Acting President Yemi Osinbajo explained yesterday that Nigerians are in pains today because of the misdeeds and corruption of yesterday.
He described the All Progressives Congress (APC) as a party for today and the future.
The acting president spoke yesterday at a critical stakeholders’ meeting of the APC at the Aztech Arcum Events Centre on Ken Saro-Wiwa (formerly
Stadium) Road in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
Prof. Osinbajo was at a stakeholders’ engagement at the Government House, Port Harcourt on Monday, hosted by Rivers Governor Nyesom Wike.
Many APC chieftains said they could not attend because they were not invited.
Yesterday’s meeting was attended by Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Pastor Usani Uguru Usani; former Bayelsa State Governor Timipre Sylva; Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside and Rivers APC Chairman Chief Davies Ikanya.
Others are: Senator Magnus Abe and Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Nsima Ekere, among others.
The Acting President said: “The APC is a party of today and the future. It is easy for people to say times are hard. Yes, times are hard. One of the reasons for the hard times is the corruption that took place for so many years.
“We are investigating at the moment, the $15 billion of the defence contract award. If $15 billion dollars disappeared, when you have a reserve of $30 billion, there is no way there will not be hardship.
“The other thing is the destruction of pipelines and facilities. Oil prices fell by half, then we started losing one million barrels a day – 60 per cent of revenue. There is no way there will be no recession. We are sure that because of the way we are approaching the business of governance, even with the little resources, things will change for the better.
“For the first time, we have bailed out the states of the federation. When we came, 22 states were not paying salaries at all. We had to bail them out twice. Despite the lean resources, we are still able to support the states. In the next few months, as things shape up, this country will improve and the exchange rate will improve.”
Osinbajo also expressed displeasure at the attitude of some Nigerians, who were involved in destructive criticisms and running down the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
He said: “Some people have said when we came, the exchange rate was this; now it is that. What accounts for exchange rate is dollars. If you lose revenue, your exchange rate goes up. The exchange rate is not magic. It is just availability of dollars. With the cooperation of all of us, we will be able to bring the exchange rate down.
“Peace is very important. We (APC) are the government at the centre, for the first time. This is not the time to make war. This is the time to make peace to derive all the benefits that we ought to derive from the centre. Some of us think that the answer to violence is violence. It is not. Vengeance belongs to God, not man.
“I am very confident that given the calibre of people that we have in the leadership and followership of the APC, the future is so bright. Do not be involved in any form of destruction or violence. APC is going to achieve everything that we have said we would achieve.”
The Acting President stated that he was at the meeting of the critical stakeholders to visit the APC family, expressing gratitude on the way the
party members had conducted themselves.
He said: “For many of you who are here today, this is probably the first time in opposition. Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi is my very good friend and
I always tell him that this is his first time this state is in opposition. We, who come from Lagos, were in opposition for 16 years.
“We know the pains, the suffering of those in opposition and I know what you have to go through in opposition. But the scripture says weeping may endure for a night, but surely, there will be joy in the morning. It is important that we must maintain peace.
”We will not be like those who made commitments for many years and could not fulfil their commitments. President Buhari is a man of his words and he will ensure that the Ogoni clean-up is pursued vigorously.
“On the East-West Road (from Oron in Akwa Ibom State to Ogoniland in Rivers State to Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Ondo and Ogun states, terminating in Lagos), do not forget that it is six years old. What we have done in the last eighteen months is more than they did in the previous six to seven years.
“The Calabar-Lagos rail project is a very important project for this government. Already, we have set aside our own part of the counterpart fund. There is also a facility from China, to be able to do the project. It is in the budget for 2017. We would do what we said we would do.”
Peterside expressed shock that Wike’s government was now calling for the return of Soku oil wells ceded to Bayelsa State, completion of East-West Road and the Port Harcourt International Airport, which were part of the reasons he (Wike) and ex-President Goodluck Jonathan fought Amaechi as governor.
Abe called on the Buhari administration to take very clear and decisive steps to ensure peace in Rivers State.
He condemned the incessant killings and beheading of many innocent persons in the state.
The senator (Abe) expressed surprise that APC’s banners to welcome the Acting President were pulled down and destroyed by known leaders of the PDP.
The Rivers APC chairman described the Acting President as a true democrat, who remained committed to change.