The All Progressives Congress has welcomed opinions expressed by former Vice – President , Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, suggesting measures to be adopted by the regime of the President , Major General Muhammadu ( retd.) to diversify Nigeria’ s economy.
It , however, accused the President Olusegun Obasanjo -led administration in which Atiku served as vice – president for eight years, of failing to put into practice what Atiku was preaching .
This was contained in a statement signed by the APC National Publicity Secretary , Mallam Lanre Issa -Onilu, in Abuja , on Saturday .
The party said it appreciated Atiku ’s decision to key into Buhari regime ’s policy direction in terms of diversifying the economy. But it said it was a bit surprised that he failed to acknowledge the regime ’s bold efforts in this direction over the past five years.
Atiku had in a position paper titled , “ How to pull Nigeria from the brink ,” faulted some of the economic policies of the Buhari-led regime , describing the decision to close the nation ’s borders with neighbouring African countries as “ insane. ”
In response to it , the APC said, “ Atiku Abubakar had eight years as a powerful vice -president and chairman of the National Council on Privatisation with vantage opportunity to lead the country away from its dependence on oil .
“ How Nigeria got worse even when international oil prices were stable and high are matters Atiku Abubakar may still need to address in the future .”
According to the statement , it is worrisome that it took Atiku 13 years after leaving office to realise that the government under which he served as the vice – president was short – sighted for its failure to faithfully diversify the Nigerian economy.
The APC said as far back as 2016 , the Buhari regime took practical steps to diversify the nation ’s economy, especially in its area of comparative advantage , which is agriculture .
Towards this end , it said the regime launched the Anchor Borrowers Programme , an intervention policy primarily aimed at giving farmers access to finance .
This, it explained , entails the provision of credit for financing the production of rice , wheat , ginger , maize and soybeans in many states of the federation , adding that the policy driven by the Central Bank of Nigeria had provided hundreds of billions of naira for rice farming , cultivation and milling in the last four years.
It said few years down the line , Nigeria is now rated the highest producer of rice in Africa, producing over seven million tonnes per annum .
The statement read in part , “ Just late last year , the APC – led government , through the CBN , also made available huge funds to our cotton farmers, a move geared towards reviving our moribund textile factories, thereby creating millions of direct and indirect jobs .