Stone us if we fail after two years, says Momoh
Founding member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Prince Tony Momoh, has defended the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari over complaints by a section of Nigerians that the APC-led government has failed to deliver its promised change.
In an exclusive chat with The Guardian, on Sunday, yesterday, Momoh explained that many of the challenges weighing heavily on the administration are the result of the monumental “rot we found when we assumed office.”
“Stone us,” Momoh said confidently if within two years the current government fails to reverse the situation, even as he stressed that this government is laying the foundation for a new and better country.
“Nigerians are complaining of bad roads. But what happened to the several billions of money voted for road construction and rehabilitation under the Jonathan government? If we complain about security challenges, what happened to the billions of dollars voted to fight insurgency, which some people mismanaged, the same with power and other necessary infrastructure?” he asked.
He also noted that fall in the global oil price is greatly undermining efforts by the Buhari government. According to him, “ask any of the present ministers. Which of the ministries did not incur serious debts under the immediate past administration? It will surprise you to know that there is none. The new ministers are only scraping the bottom of the pots, struggling with the mergre remnants left by their predecessors, including the huge debts incurred.”
But Minority Leader of the defunct Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) in the Second Republic, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, believes “the APC is a victim of its own stupidity.”
Furious about the abysmal performance of the power sector, he said: “To imagine that you can resolve the issue of power without first disambiguating from the people who benefited from the sale of our national assets in power, and we have a situation where even in capitalist countries you do not allow people or the business class to own the generating companies (GENCOs) and at the same time own the distribution companies (DISCOs). In Nigeria, we have the GENCOs being owned by the same set of people and the DISCOs also owned by the same set of people. And you are asking people to solve the problem when they have a vested interest in perpetuating the problem. That is the number one stupidity of the APC as a party.”
Contending that Buhari is surrounded by “Shylocks and crooks”, Mohammed added: “It is clear that those who want to benefit from a perpetuation of the status quo do not want change to happen in the power generation sector, because they believe that if change happens, no matter how miniature, it will affect their own interests or selfish economic and class interest.”
Almost a year after it broke the dominance of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigerians are growing impatient over seeming inability of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government to deliver on the change it promised.
Rather than breathing a sigh of relief, it appears Nigerians are being stifled further by insecurity, fuel scarcity, power shortage, economic haze and a delayed budget.
While supporters of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration are stressing the need for patience, some critics are already sounding nostalgic of former times, angry that the government has not done enough to meet people’s expectations.
Bringing a charge of unpreparedness against the APC-led government, Dr. Sofiri Peterside, a Sociology lecturer at the University of Port Harcourt, said: “People gave their mandate to the APC because they were not happy with the way the country had been run in the past 16 years. But faced with acute fuel scarcity, incessant power outage, insecurity, Nigerians are beginning to think that this administration is taking their magnanimity for granted. Nigerians are slow to react but when they do, it will be very serious. This government does not seem prepared.”
The perceived failings of the Buhari government, notwithstanding, what the President is doing, according to APC chieftain and former Anambra State Governor, Chinwoke Mbadinuju, is cleaning the mess of the previous leadership.
“Nigerians wanted a change from the rot of the past and I can assure them that the most likely person to herald such is President Buhari. The APC has the making of a party destined to carry Nigeria over the turbulence of the period and bring about a country where the aspirations of every section are met.
“It is also clear that the President is not the cause of our political problems but is rather finding solutions to past and present problems we face. Former administrations brought the cankerworms and caterpillars of corruption, injustice, poor economy and other plagues upon Nigerians with a culture of dealers instead of leaders.
“I believe that Nigeria will come out stronger from the current socio-economic realities, and I urge support for the efforts of President Buhari’s administration,” he said.
While stressing that Nigerians have a right to be agitated by the performance of the APC government, Mr. Ayo Opadokun, Convener, Coalition of Democrats for Electoral Reform (CODER), is of the view “the (Buhari) administration failed to realise the magnitude of the damage the PDP government did while in power,” even as he also appealed for patience over the fuel and power sector challenges.
“The truth is that Buhari never prepared to govern this country. They (APC) thought former President Jonathan would not leave office. He (Buhari) was declared winner of the election in March last year and up till now, he has not hit the ground running. How will you describe a government that could not prepare a common budget? It is a failed government,” said Special Adviser to Governor Ayodele Fayose on Communication and New Media, Mr. Lere Olayinka.
Meanwhile, in a brief telephone interview with The Guardian, National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Olisa Metuh, said before the one-year anniversary of the Buhari administration, a detailed comparative analysis of APC’s campaign promises and its areas of failures would be published for Nigerians to assess.
“We have said it before that the PDP will not do a hurried assessment of the administration of the APC. But having been in the saddle for almost a year, Nigerians will be in a position to compare and contrast the huge promises of the APC with the reality on ground now. The PDP will simply assist Nigerians with the facts and figures to allow them come to fair judgment,” Metuh said.
Metuh refused to comment on how Buhari’s government has fared on any particular issue, stressing all that matters to the PDP at the moment is rebuilding itself and getting its internal structures right, for a return to power at the federal level in 2019.
The PDP at its March 7, 2016 National Executive Committee (NEC) Meeting in Abuja had reviewed what it called ‘Erosion of Fundamental Human Rights and Harassment of Opposition In Nigeria’ by the Buhari administration and condemned among others issues “the incessant harassment, maltreatment and unlawful incarceration of PDP leaders at various levels by government controlled law enforcement and prosecution agencies.”