PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh
Advises ruling party to stop propaganda
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abujaâ€¨
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has expressed concern over what it described as growing penchant by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and President Muhammadu Buhari to undermine the freedom and autonomy of democratic institutions in the country.
The party said instead of APC focusing on the promises it made to Nigerians and on policy thrusts that will move the economy forward, the ruling party has indulged in “propaganda, deceitful engagement and cosmetic governance.”
It also said Nigerians are worried that two months after the inauguration of APC government, Buhari has not been able to decide on key appointments such as ministers, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), a Chief of Staff and advisers in key sectors of the economy.
In a statement issued on Tuesday by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, the party said though it appreciatesd the symbolic gesture by Buhari in ‘cutting’ his N14 million annual basic salary by 50 per cent, but Nigerians would not be wavered by the N7million annual donation and rejection of official cars, and forget their expectations from his long list of campaign promises for which he was elected into office.
“Perhaps, we may need to draw the pesident’s attention to the growing concern that under his watch, democratic institutions are no longer free. While activities of the National Assembly have been disrupted, the nation’s electoral body has lost its independence due to the appointment of an acting chairman that is publicly known to have very strong relationship with your good self and key members of your party. We have also seen flagrant disregard of court orders,” it said.
While clarifying the position of the party further to THISDAY, Metuh cited the case of the recent police action in Rivers State preventing the execution of legitimate court order sacking 22 local council chairmen. PDP said as a responsible political party it had made a promise to President Buhari that it would not get involved in detracting him from delivering good governance to the Nigerian people.
However, it noted that due to the overzealousness of the APC spokespersons and some members of the party in dramatising some imaginary achievements of his administration in a space of one month, there is need to put the records straight.
“The issue is about the president facing the challenges of governance and assembling his team of experts and capable hands to manage the economy, which has been on the decline since he assumed office.
“It is also about allowing the different arms of government, especially the National Assembly, to work smoothly and encourage conducive democratic environment where the rule of law, personal freedom and security of lives and property are guaranteed,” PDP said.
PDP said there was need to bring to the president’s notice certain indices that if not properly corrected are capable of derailing the smooth running of his administration.
It urged Buhari to extricate himself from agents of propaganda who continue to believe that Nigerians would be swayed by these cosmetic interventions instead of real business of government.
Metuh stated that: “As the leader of the most populous black nation in the world, we believe you should not allow your presidency to be pushed into the gimmicks of playing to the gallery and attempting to use the dramatisation of promissory notes and pledges by foreign interests, false premature claims of victory against insurgency, dramatisation of salary cut and rejection of official cars, all to gain cheap popularity and create an impression that the government is on course when in the actual fact, the new administration has not been able to locate a bearing since its inauguration in May.
“While we appreciate the symbolic gesture by the president in ‘cutting’ his N14 million annual basic salary by 50 percent, it should be noted that Nigerians would not be wavered by the N7million annual donation and rejection of official cars, and forget their expectations for the implementation of his long list of campaign promises for which he was elected into office.”
It said no matter how populist it might seem, the salary cuts does not in any way address the burning issues of employment, worsening security situation, decline in the economy, avoidable inactivity in government businesses, and continued apparent slide of the naira which has dipped from under N200 to the dollar in May to an all time low of N238 under the APC administration among others.
“Nigerians are still eager for information regarding the five million new jobs, monthly N5,000 allowance to 25 million poor citizens, monthly allowance to discharged but unemployed youth corps members, free meals to school children and bringing the naira to the same value with the dollar among other promises
“Moreover, Nigerians cannot be overwhelmed by the gestures especially given that they are pretty aware that the salary is a mere drop in the ocean of personal allowances and privileges that come to the president. They cannot therefore be deluded by impressions aimed to make government appear to be on course when it has only been a case of all motion, no movement, spiced with unnecessary excuses.
“Nigerians, going by feelers have not been thrilled by such orchestrations as other leaders who at one time or the other adopted similar stance did not dither or become laidback, but hit the ground running with governance. What the citizens want is a government that is urgent in living up to its billings and campaign promises.
“Instead of allowing his government to be taken over by needless showmanship, the president must realise that the people would not judge him by such measures but on the extent to which he addressed critical issues of governance for which he was voted into power.
“We also wish to bring to your notice, Mr. President that Nigerians are now agitated that this government has failed to hit the ground running as it promised. They are worried that the president who promised to unveil his cabinet two weeks after his inauguration in May, has, two months after, not been able to decide on key appointments such as ministers, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), a Chief of Staff and advisers in key sectors of the economy.
“They are worried by the drifting of government business in ministries, departments and agencies due to the absence of political heads vested with coordinating of important policies, which are now in tatters and taking its toll on the economy as indicated in the terrifying crippling of foreign and domestic investments and harrowing retrogression in the capital market which has continued to lose billions of naira since May 29.
“Instead of engaging in pointless propaganda, the APC and the presidency should be more concerned about the decline in the economy with the continued fall in the value of the naira which has descended from under N200 to the dollar they inherited in May to all time low of N238 even in the face of the president’s promise to bring it to same value with the US dollar.
“We need to caution that the needless celebration of your party over Monday’s change of service chiefs is totally premature considering the corresponding urgency of previous administration in this regard.
“Also, as a quick reminder, we wish to notify you that in line with your promises, Nigerians are still eager for information regarding the five million new jobs, monthly N5, 000 each to 25 million poor citizens, monthly allowance to discharged but unemployed youth corps members, free meals to school children and bringing the naira to the same value with the dollar; among other promises upon which you and your party gained access to power.
“Finally, Mr. President may we restate that our commitment to constructive opposition is due to our conviction as major stakeholders in the Nigerian project that whatever success achieved by you is not for your individual benefit or that of the APC, but for our collective and common good as a country. We will therefore continue to inform you and indeed all Nigerians about potential areas of derailment, not with the intention of embarrassing you and your administration, but to bring good governance for the benefit of all Nigerians,” PDP stated.