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HomeWorld NewsNigeria has not fared better under APC — PDP Reps

Nigeria has not fared better under APC — PDP Reps

John Ameh,  Etim Ekpimah, Success Nwogu, Ted Odogwu and John Charles

Peoples Democratic Party members in the House of Representatives did not spare the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari the rod on Monday, saying the two-year-old administration had impoverished Nigerians.

The opposition party members slammed the government’s economic policies and its N500bn social welfare programme for vulnerable groups, saying that in the last two years, poverty and hunger had really worsened in the country.

In separate exclusive interviews with The PUNCH in Abuja, the members argued that Nigerians must have realised that they made a mistake by voting the All Progressives Congress into power.

However, amid criticisms by the PDP members, the Majority Leader of the House, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, reacted that the government’s fight against corruption, the weakening of insurgency in the North-East and the gradual recovery of the value of the naira against the US dollar were enough testimonies of performance by government.

But the Minority Leader of the House, Mr. Leo Ogor, giving a caucus position, told The PUNCH that every reason given in 2015 for sacking the PDP from office had not changed.

He noted that infrastructure, particularly power supply, had become ‘worse’.

Describing the government as a ‘failed administration’, Ogor said the caucus scored Buhari ‘zero’ on economic reforms.

He said, “This is a failed government that has not been able to put any markedly different programme on the ground for the people. I score them five per cent.

“That five per cent is on security because outside that, there is nothing else to show. This economy went into recession under them and they have been unable to take us out of it.”

Ogor added that though the government budgeted N500bn for its social welfare programme for vulnerable members of the society, most Nigerians had yet to benefit from the programme.

He said, “What is the methodology they are using to distribute the money? Where is the list of the beneficiaries? How was it drawn?”

Another member, Mr. Johnson Agbonayinma, noted that in two years, Nigerians were not eating better food nor had improved access to basic amenities.

Agbonayinma stated that the implication was that the problem was not really about the PDP since under the APC, there had been no change.

“Are Nigerians better now? No. So, whether it is the PDP or the APC, there is a problem and that means that we must be really serious about the future of this country,” he added.

He said Nigerians wanted a country where they could have easy access to reliable health care and other social welfare services.

Agbonayinma observed that the President travelling abroad to seek medical care was an indication that the situation of the country was really bad.

On his part, Mr. Oghene Emma-Ego, told The PUNCH that although the government appeared to be serious about the war against corruption, the war was one-sided.

He claimed that the government had been hesitant in going after the APC members accused of corruption, a development Emma-Ego said made a ‘caricature’ of the anti-graft war.

The lawmaker stated, “If you are an APC man, they don’t bother to investigate you. If you are a PDP member, any allegation against you is quickly investigated.

“However, we thank Mr. President for suspending the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (Babachir Lawal) over the corruption allegations by the Senate. But, it took such a long time for them to act.”

However, in his reaction, the APC leader, Gbajabiamila, held the view that the APC government had done well in its midterm scorecard.

He explained, “The campaign of the Buhari-led administration stood on a tripod, fighting insecurity, corruption and repositioning the economy.

“If we are to do a midterm review, there is the technical taming of the Boko Haram insurgency and the release of Boko Haram victims from captivity.

“The strategic review of the amnesty programme has considerably arrested the outburst of aggrieved Niger Delta militants and translated into a steady production of crude oil and reduction in systemic destruction of oil pipelines.

“We have also witnessed a downward slope in the exchange rate, from about  N500/$1 to now N306/$1. Our local production of what we consume is on the increase.”

On the anti-corruption war, Gbajabiamila noted, “It is on record that this government is stripping many public office- holders of their psyche of corruption through the BVN, TSA, whistle-blower policy and prosecution of different forms of corruption.

“We all knew how our anti-corruption agencies were stripped of powers and corruption became the order of the day.”

Nothing is good about democracy without good governance — Emmanuel

The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, has said that there can be nothing good about democracy without good governance.

Emmanuel added that his administration had laid a solid foundation for the wealth of the state by training indigenes to become independent and to be able to take care of their needs.

