Nigeria’s former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, on Wednesday, advise President Muhammadu Buhari to focus on putting the country back to shape rather than dwelling on the administration of past leaders.
Obasanjo also examined the manner the issues of corruption, proposed external loan, and recession among others were being responded to by the Federal Government and commended the government on the anti-graft war but regretted that the government had no comprehensive policy that would address the current state of despair in Nigeria.
This came as a shock as President Obasanjo, has been singing praises of President Buhari since he assumed office in 2015, but the direct jab at the President at the first annual lecture of Akintola Williams Foundation was unexpected.
According to Obasanjo, “I understand President Buhari’s frustration on the state of the economy he inherited. It was the same reason and situation that brought about the cry for change, otherwise, there would be no need for change if it was all nice and rosy.
“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. I am sure that such a comprehensive policy and programme will not support borrowing US$30 billion in less than three years. It will give us the short, medium and long-term picture.”
Obasanjo, urged President Buhari to rise to the challenges posed by the current recession in Nigeria, noting that orders, wishful thinking and blame game would not solve the hapless state of affairs in the country.
The former President also said that it was uncharitable for the present administration to be blaming past governments that had served since 1999, noting that only a comprehensive framework would save the country.
“Again, now we are being told the projects will pay themselves when we know damn well they will not. If we borrow some thirty billion dollars in less than three years, we would have mortgaged the future of Nigeria for well over thirty years to come. There may also be the problem of absorptive capacity which will surely lead to waste.
“We must not be unmindful of internal borrowing either. It impacts somewhat differently on the economy but it must not be allowed to crowd out the ability of the private sector to borrow to grow the real economy which is to lead us out of the recession. 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 the excruciating pain of debilitating and crushing economy. Businesses are closing, jobs are being lost and people are suffering.
“The blanket adverse comments or castigation of all democratic administrations from 1999 by the present administration is uncharitable, fussy and uninstructive. Politics apart, I strongly believe that there is a distinction between the three previous administrations that it would be unfair to lump them all together.