Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to listen to the cries of Nigerians and stop seeing those with opinions different from his own as threats.
The governor also told the President to face the reality that, “there is too much hunger in the land, Nigerians are hungry, they are suffering and the President should rather listen to those who are more knowledgeable than him in terms of the management of the country’s economy instead of seeing them as threats.”
Fayose, in a statement issued in Ado Ekiti on Wednesday by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, advised Buhari to realise that “a nation of hungry people is a nation of angry people.”
This is as the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria also expressed concern over hunger and poverty in the country and challenged the Federal Government to take urgent steps to correct the development.
The ASCSN on Wednesday also asked the Federal Government to take urgent steps and pay thousands of its workers their outstanding salaries and allowances in order to stimulate the economy.
The ASCSN Secretary-General, Alade Lawal, told journalists in Abuja that if the administration of Buhari proceeded to pay the arrears of salaries and allowances of federal civil servants, their purchasing powers would surely increase.
He said, “There is anger and hunger in the country and as a patriotic trade union organisation, we have decided to bring this deplorable situation to the notice of the government so that it can take necessary measures to stem the tide by doing the needful.”
Fayose added that the reactions of the President and his men to divergent opinions had become predictable.
He said, “This style of sending the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, Department of State Services and other agencies of the Federal Government against anyone that offers suggestions on how to rescue the country from total collapse is not in the best interest of Nigeria and its suffering masses.”
He suggested that the President seek help from economic experts in the country, not minding their political, religious and ethnic affiliations.
Fayose particularly singled out the two former governors of the Central Bank of Nigeria; the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and Prof. Charles Soludo, who spoke at different fora last week.
Fayose said, “Instead of adopting the usual style of trying to silence them with EFCC or ICPC, the President should listen to them and take their advice because they are experts in economic matters.
“It is no longer about politics. Rather, it is about preventing hunger from exterminating Nigerians and I am sure that the President himself knows that hunger does not understand political parties.
“A bag of rice that was less than N8,000 when President Buhari assumed office is now over N20,000! How can a civil servant that is earning N18, 000 minimum wage survive when his monthly salary cannot buy one bag of rice?
“Even basic drugs and medicare are getting out the reach of the common people and the resultant effect of this will be avoidable deaths.
“As of today, a bag of cement is N2, 200 – an increment of N600 on one bag in just one day. Within four months, the exchange rate rose with more than 150 per cent, with (the US) dollar that was a little above N200 then, now more than N400.”
According to the governor the harsh reality is that a Nigerian whose income was N100,000 per month in 2015 and still earning the same N100,000 now is actually earning less than N40,000 because what he could buy with N100,000 then cannot be bought with N200,000 now.
“This is the worst time for parents whose children and wards will be going back to school in September. How to pay school fees is causing depression for a lot of parents in just over a year of the Buhari administration.
“All these are signs that President Buhari needs help from those who can assist the country to avert the imminent economic collapse and he should not be ashamed to consult even those who ran the economy under the PDP (Peoples Democratic Party) government of Dr Goodluck Jonathan because it appears that things were better then than now.
“Therefore, rather than preoccupying himself with newspaper cartoons, our President should listen to suggestions being offered by Nigerians on ways to bring the country’s economy out of recession that it is now.”