The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on Saturday said it appreciated the suggestions put forward by a former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, on economic diversification but wondered why he did not implement same when he (Abubakar) was in power.
Mr Abubakar, the 2019 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in an opinion piece titled “How to Pull Nigeria from the Brink” had lamented the country’s economic quagmire and its growing foreign debts.
He also suggested how the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration needed to “embrace agriculture as the primary sector earmarked for development” rather than its sole dependence on crude oil.
‘Welcome but belated’
While the APC acknowledged his offered suggestions, it, however, questioned the former vice-president’s inability to effect his suggestions for economic diversification despite the opposition PDP’s years governance.
“While we appreciate that Atiku Abubakar is keying into this administration’s policy direction regarding diversification, we are only worried that it took him 13 years after leaving office to realise that the Government under which he served as the Vice President was short-sighted for its failure to faithfully diversify the Nigerian economy.
“Not to be confused, Atiku Abubakar had eight years as a powerful Vice President and Chairman of the National Council on Privatisation with vantage opportunity to lead the country away from its dependence on oil. How Nigeria got worse even when international oil prices were stable and high are matters Atiku Abubakar may still need to address in future,” the party said via its spokesperson, Lanre Issa-Onilu, on Saturday evening.
Mr Abubakar, since he lost his quest for the number one seat, has consistently raised concerns over how the ship of state was being steered by his main opponent in 2015.
In defence of the Buhari-led administration, the ruling party, in the statement highlighted “the recent closure of the country’s borders and the anchor borrowers programme as part of the efforts and successes of the President Buhari-led administration to boost the agriculture sector.”
It said the closure of the country’s borders was one of the most productive decisions of the current administration.
“Alhaji Atiku Abubakar may wish to know that the policy he has unfortunately chosen to label as “insane” has led to a significant spike in rice production across the country, opening up of hundreds of rice mills, indigenous manufacturing firms are sourcing their raw materials locally, boom in poultry farming, with Nigerians now patronising locally made food items like never before and, in the process, boosting the income of farmers and local producers,” the APC said.
It urged Mr Abubakar to proffer more suggestions but avoid being antagonistic.