National chairman-elect of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu has taken a swipe at the monetary policy of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government which has seen the Naira depreciates in value in relation to other international currencies.
Ayu who played host to a delegation of the Conference of United Political Parties, CUPP, in his Maitama, Abuja residence, Monday, further chided the All Progressives Congress, APC, for doing little in tackling the poverty in the land.
He said: “With the exchange rate today, Nigeria seems to have the worst currency in Africa. Even Somalia that is a failed state is doing better than Nigeria, even small countries like Ghana. Our currency is in a free fall and that is because, we are an import dependent economy.
“The quality of lives of Nigerians is going down. N10, 000 yesterday before All Progressives Congress, APC took over is now a N100, 000. You can even see with the price of rice in the market today.
“Our people cannot live a healthy, quality life. So I charge all of you to strengthen Nigeria so that more voices will be speaking about that and not just the PDP.”
He called on the CUPP to educate Nigerians on the need to realize that another APC government will be disastrous for Africa’s biggest nation.
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“You have a duty to educate Nigerians that eight more years of this government will cause complete disaster for the country. It will lead to the breakup of this country and everything should be done to educate Nigerian to democratically remove this government because they are the biggest cancer affecting Nigeria today at every level.
In what appeared a veiled dig at Governor Mala Buni of Yobe state, caretaker chairman of the APC, Ayu wondered why a governor elected to govern his people will abandon his mandate for party administration.
“How can a governor leave his state for years and stay in Abuja because he is the national chairman of the political party? Who is governing the state? That is how unserious they are.,” he added.
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That said, Ayu said he bear no personal grudges against President Buhari, adding that his Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari is his personal friend who is serving “a wrong government.”
Earlier in his opening remarks, spokesperson of CUPP, Ikenga Ugochinyere said the delegation was in Ayu’s residence to urge him to rally forces to deepen democracy in Nigeria particularly with 2023 election some less than two years away.
CUPP, Ugochinyere added, is proud of Ayu’s track record as Senate President and Minister at various times, saying it’s a great thing that the party settled for him as its next national chairman.
“Everybody was excited because of the prospect that we know you are going to bring to the table because of your believe in party discipline. Everybody is looking up to you because at this particular moment, a lot has gone wrong in the country.
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“With all due respect to all formal officers of the party, much was not done to put the APC on their toes and now that you have come on board, our county will be in good shape and we believe that once you are sworn in, you will help to rebuild the coalition to make it more stronger this time around so that together, all of us can work and ensure that the country gets the kind of leadership it deserve in 2023,” he said.
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Again, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu during a chat with BBC Hausa monitored at the weekend added that the PDP has organised a workshop for its newly elected officials, to keep them abreast of ways to confront insecurity in the country.
“The situation in our country is so bad that anyone on a journey from Abuja to Kaduna, whether by road or by rail, would not have a peaceful mind.
“It is a must that we right the wrongs in our party to get people’s support. Every side must be given the chance to comment so that together, we work in unison to achieve what the people desire,” he said.
But a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Osita Okechukwu, said PDP lacks the moral latitude to promise Nigerians a better deal. He argued that Nigerians are assured of sustainable development if APC continues to rule.
“How can Nigerians trust our sister political party, the PDP, given their antecedents, riddled with trust deficit? We know that times are hard. Methinks, it is better to allow APC to fix Nigeria. Where does one start from?” he asked.
Citing alleged misapplications of funds when the PDP ruled the country, he recalled how Kassim Afegbua alerted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of corruption in the opposition party.
He said: “Can we forget the squandermania of the $23 billion Greenfield Refineries – one meant for Lagos, one for Kogi and one for Bayelsa? A golden opportunity cost to our economy.”
“Recall that on March 19, 2015, Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) queried Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, then Minister of Finance thus, ‘May we under the Freedom of Information Act 2011, request the full disclosure of transactions concerning the three Greenfield Refineries and petrochemical plant contracts awarded on May 13, 2010, by President Goodluck Jonathan to Chinese State Construction and Engineering Corporation Limited (CSCEC) at $23 billion, meant to be located at Bayelsa, Kogi and the Lagos States’.
“Secondly, why are they dead on arrival, as six years down the lane, neither the three Greenfield Refineries nor petrochemical plant is under construction. The three Greenfield Refineries, one understands, on completion, were to add 750,000 barrels per day capacity to Nigeria’s refining infrastructure and create over a million jobs.
“The Greenfield Refineries fiasco happened when our Excess Crude Account had over $40 billion and the China State Construction Corporation even upped their equity to 80 per cent. The unfortunate outcome is that $15 billion was fleeced off our national treasury yearly for the importation of refined petroleum products for over a decade.”