Leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and lawmakers elected on the platform of the opposition party, yesterday, gave President Muhammadu Buhari hard knocks over his comments that he inherited nothing from the PDP administrations of former president’s Olusegun Obasanjo, late Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua and Dr Goodluck Jonathan.
The trio ruled Nigeria between May 29, 1999 to May 29, 2015 when Buhari took over on the banner of the All Progressives Congress, APC. Buhari made the comment on Monday after attending Eid prayers in Daura, Katsina State on the heels of the economic recession in the country.” I want Nigerians to realise that what this government inherited after 16 years of PDP government was no savings, no infrastructure, no power, no rail, no road and no security,” he said. The comment elicited caustic remarks from PDP leaders, who accused the president of reversing the gains and achievements of the PDP within 15 months of coming to power and flinging the country into economic recession. They challenged him to publish Dr Jonathan’s hand-over notes for Nigerians to read and take a stand. While some PDP leaders they would not dignify the president’s misinformed comment with a response because he has clearly shown incapacity to lead, those who spoke include, pioneer National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Senator Aniete Okon; Former National Publicity Secretary of the PDP and former Minister of Information, Mr John Odey; former Aviation Minister, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode; Senators Rowland Owie, Enyinnaya Abaribe, Senator Biodun Olujimi, Senator Sunday Ogbuoji, Reps Leo Ogor and Uzoma Nkem-Abonta The only voice that supported President Buhari was that of Senator Joseph Waku, who nevertheless urged the president to back up his comments with a probe of the Obasanjo and Jonathan administrations. Jonathan, Buhari and Obasanjo His administration is made up of third class ministers – Leo Ogor House of Representatives Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, said: “First and foremost, let Mr President show us what the PDP administration left behind so that we can pin-point all we achieved in those years. “Let me not go too far, the rail stations he commissioned recently, can he lay claim to it or the telecommunications industry he met on ground that is second to none in Africa? He chose the PDP left overs that he appointed as ministers to help him run his government and that has led us to recession. “PDP had the best of the best in terms of economy management and governance and he decided to take the remnants and they have showcased their expertise in making us a poor nation within a very short period. Let him give us back the economy and see how we’ll re-grow it within a short period. PDP left robust democratic institutions, laced with the rule of law but today, it has been jettisoned. “Before his emergence, Nigeria was the highest exporter of cement and the Agriculture sector was already developing to a world standard. Today, the former Agriculture and Finance ministers work in international organisations a clear testimony to the fact that PDP had top class administrators. “The dollar was N150 to a US dollar but today, how much is the dollar to the Naira? This government came with policies that have made Nigeria a pauper nation in less than two years. “This is definitely the product of bad policies and clear indication that APC needs our support to stabilise our policy battered economy.” Let him publish Jonathan’s hand over notes – Nkem Abonta Chairman, House Committee on Public Petitions, Rep Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, spoke almost in the same vein and challenged President Buhari to publish the hand-over notes of former President Jonathan to enable Nigerians properly assess the situation on ground. He said: “This government actually needs all hands on deck to move Nigeria from recession. There is no doubt we must double-leap to beat recession and we must primarily focus on food production. If I may ask, are there no PDP members helping to run the affairs of this government? “Half of APC governors had worn PDP shirts, are they not part of this administration? PDP had rule of law and, to some extent, good governors. I agree that there is no house without mosquitoes but there must be ability to manage the mosquitoes not to cause malaria.” GEJ was definitely a better manager of mosquitoes as he made sure we did not go into recession. If we must get out of this nightmare, then we must rally around Buhari now to get the desired results. Blaming PDP for these woes will not solve anything because it’s like blaming a goalkeeper without attack and defence. Dollar was stabilised for five years at N150 and to get out of this doldrums, we must have an economic summit to look inward and focus on agriculture to get us out of recession.” No sitting president makes such sweeping statement – Odey Former National Publicity Secretary of the PDP and former Minister of Information, Mr John Odey said:” I want to believe that he was reported out of context because no sitting