As part of it’s efforts to manage the economic situation the country has found itself since the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic, Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (N.E.S.P.) headed by Vice President, Yemi Osibanjo, last week submitted a #2.3 trillion stimulus package proposal to the federal government. The more than 60 pages proposal which attempted to involve every aspect of the country’s economy as well as make provisions for palliatives received backlash from Debo Onifade while he was speaking at the weekly online Liberating Nigeria talkshow.
Debo Onifade who is the convener of Liberating Nigeria, a political forum where young persons can air their views and share their thoughts on politics and policies pointed out various defects in the proposal which he described as vague and infeasible. He said unlike the American stimulus package proposal which was in just 4 pages and contained vital information for public understanding, the VP’s proposal was too long and didn’t contain important information that the public needed to know but rather details that should have been kept privy to the public.
He said Nigerians no longer trust anything that has to do with money or financial transactions in the government as they believe that it will only end up a means of embezzlement for government officials, so, the VP should have put this into deep consideration before reeling out such a proposal. A government should not give a #2.3trillion expense package and expect the public to accept it without stating explicitly what it will be used for.
According to him, the stimulus package contained giving out a certain amount of money to the less privileged and the poor but didn’t state how the beneficiaries will be determined. If it was meant to serve as palliatives for a set of people, what criteria would determine people that qualify for it? On giving billions of the package to set up solar panels for rural communities, Onifade said only a specific region that is the North will benefit from this as it is a well known fact that solar panels only work effectively in the North, will the south then be marginalized? What happens to rural communities in the South? He asked.
He added that as much as he is not entirely kicking against the setting up of solar panels for rural commuties, the document did not state if there is a laid down strategy to recuperate the funds back into the national purse and didn’t state if it will be given out with no refund from the commuties which he considers waste of national resource.
Speaking on the nomination of two-time Minister of Finance in Nigeria, Dr Okonjo-Iweala’s nomination for Director-General of the World Trade Organization, Onifade expressed displeasure at the federal government CS move and described it as unfair to Mr Yoniv Frederick Agah whom President Buhari had earlier nominated. He said the government should have stuck with Agah considering that he has been with the organization and would understand the workings of the organization better and also, seeing that Iweala has a lot of engagements at hand already.
He opined that Dr Iweala is simply being too ambitious and has the back up of the West who want to use her emergence as compensation for the Nigerian government should Mr Akinwunmi Adesina of the African Development Bank encounter a fall out in his election for second term.
He then expressed displeasure at the fact that African countries cannot hold opinions or make appointments and nominations without interference from the west. This is the same issue that has plagued the AFDB, Mr Adesins is currently facing challenges in his bid for second term as the West brought up series of allegations against all of which he has responded to and proved himself innocent, although past and present leaders of African countries are solidly behind him, he is finding it difficult with the West who also have shared in the AFDB. This goes to show how much needs to be done for Africans to be totally independent of the West if we indeed want significant progress in the continent.
Onifade stated his thoughts on the recent political brouhaha facing political parties especially the ruling party All Progressives Congress regarding the forthcoming elections in Ondo and Edo states. Like he had pointed out in his book, he asserted that it was wrong for a young politician to engage in a face off with his godfather, he said the Edo state governor, Godwin Obaseki could have handled the situation better rather than shaming his godfather, he however believes that he will get the PDP ticket as the other aspirants will step down for him,
Meanwhile, it is quite glaring that the two major political parties in Nigeria only consist of the same people who simply move from one to another, with the manner and simplicity at which Obaseki moved from the APC following his disqualification from the governorship race to the PDP and with likely winning of the ticket to run for election. This is why young people need to get into politics and understand it’s processes and procedures so we can flush out the old or traditional politicians out of the system and take over for visible development.
Young people need to participate in elections, use their voting right to elect new breed politicians who have the right policies and manpower to move the country from the present situation to where it ought to be.