• PDP, others say address full of false claims
• We no longer believe in Nigeria, declare Yoruba youths
• Why citizens should trust current govt, by APC, SGF
President Muhammadu Buhari’s independence anniversary speech was a litany of false claims and promises, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) declared yesterday.In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP said that “while the president was fictitiously asserting that our economy had made progress under him and that there is enabling environment for local and foreign investments, hard economic reality shows that not only has the nation become more economically disadvantaged under him, it now ranks as one of the world’s poorest.
“Perhaps Mr. President needs to be reminded that his new Minister of Finance Zainab Ahmed had last month alerted that the nation was facing serious revenue challenges under him, while the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) expressed fears that our country is sliding further into recession due to his poor implementation of 2018 budget.”
The leading opposition party said that Buhari deliberately failed to mention that his administration has returned the country to a debtor nation by accumulating over N22.4 trillion debt through which he has mortgaged the future of the nation.
It said that the president also failed to respond to the fact that his harsh economic policies and “demarketing tendencies,” have caused a dearth in local and foreign direct investment, leading to over 30 million job losses as detailed by independent surveys including those by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The PDP observed that the president failed to state “that due to his incompetence, the naira has fallen from the N165/1USD he met in 2015 to N360 to 1USD. He had no words for the increase in the price of fuel from N87 in 2015 to N145 as well as the hike in the prices of staple foods and essential commodities in Nigeria under his misrule.”
“Furthermore, President Buhari claimed that under his administration, corruption, including brazen theft of billions of naira and shady oil deals have become a thing of the past. Perhaps, Mr. President forgot that the latest corruption perception index released by Transparency International (TI), which saw our nation moving 12 places down the red line, shows that corruption has increased under him,” PDP said.
Similarly, a former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Timi Frank, said there was nothing in Buhari’s speech to make the people happy. It failed to inspire and uplift the Nigerian spirit and was a reminder of a stale rhyme the APC government has always sung, he said. Frank said the president should have used the occasion to address workers’ clamour for a new minimum wage and the controversial detention of Islamic cleric, El-Zakzaky, and a former national security adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
Frank described the speech as “so divisive and uninspiring,” wondering also how “both local, international observers and other international communities could condemn the recent sham called elections in Ekiti, Rivers and Osun, but President Buhari did not see anything wrong in it because he is using the Independent National Electoral Commission to rig elections in his favour.”
But defending the government, APC’s acting National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, insisted that with Buhari, Nigerians have every reason to hope.In a statement, he affirmed: “The President Buhari-led APC administration is focused on the pressing issues that directly affect Nigerians – security, economy and the fight against corruption.”
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation Boss Mustapha also stressed the need for Nigerians to celebrate. He praised the government’s acquisition of military hardware, some of which were displayed at the anniversary, and linked the development to the “relative calm” in the troubled northeast.Meanwhile, despite Buhari’s promise of a bright future in his independence anniversary speech, Yoruba youths yesterday declared their loss of faith in the country The Yoruba Youth Council (YYC), the youth wing of pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, issued a statement in which it described the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as its “counterpart in echoing the demands of our fathers to question the continuous existence of Nigeria as one nation.”
Chairman of the Ondo State chapter of the group, Benson Akinwumi, said: “We demand the division of Nigeria and hence the secession of interested ethnic groups or parts of the country. We have been pushed beyond walls, hence revolt is inevitable when the time shall come.”
YYC lamented that Nigeria is “a nation divided along ethnic and religious lines; a nation where a particular tribe is the colonialist and others are the colonised; where the system of government is based on deception and corruption; a nation where the personal or selfish interest of some few individuals supersedes the interest of the poor masses who are the majority; where the life of a cow is worth more than hundreds of human lives.”
The group claimed that unlike Nigeria, many nations of the world faced with challenges such as natural disasters, economic decline and disease, still make progress. “We believed so much in our leaders and they have failed us woefully. We have come to the realisation that none of them has, at heart, the interest of the majority they represent.”
It added: “This is the state of our nation as at this first day of October 2018. We can no longer continue with this crop of leadership, which lacks vision for the youths and the country.”The anniversary celebrated by the government yesterday featured a colourful parade by men of the Nigerian Armed forces, the police and other personnel drawn from paramilitary agencies. Military pipers from the Guards Brigade band corps heralded Buhari, who was driven to the arena in a motorcade. He thereafter inspected guards on parade amid cheers from hundreds of spectators. There was also an aerial display by the Nigerian Air Force and a march past by an all-female guards unit.