By Akanimo Sampson
Apparently jolted by the admission of President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that his administration that promised the Nigerian people change, has failed to fix the economy, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says the game is up for the president and should retire to his Daura villa in Katsina State.
Chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State, said President Buhari on Friday told them that the country’s economy is in bad shape and that Nigerians will need to tighten their belts.
Governor Yari said after he and his colleagues met with Buhari for about 30 minutes in the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa that after thanking them President Buhari said ‘’the economy is in bad shape and that we have to come together, think and rethink on the way forward’’.
Their meeting was sequel to the lingering issue of a new minimum wage for workers and had resolved to meet with Buhari to seek a lasting solution before the year ends.
A tripartite committee comprising of government, labour and the private sector, headed by former Head of Service of the Federation, Ama Pepple, recommended the payment of N30,000 as minimum wage.
Before now, the governors have been consistent in their claim that they cannot afford to pay the new wage, saying the only solution was to carry out massive retrenchment of workers or if the nation’s revenue sharing formula changes to favour the states and local governments.
According to Governor Yari, ‘’President Buhari talked to us in a manner that we have task ahead of us, we should tighten our belt and see how we can put the Nigerian economy in the right direction’’.
For the PDP, according to their National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, ‘’by asking Nigerians to tighten their belts, President Buhari has admitted that our economy has terribly worsened under his incompetent watch and that he has no solution to our economic realities’’.
‘’By this statement’’, they went on, ‘’Mr. President has admitted that he is tired and that the task of running a competitive economy such as ours is way above his capacity. If President Buhari had heed wise counsel from Nigerians and the international community to hands off critical sectors of our economy and allow competent hands to manage them, our economy would not have gone into a biting recession, for which he is now asking Nigerians to tighten their belts’’.
Continuing, PDP added, ‘’Nigerians must hold President Buhari directly responsible for the official flops, harsh economic policies and humongous corruption in his regime, which led to the collapse of our once robust economy, turned our nation to the poverty capital of the world with the worse form of hunger and starvation to the extent compatriots now consider suicide mission and slavery as options.
‘’Most reprehensible is that Mr. President wants Nigerians to tighten their belts at a time he, his officials and associates are swimming in very expensive lifestyles. Our party holds that Nigerians across the board have made enough sacrifices in accommodating the incompetent, insensitive and corrupt Buhari administration and must not be forced to carry this burden beyond May 29, 2019; the very reason they are now rallying behind the PDP Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, ahead of the February, 2019 Presidential election.’’