Rejig your cabinet, Ekweremadu tells Buhari

 By: Onyedi Ojiabor, Abuja

Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu yesterday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to shake up his cabinet.
Speaking during the review of the state of the economy, Ekweremadu said: “The President needs to look at his cabinet. He has to put square pegs in round holes. Senator Udo Udoma is my friend, an accomplished lawyer for that matter, but in fairness to him I believe he can do better in another ministry, especially like trade and investment; certainly not Budget and Planning.
“The minister for Finance can do much better in another ministry. At this critical time, we need somebody who is more experienced to man the Ministry of Finance so that he can be able to coordinate the strategies for this recovery.
 ”I also believe that we need to have all hands on deck right now. It does not matter their religion, it does not matter their party. We need to go all out and look for the best brain to come and help us to come out of this recession. America was in recession in 1930s; they recovered within three years. What did they do, all Americans came together, irrespective of your political persuasion, and they were able to pass solution. At this point, it does not matter to us whether you are APC or PDP or you are non-aligned. The important thing is that the President has to look for the best people to come together to proffer solutions, it does not matter which party you belong.”
 Senator Akume said: “When we say that the blame game is over, I want to emphasise that the blame game is not yet over. We have to know what went wrong.
 ”Most of us were governors and we knew what President Obasanjo did to create huge reserves for this country and saved for the rainy day. That was why by the time he was leaving, over $60 billion was in our foreign reserves: this was very important.”
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, Senator Shehu Sani, said: “It is very unfortunate that we found ourselves where we are deliberately because we should have forecast that dependence on oil revenue cannot be sustainable. I must say this very clearly that the poor in Nigeria have always lived under recession. And what this recession has done is to increase their hardship.
“You can’t depend on one source of revenue and not find yourself in this kind of situation. We must cut interest rate, start diversification of the economy, empower small businesses so that they will be able to produce and export. The key to getting out of this is export of goods, services.  And I don’t think finding scapegoats and shifting blame can solve the problem. Removing the Minister of Finance will not be able to get us out of this problem because this recession is not Nigeria alone. It is all countries that are dependent on oil revenue.”
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Senator John Enoh, noted that the time to think about new direction and new ways of doing that has come.

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