According to a former Lagos State governor and national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has been turned into an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) by the President Goodluck Jonathan-led Federal Government for squandering the country’s resources.
He also accused the federal government of abuse of power and manipulation of Nigerians, to perpetuate itself in power.
Tinubu, who was the special guest of honour at the NG Group annual dinner in Lagos at the MUSON Centre on Thursday, drew a clear line between the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the party which he helped founded, APC, describing the Jonathan-led PDP government as “recklessly out of control in terms of spending, corruption in the oil sector and other slush funds channeled through government programmes to fill the pockets of party loyalists”.
Tinubu, in a statement made available to LEADERSHIP Weekend in Abuja by his media office, noted that Nigerians were yet to get a satisfactory explanation on the 400,000 barrels per day crude oil that was stolen in the Niger Delta.
He said, “Like I have maintained previously, the SURE-P project is a drainpipe; a slush fund for political patronage. For instance, the N253.5billion alleged to have been spent on projects by the federal government as at December 2013 has not reflected on the lives of ordinary Nigerians. In 2012 about N180billion accrued to the federal government from SURE-P alone.
“Under the heavy weight of corruption, heavy dose of insecurity, the ticking time bomb of youth unemployment and a near total absence of institutional rationalisation, Nigeria under President Jonathan clutches on like a battered engine in need of a complete overhaul. In fact, a change of engine”, he said.
The APC leader drew on his experience as the governor of Nigeria’s economic capital for eight years to gauge the country’s current political and economic challenges.
“Nigeria punches below its weight and is trapped in a disarticulated economy occasioning poverty and frustration on people. The AfDB, in its African Economic Outlook report of 2013, revealed that poverty has worsened since 1996 and through 11 years of the PDP, rule. The efforts of President Jonathan’s government at combating poverty were also faulted”, he said.
Tinubu stressed that with the current economic environment, it was almost impossible for Nigeria to meet any of the predictions about its prosperity.
“The projection that Nigeria will soon emerge, at least in the next 30 years alongside three other countries as an economic giant by the British economist Jim O’Neil will for long be a mirage. O’Neil predicted that Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey are to become what he refers to as ‘MINT’. We all know that this is another Vision 2020 gimmick. A very distant hope with no chance of coming to fruition; let us not for once delude ourselves that this is possible. A country that is yet to export the smallest plastic product or one that generates a miserable 12 per cent of the total energy needs of the country can never be a candidate for MINT, BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and as we now know, Vision 2020. Our energy woes abide”, he lamented.
On the vision and mission of APC, Tinubu said, “We formed this party to improve the lot and the lives of those who don’t have. We formed it to bring dignity, hope, justice and the reality of prosperity to those Nigerians who seek these things. The PDP has never been a friend of the people and each year it becomes less of one. They have turned their backs on the people. Now it is time the people turn their backs against the PDP”.
The NG Group which was formed in 1998 has produced from its ranks a number of governors, ministers, commissioners and key functionaries. It is an informal think tank, a sounding board of sorts for government types and policy makers.
Chairman of the NG Group, Mr. Wale Edun expressed delight that Tinubu found time to honour their invitation.