A communication and management consultant, Prince John Mayaki, has excoriated the Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, over his recent claim that the federal government, on the instruction of President Muhammadu Buhari, printed a whopping N60 billion to share to governors through the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) as monthly allocation.
He said Obaseki, in making the unsubstantiated claim, did not exhibit decorum or restraint as expected of a leader in his position, nor was he circumspect enough to consider the implications and possible effects of such assertions.
In a statement on Sunday, Maiyaki said Obaseki’s “unimpressive and quite ordinary career as a stockbroker” hardly qualifies him as a seasoned or sound economic expert and critic.
“His mismanagement of Edo State’s economy makes for further proof. Under his watch, the state has accumulated foreign loans at an alarming rate without any commensurate improvement or growth. Several schools in the state remain closed, education is poorly funded, health is on life support, and infrastructure has slipped into decay,” he said.
While admitting that Nigeria’s economy requires attention, he noted that President assumed leadership of the country at a time crude oil fell from over 100 dollars per barrel during the PDP administration to a record low of 25 dollars per barrel.
This he said had been made worse by COVID-19 as revenues have been cut and loans obtained to bridge the gap and chart a path for sustainable growth. But this is not peculiar to Nigeria, he argued, saying that the United States of America has jacked up its national debt to a staggering sum of $28 trillion as the Biden administration ramps up efforts to spur the economy back to pre-COVID growth.
“The picture of doom and gloom Governor Obaseki painted is not reflective of reality. Nigeria’s debt to GDP ratio is around 35 per cent. The World Bank and the IMF recommend 55 per cent. A chunk of the obtained loans came from China and they are tied to projects with repayment plans, spread out for years, written into the contract to ensure reasonable ease. So far, we have not defaulted on any,” he said.
Maiyaki said economic matters are not subject for “political reckless talks,” and described Obaseki’s comments as shameful and unbecoming of a governor.
“Questions too should be asked of the governor’s contribution to the national revenue pot as the head of a sub-national government,” he said.
He said that Edo State under Obaseki has racked up debts, nearly tripling the state’s foreign debt figures, while it is home to restive youths who are both out of jobs and locked out of schools.
“Teachers go on strike and the government threatens them. State resources are wasted on political demolitions and other fruitless ventures. He won a second term in September but hasn’t assembled a cabinet in April. He fails in things big and small,” Maiyaki added.
He therefore urged the public to ignore leaders like Obaseki “who lack circumspection and are driven only by political gain, even if it comes at the cost of setting the nation on fire.”