President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday faulted Nigerian economists for criticizing the economic policies of his administration.
The president’s rebuke of Nigerian economists’ criticism of his policies came on the heels of a report by CNNMoney that Nigeria is the 3rd fastest growing economy in the world in 2015.
He also spoke amid raging debate over the publication of an article on Monday by former CBN Governor, Prof. Charles Soludo, who tore to shreds, the present administration’s claim of excellent performance in critical sectors of the economy.
The president, who came down hard on Nigerian economists, challenged them to come out with incontrovertible facts and figures to dispute that the country’s economy is not the largest in Africa.
President Jonathan spoke at a presidential campaign rally held in Ilorin, Kwara State.
He said: “The economy you all know has become the largest in Africa after the rebasing, it was not by chance, we work with the private sector. Few days ago, the Cable News Network (CNN) announced that Nigeria has joined other nations where the economy will blossom.
“If the CNN can say that, so who is the economist in Nigeria that faulted what the world has seen about Nigeria? Who is the economist that can tell me that he is superior to the World Bank or the economists in the World Bank?
“Who is the economist in Nigeria that can tell me he is superior to the economist in the IMF? Who is the economist in Nigeria that can tell me that is sharper or better focus than the CNN? “People should stop deceiving Nigerians. We are working hard to move this country forward and we will work with the people of Kwara State to move the state forward”.
He added that his government is such that adheres to the rule of law.
The President said: “We don’t want to run a government by intimidation. I signed the FoI Bill, and promised that every Nigerian will be free. I want every Nigerian to be free, we don’t want to intimidate anybody, we want you to have the ability to express yourself without any fear of intimidation.
“We don’t encourage our leaders to intimidate the followers, where people will be living as if they are in the zoo and the lions and leopard are moving freely and all the other animals have to go into hiding, no. That is not a government, Nigeria is not a zoological garden, Nigeria is not a forest.
“Nigeria is a country governed by laws and conventions, a country where citizens must be free and where every citizen must be able to grow to the level that he so desires”.