Akin Akande, Abuja
The breakaway faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) under Alhaji has carpeted the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan as Nigeria celebrates its 53rd independence anniversary, describing the country as a crumbling edifice.
Baraje, in a statement he personally signed on Tuesday enumerated the problems facing the country at 53 and concluded that Nigeria under President Jonathan is heading towards the grave.
Baraje, in his independence-day message to Nigerians said it was a pity that 53 years after independence, Nigeria was still a crumbling edifice, wrecked to the seams by corruption, bad leadership, ethnicism, parochialism, sectarian intolerance and childish political recrimination.
He said that Nigeria at 53 had turned into a borderless valley of tears where life expectancy hovers at between 40 and 43 years.
“Nigerians are callously extorted through various government agencies like the PHCN which today excels in generating darkness and subjecting Nigerians to the highest ever tariff regime. The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) set up as a well-meaning agency to tame the rising cases of road accidents has become a tool for mindless extortion through the issuing and re-issuing of vehicle number plates and drivers’ licenses at very exorbitant prices,” the faction said.
“The petroleum sector has become an illicit cash cow for the people in government, their friends and relatives who exploit the hapless citizens through sundry means and cleansing the treasury via a phantom fuel subsidy scheme that targets the friends and fronts of the members of the government for enrichment,” factional leader, Baraje said.
He noted that the management of the Nigerian economy is, at best, haphazard as the cooking and circulation of flattering and fatuous economic reports that curiously suggest growth in the obvious degenerating reality Nigerians are facing.
Baraje added that the economy has screeched to a halt in the face of unrestrained purloining, coupled with an officially backed oil theft that targets the members of the government, its cronies and hirelings for enrichment.
Tuesday’s statement read in part: “What could best demonstrate the wanton brigandage going on in Nigeria than the fact that the government, which set up the SURE-P programme with the huge N32 increment in each liter of fuel Nigerians purchase, has recorded no known achievement with the huge accruals from the increment? Today, SURE-P has sacked the 110,000 youths it placed on N10, 000 monthly allowances on the excuse that there is no money to pay them.
“We ask, where is the government keeping the huge amount it realises from the inhuman increment in the price of petrol, kerosene and diesel,” Baraje questioned.
He therefore demanded for the constitution of a critical management team made up of apolitical, eminent technocrats and knowledgeable Nigerians to take over the management of the national economy given the woeful failure of the economic management team of the Jonathan’s government.
The statement also stated: “We demand the empanelling of a credible, independent and resolute anti-corruption body to cleanse the country of the thick stench of corruption that has overwhelmed it at present.
“We call for the introduction of state police as an antidote to the worsening security problems, which the present inept and highly politicised Nigerian Police had been unable to deal with. Our security agencies are inept and the Nigerian Police has been reduced to the attack dog of the present federal government and its cronies while security challenges go unmet,” he said.
Baraje added that the clamour for a national dialogue was timely and appropriate as there is an urgent need for Nigerians to come together and discuss matters affecting them as well as the way forward.
He welcomed President Jonathan’s announcement in his Independence Day broadcast about the establishment of a committee to advise him on the modalities for the holding of the conference, warning that the proposed conference should not serve the same cosmetic purpose served by previous efforts.
Lamenting that Nigeria has woefully failed its citizens at 53 years, the new PDP Chairman said, “we once more wish to appeal to President Jonathan, if he truly loves Nigeria, to abandon his second term ambition and concentrate on how to rescue the sinking Nigerian ship of state.