Lack of funds to release unemployment data worries Atiku
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has expressed dismay at the testimony of the Statistician General of the Federation, Mr Yemi Kale, that the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), is unable to release the annual unemployment report that it is mandated by law to produce, because the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has not provided the NBS with the funds it needs to perform this essential service.
According to a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday by his campaign organization, throughout the 16 years that the PDP governed the country, their various governments never took this route but funded the NBS to perform its statutory duty.
It said: “We know for a fact that the Muhammadu Buhari administration is in a state of panic because of the unprecedented unemployment numbers in Nigeria and is desperate to hide that information from the public.
“If the Buhari administration can afford ₦1.1 billion to fumigate the office of the National Security Adviser, if they can afford ₦3.5 million every month to feed Ibrahim El Zakzaky, then they can afford to release funds for the NBS to perform its statutory duty of releasing the nation’s job report.”
The organization noted that President Buhari promised to create three million jobs per annum during the 2015 Presidential campaign season, but has ended up losing over three million jobs every year since he was sworn in on May 29, 2015.
The statement further said: “Since the Buhari administration came to being, 11 million Nigerians have lost their jobs and in December of 2017, the NBS under Yemi Kale, announced that 7.9 million Nigerians lost their jobs in the 21 months period under review.
“It is safe to draw the conclusion that if the NBS had been funded and able to release the now due 2018 job reports, the total figure of jobs lost under the present administration may climb higher than the present 11 million jobs.
“Thus, we can understand why this failed administration is desperate to cover that information up, however, the Atiku Presidential Campaign Organisation insists that Nigerians deserve to know the truth no matter how unpalatable it may be.”
Meanwhile, the National Coordinator of Atiku Abubakar Support Group, Dr Nath Iduma, has challenged members of Atiku support group to ensure that Atiku wins convincingly in all polling units in the country to make it harder for the ruling party to rig the election.
He alleged while addressing a gathering of various support groups in Abuja yesterday that the APC will exploit the slightest opportunity to rig the 2019 election.
He explained that Atiku and his running mate, Peter Obi, are successful businessmen who will run the country like a business entity to create much-needed jobs.
He said: “Atiku/Obi came together by providence and they are tested persons. I believe that if we have people that can run the government as they run business, then that government is going to succeed.
“In Yola, Atiku has several investments and when both of them come together, the problem of the country which is unemployment will be handled. The will run the country like they run the business.
Unless we win this election with a massive vote, it is likely they are going to rig us out.”
Also speaking, the National Youth Leader of the PDP, Hon. Udeh Okoye, charged the support groups to dominate the Social Media and counter the APC propaganda against Atiku.
He urged the youths to highlight the virtues of the presidential candidate as a way to counter the negative campaign of the ruling party.
He said: “We have to divide ourselves into two to confront the attackers and to promote our candidate. One group must attack the APC, telling how the APC has destroyed the country while the second group will promote the achievements of Atiku and Obi.
“Our product Atiku is a good market. So, we have to sell him to Nigerians. A larger number of voters are not in the social media but there are influencers are in the social media. We should influence our people who have registered to get their PVC.”