The All Progressives Congress (APC) said the Jonathan Administration has succeeded in running the country’s economy aground with a combination of incompetence, massive corruption and unparalleled profligacy, hence Nigerians cannot afford to reward the President with another four years.
”The only reason the Jonathan Administration and the PDP have been engaging in a campaign of mudslinging rather than of issues is to distract the attention of Nigerians from the very serious state of the nation’s economy, but we have decided to redirect the ongoing electioneering campaign to issues,” the party said in a statement issued in Lagos on Monday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed.
It said whereas President Jonathan has been promising that he will create 2 million jobs annually if re-elected, the reality on the ground does not support that promise, especially because his Administration failed to create meaningful jobs when oil prices were higher than $100 per barrel, instead extorting hapless job seekers and giving them deaths instead.
”The Jonathan Administration has been lying to Nigerians on the issue of employment. The Works Minister said Nigeria is like one huge construction site, with many people employed in this sector. But the truth of the matter is that the biggest construction firms in Nigeria have been retrenching, rather than employing.
”Last year, Julius Berger retrenched 6,000 people while Dantata Sawoe laid off 2,800. If indeed Nigeria were one huge construction site, will these big construction firms be sacking workers?” APC queried.
The party also said the Federal Government has pauperized most states and made it impossible for them to pay the salaries of their workers by refusing to refund the huge funds they spent on federal projects, adding: ”For example, Jigawa state is owed 13 billion Naira by the Federal Government.”
It said more than anything else, unprecedented corruption under the Jonathan Administration has dealt a death blow to the economy.
The APC said for example, crude oil stealing has become so legalized that there is now what is known as ‘Bayelsa diesel’ in the market, a fallout of the 400,000 barrels per day of crude oil that is stolen in Nigeria, under the very nose of the Jonathan Administration.
”To put things in perspective, apart from the fact that the 400,000bpd amounts to US$60 billion stolen in just four years, the 400,000bpd is the equivalent of the daily crude oil production of Equatorial Guinea,” the party said.
It also said the government has not been able to account for huge sums of money, including the 20-billion-dollar missing oil funds and the funds that should have accrued to the Excess Crude Account (ECA)
”At the crude oil benchmark of $77.5 for the 2014 budget, Nigeria made $33 per every barrel of oil , which amounts to about $24 billion in a year. However, there is less than $6 billion in the ECA. What happened to the remainder?
”Also, over 1 trillion Naira was budgeted for defence in 2014. What has the Jonathan Administration done with the funds, with soldiers deployed to battle the terrorist group Boko Haram complaining of inadequate or ineffective equipment that are inferior to what is being used by the terrorists? What has happened to the huge funds since soldiers are being made to pay for their kits? Why has the huge allocation translated to more territories seized by the insurgents? These are some of the questions that the Jonathan Administration should be answering, not asking Nigerians for another mandate,” APC said.
The party also reminded Nigerians that Ifeanyi Uba, who is the face of the so-called Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN) that has spent over 25 billion Naira campaigning for President Jonathan, is one of those accused of kerosene subsidy fraud.
”But instead of prosecuting him diligently, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has settled the matter out of court and returned all his seized assets to him. How else can a government encourage corruption and impunity?” it queried.
APC accused the Jonathan Administration of engaging in mind-boggling profligacy at a time of harsh economic realities, adding: ”This Administration has just built a new banquet hall at the presidential villa to the tune of $100 million and it is now shopping for a brand new private jet to add to the presidential fleet that is bigger than those of more endowed nations as well as most airlines across Africa.”
”We have provided these facts and figures so that Nigerians will know how and why their nation’s economy has arrived at this sorry pass under the most incompetent, most corrupt and most profligate administration ever in the history of the country.
”When they promise millions of jobs if re-elected, Nigerians should ask them how many jobs they have created in all of six years. When they promise to tackle corruption, Nigerians should ask them what has happened to the $20 billion missing oil funds and the $24 billion that accrued to the Excess Crude Account in 2014 alone. They should ask where TAN got the 25 billion Naira it has frittered away on a campaign that is heading nowhere. They should ask why the likes of Ifeanyi Uba are now part of the President’s men, when he should be answering questions on the kerosene subsidy fraud. They should ask where there is no money in the Pension Fund,” the party said.