11 days after governors on the platform of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) took the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to the cleaners for what it said were its failures since it took over in 2015, the Presidency has hit back the communique issued by the governors as a “fantasy communiqué… a work of fiction by those who truly believe black is white and one plus one equals three.”
Presidential spokesman, Mr. Garba Shehu said: “The statement of the delusional seeks to cover up the serial and criminal failures of the PDP’s long and damaging period in office, which the Muhammadu Buhari administration and All Progressives Congress (APC) have strived these past seven years to repair.
He adds, “We cannot forget under PDP, the nation had an army full of phantom soldiers whose pay went to PDP politicians’ pockets while our under-resourced real soldiers died in the fight against terrorist insurgents and our international allies refused to supply Nigeria kit and military aid.
“Today with the APC, the army is resourced, we have fighter jets from our partners, Boko Haram is being driven from every inch of Nigerian territory, and ISWA’s leader eliminated in a Nigerian airstrike.
“We cannot ignore how PDP politicians sought – and continue to seek – to inflame ethnic and religious tensions by refusing to even proffer a solution to the herder-farmer clashes which became most prevalent under their misrule.
“Today with APC in government, there are ranches on Federal land and in state land where there is the willingness to establish them. Clashes are reduced. Lives are saved, and livelihoods are enriched.
“We will always remember how PDP politicians intentionally encouraged and exploited the black market in currency exchange to convert ill-gotten gains to foreign currency and undermine our national currency, then spirited their funds abroad in their billions and into foreign bank accounts.
“Today with APC we support our national currency; we have achieved self-sufficiency in rice and fertilizer production; we refuse to allow greedy politicians and businessmen to hide their money overseas, and instead build an economy here in Nigeria for all.
“We will always know how PDP politicians raided the NNPC, consistently failed to pay into the Federation Account and, in the last year of PDP misrule, $20 billion dollars was simply found “missing”.
“Today with APC, funds from NNPC are directly and transparently used to fund social and health programmes – such as COVID-19 response, the construction of roads, bridges and rail, and equipping of hospitals to cope with new and existing challenges.
“And then there are those PDP leaders in attendance who signed the Communique. Who would trust such people with the running of our country?
“Who can believe a word these people say, as they looked outwardly stylish but harrowed by power-sharing and other troubles inwardly?
“These people, who play politics of division and hate, create communal disturbances, need to change.
“The Governors reeled out numbers on the economy, pretending as if the once-in-a-life COVID-19 pandemic, with its huge and devastating effect, disrupting global supply chains, uniformly battering the world economy never happened.
“Covid-19 brought suffering and hardship to the doorstep of the entire global community-less maybe, of the affluent and pretentious PDP Governors-and to the credit of this administration, Nigeria’s economy recovered faster and stronger than the entire world ever imagined.
“Check the facts and leave the politics: What does the country get with this kind of gimmick?”
The 12 PDP Governors and the Taraba Deputy Governor, at a meeting on Wednesday, 23rd March, 2022, at Aba, Abia State, reviewed what it said was the excruciating hardship and suffering being meted out to Nigerians by the APC-led Federal Government; and declared the readiness of the party to take over and offer qualitative leadership options to rescue the nation.
Its full communique read:
1. We lament the terrible pain and hardship facing Nigerians in virtually all aspects of life. The meeting noted that life was much better in 2015 under the PDP than today under the APC as exemplified in the following Comparative Indicators obtained mainly from the National Bureau of Statistics:
a.Diesel which is critical for running of SMEs was N131.47 in 2015, it now costs above N700
b. Fuel: Official and Black-Market was N87/155 in 2015, it now costs N167/350.
c.Aviation Fuel/Air Ticket Rate on Domestic Flights was N110 per Litre/N18,000 in 2015, it now hovers around N700 per Litre/N70,000, where available. Indeed, the scarcity of fuel which has resulted in loss of several man hours is a disgrace to Nigeria.
d. The collapse of the National Grid (126 times in 7 years – (June 2015 to March 2022) and its consequences for non-availability of power is most unfortunate.
e. Kerosene (NHK) used by the ordinary Nigerian for cooking and power was N180 in 2015, it now sells at ₦450.
f. Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) – 12.5kg Cylinder sold for N2,400 in 2015, is now sold at between N8,750 and N10, 000.
g. Prices of basic food stuffs are now three times higher than what they used to be in 2015. Staple foods such as rice, beans, cassava flakes are now slipping out of the hands of average Nigerians. Indeed, a Bag of Rice sold for N8500 in 2015 is now N39,000.
h. Electricity was N14.23 per kilowatt in 2015, it is now N38.530, and not even available.
i. Unemployment rate was 11.4% in 2015, it is now over 33%, one the highest in the world.
j. The poverty rate in 2015 was 11.3% but now about 42.8%.
k. Accumulated Inflation in 2015 was about 4%, it is now 15.50%; Inflation Rate was 9.01% in 2015 and now 15.7%.
l. Perhaps the Exchange Rate has been one of the most disastrous. N150 to a dollar was the parallel market (patronised by most businessmen and Nigerians) rate in 2015, it is now about N580 to $1 in the parrel market and still rising.
m. Debt and Debt Servicing:
Domestic Debt of N8.4T and External Debt of USD 7.3b was incurred between 1999-2015.
