According to Buhari Media Organisation, Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are in no position to advice President Muhammadu Buhari on governance and nation-building
In a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, the President has since May 2015 proved to be a better manager of people and resources.
“We know that much has been said about President Obasanjo presiding over debt relief for Nigeria, but it was under his watch that 54.7% of Nigerians were living in abject poverty, way below the poverty threshold at a time the country’s total population was 170 million people.
“This was a period that the then PDP administration embarked on a privatization exercise that benefited only its cronies, but pushed many Nigerians into penury, with millions resorting to riding commercial motorcycles, known locally as Okada, for a living.
“It is on record that Obasanjo’s idea of poverty alleviation created a nationwide group of ‘Keke NAPEP’ riders at a time Nigeria was making so much money from crude sales that he could even afford to spend $16 billion on phantom power projects.
“Conversely, the Buhari administration has embarked on a three-phase project that is expected to deliver 25,000MW of electricity in the next few years, at a period that the country has lost 60% of its earnings due to a pandemic that forced a global shutdown and a decline in oil revenue.
“Today, millions of people are being cycled out of poverty with the last National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) figure showing that 40% of Nigerians or 82.9 million, compared to the 2010 figure of 60.9% or 100 million people living in poverty.
“And lest we forget, the Buhari administration has embarked on a N2.7 trillion Economic Sustainability Plan to create and sustain jobs as well as keep money in the hands of Nigerians in the post-COVID era,” the group added.
BMO, however, challenged PDP to name one project that the Obasanjo administration completed between 1999 and 2007.
“It is laughable that a party that failed to put Nigeria on a path of socio-economic development on the back of financial buoyancy in 16 years could accuse the present administration of ‘pushing the nation into reverse gear.
“We make bold to say that President Buhari actually stemmed the tide of national drift by re-energising a weak economy he inherited and has put it on a path of steady progress before the global COVID-19 crisis set in.
“Even at that, so many infrastructure projects are on-going nationwide and many have been completed in just five years, in contrast with the PDP years when in the absence of a pandemic, Nigeria had little or nothing to show for its high crude sales in the Obasanjo years.
“So it won’t be out of place to challenge the opposition party to show Nigerians a single project that Obasanjo began and completed in his eight years of ‘good governance’”
Adding, the group said, “One would have thought it would be clear to the PDP how robustly the government has been engaging businesses, especially the private sector.
“For the first time in the history of this country, more money from the banks are going to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), especially through an increase in Loan-to-Deposit Ratio (LDR) of banks from 60 to 65 per cent, principally to create access to credit for either existing businesses or new ones. The loan-to-Deposit policy of the CBN has continued to increase banks’ credit to the private sector in a bid to drive lending to the real sectors.
“It is worthy to note that between June 2019 and March 2020, more than N3trillion new credits were given out to businesses in the private sector and this is the first time ever in the history of Nigeria that this would happen. The quantum of funds directed at the private sector is the highest in the history of this country because of the financial developmental policy deployments by the CBN under the directive of President Muhammad Buhari.
“Companies with an annual turnover of less than N25m exempted from paying tax represent more than 25 million registered companies in Nigeria. These exemptions will lead to more funds available for these companies to reinvest, grow, expand and create more jobs. These are creative ways of enabling businesses, and by extension, creating jobs.
“On the issue of food security raised by the PDP, we make bold to say that if the President had not insisted on Nigerians eating what they grow, we would have been in unmanageable crisis at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic when countries that were our traditional suppliers of food shut their borders and stopped exportation of food items from them.
“The President had engaged with the recent food Security Council where appropriate strategies were evolved to attend to issues bordering of food security.”
According to the BMO, the establishment of MSMEs Clinics which have so far benefited over 392,000 businesses in the country is a small Business support programme to assist entrepreneurs and small businesses in different states, so is the establishment of One-Stop-Shops to support policies on Ease of Doing Business. 618,309 business entities were registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) between 2016 and 2018.
“The launch of the new Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) has also provided medium and long term loans to MSMEs, the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme has helped smallholder farmers in creating over 250,000 direct jobs for farmers and up to 1.25m indirect jobs”
“We advise the PDP to follow the President Buhari-led administration as it continues to grow Nigeria into an economic power not only in Africa but in the world,” the statement added.