By Fejiro Johnson
During a recent Arise TV programme titled “The Morning Show” hosted by Dr Reuben Abati, Ms Tundun Abiola and Mr Rufai Oseni, former All Progressives Congress Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomole claimed the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo currently chairs the Federal Government’s Economic Management Team.
While answering a question posed by Ms Abiola, (what approach will the Tinubu campaign take since he will be running on the platform of the APC that has been in power for the past 7 years. Under his watch as the national leader of the APC, all the blames and the credits will be apportioned to him. Will the campaign be run on continuity or a departure from the last 7 years?), Oshiomole noted that “…in apportioning blame to people, you have to look at their roles. It is a fact that Asiwaju by himself said he cofounded APC, but he never participated in governance, never held any position in government, he didn’t carry out any contract on behalf of government, so how can you credit him? You can’t credit him either way.”
“This is just being fair. It is not like the Vice President who announced that he has been given the responsibility by the President to chair the economic team. Not just the Economic Council that is in the constitution, but a special team put together by government and he chairs it. So, you can ask him to account for some economic policies. You can’t say someone who never in any way participated in government to be credited with the outcome of government policy or be blamed either way.”-Oshiomole
However is this claim that Osinbajo is the head of the Economic team accurate?
Available public records indicate that the former Edo governor lied as the Economic Management Team of the Buhari administration headed by the VP in the first term had been dissolved since September 16, 2019.
The EMT was set up in 2016 by the President to coordinate the Federal Government’s economic policies with the VP as the chair before it was dissolved. The team was dissolved in 2019 and replaced with the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC)with Dr Doyin Salami as the chairman.
Below is the full membership of the PEAC, according to a statement by the presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina, President Buhari appointed the following experts:
- Prof. Doyin Salami – Chairman
- Dr Mohammed Sagagi – Vice-Chairman
- Prof. Ode Ojowu – Member
- Dr Shehu Yahaya – Member
- Dr Iyabo Masha – Member
- Prof. Chukwuma Soludo – Member
- Mr Bismark Rewane – Member
- Dr Mohammed Adaya Salisu – Secretary (Senior Special Assistant to the President, Development Policy)
The statement by Mr Adesina added, “This advisory council will replace the current Economic Management Team (EMT) and will be reporting directly to the President.
“The Economic Advisory Council (EAC) will advise the President on economic policy matters, including fiscal analysis, economic growth and a range of internal and global economic issues working with the relevant cabinet members and heads of monetary and fiscal agencies.
“The EAC will have monthly technical sessions as well as scheduled quarterly meetings with the President. The Chairman may, however, request for unscheduled meetings if the need arises.”
Following the composition of the team, on Wednesday, October 9, 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja administered oaths of office on members of the PEAC, and also set an agenda of what they should accomplish in the shortest possible time.
Prior to the inauguration of PEAC, the Vice President headed the administration’s EMT, but ceased heading the group effective Sept 16, 2019. He only chairs the National Economic Council, which only has advisory responsibilities according to the Nigerian Constitution.
The National Economic Council (NEC) was established by the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended; Section 153(1) and Paragraphs 18 & 19 of Part I of the Third Schedule.
The National Economic Council was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari on 29 June 2015. Chaired by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, the NEC, which meets monthly, has the mandate to “advise the President concerning the economic affairs of the Federation, and in particular on measures necessary for the coordination of the economic planning efforts or economic programmes of the various Governments of the Federation.”
Membership of the NEC comprises of the 36 State Governors, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and other co-opted Government officials.
From the foregoing, the Vice President cannot be questioned for issues in the economy on account of his headship of the administration’s EMT, as alluded to by Adams Oshiomole, except possibly for the first term. Even then the executive powers in the Nigerian Constitution is exclusively vested in the President.
Currently, the chair of the PEAC, Dr Doyin Salami is now the President’s Chief Economic Adviser.
According to the statement dated Jan 4, 2022, announcing his appointment, Dr Salami who is the Chairman of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC), is expected to address all issues on the domestic economy and present views on them to the president.