Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has observed that Nigeria’s economy is not booming yet.
He made the observation at the 52nd Annual Service of Songs of the 1st ECWA Church, Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.
Obasanjo, who spoke in Yoruba during the church service, urged Nigerians to be patient, adding that the current hard time would not last.
“This current hard time will not last. The economy is not booming. Everyone is feeling the heat but people should be patient. The small and large scale business owners are all feeling it. It is normal for people to experience hardship as a result of the current economic challenges. People should be patient; it will not last.”
The National Bureau of Statistics had on September 5 announced that the Nigerian economy was out of recession.
NBS said that in the second quarter of 2017, Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product grew by 0.55 per cent (year-on-year) in real terms which indicated the exit of the economy from recession after five consecutive quarters of contractions since the first quarter of 2016.
The Presidency in its response via a statement by Laolu Akande, spokesperson for Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari welcomed the news of Nigeria’s exit from recession with “cautious optimism” and will continue to drive Nigeria’s economic growth by vigorously implementing the economic recovery and growth plan inaugurated earlier in 2017 by Buhari.’’
Meanwhile, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Interior, Mr. Adams Jagaba; a retired director, Procurement, former Ministry of Works and Housing, Mr. Samson Opaluwah, and the Bishop of Anglican Diocese of Omu-Aran, Church of Nigeria, The Rt. Rev. Philip Adeyemo, have called for a better management of the economy.
Jagaba and Opaluwah spoke in separate interviews with journalists on the sidelines of the 53rd graduation of ECWA Theological Seminary at Igbaja, Kwara State; while Adeyemo spoke during the third synod of the Anglican diocese in Omu-Aran, Kwara State.
At the graduation with the theme, ‘Christian leadership ethics as panacea for socio-political morass in Nigeria,’ Jagaba said the National Assembly would only approve the plan of the Federal Government to source $5.5bn foreign loan from international financial market if the Federal Government presented ‘bankable template.’
He lamented that past administrations in the country did not make good use of loans, saying that such loans did not impact positively and favourably on the nation and Nigerians.
Many Nigerians, he observed, were apprehensive of the planned $5.5bn loan because some of the past loans were not applied to projects that should have created platforms for the repayment of the loans.
“The problem with Nigeria is that many governments borrowed money and you cannot trace that money through any project. Many state governments have borrowed money and you cannot trace back the money. The money cannot be seen on the lives of the citizens.
“That is the major challenge. But if government is borrowing and they are going to use the money judiciously, I do not have a problem with that. But if they are borrowing and the same result that we always see appear to be on the horizon, we can be rest assured that some of us will also not support it.
“So, we can only support a borrowing proposal that come with a bankable plan; a plan that you can take home and say ‘yes if we do this, this is the end result.’ It has to come in black and white. They have to spell out what they intend to do with that money. We can then give them the approval, using the implementable template they have given.”
Jagaba, who is a former chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Anti-Corruption National Ethics and Values, also said there had not been serious anti-corruption fight in the country. He said the laws and anti-graft wars as well as the courts had not effectively reduced or checkmated corruption in the country.
According to him, the laws are weak and appeared to encourage corruption.
“For me, if you ask me based on my experience as a former chair of anti-graft, we have yet to start the war against corruption.”
Opaluwah, who is the Chairman, Governing Board of the seminary, stated that if government must take loan, it must be used for infrastructural development and should be applied to areas that could generate returns on investment on the loan.
Adeyemo stated that the anti-corruption wars of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and other past presidents and heads of State have not really addressed corruption.
He said attempts by some past and present leaders of Nigeria such as the late General Murtala Mohammed, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, late Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua, Dr. Jonathan Goodluck and President Muhammadu Buhari to fight corruption had not been successful.
He called for the examination of some of the institutions and structures put in place by the federal, state and local governments, which, he said, made corruption intractable in the country.
Adeyemo said, “Nigeria is a country where fund is being disbursed to the federal, state and local governments as federation allocation monthly without proper system of monitoring the spending.
“Nigeria is a country where the electorate is at the mercy of the elected officers. Nigeria is a country where religion is being practised at the expense of the life of the citizens of the country.
“Nigeria is a country where citizens are encouraged to practise agriculture and nothing is done to curb the menace of Fulani herdsmen who destroy farm land and kill citizens as goats. It is very sad to see Nigeria under the siege caused by idolatry, ritual killings, shedding of blood of innocent people, robbery, kidnapping, oppression, stealing and the lack of fear of God.”
The bishop stated that it was imperative to have a Nigeria where no man was oppressed, where peace and justice reigned and where there was the fear of God and respect for human lives.
He said Nigeria should have leaders of integrity and not treasury looters, adding that governance at all levels should be made less attractive financially.