Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, have hit President Bola Tinubu over his Independence Day speech.
It separate statements, yesterday, the main opposition party described it as “empty and bereft of ideas” while the former vice president not only was it insipid and uninspiring, it exuded renewed hopelessness.
The PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, said what Nigerians expected was a presidential speech that would provide concrete solutions to the myriad of challenges confronting the country, including insecurity and energy crisis.
It stated that any serious government with the requisite capacity and vision would have put in place a Marshall Plan on every critical sector, so as to stimulate the economy through job creation.
“Our party holds that the manifest non-preparedness and hasty implementation of ill-planned policies by the current APC administration triggered a catastrophic economic failure with unprecedented crippling effect on the productive sector and agonizing hardship on Nigerians.
“The ill-planned policies led to the closure and mass exodus of many multinational companies from our country, disabled millions of Small and Medium Enterprises and resulted in massive loss of jobs across the country.
“It is troubling that President Tinubu’s speech also had no clear-cut measures to revamp the critical sectors of manufacturing, agriculture, food production, transportation, healthcare, education and other pivotal sectors of life in the country.
“The president’s speech articulated no solutions to the fall of the Naira from N187 to the US Dollar under the PDP to over N1,000 under his watch; no answers to the alarming over 40 per cent unemployment rate and the fact that Nigerians are now daily fleeing the country in droves.
“Furthermore, it is heartrending that the President’s speech had no words on the mindless killings, maiming, abductions and mass burial of citizens in various parts of the country under his watch. He had no reassuring words on the abduction of students in Zamfara State as well as other victims of such dastardly acts across the country.
“On the much-touted welfare package, the PDP asserts that there is nothing to cheer over such spiteful tokenism where, amidst unbearable costs, President Tinubu announced a miserable N25,000 per month for six months for average low-grade workers while still being aspirational on his promise of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses.
“It is also certain, from antecedents, that the promised cash transfer programmes to an additional 15 million vulnerable households would be another conduit pipe to divert public funds to corrupt APC leaders.”
It added that President Tinubu’s has left no one in doubt that the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration “has no plans, capacity and competence to handle the crucial and urgent task of governance, which is clearly beyond its managerial faculty.”
The opposition party further stated that Nigerians did not need to pass through agonising hardship as being excused by President Tinubu, “if the nation is run by a government that has the required vision and skills to harness and manage our economic potentials, national comparative advantage and expanded value chain that abound in our vast but dormant productive sector.”
In his own reaction, Atiku, in a statement by his media aide, Phrank Shaibu, claimed President Tinubu failed to announce an increase in the minimum wage, following the decimation of the naira, in the aftermath of petrol subsidy removal.
“Many workers were hopeful that minimum wage would be announced today. However, what Tinubu decided to do was to add an allowance of N25,000 ($25) to the lowest paid workers for six months only. This is a man who is not in sync with the current realities that the people are living in.
“He claimed he refused to increase the minimum wage in order not to worsen the inflation rate. If he cared so much about the inflation rate, he ought to have planned properly before removing the petrol subsidy and forcing the Central Bank to embark on a failed exchange rate unification policy which has not been backed by a corresponding boost in exports.
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“In effect, Tinubu put the cart before the horse, and now that the horse has trampled on the cart, he is making excuses for his own incompetence. This is shameful.”
Atiku, while stating that the removal of fuel subsidy was not an achievement, rather what was done with the savings, berated Tinubu for describing himself as an achiever for removing subsidy and for saying that subsidy ought to have been removed earlier.
He noted that the President was one of the loudest voices against subsidy removal back in 2012 when the Goodluck Jonathan administration decided to remove it.
“Tinubu should bury his face in shame for criticising former presidents for retaining subsidies. Here is a man who described petrol increase back in January 2012 as ‘Jonathan tax’ when subsidy was removed at the time.
“Tinubu told Jonathan to go after the oil thieves rather than Nigerians. Let Tinubu also be brave enough to expose and prosecute the so-called subsidy thieves he loves to reference in every speech. Let Tinubu also be man enough to apologise for sponsoring protests in Lagos back in 2012 over subsidy.”
Atiku added that the planned strike by the organised labour was evidence that Tinubu has failed to carry the average Nigerian along in government decisions.
“He told the organised labour and Nigerians at large to be patient. While they gave him the benefit of the doubt and delayed a bit, he decided to proceed to court to obtain a court order barring them from going on strike. This has become the stock in trade of the APC.
“However, now that Nigerians are drowning from Tinubu’s ill-conceived policies, the organised labour and even the majority of Nigerians are threatening to disobey the court order. This is the sort of chaos that Tinubu’s illegitimate administration is about to push Nigerians into.
“Rather than negotiate with labour in an honest manner, Tinubu has been sponsoring crises in affiliate unions of the NLC like the NURTW where his minion, MC Oluomo, and others are constantly attacking the NLC. Tinubu should be reminded of the fact that money cannot buy everything.”
Furthermore, he stated Tinubu’s promise to “distribute palliatives to the poorest of the poor as another ruse to fool innocent and desperate Nigerians.