The Ekiti State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described the move by President Muhammadu Buhari to seek emergency powers from the National Assembly to enable him tackle headlong, the nation’s economy, as an authoritarian demand that would further breed dictatorship in the country.
The party noted that such a demand is an indication that the All Progressives Congress-led federal government is incapable of delivering on its promises, and seeking excuses for its poor performance and ways to hold the people of the country by the jugular, using state powers.
The Ekiti PDP, in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Jackson Adebayo, in Ado-Ekiti on Sunday, said President Buhari was also seeking a means of putting on a dictatorial garment in a democratic setting.
“Is it not dastardly for the president to say he is seeking emergency powers for his administration to handle the nation’s economy? Then, what are the duties of those in the Finance Ministry and other sectors involved in the day-to-day running and management of the economy? If they are unproductive, why not send them away?
“The National Assembly, a few months ago, urged the president to look beyond the APC in getting those to handle the economy, but he did not listen. With the emergency powers he is seeking, will he now begin to dip into people’s accounts and assets to get money to finance government’s projects?” the PDP asked.
The statement pointed out that it was a strange development that a president would want to go outside the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to address any issue confronting the country instead of looking inward and bringing experts who would tackle the problem within the precinct of the rule of law as enshrined in the constitution.
According to the PDP, the present situation was a replay of events in the Second Republic when most of the states then used to receive zero allocation from the Federal Government, yet the president then didn’t throw away the constitution to solve the problem, but rather constituted proactive economic team that brought the situation under control before the then General Muhammadu Buhari, overthrew the government and dismantled the process to usher in more hardship on Nigerians.
It would be recalled that the Executive had prepared a bill titled: “Emergency Economic Stabilisation Bill 2016”, which it will present to the National Assembly when the Senate and the House of Representatives resume from vacation on September 12.
In the bill, the Executive will be asking the National Assembly to grant sweeping powers to the president to set aside some extant laws and use executive orders to roll out an economic recovery package within the next one year.
Among others, President Buhari will be seeking powers to abridge the procurement process to support stimulus spending on critical sectors of the economy; make orders to favour local contractors/suppliers in contract awards; abridge the process of sale or lease of government assets to generate revenue; allow virement of budgetary allocation to projects that are urgent, without going back to the National Assembly; amend certain laws, such as the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) Act, so that states that cannot access their cash trapped in the accounts of the commission because they cannot meet the counterpart funding, can do so; and to embark on radical reforms in visa issuance at Nigeria’s consular offices and on arrival in the country and to compel some agencies of government like the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), the National Agency for Foods Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and others to improve on their turn around operation time for the benefit of business.