Saturday, 3rd June 2023

2022 Committee and how not to ‘save’ Nigeria

By Editorial Board
02 March 2022   |   3:55 am
A mishmash of business leaders and politicians recently gathered in Lagos, ostensibly to save Nigeria from its present political impasse – some created and others aggravated by the prevailing administration.

An aerial view taken on February 12, 2019 shows the historic centre of Lagos, the economic capital of Nigeria. (Photo by Florian PLAUCHEUR / AFP)

A mishmash of business leaders and politicians recently gathered in Lagos, ostensibly to save Nigeria from its present political impasse – some created and others aggravated by the prevailing administration.  The meeting attracted an unwieldy pool of prominent Nigerian elites, who are part and parcel of the status quo and a reason to doubt the main objective of the nocturnal conclave. Clearly, to undo the current mess, Nigeria needs more advanced minds and patriotism than had been shown by current and past handlers.

The 2022 Committee parades majority of those that matter in business and today’s politics. The group includes incumbent governors, ex-governors, former Senate presidents and other prominent citizens, drawn from all walks of life. At the fore-front were: Aminu Tambuwal, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, Babagana Zulum, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, Dave Umahi and Kayode Fayemi.  Also included are Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, Senator Adamu Aliero, Saminu Turaki, Peter Obi, Attahiru Bafarawa, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Ikedi Ohakim, Donald Duke, Adams Oshiomhole and Ibikunle Amosu, Anyim Pius Anyim, Bukola Saraki. Aliko Dangote; Abdul Samad Rabiu; Femi Otedola, Mike Adenuga, Jim Ovia, Atedo Peterside, Fola Adeola and Tony Elumelu. Besides, the pioneer chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Nuhu Ribadu, Deputy Governor of Zamfara State, Mahdi Ali Gusau, Director of Publicity and Advocacy of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, former Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman and Bianca Ojukwu, wife of late Odumegwu Ojukwu, and Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele among others are part of the emerging cabal.

Indeed, at the twilight of an un-performing administration, it dawned on the group the 2022 Committee that security and unity of the country ahead of the 2023 poll must be prioritised. The group in its statement noted that “the meetings will continue, as we work with Federal and State Governments, current and future political leaders of all political persuasions, as well as other eminent patriotic citizens, for the greater good of the Nigerian people.”

Manifest function of the meeting, it would seem, is about building a national consensus around some critical issues like security and the transition of the country between now and 2023 as well as the transition of the country from elections onwards. If the motive must be put squarely, it is an elite gathering for elite recruitment to choose who among the well-known players will govern the country come 2023. The idea of the current administration through some ideas and strategies as well as ease the country from where it is now, beyond the life of the current administration is false flag idea or illusion of support. The question could be asked of some of them to the extent of where were they when the country got this low?

Interestingly, the meeting is said to have the blessing of the president, who vowed to the Committee that he would hand over a strong repositioned agriculture-led, diversified, home-grown economy, stable democracy and revamped armed and security forces to the next administration – a task unfulfilled since 2015. Nevertheless, the Committee “believes that what Nigeria needs today is for all patriots to come together to rescue our nation from all political, economic and security threats, and promote the unity of Nigeria. We call on all patriotic volunteers, who are willing and able, to join this collective effort to stabilise the system so we can all build a new Nigeria we can all be proud of.” On these issues, they have the backing of President Buhari in their bid to proffer enduring solutions.

Truly, the meeting is auspicious as the country is bedevilled by a number of problems. The incumbent is bequeathing to the country an 11-year-old insurgency that has mutated variously and has gulped billions of tax payers’ money and badly divided country because of sectarian fixation of the incumbent in ways that ignored the multinational nature of the country. No ethnic group can seek to impose itself on the rest of the country without consequences.

Unfortunately, we expected the 2022 Committee to have addressed these issues and at least issued a road map to overcoming the problems. Beyond the vague statement of guiding the country through the transition phase, which is actually the latent function of the meeting, the group has no clear vision of where the country is headed. This leaves open the widespread speculation in the public space that the meeting is meant to unveil to the public the candidacy of the CBN governor, Mr. Emefiele and Mr. Timpre Silva in the presidential race.

Beyond that, many of the committee members have uncomplimentary records and are seen as part of the national problems to be able to offer anything meaningful to the country. They are not the channels through which Nigeria can be rescued to safety or hope for one. So, the 2022 Committee needs to come clean. What is it that they want? Nigeria is too big to be toiled with. In a country of about 200 million people with life threatening socio-economic and political issues, the people need to know the direction the country is headed beyond the not-so-remarkable agenda of the 2022 Committee.