AS Nigerians gnash their teeth over the economic downturn, former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Dr. Lamido Sanusi; and former Edo State governor, Senator Adams Oshiomhole, have blamed the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari for the raging economic woes.
Contacted yesterday, some aides of the former President declined comments, saying “please, leave Buhari out of these comments.”
Specifically, Sanusi said it was an injustice to blame President Bola Tinubu’s administration for the current economic hardship the country was facing as, according to him, Nigeria is battling a failing economy due to mismanaged economic policies of the past eight years.
Sanusi, who stated this while speaking virtually on Sunday at a religious event in Abuja, said he would not join those who were bent on criticising Tinubu over the current economic challenges in the country.
His words: “I have been, over the years, talking about the pending crisis ahead of the current economic hardship. Any economist who has studied monetary policy in the last eight years knows that Nigerians will fall into this difficult situation.
“The difficult situation Nigerians are facing is just the beginning (if the right decision is not put in place) because Nigeria is not exceptional, such situations happened in Germany, Zimbabwe, Uganda, and Venezuela.
“The previous administration turned adamant about our appeal for corrective measures (on the economic policy). I have said in the presence of the now sitting president, in Kaduna State, any politician who tells you that things will be easy, don’t vote for him because he is lying. People merely dismissed my advisory as a political statement.
“If I am to be fair and just to President Tinubu, he is not to blame for the current hardship. For eight years, we were living a fake lifestyle with huge debt from foreign and domestic debts. The Central Bank of Nigeria owes over N30 trillion, which resulted in debt service surpassing 100 percent.
“I can’t join other Nigerians criticising Tinubu on the current economic hardship, and I am not saying he is a saint free from wrongdoing, but in this current economic situation, President Tinubu is not to be blamed. I will also speak if I see any wrong economic policies of the Tinubu administration in the future.”
He added that Tinubu’s decision to remove fuel subsidy should be applauded, saying “it’s injustice for anyone to blame the Tinubu administration for the current economic hardship because there is no other alternative than the removal of the fuel subsidy. After all, Nigeria cannot even afford to pay the subsidy.
“In the last eight years, the Central Bank continued to print more money, and the naira continued to depreciate. There is too much naira in circulation because the CBN is printing the currency without restraint.
“The economy was poorly managed, and they are not willing to take advice; in the last eight years, apart from sycophancy, nothing has been done; those sycophants are those buying the dollar at the rate of N400 and selling it at the rate of N600 to N700.
“A boy who has no record of service has a private jet and owns houses in Dubai and England just because he is buying dollars at a low rate and selling them.
Plea to the wealthy, commoners
“I can only plead with the people to endure the hardship, and those who have the means to help the downtrodden should do so.
“I am also pleading with commoners to live according to their earnings; we must not peg our lives above our earnings in this difficult situation where people are looking for what to eat.”
During his inaugural speech in 2023 after the general elections, Tinubu announced the removal of fuel subsidy, saying the country could no longer sustain it.
He noted that the trillions of naira spent annually to sustain the subsidy were meant to better the healthcare and transportation sector, schools, housing, and national security, among others.
However, following the removal, Nigerians have been thrown into hardship from the soaring cost of food to increased drug prices.
The protesters said the harsh economic situation had caused untold hardship to the masses in the states.
Speaking in like manner, Senator Adams Oshiomhole said Nigerians are currently suffering from “reckless policies” of former President Buhari.
He recalled that he faulted some of the policies that he said were designed to dehumanise the population.
Oshiomhole, who stated these in an interview on Channels Television late Sunday, said the current hardship being witnessed under the current administration were the long-term consequences of those policies of Buhari’s administration.
He said: “My first loyalty is to Nigeria. At some point, before the last President left office, I lamented loudly what I saw as reckless policies that were designed to dehumanise the population that was already in pain.
“I felt that it was not what the then president promised. I dissociated myself from those policies and I’m happy that I was not the only one.
“There were governors who approached the court to denounce some of those policies. It is the long-term consequences of those policies that we are still grappling with now.”
The former governor of Edo State added that President Tinubu should not be held responsible for whatever decisions embarked upon by the previous government.
“Yes, it is our party platform. Like Tinubu also said, he was not a minister or adviser. He never took a contract in that government and he cannot be held responsible for what the government did right or wrong,” he said.
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