While Domestic Debt of N7.63T (June 2015-Dec 2020) and USD28.57b as at Dec 2020 was incurred. External debt of USD21.27b was incurred between June 2015 and 2021.
n. National Debt to GDP Ratio was 23.41% (2016) it is now 36.88% (2022).
o. The Corruption Index has risen from 136 in 2015 to 150 now.
p. Nigeria’s Misery Index, an indicator used in determining how economically well off the citizens of a country are, is usually calculated by adding the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate to the annual inflation rate, has moved from 14.75 percent in 2015 to 50.48 (2021).
q. The major threat to the agricultural sector and food security in Nigeria is insecurity. In the northeast of Nigeria, it is estimated that no fewer than 70,000 hectares of arable farmland have been abandoned in the affected States and Local Government areas. The trend is the same all over the country. This further contributes to food inflation. The APC led Federal Government must take steps to cooperate with States to bring security down to the grassroots.
2. The Forum is surprised that in the face of these statistics of complete failure in all ramifications and areas, the APC still wants to be on the ballot in 2023.
This shows how uncaring and insensitive the APC is. IT HAS BECOME A MENACE TO NIGERIA.
3.The Forum urges Nigerians to reject the APC, a party run undemocratically by a Committee contrary to the Constitution (S.228) with Mr. President regularly issuing instructions and dictates. It is impossible for a party so disorganized to offer good governance to the people of Nigeria.
4.The meeting expressed concern and alarm over various reports and claims of incidents of stealing of crude oil ranging from 80% to 95% of production made by industry practitioners and called on the Federal Government to set up an appropriate mechanism to reverse this trend and bring perpetrators to account.
5.The PDP Governors once again decried the inability of the NNPC to make its statutory contributions to the Federation Account, inspite of Oil selling at above $110. It is patently unconstitutional for NNPC to determine at its whim and discretion when and what to pay to the Federation Account, as it is a mere trustee of the funds for the three tiers of Government: Federal, States and Local Governments. We once again, call for investigations and audit of the quantity of consumption of fuel ascribed to Nigerians and for deployment of technology at the filling stations to determine in a transparent manner the volume of consumption.
The Governors would resist any further attempt by NNPC to ascribe unsubstantiated subsidy claims to other tiers of government.
6.Furthermore, S.162 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended stipulates that “The Federation shall maintain a special account to be called “the Federation Account” into which shall be
paid all revenues collected by the Government of the Federation…”
and S.162 (10) states that “For the purpose of subsection (1) of this section, “revenue” means any income or return accruing to or derived by the Government of the Federation from any source and includes –
(a) any receipt, however described, arising from the operation of any law;
(b) any return, however described, arising from or in respect of any property held by the Government of the Federation;
(c) any return by way of interest on loans and dividends in respect of shares or interest held by the Government of the Federation in any company or statutory body”
a.As of today, 18 (Eighteen) Federation Revenue Agencies are not paying/remitting any revenue to the FAAC Account. These include (i) Central Bank of Nigeria (ii) Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) (iii) Nigeria Liquefied National Gas (NLNG) (iv) Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) (v) Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) (vi) NPA (vii) Security and Exchange Commission etc
(b)FIRS and DPR takes cost of collection of 4% (Four percent) of Revenue collected while Customs collects 7%. In March 2022 for instance, FIRS took N15.4Billion as cost of collection and Customs took N8.4b. If these are annualised, FIRS and Customs collects about N1.84Billion and Customs N100B per annum. Obviously, some states of the Federation’s capital budget does not come close to these.
(c) Nigeria Federation has 49% shareholding in NLNG. According to the Minister of Finance during the 2020 budget performance brief at the National Assembly stated that the federation received dividend of N144billion (One Hundred and Forty Four Billion) from NLNG. These figure to the best of our knowledge was never paid into the Federation Account.
(d))NNPC deducts N8.33Billion monthly for the rehabilitation of the Refineries in Nigeria. Till date no refinery is working.
(e)On priority projects of the Nation’s oil industry, NNPC deducted N788.78Billion for various investments between 2018-2021 without recourse to FAAC.
(f)NNPC in 2021 alone claimed to have paid over One Trillion Naira as petroleum subsidy. Indeed, the month of March 2022, N220Billion was deducted as oil subsidy with a promise that N328Billion will be deducted in April 2022. This is unacceptable.
(g)NNPC and FIRS as well as other remitting Agencies continue to apply an exchange rate of N389/$1 as against the Import and Export window of N416/$1. The extent of this leakage can be better felt, if this rate is compared to the current N570/$1.
(h)From available records about N7.6T is withheld between 2012 and 2021, by NNPC from the Federation Account. All these are said to be payments for oil subsidy.
(i)Conclusively, we believe that all these leakages in NNPC have been made possible because the President is also the Minister of Petroleum. The urgent separation of these two portfolios have become necessary
7.The Forum noted the approval by the PDP NEC of the Time Table and Timelines for Congresses and Convention of the Party and urged all party members and party leadership to remain focused and united to win power in 2023, to tackle the myriads of problems facing the country.
8.The PDP Governors congratulated the host, His Excellency, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, the PDP Governors’ Forum Vice Chairman, for his generosity and hospitality in the hosting of the meeting.