By Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye
Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, a Chieftian of the All Progress Congress (APC) on Monday advised President Muhammadu Buhari to overhaul existing institutional mechanisms to quickly ease the nation out of recession.
Baba-Ahmed made the suggestion at the opening of a two-day summit organised by Northern Elders Forum in Kaduna.
He said that the president must also tinker with his economic team to inject fresh ideas on how to quickly steer Nigeria out of its current economic problems.
Baba-Ahmed, a retired Federal Permanent Secretary, said the government must apply urgency in tackling the recession, just as is being applied to tackle natural disasters.
According to him, the level of response so far, has not done justice to the magnitude of the problem.
“Nigerians all understand that a combination of past abuses and mismanagement of the economy and the collapse of crude prices and sabotage of oil and gas facilities have created a most challenging environment for the management of the economy.
“We will not join those who say President Buhari should stop reminding us of a past that is haunting us today.
“We will insist that we hear daily what leaders did in the past, so that we can guard against letting people like them back into power.
“But we will join those who remind him daily that hunger is stalking millions of homes. Inflation is making life difficult by the day.“
The APC stalwart said that people are losing jobs, businesses are closing down even as infrastructure is decaying.
“Young Nigerians are losing hope of being employed. Our hospitals are full of people who suffer mysterious illnesses, and they cannot afford the fees.
“Moving from where we are to where we need to be will require patience and fortitude.
“Until we get there, it will be President Buhari’s lot to assemble the Nigerians to advise him and take forward his vision.
“He will need people who will convey his concerns and compassion; who will reach and bring comfort to millions who suffer in an economy under recession; and people who will combine his personal integrity with competence and commitment,“ Baba-Ahmed said.
Baba-Ahmed explained that Nigerians were right when they insisted that the people surrounding the President were not projecting his image and vision.
He stressed that those advising Buhari to do more in managing current recession, fight against corruption, and in uniting the nation, were patriots who meant well for the country.
“Most of them are people who voted for him because they shared his belief that we can live secure lives; that leaders do not have to steal our resources and that our children can live in, and work in a nation they can be proud of.”
Earlier, Chairman Organizing Committee of the Summit, Prof. Ango Abdullahi said it was organised to x-ray issues of security, politics, economy that border on the development of the northern region.
Abdullahi said unfolding events in the last 17 months of the present administration showed that “while some of these challenges such as security and corruption are being seriously addressed a number of new ones mainly political and econmic are rearing their ugly heads.
“This is why we are here for this two-day summit and i hope contributions to the debate will be frank and honest without bitterness.
“ Without honest and knowledge-based discourse, solutions to the challenges facing the country in general and the north in particular will continue to elude us and the consequences of failure could only be imagined.“
Prominent personalities including the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, Mr Paul Onongu, Gov. Kashim Shettima of Borno, PDP National Caretaker Committee Chairman, Ahmed Makarfi, are among those attending the summit.