Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo
By Ephraim Oseji & Lamidi Bamidele
A former governorship candidate in Oyo State, Hon. Saheed Ajadi, says Nigeria would have been rid of her economic challenges had former President Olusegun Obasanjo decentralized the country’s power sector.
Ajadi submitted that it was a big error on the part of the former Nigerian leader to have pumped billions of naira into a sector that was begging for decentralization.
The business man-cum-politician, who was the flag bearer of Accord Party in the 2019 elections, berated Obasanjo for some of the economic measures he took while in office which, according to him, were taken to placate the West.
Ajadi cited the example of the foreign debt Obasanjo paid off, adding that had such humongous amount been injected into the economy, the woes being experienced now would not have happened.
“A lot of economic policies introduced during the Obasanjo regime were done in bad faith”, Ajadi submitted.
“The problem the Obasanjo regime created is what the Buhari administration is dealing with now.
“It is a bandwagon effect. Okay, let me give you an instance on electricity; when President Obasanjo came in he said NEPA was moribund, was not functional; so why was he pumping money into NEPA when he knew it was moribund?
“Decentralization of NEPA would have been the best solution to our electricity woes then.
“If we have coal somewhere in the East that can generate electricity, let’s use it. If it is hydro in another part, let’s use hydro. The Federal Government can then align all the power generated in different parts and pack them in the national grid; that is the way Obasanjo ought to have taken”.
He continued, “America does not like us but Obasanjo likes America. Obasanjo, if we do not care, might become an agent of America and the West because all his policies were pro West.
“He gave back $20 billion to the Paris Club and the likes and said he will help us to negotiate our debt after we had paid $47 billion as interest for the money that never arrived in Nigeria.
“How much of that money came to Nigerian banks when they lent us that money?”
On the state of the economy in Oyo State, Ajadi wondered why despite the glaring signals of untapped economic potentials, the state government had not made any significant moves to harness economic opportunities but instead borrowing money to undertake projects that will not take the economy anywhere.
“What I expect Governor Makinde to be doing now is to strategize for Oyo State for the future”, the former candidate said.
“He ought to have come up with an economic roadmap for 20 years. What President Buhari is doing now will boost the economy of this state later, provided we tap into it.
“Right now, we are not aware that the population of Oyo State exploded. Look at the quantum leap of supermarkets in Ibadan for instance.Structures of various sizes are springing up because our consumption graph is going up.There is actually too much money around in some sectors that we need to take away and put in other sectors.
“When you go around Ibadan in the evening, look at the beer parlours, they are always filled to the brim.
“Where do they get the money? If I were the governor I will take little of that money and put elsewhere”
He maintained that Oyo is going backward economically because people at the helm of affairs are yet to take advantage of the state huge potentials, the reason he attributed to their non-preparedness for leadership. Ajadi, an accountant who had contested for the Senate twice before running for governorship, declared that he was able to cling the Accord Party ticket in 2019 due to his loyalty and steadfastness to the party, adding that those who claimed to love the party in 2011 and 2015 were only saying so because they saw the party as a perfect platform to actualize their gubernatorial ambitions.
He declared that the Accord Party faithful never expected him to stay in the party till 2019 after his disagreement with the former leader of the party, Sen. Rashidi Ladoja. Ajadi added that he was not surprised that Ladoja, a former governor, eventually ditched the party.
The former candidate said he would still contest for the gubernatorial election in 2023, saying that he has three economic strategies that will set Oyo on the path of economic buoyancy.