Amidst economic woes in Nigeria, a British weekly magazine, The Economist, has pointed at the mistakes President Muhammadu Buhari made when he was Nigeria leader in 1980 and even now.
In a media post shared by the group captioned “Nigeria’s President in Absentia,” they opined that “in the midst of the nation’s economic crisis, President Buhari’s absence may be a good thing.” The group commended the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo whom they believe has brought positive changes to Nigeria’s economy since assuming power.
The Economist’s Africa editor, Jonathan Rosenthal noted that two years ago, Nigeria’s economy was revalued and tagged as the biggest economy on the continent but 2016 became Nigeria’s first year of economic recession in 25 years.
“WhenBuhari ruled the country in 1980 as a military leader, he also faces the same woe in a falling oil price and economic shock. Unfortunately, he is making the same mistakes today as he did then.
“Mr Buhari’s main economic policies is to try to peg Nigeria’s currency to the US dollar, trying to do this means Naira’s export is too expensive and so it can’t compete in the global market.”
He pointed out the fact that Mr Buhari is not even in the country during this economic crisis while his Vice President, Osinbajo assumes the position as acting president.
“The vice president, Osinbajo has a much more progressive stance in the economy and has made it easier to do business in the country.
“As long as Buhari is still getting medical business and as long as his Vice is doing competently running the country, everyone seems to be happy. Perhaps the best thing for the country right now, is for Mr Buhari to take a long convalescing before return.”
The Economist editor said propping of currency lead to a shortage of forex and drained the importation in Nigeria.
“Mr Buhari was inaugurated soon after the collapse in global oil prices. Instead of accepting reality (since exports and government revenues are dominated by the crude oil), he reverted to policies he implemented when last in power in the 1980s, namely propping up the currency.
“This has led to shortages of foreign exchange, squeezing imports. The Central Bank released the Naira from its peg of 197-199 to the dollar in June 2016 but panicked when it collapsed, pinning it again at around 305.
Former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria Prof. Charles Soludo share the same opinion when he said “Buhari met a very bad situation when he assumed power, but he has made the situation worse. According to Soludo:
“It will be a miracle if after eight years, by the time it leaves office in 2023, the current administration is able to return the economy in dollar terms to the exchange rate it met when it took over.”
Soludo alleged that only citizens united can rescue Nigeria, not just the government alone, adding that citizens can not get the leadership they desire but we can get the leadership they demand and work for.
Meanwhile, Acting President Osinbajo has been lauded for steering the country out of tension since he assumed office two months ago, by Nigerians including former military administrator of Kaduna State, Col. Abubakar Dangiwa Umar (retd).
Umar said Osinbajo has embarked on measures which have effectively set Nigeria on the path of positive change such as:
- Improvement in power generation due to his proactive in attending to state affairs and impacting meaningful dialogue with the Niger Delta militants.
- Prevailing on the CBN to adopt new and more transparent Foreign Exchange Management procedures, which have yielded the desired result of reducing forex market volatility.
He urged all Nigerians to support the Acting President to steer the ship for greater growth of the country.