president can make such a sweeping statement. Government is a continuum and I strongly believe he never meant that he did not inherit anything from previous governments since 1999. Maybe he meant that if previous administrations were prudent in investing and diversifying the economy, we would have been better.” The statement is un-presidential – Sen Olujimi Senator Biodun Olujimi, PDP Ekiti South, said the president may be out of tune with development in the country, else he would not say what he was credited to have said. “To say that, it therefore means he is not a Nigerian because we know what Nigeria was before now and we know what it is now. If he did not inherit anything, what happens to GSM, what happens to the number of universities that we increased, what happens to the infrastructures in Abuja? What happens also to increased number of experts who came to invest in Nigeria? What happens to all the roads that lead to his state, Katsina and the ones into Abuja?” I think he just spoke out of context and that is unpresidential of him. That is not what a president should say. A president should appreciate those that had come before him and add value to whatever they had done and not to be continuously running them down. I think he’s just playing politics with everything and that is bad of him.” Nigerians are going through difficult times because of what he created and there is need for him to sit up to address their suffering. There is no need playing politics with everything, governance is a serious issue.” He crashed economy built over the years by PDP – Sunday Ogbuoji On his part, Senator Sunday Ogbuoji asked: “Has Buhari been using GSM at all, is he still calling with land line? When did satellite phones come into Nigeria? The GSM Nigerians are using now, who brought it to Nigerian? Was it APC? “The GSM he, Buhari, is using today is one of the benefits of the PDP government. It is very wrong of him to have said that. When we say that the man is confused and doesn’t know what he is saying, it is not as if we are saying so as an opposition, it is a statement of fact. He should be ashamed that he crashed within few months in office the country’s economy built by the PDP for 16 years to become the largest economy in Africa. “PDP government made Nigeria to be the largest economy in Africa only for him, Buhari, to crash it within his few months of being in power. “What does it mean to be largest economy, does he really understand what he is talking about? You can go on and on counting achievements of the PDP successive administrations for 16 years but he chose to be making unsubstantiated statements.” Buhari should justify his claim by going after Obj, Jonathan – Waku However, Senator Joseph Waku, who represented Benue North West in the National Assembly between 1999 and 2003, said he is in support of President Buhari, saying the PDP ended up destroying the country within the 16 years it held power. He said the claim by PDP that it brought GSM is false. According to him the GSM was an initiative of late General Sani Abacha, which the PDP merely expanded. Hear him: “PDP did not bring GSM, it was brought by late General Sani Abacha. The PDP only came and expanded it. I am not saying the PDP didn’t do anything, even destroying the economy alone was something they did. “How can you become the number one citizen, the number one law officer of the country and there was high rate of stealing under you and you did not act? PDP was completely a misfit of a government. The corruption under PDP administration started from Obasanjo and so, if Buhari wants to substantiate his allegation, he should probe all the PDP administrations and he should start with Obasanjo because he (Obasanjo) introduced corruption in our democracy. “Under PDP, top government officials stole to high heaven and no one was brought to book by the PDP administration. PDP, under the Obasanjo regime spent billions of naira for third term that failed. Obasanjo got $16 billion for energy, where is the money? Obasanjo used Nigerian money to buy very important hotels and buildings including a library at a time he was leaving office without any achievement in office. So, I am in total support of President Muhammadu Buhari.” Buhari has lost his memory and badly misinformed – Fani- Kayode Reacting, former Spokesman of ex- President Goodluck Jonathan Presidential Campaign Organisation, Chief Femi Fani- Kayode, took a swipe at President Buhari, saying that the president had either lost his memory or was badly misinformed for telling Nigerians that he inherited nothing from the PDP administrations of Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan. Speaking exclusively with Vanguard, Fani Kayode noted that President Buhari had in the last one year and three months, brought nothing but chaos, destruction, division, fear, deaths and shame to Nigeria compared to the PDP governments he was ridiculing. His words: “It is obvious that President Muhammadu Buhari has either lost his memory or he has been badly misinformed. If you look at the state of the country in 1999 when former President Olusegun Obasanjo took over and compare it to what it