Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari said the country’s economy is in “bad shape,” according to the chairman of the Nigeria Governor’s Forum, Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State. The governor was speaking to reporters Friday 14 December after an emergency meeting of the governors with the president.
Buhari is seeking a second term in the February 16 general election in which the economy has become the main focal issue of the campaigns.
Nigeria’s economy which in 2016 sank into recession for the first time in 25 years years under the president’s watch is just emerging from the recession with very a sluggish growth. Last week, the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics, NBS, put the 2018 third quarter growth at a mere 1.81% behind government’s projection of 3%. Consumer prices also hiked by 11.28% in November compared with a year ago.
“Mr. President, as usual, responded by telling us that the economy is in a bad shape and we have to come together and think and rethink on the way forward,” Abdulaziz Yari told reporters when asked how Buhari answered requests for a bailout to some States.
“Mr. President talked to us in the manner that we have a task ahead of us. So, we should tighten our belts and see how we can put the Nigerian economy in the right direction,” he said.
No presidency official has refuted the statement by Mr Yari who is of the same APC party as the president.
The main opposition candidate, businessman and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, has criticized Buhari’s handling of the economy and said that, if elected, he would aim to double the size of the economy to $900 billion by 2025.
Atiku Abubakar called on President Buhari to resign over admittance that the economy has failed.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Sunday by his Special Assistant on Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu, Mr Abubakar described President Buhari’s statement as a ploy to attract the sympathy of Nigerians and a disguise to get a soft landing from aggrieved Nigerians unhappy with his performance.
“The result of course is this late hour confession of failure on the eve of our general elections, in the hope that millions of Nigerians, whom he has condemned to poverty and hardship will give him a clap for failing abysmally. I dare say that President Buhari has miscalculated badly on this matter because Nigerians are simply fed up with him.”
“The economy has collapsed under his watch and he has by this frank remarks admitted that he has no idea on how to fix it and that is why he summoned the governors to help him. This is really very sad because President Buhari has run out of time and what Nigerians need now is a leadership which has the political will, administrative experience and sound economic acumen to get Nigeria working again,” Mr Shuaibu said.
Mr Abubakar said the honourable step to take is for the president to step down from his position.