Tony Akowe, Abuja
The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has told the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to tell the world what it did with the massive funds amounting to over N27 billion it raised from the Nigerian public for the building of its national secretariat which still uncompleted in the nation’s capital.
The group describe failure by the PDP to complete the 12-storey massive national secretariat complex in 12 years as the most telling commentary on the party’s record of project execution.
In a statement signed by the Chairman and Secretary, Niyi Akinsiju and Cassidy Madueke, the group said it is not surprising that the party left thousands of abandoned projects across the country when it could not even complete its own office structure after raising almost thrice the amount required, adding that the story of PDP’s abandoned headquarters epitomises everything that is wrong with that political party.
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The statement said “this is a party that used its clout as an all-powerful ruling party to arm-twist high net-worth individuals and corporate organizations, amongst others, to jointly contribute as high as N21bn at one sitting in December 2014, six years after N6bn was raised at an initial event for a building that was to cost N10bn and was to be completed in 2011.
“Nigerians may want to recall that four months after the second fundraising ceremony, PDP lost the 2015 election and the then party spokesman Olisa Metuh told the world that the party was cash strapped.
“What the party has not satisfactorily explained is what happened to the funds raised for the structure even when only N2bn was released to the contractors from the N6bn that was realised from the first fundraiser.
“And even after the second ceremony, the party whose leaders promised to ‘Make Nigeria Great Again’ or ‘Grow Nigeria’ in the run-up to the 2015 Presidential election, clearly did not use these funds for what it gleefully announced that they were meant for.
“Today, that structure that is incidentally situated along Muhammadu Buhari Way in the Central Business District of Abuja is a clear symbol and reminder of the forlorn state that the party left Nigeria after 16 years of high oil receipts, with little or nothing to show for it in terms of critical infrastructure”.
The Pro Buhari group said it was shocking how PDP leaders could look Nigerians in the face in the last four years and say the party could have done better than what President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) had been doing since inauguration.
“We are still at a loss on how a party could collect donors’ funds and not use them for what it told the world, with fanfare, that it was meant for. If a party could do this to itself, what would it not do to the generality of Nigerians when confronted with massive funds for critical infrastructure? Loot them of course!
“No wonder that several projects at different stages of incompletion dotted the nation’s landscape as at May 29, 2015, when President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in for his first term in office. For the avoidance of doubt, a large chunk of what the Buhari administration had been doing is to complete all abandoned projects it inherited from previous PDP administrations.
“That is why the country is like a huge construction site with contractors now mobilised back to site by a government which had been doing so much more with so little in four years.
“We invite Nigerians to compare the PDP sloppiness with a 12-storey building, for instance, with this administration’s work on 13 housing estates which are slated for completion this year under the National Housing Project Plan.
“This is aside from 47 road projects scheduled for completion in 2020/21; Lagos, Kano, Maiduguri and Enugu international airports to be commissioned in 2020 as well as the Lagos – Ibadan and Itakpe – Warri rail lines which are to be delivered in the first quarter of the year.”
The group said there is no certainty that PDP would ever complete the abandoned secretariat having been denied access to power and free fund at the centre for so long.