Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, got more than he bargained for on Wednesday as former governors Donald Duke and Babangida Aliyu took him on the poor handling of the economy by the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
The two former governors clashed with Oshiomhole at the second public lecture organised by the Kukah Centre for Faith, Leadership and Public Policy, with the theme, ‘From activism to political power: The challenges of democratic governance in Nigeria’.
In his usual practice, Oshiomhole took the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the cleaners, blaming it for the current economic woes of the country.
According to him, crass corruption and looting, which he said characterised the PDP 16 years in power, were responsible for current crisis.
“We have to change the society where all you need to do is to get your brother elected and get him around the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and he turns to an oil marketer, do some papers and become a billionaire in the name of subsidy.
“We have to change that; and that is what this change is all about. There is always a time between decisions and consequences. What politicians did in the past; that is the consequences we are facing now.
“There is always a timeline between massive looting of the treasury, transfer of defence budget to private pockets, taking money meant for infrastructure and spending $16bn on light (power). The more money you spend, the more darkness.”
However, Duke, who chaired the lecture, condemned the APC-led Federal Government and its change mantra, insisting that the change campaign was nothing but fake propaganda.
He said: “Sadly, politicians in our society today are mostly jobbers and budget padders advocating for themselves and not the society. They cleverly and surreptitiously apply the word change. I, of course, won’t use that word because as a member of the PDP or what is left of it, that word change ‘dey do me one kind.”
The former Cross River State Governor also questioned the sincerity of Oshiomole as a labour leader during his days as President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, insisting that the former NLC President’s much touted idealism has been contradicted by some of the programmes he championed.
On his part, Aliyu told the gathering that the economic policies of the Federal Government and APC governors had increased the suffering of Nigerians.
The former Niger State governor also took on Oshiomhole, insisting that he benefited tremendously from the PDP government but only turned around to ridicule the party.
“During my time we paid salaries. In the North, apart from Kano State, the rest 18 states are civil service states. Payment of salary is very crucial in sustaining the economy. This time around, they don’t understand anything about the essence of salary.”
Speaking on the policies of the APC government, Aliyu said: “Please Governor Oshiomole, talk to Governor Rochas Okorocha; tell him that civil servants were not employed to be farmers.
“Go to the market, go to the streets, you will hear cry. I don’t understand this silence when some people are messing up,” Aliyu said.
By Timothy Enietan-Matthews
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