The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has sympathised with Nigerians who lost their loved ones in the violent protests over naira scarcity.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the former vice president said the “crisis” occasioned by the naira redesign policy was “conceived” by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“We have, in recent days, witnessed upheavals in different parts of the country in which lives were lost and properties destroyed,” the statement reads.
“On behalf of my family and presidential campaign organisation, I express my deepest condolences to the families of all those who have lost dear ones.
“This crisis may be coming on the heels of the currency swap, but it is pertinent to remind us that it is a culmination of the frustrations of Nigerians arising from the maladministration of the ruling All Progressives Congress in the past 7 years plus.
“It is easy for political expediency for the APC that has brought us to this cul de sac to want to hoodwink Nigerians into believing that the crisis was created by others.
“Truth be told, the crisis that we are witnessing today was conceived, given birth to and nurtured by the ruling APC. Indeed, it was long in coming.
“We are all witnesses to the myriad of problems that Nigerians have had to endure as a result of the cluelessness of the APC, which came into government with no idea of a policy direction.
“We are witnesses to the massive erosion of jobs; hunger and multidimensional poverty; unabated fuel scarcity; deteriorating security that has created an industry of kidnapping and massacre of defenceless citizens; free fall of the Naira; ASUU strike which kept students at home for prolonged periods of time and a general sense of hopelessness.
“The current crisis, the fallout of the policy of the ruling party’s redesign of the Naira, is only the tipping point. The least the ruling APC can do is to take responsibility for its own policy and the challenges that have followed its implementation, even as we collectively work at addressing those challenges.
“My dear brothers and sisters, I understand your frustrations, but I urge you to be calm. Do not let your frustrations manifest into violence.
“Rather, you should channel that energy into voting out the ruling APC in the elections of 25 February and 11 March. That’s the only way to safeguard our collective efforts to Recover and Rebuild Nigeria.”
Atiku, on February 2, advised the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) not to extend the February 10 deadline for the exchange of old naira notes with new ones.
The former vice president had said any further extension would destroy the purpose and objective of the policy.
Atiku said anti-democratic elements pretending to be democrats were ganging up against the CBN because of the policy.
The former VP alleged that these elements have commenced plans to lobby for a second postponement of the deadline for the change of currency.