The governor, who said this in Uyo during the second anniversary of his administration on Monday, noted that every nation that became prosperous invested heavily in human capacity development.

He stated that besides training, the state had also invested in the power and energy sectors as well as the second runway at the Ibom International Airport.

According to him, his administration’s vision for development is anchored on three strategic gateways to prosperity — land, sea and air.

“Democratic values, traditions and culture have been embraced and internalised by Nigerians and that’s a great and wonderful thing worthy of celebrating, which is what we are doing today. But there can be nothing good about democracy without good governance.

“We have trained our youths in various areas to equip them with the needed skills for the jobs and opportunities of the 21st century.

“At a recent economic summit in Lagos, one of the speakers made a poignant declaration that the reason Nigeria has been lagging behind the Asian Tigers —those countries that today are competing with the rich industrialised nations, and who were behind Nigeria in GDP at independence — is because those nations invested in their people and that investment has paid off today,” he said.

The governor revealed that despite attempts by people who played perpetual politics to cause disunity in the state, his administration had remained focused, fostering the bond of unity among different ethnic groups in the state.

‘Kwarans’ observe Democracy Day in churches

Many residents of Kwara State  on Monday observed the 2017 Democracy Day in churches where prayers were offered for the unity, peace and development of Nigeria.

The state government had, in a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, Alhaji Abdulwahab Oba, said it cut down on Democracy Day celebration as a result of the ongoing 50th anniversary of the creation of the state.

In this vein, the Metropolitan Square at Asa Dam Road in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, which is the venue for the annual celebration, was deserted.

At the St. Joseph’s Catholic Cathedral, Ilorin, the Catholic Social Forum organised democracy mass.

The Cathedral Administrator, Reverend Father Anslem Lawani, urged political leaders to serve the nation faithfully and with the fear of God.

He admonished Nigerians to work towards the sustenance of the nation’s democracy and for the unity, growth and development of the country.

He also appealed to eligible but unregistered voters to register even as he urged registered voters to vote during elections.

The Speaker, Kwara State House of Assembly, Dr. Ali Ahmad, in his democracy message stated that the efforts and sacrifices put in place to achieve Nigeria’s democracy must be protected by every stakeholder in order to ensure its sustenance.

Meanwhile, the Diocese of Ofa, Church of Nigeria, (Anglican Communion) has said that there are still endemic corrupt practices in Nigeria despite President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration’s anti-corruption efforts.

In a communiqué by the diocese on its 6th synod signed by the Diocesan Bishop, Rt. Rev. Akintunde Popoola, the synod appealed to the Federal Government to approach the fight against corruption holistically and not to be selective.

It added that the anti-graft agencies should not be reduced to mere political tools.

Ganduje pledges to consolidate security, boost infrastructure

The Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, on Monday, in Kano, pledged to sustain the security of the state, so as to boost trade and commerce in the State.

Ganduje, who gave the assurance in Kano during the activities to mark Democracy Day, promised to support security operatives in their task of ensuring the security of lives and property in the state.

Also, the governor promised to regulate trado-medical practice in the state, in conformity with the best practices.

According to him, the state government is complementing the Federal Government’s efforts to improve security in the northern part of the country, adding that his administration is collaborating with security operatives so as to achieve the desired goals.

He said, “We have built seven security dormitories at the major highways leading to the state, as well as their exits, equipped with modern technologies to enable security operatives monitor acts of criminality, including people trooping in and out of the state.”

Ortom grants pardon to 43 prisoners

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has granted pardon to 43 inmates serving various jail terms in the state.

The governor stated this on Monday in Makurdi during the celebration of this year’s Democracy Day anniversary.

Delivering his speech on the occasion, Ortom said, “By the powers conferred on me as the governor, I am granting pardon to 43 indigenes of the state serving various jail terms in the state.”

He noted that with prudent management, his administration had, within the last two years, been able to restore peace and tranquility.

Ortom added, “We have enough food to eat and sell. Most of those who were crying are beginning to laugh. Those who were gloomy are now smiling because the Lord has been good to us.”

The governor, who listed his achievements within the last two years, however, used the occasion to inaugurate the 2017 fertiliser sale and fertiliser distribution scheme to farmers.

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