Governors’ Meeting On Economic Crisis Inconclusive Again

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A meeting of state governors held Wednesday night to address the nation’s economic crisis was again inconclusive.

That was the second time in a week that the Nigeria Governors Forum could not reach a conclusion on the crisis which has led to the inability of many state governments to pay salaries.

The forum’s Chairman, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, told State House correspondents at the end of the meeting held inside the old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja that no conclusion had been reached on the matter.

Yari who is the governor of Zamfara State said the governors would meet again to continue deliberation and would also seek an audience with President Muhammadu Buhari on the matter.

He said, “The meeting was about the economy. You know we are in a very bad situation and we need to come together and discuss intensively about this economy because it is what is now giving the states headache and by extension the Federal Government.

“If you look carefully at this month’s federation account, it is the worst ever in the last six years.

“So, definitely we had to come to a round table. We were elected under different party platforms to perform, not just to pay salaries and it is worse off not to be able to pay salaries.

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“So, the issue is very very serious that we are coming back to discuss it and if we have the opportunity, we will come back to see our leader Mr. President.”

When reminded that the Federal Government recently helped state governments with bailouts, Yari said beyond bailouts, the governors were more interested in permanent solutions to the economic problem.

He said although the governors were talking about diversification, that is a long term programme.

The governor said, “Yes, we are discussing about diversification but you should understand that it is a long term programme. We are looking for a short term formula for you to live, at least survive before the long term.

“So on diversification, we are looking at agriculture, which is supposed to be the major focus long time ago but has been neglected by the past administrations.

“Now that we found ourselves in this situation, we are working harder to diversify the economy and to look forward to a more permanent solution should in case oil goes out of existence but at the same time we have to look for a short term solution.”

Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, also confirmed that the meeting was about finding a lasting solution to the economic crisis, saying all of them were concerned about the dwindling economy.

Fayose said as leaders, the state governors believed they must come together to find a solution.

He however disagreed with Yari that past administrations neglected agriculture.
He said, “That is subjective. Every leader at one time or the other must have done their best within the ambit of availability.

“For me, every former President, every former leader had made their contributions and I commend them. The new people on the saddle of leadership must continue to give their best.

“Before now, recession was in America and the west, now we have recession facing us. What we depend on as source of our revenue is dwindling. It is not the making of any man, it i another trend in our history that we have to deal with and we are doing just that.

“We will do our best we can only try our best, we have time and tenure.”

Also, Akwa Ibom State Governor, Emmanuel Udom, said there was no one single meeting that could find a solution to all the economic issues.

He said, “You convene and reconvene. No human being can know it all at a particular point in time.

“The economic issues we have now is not only pertaining to Nigeria, it is a global issue, so you can’t just at one meeting of about two hours fashion out entire solution for the country.

“We trouble shoot some points, we discuss those points and we have to weigh the impact of those points both the positive negative, the extreme, the mid-point.

“And you know once you are bringing out certain policies, you also need to align those policies with the social cultural environment that you are operating in.

“What may work in this part of the world may not work in other parts even though it is a good policy. So realign and readjust and connect these things together and bring out something that can work is not something a two-hour meeting can achieve.”

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