A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress in Niger State, Comrade Jonathan Vatsa, has called on the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress government to apologise to Nigerians now after the country plunged into its worst economic recession.
The World Bank on Saturday announced that Nigeria has plunged into its worst recession since 1987.
Vatsa, a former Publicity Secretary of the APC in Niger State over the weekend in Minna while reacting to the National Bureau of Statistics latest report that the country has entered its worst recession since 1987, disclosed that the only option left for government at all levels now is “a holistic structural adjustment” to be able to cope with the present realities.
It should be recalled that in June this year, the World Bank had warned that the collapse in oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic could dip the Nigerian economy into the worst situation since the 1980s.
Speaking on the country’s worst economic decline in almost four decades, the former Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism said: “We cannot pretend; things are bad, so the present situation and structure calls for drastic adjustments in all aspect of our lives.
“The ruling All Progressives Congress must apologise to Nigerians now.
“Honestly speaking, this was not what we promised Nigerians.
“Something went wrong somewhere and I think we must be courageous enough to apologise to Nigerians who believed in us and voted for the APC in 2015 and 2019.
“The way things are now, we no longer have any other excuse to give rather than to apologise to Nigerians.
“Some people might not be comfortable with my opinion, but that is the hard truth.”
Vatsa also advised the Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, to immediately slash the salaries and allowances of political office holders, including his own, if the government must cope with the present economic realities.
He said: “I believe that the first step towards coping with the present situation is to immediately slash both the salaries and allowances of all categories of public office holder, including my humble self.
“That is the first step.
“And by so doing the government would be able to fund all ongoing projects, especially road projects, and pay civil servants their salaries.
“The idea of looking for other source of funding for ongoing projects in terms of loan will be a suicidal mission for the government.”
It could be recalled that the governor had in his 2021 Budget speech before House of Assembly two weeks ago disclosed that the government was exploring various funding arrangements for the completion of road projects across the state in addition to seeking necessary attention from the Federal Government to do the needful on its Roads that crisscross the State.
Vatsa who is the Coordinator, Public Affairs to Governor Bello. advised that “loan as a source of funding ongoing roads projects in the state is not healthy for the government, rather.
“I am advising Mr. Governor to first of all slash the salaries and allowances of all of us holding political offices in the state.
“From the governor to the lowest person holding political office in the state should be ready to make some sacrifices.
“This present economic situation in the country calls for practical approach to governance.”
Speaking on the current security situation in the state and the country in general, Vatsa said: “We are faced with the worst security challenge in history as a state and as a country.
“The system has collapsed and its only God that will help this country.
“The biting hardships is fueling insecurity in the country.
“We all know that and unfortunately the security agents are well over stretched.
“You can’t give what you don’t have.
“We are at a cross road as a nation.”