Charles Soludo, former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), says the Muhammadu Buhari administration is only fighting the symptoms of corruption.
Soludo, who spoke at the fourth “Progressive Governance Lecture Series” in Kaduna on Thursday, said for the current war against corruption to be successful and enduring, it must be tackled from the systemic level rather than just dealing with the symptoms.
He added that the Nigerian economy is stuck on a slippery muddy length and would need to be totally reset.
Speaking at the lecture, which was organised by the 23 governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Soludo said the fight against corruption should be targeted at fixing the system.
“I feel we are fighting corruption at the symptomatic manifestation level, at the transaction level. For the fight against corruption to become enduring and to achieve a purpose, we need to get to the systemic level,” he said.
“The way we are going about it is fantastic. You finish, you close here, the other place is leaking. The system, as currently structured, you can only fight the symptoms.”
Speaking on the topic ‘Fragile state with a failing economy, making progressive change work for Nigeria’, Soludo said the APC needs to move from a coalition of political parties that won election to a coalition for governance.
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“There seems to be a potential conflict with what the people want and what the country needs to survive sustainably. The economy is stuck on a slippery muddy length today with a fragile state,” he said.
“What will be the seven pillars or three pillars that the APC will show to Nigerians and say, we came and we put these pillars there and in the next 20 years it will take you out of the woods?
“Where are the out-of-box ideas for use? The challenge for APC, as I see it, is moving the coalition to grab power to a governing team. I commiserate with you because this will be the first time that a government, under a democracy, will be required to structurally transform but without external anchor in terms of IMF conditionality etc.”
However, Soludo expressed hope in Nigeria’s ability to find greatness in a new beginning.
“Let me say that despite all the odds that Nigeria is passing through today, I still see hope, I still see greatness that awaits Nigeria. The collapse in oil prices is a blessing and an opportunity for Nigeria for a new beginning.
“This is predicated on fact that I believe that the trajectory that we had gone through before was not sustainable one and therefore, with the collapse of oil prices, it is a clarion for us to press the reset button and start a fresh on a more sustainable ground. So I see that as a blessing.”
He added that politicians and elected officials are under pressure to deliver quick results within a short term, as the economy needs long-term solutions.
Giving an insight on the global economy, Soludo warned that the current burst might be there for a while. He recommended the restructuring of the economy from being consumption-driven to producing with consistent micro economic policies.
The visiting professor of economics at Oxford University also called for fiscal federalism, which would allow states have greater control of their resources.
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