President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, according to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum, has brought Nigeria to the brink of bankruptcy, as the country’s massive N36 trillion debt has become unsustainable.
They came to this resolution after a meeting on Monday at the Government House in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State.
The PDP Governors frowned at Nigeria’s rising and seemingly unsustainable debt profile, with over 80% of normal appropriations spent on debt payment, according to a 14-point communiqué read by Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, who led the meeting.
“All the gains of the PDP Government under Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR, where Nigeria exited its foreign debt obligations has been destroyed. Borrowing for frivolous items such as funding the Nigerian Television Authority is scandalous.
“Money should only be borrowed for productive purposes as Nigeria’s current debt of over N36 trillion is becoming clearly unsustainable relative to our earnings and GDP.”
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was also chastised at the meeting for its opaque operations, particularly its recent decision not to pay mandatory contributions to the Federation Account.
The governors chastised the NNPC for depriving states and local governments, as well as Nigerians in general, of resources needed for employment, development, and general well-being.
“Under the Constitution, the NNPC is required to make proceeds of petroleum sales or activities accessible to the Federation Account, which belongs to the three tiers of government, barring reasonable and verifiable operational costs.
“The Federal government through NNPC is a manager of our oil wealth merely as A TRUSTEE for all Nigerians.”
The PDP governors criticized a system in which the NNPC decided how much to spend, how to spend it, and how much to remit to the Federation Account in a fully discretionary and frequently whimsical manner, in violation of the 1999 Constitution’s letters and spirit.
The governors of the PDP demanded that states have a say in determining the operating costs of government agencies such as the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Customs and Excise, and other entities that are statutorily required to contribute, to show transparency and accountability
The meeting expressed deep concern that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is operating as an independent government within a Government, which is a perversion of the autonomy of the Bank.
“A situation where CBN creates money, decides how much of it to spend, on what to spend it on without any form of controls or supervision is patently subversive of our constitutional order.
“It has become not just a LEVIATHAN, but also a father Christmas of sorts, dabbling into every sphere and scope of governmental activity, not just as a lender of last resort, but as a full executing agency of government.
“The meeting observed that the CBN has become such an octopus that it threatens State governments publicly, without decorum, about sanctions on any attempt to question its MODUS OPERANDI. The CBN should take immediate steps to halt the depreciation of the Naira,” they said.
The Forum called for the resignation of the chairman and members of Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission for failure to send the revised Revenue Allocation Formula that would make more resources available to States and Local Governments where ordinary Nigerians reside, to President Muhammad Buhari for onward transmission to the National Assembly for enactment.
The PDP governors, who also examined the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria, condemned the personalised reasons given for the action by the presidency and demanded a review of the action in national interest.
“The mere ego of Mr President is not enough for such a drastic action that deprives millions of Nigerians from such an affordable means of expression and communication.
“We hope that this is not a harbinger or early warning signs of descent into dictatorship.
“The meeting noted that social media regulation can only be done within the existing laws on the subject and should not be used as an attempt to punish or gag Nigerians from enjoying constitutionally guaranteed rights.
“Nigerian youths do not have adequate access to employment and a lot of Nigerians rely on Twitter for their livelihood, businesses and self-employment.
“This will further worsen Nigeria’s 33% unemployment rate which is the highest in the world, improve Nigerians ranking as the country with second highest poverty rate in the entire world, all of which happened under APC’s unfortunate stewardship.”
The PDP Governors observed the emerging threats to the country’s democracy, constitutionalism and rule of law and cautioned the Federal Government to exercise power with restraint.
“The need for law and order is paramount to secure our nation but mindless killings of innocent civilians should be avoided and is hereby condemned. It is in the same vein that the meeting reiterated its earlier revulsion at any attack on security personnel and their property anywhere in the country as a criminal and egregious act for which perpetrators should be brought to book.”
Given President Buhari’s recent media discussion on the matter, the PDP governors expressed sadness that he seemed unaware that the coercive tools of State security are firmly in his hands and not the Governors’.
Governors Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Nyesom Ezenwo Wike (Rivers), Douye Diri (Bayelsa), Samuel Ortom (Benue State), Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) were in attendance .
Governors Oluseyi Makinde (Oyo), Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri (Adamawa), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Bala Mohammed (Bauchi), Darius Ishaku (Taraba), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) and Deputy Governor Mahdi Mohd (Zamfara)were among the others in attendance .