‘Nigeria’s Economy Is Not Doing Well’ – Buhari Tells Governors

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Oasis Reporters

December 16, 2018

 

It was the unpleasant job of Abdulaziz Yari, Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), to tell the media what President Muhammadu Buhari told the governors about how bad Nigeria’s economy is doing.

 

Yari, who is governor of Zamfara state, disclosed this to state house correspondents on Friday after the governors met with Buhari for at least 30 minutes in the council chambers of the presidential villa in Abuja.

He said after thanking them, the president said “the economy is in bad shape and that we have to come together, think and rethink on the way forward”.

The governors met with Buhari over the lingering issue of a new minimum wage for workers.

Yari, who declined to comment on what they actually discussed with the President on the minimum wage, said the president “talked to us in a manner that we have task ahead of us, we should tighten our belt and see how we can put the Nigerian economy in the right direction.

“He wondered about what happened in the past; that for the 16 years of the now opposition party, the PDP in power and with oil at 2.1 barrels per day at an average of $100, many infrastructure are in bad shape.

“He is going to open a vigorous campaign and these are key issues that he is going to raise with Nigerians so that they can weigh their choices.

“When Mr. President came on board, 27 states out of 36 could not pay salaries some for 13, 12, eight, five months respectively.

“Our first encounter with him, he told us that we have no business of being in power if we cannot do the basic, that is pay workers. So he asked that we discussed how we can support those states that cannot pay salaries so that workers will be paid. Those in the position then came up with the idea of bailing out the states so that they can pay the arrears.

“But paying the arrears was not enough because the performance of the economy at that time could not sustain the current salaries, that was how he paid the London Paris Club in batches until we exited last month, the payment of London Paris Club has been lingering for the past 12 years.

“So we came here today to thank Mr. President because in bailing out states he did not discriminate along party lines unlike in those days when you can only get audience with Mr. President if you have long leg before the issue will be raised with minister of finance. He knew that Nigerians were going to be beneficiaries of the bailout, not governors. We believe without this mindset, it would have been difficult for us to govern.”

The disclosure on the economy and the inability to pay salaries comes against the backdrop of a looming general election in February 2019. Incidentally, the vice presidential candidate of the maligned opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Mr. Peter Obi was a governor who not only built infrastructure in his state, Anambra, he never owed salaries and at the end of his tenure as governor, left a financial surplus of 75 billion naira for his successor. He did that by building his state economy without relying exclusively on federally allocated revenue.

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.