The Director General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr. Osita Okechukwu has replied the critics of President Muhammadu Buhari’s New Year speech, saying the President chose the option of fixing critical infrastructure than the gambit of political restructuring.
Okechukwu, a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) was reacting to the harsh criticisms of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Southern and Middle Belt Leadership Forum on President Muhammadu Buhari’s speech.
While PDP described the President’s speech as ‘diversionary’, the Southern and Middle Belt Leadership Forum said all possibilities of rentier and sharing economy have been exhausted, and the only thing left was unemployment, hunger, gnashing of teeth and conflicts among nationalities over sharing of opportunities
Reacting, Okechukwu said: “Believe me. I am alarmed that the regional Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) can describe President Muhammadu Buhari’s RRP hope renewal New Year Speech as diversionary. Mr President for the second time raised hope realistically by laying bare his strategic critical infrastructural foundation – Rails, Roads, Power (RRP), in the speech. That is by no means diversionary.
“Gentlemen of the Press, recall that when Buhari first told the nation that he will halt food importation PDP shouted impossible. Today, Buhari has halted food importation and taken Nigerians back to land. Let’s kindly support him.”
“One expected the PDP to analyse the details of what one can call Buhari’s RRP Prjects, make amendments or point out missing gaps; rather our sister party went down its traditional propaganda route and grossly exhibited height of envy. Envy in the sense that they promised all those projects in their 16 years of squandermania. Otherwise, how can any rational political party call Mr President bold step in laying solid foundation for Nigeria’s industrial take off with massive investment in RRP as diversionary? To me Mr President is following the historical route of industrialization.
“Don’t forget how PDP awarded 3 Greenfield Refineries on 13 May, 2010 at $23 billion? Where is the money? Where are the Refineries in Lagos, Kogi and Bayelsa? Result fuel scarcity.
“The RRP Project to me is a landmark and the greatest infrastructure milestone in the history of our dear country. Please take a careful analysis of the nationwide standard gauge network of the Rail lines – Easter Corridor Railway – Port Harcourt, Aba, Umuahia, Owerri, Enugu, Abakiliki, Maikurdi, Lafita, Jos, Bauchi, Gombe, Damaturu to Maiduguri, Coastal Rail- Lagos, Ore, Shagamu, Benin, Agbor, Asaba, Sapele, Ugheli, Warri, Yenagoa, Otuoke, Port Harcourt, Aba, Uyo, and Calabar and lastly the upgraded of Lagos – Kano to standard gauge.”
“Gentlemen of the Press, have you forgotten that the old gauge Lagos-Kano railway was awarded by the PDP some years ago at $8.3 billion, about 1,400km, when the Chinese awarded the Golmud-Lhasa standard gauge at $4.2 billion, 1,142km. Today Buhari is borrowing $1.5 billion to standardise the railway. The greatest scam since our return to democracy. Let’s forget the PDP please, for Buhari is clearing their mess.”
“On the criticism of Southern and Middle Belt Leadership Forum that, ” We have exhausted all possibilities of rentier and sharing economy and all that is left is unemployment, hunger, gnashing of teeth and conflicts among nationalities over sharing of opportunities”, Okechukwu quipped,
“One is at a loss how execution of critical infrastructure like fixing of 25 dilapidated federal roads across the nation with the N100 billion Sukuk loan, or the over 3,000MW Mambilla Hydroelectric Power Plant and other power projects across the country will exacerbate conflicts among nationalities?
“Southern and Middle Leadership Forum should know that we are in democracy, where contending choices are paramount. In this instance Buhari elected the option of a process of fixing critical infrastructure than the gambit of political restructuring in a country where democracy is growing at the national level and diminishing at the units.”
“Help me to ask my Comrade Yinka Odumakin and his cohorts why they don’t query the recession of democracy at the state level? By querying State Houses of Assembly that are more or less Rubber Stamp Assemblies and agitate more for free and fair local government council election, these are even more urgent that by advocating for kingdoms” Okechukwu said.