Comrade Shehu Sani, a former senator, says Nigerian leaders and public officeholders seemed to have turned the citizens into guinea pigs that they use for all manners of economic experiments.
Speaking on Thursday at Trust Dialogue, the human rights activist said leaders were fond of deceiving the populace into voting them into power only to renege on their promises.
The ex-senator slammed politicians for their usual ways of telling Nigerians that could fix the country’s problems, only to get into offices and start begging them to be patient with them.
He highlighted how all the past presidents from 1999 to date have come up with different economic formulas to address Nigeria’s numerous economic and political maladies but ended up submitting excuses to the people.
He said, “Each time politicians are struggling for power, they present themselves as magicians. Magicians that have solutions to all the problems of the country. One naira will be one dollar, they will remove subsidy, and they have a template of addressing all our socio-economic and political problems. But, some months into power, you find them telling Nigerians that they should lower their expectations. And that they are not having the magic to address all the problems of the country.
“It’s 24 years since the resolution of democracy and this Dialogue is 21 years old. Under President Obasanjo, we had a NEEDS -the Nigerian Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy. It came and went. Under Yar’Adua, we had the 7-point Agenda. Jonathan came with his Transformation Agenda. After Jonathan, I don’t know what programme Buhari had, or they called it Economic Recovery and Growth Plan or whatever.”
“We seem to have become perpetually guinea pigs of economic experiments of all kinds,” Sani lamented.
He further argued that the emerging economies which are mostly found in Asia transformed their countries without much fanfare unlike Nigeria, where several names were given to address the problems but to no avail.
“Mr Moderator, please for those of us that are here, who have gone through the history of other nations like Indonesia under Suharto, Malaysia under Mahathir Mohamad, Thailand, South Korea, and Japan,” he stated.
“For those of us who have gone through the history of those nations that have passed through this kind of process, will you sincerely deep into your conscience of your heart, tell yourself to say this is the reform they have taken to become what they are today?
“Government after government, we are all starting from afresh. Every government is laying the foundation. When are going to make the lintel?”
He also criticised former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration over its failure to address insecurity which claimed thousands of lives, as well as leaving huge debts for the country.
“The last thing I have to say is this: the last government also here in power with all sorts of promises. They left after parrying with N77trllion of our debt. 133 million people below the poverty line. A hundred thousand people were killed by terrorists and bandits. Almost half of that number were kidnapped,” he added.