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President’s US Trip Fruitless, Says PDP

0 Comments August 3, 2017

PRECISELY 59 days after President Muhammadu Buhari assumed power, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party on Sunday listed many ‘sins’ the Federal Government under the President had committed and said Buhari’s government lacked direction.

Among the sins of the Buhari’s government, the PDP said, included alleged failure by the President to achieve anything meaningful during his just-concluded US trip and alleged maltreatment of Patience, wife of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.

At a media briefing in Abuja on Sunday, the PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, said events after Buhari’s visit to the US indicated that neither the President nor his party, the All Progressives Congress, had learnt anything from the trip.

Metuh said, “Now that the visit has come and gone, our fear is that nothing whatsoever has been learnt or gained.

“What we continue to receive as a nation have been embarrassing disagreements, accusations and counter-accusations, blames and denials on very important issues due to lack of tact and skill in the management of state matters by the APC-led administration.

“It is disheartening that rather than secure any sort of tangible gain for the fight against terrorism, which has lost steam under the APC watch, with insurgents, who were pushed to the verge of surrender by the Goodluck Jonathan administration, now surging back and spreading into the country, we get nothing but exchanges and disagreements between the Presidency and their American hosts.

“This is not only embarrassing but also a worrisome indication of crass ineptitude in the handling of international affairs on the part of the present administration.”

He urged the government to settle down and face the business of governance and the fight against insurgency with every sense of seriousness, especially given Buhari’s promise in his April 2, 2015 CNN interview to end the scourge two months after his inauguration.

Reacting, the All Progressives Congress, said that the PDP would be unable to provide any worthwhile opposition to the Federal Government if its spokesman continued to issue empty statements.

‘’Today’s statement is the most tortuous yet by the PDP and, honestly, sounds more like a compendium of beer parlour gossips and side talks than a serious criticism of a sitting government,’’ the APC said in a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

‘‘To be in opposition does not mean you have to constitute yourself to a nuisance by rushing to the press with all sorts of hot air statements. It is the quality, rather than the frequency, of your interventions that makes you relevant as an opposition in a democracy,’’ the party said

Metuh meanwhile also criticised the statement made by the President while in the USA, in which he was quoted as saying that he would administer the country on the basis of the voting pattern in the last general elections.

He also said that the business community in Nigeria and across the world noted what he described as the disgraceful treatment allegedly meted out to some Nigerian bankers and captains of industries by Buhari during his US visit.

While agreeing that the President has the right to decide those to be on his entourage on such an important official visit, he nevertheless said that the way Buhari allegedly shamed and walked out Nigerian businessmen had sent a wrong signal to international investors and posed great threats to inflow of direct foreign investments into the country.

“These Nigerian businessmen were rejected by their President only for them to be valued by other Presidents of African nations who led them into a meeting with President Barrack Obama in their own countries on account of their investments in those nations,” he added.

Metuh also said that his party noted the alleged embarrassment caused by the absence of an economic team for healthy and informed discussion at the meeting with officials of the US government.

He said that whereas President Obama came to the meeting with a formidable team of experts and key federal officials, President Buhari had in his entourage some APC governors, who, he said, owe salaries and billions of naira in debts.

This action, he said, robbed the nation the benefits and gains of the discussions.

Metuh said that since the President had insisted on running his government as a sole administrator, making important decisions on national affairs without recourse to relevant statutory arms and organs of government, the PDP was being compelled to demand that the administration publish its expenses since assumption of office in May, in keeping with its much harped stance on transparency.

“We make this demand because since the APC took office, the nation’s financial system in the absence of statutory functionaries has been enmeshed in confusion, controversy and fertile atmosphere for financial sleazes,” he added.

Metuh also alleged that his party was in possession of information that the Presidency acting alone, has gone into discussions with the World Bank for a loan of $2.1 bn for purposes unknown to Nigerians.

He asked, “What is the loan for? What are the terms and who are those working the papers? Who are the people to decide on how the money will be spent? Is it true that the $2.1bn loan is meant to pay back huge contributions for the APC Presidential campaign expenses?

“If truly this government is transparent, it should come out clear on this loan as well as publicise details of its expenditure in the last two months.”

The opposition party’s spokesperson also condemned what he called the recent humiliation of Patience Jonathan at the Port Harcourt airport, where he said the ex-President’s wife was refused access to the protocol lounge based on “an order from Abuja”.

He said this was not the case when Jonathan was in power, during which he said all former Presidents and their spouses had unhindered access to the protocol lounge.