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60th Independence anniversary: How Obasanjo’s economic policy ruined Nigeria ― Accord chieftain

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60th Independence anniversary: How Obasanjo's economic policy ruined Nigeria ― Accord chieftain

Knocks Oyo gov on poor governance

By Adeola Badru

A Chieftain of the Accord Party in Oyo State, Saheed Ajadi, has declared that the economic woes that Nigeria is suffering from, was as a result of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s economic policy.

The Accord Party chieftain, made the declaration Wednesday, in an exclusive interview with Vanguard on Nigeria’s 60th independence anniversary.

Ajadi, who was the party’s governorship candidate in the 2019 governorship election in the state, disclosed that he had to resign his appointment with the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), owing to what he called, Obasanjo’s economic policies, as well as the needles fight of the former president with his vice, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

He said further: “I was a political appointee in Abuja between the years 2001 and 2005. I worked with a government organisation called ICPC and I later resigned from my appointment. My resignation was not unconnected with some of President Olusegun Obasanjo’s economic policies as well as the needless fights he had with his then deputy, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

“I was angry because rather than moving the country forward, the duo were dragging the country backward. I wasn’t happy with the presidency as well as the then Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Professor Charles Soludo.

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“I need not be a professor to know that some of their economic policies were not favourable to Nigerians. Having operated a Bureau De Change before, I knew that the foreign exchange policy Soludo introduced then was done for self-enrichment purposes.”

“Having tried to make my voice heard and nothing was done, I told myself that I can’t be part of that system and I resigned from ICPC. A lot of economic policies introduced during Obasanjo’ regime were done in bad faith. The problem that the Obasanjo regime created is what the Buhari-led administration is dealing with now. It is a bandwagon effect.

“Let me give you an instance on electricity when President Obasanjo came in, he said NEPA was moribund, was not functional, why was he pumping money into NEPA when he knew it was moribund?”

“Decentralisation of NEPA would have been the best solution to our electricity woes then. If we have coal somewhere in the East that can generate electricity let’s use it. If it is hydro in another part, let’s use hydro. Federal Government can then align all these powers generated in different parts and pack them in the national grid, that is the way Obasanjo ought to have taken. The grid that has been moribund since the sixties you need to rejig it,” he opined.

While digressing to the politics in Oyo State, Ajadi said, he expected the current governor in the state, Mr Seyi Makinde to have strategised for the state for the future, adding that the governor ought to have come up with an economic roadmap of 20 years.

“Right now, we are not aware that the population of Oyo State has exploded. Look at the quantum leap of supermarkets in Ibadan for instance. Structures of various sizes are springing up because our consumption graph is going up. There is actually too much money around in some sectors that we need to take away and put in other sectors.”

“When you go around Ibadan in the evening, go and look at the beer parlours, they are always full to the brim. Where do they get the money? If I were the governor I will take little of that money and put elsewhere.”

Asking how he would achieve that, Ajadi said: “I will tax alcohol in my state, if you want to buy alcohol you must be ready to pay taxes. It is this same reason that is responsible for the proliferation of hotels in the city. Instead of the government to build industries so as to absorb our teeming unemployed youths, they will rather invest in hotels which do nothing but destroys the lives of our women, our secondary. University girls have been turned to aristos, why? because there is no other alternative.”

“It even saddened me that a former gubernatorial candidate in the state could not think out of the box. Despite all the money he realised as a civil servant, he could not think of any other company to establish but only hotels.

“I am of the opinion that everyone who aspires to govern this state ought to have had a blueprint of what they intend doing. But sadly, the situation is not the case. Let everyone develops his own blueprint. Such blueprints are developed out of their vision for the state they are desperate to govern.

“But judging from what I have seen of these people, they really don’t have something tangible for the state. Some of them do not even know the state of finance of the state.

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“That is why you see them making frivolous pledges. How could you aspire to become the governor of this state without having a correct knowledge of the state’s debt profile.? It means that they would only go there to trial an error governor. How could you say you are going to give the state an environmental facelift without having a proper environmental assessment of the state. Governance is a serious job that demands serious research and thinking.

“There is one key economic opportunity that past governments in Oyo State have not worked on and this is the issue of farm settlement. This is the reason why since all these years we have not forgotten Awolowo. Awolowo did not collect allocation from the federal government but yet he built one of the robust economies this country has ever experienced.

“That is what I have been telling people that I don’t need federal government allocation to build a buoyant economy for Oyo State if I become the governor of this state. For Godsake, we have fertile and vast land that can make this dream come true. As the executive governor of this state, I can go anywhere and negotiate a deal for Oyo State. It is just a matter of identifying the comparative advantage such countries have over us here.”

“If this is meticulously done and there is a will that is backed up with good intentions, it won’t take long before Oyo State becomes a state that is self-sufficient in terms of everything.

“But the problem we have been having is that majority of those people who have governed us do not have the necessary negotiating skills. That was why I wanted to go to the Senate before the last election. My plan was to go to the Senate for four years, negotiate and sponsor the necessary bills that will put this state on the pedestal of economic buoyancy. But when I was not denied the opportunity in 2007, 2011, and 2015 my people came to me and said I have tried.”

Vanguard

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