I came across some youth on Wednesday in Abuja under the auspices of Northern Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) led by one Isah Abubakar as President protesting against the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele, to resign.
From my interaction with some of them, I found out that:
- The so called Northern Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) is not a registered organisation;
- 80 per cent of those that protested can neither speak in English nor read what was written on the placards they displayed;
- About 10 of them actually know what they are protesting against.
From the above, I knew that the protest was sponsored by those benefiting from the corruption the CBN Governor has been blocking.
All the youths involved in the protest lacked knowledge on economic matters, which got me worried on why they will come out to protest ignorantly.
I must commend the policies of the CBN, particularly the blockage of leakages to the country’s foreign reserves as well as the injection of funds into the real sector, with a view to revamping the ailing economy.
The NYCN should know the current economic challenges and recession were the culmination of many years of financial imprudence on the part of government at different levels. The CBN had shown leadership by daring to plug loopholes in Nigeria’s foreign reserves.
By restricting FOREX allocation to 41 items in which Nigeria has comparative advantage, the CBN has given new lease of life to many companies that were hitherto suffering from strangulation brought about by the importation of items that can be produced in the country.
Instead of condemning the difficult decisions taken by the management of the CBN to ensure there is no total collapse in the economy, the Northern youth should rather commend the CBN for its positive move of digging Nigeria out of recession.
Also, what I expected from those youths who went on protest was for them to take advantage of the many employment opportunities that have been put in place by the Buhari administration instead of calling for the head of the Central Bank Governor.
The NYCN President, Isah Abubakar, claimed that the collapsing economy and financial markets has increased the poverty rate in recent times from 60 percent to 75 percent, with attendant consequences that have increased the number of impoverished Nigerians to about 120 million. I am sure he read what was written on a piece of paper by his sponsors.
For the information of Isah Abubakar and the rest of his members, the poverty rate is put at 64 percent while 80 million of Nigerians live below poverty line according to the 2016 UN Development Assistance Framework IV (UNDAF IV).
I also want to remind the Northern youths that the CBN Governor is not the only one to come up with any plan that will take Nigeria out of the woods but a joint effort of the Executive and the Legislators with the Economic Team set up by this administration.
If the NYCN claimed that they are supporting the administration of President Mohammadu Buhari, then they must commend the CBN Governor for managing the economy to a reasonable state as we are almost getting out of recession.
I laughed at the ignorance of Isah Abubakar when he said: “We now pay as high as about N500 to a dollar. This has brought serious hunger and hardship on our people because most of what we eat are imported and have been affected by high foreign exchange.”
Abubakar and his group should know the current recession is also affecting foreign exchange. It is high time we patronised Made in Nigeria goods to strengthen the Naira and create more jobs for the teeming unemployed youths in Nigeria.
Instead of calling for the resignation of the CBN Governor, what I expect the NYCN to do is to call on President Buhari to synergise effectively with the duo of Minister of Budget and Planning, Senator Udo Udoma and Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, so as to put an end to the financial crisis affecting the country.
Telling the CBN Governor to voluntarily resign or put the economy in the right track within the 21-day of this ultimatum is an empty threat that will not boost the economy or take us out of recession in 21 days.
Nigeria will be better again if we all join hands with President Buhari. It is high time we do away with unnecessary distraction from the agents of corruption in Nigeria.
Finally, Nigerians has a role to play by patronising Made in Nigeria goods which will boost our Naira as well as the economy of our great country. The change we want must begin with us.
*Adewole Kehinde is a Journalist and Public Affairs commentator. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.Photo shows CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele.