• Monday, June 17, 2024
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Tinubu’s handling of fuel subsidy, Niger coup poor – Obasanjo

Presidentialism: Obasanjo still defends the costly system he foisted on Nigeria

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has criticised the current administration’s approach to removing the subsidy on petroleum products and floating the naira. He stated that while the policies were essential, their execution was flawed.

In a statement released by his media assistant, Kehinde Akinyemi, on Sunday, Obasanjo also disapproved of Nigeria’s response to the coup in Niger.

He addressed these issues in Abuja during a colloquium tagged: “Nigeria’s Development: Navigating the Way Out of the Current Economic Crisis and Insecurity.”

Obasanjo remarked that the government’s recent decisions, including the subsidy removal and exchange rate unification, have negatively impacted the economy and citizens.

“Today, the government has taken three decisions, two of which are necessary but wrongly implemented and have led to the impoverisation of the economy and of Nigerians. These are the removal of subsidy, closing the gap between the black market and official rates of exchange and the third is dealing with a military coup in Niger Republic,” the former president said.

The former president emphasised the need for production and productivity, driven by trust in leadership, to advance economically. He noted that the economy requires consistent effort, not just commands, and that proper leadership can inspire investor confidence.

He pointed out that Total Energy chose to invest in Angola over Nigeria, indicating a lack of investor confidence in the current economic management. Obasanjo urged a shift from transactional to transformational leadership to attract investment and ensure security.

“Total Energy has gone to invest $6bn in Angola instead of Nigeria. If the truth must be stated, the present administration has not found the right way to handle the economy to engender confidence and trust for investors to start trooping in.

“They know us more than we know ourselves. And now they are laughing at us, not taking us seriously. We have to present ourselves in such a way that we will be taken seriously. If the existing investors are disinvesting and going out of our country, how do we persuade new investors to rush in?” he questioned.

Adding that, “We can be serious if we choose to be but we need to change from transactional leadership in government to transformational and genuine servant leadership.”

The retired general stressed the importance of consistent economic policies and government integrity to foster investment. He called for transparency in government transactions and a commitment to productive policies.

Obasanjo suggested a 25-year socio-economic development plan, supported by all political parties and legislated, to guide the country’s progress.

“A 25-year socio-economic development agenda that will be generally agreed to, by the nation of all political parties and passed into law by the National Assembly with State Assembly aspects also passed into law by the State Houses of Assembly. We take up the implementation on a five-year basis. In reality, that plan will have the effect of almost a Constitution. The first priority in the implementation will be education for all,” he said.

He concluded that change must start with leadership and that addressing the country’s challenges requires understanding the past and present to chart a path toward a secure and prosperous Nigeria.