By Bode Olagoke
A chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Director General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Osita Okechukwu, has decried criticism that have trailed President Muhammadu Buhari’s New Year broadcast, saying it was not diversionary.
Okechukwu, who expressed shock over the harsh criticisms of the New Year speech by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Southern and Middle Belt Leadership Forum, said the President has actually laid solid infrastructural foundation for the country.
“Believe me, am alarmed that the regional Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) can describe President Muhammadu Buhari’s renewal New Year speech as diversionary. Mr President for the second time raised hope realistically by laying bare his strategic critical infrastructural foundation: rails, roads, power (RRP), in the speech. That is by no means diversionary.
Recalling President Buhari’s maiden speech to the nation, Okechukwu reminded the PDP that the President had promised to halt food importation, a promise that the PDP thought impossible, but “today, Buhari has halted importation of rice and other food items and has taken Nigerians back to land.
“One had expected the PDP to analyse the details of Buhari’s RRP Projects, make amendments or points out missing gaps, instead our sister party went down its traditional propaganda route and grossly exhibited undue envy.
“Envy in the sense that they promised all those projects in their 16 years of their squandermania. Otherwise, how can any rational political party call Mr President’s bold step in laying solid foundation for Nigeria’s industrial take off with massive investment in RRP as diversionary? Mr President is following the historical route of industrialization.
“Don’t forget how PDP awarded 3 greenfield refineries on 13 May, 2010 at $23 billion? Where is the money? Where are the refineries in Lagos, Kogi and Bayelsa? Result fuel scarcity.
“The RRP project to me is a landmark and the greatest infrastructure milestone in the history of our dear country. Please take a careful analysis of the nationwide standard gauge network of the rail lines – Easter Corridor Railway – Port Harcourt, Aba, Umuahia, Owerri, Enugu, Abakiliki, Maikurdi, Lafita, Jos, Bauchi, Gombe, Damaturu to Maiduguri.
“The coastal rail- Lagos, Ore, Shagamu, Benin, Agbor, Asaba, Sapele, Ugheli, Warri, Yenagoa, Otuoke, Port Harcourt, Aba, Uyo, and Calabar and lastly the upgraded of Lagos – Kano to standard gauge.”
“Have you forgotten that the old gauge Lagos-Kano railway was awarded by the PDP some years ago at $8.3 billion, about 1,400km, when the Chinese awarded the Goldmud-Lhasa standard gauge at $4.2 billion, 1,142km. Today Buhari is borrowing $1.5 billion to standardise the railway: the greatest scam since our return to democracy. Let’s forget the PDP please, for Buhari is clearing their mess. Let’s kindly support him”.