By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA—SENATOR Athan Achonu has asked Nigerians not to heap blames of the current economic recession on President Muhammadu Buhari, saying the problems were created by past military administrations.
Achonu insisted that the problems bedevilling Nigeria were caused by the military, which, he said, abandoned its constitutional responsibilities to engage in the governance.
He said the unconstitutional incursion of some military officers into the nation’s politics left it heavily wounded in many areas.
Speaking with Vanguard in Abuja, Achonu, who said it was time for the President to listen to advice from the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and present Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, insisted that rather than blame President Buhari, past military cartels should be held responsible.
He advised the President to look beyond his party’s men to get a new team that would get the country’s economy back on track.
“ Buhari is not the problem, this problem was created by the military. It is the military cartel that has raveged this country. The moment they came in, true federalism disappeared,” he said.
“Buhari is not the problem, this problem was created by the military. It is the military cartel that has finished this country. The moment they came in right from Gowon’s era, true federalism disappeared.
“That was when Nigeria got into trouble, that’s where our problem started, when they started the unitary system of government. This was when development died, groundnut pyramid disappeared, palm oil disappeared and agriculture died.
“ Instead, they started drinking oil and got drunk with the oil. There was no investment, they were just burning money. The soldiers ended up building ranches and became billionaires. Tell me, why should a serving soldier become a billionaire he’s not a businessman, how much is his salary supposed to be?”
According to Achonu, Nigeria must return to the drawing board if it was in need of development.
“So, we should go back to the basis. So, Buhari is innocent of what the country is going through now, his only problem is that his government doesn’t have the right economic team.
“His economic team doesn’t know what it’s doing. This is the opportunity for Nigeria to go back to the drawing board, to go back to the basis and come out with a masterplan that will relaunch this country.
“Nigeria is a virgin market place, the country has over 100 million people and there is no solid minerals that we don’t have, so why should we be poor? It’s just because there’s no leadership to put us in the right direction.
“So, a new party would emerge, a party of men who know what they are doing, to take this country to where it’s supposed to be. I will support that.
“ If I were in Buhari’s shoes and I believe that I have the best interest of this country and Nigeria is in recession, I would select a very powerful economic team, no matter which party they come from because I believe that once you are elected, you are serving Nigeria and not a political party.
‘’You must know that you are serving the interest of the country. If you look at the composition of this government, you will see Fulani, Fulani, Fulani and Fulani everywhere. Yes, Fulani everywhere, in every appointment and you don’t run a government like that.
“How many Fulanis do we have in this country for God’s sake that they will now turn this government into a Fulani government?
“ It’s a very big mistake. One, don’t they want power back in 2019? That’s what they mean. And the intelligent emir from Kano, the Emir of Kano has said so many things that they have never listened to
“ That man is a very intelligent man, I always read everything he says and try to analyze it. He is a thinking emir and government must listen to him. They should listen to him, talk to him, seek his advice and opinion on so many issues.
“ Buhari knows what to do if he really wants to take this country where it’s supposed to go. Look at the reaction of his wife over appointments, so everybody knows what is happening.
“ In America, they are talking about it, in London, they are also talking about it. So, why should he keep doing that? As a President, he is supposed to be a listening President. He’s supposed to take advice.
“ It’s only a dead man that cannot change his mind and I know that our President is alive, breathing and living. So, why doesn’t he go back to the drawing board, remove all the dead woods in his government and put people who will give him a good name that he truly deserves because I have studied him and don’t think he’s corrupt in anyway.”