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Obasanjo Backs Call for Sale of Assets, Says Nigeria should Borrow, Spend Less & Earn More to Exit Recession



Olusegun Obasanjo

Olusegun Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Tuesday stressed the need for Nigeria to borrow, spend less and earn more to get out of the current economic recession.

Obasanjo said this in Abeokuta at the opening ceremony of the National Council On Finance and Economic Development Conference (NACOFED).

The theme of the conference is “Enhancing Revenue Generation and Obtaining Best Value for Money in Expenditure”.

According to Obasanjo, the major problem with Nigeria is that “we are spending more than we are earning and we have not been able to save for the rainy day”.

He, however, proffered a three-fold solution of borrowing, spending less and earning more to the economic challenges of the nation.

Obasanjo, who said that funds were available outside the country, advised that Nigeria needed to approach its allies who could lend to the country on reasonable terms.

He warned, however, that no such nation would part with its funds without observing that Nigeria was taking practical steps to come out of its challenges.

The former president said that Nigeria must encourage production to earn more and increase its revenue.

He said since the nation was not in control of oil, it should therefore diversify and concentrate on the things it could control.

Obasanjo, who stressed the need to develop agriculture, frowned at policies which tended to turn the nation into a dumping ground for other countries’ products.

“I was shocked when the ban on importation of toothpick which we imposed in 1977 was lifted four years ago. How can a nation seeking to rank among the best in the world continue like that? We must begin to do away with things that we can do without and if we must import them, let them attract very high duties,” he said.

Obasanjo, who backed the call for the sale of some national assets to raise money, described such act as natural.

The former president said port authorities and Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) were part of assets that Nigeria could partly sell to generate fund.

“I do not see why 49% of NNPC cannot be privatised. I think the problem is in the coinage ‘selling of asset’ as if we want to throw out our inheritance. What we are actually doing by that is simply re-organising. It should however be done transparently and let it actually go public and not to cabals, relations and friends. This is always the fear of Nigerians when issues like this arise,” he said.

Obasanjo expressed confidence in the ability of the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, saying that “she is doing a marvelous job in a difficult situation and that only time can prove her right”.

Adeosun, who spoke earlier, said that the Federal Government had till date invested over N700 billion to stimulate growth in the economy.

“We are working on an economic model that will change Nigeria from being consumption focused to investment focused,” she said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) was established by the Federal Government of Nigeria in May 1976 to gather and distribute news on Nigeria and cover events of interest to Nigeria at the international level for the benefit of the Nigerian Media and the Public.


  1. Anon

    September 28, 2016 at 9:39 am

    One of the buyers and sellers of Nigeria PLC. Of course he will support it and line up to buy some for himself through the use of his usual proxies.

  2. Nellyv

    September 28, 2016 at 10:29 am

    Obj why wont u back the sell of d assets, coz u will be among those that will buy them when d bidding starts. Whether Nigeria is in bad state or not it does not concern u coz u hv made and stolen enough from Nigeria that will even feed ur 20th generation. U and ur cohorts are those that practically put us in ds mess. Now u open ur buccal cavity to speak and back d sell of d nation’s assets, the future of d coming geneation. All of u that are out to take Nigeria out of existence, d thunder that will fire u will come like doctor’s prescription one in d morning, one in d afternoon and one in d night. I rest my case

  3. LemmeRant

    September 28, 2016 at 10:47 am

    I don’t even want to rant on this man’s matter.

    After all the nonsense economics you did during your 8 years. I keep saying it. all these old men have no value to add. Infact the youths of Nigeria should stop voting for anything in a grey hair, they’re so disconnected from our reality.

  4. Beard gang

    September 28, 2016 at 11:12 am

    just like you bought your farms.
    at the end of the day, when people like obasanjo and dangote propose something it usually comes to pass. so nigerians, expect the sale of FG assets to the usual cabal in no distant time!
    oligarchy is best defined in nigeria

  5. Mary

    September 28, 2016 at 11:47 am

    With all due respect Sir. Its not a good idea.
    The Government should search for other ways of solving the recession problem. The should think outside the box.

