Worried by current state of the economy, a CSO, the New Era for Sustainable Leadership and Accountability Initiative, NESLAI, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack his economic team in order to arrest the situation from wobbling into unmanageable proportion.
The NESLAI, which made the call, on Thursday, September 23, 2021, lamented that those charged with the responsibility of managing the economy have gone in the opposite direction and allowed the fortunes of the average Nigerian to nosedive.
Addressing the journalists in Abuja, Comrade Edwin Femi, the Executive Director of NESLAI, lamented that despite the good intention of President Buhari, certain components of his administration have failed to match his vision.
According to the group, “We are extremely concerned that certain components of his administration have failed to match the President’s vision with the required technical competence and sincerity of purpose that the president himself espouses.
“Meanwhile President Buhari has given opportunities to many who ordinarily wouldn’t have gotten close to the corridors of power, a number of appointees have failed, either by omission or commission, consciously or unconsciously, overtly or covertly, to translate the opportunities given to them to either change their innermost goals and interests to make the president’s vision a reality.
“It is worrisome that the president has given all appointees the marching orders to work collaboratively to lift 100million Nigerians out of extreme poverty, however certain key components of the administration appear to be working at cross purposes to this laudable and unprecedented objective in the history of governance in Nigeria.
“We are constrained to address this issue and call attention to the officials involved to either shape up or ship out of the administration to allow for the president’s objective to become a measurable reality in the life of the average Nigerian.
“The President, being the in the topmost percentile of Nigerian politicians with the closest ties to the grassroots, has made it clear where his priorities lie, those charged with the responsibility of managing the economy have gone in the opposite direction and allowed the fortunes of the average Nigerian to nosedive, perhaps out of incompetence or a covert mission to serve a certain constituency of the elite to give the president a bad name.
“It is a shame that under the watch of, and in spite of the best efforts of Mr. President, some elements within the administration have failed to man their posts well and allowed a free-fall to a situation where virtually every consumable in Nigeria has.
“It is a shame that under the watch of, and in spite of the best efforts of Mr. President, some elements within the administration have failed to man their posts well and allowed a free-fall to a situation where virtually every consumable in Nigeria has more than doubled in price in the last five years.
It is a shame that despite very laudable and people oriented social intervention policies such as: N-Power; Survival Fund to small and medium enterprises; and Anchor Borrowers’ Programme of the administration, those saddled with the responsibility of setting our country’s economy on a solid footing to protect the economy from the elements have failed in their responsibility to the people and in justifying President Buhari’s confidence in them.
“The essence of this briefing is to call for these characters to either tow the path of honour and quit the stage for more competent hands to take charge and deliver the goods and services that can lift Nigerians to “the next level”.
“Whereas the entire economic management architecture has been in tatters, the finance minister has carried on as though all is well, without even carrying out emergency briefings to explain the efforts being implemented by her ministry to address the underlying issues and when Nigerians can look to have much needed succor from the hardships of today.
“For an economy flirting with over 50% youth unemployment and population growth that outpaces GDP growth rate, the minister of finance has shown a record level of nonchalance and lack of empathy for the sufferings of Nigerians.
“Furthermore, she has displayed a worrying streak of cluelessness in managing the Nigerian economy and setting it on a sound footing in the vision of the president. Still there is this curious case of the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), if the current occupant of that office still qualifies to be so addressed, since his time in the public service has elapsed, having attained the retirement age of 60 years.
“Mr. Ahmed Idris has continued to parade himself as AGF despite this fact, owing to an error in appointing him to serve for another term, rather than tow the path of honour and write his name in gold in the history books by resigning an appointment he ought not to have in the first place.
“We commend President Buhari for his social investment drive to ameliorate the suffering of Nigerians at this critical point in our history, as well as his economic diversification drive. We equally call on Mr. President to take a closer look at his economic management team and effect necessary changes as he recently did in firing two ministers.
“The Minister of Finance has to go and we call on President Muhammadu Buhari to take the proverbial bull by the horn, so as to avoid a situation where some of these characters would tarnish his image.
“We also call on the President to take a look at the situation of the Accountant General and to do the needful in the interest of justice and fairness and to give other qualified public officers a shot at reaching the peak of their careers.
“We shall continue to avail the nation of our voices, as advocates for zero tolerance for corruption in the public service and assure the President of our support for his fight against corruption, despite all the noises from detractors and beneficiaries from the dysfunctional state of affairs in the past.
“We shall also continue to call his attention to areas where we believe the administration needs to be rejigged to give impetus to the vision of the president to put Nigeria where she rightfully belongs in the comity of nations.”