was in 2007 when he left office, you will find out that there was not just development but also a miraculous transformation in every sector; that is what Obasanjo managed to achieve and I am very proud to be part of that government and part of those legacies. “After Obasanjo left, Umaru Yar’ Adua took over and then came former President Goodluck Jonathan. As far as I am concerned, Jonathan built on Obasanjo’s legacies and foundation and he took us to yet another level. “If you compare Nigeria in 2015 by the time Jonathan left to 1999 before Obasanjo came in, you will have to thank the PDP for lifting this nation up and taking us from strength to strength. By the time Jonathan left in 2015, we had the largest economy on the African Continent and the fastest growing economy in the world, among other things. “In one year and three months, all of that have been destroyed by President Buhari and his APC, we are now back in the dark ages. Every sector in the country has been destroyed and everyone is complaining. “President Buhari has brought nothing, but ethnic cleansing, recession, abuse of power, persecution, genocide, chaos, destruction, division, fear, deaths and shame to Nigeria and they have no other way of running the country, but to intimidate the citizens and threaten them. That is his own legacy. “It should also be noted that a large number of people that supported Buhari in his quest to become the president, last year, were all originally from the PDP, whether the PDP governors, who decamped or PDP ministers who decamped or PDP legislators who decamped, 70 percent of people that helped to put Buhari in power used to be PDP including former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; Senate President Bukola Saraki; Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; former speakers Aminu Tambuwal, Aminu Masari; Umar Ghali Naaba; former minister of the Federal Capital Territory and governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El- Rufai; Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State; Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; former governors Olagunsoye Oyinlola; Segun Oni; Danjuma Goje; Aliyu Wammakko; Rabiu Kwankwaso; Murtala Nyako; George Akume; Senate Leader, Ali; former PDP national chairmen, Barnabas Gemade; Audu Ogbeh, among others. “When he insults PDP legacy and said that nothing was ever done by PDP in 16 years, he is insulting those 70 per cent that put him in power starting with Obasanjo and I think that this is most unfair and very ungrateful of him.” He is sounding like a cracked record – Senator Aniete Okon Pioneer National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Senator Aniete Okon asked President Buhari to go beyond party toga and put in place necessary measures that would rescue Nigeria from the present economic crisis. He said that the president should stand on the pedestrian of fact and truth because he is sounding like cracked record. His words: “Buhari should be quite honest if Nigerians must take his anti- corruption crusade very seriously. This is not the time for partisanship, he should go beyond the crack in the record because he us sounding like a cracked record. “He is turning the truth on its head. What about the railway project he commissioned? Was it carried out during his time? The least we expect from him is to acknowledge that certain things have been done before he came. He should remove partisan toga. After one year, this is the time to show results and his fight against corruption should include standing on the pedestrian of fact and truth. With the economic recession we are facing now, he should call the knowledgeable together and build the economy irrespective of party affiliation or coloration.” Buhari has lost it all – Senator Owie Former Chief Whip of the Senate and a PDP Chieftain, Senator Rowland Owie simply said:” The statement shows that President Muhammadu Buhari has lost it all because his failure in government will no longer deserve the sympathy of Nigerians. It is unfortunate.” Also, Chairman, Senate Committee on Power, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, PDP, Abia South simply described President Buhari’s comment as” a disappointing statement.” Buhari lacks capacity to develop Nigeria – Gbishe Former Secretary of the PDP in Benue State, Mr Tertsea Gbishe said the president “is just grabbing at straws because he lacks the capacity to lift the country out of the woods. “If he said he did not inherit anything from the previous governments, where did he get the money he is operating with? He gave bailout to the states, where did the money come from? What he said is not true. The man is inept. He does not have any idea to run the country. Yes, he is fighting corruption but even at that we have our reservations. His method of fighting corruption has raised a lot of questions. He may be passionate but many people think he is being selective. Examples abound. In Benue state for instance, anybody who decamped to APC is now a saint. He is not being sincere in several other ways and we don’t think he is being sincere in his assertion. He is dodging his responsibilities.”