Former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo, has observed that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) government has no master plan for industrialisation because its seems to be adopting the model of the immediate past Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government.
Soludo, who was CBN Governor during the Olusegun Obasanjo administration and part of the Umaru Yar’Adua government, pointed out that the master plan, which APC seems to be using, was designed for an old order.
According to him, the APC government seems to be just tinkering at the margins here and there, but has not really come out with a brand new industrialisation plan, which will create jobs.
Soludo, who spoke at the 4th Progressive Governance Lecture Series which was organised by the APC Governors’ Forum in Kaduna yesterday, noted that “the old order was predicated on the assumption that once you get prices and infrastructure right, everything else will follow.”
He argued that this assumption is not suitable “for an economy that is structurally mired in the mud.”
He maintained that Greece and other countries that are failing have 24 hours power supply and good infrastructure, “yet their economies are imploding massively.”
Soludo, who spoke on the theme, “Building the economy of states: Challenges of developing inclusively sustainable growth,” lamented that APC still operates with a “mindset that is still stuck in the past, for an economy that we no longer live in.”
The professor of Economics said that APC is still behaving as if the party is in a campaign mood when it is actually in government. “All it has been doing is blame PDP, blame oil prices, blame corruption, which is fair enough,” he said.
Soludo said that Nigerians precisely elected APC because the party “convinced Nigerians that those were the problems of the country and, therefore, Nigerians decided to give APC the mandate to fix them. So, you cannot continue to blame PDP again.”
The former PDP gubernatorial candidate in Anambra State said that reminding Nigerians of the past is only a good strategy if it will keep their attention away from the current failing of APC government, adding that the strategy “will not carry us far.”
The professor also lamented that the nation’s economy is characterised by a partial distribution of wealth and poverty, adding that there is a growing phenomenon of dynasty of poor people, where poor parents give birth to children who end up becoming poor.
Soludo pointed out that most of the 11 frontline states that are threatened by desertification are APC states and they are the poorest in the country.
“Ironically, they are the states with the highest rate of population growth,” he said, adding that agricultural production in those states is down by 20 per cent. He advised northern state governors to do something in order to modulate the increasing population or else the time bomb will consume everyone.
“The idea that a poor guy who has no means of livelihood can have 30 or 40 children, with nothing to offer them and the state doesn’t have the resources to give them capacity to participate, is dangerous.
You are building an army and a time bomb that may consume everyone sooner than later,” he stated. Soludo noted that the current economic recession is an opportunity for Nigeria to actualise the 54-year-old aspiration to diversify the economy as contained in the 1962 development plan.
He, however, said that in spite of all the odds and challenges that Nigeria is faced with today, “I still see hope. I still see greatness that awaits Nigeria in the future.” According to him, the present recession is a blessing because it presents an opportunity for Nigeria to start a new beginning.
Earlier, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo said that the challenges that Nigeria is facing today are not self-inflicted.
“Some of them are historical and they are legacy challenges. But then, we are required to come to the table with fresh ideas and innovations to solve some of these problems,” he said. Osinbajo, who chaired the occasion, warned that “so many of the problems are not problems that can be resolved within a few months or even years. But we are called upon at this time to make a difference.”