The Presidency on Sunday in Abuja sneered at the Peoples Democratic Party Governors Forum, saying phantom soldiers existed under the PDP era, during which soldiers’ salaries were cornered by politicians.
The PDP governors had earlier mocked the All Progressives Congress that it was unfit to participate in the 2023 general elections.
The Presidency, in response, said the governors were playing politics of division and hate; noting that “the country profits nothing from the PDP’s gimmick”.
The Presidency’s position was contained in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
The PDP governors had recently advised Nigerians to reject the APC in the 2023 elections, averring that “it is impossible for a party so disorganised to offer good governance to the people of Nigeria.”
But the Presidency, in a statement titled ‘Issues from the PDP fantasy communiqué from Umuahia,’ alleged that the PDP tried to “cover up the serial and criminal failures of its long and damaging period in office, which the Muhammadu Buhari regime and the All Progressives Congress have strived these past seven years to repair.”
Recalling one of the alleged frauds perpetrated during the PDP years, it said, “We cannot forget under the PDP, the nation had an army full of phantom soldiers whose pay went to PDP politicians’ pockets while our under-resourced real soldiers died in the fight against terrorist insurgents and our international allies refused to supply Nigeria kit and military aid.
“We cannot ignore how the PDP politicians sought—and continue to seek—to inflame ethnic and religious tensions by refusing to even proffer a solution to the herder-farmer clashes which became most prevalent under their misrule.
“We will always remember how the PDP politicians intentionally encouraged and exploited the black market in currency exchange to convert ill-gotten gains to foreign currency and undermine our national currency, then spirited their funds abroad in their billions and into foreign bank accounts.”
The Presidency stressed that the Army, under the APC, is well resourced with fighter jets and other armaments; Boko Haram is being driven from every inch of Nigerian territory, and ISWAP’s leader was eliminated in a Nigerian airstrike.
“Today with the APC in government, there are ranches on Federal land and in state land where there is the willingness to establish them. Clashes are reduced. Lives are saved, and livelihoods are enriched.
“Today with the APC we support our national currency; we have achieved self-sufficiency in rice and fertilizer production; we refuse to allow greedy politicians and businessmen to hide their money overseas, and instead build an economy here in Nigeria for all,” the Presidency stressed.
It also alleged that the main opposition party “raided the NNPC,” and that it wilfully refused to pay into the Federation Account to the extent that in the party’s last moments in governance, $20bn was simply found missing from the coffers of the corporation.
The Presidency however regaled in it’s chastity, that with the APC, funds from NNPC are directly and transparently used to fund social and health programmes, such as COVID-19 response, construction of roads, bridges and rail, and equipping of hospitals to cope with new and existing challenges.
Mocking the PDP governors who signed the communiqué in return, the Presidency stated: “Who would trust such people with the running of our country? Who can believe a word these people say, as they looked outwardly stylish but harrowed by power-sharing and other troubles inwardly?
“These people, who play politics of division and hate, create communal disturbances, need to change. Check the facts and leave the politics: What does the country get with this kind of gimmick?”