Lai Mohammed slams PDP in new statement, says opposition party is a shameless irritant

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Minister of Information and Culture, Lai
Mohammed, has slammed the PDP for once
again asking President Buhari to resign, calling
the former ruling party a shameless irritant
which is bent on distracting the government
from its rescue mission and returning the
country to ”Egypt”.
”We are on a rescue mission to
resuscitate Nigeria after the PDP left it
in a coma, and the noise from the same
PDP seems designed to sabotage the
rescue efforts. But we are not deterred,”
Lai Mohammed said in a statement
released today via his Special Adviser,
Segun Adeyemi
According to Lai Mohammed, if the PDP had
understood the meaning of shame, it would
never have dared to even make a single
comment on the same economy that it did
everything to kill. ”While the PDP was
emasculating Nigeria on all fronts, including
social, economic and political, the rapacious
party was deceiving Nigerians by giving them
the illusion of growth and prosperity.
Instead of showing remorse and rebuilding itself
to a strong opposition party, the PDP has
continued to blame the successor Buhari
Administration which is left to pack their mess.
PDP undertakers have continued to engage in a
blame game, when they should be hiding from
the shame they brought upon themselves and
the nation,” he said.
Mohammed said what the PDP has consistently
put up as a vibrant economy under its watch
was nothing but a bubble that was buoyed by
massive corruption and chronic incompetence,
an economy in which someone without any
known means of earned livelihood would boast
of $31.5 million! ”They keep saying we should
stop talking of the past, yet the past will not
stop rearing its head.
They keep saying we should no longer refer to
the past, but how can we forget so soon that
our foreign exchange reserves plummeted from
$62bn in 2008 to $30bn by 2015, at a time
when oil prices were at a historic high, reaching
a level of $114 per barrel in 2014.
By comparison, Indonesia, another oil producing
economy with a high population, increased its
reserves from $60 billion in 2008 to $120 billion
in 2015. The candid truth is that we failed
under the successive PDP administrations to
save for the rainy day, and we need to
constantly remind ourselves of that so that we
won’t repeat the mistake.
Take the excess crude account which fell from
about $9bn in 2007 to about $2bn in 2015. The
argument that it was the State Governors that
depleted the account does not hold water since
there were Governors in place when the
account was being built up. Worse still is the
fact that up to $14bn in revenues from Nigerian
LNG remains unaccounted for and indeed until
the Buhari Administration came to office, State
Governments never got any allocations from
this source of funds which properly belongs to
the Federation Account. The naked fact on the
revenue front is that there was just a failure of
leadership.
This was compounded by the non-transparent
uses of funds. We are all witnesses to the
sacking of a Central Bank Governor because he
raised an alarm about $20 billion that had gone
missing. We are indeed still trying to recover
huge sums looted from the national treasury
under the PDP’s watch, with $15 billion stolen
from the defence sector alone.
Perhaps most painful is that because of the
way funds (about $322m) returned from
Switzerland were mishandled, we now have to
accept conditionalities before our stolen assets
are even returned to us,” he said. Mohammed
said one of the achievements that the PDP has
been touting is that it reduced the nation’s
national debt. ”However, at the time that we
were earning such large revenues from oil, we
only managed to double our external debt from
$5.6 billion to $10.7 billion between 2011 and
2015.
The case of domestic debt was even worse,
almost tripling from N888 billion to N2.1 trillion
in the same period. Even these figures mask
the extent of unpaid obligations to contractors
and the huge plethora of uncompleted projects
on which money continued to be spent without
visible results. Payments to contractors stopped
several years ago while not a single dollar was
contributed to the Joint Venture activities.
Over N4.5 trillion was spent on fuel subsidy in
just two years under the PDP! Despite a recent
oil boom, Nigerians are indeed all victims of the
dilapidated and decrepit infrastructure. The
economy that the Buhari Administration
inherited was certainly in dire straits, if the
huge amount of salary arrears that were being
owed at various tiers of government is anything
to go by. If, after earning so much resources
and increasing the total debt stock, our
governments were not able to meet salary
obligations, sometimes for up to seven months,
then something was definitely wrong
somewhere and if this is not evidence of a
collapsing economy, one wonders what it is.
Indeed, it was not so long ago that the fuel
subsidy regime almost bankrupted the country.
Through credibility and commitment to good
governance, the current administration has
managed to save up to N1.4 trillion that would
have been spent on subsidies for PMS.
Moreover, the daily demand for PMS has halved
from 1600 trucks a day to 850 trucks a day.
If we could achieve such savings, then clearly
the petrol sector which was and remains a huge
source of foreign exchange demand was not
being well managed. It is also important to
point out that the poor security situation in the
North East has had ripple effects on the
economy.
Apart from the dislocation of daily lives, there
was extensive loss of agricultural production
arising from the fact that our citizens in that
zone could not go to their farms not to talk of
planting and harvesting produce. Yet, in just a
space of about 15 months, the Buhari
Administration has liberated this region from the
clutches of Boko Haram, which is now left to
release meaningless videos when it could no
longer carry out spectacular attacks,” he said.
He added that the government will continue to
welcome constructive criticism, it had nothing
to learn from a party that was in charge of the
nation’s affairs at a time of plenty, but ended
up frittering away the commonwealth, looting
the nation blind and setting the stage for today
economic crisis, which the Buhari
Administration is working tirelessly to put an
end to.

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