By; Sunday Ode, Abuja.
The South South and South East professionals on Thursday urged the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC federal government to declare three year state of emergency on the nation’s comatose economy.
Led by its President, Emeka Ugwu-Oju, on a courtesy visit to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the group said their suggestion had nothing to do with partisanship, adding that an economy which had declined from $100 to less than $40 per barrel was bad enough to attract an emergency.
“On the current stage of the economy, we strongly suggested our advise that Mr. President as a matter of urgency in consultation with the National Assembly declares a three-year state of emergency on the economy.
“And this is not about APC and PDP, it’s something that is non-partisan; our economy is bad, 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.”
On the lingering perenial fuel scarcity in the country, the group said it was time for government to look beyond political affiliation of citizens and ensure that Nigerians irrespective of creed and political identity were brought to a round table to proffer solutions.
According to Mr Ugwu-Oju, government officials who were preaching hardtimes should lead by example by living the life they preached.
His words: “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.
“We have to sacrifice. It’s 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 champaigne, 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.”
The leader of the delegation also pointed out that it was time for professional groups to find ways by which they could assist government resolve the prevailing socio- economic situation in the country rather than wait for government to take the lead.
He stated that their visit to Osinbajo was to invite him as special guest to the second South South- South East forum holding between April 28 and 29.
Ugwu-Oju reiterated that the group’s suggestions should be taking seriously without bias as they were reached after an interface with similar bodies in other geo-political zones of the country.
“We are planning a second South-South South-East Forum on April 28-29th and we took the opportunity to formally invite him to be the special guest of honour which he gladly accepted.
“We talked on the state of the economy, even though we may be perceived as a geo-political group, we do have a pan-Nigerian outlook.
“We try to interface south-west professionals and others from other geo-political zones on how we can get the Nigerian economy out of the woods.
“We believe that each zone has something to bring to the table, we don’t have to wait for the federal government to do things for us.
“We the professionals want to see what we can bring to the table, we from the south-south-south east, we are bringing the energy corridor project to the table and we can say we have the most comparative advantage on that,” he said.