In a desperate bid to convince Nigerians on who is better suited to run the country, the ruling All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party clashed on Monday over the lingering economic crisis in the country.
The latest squabble began last week with the two parties stepping up attacks over who to blame for an economic crisis that has seen escalating inflation and a shrinking naira, in the face of low crude prices.
With more Nigerians apparently struggling to eke out a living amidst sparse economic activities, social scientists and religious leaders have expressed concerns about the dangers of leaving the country’s expanding youth population without means of livelihood for too long.
Within the past week, the leadership of the APC had pushed out statements to condemn the PDP whose “disastrous 16-year rule” the ruling party said was largely to blame for the prevailing distress.
The party’s chairman, John Oyegun, demanded the PDP should stop criticising the Muhammadu Buhari administration, saying the party should, instead, show remorse for its past.
“It was stomach-churning and downright immoral for the ruinous PDP, which has yet to show remorse or exhibit any form of penitence for presiding over the mindless looting of the nation’s treasury, to now put itself up as the saviour of Nigerians,” Mr. Oyegun said.
“Due to PDP’s perfidy, our country’s resources were stolen and opportunities frittered away. But instead of being contrite, the PDP is arrogantly putting itself up as the alternative to a government that is barely one year in office and has inherited a totally ruined economy. This is brazenly irresponsible.”
The PDP hit back, asking Mr. Oyegun to focus his energy on advising the President Muhammadu Buhari “on how to reverse the recession he has brought on us”.
In a statement signed by its director of new media, Deji Adeyanju, the PDP said it had the constitutional rights to comment about issues of national importance and reeled out figures about the state of the economy before it left office last May.
“Number one destination for foreign investment in Nigeria with $395 million in investments in the first quarter of 2015 alone. Inflation at single digit interest rates for several years. A GDP that had grown at an average of 8% per annum in the last 10 years. A telecoms sector that has received more than $32 billion in investment since 2001. The largest economy in African valued at over $500 billion. A stock market valued at N11.66 trillion,” Mr. Adeyanju said.
Mr. Adeyanju also slammed the APC for allegedly failing to tackle corruption within the confines of the law.
“In the past year, the APC led FG has detained and publicly accused Col. Sambo Dasuki and members of our party for corruption. We find it surprising that the FG is asking for secret trials for the accused persons. We urge the FG to try them openly and in respect for the rule of law,” he said.
Mr. Oyegun, however, said he was unfazed about the economic indices quoted by the PDP, saying Nigerians did not feel the impact of the positive figures throughout the party’s grip on power.
“It is immoral, insensitive, unconscionable and unacceptable for the PDP to hire spin doctors to reel out some figures of GDP growth in their time that never impacted positively on the Nigerian people,” Mr. Oyegun said. “Our advice to the party chieftains is that the time is now for them to look Nigerians in the eye and say, ‘we are sorry’.”