“Crises and deadlocks when they occur have at least this advantage that they force us to think.”  —Jawaharlal Nehru


By Cosmas Omegoh


Former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Deputy Director, Prof Kingsley Moghalu, 60, had a day in the sun last Monday at the Leadership Newspapers annual conference in Abuja.

Moghalu (OON) was the keynote speaker at the event packed full with the crème de la crème of the Nigerian society.  

While on the rostrum, Moghalu a former presidential aspirant on the platform of the Young Progressive Party (YPP) in the February 2019 general elections expressed convincing understanding of Nigeria’s ailing economy prostrate on the floor.  

Moghalu, a political economist, not only dissected the issues, but proffered robust solutions that could pass as roadmap for navigating the doldrums. 

Towards the end of his 30-minute presentation, he handed President Bola Tinubu and his government some home truth, tasking the president to fire the legion of redundant ministers that people his cabinet.

Moghalu vehemently charged Tinubu to perish the idea of celebrating one year in office with his present crop of ministers, stating that a sizable majority of them are just dead woods, who he appointed as politicians rather than going for technocrats.

Already Nigerians are beginning to see that many of those so appointed lack capacity and competence. They are clearly not the people for the season with their scorecards showing that they have too little to offer the people. Worse still, they do not have the capacity, carriage and will to drive Mr President’s much vaulted Renewed Hope agenda.

Moghalu left no one in doubt that those he was refering to were elephants not eagles.  As elephants, they cannot fly no matter how much wind you give them to soar. So, they are simply occupying space and time.

Indeed, what Moghalu said was the mind of many Nigerians, the majority of whom do not have the balls to express their feelings. They do so only with whimpers and in their closets.  

But can anyone for one brief moment beat his or her chest and say that Moghalu was dead wrong?     Now, look at the array of people up on there on their high horses supposedly ministering to the needs of Nigerians. From occupiers of Ministries of Power, to Education, Labour, Finance, Health, Interior, Agriculture, Youth, Sports – name it, which one has made any visible impact so far? Which of one them can anyone say have done well?

Moghalu also looked at President Tinubu in the face and told him to “separate politics from governance,” reminding him that “failing to do this is like putting sand in garri.” 

It, therefore, behooves on the president to consider Moghalu’s voice as that of a patriot. 

But couldn’t what Moghalu said be true of the president?

Lately, Tinubu’s traducers were unhappy with his jab at the organised labour whom he told after its recent hardship march to meet him at 2027 polls. To them, that was a case of mixing politics with governance. They want him to know that often, strident voices are patriotic wakeups to things when they go South.

As one of those patriots , Moghalu deserves applause for his courage in telling President Tinubu to urgently re-examine the men and women he appointed to office. If ever he has their performance chart in his office, he needs now begin to tick the boxes for each one of them as he closes in on celebrating his one year in office, if actually there is, indeed, much hurrah.

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It is here as well that Moghalu’s advice to him to double down and cut the cost of governance becomes more than ever before apt.

Moghalu’s submission was clearly in line with what the generality of Nigerians have been saying: that Nigeria does not need as many ministers, aides and advisers in the present Tinubu government. Many agree with Moghalu that Tinubu’s insistence on a crowd around him is causing the economy to bleed.

As Moghalu spoke, his voice rang out with courage, confidence and conviction. Every line of his submission appeared simply professorial as they kept falling in their rightful places. Yes, they should for the man who taught International Business at Tufts University as a professor, and Public Policy at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy between 2015 and 2017 and later became a visiting fellow at the University of Oxford in 2021.

As he spoke, his listeners – most of whom were enamoured – nodded and rewarded him with deserved applause at every turn. 

In their minds, they might have kept wondering why the country has continued to flounder even with the likes of Moghalu very much around.   

When Moghalu began his keynote address, he envisaged he could be perceived as a man on a “mission.” So he served a caveat, warning that he was not a politician – although he ran for office at some time, intent at seeing if he could salvage the state. Therefore, he said he would only speak as a technocrat and patriot and not as a politician.

He took on the subsidy removal and floating of the naira, agreeing that they were good deeds, but done without first tightening and stabilising the monetary policy.

Taking a detailed look at the performance of many in government, his verdict was that much of their effort was uninspiring to investors and the citizens’ confidence, adding that the country’s minders needed to understand what the deficit was and do well to fix it.

Moghalu identified Nigeria’s major woe as bad governance run on palliative economy, describing it as “an economy that solves nothing.” 

He said government’s use of what he called “adhocism” is symptomatic of lack of strategy. He also observed that Nigeria lacked a philosophy of shared values and the result is that Nigerians are working at cross purposes. He lamented Nigeria’s lack of industrial policy and industrial base as well as electricity as the nation’s major albatross, while regretting that the country has no population policy.

He said that President Tinubu needed an economic team and not an advisory team. He, therefore, recommended a solid economic team whose members must be eggheads appointed on full time to handle seven key areas like: Industry, Labour, Trade, Investment, Fiscal policy, and Development.

While advancing solutions, Moghalu, urged the Federal Government to float a N20 trillion bond to encourage economic rebirth, charging the government to wake up the fiscal policy in slumber which he said must be separated from all other institutions. 

He called for an end to oil theft, while at the same time charging the CBN to tighten the monetary policy.

Then wait for this. Moghalu is not averse to approaching the dreaded IMF or World Bank for bailout. In his view, going for a $20-$30 billion stabilisation fund might not be entirely a bad idea after all “as long as you consider if it will help or hurt.”

However, some persons have come after   Moghalu, blasting him for coming through as “Mr Know It All.” They are saying that it is easy to see faults while outside the government than when inside.

But the fact remains that his recent outing in Abuja was superbly brilliant. 

He left all and sundry with a lot to ponder about. It is worthwhile giving his submissions a look in as Nigeria and Nigerians struggle to change the present narrative. 

Indeed, Moghalu has long paid his dues. He cannot be wished away.