….Says ex-VP key to major economic reforms of OBJ administration
By Nnamdi Ojiego
The lawmaker representing Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District in the Senate, Sen Chris Ekpenyong, has said it is wrong for the Minister of State for Labour, Festus Keyamo, SAN, to say that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, lacks the experience to compete with All Progressives Congress, APC, presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu.
Ekpenyong, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party,PDP, who was reacting to Keyamo’s opinion expressed on television, said a vice president performs delegated executive powers assigned to him.
He noted that the former Vice President as the head of National Executive Council performed constitutionally backed functions that resulted in key economic reforms of the Obasanjo administration.
His words:”Normally I will not have commented on this issue, but as a stakeholder and former deputy governor of Akwa Ibom State who had participated in the Federal Executive Council meetings and most times chaired by the then Vice President Atiku Abubakar, it’s quite pathetic to listen to Festus Keyamo, SAN, who came boldly on national television to say that the vice president of a nation doesn’t have the executive experience to be president.
“It is quite embarrassing to see people who the society holds in high esteem operate in such a level of ignorance.
“Section 153(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria gives constitutional backing to the National Economic Council, which is chaired by the Vice President as the head of the economic council. And the council has the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, the Central Bank Governor and all the 36 state governors as its members. “The economic council is mandated to advise the President on economic issues and measures necessary for the coordination of the economic programmes of the various governments of the federation.
How can Festus Keyamo say that a person that has coordinated the entire executive arm of the federation apart from the President doesn’t have executive experience? In what other form can someone gain executive experience?
“It’s so unfair for Mr Keyamo to underrate the office of the Vice President of Nigeria. What he’s trying to say is that his current boss, the current Vice President, is shallow in experience as Vice President. His statements were disappointing. He even went as far as to say that nobody in this country has more public experience than Asiwaju, meaning even the current President of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari who appointed him doesn’t have the experience Asiwaju has. Asiwaju has only been a Senator and governor for God’s sake. Some people have been everything in this country.
“Atiku as Vice President didn’t only display unmatched leadership capacity, he understood what being a leader is, which is being a good team player. He started by assembling the best economic team that ensured Nigeria’s debt was cancelled. The economic team privatized the telecom sector and the cement industry, increased our GDP and created jobs for Nigerians
The economic council, which he chaired, introduced GSM into Nigeria. The naira was stabilized. Atiku Abubakar pushed for the establishment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
“Even in his private life, he founded the largest oil and gas, ports logistics service in Africa that has created jobs and sustained families all over Nigeria. He is a man that thinks of Nigeria and not himself or his state alone. How do you say such a man doesn’t have the experience to lead Nigeria? Atiku’s legacies can be seen and the impact is still being felt many years after leaving office.
Festus Keyamo should focus on the job he’s been assigned to do. I know it is very difficult to sell a bad product, especially in the 21st century. So, he’s trying to use reverse psychology not knowing Nigerians are wiser now and well informed. The strategy of 2015 of propaganda won’t work in 2023.”