Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, yesterday slammed the All Progressives Congress (APC) led federal government for paying lip service to diversification of the economy stressing that Nigeria has unduly over-depended on oil. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain and one of the presidential aspirants in the 2019 general elections, said at Chatham House in London, that Nigeria is bound to fail as a state if it continues to solely depend on crude oil.
“If oil could not save Venezuela, it won’t save Why Nigeria must stop depending on oil – Atiku Nigeria”, the Waziri of Adamawa said Nigeria should learn from Venezuela, a country with the largest oil reserve in the world that still faces so many challenges. “I particularly want to thank Nigerian nationals who are present here today. Your love for Nigeria is evident in that you have left your regular pursuits to be here to interact with lovers of Nigeria. Your presence inspires me.
“If oil could save a nation then surely it would have saved Venezuela, the nation with the largest proven reserves of oil in the world. But you and I know what is up with Venezuela and if oil has not saved her, it will not save Nigeria.” Speaking on his presidential ambition, Atiku said he would relinquish more power to states if elected president next year. In particular, he said the current revenue-sharing formula doesn’t give enough to states to invest and be held accountable by their residents.
“The federal government is being accused of everything even when it’s not supposed to be its area of responsibility,” Abubakar said Wednesday at a conference in London. “I want to be able to resolve that so citizens can hold their local leaders accountable for maladministration”, he said but declined to say what he’d do if he didn’t get the PDP nomination. Commenting on the huge debt accrued by Nigeria, Abubakar said, “The question now is, why are we saddled with a heavy and almost unsustainable debt burden twelve years after President Olusegun Obasanjo and I provided the leadership that paid off Nigeria’s entire foreign debt of $32 billion in one fell swoop? “My idea is for the introduction of Matching Grants to be taken from the revenue accruable to the Federal Government for the purpose of matching IGR of each state in order to encourage states to become self-reliant.”