From James Ojo, Abuja.
Former minister of Petroleum Resources and ‘Super’ permanent secretary, Chief Philip Asiodu, yesterday, blamed late Head of State, General Murtala Mohammed and former President Olusegun Obasanjo for setting the pace for the nation’s economic woes.
Speaking at the annual Daily Trust Dailogue, yesterday, Chief Asiodu regretted the military fiat with which the Murtala/ Obasanjo regime abandoned the 1975 Development Plan.
He said this stifled Nigeria’s growth.
The 1975 Development Plan, according to him, was a product of feasibility studies in all sectors of the economy for the purpose of diversification.
“This was when Nigeria and the Asian Tigers were at par. Today, we know where the Asian Tigers are and where we are.”
Asiodu also described as a monumental tragedy, “the setting aside of the Vision 2010 document prepared by the best brains in the country when Obasanjo assumed power again in 1999.”
Chief Asiodu stated that an economy that is not diversified can not grow and the reason for the country’ backwards on all indices of development and attributed “the dismal performance of the economy on the discontinuity of the development plans which saw the laying of solid development witnessed the first decade of independence.”
At the beginning of the Second National Development Plan in 1962, the former petroleum resources minister noted that the country was growing at six percent, which he said was improving at the end of the plan period.
He advised the present government to “look inward in revamping the economy, particularly in areas where diversification has become inevitable, as proposed in the 1975 document.
“An economy not diversified can not grow. Government should be commended for looking into areas of diversification to grow the economy,” he added.