Assemble team of economic experts irrespective of party affiliation, Makarfi tells Buhari

CHAIRMAN of the caretaker committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ahmed Makarfi, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to assemble a team of economic team, irrespective of party affiliations, to proffer solution to the present economic situation in the county, in order to prevent its total collapse.

Makarfi, who expressed his support to the recent comments of the Catholic Archbishop, Anthony Cardinal Okogie, in a letter to the President on the hardships Nigerians were facing under the current economic reality, said “this is the time Nigerians should come together, irrespective of party affiliation, to pull our country from the present economic woes.”

The PDP leader, who spoke in an interview in Kaduna, on Thursday, said “we are all Nigerians. We must know that things are tough today. I read a letter written by Cardinal Olubunmi Okojie to the President in the newspapers expressing the same concern.”

“Before that, there were some elements of appeal in his letter, especially where he called for all hands to be on deck to salvage the nation. This is not an issue for one political party alone.

“Long before that letter, and as a matter of fact, long before the president was sworn into office and to be candid, my personal belief was that the country was in a serious problem and that we were heading into more serious problems.

“But, all hands needed to be on deck. This is not a time to play politics, and a time whether your party is in government or not, we should not play politics with certain issues.

“The situation in the country today really requires that all hands must be on deck to salvage our country from the present economic condition. As Cardinal Okogie said in that letter, if the economy is bad, it is the political class that is to be blamed.

Senator Makarfi argued: “Even before the political class, the military class should share part of the blame because they have done a lot of damage to the system,” stressing that “let us own up to the wrong we have done and let us collectively repent and come together for the sake of the ordinary man and woman, and even those that are not ordinary and save our nation from economic doom.

“This is because security is important to all of us. Let us sincerely see how we can salvage our country and put it on the right path. Of course, that doesn’t mean we should become a one party state and it doesn’t mean that we should agree on political matters. But we should realise that the country’s survival is first.

“There are times we would disagree politically and go to the electorate on how to move forward. When that time comes, we take it as such. But, before then, my personal opinion was expressed in Cardinal Okogie’s letter and I support it.

Speaking on why the nation’s economy nose-dived, Senator Makarfi said: “You see, the problems are a lot more structural and have been with us for a long time, even pre-1999. Of course, there are issues that you can reduce to the last five, seven, 10 years or so. That is why I say it is a collective thing if it is a failure. Because you can extend this failure to as far back as you can remember.

“However, it is not the time to start apportioning blames, rather it is time to come together and salvage the country and do the needful. In any case, people are voted because they were dissatisfied with the last administration. If they were satisfied, they would have returned all the past administration at all levels. Having not returned them because people believed that things will improve with this government, it is good to go forward and see what we can do and improve on our economy”.

The PDP chieftain also dwelt on the recent directive he gave to withdraw the legal suit purportedly filed against some judges, pointing out that “I made a press release to that effect.”

According to him, “First, the solicitor that filed the case on behalf of the party did not do so with the consent of the party. The only thing is that I as chairman, caretaker committee, only saw it in media report as other Nigerians saw it. And I suspect that was done when I was out of the country and I am not sure if other members of the committee were aware of it.”