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Experts welcome Buhari’s private sector-led EAC, seek SAC

Less than 24 hours after President Muhammadu Buhari dumped Vice President Yemi Osinbajo-led Economic Management Team and replaced same with Economic Advisory Council (EAC), commentators on issues of national importance have called for the setting up of Security Advisory Council (SAC).

Many that called for the SAC based their demand on the intractable endless insurgency in the North East and recent escalation of banditry, kidnapping on highways, herdsmen killings and skewed appointments in the national security architecture which had been variously criticized as the root cause of failing internal security systems since 2016.

President Buhari, on Monday, constituted an Economic Advisory Council (EAC), thus resting the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo led the Economic Management Team (EMT).

The presidency, in a statement, Monday, said the EAC will have monthly technical sessions as well as scheduled quarterly meetings with the President, but added that “The Chairman may, however, request for unscheduled meetings if the need arises”, it said.

The new council designated Prof. Doyin Salami as Council Chairman; Dr. Mohammed Sagagi – Vice-Chairman; Prof. Ode Ojowu – Member; Dr. Shehu Yahaya – Member; Dr. Iyabo Masha – Member.

Others include Prof. Chukwuma Soludo – Member; Mr. Bismark Rewane – Member; while Dr. Mohammed Adaya Salisu, who currently serves as Senior Special Assistant to the President, Development Policy, will be the Council Secretary.

Though the statement signed by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity), said this advisory council will replace the current Economic Management Team (EMT) headed by Vice President and will be reporting directly to the President, observers say the exclusion of Vice President may have a deeper meaning even though Osinbajo still remains the chairman of National Economic Council (NEC), which is constitutional.

Under constitutional provisions, the Vice President shall remain the chairman of NEC, which brainstorms on the economy and advises the President.

Though no reason was given for the change, but fact check revealed that former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof Kingsley Moghalu had in his book ‘Build, Innovate and Grow’ (BIG), launched ahead of his presidential campaign laid out a vision for Nigeria, and clearly recommended on page 273 that the Presidency needs an Economic Advisory Council.

However, a Development Economist, Dr Rafiq Raji said “The Economic Advisory Council (EAC) should not waste any time. In any case, the members are all sound. If they are given the necessary political space and cover, it is almost certain they will succeed.”

Also speaking on his verified twitter handle, Akin Oyebode said “Very pleased with the newly constituted Economic Advisory Council constituted by @MBuhari. That’s a proper team, hope he listens to them.”