Adedayo Akinwale and Mercy Apollos in Abuja
Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has declared that the 2019 budget proposal presented by President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly on Wednesday presents no hope for Nigerians.
Saraki who is also the Director-General of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential campaign made this assertion yesterday at an interactive session between the presidential and vice presidential candidate of the party and the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Abuja .
According to him, “ Thursday, we all heard the 2019 budget; that is a budget that has no hope for anybody, because if you look at the statistics and the figures, there is poverty. If you look at the figures based on revenues that are coming in, there is nothing left so where’s the future”.
He expressed belief that the PDP’s campaign organisation cannot be successful in the campaign if it does not have the CSOs as partners fighting a cause, in order to ensure that the party and Nigerians are victorious during the February 16, 2019 presidential poll.
Saraki declared that Nigerians have serious business at hand in deciding the destiny of this country in less than two months.
“Today, it is not being sentimental; the facts speak for themselves; we have a country that is not secured as it used to be in 2015. That is the reality and we must ensure that we have a government and a president that will be able to do that.
“We want a country that will fight this poverty, fight this hunger that is in the land. I will want you today to sit with our vice presidential candidate and listen to him and ask him the questions that will convince you that he has the capacity and ability to deliver. “Does he have the capacity to revamp Nigeria? Does he have the ability to create jobs for you the youths and create a booming economy
“How is your life going to be better? Which party offers you a better future because we see you as those who are patriotic and committed.
It is not about what you will get today. It is about the great country a lot of you have been passing that sacrifice over the years.
“In 2015, a lot of you played a key role in bringing the government in because you believed that they were going to do something good.
“The 2019 election is a referendum – simple question, did they do those things you believed in, those things that made you match and get up, those things that made you stand up and say no, this is where I’m going . If they give you those things, they will begin to show Nigerians that it is you that is in charge of this country, not a few people in power who believe that because they head agencies of authority, they can trample over the choices of millions of people.”
Saraki stressed that the Atiku/Obi ticket would secure Nigeria, and also unite Nigeria, as well as fight the poverty in the country and bring a bright future.
He added, “This is an interactive session. I am not sure whether the other political parties will give you an opportunity like this to ask them any questions. I am told that one has debated and you already know the answer to that debate. The second one, I am very sure he’s not going to debate. So, how do you assess somebody who is not ready to tell you what he’s going to do.”
Also speaking, the vice presidential candidate of the party, Peter Obi, said the All Progressive Congress (APC)-led federal government has ran out of every idea possible to change this nation.
He said the unemployment statistics has gotten worse and the number of poor people keep increasing.
According to him, “Bank of Industry is now a micro trading bank, because I now see the CEO of the bank going around with the vice president sharing N10,000 in the markets. Bank of Industry in Nigeria and Bank of Industry in China were established at the same period, now the fourth biggest bank by asset in the world is Bank of China at over three trillion dollars and our own is there sharing N10,000. It doesn’t make sense.”
Obi added that nobody can bring about the change in government than the civil societies in the country.
“The president asked Nigerians to tighten their belts because the economy is getting bad, these are people who have no belts again.”
The former governor of Anambra state said the budget presented by the president ol has revealed that almost 60 per cent of projected revenue in the 2019 budget would be used to service debt, stressing that it is not about servicing debt but that the APC government would still borrow more money.
He added that while the country’s population was increasing, the budget on health in the 2019 budget has decreased, same as education and even security; “it is a crisis, these people have to go”.
Obi said, “If we did not do anything; it will consume all of us; we cannot allow them to continue, we can no longer allow the people that are not competent to continue to rule us”.