ABUJA— Against the background of the pervasive fuel crisis, strike calls, mounting government debts, power outages and other problems, the All Progressives Congress, APC, yesterday, accused President Goodluck Jonathan of deliberately sabotaging the incoming APC-led government.
President Jonathan, on his part, counted peace and stability as positive isues he would hand over even as he confessed that the incoming government would need prayers to overcome the problems it would inherit. President Jonathan spoke at the presidential inauguration church service in Abuja, which was also attended by the Vice President-elect, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
The APC in a statement issued in Abuja, yesterday, by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, appealed to Nigerians not to lose hope despite the daunting challenges they are currently facing, saying help is on the way.
A nation in crisis
“In a few days’ time, President Jonathan will hand over to President-elect Muhammadu Buhari. Never in the history of our country has any government handed over to another a more distressed country. No electricity, no fuel, workers are on strike, billions are owed to state and federal workers, 60 billion dollars are owed in national debt, and the economy is virtually grounded.
“Today, Nigerians are roaming the streets, jerry cans in hand, searching for everything from kerosene to fuel, diesel to power their generators, keep their vehicles on the road and keep their businesses going. They are paying as much as N300 per litre of fuel if at all they can get it. Yet their government is not saying a word about the situation,” the party said.
APC said while the Jonathan Administration has arrogantly told Nigerians that it remains in office and in power till May 29, all it has been doing is sacking people and making new appointments as if it had been deprived the opportunity to do so in the past six years.
“They are not interested in how to end the fuel scarcity that has paralyzed the socio-economic lives of Nigerians; they are not interested in how to raise electricity production from its unprecedentedly low level of 1,327 megawatts. They are not doing anything to end the strike by blue and white collar oil workers, or to stop the impending one.
“They say they are in office till May 29, but they do not care how workers in 18 states, who are owed a total of N300 billion in salaries under their watch, or federal workers who are owed N400 billion, will be paid. Yet they are running a budget of N1 trillion deficit.
“They have deliberately stopped meeting their obligations to oil marketers, which is now around N200 billion, hence no one is lifting petroleum products anymore. If the current energy crisis is not solved soonest, the telecommunications sector could even be grounded in a matter of days as service providers will have neither electricity nor fuel to power their base stations. Of course, the aviation sector has already been left comatose by the fuel crisis. The whole scenario reeks of sabotage!” the party said.
Noting that its cry was only an alert to Nigerians on what the new government would inherit, the APC said: “If we thought the nation was being well managed and there was no problem, we would not have embarked on a campaign of change. While we are ready, willing and able to begin to address the mammoth challenges facing us as a nation as soon as we assume office at the centre in a few days’ time, we will not hesitate for a second to keep Nigerians informed of how we have been brought to this sorry pass, with a view to avoiding such a tragic turn in the future.”
It expressed sadness that the nation has been on autopilot for the past several weeks, as the outgoing administration has shown neither the capacity nor the willingness to resolve any of the crises it has contrived and foisted on the nation.
“This is the most vivid manifestation of the old saying that literally translates to a departing office holder defecating on the chair he is vacating,” APC said.
I’m leaving peace and stability — Jonathan
Meanwhile, President Jonathan has said that the peace and tranquillity currently being enjoyed in the country were answers to the prayer he asked God in 2007.
The President also appealed to all Nigerians, including clerics, to always pray for the success of the incoming administration.
Jonathan, who spoke at the 2015 Presidential Thanksgiving and Inauguration Interdenominational Church Service, in Abuja, used the opportunity to appeal to Nigerians and clerics, in particular, to pray for the incoming administration.
The President noted that Nigeria, as a country, had all reasons to be grateful to God, adding that the country since the amalgamation had moved from one problem to another and survived on the mercies of God.
Noting how he sought God to guide him not to at any point lead the country to crisis when he became vice-president in 2007, he said he remembered how he asked God to lead him to at all times only take decisions that would positively affect the country.
“And today, we are here not to celebrate the breaking of this nation, we are here to celebrate the unity of this country; we are here not having mass service for mass burial. We are here to inaugurate an incoming government.
Call for prayers
“I call on you to pray for us, because probably today is the last day I will speak to you here as a president of Nigeria, if I have reason to speak, here again, I will be referred to as a former president.
“I appeal to you, to pray for the incoming government, because they need more prayers than we do. If Jonathan makes a mistake today, it will only affect me and my family, but if the incoming government does it, it will affect the whole Nigeria.”
Noting the goodness of God in keeping Nigeria one despite multiple challenges in the past 100 years, he said: “Within this period, we had series of challenges, we had the civil war that lasted for about three years, in the political realm, it was easy. First Republic was just about five years, Second Republic lasted four years, the Third Republic was aborted half way and for about three years no president was elected, and this Fourth Republic that started in 1999 is now 16 years.”
In his message, the Primate, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), the Most Revd Nicholas Okoh urged Nigerians to be patient with the incoming administration, urging the citizenry not to be hasty in judging the new administration.
The Primate also warned the incoming government against abandoning ongoing projects started by the Jonathan administration.
His words: “We must be patient with the incoming government. It takes time to build unless you do not want to build what will endure. If you want what will endure, you need time to build.
“They need time to study, to organize, to plan and to start. So, we appeal to Nigerians to avoid the syndrome of ‘hosanna today, crucify him tomorrow’.
In his remarks, the Vice President-elect, Prof Osinbajo urged all clerics to pray for the peace and progress of the country.
President Jonathan and his wife were presented with an Award of Outstanding Christian Community in Public Service by the President of the Christian Association of Nigerian (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor.