Omokri: Time for Propaganda Jonathan’s former aide, Reno Omokri, has reacted to Buhari’s spokesman Garba Shehu’s claims that the nation had nothing to show for the Jonathan years.
In a statement Monday, Omokri said: “It is quite sad that Mallam Garba Shehu does not know that oil constitutes only 15 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP and thus a fall in the price of oil should not lead to a collapse of the Nigerian economy as has been experienced under President Buhari.
“If Garba and his boss are willing to learn, the Jonathan Foundation and the Peoples Democratic Party can arrange a course for them to be tutored on the subject: how to grow your economy to be the largest in Africa. We make bold that we are experienced in that area.
“When Mr. Shehu says ‘there is nothing to show for the revenues earned, no major capital project was completed, neither power generation, road development, rail or agriculture benefitted from the windfall earnings’, he only further exposes his intellectual laziness and failing memory.
“Obviously, Garba Shehu has forgotten that when his boss was commissioning the Abuja-Kaduna 187km fast railway that enables Nigerians work in Abuja and live in Kaduna, he was forced to admit that the project was conceived, built and completed by the Jonathan administration.
“At that event, President Muhammadu Buhari said about the $1.5 billion project and I quote: ‘This project was conceived by a previous administration, started by the last government.’
“My question to Mr. Shehu is this: who is a liar between him and his boss? I also urge Garba Shehu to take note of the fact that the only federal university in his boss’s home state of Katsina was built by the Jonathan administration in addition to 13 other universities and 165 Almajiri schools built all over Nigeria.
“For people who don’t value education, I am not surprised that they see this as ‘nothing to show!’
“It may also interest Garba Shehu to note that the Jonathan administration revived the moribund Nigerian Railway Corporation to the extent that the loquacious Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, was forced to confess on December 15, 2015 and I quote, ‘In fact, I think we have a problem; most people don’t believe that the railway transport is functioning in Nigeria. I didn’t even know, until I started this tour, I never knew that the railway was functioning, it was even from his (MD’s) speech that I learnt that there are some coaches or services that go to Kano or Port Harcourt or elsewhere’.”
Pointing out that these were just a few of the infrastructure legacies of the Jonathan era, Omokri expressed surprise that Shehu now praises the former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II.
“Nigerians have not forgotten that it is the same Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, now Muhammadu Sanusi II, who carpeted the economic policies of the Buhari administration, saying that under the Buhari administration, and again I quote, ‘There is one rate for petroleum marketers, there is an interbank rate, there is another for money market operators such as Western Union and Money Gram, there is the bureau de change rate and there is a special rate you get when you call the CBN for a transaction.’
“My other question to Garba Shehu is this, how will an economy not collapse when you have multiple exchange rates?
“Malam Garba and his boss continue to show that they are in over their heads by their statements. For instance, Garba says, ‘At the inception of the current administration, 21 states were unable to meet their salary bills and the spectre of workers’ arrears had commenced. The PDP solution was to raid the Ecological Fund and selectively grant N2 billion each to the PDP states.’
“Is it that Garba Shehu and his boss do not know that Nigeria is a federation and that the federal government cannot control the states? No wonder they are against restructuring and want to throw the report of the 2014 National Conference into the dustbin.
“We have already proved that the accusation about the Ecological Fund is a lie and it shows desperation on the side of the presidency to rehash it.
“When that notorious liar, Nasir El-Rufai, first made the accusation, we showed, with documentary evidence, that core PDP states like Akwa Ibom, where the then chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum comes from and Ekiti State which was the only PDP state in the South-west, did not benefit from the Ecological Fund.
“Meanwhile, 10 states which were of the then opposition All Progressive Congress did.
“Apparently, when Garba Shehu and Lai Mohammed speak, they speak their native language, lies!
“Garba Shehu would do well to remember that his boss promised Nigerians 3 million jobs every year. Rather, according to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, 4.58 million jobs, created by the Jonathan-led PDP administration, were lost in his boss’ first year.
“Laughably, Garba Shehu cites the fight against corruption and the terror war as major achievements of the Buhari administration.
“How can Garba Shehu reconcile his so called anti-corruption war with the fact that Nigeria has made NO PROGRESS in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index under Buhari and in the latest CPI Transparency International said and I quote, ‘Some other large African countries have failed to improve their scores on the index. These include South Africa, Nigeria, Tanzania and Kenya.’
“On the alleged terror war, Nigerians will recall that President Muhammadu Buhari said that Boko Haram had been technically defeated.
“My question is how can a defeated Boko Haram now have the ability to kidnap policewomen and oil explorers? How can a defeated Boko Haram attack military formations? How can a defeated Boko Haram carry out more suicide bombing in the last eight months than at any other time in Nigeria’s history?
“Has Garba Shehu forgotten that on July 6, 2017, the World Economic Forum named Nigeria as the fifth most dangerous country in the world? Or that on the 4th of February 2017, the United States Congress cited Nigeria as the most dangerous place for Christians in the world?
“Garba Shehu can continue living in his fool’s paradise but he should give Nigerians more credit than to issue the pathetic tissue of lies that he called a response to former President Jonathan’s comments at this past weekend’s non-elective congress of the PDP.
“Dr. Jonathan spoke generally about the positive impact of the PDP administrations on the lives of Nigerians and specifically on some of his exemplary achievements that made life better for the citizenry.
“He spoke about his reforms in the electoral process, transport, rail services, industrial and automotive policy, as well as the transformational impact of many other policies like YouWin, Youth Enterprises with Innovation (YouWin), bank verification number (BVN), the treasury single account (TSA) and the e-wallet system which were all measures designed to fight corruption.
“The time for propaganda is long gone. Anybody who wants to differ should speak to those issues raised, and not boasts about accomplishments that are not visible. The succeeding administration has been on the saddle for more than half of its four-year tenure.
“This is the time for it to display its scorecard, especially since the blame game no longer connects with Nigerians. At some point under the PDP oil prices fell to as low as $30 and the party never cited that as a reason for non-performance.
“It is up to Nigerians to determine if they are better or worse off today than they were in 2015, when former President Goodluck Jonthan left office.
“Finally, I urge Garba Shehu to go back and read Mallam el-Rufai’s memo to President Muhammadu Buhari where el-Rufai said, and I quote, ‘In very blunt terms, Mr. President, our APC administration has not only failed to manage expectations of a populace that expected overnight change but has failed to deliver even mundane matters of governance outside of our successes in fighting the Boko Haram insurgency and corruption’,” he added.