Nigerian elders to Buhari: Sack your cabinet now

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Former minister of Works, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe, former member of the House of Representatives, Dr. Junaid Mohammed and former national vice president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Fidelis Edeh, have advised President Muhammadu Buhari to rejig his cabinet in 2018.

Dr. Mohammed specifically urged the president sit up and offer leadership next year.

He also urged the president to perform surgery on his cabinet and replace those he called ‘dead woods.’ He said Buhari’s retuning his cabinet will help inject new life into governance and also, deliver on his promises.

Mohammed, a former delegate to the 2014 National Conference, noted that the president has been unable to effectively manage the economy and deliver on his promise to change Nigeria because he has allowed others to run his government for him.

“I want Mr. President to govern this country effectively. He is not in charge , a cabal is running things on his behalf.”

The former parliamentarian maintained that “the economy is in tatters, Boko Haram is bouncing back, government can’t address fuel scarcity, everything is in bad shape.”

He also advised the president to focus more on delivering good governance in 2018 than playing politics of re-election.

“I would want President Buhari to fix his eyes on providing leadership and lessening the hardship in the country, than pursuing a re-election agenda. His government hasn’t done much in the last few years because of the activities of cabal in his government,” he reiterated.

To Edeh, Buhari must bring in new hands in his government, so as to deliver on his promises to Nigerians.

The former labour  leader also urged Buhari to learn from what happened to his predecessor, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, in 2015, by ensuring that his government is connected with the people in 2018.

Edeh urged the president to de-emphasise politics, “even if he is interested in re-election in 2019 and let his works speak for him.”

The former labour leader stressed that Buhari should,  as a matter of urgency, review his cabinet, bearing in mind his promises to Nigerians.

He also asked the president to find out whether his intention for Nigeria is actually in tandem with the realities on ground.

But, Publicity Secretary of Afenifere,  Yinka Odumakin disagreed on what the president should focus on next year.

To Afenifere, the most important gift the president can give to Nigerians will be to reconsider his opposition to restructuring of the country.

Odumakin, who spoke against the backdrop of  how Nigeria fared this year and what to expect in 2018, said the sharing formula has failed and that the only way the country can move forward is to restructure and become a productive-based economy.

“Nigeria has reached a crisis point and there is no way out, except we restructure this country. The budget the president read three weeks ago, for 2018, was N8.6 trillion, which comes to $23 billion for 200 million people. In 1983, then president Shehu Shagari budgeted $25 billion for 80 million people.

“So, even if we are talking of corruption today, this country cannot make it on the basis of what we are getting now except we become productive and get our people back to work because, if it is on the basis of this sharing money every month, in Abuja, the engine of this country has knocked and there is nothing anybody can do about it. So, he should and he must reconsider restructuring of Nigeria. This is the starting point; every other thing will follow. What we have now is that there is no hardware for Nigeria, we are trying software where there is no hardware, but when we put the hardware in place, the software will follow…”

Ogunlewe aligned with Mohammed and Ezeh; that president Buhari rejig his cabinet next year because the present federal cabinet is too slow.

Besides, he said the federal government should  go back to the drawing board and come up with policies that will move the country out of the doldrums.

Ogunlewe, who is  a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP), stated this, yesterday.

He said government  must re-strategise  and come  up with new policies that will better the lots of Nigerians.

“The president should rejig his cabinet. The cabinet is too slow. How can we lose four million jobs in a year? Losing four million jobs in a year should be of concern to everybody. The government must re-strategise and come up with new policies.”

Besides, Ogunlewe tasked government to reinvest the money it has made from increase in the pump price of petrol in either making the refineries work or build new ones because “government realised about N1.2 trillion from the increase.”

The former senator noted that the country has no business exporting crude oil to refine and that government should take a decisive step and ensure the country’s crude oil are refined in Nigeria, next year.

Moreover, Ogunlewe admonished the All Progressive Congress (APC)-led Federal Government to dwell less on propanganda in 2018. He said government should endeavour to tell the citizens the truth on issues affecting the country in the coming year.

Meanwhile, when Daily Sun sought to know the expectation of the PDP from the government in 2018, its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan said: “The APC-controlled federal government has failed to deliver on one promise to Nigerians since 2015. In 2018, what else will Nigerians expect?”

On his part, Secretary General of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Anthony Sani urged the president to concentrate on the revamping the economy.

“Given the rising cost of crude oil in the international market, government’s determination to use the approved $1 billion to fight Boko Haram and address the underlying causes of insecurity, determination to fight corruption more than ever before, as well as to revamp the economy, I expect the situation in 2018 to be better than that of this year.

“This will be especially so if the government puts its acts more together and avoid the impression of a divided presidency.

“I am very impressed with government’s decision to increase dependence on taxes as sources of funds for the budget, in the sense that its benefits go beyond the economy to include the fight against corruption. Once people begin to know that their taxes provide the funds government needs, they will make judicious use of their democratic right and elect credible leaders and would hold the government accountable, unlike the practice where Nigeria is a ‘Trust  Fund State’ in which the beneficiaries do not provide the funds.

“The only drawback in the budget is the fact that government should have known that the challenges posed by Niger Delta Avengers and the role of OPEC would make projection of revenues at 2.3 million barrels per day to be unrealistic as now shown by OPEC’s pegging of our production ceiling at 1.8 million barrels per day. A difference of 0.5 barrels per day is too much. But, I hope the expected increase in the price of oil will offset this shortfall in the budget.”

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