted by the nepotic actions of the APC just as democratic tenets have been eroded. The principle of separation of powers, respect for rights of citizens and the rule of law entrenched by the PDP have all been thrown overboard. Nigerians now live in fear, trepidation, agony and despondency. Painfully, the freedom that our constitution enshrined for us is gradually becoming an essential commodity.

It is therefore annoying and appalling that instead of accepting its failure, the APC has been busy bandying false performance indices, phony statistics and blame games while Nigerians suffer.

Our take is that the PDP cannot be painted with the APC brush because these two political platforms have a marked difference. Whereas the PDP remains a people-oriented platform driven by democratic principles and ideals, the APC is only an ideologically vacuous special purpose contraption used by a selfish few to gain access to power and thereafter turned against the same people, particularly the youths, in utter disdain.

Furthermore, whereas the PDP, as a political party, has not been indicted for any act of corruption, the APC has failed to state the source of the billions of naira it used for its 2015 Presidential campaigns.

As we prepare for the 2019 elections, the PDP will rally with majority of Nigerians, particularly the Generation-Next, to take our nation out of this unwitnessed hunger, starvation and economic stagnation.
We hold it here for now!

Quote

It is therefore annoying and appalling that instead of accepting its failure, the APC has been busy bandying false performance indices, phony statistics and blame games while Nigerians suffer.