Barely three months after former President Olusegun Obasanjo said “so far, Buhari has not disappointed us,” the music seem to have changed as he has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to stop whining and face the task he was voted in for.
Speaking on “Nigeria Yesterday, Today And Tomorrow: Governance And Accountability” at the First Akintola Williams Annual Lecture in Lagos, Obasanjo called for a more robust response to address the challenging economic situation in the country.
“Now that we have had change because the actors and the situation needed to be changed, let us move forward to have progress through a comprehensive economic policy and programme that is intellectually, strategically and philosophically based,” Obasanjo said.
“It is easier to win an election than to right the wrongs of a badly fouled situation. When you are outside, what you see and know are nothing compared with the reality.
“And yet once you are on seat, you have to clear the mess and put the nation on the path of rectitude, development and progress leaving no group or section out of your plan, programme and policy and efforts. The longer it takes, the more intractable the problem may become.”
On the proposed $30billion loan, Obasanjo said it was a wrong-headed decision which should not be considered, while hinting that the Central Bank has lost its independence.
“I am sure that such a comprehensive policy and programme (that will move Nigeria forward) will not support borrowing US$30 billion in less than three years. It will give us the short-, medium- and long-term picture.
“Adhocry is not the answer but cold, hard headed planning that evinces confidence and trust is the answer. Economy neither obeys orders nor does it work according to wishes. It must be worked upon with all factors considered and most stakeholders involved.
“The investors, domestic and foreign, are no fools and they know what is going on with the management of the economy including the foreign exchange and they are not amused. The Central Bank must be restored to its independence and integrity. We must be careful and watchful of the danger of shortermism.
“Short-term may be the enemy of medium- and long-term. We must also make allowance for the lessons that most of us in democratic dispensation have learned and which the present administration seems to be just learning.”
According to him, “If we do not fix the economy to relieve the pain and anguish of many Nigerians, the gain in fighting insurgency and corruption will pale into insignificance.
“No administration can nor should be comfortable with excruciating pain of debilitating and crushing economy. Businesses are closing, jobs are being lost and people are suffering. I know that President Buhari has always expressed concern for the plight of the common people but that concern must be translated to workable and result-oriented socio-economic policy and programme that will turn the economy round at the shortest time possible.
“We cannot continue to do the same thing and expect things to change. That will be a miracle which normally doesn’t happen in normal national economies. We have people inside and outside who can be brought together to help device the right economic policy and programme to get us out of the pit before we fall over the precipice into a dark cave.”