The Presidency on Thursday took a swipe at a former Head of State, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), over his scathing criticism of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration while declaring his interest in the 2015 Presidential election on Wednesday.
Buhari had while declaring his bid for the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress in Abuja on Wednesday claimed, among others, that the level of corruption in Nigeria today was worse than at any other time in history.
He said he empathised with Nigerians, who he claimed, were suffering deprivation daily.
But the President, in a statement by his Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, described the charges made by the former military leader as reckless, baseless and unsupportable.
He further described Buhari’s claims as an irresponsible denigration of Jonathan’s sincere efforts over the past four years to positively transform Nigeria.
It said it reflected on the character of opposition politicians that a person of Buhari’s stature would make false claims for political gain.
The statement read, “We have noted with disappointment and regret, the reckless, baseless and unsupportable charges made against the Jonathan administration yesterday (Wednesday) by a supposed elder statesman, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari.
“We wholly reject the allegations made by Gen. Buhari against the Jonathan administration at yesterday’s (Wednesday’s) declaration of his intention to contest the 2015 presidential election as an irresponsible denigration of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s sincere efforts, over the past four years, to positively transform Nigeria.
“It reflects very badly on the character of the political opposition we now have in Nigeria, that a political leader of General Buhari’s stature will deliberately make such false and uncharitable comments about the elected leadership of his country, merely for personal and sectional political gain.
“The falsity of General Buhari’s anti-Jonathan and anti-PDP claims will be obvious to knowledgeable Nigerians and friends of the country, but for the benefit of others, we will like to affirm that there is absolutely no truth whatsoever in his charge that “the last 16 years of the PDP government has witnessed a decline in all critical sectors of life in Nigeria” or that “the economy continues to deteriorate.”
“Statistics and rankings from the National Bureau of Statistics, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other international economic agencies give the lie to General Buhari’s claims on the state of the Nigerian economy.
“As is well known, available figures, statistics and ratings show that the Nigerian economy has consistently maintained an unprecedented growth rate of 6-7per cent under the Jonathan administration. They also show that the Nigerian economy is now the leading economy in Africa and the 26th largest in the world with a gross domestic product of over $500bn per annum.
“Also, contrary to General Buhari’s assertion yesterday (Wednesday), Nigeria’s agricultural sector is thriving under the reforms being implemented by the Jonathan administration as current production figures show and neither manufacturing nor commerce is “down” as the APC presidential aspirant alleged.”
Abati said Buhari’s most uncharitable and inexcusable accusation against the present administration was that election rigging continues to thrive in Nigeria.
“We also urge him to eschew unbecoming false accusations against others like a true elder statesman and to focus his campaign on more original ideas for the promotion of peace, stability, unity and progress in our beloved nation.”