How my ouster in 1985 weakened the Naira, by Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday restated his position that Nigeria’s economic problems could be solved without the devaluation of the Naira, pointing out that his overthrow as the Military Head of State in 1985 by Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida led to the devaluation of the currency.
Speaking at a meeting with members of the Council of Retired Federal Permanent Secretaries, led by Otunba Christopher Tugbodo, who were at the Presidential Villa on a courtesy visit to him, Buhari said he still held the conviction which motivated his principled resistance to the devaluation of the currency in his first tenure as Head of State.
“When I was military Head of State, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank wanted us to devalue the Naira and remove petrol subsidy but I stood my grounds for the good of Nigeria. Then, the Naira remained strong against the Dollar and other foreign currencies until I was removed from office in August 1985 and it was devalued,” Buhari explained.
While justifying his opposition to the devaluation of the Naira, Buhari asked his guests: “But how many factories were built and how many jobs were created by the devaluation? That is why I’m still asking to be convinced today on the benefits of devaluation. Therefore, I’m yet to be convinced that the vast majority of ordinary Nigerians would derive any tangible benefit from a devaluation of the Naira.”
Buhari welcomed the Council’s pledge of support for the successful implementation of his administration’s Change Agenda, especially in the priority areas of improving security, curbing corruption and revitalising the national economy, noting: “I am glad you have rightly identified the key issues we campaigned on. We need a dynamic bureaucracy which will not mislead us into taking wrong decisions.”
Pioneer Chairman of the Council, Chief Philip Asiodu, told the President that members of the council want his administration to succeed because Nigeria had already lost many opportunities for progress.
“We are non-partisan. The interest of Nigeria is paramount to us and we are anxious that you should succeed,” Asiodu said.
The Council of Retired Federal Permanent Secretaries was established in 2004 to serve as a platform for retired permanent secretaries to offer constructive advice to government on key policy issues.