Chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Labour Party (LP) were engaged in a heated debate on Nigeria’s crippling economy and dwindling fortunes on Wednesday.
LP’s spokesman Tanko Yunusa, Niyi Akinsiju of the APC and Ilemona Onoja of the PDP clashed on Channels Television’s Politics Today.
Akinsiju said the President Muhammadu Buhari administration in May 2015 inherited debt from the PDP government of 16 years but the APC government has been able to deliver despite fall in the price per barrel of crude oil.
On the other hand, Onoja said the PDP handed over an economically stable country to the APC than it inherited from the military but the APC has bastardised the Nigerian economy.
However, Yunusa concluded that the PDP’s failure gave the APC a chance in 2015, adding disappointingly that the APC has doubled the mismanagement of the country in the last seven and a half years since it has been in government.
Since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999 after years of military rule, the PDP has produced three Presidents (Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan) for a cumulative period of 16 years. The APC took over in May 2015 with the election of Buhari, a former military head of state.
‘PDP Left A Hollow Economy’
Akinsiju, a member of the APC Presidential Campaign Council for Bola Tinubu and Kashim Shettima, insisted that the Buhari government has not done badly, noting that Tinubu and his running mate will consolidate on the economic gains of the present administration if they win the February 25, 2023 presidential election.
According to him, PDP left a hollow economy when Buhari came into power in May 2015 but the incumbent has managed to stabilise the economy.
“When this party (APC) came into government, the PDP left a hollow economy, a hollow government and because we have a Buhari in place, we stabilise the economy.
“We are at 21.09% inflation and we met 9.6% but there was no COVID-19 pandemic in 2005 August when we recorded the highest possible inflation rate in this country – 28.21%…And we are talking at a time when the price of crude oil per barrel was moving up. In 1999, it was $19/barrel. By 2005, it had moved up to more than $60/barrel.
“We are managers of an economy that is impacted by global headwinds and there is little we can do than to adapt and deploy our own creativity and we have been able to do that since 2015 when we inherited $63bn debt from the PDP government. Today, we are talking about $102bn debt all put together. Please, subtract $63bn from that debt,” he said.
APC, A Monumental Failure – Atiku’s Man
Onoja, a member of the Presidential Campaign Council for Atiku Abubakar and Ifeanyi Okowa, however, disagreed with Akinsiju, saying the APC has been a party of sorrow, pain and confusion marred by maladministration and bad governance.
He also faulted the cash withdrawal limits of the APC government amid the implementation of a currency change, saying the policy is doomed to fail, lead to job loss and throw several millions of people into poverty.
“In 1999, Nigeria’s GDP growth was 0.9%. 2000 – 5%. 2002 – 15.3%. This economy grew under Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as chairman of the National Economic Council. For the APC for seven and a half years, we are talking 3% growth that your population growth outstrips. How? In their (APC’s) private moment, the failure that keeps them up at night is so monumental.
“The PDP handed over to the APC a much better country than it inherited from the military. And what has the APC done to that country? It has bastardised it, ripped it to shreds, taken food out of the mouth of our children, taken education from our youths, has taken safety and security from our parents, and has taken healthcare from all of us,” he said.
APC, PDP Are Siamese Twins – Obi’s Ally
On his part, Yunusa, the chief spokesman for the 2023 campaign of LP’s Peter Obi and his running mate, Datti Baba-Ahmed, said both the PDP and the APC are Siamese twins when it comes to economic failure and maladministration.
“If the PDP has done so well during its eight years, the APC won’t have come to defeat it. It is because of the mismanagement of resources that we have that time. The APC has come up and doubled the mismanagement.
“The National Bureau of Statistics said 133 million Nigerians are in abject poverty, how else can you describe a failure of a government? Both of them left debt for Nigeria but in Obi’s case, he left N75bn in Anambra after leaving office,” he said.
Atiku, a former Vice-President; Obi, a former Anambra State governor; and Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State are frontline candidates for the 2023 presidential election which has been described by analysts as a three-horse race.