Nigeria’s main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to stop ‘furthering his re-election interest by de-marketing the country’ during the ongoing Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London.
In a statement and signed by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan on Tuesday, the opposition party advised the president to show leadership and refrain from actions that might block the country’s chances of getting international help in critical sectors.
The statement reads, “Only yesterday, our dear nation was burdened with yet another integrity issue following claims by President Buhari before British Prime Minister, Theresa May, that he is not preoccupied with the 2019 general election, when the world is already aware that he has since kicked off his campaign.
“All over the world, well-meaning leaders relegate their personal interests, accept responsibility in the face of failure and use every opportunity to seek help and remedy a bad situation.
“Nigerians are therefore miffed that instead of presenting the true state of affairs in our country under his watch, particularly, the comatose economy and worsened insecurity, President Buhari, obviously in a bid to give an impression of performance, chose to understate the challenges, thereby jeopardizing the chances of securing much needed international support for the country.”
“The party expressed its shock that that President Buhari chose to praise himself as he flaunted ‘unsubstantiated record of achievements’ rather than engaging his international hosts on ways to pull our economy from the biting recession.
“It said the act by the president resulted in the stalling of possible beneficial bilateral discussions and engagements in areas Nigeria really has need for it.
“Is it not a disservice that President Buhari is sounding brass in London instead of seeking solution for the woes the poor policies of his administration have plunged our nation into?
“In the last three years, under his watch, there has been little or no direct foreign investments; critical infrastructures have collapsed, with multinational companies relocating to other countries.
“Nigeria is no longer among the first ten investment destinations in Africa, leading to mass closure of businesses, massive job losses and biting poverty in the country.
“Furthermore, is it not preposterous that President Buhari told the British Prime Minister that his administration is achieving food security when in truth, we are facing a major food crisis in Nigeria, with prices of staple food, particularly rice, now beyond the reach of the citizens?”
PDP also faulted the president’s claim of success in the area of security.
The party said the international community is fully aware that security concerns have worsened under Buhari’s watch, with daily bloodletting and marauding of communities turning the country into a large killing field.
PDP said Buhari should have used the opportunity of his meeting with May to seek support for tackling the security challenges, instead of grandstanding: “We are therefore surprised that our dear President failed to seize the moment to open serious bilateral talks on practical strategies to end the scourge and ensure the safety for Nigerians, especially given his recent declaration that the marauders were deserters from Libya.
“In spite of his belief to the contrary, it is obvious that President Buhari is completely preoccupied with his 2019 re-election ambition for which governance and the welfare of Nigerians have completely taken the back seat.
“Finally, we hope that President Buhari would have the opportunity to address the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and we implore him to use the august occasion to present the true state of affairs in our dear country and seek help, so that Nigeria will access the necessary assistance from the international community.”