Former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo, yesterday accused the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration of worsening the state of Nigeria’s economy.
Soludo spoke in Enugu at an interactive forum, titled “Big Ideas Podium”, which was organized by the African Heritage Institution.
At the Forum chaired by a former Governor of Cross Rivers State, Donald Duke, Soludo acknowledged that the current All Progressives Congress, APC, administration inherited a bad situation.
He was, however, quick to declare that the current administration had made the economy several times worst than it met it.
He said, “Nigeria is now, some say a fragile state, some say a failed state; it is not going to be a tea-party to come out but unfortunately, we are not taking it serious.
“Nigeria is not just in recession but in a massive economic compression; it will be a miracle for the present APC administration to return this country to the dollar size it met in May 29, 2015, if it stays for 8 years, that’s till 2023.
“It is business as usual; propaganda, lies, double-speak, current government is fighting corruption, insecurity, but we say to them, enough of the blame gain.
“They inherited a bad situation but they have made it several times worst; getting us out here is not a tea-party like I sad before.
Nigerians should rise in unity; it should no longer be ‘let them’; only united citizens can rescue Nigeria out of this position.
”The Ex-CBN boss, while stressing the need for what he called ‘Citizen United’, as a panacea to the present situation, urged the masses the take the government into account for all the promises made before the election.
“My idea is that of Citizen United; we won’t get the leadership that we deserve; we won’t get the leadership that we want; we will get the leadership that we demand.
“They gave us manifestoes, promised a lot and we said ‘yea’; how many have gone back to check how far them are implementing those promises; if any party implements 25 percent of its manifesto, Nigeria will get better.
“If you check any State run by APC, PDP or APGA, the three parties that have Governors, can you see spot any difference in any of those States that will distinguish one party from another, it is the same.
“APC said in its manifesto that it will restructure Nigeria, that Nigeria was not one, but after election, has anybody heard about it (restructuring) again?
They control 23 States and the National Assembly, all they need is one more State to get the required 2/3; so they have what it takes, but they are not talking about it again.
“If we don’t rise to hold them by the jugular, Nigeria cannot go anywhere. We have to start preparing for a post-oil economy; insanity is to repeat the same thing over and over again and expect different result”, he further stated.
Soludo, who also faulted the clamour for Igbo presidency described it as an “unnecessary distraction”, stressing that you could have the President and his Vice as well as all the ministers come from one village “but the life of all the people in the that village will not move from point A to point B.
While justifying his position, he recalled that during the former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, several members of the economic team, including the finance minister, Deputy Senate President, Deputy Speaker of the House of Reps, SGF, all came from the South-East, “but not one motorable federal highway in Igbo land.
“We want a new Nigeria where it does not matter where the president comes from; we want to set a structure where each citizen will work hard, where security is guaranteed.
”He further used the event to lambast the Federal Government for unleashing security agencies on various protesters across the country, especially the pro-Biafra groups, insisting that they had every right under the Constitution to express their feelings.
According to him, “people have right under the Constitution to protest within the law; the duty of the police is to give the protesters protection. Killing innocent citizens simply because they expressed their feelings is wrong; no citizen of Nigeria should be killed for no just cause; we don’t condone violence, but government should protect its people; once you remove freedom of expression, democracy is gone.
”Other speakers at the event included Prof. Akpan Ekpo and Prof. Osita Ogbu, a former econmic adviser to then president Olusegun Obasanjo.
Earlier, Duke, who stated that corruption was not a problem peculiar to Nigeria, observed that “it is a bigger challenge for us because there are no consequences here; that’s why it is worst here.”