BY ANDREW ESSIEN, Abuja
National chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has said that if the APC-led administration had not come in as at the time it did, the economy would have grounded to a halt.
This is also as he maintained that contrary to the impressions in some quarters that the governing party does not possess economic blueprint and competent economic managers, the current government has done well to sustain the economy from complete collapse. He therefore urged Nigerians to commend the party for doing everything humanly possible to sustain the economy from total collapse.
Oyegun said this while speaking to newsmen in Abuja during the second anniversary of the party in power.
He said, “No, we didn’t under rate it neither did you nor anyone else unless those with the gift of prophesy. None could have known what was coming; if I ask you to describe the situation in 2015, I am sure you would not have added that the crude oil market was going to collapse.
Did you foresee that?
“We knew we were going to take over a battered economy, but we were glad that oil was still coming at 2.5 million barrels a day, we were glad that prices were still hovering around a $100/b occasionally.
“During the years of PDP, it was going between $100 to $120 a barrel and we took over a totally ravaged economy and we were prepared for that because we also thought since we didn’t have the gift of prophesy that Nigeria will continue to be blessed with oil resources, 2.5 million barrels sometime three million at $80 a barrel, sometimes 100 dollars a barrel, we were ready to get the nation moving quickly.
“When we took over, as if that wasn’t enough with a battered economy, the very next week or two, crude market collapsed at a stage that the price of production of a barrel and the price we were getting from the world market was almost the same; about thirty something dollars a barrel.
“You are a man; if today you get out of employment and you don’t have a job your wife has to understand that things are different, that things are hard and we will shoulder through together. These are what happened in the country, it is always good to look at the background.
“If you don’t move from the background you will think that we are so incompetent. In fact it is the opposite praise that you should be singing, that this country didn’t collapse economically; that is the reality.
“I am a trained economist, I am a development economist. You should look at the reality; forget the hunger, there is hunger in the land but you should wonder why this country didn’t collapse with virtually no income, no foreign exchange; nothing!
“And we are still here today, that is the reality and it has nothing to do with incompetence. We had no revenues, we had no foreignC exchange, and we were an economy that exists to function. When President Buhari managed and painfully, I know the pain we went through to allow the price of petrol to go up.
“For a long time when we came if you could remember the news were still on and off but there was no other solution than to let go, you can’t continue that regime of subsidy which was one of the things that almost bankrupted this nation.
“We had to bring in the Treasury Single Account, had to make sure every kobo was accounted for, had to go abroad and the press started telling everyone that he lives in an aircraft from one capital to another to draw up resources to keep the nation afloat.”
“Then came the recession and in a situation like that it was inevitable, we had to spend to get out of recession; we had no
savings. Honestly, if you people want to do this country a favour you should tell anybody who was a main person in PDP that they ought to hang their heads in shame and you should pray that we never have a government again like what the PDP did to this country.