As the nation marked its 53rd independence anniversary yesterday, the factional chairman of Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, took stock of the journey so far and came to the conclusion that there was nothing to celebrate.
Baraje, who stated this in his message on the 53rd independence anniversary, however, commended the initiative by President Goodluck Jonathan to constitute an advisory committee that will come up with the modality for the conduct of a national dialogue/conference, but warned that it should not be treated like previous ones as all issues should be debated except the unity and oneness of Nigeria.
Baraje also called for the sack of the present administration’s economic management team for he called their woeful performance just as he also demanded the setting up of a credible, independent and resolute anti-corruption body to rid the country of corruption.
The factional PDP, which has seven serving governors in its fold, a former vice-president, former governors, serving Senators and House of Representatives’ members, through Baraje, reiterated its call on President Goodluck Jonathan to forego his second term ambition and focus instead on how to rescue what they described as “the sinking ship of the Nigerian state”.
The factional chairman said it is a pity that “53 years after independence, Nigeria is still a crumbling edifice, wrecked to the seams by corruption, bad leadership, ethnicism, parochialism, sectarian intolerance and childish political recrimination.”
Reeling out the demands of the “New PDP” as they are known, he said “we demand the constitution of a critical management team made up of apolitical, eminent technocrats and knowledgeable Nigerians to take over the management of the national economy given the woeful failure of the economic management team of the Jonathan government.”
“We call for a similar team to arrest the infrastructural decay that is threatening the nation’s infrastructural base at present.
“We call for the introduction of state police as an antidote to the worsening security problems, which the present inept and highly politicised Nigerian Police had been unable to deal with.
“We see the clamour for a national dialogue as timely and appropriate as there is an urgent need for Nigerians to come together and discuss matters affecting them as well as the way forward. We, therefore, welcome Mr. President’s announcement in his Independence Day broadcast about the establishment of a committee to advise him on the modalities for the holding of the conference.”
Baraje also stated that the SURE-P Programme has sacked 110,000 youths it placed on a N10, 000 monthly allowances on the excuse that there is no money to pay them.
He decried the fallen standard of education especially in the universities which are constantly going on strikes as well as secondary and primary school sectors inefficiency which he claimed contribute to making Nigerian certificates almost worthless.
“The health sector is in a pitiable state as our hospitals cannot handle simple malaria cases. Nigerians now troop to India and the Far East Asian countries to treat common ailments and nothing is being done to arrest this sad situation,” Baraje said.
Finally, the factional chairman urged “Nigerians not to lose hope but to remain resolute in demanding good governance, transparency and accountability from government at various levels as that is the only way to force the corrupt clique in power to change their ways.”