/ 25 May 2015

Jonathan has handed over a Nigeria in crisis – opposition

Goodluck Jonathan's legacy is one of failure
Goodluck Jonathan's legacy is one of failure

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan is handing over a country in its worst-ever state, the main opposition said on Sunday, as fuel shortages and economic woes crippled the nation.

“Never in the history of our country has any government handed over to another a more distressed country,” All Progressives Congress (APC) spokesperson Lai Mohammed said in an emailed statement.

“No electricity, no fuel, workers are on strike, billions are owed to state and federal workers, $60-billion [is] owed in national debt and the economy is virtually grounded,” he added.

Buhari, from the APC, is set to take over as head of state of Africa’s most populous nation, leading economy and top oil producer this Friday, after defeating Jonathan in March 28 elections.

But just days from his inauguration, the country is at a virtual stand-still due to a weeks-long crisis over fuel subsidies.

Petrol stations have run dry, the aviation sector has been worst hit with planes grounded and telecoms firms say they may not be able to maintain their networks for much longer without fresh fuel supplies.

The APC, which campaigned during the election on a slogan of change to tackle rampant corruption and insecurity, attacked Jonathan and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for keeping silent on the crisis.

Mohammed accused the PDP of being “not interested” in ending the paralysis, which has left millions without light and power for weeks as there is no fuel for generators that kick in when the public supply cuts out.

The government said on Friday that the country is producing just 1 327 megawatts of power – an unprecedented low – exacerbating strikes by petrol tanker drivers and oil and gas workers.

Crisis ignored
Opec-member Nigeria produces some two-million barrels of oil per day, but has no functioning refineries. It is therefore forced to import crude products such as petrol and diesel.

The government keeps below market price at the pumps, paying the difference to importers. But the marketers claim they are owed 200-billion naira (about R11.8-million) in outstanding subsidies.

The APC said Nigeria had “been on auto-pilot for the past several weeks, as the outgoing administration has shown neither the capacity nor the willingness to resolve any of the crises it has contrived and foisted on the nation”.

It added: “This is the most vivid manifestation of the old saying that literally translates to a departing office holder defecating on the chair he is vacating.” – AFP