By JOHN ALECHENU AND OLUSOLA FABIYI
The governing All Progressives Congress and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party on Sunday engaged in a war of words over the state of the economy as well as cases of alleged looting by the former President Goodluck Jonathan-led PDP administration.
In separate statements in Abuja, the APC and the PDP accused one another of economic mismanagement and of filtering away public finds.
In a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the APC said the party has uncovered a list of new cases of the insane looting of the treasury by some officials of the Jonathan’s administration, saying the corruption mess that characterised the administration was so pervasive that until it is cleaned, Nigeria will not be able to actualise its potential.
The party said those who would rather give comfort to the looters by dismissing the media exposure of looting cases as mere hell-raising should realise that no sane person can be silent in the face of what was unfolding as the worst cases of brazen stealing of public funds in Nigeria’s history.
It recalled that on August 16, 2015, the party listed some instances of the breath-taking looting of the treasury by some officials of the immediate past administration.
The party said it was today bringing to light three more heart-rending cases to the attention of Nigerians. It listed the new cases as a mind-shattering $2.2bn (about N440bn) arms scandal; a $6.9m fraud by the Chief Security Officer to President Jonathan, committed under the guise of buying three mobile stages for the President; and a N2.5bn scam involving the rent of house boats.
The statement partly read, ‘’While those charged with handling these cases are finalising the details of bringing the suspects to justice, our immediate concern is the attempt by the PDP, under whose umbrella the looting took place, to blame the Buhari administration for the mess and then infer that things have been worse in Nigeria in the past three months under the APC-led Federal Government than in the 16 years under the PDP. This is totally provocative, shameless and uncharitable.
“They say we are yet to fulfil our campaign promises to Nigeria, but they have forgotten that if only the PDP/Jonathan administration had not stolen Nigeria blind, there would have been more than enough money to give school children in Nigeria, not just one but three meals a day and even pay N5, 000 to N50m to most vulnerable Nigerians, not just the N25m we promised in our manifesto.
“It is clear to all Nigerians that the debilitating impact of 16 years of the PDP’s misrule cannot be reversed in just three months.”
In response, the PDP insisted that the stealing of public funds has been going on under President Muhammadu Buhari’s watch.
It said that rather than hide their heads in shame for its abysmal performance in the last 90 days, leaders of the APC and the Presidency have continued to grope and look for excuses.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh,who said this in a statement in Abuja on Sunday, said discerning minds were appalled that instead of providing answers to issues of economic retrogression, the Presidency and the APC have resorted to wild allegations and insults in an attempt to cover their ineptitude and divert attention from their list of bogus promises which they have no intention to fulfil.
He said, “The PDP has severally expressed its support for a holistic fight against corruption and we have challenged the Federal Government to investigate and prosecute all corrupt persons irrespective of ethnic and political affiliations.
“We are therefore appalled that instead of getting serious with the challenges of governance, the APC is bent on inventing excuse for its crass incompetence to create and manage wealth, to the detriment of the nation.
“We challenge the APC and the Presidency to be honest enough to respond to issues instead of resorting to propaganda.
“Is the so-called mess clearing an answer for the adamant stance of the APC and President Buhari in running a government without a cabinet and a precise fiscal policy direction, a strange totalitarian approach that has taken serious toll on the economy and the polity in general?”