While speaking in an exclusive interview with Daily Sun, former governor of Imo State and chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Achike Udenwa, boasted that the Peoples Democratic Party will bring an end to the APC administration headed by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
Udenwa who noted that the ruling party came in on a populist mandate but in the last two years and some months, it done nothing, instead, the situation has worsened, said the PDP would support Buhari to win the APC presidential ticket as it will be easier for PDP if the ruling party decides to field Buhari for a second term.
Here are the excerpts;
What should Nigerians expect in 2019?
Many factors will determine 2019, including the topic we just discussed now – restructuring, the economy. Politically, no party is sure that it is going to win because All Progressives Congress (APC) that is in power has not done well. The party came in on a populist mandate. They came in promising change, as they said people were suffering, and they promised to turn around their lives and they carried the day.
Alas, we have seen the party in the last two years and some months, that the APC has done nothing, instead, the situation has worsened. The exchange rate that was between N190 and N200 to a dollar, is now about N370. The recession set in.
If anybody is telling you that we are out of recession, it is not true. That we pretend to be out of recession is because the price of oil has moved up a little bit and the quantity we are selling has also moved up. We have not come out of recession. What is our GDP? In terms of productivity, what have we done, have we started producing more agricultural goods, have we started looking at our solid minerals, have we started manufacturing as we should do, has power improved? These are issues that are going to determine 2019.
The basic issues are still there, and they have not been tackled. So, if anybody is telling you that we are out of recession, it is not true.
You can only be out of recession when you increase your local production, when you decrease your food import and import of finished goods, you improve your power and your industries are working, then you would be out of recession, and not when the price of oil has increased and the quantity of oil you are selling has increased then you say you are out of recession. Tomorrow the price of oil can go down. It is volatile. It is not something you can bank on, and it is not within your control.
You said no party is sure of winning the 2019 presidential election; the PDP is beating its chest that it would take back power, while APC is accusing the opposition party of plunging Nigeria into this mess, what is your stand on this?
PDP didn’t plunge the nation into this economic crisis. The Jonathan administration wasn’t perfect, it was still managing the economy the best way it could. The economy became so bad after the APC came into power. The economy plunged following the utterances of the President. At a time, Buhari said Nigerians were all corrupt. When you made that type of statement, you scared foreign investors and they all left.
How many Nigerians knew that a lot of foreign financial institutions were investing in the Nigeria Stock Exchange? Many Nigerians didn’t know this.
A lot of investors from outside came in because our shares were relatively cheap when you convert them to foreign exchange; it was lucrative and has better returns, and so they went in and bought a lot of shares in the stock exchange and buoyed up the economy. But when you started saying that all Nigerians were corrupt, they left and withdrew their money. That was part of the collapse of the economy.
If the present trend continues where PDP is trying to put its house completely in order, then it will give APC a run for its money. APC cannot win, Nigerians have seen their deceit and they are disappointed.
The North that voted overwhelmingly for APC, go there now, the suffering is so much, and a lot of them are saying it openly that they regretted voting the party.
Look at the Southwest that also voted APC, elder statesman, Chief Ayo Adebanjo said the region was deceived to vote for the party. There is nothing good that has come out of APC; it is disenchantment all over the country.
One of the things that ignited the crisis in the country is when Mr. President talked about those who gave him 97 per cent and those who gave him five per cent. A politician doesn’t say that. When you contest an election as a politician, not everybody would vote for you. You know exactly those who voted for you and those who didn’t vote for you, but you carry everybody along.
You cannot make such a public statement about those with 97 per cent and those with five per cent, and you see it implemented everyday. These are the things that have plunged the APC government into the mess they are carrying Nigeria into.
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