Chuks Okocha and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday traded words over last week’s editorial by Financial Times, which noted that Nigeria is becoming a failed state under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari.
While the PDP berated the presidency for dismissing Financial Times’ alarm that Nigeria is gradually becoming a failed state, the ruling APC said the country is nowhere close to becoming a failed state.
The PDP also lambasted the presidency for its perceived trivialisation of Nigeria’s tragic descent to a failed state, stating that it further confirms that the nation is on autopilot with nobody in charge.
The PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the presidency’s response to the Financial Times editorial confirmed the position of the party that there is leadership failure in Nigeria.
The party said it was sad that the Buhari presidency preferred to rebuff wise counsel and continue to drive the nation to the precipice instead of seeking help to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians.
The PDP said: “Indeed, the editorial by Financial Times is only stating the obvious, as our nation under President Buhari has presented all the trappings of a failed state, including having a rudderless government with a dysfunctional command structure that cannot guarantee security, manage our economy or even perform very simple tasks of governance.
“Our great nation now tends towards a leaderless society where terrorists, bandits, kidnappers, marauders and vandals have taken the lead, running riotous across our land while those who promised to protect lives and property have gone into hiding in Aso Presidential Villa.”
According to the opposition party, under President Buhari, life is tilting towards Hobbesian state of nature; driven by the combined negatives of the presidency that it described as “incompetent and unconcerned.”
The party said Buhari has failed in governance to the extent that over 344 pupils could be kidnapped by bandits in his home state, Katsina, a few hours after he arrived in the state on a week-long private visit.
“Under Buhari’s watch, our command structure has become extremely weak that government officials now patronise bandits and rationalise acts of terrorism to the extent of blaming victims for not obtaining permission before living their normal lives as was the case in the 43 farmers beheaded by terrorists in Borno State.
“Under this failed administration, outlaws who had been pushed to the fringes by previous administration have resurged and taken control of some parts of our nation where they reportedly have to give their consent to residents before they can conduct weddings, naming ceremonies or operate their markets,” the PDP added.
The party also accused the Buhari administration of wrecking the nation’s economy, by destroying the value of the naira and turning the nation into world’s poverty capital.
The PDP cautioned officials of the Buhari administration to stop playing with the sensibilities of Nigerians by their dismissal of wise counsel on how to redeem the nation.
But the APC countered the PDP’s allegations, saying the country is nowhere close to becoming a failed state.
The Secretary of Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of the party, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, in a statement yesterday, said the president was not oblivious of the country’s challenges and is addressing them.
He stated: “While naysayers and opposition partisans chorus their doomsday wishes for Nigeria, our dear country is nowhere close to becoming a failed state.
“From the economy to security, it is easy to sum up Nigeria with some recent recorded security incidents and the economic downturn. However, this government has displayed the political will and capacity to contain any criminal/terrorist activity and return the economy to growth.
“President Buhari’s administration, which is implementing one of the world’s largest and far-reaching social investment programmes targeting the very poor and other vulnerable groups, including women and persons living with disabilities through pro-poor spending, is definitely not governing a country close to becoming a failed state.”
Akpanudoedehe added that the Buhari administration, which sees the urgent need to have a better policing system for the country and is embarking on sweeping police reform, while also supporting community policing, is not governing a country close to becoming a failed state.
He noted that amid the COVID-19 induced economic slowdown, the administration is stimulating the economy by preventing business collapse; supporting labour-intensive sectors such as agriculture; creating jobs through infrastructural investments in roads, rails, bridges; promoting manufacturing and local production at all levels to attain self-sufficiency in critical sectors of the economy.
Akpanudoedehe explained that while the PDP and its hirelings engaged in orchestrated attacks on the armed forces and other security services, the ruling party would rather support their efforts and charge them to do more to further degrade the capacity of terrorists and other criminal elements to attack soft targets.
According to him, “those days are gone” where past administrations would rather spin conspiracies in the face of insecurity and engage in voodoo economics to hoodwink Nigerians while national resources were stolen and diverted to political cronies.