By Paul Obi in Abuja
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele and former Vice Chancellor of Bowen University and Pioneer, Aso Villa Chapel Chaplain, Prof Yusuf Obaje, yesterday clashed in Abuja over allegations by the latter against the apex bank of doing nothing to fight poverty but rather implementing anti-people policies not in tune with the prevailing economic realities.
According to Obaje, the country was currently facing economic recession because most of the economic policies of the federal government were not in touch with the reality on ground.
Obaje stated this while speaking in Abuja at the National Economic Summit organised by the Coalition of Civil Society Groups (CCSG) tagged; ‘Sustainable Policy Participation strategy in the Face of Economic Recession.’
The university don maintained that right from the Soludo-led administration to the present CBN under the leadership of Godwin Emefiele, the apex bank had failed to look inwards to fashion out policies that are in line with the Nigerian situation.
He opined that “the situation is getting worse today and everybody is busying abusing the man at the helm of the affairs.
“Most of the policies formulated were not in touch with the reality of the Nigerian people. The policies did not even come out of our own intellectual engine room, they are all borrowed ideas.”
Obaje contended that the only antidote to the current economic crisis in the country was for Nigeria to develop her own national ideology, adding that lack of national ideology was responsible for all kinds of problems faced in the country.
“I have canvassed for the need to have national ideology in the last national conference organised by Jonathan administration and they told me that it was the future.
“National ideology is a priority for our economic emancipation. Every human behaviour is rooted in ideology; our lives are controlled by idea.
“Any borrowed ideology that is not in conformity with the reality is bound to create suffering. Idea must find its root in the soil of the particular people it is meant for,” he said.
Responding, Emefiele debunked the claims of alleged anti-people policies by the apex bank in impoverishing Nigerians instead of benefiting them.
He charged critics to avoid condemning its efforts in improving the economic situation by focusing on lopsided pattern of analogy that lack basic economic principles.
Emefiele who was represented by his Special Adviser on Financial Market, Emmanuel Ukeje, maintained that “part of the benefits we are reaping today are out of some reforms carried out” by CBN in the past.
He noted that some critics of the CBN policies had failed to look at the policies critically and see what it had benefited the country and the people; rather they choose to see it from one angle without thinking of its benefits to the country.
Emefiele observed that “when CBN take position, we don’t have any interest than the best for the public and Nigeria,” adding that, “investment should be in the sectors that will create value.
“We are making sure that the banking system supports the real sectors of the economy to improve the situation. We need to take a look into our industrial policy, we have the capacity to produce and earn foreign exchange,” he said.
Speaking, President of the coalition, Comrade Bassey Etuk Williams called on the economic team to look into the economic policies with a view of find-tuning it in line with the reality on ground.
He said; “I beckon on the economic team as presently constituted to work in synergy with all relevant stakeholders and the critical Nigerian mass like never before in ensuring the continuous development of sustainable programmes and policies potent enough to pull the country out of the present economic doldrums,” Williams stated.