Former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Charles Soludo has said President Muhammadu Buhari inherited a ‘very bad’ economy and has made it even worse.
Soludo spoke at the ‘Big Ideas Podium’, a public policy debate organised by the Afri Heritage Institution in Enugu.
Soludo said it would take a miracle for the naira to return to its exchange rate to the dollar at the time Buhari took office.
Soludo added that Nigeria is fast approaching the status of a failed state while calling for a “citizens united” campaign by Nigerians to demand accountability from government at all levels.
He said, “Buhari met a very bad situation when he assumed power, but he has made the situation worse. Nigeria today is a fragile state with a failing economy. Some say failing state; some say failed state.
“The economy is not just in recession; we are suffering from massive economic compression. Saying it is recession trivialises the issue.
“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.
“The truth is this government inherited a very bad situation, but it has made it very much worse.”
The former apex bank chief said the country would make progress if political parties kept at least 25 per cent of the promises they made before coming to power.
He called on Nigerians to demand the delivery of campaign promises by government at all levels.
Soludo said, “Only citizens united can rescue Nigeria, not just the government alone. It is a big luxury for anybody to say I am minding my business, because what others do will come to mind your own business for you sooner than later.
“We can’t get the leadership that we desire but we can get the leadership that we demand and work for. If only each party or government implements 25 per cent of their promises, Nigeria will be a great country.”
He added, “If you see the governments run by APC, PDP and APGA, they are all the same, because Nigerians don’t hold them accountable. We must resolve as citizens not to let government off again; peaceful agitation must be encouraged and tolerated in this country. Everybody must be allowed to have a voice.
“For example, the APC promised us that they were going to restructure Nigeria; before the elections, they said the current structure was not working, they said that Nigeria was becoming a failed state; but now, they are in power and they are not getting it done.
“Unless we citizens rise up and tell the government ‘deliver on what you promised’, they will not get it done.”
He added that issues such as which part of the country produces the President as well as religious group has shown that Nigeria was not working.
He said, “Nigeria is not working in anybody’s interest except that of the privileged few and because of this, there is an obsession with unnecessary distractions, like which part of the country produces the President. You can have the President, the Vice President and all the ministers from one village and the life of the ordinary people from that village will not move from point A to point B.
“The North has ruled the country for several years, but poverty, to a very large extent, is a northern problem.
“In the last dispensation, we had Jonathan as President, the Finance ministry and almost all the financial institutions of government were headed by Igbos then, but we still don’t have any motorable federal road in Igboland.”