South-South leaders on Thursday hit back at critics of President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, decrying what they called deliberate falsehoods, insinuations and outright distortions of facts by members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and their agents.
At a meeting to assess the country’s democracy in Asaba, the leaders advanced arguments to counter accusations of non performance.
They said when the ruling party took over in 2015; Nigeria was about to be declared a failed state with its economy on the verge of collapse.
“Once you are not part of the solution after 16 years, you will invariably become part of the problem”.
Listing inflation, corruption, ethnic and religious intolerance, political brigandage, absence of electricity, politically motivated murders in the country, human trafficking and the drift towards dictatorship as the low points of the PDP government in 16 years, the leaders condemned the PDP for compromising the principles of democracy and development.
“The PDP failed in its statutory obligations. In 16 years, the PDP government impoverished the citizens. Nigerians went through unprecedented hardship. There was high degree of insecurity in the country”.
Preaching the gospel of continuity for prosperity, consolidation and economic independence, the leaders said the APC was committed to progress and development.
They praised President Buhari for confronting the forces of divisive politics in the country and fully safeguarding the country’s interests.
“The APC government is undertaking a string of projects across the country to boost national economy, generate employment and reduce poverty”.
The leaders, who were present in Asaba where their joint statement was read by the chairman of South-South Front (SSF), Chief John Harry, praised the APC for implementing sound and strong policies.
“Two years forward, a lot has changed. The APC government is rich in policies and the dividends of democracy are yielding to the people in various ways”.
They commended Oyegun for announcing the right of first refusal for the party’s presidential ticket in 2019 to President Buhari and massaging his fitness to run in 2019.
They also eulogized the national chairman for his great wealth of experience in public administration and proper concern for peace, unity and democracy of Nigeria.
“Chief Odigie-Oyegun is contributing to the understanding of how governance actually operates in a democratic setting. No amount of poisonous propaganda from some selfish, power drunk individuals will change a record that is forever etched in the annals of our nation’s history. He is not intoxicated with power. The national chairman has not appropriated the powers of other members and organs of the party. He is not a typical power drunk leader” they said.
“Nigerians are excited whenever Oyegun canvasses ideas or attempt to intervene in policy matters. His political commentary is often beneficial to millions who look up to him for direction. He deserves to be celebrated” the leaders added.