The deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu, on Thursday came down hard on the governing All Progressives Congress, APC, saying it simply used propaganda to win the 2015 election and had failed to fulfil a single promise it made to Nigerians.
Speaking at the National Conference of the PDP, which held at the Thisday Dome in Abuja, Mr. Ekweremadu said the APC won by promising much more than it could deliver.
“Unfortunately, the chicken has come home to roost sooner than anticipated.
“No campaign promise, I repeat, no promise made by the present APC administration has been kept.
“They promised to scale up the exchange rate of our currency by making one naira equal to one US dollar. Have they kept this promise?
“They promised to bring back the Chibok girls in three months. Have they brought back the Chibok Girls?
“They promised to pay N5,000 to 25 million unemployed youths. Have they paid a kobo to any youth?
“They promised free meals to our children in the schools. Have they given any?
“They recently promised to end the Boko Haram insurgency in December 2015. We earnestly hope and pray that this particular promise is kept in the overall interest of our nation,” he said.
According to Mr. Ekweremadu, instead of fulfilling its promise, what the APC had done is to drive down the country’s economy to a point where even the president confessed that the nation was broke.
“Inflation has nearly hit double digits high, rising to 9.4 percent in October from 9.3 per cent in September.
“Unemployment rate has hit the rooftop since May 2015, with the construction industry laying off tens of thousands of workers.
“There is massive job loss in the banking sector. Many businesses are being grounded because they can no longer buy spare parts or restock from Europe, China, Dubai, among others.
“The system is locked down. The capital market has lost over N400 billion in recent months.
“This nosedive is due mainly to the free fall of the naira, absence of clear economic direction, delay in the appointment of ministers, the cramping monetary policy of the administration, and the exclusion of Nigeria from the J.P Morgan Bond Index. Indeed, recession stares us in the face,” he said.
Mr. Ekweremadu also alleged that the political space in Nigeria was being narrowed, contrary to the open space that was created by the PDP when it was in power.
“It is on record that the PDP spearheaded the electoral reforms and expansion of democratic freedoms that ultimately gave birth to the ruling party and its victory in the last general elections.
“It is on record that former presidents of PDP extraction such as late President Musa Yar’Adua and former President Goodluck Jonathan were always the first to congratulate the opposition each time they won elections.
“It is further on record that former President Jonathan called and congratulated the winner of the 2015 presidential election even before the end of vote count. He equally ensured a smooth handover.
“PDP governorship candidates, including incumbent governors, also followed his footstep in congratulating their victorious APC opponents. These have earned Nigeria accolades the world over.
“Sadly, rather than reciprocate and build on these democratic gestures and precedence, there is clear design and desperation by the ruling party to takeover, by hook or crook, states won by the PDP,” he said.
The lawmaker said the PDP had recently been crying out over what he called “blatant misuse of security agencies to hound INEC staff and intervene in election petition matters”.
He said it had become clear to the leaders of the opposition party that to be a PDP governor, especially in an oil rich state, is to be an “endangered political specie”.
He said the judiciary must not only do justice, it must be seen to be just. He also called on the international community to speak up and intervene.
Mr. Ekweremadu said at no time throughout PDP’s 16 years in power did any part of Nigeria complain of total exclusion or brazen lopsidedness in appointments.
“Every part of Nigeria was given a sense of belonging despite its political choices. Today, a panorama of nepotism pervades the country.
“In a country that is just recovering from a most divisive and bitterly fought presidential election in her history; in a country where a presidential election believed to have been won by a patriotic Nigerian was annulled; in a country which has deteriorated from one that citizens held high political and civil service offices outside their places of origin to one in which they can hardly do so anymore; and indeed in a country where there has been consistent outbreaks of militancy, restiveness, and protests by people who believe they have been short-changed, maltreated, and therefore better off outside the Nigerian commonwealth.
“I firmly believe from the depth of my heart and conscience that a leader does not even need a soothsayer or compulsion of the constitution to know that he or she must necessarily carry every part of the country along.
“It is an indisputable that our strength as a nation is in our unity,” he said.
Enough is Enough
Speaking earlier, the acting national chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus, also warned the APC to stop interfering in judicial matters concerning PDP states.
“Enough is enough! Let it be clear that the people of Nigeria and PDP members would stand resolutely against any attempt to constrain our cherished freedoms under the rule of law,” he said.
Mr. Secondus said the PDP was the “most valued democratic asset in Nigeria today”, saying the APC was conscious of this fact and that was the reason it resolved to destroy the party.
He called on the delegates to the conference to consider the challenging circumstances the PDP had found itself and the commitment of the leadership to reorganize and reposition it.
“We must be determined to ensure that we resist the temptation to continue in the blame game; to make sure that selfish interests do not divide us and give the ruling Party the leeway to realize their goals.
“The future of our great party is bright,” he said.
Many speakers at the conference commended the Secondus-led National Working Committee of the party.
The conference, in Resolution 9, also commended the NWC for its tenacity, commitment and dedication at the trying time in the history of the party.