Gentlemen of the press, it is very disheartening to see the level of suffering by fellow Nigerians caused ostensibly by the continuing failure of the PDP administration in the country under President Goodluck Jonathan. This is against the 93 promises made to our countrymen and women when he was seeking our votes in the 2011 elections.
We have called this press conference today to draw attention to the worsening fuel supply situation in the country and other sundry matters.
Across the country, except Lagos and Abuja where fuel scarcity has eased off, due largely to the huge presence of the media and very active Civil Society, the situation in other parts of Nigeria has been that of pains, anguish and frustration. Nigerians struggle daily to buy fuel at Fuel Stations. Social and economic activities in most part of Northern Nigeria, South East and South-South have become almost paralyzed from available reports, as fuel scarcity bites harder and stronger. Motorists and other citizens are paying through their noses to buy above official pump price of N87, a price reduction recently hurriedly announced in an attempt to deceive Nigerians for electoral purpose.
Gentlemen of the Press, you will recall that at the height of the scarcity of fuel three weeks ago, this government that has failed Nigerians in the last six years turned giving excuses and trading blames for its apparent failures. At some point, they blamed our party, the All Progressive Congress for the fuel scarcity. The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC came out afterwards to tell Nigerians the actual reason for this unfortunate development was due to non-payment of about N250b subsidy claims to the Major importers coupled with the unstable foreign exchange rates.
From the reports we gathered across the states in Nigeria a litre of petrol is selling in Aba at N110, in Benin it is selling at N150, in Uyo a litre is selling at NNPC Mega Station at N97 while other privately-owned fuel stations are selling at N110 per litre. In Kaduna and Northern states the scarcity is biting harder as petrol is selling above N120 with long queues. In Port Harcourt and South Eastern States a litre of Petrol sells between N130 and N150 just as it is selling above N100 in Ado-Ekiti and Akure. This is the sorry state of our country today. A major crude oil producing country depends on massive importation of refined petroleum products to meet local consumption.
It is very instructive to state that Kerosene despite the heavy annual subsidy of over N1trillion is not selling at the regulated price of N50/litre and the poor masses who depend on this essential product are buying across Nigeria between N150 and N180/litre. The government and its apologists gleefully trumpet that the Nigeria’s rebased economy is the biggest in Africa yet the economy is powered by generators. What an irony! Businesses are closing down because of the high cost of energy. Even with the fall in the global price of crude the pump price of diesel has remained as it was before. This has defiled logic. Nigerians are asking question why our four refineries are not working at full capacity. They want to know why the country is the only crude oil producer in the world that is the biggest importer of refined products with the associated massive corruption that is feeding the greed of the leaders of the ruling party, the PDP.
These are the issues in this campaign and they are the issues that affect our people. Rather than confronting these issues, the Jonathanians in their Buhariphobia continue to engage in campaign of calumny and hate propaganda against our presidential candidate and other leading lights in our party. The APC and its Presidential Candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari are poised to tackle headlong these hydra headed socio-economic problems and give Nigerians a new lease of life.
This government has failed woefully to meet the yearnings of Nigerians for basic things of life, least of all, availability of petroleum products, with the associated industrial scale corruption. As a country and a people we cannot continue in this wicked, destructive and very unsustainable path. The time to save Nigeria and begin a process of rebuilding our country is now! Nigerians want the return of the good old days when we can meet our local refined petroleum products consumption and we could export refined products to other countries. Gen Buhari and Professor Yemi Osinbajo have promised to make this New Nigeria possible in our life time.
Permit me also to touch on a bit of the problems confronting our healthcare system in the country, under the Jonathan administration.
Four years after, our health institutions, most especially at the tertiary level have witnessed a systemic decay with doctors’ and other health workers’ prolonged labour disputes never seen in history of Nigeria. Salaries of most health workers at the Federal level have not been paid till date.
In recent World Health Organization Ranking of the World Health Systems, Nigeria was ranked 187 out of 190 countries. What a pity! South Africa, Angola, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco ranked better than Nigeria despite our oil wealth yet our public officers and their family members travel abroad for most mundane health related matters.
According to UNICEF Nigeria, every single day, Nigeria loses about 2,300 under-five year olds and 145 women of childbearing age. This makes the country the second largest contributor to the under–five and maternal mortality rate in the world. A study conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, the influential British journal ranked Nigeria as the worst place for a baby to be born in 2013
A very senior journalist, Mr. Dimgba Igwe, former Deputy Managing Director of the Sun Newspaper died recently because LUTH didn’t have the equipment to provide necessary life support and emergency response for him after an accident. The same happened three weeks ago to Mr. Dada Eriye, Publisher of Bravo Softsell Magazine, when the same LUTH could not provide immediate help for him following a second degree burns he suffered while trying to put petrol into his generator as a result of power failure. This is how Nigeria health system kills the brightest and best among us.
Due to the dearth of necessary working tools, a large number of Nigerian registered medical doctors have moved abroad. They are mostly found in the United Kingdom, USA, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.
Out of 65,000 doctors registered in Nigeria, only 25,000 are currently practicing in the country, the former President of the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, Dr. Osahon Enabulele said not long ago. The APC and the government it will lead under Gen. Muhammadu Buhari will reverse this ugly trend and revive the health sector with well motivated health workers and world-class working tools.
Ironically, this is 2015, the year the Millennium Development Goals should be met by all countries of the world. It is clearly evident that the country has failed the Millennium Development Goals’ (MDG) target of 75 per cent coverage of access to safe drinking water by the citizens. Indeed, according to a NOI Polls Limited conducted mid last year, 47 per cent of Nigerians still cannot access clean drinking water with 83 per cent of Nigerians sourcing their drinking water privately, while only about 9 per cent are connected to the public sewage system.
Gentlemen of the press, the deplorable health system in Nigeria, the 6th largest oil producer in the world where over N30 trillion national wealth have been stolen in 5years under President Jonathan through fuel, kerosene subsidies, inflated contracts and stolen crude is one of the issues that we are bringing to the fore to Nigerians to help them make a better and well informed choice between a failed President Jonathan and Gen. Buhari, who has a record of performance and the ability to make Nigeria’s wealth work for Nigerians.
These are the issues in this election and our party the All Progressives Congress will focus on them as we draw closer to the March 28th, Presidential election. It is the date when the destiny of Nigeria will change for good.
Nigeria Vs Morocco Diplomatic Row
Lastly, let me state that we in the APC are outraged and embarrassed beyond words that the Jonathan government can elevate lying as a state policy. The false claim, that President Jonathan spoke to Moroccan King Mohammed V1 when no such telephone conversation ever took place has made Nigeria a laughing stock in the eyes of the world. It is yet another in the series of lying Presidency.
By our traditions and cultures, lying is not encouraged even among children. Why did President Jonathan have to wait until Morocco recalled its Ambassador to Nigeria before he issued a clarification on the issue?
His belated admission that he never spoke to Moroccan King at any time didn’t go far enough. Instead of apologizing to Nigerians for the diplomatic embarrassment his administration had caused Nigeria, the Presidency is blaming some fall guys at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
As the President, the buck stops at his desk, and it was therefore, inappropriate for the President to dismiss a serious diplomatic gaffe with levity and blame some poor, anonymous civil servants for the row. He should just own up, apologize and stop lying, not only this but on several others on which they are culpable. A word is enough for the wise.
Thank you for your kind attention.
Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora