A former Presidential Adviser on Political Matters to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, has said that the blame for Nigeria’s recession rests squarely on President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The Federal Government pushed the country into recession. Some of the actions are inexcusable. Some are very pitiable. What affects the confidence of economic agents is what they see, what they hear, what they feel,” Ezeife told the Vanguard newspaper.
According to him, “If the government of the country begins to say the government is broke, they (investors) have nothing to doubt. That accounts for so many exits from Nigeria.
“There were all kinds of normally unprintable things said by our government: that we are bankrupt, we are broke, we are this and that. They took over and within a very short time they started making negative statements about the economy. This is not a matter of blaming anybody. You just look at how many companies have quit Nigeria.”
He further explained that, “I know of a friend who brought in some expatriates to co-invest with him here. They were just about to get started when the first salvo from government was fired that the country should not be invested in, because that is what it means; that the country is broke, that it is a poor economic decision to come here. So, the foreigners ran away and the man is still struggling now to get new partners.
“Check the number of companies that were here a year-plus ago and how many are here today. Even the airlines, at least the ones that spoke out, said they had no confidence in Nigeria and that was why they were leaving. I have told many people that the blame-game must stop.
“Now, that (blame-game) is the most stupid thing to do. If it was the fault of the last administration, let him take us to all the things as they were during that administration. “Let him take us to the price of rice that was obtainable before he took over; take us to that petrol price; take us to the exchange rate; take us to the market as it existed; take us back to what it was when you took over. Any blame-game is a waste of time.”
On the vexed issue of grazing reserves for Fulani herdsmen, the former Anambra state governor said it would not work, hinting that it was Islamization in disguise.
“This brazen Islamization cannot work. They even said they would import grass and then, I don’t know if they will take over the cattle to sell to us or leave it to the individuals to sell to us. It is based on ancient practice where people must go about,” he said.
“There is a new technology for fodder production and this technology recycles fodder in just six days. So, you don’t need to move around and even when you want to move the cattle to the point of sale, you truck it down.
“How callous can our minds be? Are we decaying in the mind? You plant something, you come to look at your farm and you find cattle eating what you planted. You talk, they shoot you down. What kind of society are we running?” He asked rhetorically.