He said that dramatic measures were required to get the economy back on track, portraying the consequences of the policies as the side effects of the drugs used to treat the problem.
The senator from Edo North expressed hope that the President and his deputy, Kashim Shetima, will be able to reverse the trend with their unconventional approach to governing.
Former Edo State governor Oshiomhole spoke with reporters after meeting with Vice President Shettima at his office at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
According to him, the difficult decisions made thus far were unavoidable given how awful things were when they took over and the necessity to get things back on track.
However, the senator, who previously served as National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), urged Nigerians to give the administration more time, stressing that dealing with the type of economic difficulties that the administration inherited takes time and the correct procedures to salvage the situation.
He praised the government’s efforts to implement macroeconomic policies and stressed the significance of collaboration between the administration and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
When asked if he discussed economic concerns with the vice president, Oshiomhole responded no, but added that “economic issues are a work in progress.” There is no quick solution.
“The government took over a disastrous economic situation.” Everyone is aware of it. The administration inherited an economy in which our total national revenue was barely enough to service our debt burden, spending 96%, which means that for every N100,000 Nigeria generates, N96,000 is spent on debt repayment. So you barely have N4,000 left to pay all of the salary.
“So nothing could be worse.” But they came convinced that they would have to do unorthodox business in order to stop the slide, stabilise the economy, and then begin to go forward.
“Some difficult decisions must be made.” It’s just like any of us who has been unfortunate enough to have a medical condition that necessitates surgery. If you want to act the part, you can apply Vaseline, perfumes, lotions, and wear abariga to cover up all the symptoms of the sickness. However, a competent doctor who believes in medical ethics will inform you that you require surgery.
“In the short run, surgery will be painful.” They will provide you with temporary pain relief. However, they simply alleviate pain and do not cure the condition. You require surgery and are wheeled to the operating room. It could take three to six months. But after you recover from that operation and bounce back, you must follow all of the rules of the game, some of which may necessitate a new way of life or a change in lifestyle. You’ll return and discover that you’re fit enough to compete in a relay race. That, I believe, is the type of analogy we can draw in terms of where we are now.
“Already, the executive – the president and vice president – have shown courage in the decisions they’ve made, a radical shift away from one in which if you’re well connected, you can make billions without adding value to one in which you have to work if you want to make money.”
“We’ve moved away from a situation in which the CBN can favour you and make you a billionaire, or they can impoverish you and cause your business to fail.” Yes, it has brought new issues, but I am not aware of any drug that does not have side effects.”
“Doctors will always tell you that while a drug may cure your condition, it will have a side effect.” So, before you take it, you must conduct a cost-benefit analysis. Overall, I feel that the broad economic, specific macroeconomic policies that have been implemented thus far, both in terms of monetary and fiscal policies, are the best approach to begin.”
“You may recall that just recently, a finance minister distanced herself from the monetary policies of a CBN Governor, and they were not speaking.” There is no way to go to your destination if your hand and leg are not walking in unison.
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“So, I believe we are in a better position now.” But my argument to Nigerians is that when I say I will bail you out, I will solve a sophisticated system that is broken, everyone understands that the more dire the situation, the more time I will need to make the right decision.
“Given the scarcity of data and other basic infrastructure, you need to make some quick decisions, but decisions must be made.”
Oshiomhole underlined the significance of making difficult decisions for the long-term good of the nation, drawing on his experience as a former governor.
“I did the same thing when I was governor.” Let me use my first six months to make the difficult decisions, I added. I may lose a few friends in the process, but as those decisions begin to appear and translate into advantages, I will gain more friends, not just the ones I have lost.
“That’s what happened in Edo, and by the time I was running for my second term, I had received more votes than in my first term because some of the difficult decisions I made in my first term were realised.”
“There is no quick fix and no miracle in the life of a nation state.” Leaders and statesmen, as they say, plan for the future, whereas short-sighted politicians plan for the present. “I’m confident that Nigeria is in good hands.”
Oshiomhole concluded by expressing trust in President Tinubu’s leadership, noting that Nigeria is in good hands.