By Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity)
SQUANDERED WEALTH: PDP STILL HAS QUESTIONS TO ANSWER, SAYS PRESIDENT BUHARI
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) still owes Nigerians explanation on how it expended the humongous resources that accrued to the country from oil sales between 1999 and 2014, President Muhammadu Buhari has said.
Receiving the leadership of organized labour which came to felicitate with him on his electoral victory at State House, Abuja, Thursday, the President said the current administration met a country with dilapidated infrastructure all round in 2015, and it calls to serious question what the party that was in power for 16 years did with the country’s earnings from oil, which reached a peak during the period.
“PDP has not successfully explained to the country what they did with the money,” President Buhari said. “There were no roads, no rail, no power. They said they spent $16 billion on power, but where is the power? The irresponsible expenditure of that period has not been explained, and Nigerians deserve an answer on that terrible mismanagement of the country.”
The President thanked organized labour “for the support and patriotism you have shown during the presidential election, especially after the unexpected postponement. You and your members stepped in to support willing Nigerians to exercise their civic and patriotic rights to vote. You intervened as patriots, and not for political, religious or tribal purposes. You simply did the right thing during a difficult period for many of us.”
On what Nigerians can look forward to in the next lap of the journey, President Buhari said he would continue pushing the Change Agenda, “and remain focused on our core pillars of security, economy, and fight against corruption.”
He urged organized labour to partner with the government to make the country peaceful, prosperous, and corruption free.
In his remarks, President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, lauded the President for being worker-friendly, as exemplified in the granting of bailout funds to state governments to pay backlog of salaries and pensions.
Said the NLC President: “We all remember the special bailout and budget support you introduced to support state governments during the recession. Your directive during this intervention was that state governments must offset accumulated arrears of salaries and pension liabilities. I remember you publicly asked state governors, ‘how do you manage to sleep at night when the salaries of workers in your state are not paid?’
“For us, that was one of the finest moments we have had with any President in this country…I can stand here today and say your intervention was the difference between life and death for many workers.”
The labour leader appealed to the National Assembly to earnestly pass the National Minimum Wage Act, while also asking the President to thereafter sign it into law within the shortest possible time.
Organized labour pledged to remain “veritable partner in progress with government,” counseling the President to continue to “make the Nigerian people, especially the poor, the centre-piece of your policy initiatives and actions.”