The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) were engaged in a verbal war at the weekend over the state of the nation, using indices such as the economy, level of poverty and insecurity in the country.
The altercation followed a recent editorial published by Financial Times of London which portrayed Nigeria as a failing state in dire need of resuscitation.
The main opposition party, the PDP, which fired the first shot, said the Financial Times’ editorial on the state of affairs in Nigeria, under President Muhammadu Buhari, was not only a true reflection of the situation in the country, but a confirmation that the nation was failing and on autopilot mode.
But the ruling party has disagreed with that position, describing it as the chorus of doomsday prophets and naysayers who do not wish Nigeria well. National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, argued that the editorial was only stating the obvious, as Nigeria under President Buhari had presented all the characteristics of a failed state.
Ologbondoyan accused the Buhari administration of deceit and arrogance each time it faces criticisms. He described the current administration as a rudderless government with a dysfunctional command structure that cannot guarantee security, manage the economy and perform other very simple tasks of governance. In a statement issued on behalf of the party, Ologbondiyn said that the Financial Times’ editorial has vindicated the PDP’s position that nobody was in charge in Nigeria.
He lamented that the presidency preferred to rebuff wise counsel instead of seeking help for the sake of millions of traumatised Nigerians. The opposition party noted that President Buhari had failed woefully in governance to the extent that over 600 students could be kidnapped by bandits in his home state, Katsina, a few hours after his security machinery took over the state, where he had gone on holiday.
“Our great nation now tends towards a leaderless society where terrorists, bandits, kidnappers, marauders and vandals have taken the lead, running riotous across our land while those who promised to protect lives and property have gone into hiding in Aso Presidential Villa.
“Under President Buhari, life is fast tilting towards Hobbesian state of nature; driven by the combined negatives of an incompetent and unconcerned presidency and a reckless, kleptomaniac and dysfunctional ruling party that is more interested in power-grabbing instead of governance.
“Under Buhari’s watch, our command structure has become extremely weak that government officials now patronise bandits and rationalise acts of terrorism to the extent of blaming victims for not obtaining permission before living their normal lives as was the case in the 43 farmers beheaded by terrorists in Borno state.
“Under this failed administration, outlaws who had been pushed to the fringes by previous administration have resurged and taken control of some parts of our nation where they reportedly have to give their consent to residents before they can conduct weddings, naming ceremonies or operate their markets.
“It now takes presidents of neighbouring countries like Chad, President Idris Derby, to personally lead his troops into our territories to rout out insurgents and free Nigerian communities and our soldiers held captive by terrorists,” the statement noted.
PDP accused Buhari of wrecking Nigeria’s once robust economy, destroying the value of the local cur rency (naira) and turning the nation into the world’s poverty capital, where life has become so unbearable that citizens now resort to suicide and self-enslavement mission abroad.
The PDP advised Presidency officials to stop playing with the sensibilities of Nigerians by churning out propaganda and barefaced lies each time they were confronted with wise counsel on how to redeem the nation.
In a swift reaction, Secretary, Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of the APC, Senator John Akpanudoedehe said that contrary to the opinion of the Financial Times and the PDP, Nigeria was nowhere near a failed state. Akpanudoedehe said that the Buhari government was not oblivious of the challenges facing Nigeria, but was frontally addressing them.
He said that ranging from the economy to security, the current government has been doing its best to turn the challenges into opportunities. According to him, the Buhari government had displayed the political will and capacity to contain any criminal or terrorist activity and return the economy to growth.
“President Buhari’s administration, which sees the urgent need to have a better policing system for the country, is embarking on sweeping police reforms and supporting community policing, and definitely not governing a country close to becoming a failed state.
“Amid the COVID-19 induced economic slowdown, President Buhari’s administration, which is stimulating the economy by preventing business collapse; supporting labourintensive sectors such as agriculture; creating jobs through infrastructural investments in roads, rails, bridges; promoting manufacturing and local production at all levels to attain self-sufficiency in critical sectors of the economy, is definitely not governing a country close to becoming a failed state,” he said.
The scribe of the ruling party said the current administration has been implementing one of the world’s largest and farreaching social investment programmes, targeting the very poor and other vulnerable groups, including women and persons living with disabilities through pro-poor spending. According to him, these were not indices of a failing state.
“President Buhari’s administration, which is implementing one of the world’s largest and farreaching social investment programmes targeting the very poor and other vulnerable groups, including women and persons living
with disabilities through pro-poor spending, is definitely not governing a country close to becoming a failed state. “Nigerians will recall the ignoble pastime of past administrations which will rather bury its head in sand and spin conspiracies in the face of insecurity and engage in voodoo economics to hoodwink Nigerians while national resources were stolen and diverted to political cronies.
Those days are gone. “While the PDP and their hirelings engage in their unfortunate and apparently orchestrated attacks on the Armed Forces and other security services, the APC will rather support their efforts and charge them to do more to further degrade the capacity of terrorists and other criminal elements to attack soft targets,” the governing party said.
It would be recalled that the Financial Times of London had published an editorial citing rising insecurity, stalled economic growth and weak institutions, as indications that Nigeria was “on the brink” of becoming a “failed state.”
In the editorial, the influential international business newspaper said: “Nigeria will become a problem far too big for the world to ignore if urgent and drastic measures are not taken by the Buhari administration.”
It condemned the kidnap of 344 schoolboys in Katsina, an incident that revived the memories of the more than 276 schoolgirls kidnapped in Borno in 2014, some of who are still being held by Boko Haram insurgents. It said the incident and similar ones had cast down President Buhari’s ability to crush Boko Haram, a group, which has “remained an ever-present threat.”
Financial Times added that in addition to insecurity, Nigeria has been struggling with extreme poverty and out-of-school children, mostly girls. With the country’s population now over 200 million, the newspaper said the living standards of citizens “are declining” while “the economy has stalled since 2015.”
It added that Nigeria “desperately needs to put its finances, propped up by foreign borrowing, on a sounder footing” to survive the shock of its dwindling resources as “the elite’s scramble for oil revenue will become a game of diminishing returns.”
“In its three remaining years, the government of Mr. Buhari must seek to draw a line in the sand. It must redouble efforts to get a grip on security,” the newspaper wrote.