Nasir el-Rufai, the former governor of Kaduna state, has praised the second term of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, describing it as the “most successful” period in Nigeria’s history in terms of economic growth, job creation, and inflation control,TheCable reports.

Between 2003 and 2007, Olusegun Obasanjo served his second term as president following his initial four-year tenure. El-Rufai attributed this success to a return to effective integrated planning in Nigeria, coupled with a stroke of good fortune.

El-Rufai made these remarks during a session at the Africa In the World conference held in Stellenbosch, South Africa, on Friday. He stressed the importance of meticulous planning in fostering economic growth in any nation.

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In his words, “Nigeria has a planning commission, but its effectiveness has been lacking.” El-Rufai emphasized the continuing relevance of planning committees in many developing countries.

He went on to elaborate, “If we examine Nigeria’s economic trajectory, the most prosperous period in terms of economic growth, job creation, and reduced inflation occurred during President Obasanjo’s second term from 2003 to 2007. During this time, Nigeria reengaged in comprehensive integrated planning, which coincided with favorable oil price trends.”

El-Rufai highlighted the prudent management of oil windfall during that period, with the establishment of an excess crude account (ECA) based on fiscal rules. Any surpluses above a predetermined benchmark price of crude oil were allocated to this savings account. This allowed Nigeria to eliminate its foreign debt and fortify its fiscal health.

He pointed out that Nigeria’s fiscal position in 2007 was exceptionally robust, enabling the country to weather the global financial crisis of 2008 without significant internal disruptions. El-Rufai attributed this resilience to the nation’s substantial reserves and prudent financial management.

To achieve sustained economic growth, el-Rufai emphasized the importance of long-term, coordinated planning involving all stakeholders.


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