Updated: February 24, 2021
An umbrella support group loyal to Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President of Nigeria and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 election has acknowledged the recent tendencies of President Muhammadu Buhari in implementing certain policy proposals that Atiku has initiated in his policy document for the last presidential election.
They, however, said the President should save the nation by wholeheartedly adopting Atiku’s policy document for a guide.
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The group, All Atiku Support Group (AASG), called attention specifically to the recent decision of government to devalue the Naira, although the Central Bank of Nigeria had claimed that the policy was not a full devaluation of the currency, but merely currency adjustment.
“It will be recalled that during the 2019 presidential campaign, one of the prime policy proposals by Atiku Abubakar was to reset the Naira in order to market the national currency to be more competitive and to create more traffic for direct foreign investments in Nigeria. The APC and supporters of President Buhari called Atiku all manner of names at that time. But today, they have stealthily embraced that same policy, although giving it a different nomenclature.”
The group also cited example of the controversial policy by Atiku to privatise the NNPC and use the revenue generated from the sale to provide key infrastructure in the country, rather than going cap in hand, asking for foreign loans. For the avoidance of doubt, that policy provision is contained on page 91 of the Atiku’s Plan to Get Nigeria Working Again under the headline ‘Refining and Petrochemical Infrastructure’.
“Also, when Atiku suggested that the federal government had no need to keep on holding exclusive equity stakes in the Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC), he was derided for it. They did not bother to take time to ponder over the logic of that suggestion. They instantly threw away the baby with the bath water. We cannot begin to contemplate how much resources the country had wasted on account of this arrogance.
“As a matter of fact, shortly after President Buhari won his first term ticket, Atiku submitted his 2015 campaign Policy Document to him, which the now Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi received from Atiku on behalf of then President-elect Buhari.
“The Buhari administration slept for five years before coming to the reality of why the federal government should involve the private sector in the management of the NNPC. If the administration had been up and running from Day One, we would not have accumulated so much foreign debt and the economy would have been in better shape today.
“It was in the same light that Atiku had suggested that the Federal Government should jettison subsidy regime on petroleum products in the country. Although the APC and Buhari, in their 2015 presidential campaign raised the red flag that the inclusion of a provision for the payment of subsidy in the national budget was a scam, when they came into government, they not only sustained the subsidy regime, but ended up raising the margin to an all-time high in the annals of our national budget.
“Again, Atiku cautioned them agianst this but his warning fell on deaf ears. Today, after running the economy aground in five years, the harsh reality has dawned on them to uphold the truth they once made a mockery of. The question is: will the APC be honest enough to tell the nation how much, in naira and kobo, their jolly ride in obduracy has cost the economy.”
We regret to say that the APC and the Buhari administration came into governance without a clear chart of how to direct the country. That is why that even at this time of national emergency in the wake of Corona Virus pandemic; they have not at one single time come up with a policy proposal, but have consistently been relying on clues given by Atiku to manage the affairs of the country.
“We are proud to reel out those clues by Atiku to include the following: closure of Nigeria’s borders, provision of palliative to the poor and vulnerable constituency of our demography, reduction of the national budget by eschewing frivolities.
“These are all ideas that Atiku promoted and which the Buhari government subsequently adopted.
“We wish to appeal to the APC and the Buhari administration to take full advantage of the suggestions in the Atiku policy document, which was not made public but submitted to the Buhari administration.
“We make this appeal out of our patriotic concern of seeing our dear country make a detour from the sloping wreck they have directed its affairs in the past five years.”