‘APC must be proactive in resolving Nigeria’s challenges’
Call it political uncertainty, name it economic recession or chronic poverty level, the fact remains that the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), is yet to find a way around the harsh economic situation, which has subjected Nigerians to groaning and lamentations over the past one year.
Despite the promises made by the APC during the campaign period to readjust the economy and make the country workable within a year, which ultimately raised people’s hope, the expectation is gradually turning to depression and disappointment as many Nigerians continue to call the ruling party to question.
Looking at the scenario, the Convener of the Coalition of Democrats for Electoral Reforms (CODER) and former Secretary, National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), Mr. Ayo Opadokun recently said that Nigerians have the right to agitate, bearing the fact that the present economic situation is terrible. He however pleaded for understanding and time to allow the administration settle down.
In a similar vein, a founding member of the APC, Prince Tony Momoh, while defending the administration over complaints that the government has failed to deliver on its promised change, said many of the challenges weighing heavily on it were as a result of the monumental “rot it found when it assumed office.”
He said Nigerians should “Stone us, if within two years the government fails to reverse the situation,” even as he stressed that this government is laying the foundation for a new and better country.
Meanwhile, former Commissioner of Health in Rivers State, Dr. Samson Parker said the APC government needed to be proactive in finding lasting solution to the economic hardship facing the people.
According to him, “The reality is greater number of the population are facing the heat of the present economic situation therefore government must concentrate a lot of supportive efforts to help those who are most vulnerable, especially the disempowered youths without jobs and women.”
He warned that if those categories of people did not see help on time “whatever explanations and plans you offer will fall on deaf ears. Give them jobs or support them with short to medium term grants while fixing the fundamentals of the problem.”
According to him, “Recession is a performance measure in a time-frame, it is not fixed, and it is a measure that says to us, at this point in time, you are not doing enough, given the facts. We can’t fight the facts or brood over it, we should get on with it.”
To him: “Nigeria fought a civil war and came out strong and rich; we have battled economic downturns such as Structural Adjustments Programme (SAP) and many others, we did not overcome those things by blaming each other, and we did so because we accepted our conditions and rolled our sleeves. In the main, it means our productive capacities are down; governments at all levels must therefore have credible and feasible plans to revive and energise productive areas of our economy. They cannot do this by going all over the map; they must choose priorities, champion and elect areas of the economy for quick wins and long-term sustainability.”
Parker, who was recently recognized by the African Institute of Public Health Practitioners, (AIPHP), over of his role in the control of the recent Ebola outbreak, added that since nobody could predict what the price of oil (the country’s main resource) would be in six months or one year, “the government must spread our risk and move more towards revenue we can predict and limit our exposure to risky revenue; we don’t just diversify, we must diversify strategically.”
He advised that the notion of diversification must be qualified because it must be SMART – specific, measurable, assignable (those who will do it), realistic and time-bound.
“It cannot happen overnight, it takes time, but as decision-makers we have control over what we intend to do, hence we should be able to have plans with moving targets, what do I mean by this?”
According to him, “Our leaders must move away from pessimism to optimal then to maximal by targeting our diversification smartly to each scenario.”
The former health commissioner also tasked politicians on the need to define the country’s problems and find the best practitioners to elucidate the problem, quantify it, and proffer the solutions.