Lagos — The Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) 11-year rule of Nigeria and its management of the nation’s resources has been a misfortune and a calamity which should be brought to an end in next year’s elections, leader of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) Gen. Muhammadu Buhari said in Abuja at the weekend. Buhari, who was addressing supporters from the 36 states and Abuja at a National Consultative Forum, said the revenue that accrued to Nigeria from amalgamation in 1914 up until 1999 was far less than the revenue receipt since 1999. The PDP government however squandered all of it with nothing to show, he said.
General Buhari said the degree of executive theft unleashed on this country in the 11 years of PDP rule, when analysed, was so mindboggling that Nigerians should never have the misfortune of having the party foisted on them again in 2011.
He said, “The records provided by former Minister of Finance, Okonjo Iweala, indicated that the amount of money Nigeria realized between 1914 and 1998 was not up to the revenue realized by PDP government between 1999 and 2010.”
On the 50th Independence Anniversary, which is four days away, the CPC presidential hopeful said it is a shame that Nigeria was nowhere near her contemporaries with whom it started the independence journey 50 years ago, and with resources that could be compared to those of China, Malaysia, former Soviet Union, and India.
He said, “50 years ago, we started like Malaysia, Brazil, China and co. Today in terms of infrastructure, manufacturing and other social services, where are these countries and where are we? We used to have railway, shipping line, national air carrier and good government schools. Railway used to be a veritable means of mass transport and haulage to spare the road of articulated vehicles. All these are gone, and this is in spite of growing huge resources which were never available before. With all the resources we can boast of, cholera is still part of the diseases we are trying to fight.”
He regretted that some political gladiators were still adopting ‘soldier tactics’ that they will rather die than see a new leadership emerge, especially from the progressives’ camp, saying “2011 is pregnant, we hope there will be no abortion.”
He however said that in spite of the threats of do or die, “operation totality” or capture among others, his determination and commitment to a new Nigeria remain unshaken.
He promised that his party will reverse the ugly trend bedevilling the country and said any party that is not disciplined cannot instil discipline and change things when it gets to power.
Cautioning party stalwarts against running afoul of the law, he said, “We don’t want any of our members to be caught with gun or any metal object during election or any other time. Do everything with honour. This is why I left ANPP, they gave me the ticket to run for presidency two times, they were ready to give me the third time, but I had to quit.
“We have to work hard and dislodge the thieves; we will stop the executive theft when we get to power. The textile industries used to employ hundreds of thousands of workers, but today most of the factories have locked up. What has happened? Sheer indiscipline and corruption. We will revamp the railway system, bring back infrastructure and generate employment.”
In his address of welcome, CPC National Chairman Senator Rufai Hanga said the party is sending a clear message that a new order is coming and that Nigerians should be prepared for a change in 2011.
He said CPC was the new of hope of the common man and it was prepared to stop the on-going political hara-kiri and make life more meaningful to the people.
Hundreds of delegates from all over the country attended the consultative forum.