The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has reacted to the town hall meeting attended by the presidential and vice presidential candidates of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, respectively, through the spokesperson for the APC Presidential Campaign Coumcil, Festus Kayamo (SAN), listing 6 lies allegedly told by them during the meeting.
The town hall meeting which held in Abuja on Wednesday, January 30, was moderated by Kadaria Ahmed and aired live on Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).
Keyamo said: “Let us tell Nigerians some of the lies they told in that programme, which a simple fact-check will easily expose.”
Below are the six alleged lies as listed by Keyamo:
Lie Number 1:
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar claimed that at handover in May 2015, our GDP growth rate was 6%.
Fact Checked Truth: It is a well-documented fact that at handover, the GDP growth rate was 2.35%. The economy was on a free fall as the GDP growth rate had dropped for three consecutive quarters.
Lie Number 2:
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar claims recession was caused by the APC Government.
Fact Checked Truth: With a consistent and rapid drop of our GDP, their Coordinating Minister of the Economy at that time, Okonjo Iweala, former Central Bank Governor Prof. Charles Soludo and the Central Bank Governor at the time, now Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, warned the PDP Government and Nigerians that we were headed for a recession.
Lie Number 3:
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar claimed that security challenges were restricted to the North East during their time.
Truth: Nigerians will recall that the Boko Haram activities had spread all over the North East, North West and North Central. For instance, UN Headquarters, Police Headquarters, a Bus stop in Nyanya, a prominent Plaza in Wuse II were all bombed during the era of the last government in Abuja. A church or Mosque was bombed every week in 2013/2014. The herders-farmers’ clashes were the deadliest in 2014, claiming over 1,300 lives in a short period across the North. Boko Haram occupied over 17 Local Government Areas and hoisted their flags, effectively establishing a caliphate in the North East. All these happened before the coming of this administration.
Lie Number 4:
Peter Obi claimed that out-of-school children grew to 13.5 million under this administration.
Truth: The figure of 13.2 million out-of-school children was a 2015 survey by UNICEF. An alarm was raised by several global bodies then because the figure had grown from 10.5 million in 2010 to 13.2 million in 2015, despite record earnings of the Government at that time. In other words, Peter Obi’s claim is self-indicting.
Lie Number 5:
That Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, as a Customs officer, said there was nothing wrong at that time with setting up a company that had dealings in the Ports that were under customs supervision.
Truth: The Code of Conduct for Public Officers was first enshrined in the 1979 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Atiku Abubakar co-founded the company, as a serving customs officer, three years after the 1979 constitution came into operation.
According to Section 1 of the 5th Schedule to the 1979 Constitution, a public officer shall not put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts with his duties and responsibilities. By establishing a company involved in Port-related business at a time when he was an officer in the Nigeria Customs Service charge with managing the Ports, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar definitely put himself in a position where his personal (business) interest conflicted with his duties as a public officer.
Lie Number 6:
Peter Obi claims Nigeria has record poverty now.
Truth: Despite high oil revenue, according to the World Bank, extreme poverty under PDP grew to 112 million in 2013 through 2014, compared to 86 million today. India pulled their citizens out of poverty for over two decades by using the same methods Nigeria is now using today.
In summary one would have thought that in the course of the programme, ‘The Candidates’, Atiku/Obi would have modified the lies they told earlier in their campaigns and make it consistent with reality as most of them were already fact-checked by independent bodies and proven to be lies. Alas they have continued on the same path, believing that ‘If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed’.