By Hillary Asemota
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors, on Wednesday, deplored the horrifying state-of-affairs across the country, saying it would be immoral and wicked for the All Progressives Congress (APC) led-federal government to seek re-election in 2023.
In a meeting hosted by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, in Aba, Abia State, the Governors averred that economic indicators as indexed by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) is alarming, precarious and disheartening, and wondered why the APC still wanted to be on the ballot in 2023 having failed on all economic and security indices.
The meeting which was attended by 12 Governors and the Deputy Governor of Taraba, noted that life was better for Nigerians in 2015 than now and called on citizens to reject the APC at all levels in the 2023 general elections.
Governors at the meeting included, Ikpeazu, Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto); Ahmadu Fintiri (Adamawa); Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom); Bala Mohammed (Bauchi State); Douye Diri (Bayelsa); Samuel Ortom (Benue); Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta); Godwin Obaseki (Edo); Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Oluseyi Makinde (Oyo); Nyesom Wike (Rivers) Taraba Deputy Governor, Haruna Manu.
In a communique read by the Forum’s Chairman, Tambuwal, the governors expressed readiness of the PDP to take over governance in its “Rescue Nigeria” mission and offer qualitative leadership to Nigerians.
The meeting according to a statement credited to the Delta State Press Unit, reviewed the excruciating hardship and suffering being meted out to Nigerians by a failed APC led Federal Government; 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. 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:
“Diesel which is critical for running of SMEs was N131.47 in 2015, it now costs above N700.
“Fuel: official and black-market was N87/155 in 2015, it now costs N167/350 while 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.
“Kerosene (NHK) used by the ordinary Nigerian for cooking and power was N180 in 2015, it now sells at ₦450, while Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) – 12.5kg Cylinder sold for N2,400 in 2015, is now sold at between N8,750 and N10, 000.
“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 N8,500 in 2015 is now N39,000.”
They further decried the rising cost of electricity that is hardly available following the constant collapse of the National Grid.
“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.
“Electricity was N14.23 per kilowatt in 2015, it is now N38.530, and not even available.
“Unemployment rate was 11.4% in 2015, it is now over 33%, one the highest in the world, while poverty rate in 2015 was 11.3% but now about 42.8%.
“Accumulated Inflation in 2015 was about 4%, it is now 15.50%; Inflation Rate was 9.01% in 2015 and now 15.7%. 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,”
“The forum noted that 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.
“National Debt to GDP Ratio was 23.41% (2016) it is now 36.88% (2022).The Corruption Index has risen from 136 in 2015 to 150 now.
“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),”
The Governors also lamented the grinding insecurity, adding that this was a major threat to the agricultural sector and food security in Nigeria.
“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.
According to the opposition party, “This shows how uncaring and insensitive the APC is and has become a menace to Nigeria and we urge 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.”
The forum 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, 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.