The Governors’ Forum of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) has strongly criticized the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for unleashing excruciating hardship and suffering on hapless Nigerians in its 7-year rule.
The Forum rose from its meeting on Wednesday, March 23, 2022, in Aba, Abia State, with a damning communique stating that the APC represents a failed government. The body which comprises of all elected governors of the PDP issued a quit notice to “a failed APC-led Federal Government.” There is the debilitating dimension of “the near collapse of the APC as a viable political party.” The Forum then alerts Nigerians of “the readiness of the PDP to take over and offer qualitative leadership options to rescue the nation.”
In its constitutional role as a major fulcrum of the opposition party waiting in the wings, the PDP Governors’ Forum averred: “We lament the terrible pain and hardship facing Nigerians in virtually all aspects of life.”
It stands to reason that all fair-minded commentators will agree with the governors that life was much better in 2015 under the PDP than currently under the APC. For instance, diesel that used to sell for N131.47 in 2015 now costs above N700, while fuel has skyrocketed from N87 in 2015 to between N167 and N350 today… Aviation fuel is hard to come by, such that the airlines are threatening to stop flying.
It is a galling revelation that the collapse of the National Grid has occurred 126 times in seven years of APC rule, from June 2015 to March 2022. At the lower end of Nigerian family life, kerosene that sold at N180 in 2015 now sells at N450 while Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) of 12.5kg cylinder that sold for N2,400 in 2015 is now sold at between N8,750 and N10, 000, and it happens not to be readily available.
All other indices are in a tailspin. Electricity bills have gone haywire, and the light is not even available, thus making Nigerians to pay dearly for darkness. The unemployment rate in Nigeria is today among the highest in the world. The poverty rate is of course in the same dire stage at 42.8 percent. The inflation rate is quite simply unbearable. Something must definitely have to give.
The PDP Governors’ Forum is only restating the obvious in pointing out that the Exchange Rate has been most disastrous against the background of N150 to a dollar in 2015, and now about N580 to one dollar.
In a situation where the country’s budget is almost totally consumed by debt servicing, there is reason to worry. The domestic and external debts are shooting beyond bounds. It is such a nightmare that the Corruption Index has risen from 136 in 2015 when PDP was in power to 150 now that the APC is ruling. Nigeria’s Misery Index has almost quadrupled from 14.75 percent in 2015 to 50.48 in 2021.
Food security in the country can no longer be guaranteed due to the spiraling insecurity from north to south, east to west. The agricultural value chain has been severed. For instance, it is estimated that about 70,000 hectares of arable farmland had been abandoned in the Northeast. Food inflation is therefore the rule rather than the exception.
Things have never been this bad for the country, except maybe during the civil war years of 1967 to 1970. Time is obviously running out on the ruling party with the General Elections slated for 2023.
The refineries that the ruling party promised to fix are as yet unfixed, thus compounding the problem of exporting unrefined crude and importing refined petroleum products at exorbitant prices. The oil subsidy regime has become an abiding national embarrassment.
There is the added dimension of the stealing of crude oil that ranges from 80 percent to 95 percent of the production made by industry practitioners. A responsive government ought to have brought the identified offenders to book. There are even no attempts whatsoever at reversing the evil trend.
The revelation on the inability of the NNPC to make its statutory contributions to the Federation Account, in spite of oil selling at above $110, is benumbing. How on earth can the NNPC be allowed to determine at its whim and discretion when and what to pay to the Federation Account? The call for investigation and audit of the quantity of consumption of fuel ascribed to Nigerians is germane. There is the clear and present need for the deployment of technology at the filling stations to determine in a transparent manner the volume of consumption of fuel by Nigerians.
It calls for national outrage that under the watch of the APC 18 Federation Revenue Agencies are not paying or remitting any revenue to the FAAC Account, notably: Central Bank of Nigeria; Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA); Nigeria Liquefied National Gas (NLNG); Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC); Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC); Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA); Security and Exchange Commission etc.
The affairs of Nigeria are indeed in wobbly hands, and change is urgently needed. The auguries are stark. The omens are there for all to see. The only redemption is a new breed of leadership.