The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, John Odigie-Oyegun, on Thursday said Nigeria’s present economic downturn could be an act of God to remind Nigeria of the need to implement and embrace radical change, particularly in the country’s current economic model.
Mr. Odigie-Oyegun made the disclosure when he hosted a 15-member delegation of an APC support group, Change Agents Foundation (CAF) led by its Director-General, Felix Felix at the party’s National Secretariat in Abuja.
“I think God has a hand in the current economic predicament of the country. Imagine the sudden fall in the price of crude oil, the mainstay of the Nigerian economy, from its heights in 2014, averaging $112 per barrel down to the current price of $28 per barrel — lower than the $38 per barrel which the proposed 2016 budget is predicated on,” Mr. Odigie-Oyegun said. “It is an object lesson for us. It tells us that we must embrace radical change in our economic model.”
He said the drop in oil price had taken its toll on the revenue and expenditure of the Federal Government and as a result was having a severe effect on the economy.
The APC chairman said, “The concept of change is a difficult one. Nigeria must be ready to adapt to new ways of doing things. As a party, we know and understand it calls for tremendous sacrifice, there is no other way. Yes the economy is in a bad shape, but maybe that is the kick we need to be innovative and find ways to drive the economy out of the woods.
“The luck we have is that we have as president a man committed to personal probity and sincerity of purpose to the project of developing Nigeria. Today, we must think and be innovative in ways of fashioning out new economic models which diversifies from the present over reliance on oil.
“We are in the process of organising a three-day dialogue which will bring the party, government and stakeholders for an exposition on the realities facing the country, particular the economy. It will provide an opportunity to exchange ideas so that we go home with a clear direction on how to go forward.”
Also speaking at the meeting, the Director-General, Change Agents Foundation, Mr. Felix, congratulated the Mr. Odigie-Oyegun for leading the APC to victory at the last presidential election that ushered in the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
He said, “We are here to identify with you in this success and to say that while achieving success is a difficult thing, sustaining success is even more difficult. It is this realisation that prompted our coming together to form the Change Agents Foundation.”
Mr. Felix said the fight against corruption being waged by the Buhari administration was already yielding results.
“Our party promised Nigerians Change and this change Nigerians have already started experiencing through the unprecedented simplicity and transparency our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari has brought to governance of Nigeria,” he said.
“The fight against corruption has already started yielding results as looted public funds are being exposed and returned while everybody occupying public office today is conscious of his actions knowing that there would be consequences for any inaction or wrong action.”
Mr. Felix requested the national secretariat of the APC to register the organisation to enable it to contribute its quota to the efforts being made to deliver on the Change Mantra and objectives of the APC.