A chieftain of the Northern Elders Forum and former Vice-Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University, Professor Ango Abdullahi, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to reshuffle his cabinet and flush out those cabinet members not measuring up.
Abdullahi said it was clear that Buhari’s cabinet consists of people that have nothing to offer, stressing that “there are many ways to compensate them, not necessarily through ministerial appointments.”
“Though President Muhammadu Buhari is facing challenges from all sectors, the issue of militancy in the Niger Delta is seriously affecting the country from meeting our OPEC quarter in oil production, huge sums of money is also going into fighting Boko Haram.
“The President should quickly send a Bill to the National Assembly so that they can empower him to use money that government so far recovered from corrupt Nigerians,” Abdullahi said.
He added: “The country is in a situation that the President should take extra measures even if he will go out of the constitution, let’s call it doctrine of necessity, so that the Executive Arm of Government which the President has direct control, can embark on measures that will revamp the economy, including taking soft foreign loans if necessary. Even developed countries take loans when they are facing recession so that they can put back their economy on track.”
While calling on Nigerians to support the Buhari administration, the retired varsity administrator said the call for prayers became imperative because the country was already deep into recession before he came on board, recalling that even the Jonathan administration was borrowing to pay salaries as far as 2014.
Abdullahi, who is a strong advocate of power shift, insisted that whether Buhari succeeded or not, in 2023, the Presidency of the country must shift to the South West in view of the role the region played in Buhari’s emergence.
He said Buhari “should quickly send a Bill to the National Assembly so that they can empower him to use money that government, so far, recovered from corrupt Nigerians.”
The former ABU helmsman commended the government for closing borders against illegal importation of goods, stating that this would encourage Nigerians to go back to farm en mass.
He, however, advised that government should release grains in its strategic reserve through cooperative societies to farmer so that it will cushion the suffering the ordinary people now face.
Abdullahi admitted that Nigerians were complaining bitterly about the current hardship, “because for the past 16 years of PDP, they got billions of dollars through oil revenue, but instead of investing it in our infrastructure, they looted it.
“Rice is now selling for N19,000 plus, roughly N20,000. This is affecting the ordinary Nigerians seriously, coupled with the fact that there is scarce money in circulation.”
“Former Finance Minister, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, came up with the idea of sovereign funds so that whenever oil was no longer selling at a high price, like what is obtainable now, we can deep our hand into the sovereign account and run the country without going into recession or borrowing, but because former President Jonathan was a weak leader, he succumbed to pressures from the then governors and they shared out the money which they later embezzled.”
He stressed the need to thoroughly investigate all those that served under Jonathan and those found guilty should have their ‘loot’ forfeited, saying such persons should “go to jail and also be banned from holding public office for life. This will serve as a lesson for those that have the tendency to steal from public coffers.
“Whether Nigerians like it or not, after President Buhari, the country can never be the same, public office holders will think twice before stealing government’s money, while Nigerians too, in future elections, will no longer vote on the basis of who and who are contesting in Buhari’s party, people will now vote for politicians based on their credibility, performance in office and their antecedent, as such, whether we like it or not, President Muhammadu Buhari, who has respect all over the world as a man of integrity and honesty, has created a legacy that will change the politics of Nigeria for life.
“It is unfortunate that members of the National Assembly are not operating on the same page with the President. That is why when the Presidency is working hard to revamp the economy, members of the National Assembly are busy padding our budget. But quote me, in 2019, you will see changes in the pattern of voting, the ordinary man today is wiser,” he concluded.