Nigeria’s presidency has accused the country’s main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) of playing politics of hate and division, just as it alleged that the party looted $20bn from the NNPC.
This is in response to the position of PDP governors forum that the All Progressives Congress (APC) government destroyed the country and is therefore unfit to participate in the 2023 general election.
Recall that PDP governors had after their regular meeting at the Umuobiakwa country home of its Vice-chairman and Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, on March 23, passed a vote of no confidence on the APC-led regime of Muhammadu Buhari, saying that the governing party has become “uncaring and a menace to Nigerians.”
The Forum also expressed shock that “in the face of these statistics of complete failure in all ramifications and areas, the APC still wants to be on the ballot in 2023”.
It, therefore, advised Nigerians to reject the APC if it dares to appear in the 2023 polls saying “It is impossible for a party so disorganised to offer good governance to the people of Nigeria”.
But the presidency which in response, levelled the allegations in a statement on Sunday by Mallam Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, accused the main opposition party’s politicians of “raiding the NNPC,” consistently failing to pay into the Federation Account and, “in the last year of PDP misrule, $20bn was simply found missing.”
According to him, “These people, who play politics of division and hate, create communal disturbances, need to change…check the facts and leave the politics: What does the country get with this kind of gimmick?”
In the statement titled ‘Issues from the PDP fantasy communique from Umuahia,’ the presidency accused the main opposition of trying to “cover up the serial and criminal failures of its long and damaging period in office, which the Muhammadu Buhari regime and All Progressives Congress have strived these past seven years to repair.”
Reminiscing the PDP years, it said “We cannot forget under PDP, the nation had an army full of phantom soldiers whose pay went to PDP politicians’ pockets while our under-resourced real soldiers died in the fight against terrorist insurgents and our international allies refused to supply Nigeria kit and military aid.
“We cannot ignore how PDP politicians sought—and continue to seek—to inflame ethnic and religious tensions by refusing to even proffer a solution to the herder-farmer clashes which became most prevalent under their misrule.
“We will always remember how PDP politicians intentionally encouraged and exploited the black market in currency exchange to convert ill-gotten gains to foreign currency and undermine our national currency, then spirited their funds abroad in their billions and into foreign bank accounts.”
Contrastingly, the Presidency argued that the Army, under the APC is well resourced with fighter jets and other armaments; Boko Haram is being driven from every inch of Nigerian territory, and ISWAP’s leader was eliminated in a Nigerian airstrike.
“Today with APC in government, there are ranches on Federal land and in state land where there is the willingness to establish them. Clashes are reduced. Lives are saved, and livelihoods are enriched.
“Today with APC we support our national currency; we have achieved self-sufficiency in rice and fertilizer production; we refuse to allow greedy politicians and businessmen to hide their money overseas, and instead build an economy here in Nigeria for all.”
It further accused the main opposition of “raiding the NNPC,” consistently failing to pay into the Federation Account and, “in the last year of PDP misrule, $20bn was simply found ‘missing.’”
The Presidency noted that with APC, funds from NNPC are directly and transparently used to fund social and health programmes—such as COVID-19 response, the construction of roads, bridges and rail, and equipping of hospitals to cope with new and existing challenges.
Shehu’s statement also knocked the Governors who signed the Communique saying “Who would trust such people with the running of our country? Who can believe a word these people say, as they looked outwardly stylish but harrowed by power-sharing and other troubles inwardly?
“These people, who play politics of division and hate, create communal disturbances, need to change. Check the facts and leave the politics: What does the country get with this kind of gimmick?