PRESIDENT JONATHAN BLEW $60 BILLION IN FOREIGN RESERVES....Ribadu.
President Goodluck Jonathan and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have squandered $60 billion of the nation’s external reserves with nothing to show for it, presidential candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Malam Nuhu Ribadu charged in Abuja yesterday.
The former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) spoke at the flagging-off of the party’s electioneering campaign for the April general election with a Colloquium where the party’s manifesto and agenda for Nigeria was also unveiled.
He said, “At a time Nigeria had over $60 billion external reserve. I was part of the administration then; but now they have wiped it out! They have shared it and I am greatly saddened over what is happening. The current asymmetric ratio of 75 percent recurrent budget allocations over 25 percent capital allocations will become a thing of the past. This odd priority in budget making does not support true development, and only fuels corruption,” Ribadu said in his presentation titled “Our nation’s journey begins”.
He said seventy per cent of the nation’s citizens are under the age of 30, with 43 million of them are daily exploring the neural of the Internet as a communication and social networking medium. he said “historically, in an election year, these young men and women would have responded in apathy, walking off in anger, disgust, and scorn at the electoral process,” but that it was however surprising that of the 66 million registered voters by INEC at the just concluded exercise, preliminary reports suggest that at least 46 million are 35 years and below.
“We must not lose the significance that today’s event is occurring against the fascinating international background of momentous political changes taking place in the north of our region -from Tunisia, through Egypt, to Algeria and Yemen. In all these countries, young people are kicking against enthroned autocracies that have pinned their nations down for decades; they are tossing off decades of oppression and failed forms of governance. In an exciting display of people’s power, these young men and women are demanding, negotiating, and securing democracy through the slogan of change,” Ribadu said.
He added, “While the citizens of other countries are protesting dictatorship in their countries, in Nigeria let us act sensibly to take advantage of the fact that we have the opportunity to affect change every four years through the ballot, we will not allow it to get to the level of violence. In the face of its shoddy report card from over two decades of abysmal failure at governance, the PDP can at least be self-respecting to excuse itself from the dignified gathering of the true apostles of change. They are failures, they have promised several times and failed, they are dividing our people, they have zoned us, worse still they did not keep promise even to themselves.”
Chairman of ACN’s manifesto committee Chief Audu Ogbeh listed defence, national security and public safety; job creation; housing, agriculture and urban integration; education and health as the party’s priority areas.
While saying that in 2010, Nigeria earned N86 billion and used N43 billion to import goods including toothpicks, Ogbeh said that as the nation import what it should be exporting, it invariably exports her wealth and other endowments to other countries. “What the party has done in Lagos and is doing in other states we are administering is what we promise to replicate across the county,” he said.
National chairman of the party Chief Bisi Akande, represented by the party’s deputy national chairman, Mr. Boss Mustapha, said the party is into concrete political engineering and consciously redirecting the nation’s politics from that of big men to that of big ideas.
Other topics discussed at the event include Issues of Governance delivered by Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola of Lagos; Human Rights and Youth Empowerment, by Mohammed Dele Belgore (SAN), the party’s governorship candidate in Kwara State; Energy Availability: A Condition For Sustainable Development by Chief Abiye Sekibo, the party governorship candidate for Rivers State; Managing a Democratic Government: Perspective of a Labour Leader by Edo State governor Comrade Adams Oshiomhole; The Challenges of Political Parties: Regulatory functions of INEC and the Electoral Act 2010 by Kabiru Turaki (SAN), the party’s governorship candidate for Kebbi State and Water and Sanitation: Imperatives for National Development, by Marcus Gundir, the party’s governorship candidate for Adamawa State among others.