…Says, “Over 90m Nigerians are below poverty line.”
by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Presidential candidate of the main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has revealed why he was very angry with the governor of Benue State, Dr. Samuel Ortom.
Atiku made the revelation on weekend, while fielding questions during presidential interactive sessions organized by Arewa Joint Committee, held at Arewa House in Kaduna.
The PDP flag-bearer said he was very angry with Governor Ortom for profiling Fulani as bandits and terrorists, because he (Atiku) is also a Fulani person.
Earlier in his main speech, Atiku said failure of leadership by the APC-led government is staring every Nigerian in the face as the country’s development challenges progressively worsens and assumed frightening dimensions, adding that governance has gotten worse than it had been since 2015.
He also said that, Nigeria’s unity has never been threatened like now, adding, “And there is increase in numbers of Nigerian citizens, who openly challenged their allegiance to country’s corporate existence through violence of marginalization and neglect; agitations and misguided demands for ethno-regional autonomy because of widespread feelings that the country has never been so overwhelmed by insecurity in all parts of the nation.
“Sadly, we have insurgents, and terrorists reached a point where the functions of the state have been usurped by separatists and bandits,” he said.
Atiku also said that, despite the vast resources, Nigeria has remained one of the poorest and unequal countries in the world, pointing out that the country’s fragile and vulnerable economy, job losses, eroding incomes and lack of citizens access to basic amenities have pushed more than 90 million people below the poverty line.
“The public education system is ill-equipped and has consistently underperformed, keeping our children out of school and producing graduates with skills and competencies, which are not aligned to the needs of our communities and our industries.
“Incessant industrial actions by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other Unions of Educational institutions have, undoubtedly, affected the quality of our workforce with far reaching consequences on the economy.
“Nigeria has continued to operate a faulty, complex federal structure with a high degree of centralization at the centre. The Federal Government has succeeded in accumulating many responsibilities, which belong to the other weaker levels of government.
“The Federal Government appropriates, along with these responsibilities, huge resources to the detriment of the states and local governments.
“It has become fashionable for the APC-led government to blame the opposition and external factors for Nigeria’s economic woes. The evidence, however, is overwhelming that the country’s under-performance is largely attributable to leadership failures in the management of the state.
“The APC-led government lacks the critical competencies to in bate and implement innovative solutions to our problems and deliver on their mandate with the desired impact.
“Today, another opportunity is presenting itself for Nigerians to ensure the emergence of an experienced, courageous and result-focused leader to find a way through our country’s tough situation and make a positive difference,” he said.