Salihu Lukman, Director General of Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) said on no account, the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) be the same or equated with the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Lukman argued that PDP had in its 16 years of governance of the country put the country on the reverse gear of development precipitated by corruption, APC had in the past six years in the saddle brought the nation back on the path of progress while waging aggressive war against corruption.
The APC Chieftain was reacting to the recent position by Attahiru Jega, a former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in a BBC Hausa Service interview that “the two big parties (APC and PDP) had failed to engender good governance and development in the country.”
But Lukman in a statement titled: ‘Nigerian Politics and Fallacy of PDP- APC Semblance (Part one)’ said, unlike APC, the evidence so far from PDP’s record of 16 years in government is largely about corruption and how problems of insecurity become widespread in the country.
“Concerning the problem of corruption, series of reports of investigation are there, which is not about anybody’s opinion. For instance, recall the House of Representatives investigation on petroleum subsidy in 2012.
“Under the Chairmanship of Hon. Faruk Lawan, the Committee reported that “contrary to the official figure of subsidy payment of N1.3 Trillion, the Accountant-General of the Federation put forward a figure of N1.6 Trillion, the CBN N1.7 Trillion, while the Committee established subsidy payment of N2.587 Trillion as at December 2011, amounting to more than 900% over the appropriated sum of N245 Billion.
“This figure of N2.587 Trillion is based on the CBN figure of N844.944 billion paid to NNPC, in addition to another figure of N847.942 billion reflected as withdrawals by NNPC from the excess crude naira account, as well as the sum of N894.201 billion paid as subsidy to Marketers. The figure of N847.942 billion quoted above strongly suggests that NNPC might have been withdrawing from two sources especially when double withdrawals were also reflected both in 2009 and 2010.
“Another major legacy of the PDP’s sixteen years tenure was the problem of insecurity, especially Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East. Of course, there were problems of vandalisation of oil installations and kidnapping in the South-South and parts of South-East, cases of cattle rustling in North-West and North-Central”, he said.
The PGF DG noted that, unlike PDP leaders, APC leaders are not in denial of the existence of challenges but despite the challenges, the APC Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari is making efforts to move the country forward.
“To confirm that, unlike the PDP, APC-led government is not a failure, three important achievements, in the areas of social investment, infrastructure and agriculture will be emphasised. Assessment of challenges of insecurity and how APC is handling it differently will be also presented as part of the supporting evidence of APC’s contrasting scorecard.
“Social Investment Programme: Since emerging as the governing party in 2015, APC Federal Government has been implementing the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), which is far more than what any government in the past has done. Now elevated to a ministerial status, which is the initiative of President Buhari, it is founded on four pillars of N-Power, Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), Home Grown School Feeding, and Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP).
“Infrastructure: When President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration assumed office in 2015, the total budget for Federal Roads by the outgoing PDP government of former President Goodluck Jonathan was 18 billion Naira, which is only about 25% of the Lagos State roads budget for that year. The persistent skeletal funding translated to abandoned or slow-moving road projects across the country. APC administration’s priorities were to increase the amount of funding available for road projects, while also ensuring the resumption of work on abandoned projects. In 2016, the roads budget went up to 260 billion Naira, for which about 200 billion Naira was released.
“Significantly, more resources were devoted to the construction of road and transport infrastructure than any other administration since 1999, and the results are roads, bridges, highways, rail lines and stations, and air and seaport upgrades. Work has since resumed on several stalled, abandoned or solution-defying road projects that were inherited, like the Loko-Oweto Bridge, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Sagamu-Benin Expressway, the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway, Onitsha-Enugu Expressway, Kano-Maiduguri Expressway, Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Expressway, Obajana-Kabba Road, Ilorin-Jebba Road, Apapa-Oshodi-Oworonshoki Road, and several others are in progress, with some already close to completion.
“Agriculture: Some of the specific initiatives of the APC led government of President Buhari in the agricultural sector include National Food Security Council (NFSC), Agriculture for Food and Jobs Plan (AFJP), National Livestock Transformation Plan, The Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), The Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI), and Creation of an Enabling Environment.
“Apart from these three sectors, there are other initiatives in other sectors. The achievements cited in these three sectors are just to substantiate the point that based on records of performance in government, APC can’t be in the same category as PDP. Anybody arguing that these achievements represent failure will need to substantiate it with convincing evidence of how their impact on the lives of Nigerians translates to negative outcomes”, Lukman added.