  6. Vincent London

    September 29, 2016 at 4:05 am

    READ THIS COMMENT folks, if you do not see your major problems underpinned by the mistake in the abrupt/ hasty change to American system without the mastery of it, therefore sue for that restructuring in the lips of prominent Nigerians early, I fear that you have a big impending crisis to face in Nigeria! You might find respite in my solution if you can comprehend the import!

    OBJ prescribing solutions Yes, he dealt with the Paris Club debts all by Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweal’s advice and influence but when it came to question of ‘Due process’ policy what happened, folks? Nigerians have not been told the true position of what happened to the Energy contracts procurement but they are recovering loots from Sani Abacha and the Dr. Pius Okigbo’s Panel Report on the expenditure of the ‘Oil and gas Wind-Fall’ of over 12.45 Billion U.S. Dollars is still not found in the whole Confidential Nigerian files archives! We saw SERAP group’s attempt in the Courts about retrieval of the report; am sure they are represented at the venue where OBJ spoke on ‘Asset Sales’ and so goes the canny machinations about Nigeria – a system embodying ‘sharecropping’ mendacity notwithstanding that under his administration he sold and Nigerians do not see the benefits yet!

    Look after all is said about this matter of recession whether to buy or sell your Assets, your biggest problem about politics and so the economic growth for the country (Nigeria) and its people hinges on that American system you adopted so hastily without an incline of how it works whoever advised for it! Simple comparison – Parliamentary which your Independence was founded allows for recognition of a stand-by ‘Opposition group’ or party, which acted on the ‘Shadow Cabinet’ to not only check but can pry into what the incumbent party in government is doing as we see it function in Britain – the Prime Minister attends to House businesses and debates; on Wednesdays he appears for a run down on the activities of the Nation and he is taken-on, as it were, to not only answer but give account of what he is doing as the Head of government almost from day to day in the year! Whilst Presidential – the kind you practice in Nigeria gives an enormous scope for the Head of government not only freedom not to be seen if wants to be snobbish, talk or discuss controversial issues concerning the nation as you now have alternatively he’ll choose to talk to the press-men and women, until the ‘Day’ he/she wants to present a budget to the House then he walks in, in flowing baban-riga, agbada and ashokes with his aides bows and that’s it – in recent time we are bedeviled with the padding and other improprieties/ issue!

    The presidential system is more geared on the if you win you take all in Nigeria’s terminology not so in the American system where the system works or based on strict SEPARATION of, and or delegated powers principles and State autonomy but fashioned with a Federated system! The Presidents in American system do not have the kind of over whelming powers or privileges as you have in Nigeria’s system particularly in the area of areas of concerns about the people – i. e in the exclusive list arrangement which for Nigeria looks rather overbearing and wildly arranged to stifle efforts of the federating units if the Presidency chooses to punish any of them – examples abound in Nigeria about this observation I ma thinking about what happened to Lagos State and happening now to the South-East and the Niger-Delta zones!

    Now, the greatest danger about the kind of presidential system you practice for Nigeria underpinned by the provisions in the Constitution you have, makes possible for the Head of State to work with advisers – the kind you’ll ordinarily not be elected in any elective position in what is now erroneously termed ‘Kitchen Cabinet’ in Nigeria! Because of the cumulative economic and political problems in the country the Presidents may not be able to see the problems with clear mind depending ‘course on the training, capacity and how versatile in experience as we are witnessing it being beguiled in this matter of ‘concessioning’ or for outright sales of Assets in Nigeria! Somebody need to tell you people something about the advantages of an organised Shadow Cabinet in politics! For Nigeria, rather than derive benefits from this kind of arrangement for a developing country such as you have, your arrangement – your kind of Presidential system works against all manners for growth as barriers for the opposition to make valid contributions to what is beneficial for the people of Nigeria!

