President Muhammadu Buhari says the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has questions to answer on the “irresponsible expenditure” of $16billion claimed to have been channelled into the power sector when the party was in government at the federal level for 16 years.
The President said this on Thursday when he hosted members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) at the State House, Abuja.
According to a statement by Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity), NLC came on a congratulatory visit on Buhari's victory in the presidential election.
Berating the PDP for squandering the resources of the country, he said: "PDP has not successfully explained to the country what they did with the money. There were no roads, no rail, no power. They said they spent $16 billion on power, but where is the power? The irresponsible expenditure of that period has not been explained, and Nigerians deserve an answer on that terrible mismanagement of the country."
Thanking the NLC for their “support and patriotism", even in the light of the “unexpected postponement” of the elections, he added: “You and your members stepped in to support willing Nigerians to exercise their civic and patriotic rights to vote. You intervened as patriots, and not for political, religious or tribal purposes. You simply did the right thing during a difficult period for many of us."
He also restated his commitment to remaining focused on the party’s “core pillars of security, economy, and fight against corruption”, just as he urged organised Labour to partner with the government to make the country peaceful, prosperous, and corruption free.
In his remarks, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, the NLC President, said: "We all remember the special bailout and budget support you introduced to support state governments during the recession. Your directive during this intervention was that state governments must offset accumulated arrears of salaries and pension liabilities. I remember you publicly asked state governors, 'how do you manage to sleep at night when the salaries of workers in your state are not paid?'
"For us, that was one of the finest moments we have had with any President in this country. I can stand here today and say your intervention was the difference between life and death for many workers."
The labour leader appealed to the National Assembly to earnestly pass the National Minimum Wage Act, while also asking the President to thereafter sign it into law within the shortest possible time.
NLC pledged to remain "veritable partner in progress with government," counseling the President to continue to "make the Nigerian people, especially the poor, the centre-piece of your policy initiatives and actions."