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You can’t ‘exculpate’ yourself from Nigeria’s current state, Presidency hits back at Atiku

SPECIAL Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, has faulted the claim of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, that Nigeria is slipping into a failed state.

Atiku had expressed fear that the country is on the precipice in a statement issued yesterday.

The statement signed by him is titled, ‘World’s Highest Unemployment Rate: Time To Help This Government, Help Nigeria.”

Atiku lamented that his earlier warnings to the regime of the President Buhari were ignored.

He said, “In a situation where we are simultaneously the world headquarters for extreme poverty, the world capital for out-of-school children, and the nation with the highest unemployment rate on earth, there is a very real and present danger that we might slip into the failed states index – God forbid!”

He attributed the cause of the nation’s current predicament to the decision by the All Progressives Congress-led regime to abandon “the people-centred leadership and free trade and deregulatory policies” of the former President Olusegun Obasanjo administration.

Atiku said the country at that time was maintaining an almost single digit unemployment rate.

He said the Buhari regime was now implementing discredit command and control policies that had led to “massive capital flight” from Nigeria.

Atiku said, “Even with the paucity of funds, we continue to ramp up government involvement in sectors that ought to be left to the private sector, with the latest being the ill-advised $1.5bn so called rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery that has failed to turn a profit for years.

“What this government must realise is that the unprecedented insecurity Nigeria is facing is the result of youth unemployment.

“Idleness is the worst feature of unemployment because it channels the energy of our youth away from production and towards destruction, and that is why Nigeria is now the third most terrorised nation on earth.”

But reacting to the points raised by Atiku in his statement, particularly on unemployment, Buhari’s adviser on Media, Femi Adesina, said about 30 million Nigerians were unemployed before Buhari took office.

Adesina said the recent report released by the National Bureau of Statistics that 23.2 million Nigerians are unemployed was not new.

The President’s spokesman said this on Sunday on Channels Television’s ‘Sunday Politics.’

Naija Times’ checks, however, showed that the unemployment rate was 8.9 per cent prior to the Buhari’s administration in May 2015 but it has soared to 33.3 per cent under the current government.

Responding to a question, Adesina said, “You will recall that in the build-up to the 2015 elections, when the APC was campaigning, the figure that was used by then candidate Buhari was that a minimum of 30 million Nigerians were unemployed, particularly youths and that his government was going to do something about it.

“That was in 2014/2015. So, don’t make it appear like a genie that just came out of the bottle. No, it had always been there. It had always been there.”

Adesina also lambasted former VP Atiku for calling on the President to improve and asking stakeholders and opposition parties to rescue Nigeria, when there is a nation that goes by that name.

Adesina added, “The former Vice-President was in power for eight years. Now, he is in the opposition. You can’t take whatever he says as the gospel. The question is when former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar was in government with President Olusegun Obasanjo, where did they take the country?

“Where did they leave the country? I have seen clips on social media where he said some things they promised to do, particularly on power; some people collected some trillions and didn’t deliver… former Vice-President is part of the rot this country became.

“He cannot exculpate himself; he cannot sit in judgment over anybody. He played his part for eight years and they left the country where they left it. He cannot like Pontius Pilate, begin to wash himself clean of what Nigeria has become.”

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