Sony Neme, Asaba
Governors elected on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Wednesday, deplored what they described as horrifying state-of-affairs in the country, saying it would be immoral and wicked for All Progressives Congress (APC) led federal government to seek re-election in 2023.
This was contained in a communiqué read by the Forum’s Chairman, Governor Aminu Tambuwal, as the governors assured of the PDP readiness to wrestle power from the ruling party, in its ‘Rescue Nigeria’ mission and offer qualitative leadership to the people..
The Governors made the declaration after a meeting in Aba, Abia State, stressing that economic indicator as released by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) is precarious and disheartening.
At the meeting attended by 12 Governors and the Deputy Governor of Taraba, they pondered why the APC still want to be on the ballot in 2023, having failed woefully on all economic and security indices. They recalled that life was better for Nigerians in 2015 than now and called on citizens to reject APC at all levels in the 2023 general elections.
The communiqué reads, “The meeting reviewed the excruciating hardship and suffering being meted out to Nigerians by a failed APC led Federal Government; and the near collapse of the APC as a viable political party.
“We lament the terrible pain and hardship facing Nigerians in virtually all aspects of life. Life was much better in 2015 under the PDP than today under the APC as exemplified in the following Comparative Indicators obtained mainly from NBS”, it also noted.
It further lists, “In the face of these scary statistics of complete failure in all ramifications, the Forum is surprised that the APC still wants to be on the ballot in 2023.
“This shows how insensitive the APC is and we urge Nigerians to reject, 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.
“Diesel, which is critical for the running of Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs), was N131.47 in 2015, but now costs above N700, fuel was N87/155 in 2015, presently N167/350, while aviation fuel/air ticket rate on domestic flights that was N110 per Litre/N18,000 in 2015, 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. Kerosene (NHK) used by the ordinary Nigerian for cooking and power was N180 in 2015, same now sells at ₦450, while Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) – 12.5kg Cylinder sold for N2,400 in 2015, is now between N8,750 and N10, 000.
“Prices of basic food stuffs are now three times higher than what they used to be in 2015. So also are staple foods such as rice, beans and cassava flakes that are now out of the reach of average Nigerian, with a bag of rice now at N39,000 as against N8,500 in 2015”, they further lamented.
Comparatively, the Governors also decried the rising cost of electricity that is hardly available, “The collapse of the National Grid 126 times in seven years (June 2015 to March 2022) and its consequences for non-availability of power is most unfortunate.
“Perhaps the exchange rate debt profile has become one of the most disastrous, rising from N150 to about N580 to $1 in the parallel market and still rising. Electricity tariff within same period under review despite epileptic power supply rose from N14.23 per kilowatt in 2015, to N38.530.
“While unemployment rate was 11.4 per cent in 2015, but presently one the highest in the world at over 33 per cent, while poverty rate which was 11.3 per cent then, now stands at 42.8 per cent.
Accumulated inflation in 2015 rose from four per cent to15.50 percent, as inflation rate which was barely nine percent in 2015 is now 15.7 percent.
“The forum also noted that domestic debt of N8.4 trillion and external debt of USD 7.3billon was incurred between 1999 and 2015, while domestic debt from June 2015 to December 2020 leapfrogged to USD28.57 billion, just as external debt of USD21.27bilion was obtained between June 2015 and 2021.
“That brought national debt to GDP ratio from 23.41 per cent (2016) to 36.88 per cent, just as Corruption Index also rose from 136 in 2015 to 150 currently”, they fumed.
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. That also moved from 14.75 per cent in 2015 to 50.48 in 2021.
The forum further laments that insecurity remains a major threat to the agricultural sector and food security in Nigeria, saying, “In the North East, 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, as most peasant farmers no longer have access to their traditional farm lands across Niger Delta. This further contributes to food inflation. As a matter of urgency, we urge the APC led Federal Government to cooperate with states to ensure security at the grassroots.
The forum also decried leakages in the NNPC which it observed was made possible because the President is also the Minister of Petroleum and called for urgent separation of these two portfolios.
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.
The PDP Governors once again decried the inability of the NNPC to make its statutory contributions to the Federation Account, in spite 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.
“We would resist any further attempt by NNPC to ascribe unsubstantiated subsidy claims to other tiers of government.
“It also 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,” it added.
The Governors, congratulated the host and the PDP Governors’ Forum’s Vice Chairman, Ikpeazu,, for his generosity and hospitality.
Those at the PDP Governors Forum includes host Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, Douye Diri (Bayelsa) and Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta). Others are Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Godwin Obaseki (Edo); Ahmadu Fintiri (Adamawa); Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom); Bala Mohammed (Bauchi State); Samuel Ortom (Benue); Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu); Oluseyi Makinde (Oyo) and Taraba Deputy Governor, Haruna Manu.