Worried by the poor state of the economy which has brought unprecedented hardship and hunger on the masses, Senator Dino Melaye has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take urgent and drastic measures to reboot the ailing economy. Melaye is Chairman, Senate Committee on FCT.
Last week, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), a government agency, released its report which covered the first six months of the year, indicating that the economy is the worst in 29 years. In the report, unemployment rate is 19.3% while inflation is 17.1%
Part of the measures canvassed by Senator Melaye include the immediate sack of three prominent members of the Federal Executive Council. However, many prominent Nigerians yesterday reacted to Melaye’s comment.
In a statement issued in Abuja, entitled, “The barking is over, it’s time to bite,” the All Progressives Congress (APC) Senator representing Kogi West accused most members of Buhari’s cabinet of what he called gross incompetence, inexcusable ineptitude and a distressing lack of capacity to deliver on the mandate of their ministries/agencies.
Melaye has called for the sack of three key officials of the Buhari economic team.
He called on the President to constitute an “Emergency Ad hoc Economic Team” made up of all former ministers of finance, budget and national planning, CBN governors as well as members drawn from the academia with “deep knowledge of developmental economics to drive the economic revival programme”
“The President must immediately transit from mere rhetoric to drastic but positive action to save the economy and Nigeria from total collapse. The hunger in the land is real, pervasive, widespread and debilitating for the poor masses. As I walk the streets of my constituency these days, I constantly harbour a foreboding that I could be stoned by my angry constituents for the failure of Mr President to fulfil his campaign promises and expectations to Nigerians.”
“Nigeria is tottering on a dangerous precipice, sliding perilously to a certain catastrophe if the current economic malaise is not halted immediately.”
“I was a permanent fixture at the All Progressives Congress (APC’s) presidential campaign rallies and events, functioning mostly as the Master of Ceremonies (MC). I am a proud APC member, a party bonafide with great stakes in the success or failure of this administration, so no one can accuse me of sour grapes or meddlesomeness.”
Reacting to Melaye’s comment, former Minister of Transport, Ebenezer Babatope said the Buhari administration has nothing to offer Nigerians and should resign.
“APC is punishing Nigerians with their actions and decisions. The best thing for President Buhari and his administration to do is to have the courage to resign, call for fresh elections and get new powers because they have failed. There is so much hunger in the land. It is not about just sacking his economic team and getting new people.
“The fact is that they do not have what to offer Nigerians, so both he and his team should resign, so that fresh elections can be conducted. They have no idea what it means to govern. They are just wasting our time as they do not have the intellectual capacity to govern. Let them just admit to Nigerians that that they are not competent so that we can have new elections,” he said.
National Auditor of the APC, Chief George Moghalu said the Senator was entitled to his position on measures to revive the ailing economy.
He said:” That’s his view and I am sure he didn’t just wake up to say this. I hope he has his reasons for demanding for the sack of certain ministers.”
Former governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, yesterday described Melaye as a role model considering his frankness on issues.
He said: “I think that young man, Senator Dino Melaye, has become a role model. This is because it is not easy for someone to benefit from a system and still criticise that system. I do not know if President Buhari has any economic team. People are dying everyday. I do not know how anybody can come out to defend what is happening under the present administration. The change that they promised us has become like from frying pan to fire.”
For former minister of information, Prince Tony Momoh, there is nothing wrong in what the Kogi State-born Senator said. His words: “It is his own opinion. There is freedom of expression. People have their own views. For instance, there is hunger in the land and people are expressing anger. But everybody knows that the only language that hunger understands is food. Manna does not fall from heaven now. When the Israelites got to Canaan, manna stopped from falling from heaven.
“We prefer imported rice to that grown in Nigeria but we do not have money to pay. There is economic recession worldwide. There is hardly any country including Saudi Arabia that is not either in recession or expecting recession soon. ”
Also reacting, Second Republic National Assembly member, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, has thrown his weight behind Melaye. He said those who are managing the economy are “grossly incompetent.”
Mohammed said: “I support the call by Melaye that the economic team of the President should be sacked. In the first place, they are not even qualified to be appointed. They have not managed anything like this before.
He, however, took a swipe at Melaye, accusing him of lacking the moral right to advise Buhari on what to do. “Dino Melaye should not speak. He is one of the lawmakers in the National Assembly backing Saraki and he is allegedly corrupt. The National Assembly is partly responsible for the problems we are in. If I have my way, I will even sack them,” he added.