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State Of The Nation: We’re Dealing With Poverty In Nigeria, Not Food Scarcity — Obanikoro




State Of The Nation: We're Dealing With Poverty In Nigeria, Not Food Scarcity — Obanikoro

Former Nigerian lawmaker and ex-Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, has pointed out that the primary issue confronting Nigerians is not food scarcity but rather poverty and the lack of purchasing power.

In an interview on Arise Television on Thursday, Obanikoro asserted that the Nigerian economy is heavily dollarized, faulting both Nigerians and banks for the situation.

Naija News reports that Obanikoro addressed the interconnectedness of various national issues, citing the relationship between security challenges and food scarcity, and highlighted the country’s food scarcity as a result of widespread poverty.

He criticized the dollarization of the economy, attributing it to the actions of Nigerians and emphasizing the role of banks in facilitating financial misconduct, urging against undue blame on individuals for foreseeable circumstances.

On the state of the nation, Obanikoro said, “All these issues that you’ve spoken about are interwoven; they are all related. Be it security issues with the food. But on the issue, there is scarcity of food in the country now. What we are dealing with is the capacity to purchase. We are dealing with poverty.

“On the issue of scarcity of funds, it seems either deliberately or otherwise, and stupidly too, we have dollarized our economy,” he said as he alleged that it is Nigerians that caused the economy to be dollarized.

“I cannot but recall, 1997, thereabout, when we had issues with foreign exchange, the military government of that era, were arresting people and bankers to sanitize the foreign exchange regime at that time. I can also recall that during the Shagari era, we had the same, almost similar, problem that we are facing now.

“Now. Who is the common denominator in all this? The banks. So, you are always quick to say politicians. No politician can siphon money without the connivance of the banks.

“I am telling you they are more culpable than any other sector of our country. They are, and that’s a fact. And there is enough evidence to go around.

“The most important aspect is that we should not unduly cast aspersions on people for a situation that we, as a people, saw coming.

The former lawmaker expressed confidence in President Bola Tinubu’s ability to address the nation’s challenges, acknowledging Tinubu’s understanding of the country’s complexities and the need for careful governance in Nigeria.

Obanikoro said, “He (President Bola Tinubu) may not have the exact amount of Naira and Kobo in the coffers, but before he became president, he knew exactly what the issues are and what are the solutions that we should try to implement to get out of it.

“But what I think the government needs to do more, communication is very important. I think Nigerians need to know where the government is coming from and where the government is going.

“You see, with a deep understanding of policies that the government intends to implement, I feel quite a number of sincere Nigerians will be patient enough to see what he can do within the next one to two years.

Obanikoro highlighted the financial challenges faced by the government, including inheriting a ways and means of twenty-three trillion and a subsidy of almost two to three trillion, leading to borrowing to pay salaries.

He emphasized the need for understanding and patience to allow the government to address these liabilities and assets effectively.