A former Chairman of the United States House Intelligence Committee, Pete Hoekstra, has flayed President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for the way Nigeria is being run.
In an opinion article he wrote on Thursday in the US-based Wall Street Journal, titled, “Buhari is Nigeria problem, not its solution,” Hoekstra accused Buhari-led Federal Government of lacking vision in addressing the country’s dire economic and financial conditions.
His article was a response to Buhari’s article in the same journal on Tuesday titled, “The three changes Nigeria needs.”
The President had written that the country needed to restore trust, rebalance economy and regenerate growth.
“We have begun to tackle the endemic corruption and mismanagement that is crippling our economy and corroding trust in our institutions.
“The anticorruption fight is at the heart of combating poverty and improving security. The central bank has moved to introduce greater flexibility in our exchange-rate policy. These actions are a down payment on our people’s ability to succeed.
“I am optimistic that our actions are providing the breathing room Nigeria needs during this period of fundamental change. But we cannot improve living conditions and restore fiscal health without making people feel safe and secure—just as we cannot defeat militancy without reducing poverty and dislocation,” Buhari had said.
The US former lawmaker noted that Buhari’s anti-corruption drive was selective and focused on shutting up chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party.
He said, “Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari writes of building an economic bridge to Nigeria’s future. It’s hard to see how his administration’s inflexibility, lack of vision and reactive approach will achieve this. Mr. Buhari notes that building trust is a priority for Nigeria.
“But an anticorruption drive that is selective and focused on senior members of the opposition party creates deep political divisions. Meanwhile, members of Mr. Buhari’s own cabinet, accused of large-scale corruption, walk free. Seventy per cent of the national treasury is spent on the salaries and benefits of government officials, who make upwards of $2m a year.”
Hoekstra added that Buhari’s ideas to rebalance the economy and regenerate growth, “his damaging and outdated monetary policy” had crippled the country.
He said, “The manufacturing sector, essential to Nigeria’s diversification, has been hardest hit, exacerbating an already fast-growing employment crisis. Foreign investors have started to flee en masse. Buhari makes only brief mention of the country’s deteriorating security situation.
“But security and stability are precursors to economic growth and development. Boko Haram has been pushed back for now, but little attention is paid to the structural issues that have spurred its rise.”