The Presidency yesterday said a return of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to power would reverse the gains made under the Buhari administration.
Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President Garba Shehu, in an article titled: “The Real Price of Changing the Change (1), said Buhari is “bad business for a number of parliamentarians and civil servants, some policemen, customs officials and immigration officials” who benefited from corrupt practices during previous administrations.
According to the presidential aide, as President Buhari is busy fighting corruption, corrupt politicians and civil servants are equally busy praying for the return of the old order when they illegally amassed public wealth.
He said: “The list of people who oppose the Buhari government and yearning to ‘change the change’ include a number of parliamentarians, policemen, customs officials, immigration officials, civil servants now rooting for other political parties, not leaving out those various businesses and platforms owned by these political parties directly or indirectly.
“The Buhari win in 2015, and the possibility of four more years have crumbled their dreams of endlessly looting the state and the growing list of achievements of the administration is not doing any good for them.’’
Shehu observed that top opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members had been granting interviews and addressing zonal political rallies talking about “changing the change” in next year’s general elections, without defining what exactly that means.
He, however, stated that Nigerians needed to be reminded of what the reversal of the achievements of the three years of the Buhari government would amount to.
“The real meaning and cost of the “Changing the Change,” is that if they win the next election, they will not take us back to where we were in 2015, they will mostly reverse the progress the APC has brought to the nation.
“The main reason for the defeat of the PDP in 2015 was corruption. The present administration at the centre led by President Muhammadu Buhari has so far presented a corrupt-free image of itself,’’ he said.
He added that the Buhari administration had also succeeded in abolishing grand corruption at the top and as attested to by the American President, Donald Trump.
He said the government had significantly brought down the level of corruption in the country but, however, warned that corruption was fighting back.
“Although he said he was unafraid and would not bend, the President’s concern, and fear on the part of many is that if a corrupt leader takes over, it will be happy days all over again for former Oil Minister Diezani Allison-Maduekwe who has so far forfeited 153 million dollars, N23.4 billion, and 4million dollars and 5million dollars in separate accounts.
”Change the Change’ would mean she will get the money back. So would the former Managing Director of the maritime agency, NIMASA get back GBP 578,080 seized from him and the Ikoyi apartment owners have back their 43.4million dollars; N23million and GBP 27,800.
“The hidden owner of the Lagos cash shop may then step forward to reclaim their N449.6 million; the ex-Naval Chiefs will have returned to them the already forfeited N1.8 billion; the Governors Forum paid back their N1.4 billion and the major oil marketers, from whom the EFCC has so far seized N328.9 billion will smile their ways to the bank.
“The banks themselves will equally join the party, happily getting back N27.7 billion they “ate” from taxes they failed to remit; the scion of the Akinjides, Jumoke will have N650 million awarded to her,’’ he said.
Shehu further stated that those scammers in INEC, who coughed out N1 billion would equally get money back and charges standing against them in court may be dropped.
“But the happiest of them all will be Mrs. Jonathan, who will get the first priority when the refunds start coming for obvious reasons.
“The former First Lady would not anymore need lawyers to keep her mountain of gifts, counted in huge millions of dollars, billions of naira, hotels and buildings,’’ he added.
He equally noted that the early casualties of ‘‘changing the change’’ might include initiatives such as the Whistle Blower policy by which the government was able to recover stolen or concealed assets through information provided by citizens.
According to him, this has changed the ethical and moral tone of the business transaction space in the country.
The whistle blower is entitled to between 2.5 and 5 per cent of amount recovered.
The presidential aide said that “Change the change” might also result to scrapping the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) which he described as the biggest tax revolution since independence.
“The Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) now being implemented, and about which many of our rich citizens are unhappy may be scrapped.
“A recent report shows that there are four million new taxpayers, including companies and individuals, resulting in N700 billion increase in tax revenue in 2017,’’ he said.
According to Shehu, Buhari is also bad business for importers of diesel and generators because he had raised electric power availability from 2,600 MW in 2015 to 7,000 MW.
He said the President Buhari-administration was targeting 10,000 megawatts by the end of 2018.