Jonathan, PDP knock Osinbajo on debt, corruption


November 4, 2018

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday challenged Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to show the scorecard of the present administration instead of bandying figures that had no bearing on realities of the economic situation in Nigeria. National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, accused Osinbajo of peddling rumours and false claims on the debt profile and anticorruption war in Nigeria in an attempt to cover the rot and failures of the Buhari administration in the last three years.

The challenge came just as former President Goodluck Jonathan cautioned Osinbajo to desist from dragging him into the controversies trailing the Buhari administration on the worsening debt overhang and allegations of corruption. PDP, in a statement, accused Osinbajo of making false claims about the nation’s debt profile and playing to the gallery in order to cover up the “empty scorecard” of the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari. Ologbondiyan said that it was already a settled fact that the nation’s debt profile escalated under the Buhari administration.

According to him, under Buhari’s watch, Nigeria’s once robust economy was not only pushed into a recession, but has been turned to a debtor nation and poverty capital of the world. “Despite being busted, Vice President Osinbajo is labouring to deceive Nigerians by converting domestic borrowings in naira, under the APC, to US dollars, so that the very high exchange rate will make it look smaller in dollars.

“This is despite verified figures even from agencies of government showing an accumulation of 29.6 per cent debt under Buhari as against the 20.14 per cent under the Yar’Adua and Jonathan administration and the 0.44 per cent under the Obasanjo administration,” it said.

The opposition party expressed worry that Osinbajo, as a professor of law, could not guarantee productivity, credibility, transparency and honesty in governance, “but has rather allowed himself to be turned into a vendor of propaganda and false claims for a corrupt administration, now hanging on straws. “Prof. Osinbajo is reminded that he is the head of Buhari’s bungling economic team and should, therefore, not in anyway, parade himself as if he has no blame at all in the manifest failures of this administration.

“What Prof. Osinbajo has refused to come to terms with is that Nigerians already know that the Buhari administration, wherein he is a major actor, is the most corrupt in the history of our nation and that no amount of concealments, propaganda and false claims can erase that fact.

“Furthermore, Nigerians are no longer swayed by Prof. Osinbajo’s homilies and lip service to fiscal federalism, which he is now mouthing, just because the 2019 general election is around the corner. “Instead of lending himself to be used to beguile Nigerians, Prof. Osinbajo should use the remaining days of the APC administration to advise himself  and President Buhari on life after office, especially as leaders, who manifestly failed their people, when they trusted them the most,” Ologbondiyan said.

In a separate statement, Jonathan, through his aide, Reno Omokri, accused Osinbajo of deliberate mischief in his attempt to blame him for Nigeria’s current debt profile, increasing corruption and poor state of the economy. “How can Vice President Osinbajo, a man who had just been indicted by the House of Representatives in one of the biggest corruption scams ever in Nigeria’s history, have the gall to point accusing fingers on Dr. Jonathan, a man that is celebrated internationally for his efforts at achieving Nigeria’s best rating in Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perception Rating when Nigeria improved eight paces from 144 to 136 in 2014?

“Having read through the sordid details of Professor Osinbajo’s corruption as revealed in the indictment by Nigeria’s House of Representatives, it is easy to understand why Nigeria made her worst ever retrogression in Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perception under him this year, moving 11 paces backwards from 136 to 148,” Omokri said. On the issue of debt, the former President claimed that in the entire 16 years that the PDP ruled Nigeria, the total amount of money borrowed was N8.06 trillion while the APC-led administration of President Buhari has borrowed a total of N10 trillion in the last three and a half years. “With this fact in hand, where does Vice President Osinbajo have the moral authority to point leprous fingers at former President Jonathan? The claim by Vice President Osinbajo that former President Jonathan left $$63 billion in debt is also a false claim.

“The Jonathan administration inherited $42.23 billion in debt in 2011 which were debts borrowed by the states and the Federal Government. Throughout the five years that he was President, former President Jonathan incurred the wrath of several state governments because his administration refused to guarantee their foreign loans. “The reason that Nigeria’s debt has ballooned  under this administration is because the Federal Government lacks the discipline that Jonathan had and are thus unable to curb borrowing by both the Federal Government and the states.

“For example, on Tuesday November 13, 2018, the Debt Management Office (DMO) revealed that in just 2017 alone, the Buhari administration borrowed N2.4 trillion to fund their budget deficit. This is besides other loans that they took in 2017 alone. That money is more than the funds borrowed by the Jonathan administration in five years,” he said.

He accused the Buhari regime of indulging in profligacy and ineptitude over the sharing of $322 million Abacha loot in the name of cash transfers to the poor only to borrow $328 million from China a week later.

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