The global standards for gauging a virile opposition are constructive criticisms and useful engagements. The voice of the opposition is respected when it sets aside sentiments, pettiness and propaganda in times of national emergencies to join hands with the government of the day to solve problems. After this order was the opposition in the First Republic.
Alas, this is not the case with the disgruntled and deluded opposition in Nigeria today. What we have today is a congregation of power-seeking individuals lurking under the cloak of opposition to make issues or political gains out of everything. In their usual characteristics of concocting and spewing lies, the opposition, out of desperation, has consistently sought to mislead Nigerians on the true state of the current round of recession the country found itself.
It is a known fact today that over 40 countries are currently in recession, including some advanced economies. This is exacerbated by the lockdown effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hence, for some opposition elements to ask President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to accept responsibility for the state of the economy and the current economic recession is laughable, preposterous and silly.
Instead of commending President Muhammadu Buhari and his team of indefatigable appointees for working round the clock to maintain economic stability since COVID-19 pandemic broke out, the opposition with their shrill voices deems it convenient to heap the blame on the Buhari-led government.
Where opposition is worth its salt, it is supposed to reach out to government in synergy on the best strategy to tackle the recession. In case the lackadaisical opposition has forgotten, they left an economy that is wholly dependent on oil. They should also note that President Buhari has thrown everything to the works to reverse this trend by diversifying the economy to Agriculture, mining and other sectors.
These sullen political elements may not also be aware that the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the global economy, leading to adverse effects on the demand and prices of crude oil in the international market, which before now, had been the mainstay of the Nigerian economy. Thank God that President Buhari is reversing this trend.
In the face of devastated global economy due to effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, serious oppositions in other climes are making frantic efforts to put the systems in order, for the benefit of their countries, but in Nigeria, the opposition is doing everything to demonise the government. Should politicking be the priority in times of national emergency such as this? If the opposition truly loves Nigeria, shouldn’t it join hands with the government to salvage the situation? These set of Nigerians parading as opposition need to be fair to President Buhari and stop demonizing his government for cheap political point.
The only thing that appeals to their ant-infested ears is bad news about Nigeria. If not, what can be more soothing than the assurance by the Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, who on Monday, said the country will exit recession by the first quarter of 2021 as the Nigerian government is working towards reversing the declining economic trend in the country?
Economic experts have also lent their voices on the leeway out of the recession. They have advised government to, as a matter of policy and action, diversify Nigeria’s economic structure away from primary products export and manufactured goods import, as well as deepen the value chain approach to agriculture if it must exit the current recession. These prescriptions are in tandem with the policy focus of President Buhari. Besides, the president is frontally tackling cases of insecurity around the country to ensure peace and stability as well as improved investment climate in the post-COVID-19 era.
The opposition had claimed that “the economic recession Nigeria faces is a fallout of President Buhari and APC’s restrictive, vindictive and anti-trade policies, bizarre foreign exchange controls and monetary policies that impede growth, an over-bloated public sector that encourages waste and incurable corruption, reckless treasury looting and failure to decisively deal with the escalated insecurity, which has destroyed economic activities in most parts of our country.”
Needless to answer the opposition but suffice it to say that the party is barefaced. What is the opposition taking Nigerians for? Which insecurity? The one they left for the Buhari administration to tackle? Laughable of all is the opposition describing President Buhari’s government as incurably corrupt, reckless treasury looting. Who else does not know that the opposition squandered Nigeria’s patrimony when Crude Oil was selling for above 100 dollars?
Recession is a period of significant decline in activities across the economy characterised by low industrial production and manufacturing, high inflation, rising unemployment, falling purchasing power, low fiscal spending, as well as poor consumer spending, among others. These are the more reasons why the opposition should hold its peace and allow the government to concentrate on fixing the problems. It is not insurmountable. The President Muhammadu Buhari-led government did it before in 2016, and will do it again this time around.
My appeal to Nigerians of goodwill is to disregard the destructive antics of the opposition and support government to once again waggle Nigeria out of recession.
– Ibrahim is director, Communications and Strategic Planning, of the Presidential Support Committee (PSC)