By Nuel Suji, Abuja – The Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, has urged Nigerians to hold the Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) Government to its campaign promises, saying the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) needs to for a shadow cabinet to make APC accountable.
Mr. Ekweremadu made the call in Abuja on Thursday at the PDP National Conference themed “PDP and the Sustenance of Democratic ideals in Nigeria”.
The Deputy Senate President lamented over the state of the nation, saying that,“the ruling party must always be put at the mercy of the truth, for the job of the opposition is to confront errors with the truth; to stand up for what is right; to offer constructive criticisms of the follies and errors of the ruling party; and to proffer better ideas for moving the nation forward”.
“As could be seen from the events of the past few months, it is evident that while a party may ride to power on the wings of propaganda, it takes more than propaganda to govern well and retain goodwill.
“The APC won by promising much more than they could deliver. They promised to scale up the exchange rate of our currency to a Naira to one US Dollar. Have they kept this promise? They promised to bring back the Chibok girls in less than three months. Have they brought back the Chibok Girls? They promised to pay N5,000 to unemployed youths. Have they paid a kobo to any youth? They promised free meals to our children in the schools. Have they given any? They recently promised to end the Boko Haram insurgency in December 2015. We earnestly hope and pray that this particular promise is kept in the overall interest of our nation”.
Senator Ekweremadu recalled that even during military rule, the PDP founding fathers under the aegis of the G34, “looked tyranny in the face and demanded a return to democratic rule”.
“Looking at the way our country is being run by the APC-led Federal Government today, it is safe to say that we are back in the trenches for democracy because credible and responsible opposition is an essential, indeed indispensable component of thriving democracy and good governance”, Ekweremadu added.
He, however, cautioned the PDP faithful to continue to stick to fact-based, responsible, and patriotic opposition.
The PDP chieftain faulted the management of the economy since May 2015, saying the country lacked economic direction.
According to Senator Ekweremadu, “It is worthy of note that despite the promised Eldorado, the APC-led administration has driven our economy to the point where they confess that the nation is broke”.
“Inflation has nearly hit double digits high, rising to 9.4 percent in October. Unemployment rate has hit the rooftop since May 2015, with the construction industry laying off tens of thousands of workers. There is massive job loss in the banking sector. Many businesses are being grounded because they can no longer buy spare parts or restock from Europe, China, Dubai, among others. The system is locked down.
“This nosedive is due mainly to the free fall of the Naira, absence of clear economic direction, delay in the appointment of ministers, the cramping monetary policy of the administration, and the exclusion of Nigeria from the J.P Morgan Bond Index. Indeed, recession stares us in the face,” he said.
He called on the international community to call the APC to order over what he termed “fast-narrowing political freedom” cautioning the ruling party not to “turn government into a bonfire of bitterness and a cavalcade of recrimination”.
The Senator said that while the PDP spearheaded the electoral reforms and expansion of democratic freedoms that ultimately gave birth to the ruling party and its victory in the last general elections, “there is clear design and desperation by the ruling party to takeover, by hook or crook, states won by the PDP”.
He stressed: “Our party has variously cried out over the blatant misuse of security agencies to hound INEC staff and intervene in election petition matters. It does appear that to be a PDP governor, especially in an oil rich state, is to be an endangered political specie. The judiciary must not only do justice, it must be seen to be just.
“The international community must speak up now and intervene against this reckless reign of impunity and manipulation of critical institutions of democracy”.
The Senator also supported the PDP concerns over the manner and coloration of the current anti-corruption war.
He emphasised that while the PDP will stand by APC-led Federal Government all the way in the anti-graft war, the nation “must diligently guide against the politicisation of the anti-corruption war because that, in itself, constitutes a heavy moral burden”.
Such perception, according to him, “taints the war with witch-hunt and fixates people’s minds on the politics of the anti-corruption drive rather than on whether the accused persons are guilty as charged or not”.
“An anti-corruption trap that catches only those who have axe to grind with powerful political forces will appear compromised and leaves so much to be desired and does not represent a blueprint for change”, Senator Ekweremadu said.
The Deputy President of the Senate also enjoined the media and Civil Society organizations to partner the PDP to hold the APC accountable and preserve democratic ideals.