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Obasanjo urges Tinubu to seek economic solutions from Zimbabwe



Olusegun Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has urged President Bola Tinubu’s government to approach Zimbabwe for possible solutions to Nigeria’s economic downturn.

Speaking at a youth leadership symposium held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, on his 87th birthday, Obasanjo compared Nigeria’s soaring inflation and economic downturn to Zimbabwe’s, saying Nigeria has lessons to learn from the Southern African country.

“We have this problem of galloping inflation in the country now, but do we have a country with such problems recently? Yes, we do. Zimbabwe had this problem recently,” Obasanjo explained.

“Shouldn’t we ask them how they did it even if our approach will be different? Even if whatever we shall be doing will be different, we can ask questions to navigate our way out,” the former head of state added.

The former president noted that when “you have a problem, look at those who have had this problem before and how they overcame it.”

He stressed that “when the time is rough and tough, the tough must get going.”

Obasanjo said, “No problem is new, and no problem will be permanent. Committing suicide is not the end of any problem. Confront it and take it to God because he could do anything.”

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigeria’s inflation increased to 29.90 percent in January 2024 from 28.92 percent recorded in December 2023.

Soaring inflation has driven food prices up astronomically, forcing Nigerians to protest in the streets.

Though the rising cost of living predated Tinubu’s government, it took on a frightening dimension after he assumed office last year and announced the removal of fuel subsidies and the floating of the naira.

While fuel subsidy removal has pushed petrol prices from N145 to N630, affecting food prices, the naira has continued its freefall against the dollar, trading for above N1,600 against the dollar.

On the other hand, Zimbabwe has one of the world’s worst hyperinflations.

In 2008, a U.S. dollar was exchanged for ZWD2.6 trillion.

According to the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency, the Southern African nation’s inflation hit 35 percent in January, up from 27 percent in December 2023.