by Dare Lawal
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has responded to the declaration of intent by Gen. Muhammadu Buhari of the APC to run for president once again in 2015 at an event which held at the Eagles Square in Abuja on Wednesday.
The party, in a statement signed by its spokesman, Olisa Metuh, welcomed the former head of state to the contest and immediately set to fact-check and criticise Buhari’s speech delivered at the event which, according to the statement, contained some misrepresentations.
PDP took Buhari to task for this statement which he made: “When PDP came to power in 1999 Nigeria was generating about 4,000 M/W of electricity. After 15 years and $20 billion spent we are generating between 3,000 – 4,000 M/W. No failure is more glaring than this,” Buhari said.
According to the party, Buhari’s claim was untrue because Nigeria was generating 1600MW of electricy as at May 1999 when Nigeria returned to democracy, but that figure has now risen to 4568MW under “the transformative leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan.”
The PDP also criticised Buhari for his assertion that the PDP inherited a growing economy in 1999 but has destroyed it within 15 years in office.
According to the statement: “The fact which can be verified from the hand-over notes from the military as well as from the World Bank and IMF is that Nigeria was the third largest economy in Africa in 1999, behind South Africa and Egypt. The nation was also rated number 48 in the world, our Foreign Reserve at $3.6 Billion while our foreign debt stood at $36 billion.
“However, it is incontrovertible that in the last 15 years of PDP leadership, especially the last three years of dynamic and purposeful administration provided by President Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria’s economy has become the largest in Africa and the 26th largest in the world. Similarly, our Foreign Reserve is now over $39 billion dollars, and our foreign debts reduced to less than $7 billion from $36 billion,” said the PDP.
Buhari was however emphatic in his speech that even though the FG continues to announce fantastic growth figures, “all the major indices namely, Employment, Manufacturing, Farming and Trading are demonstrably on the decline.”
On the Buhari claims that agriculture had gone down under the PDP, the party boasted that “in the last 15 years under the PDP, indeed, the last three years of vigorous application of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda, there has been an unparalleled government input in agriculture, thereby pushing production to an all time high. Moreover, Nigeria food import has reduced from N1.1 trillion in 2010 to N684 billion.”
The PDP advised the APC that even though it always seeks to criticise, it should do well to always “cross-check facts and stop making mockery of respected Nigerians in the mould of General Buhari.”
The statement advised Buhari not to “allow himself to be further embarrassed in the course of his campaign.”
However, the PDP did not say anything about Buhari’s number one criticism of the administration in the area of insecurity. Buhari had said in his speech that there is now general insecurity in the land – from Boko Haram to armed robber to kidnappings to cattle-rustling among others.