Former Senate president, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, was Friday inaugurated as the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) along with other newly elected members of the main opposition party’s National Working Committee (NWC), wasting no time to demand that the All Progressive Congress (APC) begins to prepare its handover notes.
In his inaugural address at the ceremony inside the Abuja International Conference Centre, he listed the damages he said the ruling party had caused to the country, saying that from the fastest growing economy in Africa that it inherited, the APC has made Nigeria the poverty capital of the world.
According to him, under the guardianship of a Major General, terrorists now share sovereignty with Nigeria.
The new party boss asserted that a small group of individuals in the ruling party should not be allowed to continue to destroy Nigeria, adding that the PDP will make Nigeria the focus of development.
“To the APC, we, once again, renew our quit notice on you. Begin t prepare your handover notes,” he demanded.
Ayu chronicled what he said are the failures of the present administration saying: “From the biggest economy in 2015, the APC has given the country two recessions and turned Nigeria into the Poverty Capital of the world. Today, close to 40 million Nigerians have no jobs.
“In the last six years, the APC-led government has mismanaged our diversity; divided the country along regional and religious lines. It has exacerbated religious tensions in the country.
“And through its marriage to nepotism, the incompetent APC Federal Government is fueling secessionist agitations in the East and West of Nigeria.
“Your Excellencies, party faithful, very distinguished ladies and gentlemen, our dear Nigeria is drifting dangerously towards a failed state. Terrorists are now sharing sovereignty with Nigeria. Nigeria is simply ungoverned. Nigeria is collapsing under the leadership of a retired general!
“The APC used both the mainstream media and the social media to access power. Today, it coordinates a systematic assault on the media, civic freedoms and freedom of speech.
“Let me give you the grim legacy of the APC: Two economic recessions in six years. A sluggish GDP growth rate of below two per cent.
“About 40 million Nigerians have been pushed into extreme poverty in six years. Inflation is at an all-time high at 18%.
“A weak and devalued Naira; devalued by over 300% since 2015, has made our currency the worst in Africa.
“Unemployment now stands at 33%. Meaning: Close to 40 million Nigerians, willing and able to work, can’t find jobs.
“A total debt stock of over $90 billion now hangs over Nigeria. An erratic exchange rate regime has depleted N324 against the US dollar in the last six years.
“Kidnapping for ransom is now big business. We share sovereignty with terrorists who kidnap and rape our women, including our mothers and under-aged children. The terrorists even kill them when the ransom is delayed.
“There are not political alarms, but statements of facts.”
Ayu assured the international community that the PDP will bring the country back from the brink, saying: “To Africa and the international community — we know you are worried about Nigeria. But we assure you that PDP will pull back Nigeria from the brink. PDP will not allow Nigeria to fulfil those doomsday predictions.”
He told party stakeholders: “My dear compatriots, keep hope alive. Do not allow a small and rapacious cabal to destroy your faith in one, united Nigeria.
“A PDP administration will change the narrative. We will unite the people. We will deepen the content of our democracy. We will rebuild our collapsed economy.
“We will make Nigerians the focus of development. We will expand our international vision beyond Niger Republic.
“We will check the rampaging insecurity. We will restore Nigeria’s lost glory.
“And we will reclaim our dignity, destiny and pride as the Giant of Africa.”
Ayu said the task of the new PDP leadership is to return the party to the people, saying that it needs to be reinvigorated, reinvented and repositioned.
The party chairman spoke on the achievements of the party in office, noting: “We are not unmindful of our missed steps and actions in the past, but we have learnt our lessons, both in government and in opposition. Today, we stand tall, and with a firm resolve to rebuild our great party and rescue our nation.
“The PDP is the only organic political party in Nigeria that has remained a credible, tested, tasted and trusted mass movement since the return of democracy in 1999. Other political parties have either fizzled away or merged with others.
“Some have mutated into a contraption like the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), without any clear ideology or a coherent programme of action. This contraption seduced Nigerians with propaganda in 2015. Today, Nigerians have seen the limit of propaganda and demagoguery. The only thing the APC is doing successfully is irresponsible borrowing.
“The PDP, on the other hand, has a history of performance and legacy achievements. In our 16 years m power, we not only gave Nigerians good governance, we also strengthened democratic institutions so as to add value to the people. In an unprecedented move, we stabilized our democracy by sanitizing the armed forces of politically exposed officers.
“We gave Nigeria her first-ever successful transition from one civilian administration to another in 2007. To the disbelief of all watchers of African politics, we willingly conceded defeat in 2015 and handed over power to an opposition party in 2015.
“It was the PDP-Federal Government that created value-adding public institutions like the EFCC, ICPC, NAFDAC, the Debt Management Office (DMO), the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP) among many others.
“The PDP administration also strengthened the governance process by enacting laws to effectively drive public administration in Nigeria, namely: the Fiscal Responsibility Act, the Mid-Term Expenditure Framework, the Treasury Single Account (TSA), Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information Systems (IPPIS) just to mention a few.
“We negotiated and obtained forgiveness of over $30 billion of debt, making Nigeria almost a debt-free country. Foreign direct investments flowed in.
“Cumulatively, the foregoing made Nigeria, not only the fastest growing economy in Africa but also the biggest economy on the continent.”
He assured that his leadership will not just dwell on the failure of the APC, but intent on leading the opposition party to rescue the country.
“But I stand here today, not to merely recount APC’s spectacular failures. I stand here to assure you that PDP is back to Rescue and Rebuild Nigeria,” he declared.