Former Cross River State governor, Donald Duke has blamed President Muhammadu Buhari for the countrys slip into recession in 2016, just a year after he was sworn in.
Duke said this while speaking to AFP about his declaration to run against Buhari in the 2019 presidential election.
The 56-year-old noted that his candidacy is an attempt to reinvigorate Nigeria's economy which he claimed has struggled under the 75-year-old president.
He said, "Buhari caused the recession. He didn't know what he was doing and people (investors) left, there was a lack of confidence."
Nigeria slipped into its worst recession in 29 years after a 2.06% contraction in the economy between April and June 2016. Even though it happened a year after Buhari's inauguration, his administration has always blamed it on the mismanagement of previous administrations of the opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP).
Nigeria officially exited recession in September 2017 when the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced that the gross domestic product (GDP) returned to positive growth as it grew by 0.55 percent in GDP terms for Q2 2017 after five consecutive quarters of contractions since Q1 2016.
Buhari was unprepared for leadership - Duke
When asked during a recent interview with Deutsche Welle Africa what he thinks has been the major failure of the present Buhari-led government, Duke said it was a lack of preparation.
He said, "They were not prepared for leadership. Six months to set up a cabinet? Where'd we hear that? President Buhari campaigned for office in two planks: corruption and security.
"Now let's take the scorecard. Corruption is not dead. Persecuting corruption is dealing with symptoms and not the problem. The real problem is you've got to create jobs for people. You've got to pay them adequately. You've got to strengthen your institutions that it makes it almost impossible for you to engage in this set of activities; and should you engage in it, you're sure that there are consequences.
"I could reduce Nigeria's problem to one word: consequences, and the lack of it. People get away with anything, and so it's not picking a few largely in the opposition and name and shame them in the press then thereafter nothing happens and they have found a way of now declaring for the party in government and everything peters down. That's one.
"Security, where are we? Despite the fact that the government has on two or three occassions announced that the war is over and Boko Haram has been defeated, we know it has not been defeated. We know it's still reigning supreme in the north east; there's still suicide bombings and kidnaps and all that. And if you visit any of the IDPs, you will appreciate that we're breeding the next generation of very disgruntled people."
Donald Duke's party remains unknown
Duke has failed to disclose on which political platform he'll run for president next year, but he served as Cross River State governor between 1999 and 2007 and tried to run for president in 2007 on the platform of the People's Democratic Party (PDP).
However, since the PDP has officially zoned its presidential ticket to the north, Duke is most likely to contest on the platform of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) which is the political party that has been adopted by the Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) of which he is a founding member.
If he wins his party's primary election, he'll face stiff competition from others like incumbent, President Buhari; former vice president, Atiku Abubakar; former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Kingsley Moghalu; management consultant and leadership expert, Fela Durotoye; Sahara Reporters publisher, Omoyele Sowore and a host of others.