The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Thursday, described President Muhammadu Buhari’s independence anniversary speech as a slap on the sensibilities of Nigerians, particularly his justification of his administration’s increment of the pump price of the Premium Motor Spirit, also known as fuel.

President Buhari had in his broadcast pointed out a number of oil producing countries including Saudi Arabia, Ghana, Egypt and Niger Republic where the price of fuel is higher than in Nigeria, and concluded by saying that “sustaining the level of petroleum prices is no longer possible.”

In its reaction, the PDP, in a statement signed by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan called on President Buhari to “wake up to reality and take demonstrable urgent steps that will address the divisive tendencies and poor economic policies of his administration, which are fast decimating our dear nation under his watch.”

According to the party:

“President Buhari’s attempt to justify the increase of fuel price in Nigeria by comparing it to the N168 per litre cost in Saudi Arabia is a morbid joke,” adding that “the minimum wage in Saudi Arabia is N305,113 (3000 Saudi Riyals), ten times higher than our paltry N30,000 which is largely unimplemented in Nigeria.”

The statement further read:

“Is Mr. President not aware that, on the average, a person working in Saudi Arabia earns around 4,230SAR (N430, 267) to 16,700 SAR (N1, 698,693) per month?

“Our party charges Mr. President to always check his books before making such offensive comparisons including the price in Egypt where monthly average earning is around N222, 841 (9,200 EGP) against our N30,000.

“In comparing our costs with other countries such as Ghana, Chad and Niger where purchasing powers of citizens are much more higher, did Mr. President reflect on the cost of house rent, education, healthcare and average dependence on fuel for daily survival by ordinary citizens as obtainable in Nigeria?

“If the flawed assertions as evident in Mr. President’s speech are a direct reflection of how policies are formulated in his administration, then one needs not wonder why our economy is in doldrums.

“Indeed, it is imperative to state that if the Buhari administration had summoned the competence and honesty to continue the programs already laid by previous administrations under our party to revive our refineries and provide infrastructural backbone for our productive sector, fuel price will not be more than N100 per litre, in addition to the gains from by-product from crude oil.

“The PDP therefore urges Mr. President to engender harmony and productivity by allowing for more robust discourse that will lead to affordable prices for fuel and other essential commodities in our country.”

The major opposition party in the country also flayed the togetherness theme of the President’s speech, describing the allusion as a mere rhetoric.

“Our party also holds as ludicrous that President Buhari is hyping his ‘better together’ theme when the administration he heads, runs on nepotism, disregard for rule of law, human right abuses, corruption, political intolerance, suppression of free speech and aggression towards dissenting voices.

“We urge Mr. President to end his rhetoric and take practical steps to entrench the culture of rule of law and strengthen harmonious living through inclusiveness, equity in wealth distribution and equal access to opportunities for all Nigerians irrespective of creed, class, and ethnicity.

“Furthermore, credible elections are essential to harmonious living. Our party therefore restates our commendation to Mr. President for his new found commitment to non-interference in elections leading to conduct of free, fair and credible governorship election in Edo State on September 19.