The immediate past Minister of National Planning, Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, has challenged the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) to own up to its failings and stop rehashing its allegations of corruption against the previous administration.
The ex-minister said attempts by the APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun “to continuously trade in deception and blackmail suggests a man that lacks remorse and finds it difficult to accept defeat”.
Mr Sulaiman, who noted that the APC-led federal government had destroyed Nigeria’s economy, advised the party to apologise to Nigerians and stop the blame game.
Mr Odigie-Oyegun had last week Thursday carpeted the PDP, saying it lacked the moral basis to comment on Nigeria’s present economic ordeal after what he termed the former ruling party’s “messy” 16 years’ reign.
The APC chair pointed out that Nigerians, who are now bearing the brunt of the economy that was mindlessly mismanaged by the PDP, cannot forget in a hurry that some $15 billion – which is about half of the nation’s foreign reserves at the end of the tenure of the PDP-led Federal Government – was mismanaged under the guise of equipping the military.
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In his reaction contained in a statement he issued to journalists in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, the ex-Minister also accused the APC government of being selective and despotic in its anti-graft battle, saying attempt to tag those who served under ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration as the only corrupt people in Nigeria is unfair.
Sulaiman dared the APC chairman to, as a Christian, “kindly take to the pulpit and swear by the holy bible that you, Chief John Oyegun was not privy to billions of naira collected from APC – controlled states such as Rivers, Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Kano, Sokoto, Kwara just to mention but few”.
He also stated that the APC could not also deny the fact that it received campaign donations from many APC governors; some of whom now serve in the present administration in different capacities.
The ex-minister insisted that the economy in the last one year of the current administration had taken a nose-dive with galloping inflation, high exchange rate, states unable to pay salaries, among others.
He said, “For a party that has nothing to offer, the blame games continue. We have had more than enough allegations of corruption often brought against the ‘sinner’ PDP members, while everybody in APC is adjudged a saint.
“Nigerians have heard how arms’ monies were being ‘utilized’ for campaign purposes by the Jonathan boys and their cohorts. Yes, you have claimed often times that PDP and indeed Jonathan people are the only corrupt elements in Nigeria.
“The question is; how has this affected the price of garri from 3,500 to 8, 500 naira? A bag of rice from 7000 naira in May 2015 to 22,000 naira in August 2016? A loaf of bread from 200 naira in May 2015 to 400 naira in August 2016?
“A basket of Tomato from 5000 under Jonathan to 42000 naira under your government? How serious is the problem that, it is only under your government that almost all the states of the federation could not pay salaries? Perhaps Nigerians are yet to be told that some universities are currently not getting their full salaries since June this year”.
Sulaiman advised the APC to play politics of inclusion rather than of exclusion, urging Mr Odigie-Oyegun to “fear God in your judgment of people and shun socio-political corruption which today has become the hallmark of your government”.
“The largest economy in Africa as at May last year is now no 3”, he added.