Presidential debate evaded peace and progress
Sir: Renegade rulers in Africa, including Nigeria and Ghana, are enslaving their countries to China, rather than encouraging local money-bags to build roads, etc and collect tolls. That was one of the things I learnt from Chief Obafemi Awolowo (of blessed memory). Yes, I told Richard Akindele to leave Monica Osagie and her co-conspirators to God’s own judgment, since it takes two to tangle, and Monica was the person who went to demand for higher mark from Richard who asked in return for what he needed: sex.
But this article is on Nigeria. The nation is facing a situation in which states and local governments rely mostly on allocation from the federation account and borrowing, rather than on internally generated revenue (IGR). What could remedy the situation is restructuring that will reduce the number of the many states and local governments created when oil revenue was booming. The current President, General Muhammadu Buhari (GMB) was glorying in his own emphasis on the Treasury Single Account (TSA). Ironically, he was also the first person to openly violate the TSA, when he confessed that recovered looted funds were not going into the TSA. Why not, if not?
What percentage of the oil revenue under GMB’s petroleum ministry is going into the TSA? What about the issue of the war against Boko Haram, importation of warplanes and sophisticated weapons that are draining the economy of Nigeria? No, the 16 years of mismanagement of Nigeria’s economy by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) cannot be denied, but what about the four years of unprecedented bloodshed, maiming and displacing of peoples, under the All Progressives Congress (APC)? Four years in which agrarian communities faced the worse herdsmen terrorism? None of the issues ravaging Nigeria’s economy has been resolved: war against Boko Haram and protection of the Fulani herdsmen terrorists, resulting in the emergence of the armed bandits as a third terrorist group. Who can swear by Ògún (God’s Minister for Iron and Steel) that GMB who doubles himself as the Petroleum Minister is not committing Boko Haram?
So, add official corruption to the war against Boko Haram and protection of the Fulani herdsmen terrorists and explain how GMB will ever meet, let alone beat the economy of his predecessors. Whatever the inflation rate Yemi Osinbajo might have quoted as better under GMB than his predecessors, the market prices are clearly double, where not triple, whatever they were before GMB-Osinbajo, while workers’ financial entitlements have not increased, even with fuel price increase from N87 to N145. Those in the presidency and the legislature may agree that the economy is bad, but they do not make themselves to feel the pain of the bad economy. GMB is boasting that there will be no end to fighting Boko Haram, knowing he will never go to the warfront or feel the economic destruction of Nigeria.
Yes, it is up to Nigerians to vote for GMB to continue perpetuating carnage and economic destruction of Nigeria, or rally round Atiku Abubakar to end carnage and economic destruction of Nigeria. Objectively speaking, having admitted that the economy is comatose, fourth year into his own presidency, GMB should have resigned honourably, if he had any honour. Those saying that GMB is honest for admitting that the economy is in shambles are deceiving themselves. He said so, secretly and the governors blew it open so that Nigerians would not put all the blame on them. If Nigerians value their own lives and economy, they would mobilise and vote GMB out.
• Prof. Oyeniran Abioje wrote from University of Ilorin.