Nigeria’s ruling party, the All Progressives Congress, has again blamed the opposition Peoples Democratic Party for the country’s current economic crisis.
The APC, whose other officials including Chairman John Oyegun had stated similar stance, on Monday asked the opposition party to apologize to Nigerians. It, however, assured that President Muhammadu Buhari would undertake the “urgent task” of reviving the “battered” economy.
Nigeria’s economy is officially in recession, the National Bureau of Statistics confirmed on Wednesday, saying the country’s Gross Domestic Product contracted by 2.06 per cent in the second quarter of 2016, the second time of recording negative growth rate consecutively.
Nigeria’s economic crisis – marked by growing inflation, falling naira value, low oil revenue, increased incapacity of most states to carry out basic responsibilities and general hardship among citizens – was a result of President Muhamadu Buhari’s “ineptitude and incompetent” approach to the management of the economy, PDP said in a statement hours after the NBS release.
“We join all well-meaning Nigerians to call on Mr. Buhari to resign if he is unable to reverse the disastrous economic decline he has brought on Nigerians,” PDP said.
But APC, in a statement by its National Secretary, Mai Buni, insisted the manners in which the economy was managed as well as “unprecedented” high scale corruption under the PDP government of former President Goodluck Jonathan were the circumstances that plunged Nigeria into the current economic quagmire.
The situation has seen many Nigerians struggle to eke out living, and various companies close shops or retrench workers.
Since Mr. Buhari came to power in May last year, a total of 4.58 million Nigerians have become unemployed over a period that stretches through 2015 Q3, Q4 and 2016 Q1, Q2, NBS revealed on Wednesday.
However, Mr. Buhari, who rode to power on the promise he was going to revive the economy, fight corruption and ensure security, should not blamed for the crisis, the ruling party said.
“In spite of the PDP’s orchestrated and feeble attempts to blackmail the current administration and twist facts, the reality remains that the prevailing socio-economic hardship being faced by Nigerians is a direct consequence of the mismanagement of the economy and unprecedented looting of the country’s commonwealth perpetrated under its watch,” APC said.
It said the PDP’s “attempt to turn truth on its head is fraudulent, insensitive and an insult to Nigerians,” adding that, “For the umpteenth time, the PDP must own up to its transgressions and apologize to Nigerians.”
“Going forward, the urgent task before the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration is to restore the country’s battered economy back to health and all legitimate and innovative means are being employed to achieve this in the quickest possible time.
“The APC assures Nigerians of the strong political will and commitment of the President Buhari administration to revive the economy and tackle the nation’s current challenges through suitable and well-thought economic policies, fiscal discipline and socio-political reforms,” the scribe said.
He added that economic diversification topped the government’s strategic agenda. He also sought public cooperation for Nigeria to reach its deserved place.
“Among other strategic economic agendas, diversification of the country’s economy is a priority for the administration. To this end, President Buhari is aggressively formulating and implementing policies aimed at diversifying Nigeria’s economy from oil to other sectors such as agriculture, mining and manufacturing.
“The APC assures Nigerians that the administration will pull the country out of the present hardships. With the support, cooperation, patience and prayers of Nigerians, the country will reach its deserved potential under our leadership.”
While the government has repeatedly promised better days ahead and encouraged citizens to bear “today’s pains for tomorrow’s gains”, Nigerians appear impatient, demanding short term approaches to address growing hardship.
This was amplified, during the weekend, by Shehu Sani (APC Senator representing Kaduna Central) who warned that Nigerians “may die before President completes reforms”. Similarly, Dino Melaye, another APC Senator, Kogi West, sought “drastic” measures, lamenting that “The hunger in the land is real, pervasive, widespread and debilitating for the poor masses.”