Iyobosa Uwugiaren and Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
Recent reports by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), a research arm of The Economist of London, and the HSBC, a global banking and financial services company, saying that President Muhammadu Buhari would lose the 2019 presidential election to the opposing Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) candidate because of the prevailing worsening economic conditions in the country, created an opportunity for the PDP and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to banter yesterday.
Both reports were very critical of the Buhari administration’s handling of the economy and politics, concluding that four more years of the president would injure the economic development of the country.
While the APC urged Nigerians to disregard the analysis and predictions as false, deceptive, unreliable and tendentious, the PDP said they had vindicated its standpoint that the APC –led government had failed to deliver on its electioneering promises to Nigerians.
The ruling party queried the rationale behind the concerns being shown about the affairs of the country by the London based organizations when it could not summon courage to beam its searchlight on the case of former Nigerian minister who allegedly starched away stolen public funds in the United Kingdom.
The HSBC had in its special reports about Nigeria, said that a second term for Buhari would greatly stunt the economic development of the country and probably push the country into more difficulties, adding that the next administration would flounder against the same problems after 2019 elections and that Nigeria’s manifold security threats will continue to fester.
The EIU report predicted a win for the PDP in the forthcoming presidential election.
In a statement by its acting National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yekini Nabene, APC described the contents of the reports by the two renowned foreign organizations as nothing but the usual doomsday prophesies about the Nigerian nation.
The party particularly referred to a similar prediction made by the Western powers that Nigerian federation would collapse in 2015, resulting in some ethnic nationalities going their separate ways, which it said had been proved wrong.
It added that despite the predictions, nearly four years after the doomsday prophesy, the Nigerian federation rather than collapse is waxing stronger.
The party said, ” As earlier stated, the contents of these reports are nothing but the usual doomsday prophesies about the Nigerian nation, which has serially proved false, deceptive, unreliable and tendentious”, the ruling party claimed.
“We should remember similar prophesies and analysis about the political situation in Nigeria made some years back by similar Western institutions. It was prophesied that the Nigerian federation would collapse in 2015, resulting in some ethnic nationalities going their separate ways
“The President Buhari-led administration has been striving to unite the country and consolidate positively on the strength of our diversity.”
The ruling party noted that when compared to past administrations, the current government had achieved a quantum leap in terms of revenue accrual to the Nigerian treasury by institutions like Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Nigeria Customs Service.
It further faulted the foreign expert’s analysis, saying that all the cash and property recoveries from corrupt public officials of the immediate-past administration by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) were equally of no significance to these experts.
On the economic front, APC frowned on the position taken by the London based organizations, which it argued had failed also to hold the home government accountable for allegedly providing safe haven for some corrupt Nigerians.
For instance, APC said that a former minister in the immediate-past administration who is resident in the United Kingdom is alleged to control enough corruptly-obtained assets which value if put to productive use could have employed thousands of Nigerians.
For the PDP, the reports only confirmed its position that Nigerians across board had rejected Buhari, ahead of the 2019 presidential election.
In a statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP stated that Buhari’s rejection was predicated on his abysmal failure and the deception of his APC in the last three years.
The opposition party further said that the findings by the two organizations that Buhari stands no chance in the general elections and that his winning portends grave danger for Nigeria, is completely in tandem with the stand of majority of Nigerians, irrespective of their current political party affiliations, ethnicity or creed.
The party noted that in line with the reports, Nigerians are fed up with the president mainly due to the incompetence and unprecedented corruption in his Presidency, resulting in the ruining of the once robust economy, with attendant mass job loss, ravaging hunger, starvation and disease, as well as escalated insecurity, with documented mass killings, violation of human rights and daily bloodletting in various parts of our country, a development that has put the unity of our great country at risk.
According to PDP, ‘’Moreover, the finding by the two bodies that a second term for President Buhari will worsen our nation’s economic and security woes is a position also held by Nigerians across board, hence their determination to rally on the platform of the repositioned PDP, with our array of very popular Presidential aspirants, to vote him out in 2019.
‘’The world now knows the major reason the Buhari-led APC administration has resorted to harassment and vicious attacks on the opposition, using trumped-up charges; the various assaults on the institution of the Judiciary and the National Assembly, as well as unrelenting machination to compromise the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to rig the elections.’’