Sunday, 1 May 2016

'You're running archaic economic policies' - Ezekwesili bombs Buhari

Fiery activist and former Minister of Education, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili, yes­terday took a hard look at Pres­ident Muhammadu Buhari’s almost a year-long tenure and passed a damning verdict that he is running an economic policy that is both, “archaic” and “opaque” and similar to those he promulgated during the military administration he led in the 1980s.
Observed Ezekwesili: “What did not work in 1984 can­not possibly be a solution in a global economy that’s much more integrated.”

Ezekwesili spoke to a rapt audience which included Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, at The Platform Abuja, 2016, a yearly public policy forum, held at the International Con­ference Centre, Abuja. Her presentation was titled, “A holistic look at the Nigerian Economy and its Potentials.”

The Platform Nigeria is a Non-Profit initiative of Cov­enant Christian Centre, geared primarily towards improving the individuals of Nigeria and the larger world. The theme of the current edition is “Nigeria, what is in your hands? Tap­ping into our dead economy, looking beyond our oil-driven economy.”

According to Ezekwesili, Bu­hari’s “archaic” and “opaque” economic principles are not only encouraging massive cor­ruption and abuse of power, but also damaging poor Ni­gerians they were intended to help.

Her words: “During the first coming of this our new presi­dent, a command and control economic system was adopted.

“During that era, inflation spiraled. During that era, jobs were lost. During that era, the economic growth level dipped. That era wasn’t the best of eras in economic progress.”

According to the former education minister, President Buhari is repeating that same “command and control” ap­proach towards economic is­sues which has left the coun­try’s economic indices worse off since he assumed office al­most a year ago.

Observed Ezekwesili: “In al­most one year, the president is still holding to the premise that command and control is the only way out. In a year, we have lost the single digit inflation status we maintained in past administrations.”

Meanwhile, in his opening speech, Pastor Poju Oyemade, founding visioner of The Plat­form Nigeria and Senior Pastor of Covenant Christian Centre, Lagos, said, “In this edition of The Platform, we will be exam­ining the unrealized ability in other assets the nation possess­es besides oil, which are capa­ble of growth and development and can generate surplus.”
His speech read in part: “The vision behind The Platform is nation building; the tool is public education and enlight­enment.

“The whole world is reach­ing for a new economic and political paradigm. In almost every nation, there is some form of disquiet with the sta­tus quo.

“Old political blocks are struggling for survival, as it is made clear to them that the consciousness of the people has outgrown where they once were.

“The present economic tra­vail in our country can have only one definite outcome; people have to start thinking outside the box. No nation or state has grown by depending on the external.

“Development has always come by finding capital in places that people once over­looked, and drawing resources out of those things.”

Besides Vice President Osin­bajo who gave the keynote speech, other speakers at the event included the Chairper­son, First Bank of Nigeria Plc, Ibukun Awosika; Founder and CEO of Interswitch Group, Mitchell Elegbe; Co-Found­er, BudgIT, Seun Onigbinde; Partner, Head of Tax and Cor­porate Advisory Services at PwC Nigeria, Taiwo Oyedele; former Chairman, Nigerian Football Association, Anthony Kojo Williams, among others.