– Referring to the NBS’s recent data, President Muhammadu Buhari has said that his administration is doing well
– Citing the publication of the NBS, the president claimed that his administrative policies are yielding positive results
– However, Peter Obi, PDP’s vice presidential candidate, disproved the president’s claim, adding that NBS’s data shows all is not well in the country
President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the recent data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) indicates that his government is on the right track.
The president made this remark on Wednesday, December 19, during Gala Night organised by beneficiaries of the government’s anchor borrowers programme held at the State House, Abuja.
The NBS on Wednesday has said that the number of unemployed persons of working age had risen to 20.9 million, Punch reports.
Responding to this, the Buhari said that statistics from the NBS had confirmed that his administration’s policies were yielding results, claiming that he inherited “a broken system in the agricultural sector in 2015.”
Speaking to the guests at the event, the president said: “Seeing your faces and hearing your stories give me hope. Today, we are on track to achieving an all-inclusive economy.”
Mallam Garba Shehu, the senior special assistant to the presidency on media and publicity, had said Buhari had ordered the statistician general of the NBS, Yemi Kale, to change the high unemployment statistics and reflect the rising rate of employment in the agriculture sector.
Shehu stated that during a recent meeting with the Federal Executive Council (FEC) Kale admitted that the NBS was only focusing on the creation of white-collar jobs and not the agricultural sector.
The presidential aide said: “Rice Producers Association of Nigeria made the open claim and nobody has challenged them up until the time that we speak, that they had created 12 million new jobs.” However, Kale has denied making such a claim.
Meanwhile, Peter Obi, the vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the forthcoming 2019 general elections, has blamed the rising unemployment rate in Nigeria on the strategy of the federal government.
In a conversation with newsmen in Abuja on Thursday, December 20, Obi expressed sadness that many Nigerians had continued to degenerate as shown by the unemployment rate released by the NBS in Abuja on Wednesday.
The NBS had on Wednesday indicated that the country’s unemployment rate had degenerated from 18.8 per cent in 2017 to 23.1 per cent in the third quarter of 2018. Obi said that urgent steps needed to be taken in order to stop the downward trend.
Obi stated: “They (government) are getting it wrong. If they are getting it right, the number would have been reducing. The whole approach or economic architecture is wrong. There should be areas of concentration. There are areas that you need to sincerely support which is not happening.
“In 2014, the overall unemployment and underemployment rate was 24 per cent; now it is 40 per cent. Then, the unemployment rate was 12 per cent. It moved to 18.8 per cent. Now, it has got worse. So, we need to do something aggressively to start turning things around.”
“The 2019 elections will be strictly about the issues that concern the ordinary Nigerian – issues about the voiceless 87 million poor people that are living in Nigeria, issues about millions of unemployed Nigerians.
“How do we start pulling those 87 million people out of poverty and how do we start ensuring that millions of unemployed Nigerians get jobs? So, when you see that the situation is worsening, you get sad. So, for me, the first expression is sadness.
“Then, what do we do aggressively to ensure that we start turning things around? That is the issue.”
Concerning the 12 million jobs that the federal government said claimed it created in rice farming, Obi said more rice farmers should reflect on higher productivity and lower prices.
He said: “You can have 15 million rice farmers but rice is still expensive. The more people that get into rice production, the more rice we produce and the more the price of rice goes up. It shows that there is a disconnect. If we have 10 million rice farmers, the price of rice should have been coming down.”
In line with Obi’s position, thePDP also said that the claim by Buhari that his administration was doing well, given the NBS report, was incorrect and untrue.
Diran Odeyemi, the deputy national publicity secretary of the PDP, said that Buhari’s government had increased poverty, unemployment, insecurity and misery in the country.
He said: “It is unfortunate that the president of a whole nation can come out in public and tell an absolute lie to citizens who are suffering the effect of his maladministration. The NBS gave an accurate figure of unemployment in Nigeria and the poverty level. And here we have a President telling an open lie.
“I urge Nigerians to respond by their Permanent Voter Cards, which is the weapon to correct the mistake of this administration and the mistake of electing the All Progressives Congress into government.
“They should elect (Abubakar) Atiku as the President who is prepared and ready to put smiles on their faces with a thorough economic plan and a system that will ensure that poverty is eradicated in the country and that youths are gainfully employed. The claim of Buhari that the government is making progress or doing well is an absolute lie.”
Meanwhile, Legit.ng reported that Obi had been described by the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) as a politician with a penchant for cooking up figures and twisting facts.
BMO made the comment in a statement signed by its chairman, Niyi Akinsiju, and secretary, Cassidy Madueke, in response to the vice presidential candidates’ debate which took place on Friday, December 14.
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