Hold the APC-led government accountable, Ekweremadu charges PDP faithful
The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu has called on the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, faithful to hold the All Progressives Congress, APC-led Federal Government accountable on its campaign promises.
He made the call in Abuja on Thursday at the PDP National Conference themed â€œPDP and the Sustenance of Democratic Ideals in Nigeriaâ€.
Senator Ekweremadu recalled that even during military rule, the PDP founding fathers under the aegis of the G34, â€œlooked tyranny in the face and demanded a return to democratic ruleâ€.
â€œLooking at the way our country is being run by the APC-led Federal Government today, it is safe to say that we are back in the trenches for democracy because credible and responsible opposition is an essential, indeed indispensable component of thriving democracy and good governanceâ€, Ekweremadu added.
He, however, cautioned the PDP faithful to continue to stick to fact-based, responsible, and patriotic opposition.
â€œThe ruling party must always be put at the mercy of the truth, for the job of the opposition is to confront errors with the truth; to stand up for what is right; to offer constructive criticisms of the follies and errors of the ruling party; and to proffer better ideas for moving the nation forwardâ€.
The Senator regretted that the APC was yet to keep any of its campaign promises and called on the PDP to set us a Shadow Cabinet to benchmark the ruling party on its promises.
He added: â€œAs could be seen from the events of the past few months, it is evident that while a party may ride to power on the wings of propaganda, it takes more than propaganda to govern well and retain goodwill.
â€œThe APC won by promising much more than they could deliver. They promised to scale up the exchange rate of our currency to a Naira to one US Dollar. Have they kept this promise? They promised to bring back the Chibok girls in less than three months. Have they brought back the Chibok Girls? They promised to pay N5,000 to unemployed youths. Have they paid a kobo to any youth? They promised free meals to our children in the schools. Have they given any? They recently promised to end the Boko Haram insurgency in December 2015. We earnestly hope and pray that this particular promise is kept in the overall interest of our nationâ€.
The PDP chieftain faulted the management of the economy since May 2015, saying the country lacked economic direction.
According to Senator Ekweremadu, â€œIt is worthy of note that despite the promised Eldorado, the APC-led administration has driven our economy to the point where they confess that the nation is brokeâ€.
â€œInflation has nearly hit double digits high, rising to 9.4 percent in October. Unemployment rate has hit the rooftop since May 2015, with the construction industry laying off tens of thousands of workers. There is massive job loss in the banking sector. Many businesses are being grounded because they can no longer buy spare parts or restock from Europe, China, Dubai, among others. The system is locked down. This nosedive is due mainly to the free fall of the Naira, absence of clear economic direction, delay in the appointment of ministers, the cramping monetary policy of the administration, and the exclusion of Nigeria from the J.P Morgan Bond Index. Indeed, recession stares us in the faceâ€.
He called on the international community to call the APC to order over what he termed â€œfast-narrowing political freedomâ€ cautioning the ruling party not to â€œturn government into a bonfire of bitterness and a cavalcade of recriminationâ€.
The Senator said that while the PDP spearheaded the electoral reforms and expansion of democratic freedoms that ultimately gave birth to the ruling party and its victory in the last general elections, â€œthere is clear design and desperation by the ruling party to takeover, by hook or crook, states won by the PDPâ€.
He stressed: â€œOur party has variously cried out over the blatant misuse of security agencies to hound INEC staff and intervene in election petition matters. It does appear that to be a PDP governor, especially in an oil rich state, is to be an endangered political specie. The judiciary must not only do justice, it must be seen to be just.
â€œThe international community must speak up now and intervene against this reckless reign of impunity and manipulation of critical institutions of democracyâ€.
The Senator also supported the PDP concerns over the manner and coloration of the current anti-corruption war.
He emphasised that while the PDP will stand by APC-led Federal Government all the way in the anti-graft war, the nation â€œmust diligently guide against the politicisation of the anti-corruption war because that, in itself, constitutes a heavy moral burdenâ€.
Such perception, according to him, â€œtaints the war with witch-hunt and fixates peopleâ€™s minds on the politics of the anti-corruption drive rather than on whether the accused persons are guilty as charged or notâ€.
â€œAn anti-corruption trap that catches only those who have axe to grind with powerful political forces will appear compromised and leaves so much to be desired and does not represent a blueprint for changeâ€, Senator Ekweremadu said.
The Deputy President of the Senate also enjoined the media and Civil Society organizations to partner the PDP to hold the APC accountable and preserve democratic ideals.
Special Adviser (Media) to Deputy President of the Senate