By Gimba Kakanda
The People’s Democratic Party on Tuesday defended the assertion of former President Goodluck Jonathan that the party kept the economy stable in its 16 years’ reign, faulting the current ruling party’s performance.
“The APC -led federal government has managed to lead the nation to six consecutive quarters of economic recession without a coherent, cogent strategy to bring our economy out of the woods,” said the leadership of the PDP in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Dayo Adeyeye.
The All Progressives Congress had reacted swiftly to Mr Jonathan’s declaration, at the Saturday PDP Convention, that the party performed better than the current ruling party.
The former president said he had a sound economic team, and worked to keep inflation at a single digit, compared to the present 16 percent rate.
Acknowledging the criticism, Mr Adeyeye added, “We have read comments made by the National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Bolaji Ojo-Abdullahi, Mallam Garba Shehu, Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity and other senior members of the ruling party, such as former Governor Segun Oni and Dr. Osita Okechukwu, the Director General of the Voice of Nigeria, where they attempted to rubbish the comments made by former President Goodluck Jonathan that his administration performed well during his term in office.
“It is our firm belief that these statements were borne out of ignorance, lacking in depth and are devoid of the sort of critical thinking that one would expect from highly placed government officials.
“However, these officials seem bent on continuing what has become an official position of the ruling party to reduce commentary on public issues, and indeed the art of governance to comedy.”
The former ruling party also described as “shameful and embarrassing” that APC is unable to point to “cogent, convincing and data driven achievements after two and a half years in power.”
The party however maintained they were able to leave behind a thriving economy for the APC owing to their abhorrence to corruption in almost all sectors of the economy.
Stating that Nigeria was the largest economy in Africa, valued at $500 billion when they handed over power to the APC, the PDP further attributed the economic recession to lack of coherent policies and competence by the Buhari-led administration.
Nigeria was number one destination for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Africa as of May 29, 2015, according to the PDP. The the party cited Mr. Jonathan’s foresight in designing and implementing coherent policies as the reason investors staked billions of dollars in the nation’s economy.
Describing the performance of the Nigerian economy under PDP, the party said, “Since the inauguration of the Buhari administration, investors have voted with their feet, having been discouraged by the inchoate and incoherent policies being implemented by the APC -led Federal Government.
“Instead, it has spent the bulk of its time designing and implementing a communication strategy around massive propaganda, half -truths and outright falsehood in an attempt to continually deceive the Nigerian people.
“For the sake of emphasis, we reiterate our position that the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan performed well during its term in office.
“There are no indices anywhere in Nigeria, or indeed in the world, by which the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari can be measured as performing better than any PDP administration since 1999.
“The Jonathan administration maintained a single digit inflation rate for several years. Inflation stood at 9.6 per cent at the inception of the Buhari administration.
“The incompetence of the current Economic Management Team has resulted in inflation rising as high as 18.72 per cent in January 2017 before settling at 16.1 per cent in July 2017.
“This had led to the skyrocketing of the prices of goods, services and food items thereby making staples unaffordable to millions of Nigerians.
“It is not a coincidence that the last time Nigerians had to deal with the current level of widespread hunger and lack was when President Muhammadu Buhari held sway as military Head of State between 1984 and 1985.
“The APC led Federal Government inherited an economy that had grown at an average of 7 per cent per annum for the previous 10 years. Indeed, when President Buhari spoke at the Chatham House in February 2015, he admitted that the Nigerian economy had experienced growth for several years.
“At the time, several global economic experts projected Nigeria to be among the top seven growing economies in the world in 2016.
“However, the APC -led federal government has managed to lead the nation to six consecutive quarters of economic recession without a coherent, cogent strategy to bring our economy out of the woods.”