By Adedayo Akinwale and Victoria Yesin in Abuja
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar has expressed dismay over the federal government’s refusal to release fund to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Atiku, who reacted to the lamentation of the Statistician General of the Federation, Mr. Yemi Kale, who said that lack of fund has made it difficult for the agency to release the annual unemployment report that it is mandated by law.
The former vice-president, in a statement by his campaign organisation, said that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is in a state of panic because of the unprecedented unemployment numbers in Nigeria and is desperate to hide that information from the public.
According to him, “If the Buhari administration can afford N1.1 billion to fumigate the office of the National Security Adviser, if they can afford N3.5 million every month to feed Ibrahim El Zakzaky, then they can afford to release funds for the NBS to perform its statutory duty of releasing the nation’s job report.”
Atiku said since the Buhari administration came to being, 11 million Nigerians have lost their jobs and in December of 2017, the NBS under Kale, announced that 7.9 million Nigerians lost their jobs in the 21 months period under review.
He added: “It is safe to draw the conclusion that if the NBS had been funded and able to release the now due 2018 job reports, the total figure of jobs lost under the present administration may climb higher than the present 11 million jobs.
“Thus, we can understand why this failed administration is desperate to cover that information up. However, the Atiku Presidential Campaign Organisation insists that Nigerians deserve to know the truth no matter how unpalatable it may be.”
Meanwhile, the National Coordinator of Atiku Abubakar Support Groups, Dr. Nath Iduma, has challenged members of the support groups to ensure that Atiku wins convincingly in all polling units in order to prevent the ruling party from rigging.
He made the call Thursday in Abuja during an interactive session by a coalition of support groups with the theme: ‘Turning the popularity of Atiku/Obi into Electoral Success’
He said: “Atiku/Obi came together by providence and they are tested persons. I believe that if we have people that can run government as they run business, then that government is going to succeed.
“In Yola, Atiku has several investment and when both of them come together, the problem of the country which is unemployment will be handled. Both of them who are business minded people will run government like business. Unless we win this election with massive vote, it is likely they are going to rig us out.”
On his part, the National Youth Leader of the PDP, Hon. S. K. Udeh Okoye, urged the youths to occupy the social media space, confront the propaganda narratives of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and reveal the values of the PDP presidential candidate.
He said: “We have to divide ourselves into two and confront the attackers and the promoters. One group must be attacking the APC, telling how the APC has destroyed the country while the second group will be promoting the achievements of Atiku and Obi.
“Our product Atiku is a good market, so we have to sell him to Nigerians. Larger number of voters are not in the social media but their influencers are in the social media. We should influence our people who have registered to get their PVC.
“We also need to influence the voters who are in the village to get Android phones so that they can join the discuss. Atiku is an employer but we have a president who has a stunted business, it does not grow it does not reduce.”