    Your system not only alienates but actually is fashioned to work or to emasculate such group participation across the board – in other words, they are distanced from active participation in the matters that can help grow the country hence, where they tried to be heard like we witnessed it under OBJ’s administration and were not accepted or find it difficult to, they re-sought to all forms of dubious and things/ acts detrimental to the growth anticipated for Nigeria – corruption, ideas to aggrandize themselves and their cohorts in the human nature of well, if I cannot be heard why not I get as much financial benefits as I can from the system! I mean, last month or weeks ago we had a break-down of the kind or forms of employment or engagement of aides and (Pas) to House members unprecedented – all that serve as conduits for the drain of the financial coffers of Nigeria! Surprising that in spite of that report and or revelation in the circumstances of the recession, nobody in the Presidency has touched on the effects to be (form part of) the concerns than for the suggestion to sell off ‘Assets’ of Nigeria! Talking about political participation in the true sense of it I want to say that the arrangement of the presidential system you practice for Nigeria does not allow for such participation by all those in the said ‘opposition’ other than act as ‘enemies/ hostility’ pitched against the party in government in Nigeria in total contrast of what purpose opposition members are to serve for Nations – a possible alternative government! It is part reasons I say that leadership is parodied same as the Nigerian political system, detrimental to what you can achieve for the people! I mean some right thinking people should be thinking about all these effects about the people of Nigeria irrespective of their creed or tribe!

    I talked about what common law means and how it impacts on the success stories of nations – because your culture and religion are different to mine and you have a load of is in Nigeria, hence the resolve by Europeans to have what is termed ‘common law’ so that it transcends all forms of religion and or customs! This part of the instruments that propels the people of different ethnicity or background and it enabled America to overcome the harsh policies from their Colonial governments in the history of their political beginning! So, the earlier you do something about this factor in Nigeria the better for the future of the people am thinking about the mantra – change begins with you in the leadership and for ‘Me’ to follow your example!!

    Sadly we have been subjected by the leadership drawn from those from military background without the kind of training for ‘transmutation’ as they do in France for their own military officers wishing to take up politicking as careers after they leave the service! In America and in UK you need to have gone through the rigors (crucibles) of being elected as a parliamentarian/ Senator work through it first, before you can think of being a President or a Prime Minister in total contrast to what obtains (you have) in Nigeria – anybody can start as a politicians by contesting for the Post of the President as a stepping stone – i. e. from the top post, which I consider despicable! It is not surprising what is happening in Nigeria’s political fields and no doubt accounts for part of the major problems you have apart from the other factors which, as a matter of fact, I cannot tell much in this comment other than to put you in picture with a bit of what is responsible for your problems in Nigeria!

    To conclude here, as I said I am not your adviser, but to urge that in your restructuring bid, which you need really with the growth of population in Nigeria and your kind of politicians not nationally oriented as suggested to IBB in 1992, you must consider how to marry the American and the British Parliamentary systems so that your Presidents can be put on the stop in most of the policy decision debates or considerations by which means the electorates in Nigeria will be learning also about things pertaining to your politics and reason why they must vote for particular candidates during elections! What you have now serves the purpose of tribal or religious representation worse still the entry into the set-up by predators/ cohorts – hawks, against all manner of correctness for what politics for country like Nigeria should be predicated on hence the recurring problems in the leadership imbroglio!

    I hope you don’t take on me for this opinion I am only trying to help out knowing (on the realization) that what we are discussing has to do with the public and not private and I said it much earlier that: There is nothing more honorable than see that public matters are to be discussed publicly not secretly, folks!

    And you’re using my ‘Option A-4’ and the adjuncts unashamedly, including the format for registering the number of votes cast for candidates! Thanking you in the wake. Log onto: \nd you can see what I mean Nigeria -TAKU

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