â€¢ Ruling party: Nigeria making steady progress
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has challenged the presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to account for the over N10 trillion public funds allegedly stolen by APC leaders and members of the Muhammadu Buhari-led presidential cabal.
The opposition party saidÂ the APC and presidency have been playing saints and pointing fingers while their officials have been having a field day misappropriating trillions of naira to finance their opulent lifestyles and political interests.
In a statement issued yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, to mark this yearâ€™s democracy day celebration, PDP said the presidency and the APC need to explain to Nigerians why they have not set up panel of enquiry to probe issues of abuse of rights, extra-judicial executions, killings and bloodletting in various parts of the country.
The PDP specifically asked the presidency to address Nigerians on the leaked memo detailing corrupt oil contracts to the tune of N9 trillion ($23 billion dollars) at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, which are under President Buhariâ€™s direct supervision as Minister of Petroleum Resources.
The PDP also challenged the APC and the presidency to come clean on the widely reported stealing of N1.1 trillion ($3.5billion) worth of crude oil by APC interests operating with seven ghost companies.
â€œThis is in addition to the looting from the Treasury Single Account (TSA) evidenced in the reported stealing of N10 billion National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS)â€™s account in the TSA, as well as revelation of the frittering of fresh N25 billion under questionable â€˜dealsâ€™.
â€œSimilarly, the PDP demanded that the APC and the presidency address Nigerians on the widely reported stealing of N18 billion Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) intervention fund as well as the source of the N671 million allegedly stolen from the APC account by some of its national officers,â€ the party said.
Furthermore, the PDP asked the presidency and the APC to explain to Nigerians why no serious panel of enquiry has been set up to address the issues of abuse of rights, extra-judicial executions, killings and bloodletting in various parts as catalogued by various international bodies.
PDP said: â€œThe APC has become synonymous with violence, deceit, hardship, hunger and starvation and can no longer be trusted as a vehicle of national cohesion, economic prosperity and the unity of Nigerians…â€
On its part, while congratulating Nigerians on the occasion of this yearâ€™s democracy day celebrations, the ruling APC said its administration was committed to addressing the ecomomic and security challenges.
In a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdulahi, APC said Nigeria has made steady improvement in the democratic governance by holding transparent and credible elections.
â€œIndeed, our journey as a conntry since 1999 when we returned to democratic rule has not been an easy one, but our country has soldiered on. We have built on the gains of those early years fractured by military incursion and now 19 years after, our democracy and polity are stronger.
â€œWe have conducted successive elections and have continually improved on the transparency and credibility of our electoral systems.
â€œRemarkably, the President Buhari administration has continued in the countryâ€™s proud tradition of being a bastion of democracy in the sub-region and across the world, as seen in the current administrationâ€™s lead intervention in ensuring representative governance and peaceful transition of power in the Gambia.
APC said Nigerians should congratulate themselves on the strides made in our political journey as a country since independence.
â€œFor one, military rule is now distant memory in Nigeria. We must now work collectively to improve our democracy because regardless of its imperfections, democracy remains the best form of government that can best serve the interest of our people.
â€œAs a party in government, our commitment to address our current challenges, which finds expression in the economy and security, remains unshaken. We urge all Nigerians to continue to pray and support the current administrationâ€™s effort to build a peaceful and greater country,â€ he said.