The Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari, On Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina has responded to criticisms of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, saying he is one problem Nigeria is trying to solve.
Adesina who was on a Channels TV programme wondered why Atiku should refer Nigeria as a failed state and that Buhari should improve on his administrative style when he has nothing to show after eight years in office.
Adesina said, “The former Vice-President was in power for eight years. Now, he is in the opposition. You can’t take whatever he says as the gospel. The question is when former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar was in government with President Olusegun Obasanjo, where did they take the country?
“Where did they leave the country? I have seen clips on social media where he said some things they promised to do, particularly on power. Some people collected some trillions and didn’t deliver. The former Vice-President is part of the rot this country became.
“He cannot exculpate himself. He cannot sit in judgment over anybody. And he played his part for eight years and they left the country where they left it. He cannot like Pontius Pilate, begin to wash himself clean of what Nigeria has become.”
Atiku, in his criticism said that some economic indices suggest that Nigeria is becoming a failed state and that his earlier warnings to Buhari were ignored.
“In a situation where we are simultaneously the world headquarters for extreme poverty; the world capital for out-of-school children, and the nation with the highest unemployment rate on earth; there is a very real and present danger that we might slip into the failed states index – God forbid!
Atiku, criticised the Buhari administration for abandoning the people-centred leadership and free trade and deregulatory policies of Obasanjo; adding that unemployment is now worse and that the current administration policies have worsened capital flight.
“Even with the paucity of funds, we continue to ramp up government involvement in sectors that ought to be left to the private sector; with the latest being the ill-advised $1.5bn so called rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery that has failed to turn a profit for years…
‘‘As a nation, we are better off privatising our refineries and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation; through the time-tested Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas model in which the Federal Government owns 49 per cent equity and the private sector 51 per cent. Recall that in 20 years ending 2020; the NLNG had delivered $18.3bn dividends to government irrespective of taxes and other benefit accruals to the country.”
Atiku called for urgent action on unemployment and Nigeria’s out-of-school children.
“What this government must realise is that the unprecedented insecurity Nigeria is facing is the result of youth unemployment.
“Idleness is the worst feature of unemployment because it channels the energy of our youth away from production and towards destruction…That is why Nigeria is now the third most terrorised nation on earth.”
“If we can get the 13.5 million out-of-school Nigerian children into school; we will turn the corner in one generation. If we do not do this; then the floodgates of unemployment will be further opened next year, and in the years to come,’’ he had stated.