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Presidency, APC Reply Obasanjo, Defend Buhari

The Federal Government has responded to a recent statement by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in which he criticised the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

In a statement issued on Wednesday by the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, the Presidency defended President Buhari.

Read full statement below;

We have read the press statement by former President Olusegun Obasanjo on the State of the Nation.

For the record, Chief Obasanjo is a patriot, and he has proven this time and time again. We appreciate what he said concerning the Administration’s performance in two out of the three key issues that formed the plank of its campaign: Fighting corruption and tackling insurgency. Specifically, the former President said President Buhari must be given credit for his achievement so far in these two areas. We thank him for this.

Apparently, the former President believes that the Administration does not deserve a pass mark in the area of the economy, which is the third of our three-pronged campaign promises.

We have no doubt that in the face of massive challenges in this area, this Administration has availed itself creditably. We believe that Chief Obasanjo, because of his very busy schedule, may not have been fully availed of developments in the government’s efforts to revamp the economy, which was battered by the consequences of over-dependence on a commodity as well as unprecedented pillaging of the treasury.

Today, most of the indices by which an economy is measured are looking up. Permit me to say, however, that Nigeria would not have exited recession through a mere order or if the Administration had not made use of ”good Nigerians” who could help.

This Administration is making steady progress in its determined effort to revamp the economy, and the results are showing:

* Foreign Reserves have peaked at $40b, the highest level in about four years, and up from $24 billion just a year ago, even though when we came in, the price of oil had crashed woefully.

* According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBC), headline inflation has fallen for 11 consecutive months, standing at 15.37% as at Dec. 2017. This is the lowest inflation rate since Jan 2017, and it has met and surpassed the target set for inflation in the Administration’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

* Our determined implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) has stopped the haemorrhaging of the treasury. Some 108 billion Naira has been saved from removal of maintenance fees payable to banks, pre-TSA. The nation is being saved 24.7 billion Naira monthly with the full implementation of the TSA.

*  The elimination of ghost workers has saved the nation 120 billion Naira

*   At about 1.8 billion dollars, the capital inflows in the second quarter of 2017 were almost double the $908 million in the first quarter.

*  In the wake of a stable Naira and increased investment inflows, Nigeria’s stock market emerged one of the best-performing in the world, delivering returns in excess of 40 percent.

*  Nigeria rose 24 places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking, and earned a place on the List of Top 10 Reformers in the world.

* According to Q3 2017 figures, agriculture export is up year-on-year by 25%, solid minerals exports are up year-on-year by 78%, raw materials exports are up 70% year-on-year and manufactured goods exports are up 22% year-on-year.

* Government agencies such as the Nigeria Customs Service are reporting highest-ever revenue collection, while JAMB, under the new management appointed by President Buhari in 2016, remitted N7.8 billion to the coffers of the federal government. The total amount remitted by JAMB between 2010 and 2016 was a paltry N51 million!

On the other hand, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has also reacted to Obasanjo’s letter.

The party responded to the former president’s evaluation of the APC in a statement issued on Wednesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Bolaji Abdullahi.

But the APC said while they do not totally agree the former President’s claims, especially on his assessment of the government and the party, the sundry issues he raised were made in good faith.

“As a father of the nation, we understand that the former president would feel obliged to intervene if certain things are not being done or are not being done in a particular way.

“However, we believe that such interventions should be for the sole purpose of improving the system and encouraging the relevant institutions to work harder in improving certain situations,” the statement said.

The party also disagreed with the former President “in what appears like a wholesale dismissal of the entire political system in the country.”

They admitted they have their challenges as a new political party but insisted that the APC remains the best option for all Nigerians who are genuinely committed to the progress and development of the country.

The ruling party stressed that there are about 72 other registered political parties in the country and the people reserve the right to support any party of their choice.

“Our democracy itself is young and hence all the parties face sundry challenges, but we have made progress since 1999, with President Obasanjo himself being a major contributor to our progress as a multi-party democracy.

“It is for this reason that we believe the respected former President should not give the impression that none of the political parties in the country is good enough for Nigerians and the only solution to the current challenges that we face is a completely new arrangement,” the statement added.

The APC noted that the task of building a political party is not done overnight, saying even the oldest of political parties in the country is still very young compared to advanced democracies.

They are, however, hopeful that Nigeria’s democracy stands a better chance of becoming really strong if the parties are allowed to find their identities, even if in the process they make mistakes and appear to be “wobbling”.

The party further called on Nigerians to remain strong and steadfast with an assurance that the nation would soon overcome its challenges.

“These are challenging times, but we cannot afford to react to public criticism with any form of emotionalism,” said APC.

“We are the ruling party; we must take responsibility, take valuable lessons on board and continue to improve. Regardless of the current challenges, we are confident that brighter future is assured for our party and our country.”

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