The Peoples Democratic Party has berated President Muhammadu Buhari over his comments on former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umar Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan.
The PUNCH reports the PDP spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, as saying this in an interview on Thursday evening.
The President, in his speech, defended the recent petrol price hike. He said, “A responsible government must face realities and take tough decisions.
“Petroleum prices in Nigeria are to be adjusted. We sell now at N161 per litre. A comparison with our neighbours will illustrate the point.
“Chad which is an oil-producing country charges N362 per litre. Niger, also an oil-producing country sells one litre at N346.In Ghana, another oil-producing country, the petroleum pump price is N326 per litre. Further afield, Egypt charges N211 per litre. Saudi Arabia charges N168 per litre. It makes no sense for oil to be cheaper in Nigeria than in Saudi Arabia.”
Even with scare resources, I’m doing better than my predecessors, Buhari boasts
He specifically blamed those who were in charge of the country between 1999 and 2015 when he took over, saying they presided over the near destruction of the country.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the late Umar Yar’Adua and former President Goodluck Jonathan were in charge of the country during the period Buhari mentioned.
The President said, “No government in the past did what we are doing with such scarce resources. We have managed to keep things going in spite of the disproportionate spending on security.
“Those in the previous governments from 1999 to 2015, who presided over the near destruction of the country have now the impudence to attempt to criticise our efforts. In the circumstances, a responsible government must face realities and take tough decisions.”
Buhari also admitted that the nation’s economy under his watch was in crisis. He, however, claimed the situation was the same with every economy of the world.
The President also admitted the various security challenges affecting parts of the country.
He said, “Today, I am aware that our economy along with every single economy in the world is in crisis.
“We still face security challenges in parts of the country, while our society suffers from a high loss of moral rectitude which is driven by an unbridled craving for political control.
Lamenting that Nigerians dwelt on divisive issues, Buhari said, “An underlying cause of most of the problems we have faced as a nation is our consistent harping on artificially contrived fault lines that we have harboured and allowed unnecessarily to fester.
“In addition, institutions such as civil service, police, the judiciary, the military all suffered from a general decline.”
In his reaction, Ologbondiyan said, “It is unfortunate that our President can turn around today to attempt to rewrite history. Nigerians are aware and the facts are there that this country of ours was not as divided as it is today. If he disputes this fact, let him tell Nigerians how he won the 2015 elections. It is a fact that the Boko-Haram terrorists were driven out of their strongholds and elections were held in the 774 local government areas of Nigeria and results were declared.
“It is also an undisputed fact that the agitations by component units of this nation for self- determination have not been as loud as they are today under General Buhari; you have people from the Sout- West calling for the Oduduwa Republic, the South-East for Biafra, the Middle Belt and so on. The reason is simple, this regime from its conduct and utterances has given an impression of ‘we versus them.’ The level of nepotism is legendary. The corruption is beyond imagination, yet the regime carries on like nothing is wrong. We appeal to this regime especially the President to change his ways so that history can be kind to him.”
Also, the PDP spokesman, in a statement titled “Buhari’s Independence Day Speech, A Slap on Nigerians- PDP…Exposes Illogicalities In President’s Fuel Price Comparisons,” faulted the President’s speech.
He stated, “President Buhari’s attempt to justify the increase of fuel price in Nigeria by comparing it to the N168 per litre cost in Saudi Arabia is a morbid joke, noting that the minimum wage in Saudi Arabia is N305,113 (3000 Saudi Riyals), ten times higher than our paltry N30,000, which is largely unimplemented in Nigeria.
“Is Mr President not aware that, on the average, a person working in Saudi Arabia earns around 4,230SAR (N430, 267) to 16,700 SAR (N1,698,693) per month?
“Our party charges Mr President to always check his books before making such offensive comparisons including the price in Egypt where monthly average earnings are around N222, 841 (9,200 EGP) against our N30,000.
“In comparing our costs with other countries such as Ghana, Chad and Niger where purchasing powers of citizens are much more higher, did Mr President reflect on costs of house rent, education, healthcare and average dependence on fuel for daily survival by ordinary citizens as obtainable in Nigeria?”
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Thursday, justified the recent increase in the price of petrol in the country, saying it made no sense for the commodity to be cheaper in Nigeria than in Saudi Arabia.
Buhari, who said this in his nationwide broadcast to mark the nation’s 60th independence anniversary, gave an indication of further hikes in the price of petrol and blamed his predecessors between 1999 and 2015 for the near destruction of the country.
But opposition People Democratic Party and the PDP governors said Nigeria was not only going backwards but also more divided under Buhari.