The presidency said the former Vice president; Atiku Abubakar cannot absolve himself from the Nigerian woe today as he is part of the problem. Atiku Abubakar who is also a presidential candidate of the people’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general election had yesterday in Abuja expressed fear over what he described as economic indices which suggest the country was drifting into a failed state.
In a statement titled ‘World Highest Unemployment Rate: Time to help this Government, Help Nigeria” signed by Atiku and was made public, Atiku lamented that all his earlier warnings he pointed out to president Buhari were ignored.
The statement partly reads; “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 blamed the present fate of the nation on the All progressive Congress (APC) decision to abandoned people-centered leadership and free trade and deregulatory policies of former president Obasanjo administration.
Atiku claimed that during his time of being in office as Vice president to Obasanjo, the unemployment figure in the country was in single-digit throughout.
However, he blamed President Buhari for what he described as command and control policies which have to lead to a “massive capital flight” from Nigeria.
Atiku insisted that “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.
He blamed the current insecurity that has ravaged the country as a result of youth unemployment.
The former vice president revealed, “Idleness is the worst feature of unemployment because it channels the energy of our youth away from production and towards destruction, and that is why Nigeria is now the third most terrorized nation on earth.”
He suggested that all the out-of-school children be taken back to school through an N5.000 monthly stipend to the parent of those who earn less than $800 per annum.
The PDP chieftain disclosed that failure to do this would be like a ticking time bomb waiting to explode whether in the near or distant future.
He said “As a nation, we are better off privatizing our refineries and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) through the time-tested Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas model in which the Federal Government owns 49 percent equity and the private sector 51 percent. And the NLNG has remitted about $18.3 billion in dividends to the government in the last 20years.
However, reacting to Atiku's position, the Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media, Femi Adesina said that about 30million Nigerians were unemployed before his boss took over the office in 2015.
Therefore, the report of 23.2 million people unemployed released by the Bureau of statistics was not new to Nigerian said Adesina while speaking on a Channel television program on Sunday.
Responding to the question, Adesina said, “You will recall that in the build-up to the 2015 elections when the APC was campaigning, the figure that was used by then-candidate Buhari was that a minimum of 30 million Nigerians was unemployed, particularly youths and that his government was going to do something about it.
Adesina while lambasting the former vice president claimed that was that figure was in 2014/2015, and Atiku should stop painting it as if it was something that came out of the blues.
The presidential spokesperson further stated that “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?
He recalled that he remembers seeing some clips where Atiku expressed regret over how some people collected trillions of naira to fix power that was never done, saying that Atiku should stop claiming to be a savior when he is part f the problem, Adesina added.
He said Atiku lack moral ground to judge Buhari’s administration a she was part of the rot they met in the office and therefore, cannot exonerate himself of all the rot in the system.