In his article published on January 25th, 2019 in Sahara Reporters, Kunle Wizeman Ajayi mustered a big effort to discredit Professor Kingsley Moghalu, the presidential candidate of the Young Progressives Party (YPP). Ajayi did not disguise his intention. He wanted to win over Moghalu’s supporters for Omoyele Sowore. Unfortunately, Sowore endorsed the ill-conceived and poorly-written article by republishing it on his fan page on Facebook.
To be clear, Moghalu does not see Sowore as his rival in the 2019 presidential race. On one hand, both of them have answered the same patriotic call for a new kind of leadership in Nigeria to replace the recycled, corrupt and visionless political class. In this regard, Moghalu respects Sowore and sees him as a partner in the effort to dislodge the leadership of Nigeria from those who think they are entitled to it.
On the other hand, Moghalu went into the January 19 presidential debate with his candidacy and YPP as clearly the “Third Force” in Nigeria’s politics. The other “forces” being the ruling APC, and PDP. Moghalu emerged as the clear winner of the debate, according to various online polls and in the estimation of about 60 million Nigerians that watched it on television or listened to it on radio.
With the failure of the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to participate in the debate, which President Muhammadu Buhari also failed to attend, Moghalu is now seen by uncompromising millions of Nigerians as the credible challenger to the incumbent president.
The article: “Why Moghalu Cannot Be Trusted By Kunle Wizeman Ajayi” is misguided, confused and full of false statements. Most of them are not deserving of further discussion. Most likely, his readers know better. For instance, his statement that says “liberals are quite dangerous”, should be greeted with no more than a telling smile. It is also easy to verify that Moghalu was not at the CBN during the governorship of Professor Charles Soludo, contrary to what Ajayi said.
But one or two of his other spurious statements should be well-addressed. He said that the bail-out of the systemically-distressed banks by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 2009 was “anti-people.” It is the opposite that is true. The intervention was pro-people. It ensured no Nigerian lost a kobo of their savings or deposits in the banks. Without the injection of liquidity into the banks by the CBN, hardworking Nigerians – who neither owned the banks nor ran them – would have lost billions of naira of their deposits.
In the 1990s, Nigeria experienced a banking crisis of much smaller magnitude than the crisis of 2009. Many Nigerians lost their life savings in that earlier crisis. Some of them committed suicide as a result. It was, therefore, possible to extrapolate that the banking crisis of 2009 would have been more calamitous, if the CBN had not intervened to protect depositors’ fund. If as many as eight major banks were allowed to fail, many people would have lost their jobs in the banks as a direct consequence. A systemic collapse in the banking sector would have had wider, dire consequences in the economy.
Ajayi seems not to understand this.
Suffice to say that Moghalu was appointed CBN Deputy Governor for Financial System Stability in 2009 to lead the implementation of the reforms that saved the banking industry and modernised the payment system, under the overall leadership of Lamido Sanusi, the CBN Governor then, and now theEmir of Kano. The successful reforms have, among other things, expanded access to financial services in the country, enabled Nigerians to have access to their bank accounts to transact or access banking services on their mobile phones 24/7, and the introduction of the Bank Verification Number (BVN) has improved secure lending. Thesuccess of the reforms validates Moghalu as an economic policy-thinker and a top-notch technocrat.
In endorsing Moghalu’s latest book, “Build Innovate and Grow: My Vision for Our Country,” which serves as his campaign manifesto, HRH Sanusi wrote: “If any country needs a bold vision of how to turn its under-achieved potential into reality, it is Nigeria. Few are more equipped and prepared to offer such a roadmap as Kingsley Moghalu.”
Ajayi tried to play up a point of momentary disagreement between Moghalu and Sanusi. But it was not a lingering disagreement. Moghalu had spoken in defence of the independence of the CBN. He understood that the independence of the reserve bank was best protected if it avoided appearance of involvement in politics. His comment in the interview Ajayi quoted provided the insight that central banks, the world over, operate under certain expectations and constraints, which they do well to respect.
I was at the University of Lagos when Sowore was the president of the student union of the school. He was a courageous activist and a fighter. Surely, political activism is a necessary part of a well-functioning democratic system and open societies. With his intolerance to political activism as a civilian president, Buhari has revamped his authoritarian inclinations, which would be one of the reasons Nigerians will vote him out of office next month.
But the sound and fury of activism is not an alternative to a visionary and competent leadership. On this basis, Moghalu has been rightly adjudged the best candidate running for president in 2019. If elected, he plans to work with Nigerian youths, including the young presidential candidates, in the areas of their talents and competences. As he said during the presidential debate, his presidency will make the youth the leaders of today and not the “leaders of tomorrow” that never comes.
Nigerian youths need a president that has knowledge and experience in economic management, in order to be able to create sustainable economic opportunities for them. The youth now have the responsibility of electing such a president in Kingsley Moghalu next month.
Jide Akintunde is the Spokesperson for presidential candidate Kingsley Moghalu and the YPP Campaign Council