By Chuks Okocha
Former vice president and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general election, Atiku Abubakar, Sunday said that the President Mohammadu Buhari led government and the All Progressives Congress (APC) must apologise to Nigerians and make an admittance of guilt for taking the country through the throes of subjugation to another country.
A statement by his media office, said that two months ago Atiku Abubakar called the attention of the country to the reality of reckless borrowing by the APC administration and how the terms of those loans could compromise the future of the country.
Lamenting that some managers of the party and even the government denied the allegations that he raised and also discounted the warning for caution, Atiku said “regrettably, just last week, a cabinet minister confirmed our fears. Now, we all are aware that Nigeria’s sovereignty may have been traded for foreign loans and God forbids our inability to service those loans, the lender country would take ownership of choice infrastructure on the Nigerian soil. No negotiation could be weaker than that!
“Nigeria had a total foreign debt stock of $7.02 billion on May 29, 2015. Today, our foreign debt is $23 billion and rapidly rising. Debt, by itself, is not a bad thing. But debt budgeted for such unproductive ventures, like the proposed $500 million upgrade of the Nigerian Television Authority and other sundry bogus contracts, is debt that leads to death. To trade Nigeria’s sovereignty for this type of profligacy is the height of irresponsibility!”, Atiku said.
The former vice president said that he had advocated for a more robust engagement of the private sector and promotion of foreign direct investment as sustainable alternatives through which government could fund infrastructure development. But on the contrary, he said, the Nigerian government under the banner of the All Progressives Congress threaded the direction of looking for cheap foreign loans in exchange for the sovereignty of Nigeria.
Atiku recalled that former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration initiated a National Privatization Programme with the sole objective of ensuring that the private sector took some measure of influence in social investment portfolio and, in some instances, provided funding for infrastructure development.
He said that there was nothing in that plan that traded Nigeria’s sovereignty for some cheap loans which, in the light of unfolding revelations of sleaze in some departments of government, would have ended in private pockets.
He therefore said the government and the APC must apologize to Nigerians and make an admittance of guilt for taking the country through the throes of subjugation to another country.