A group, the South-East South-South Professionals of Nigeria, on Thursday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a three-year state of emergency on the nation’s economy as a matter of urgency.
The group’s President, Mr. Emeka Ugwu-Oju, made the call in an interview with State House correspondents shortly after leading a delegation to meet Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo behind closed doors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Ugwu-Oju said Buhari should immediately commence the process of the declaration of the state of emergence in consultation with the National Assembly.
He said it was important for Nigerians to realise that the nation’s economy was bad and should not view it as something that will go away soon.
In finding a lasting solution, he said all Nigerians must be ready to play their roles.
He said, “On the current state of the economy, we strongly suggested and advised that Mr. President, as a matter of urgency in consultation with the National Assembly, declare a three-year state of emergency on the economy.
“This is not about APC and PDP; it is something that is non-partisan. Our economy is bad and people should realise that because we are making it seem like is something that will go away.
“We were having $100 a barrel and now we might not have $50 a barrel in the next three years and we have to factor it in.
“This issue of fuel scarcity is a typical example of what has happened, we didn’t plan for it before, we now have to get every citizen not a question of Mr. Bad or Mr. Good, the total leadership has to realise that all Nigerians have to come together, we have to roll up our sleeves so that everyone has a role to play.”
Ugwu-Oju said to move the nation forward, all Nigerians irrespective of their status must be ready to make sacrifices, saying sacrifices should not be restricted to the poor alone.
For instance, he said state governors and ministers among other top government officials must learn to travel in Economy Class while flying.
He said leaders could not be telling the followers that things are bad when they are busy drinking champagne and flying private jets.
He added that the belt-tightening measures should also not be restricted to the public sector alone, saying the private sector must also embrace them.
“We have to sacrifice. It is not just the poor that should be sacrificing alone. For example, I see no reason why any minister, governor or whoever should be traveling outside Economy Class.
“We have to show that things are bad. You can’t tell me things are bad and I see you drinking champagne, flying first class or private jet, same goes for the private sector.
“These were the things we tried to make the Vice-President know and then communicate. We had a good engagement and as you know he is very intelligent, very hardworking, very cerebral and we are happy he is the Vice-President of the country,” he added.
Ugwu-Oju also disclosed that the group is planning a second South-South South-East Forum scheduled for April 28 and 29 and members of the delegation used the opportunity to invite Osinbajo to be the special guest of honour, an invitation he said the Vice-President gladly accepted.
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