The powers that be are working tirelessly to retrieve our national economy from the precipice. That much we have been told. While we thank God for little mercies, we also like to volunteer that the mess is deeper than they think, since it is not only the national economy that is in the red. Those of states and local government areas also are. In fact, there is a fourth, personal economy, which brings private sector economy into the picture. Experts who insist that Nigeria has one sole economy are not conversant with the degree of the peculiarity of this country and the insulation of her flagships.
Team Buhari should recalibrate their response to present-day realities otherwise they might arrive exactly where they have been working to avoid. They need to realise that, apart from our economy (or economies), nearly every other important component of national life is in recession. This is not being alarmist. Nigeria is in big trouble. I shall presently attempt an evaluation to show that the malignantly, cancerous recession has spread to most, if not the whole, of our national anatomy. Meanwhile, let the point be made that all this country requires, going forward, is a multipartite approach as against the current pastime, which those who should know say is only a mumbling fixation on economic recession.
Now, here’s keeping my promise:
(a) Change: It is probably the worst hit. This 2015 electoral promise has remained stillborn, largely. Nearly two years since, Change has changed nothing; well, apart from transmogrifying the few silver linings that used to offer citizens some solace. For instance, with all its so-called cluelessness, the recent past administration made sure there was a little money in most hands, which drastically reduced hunger in the land. Conversely, the present administration puts more money in a few hands, which explains the widespread biting hunger and maddening hardship.
Plus, so much of the bad stuff that we thought we would no more experience is still going on quietly. Money-grubbing remains the signature in most high places, while an alarming percentage of the population scavenges for basic needs. Yet, all one hears is the trademark government rhetoric that things always first get bad, really bad, before they get good, really good. The other day, a reader to whom this no longer makes sense asked me how people killed by this hardship would benefit when the good times come. I told her that their reward, when it matures, would be ‘heavenitised.’ Flip the page, please, to the part of this failed deal that rankles. Notwithstanding growing, deafening catcalls for President Muhammadu Buhari to fast-track the dividends of change, the man remains pre-occupied with his sole agendum, a.k.a. anti-corruption fight, even against the background of nationwide unanimity that his fig leaf is not enough blandishment. One only hopes that as the President goes to every length to fish out and punish Old Testament corruption, he is not too busy to ensure that none happens under his nose. It would be a crying shame if a successor found even one stain of thievery on any Buhari lieutenant!
b) Statesmanship: I am praying for the anointing to be able to say this without sounding offensive. Why do elders who belong in ‘Ekpurikpu’ (remember that Akwa Ibom word for inner sanctum?) and who still enjoy total access thereto, willy-nilly, ever have to resort to a marketplace transmission of a grievance? I don’t know whether this anathema is borne out of recession or karma, but this administration needs to nip the gathering storm in the bud. Puerile exchanges by major political players can lead to systemic implosion, especially considering the combustibility of the times. Recession must not affect the capacity of people who owe society altruistic leadership. Let us all emulate Baba (don’t add ‘ngida,’ please) who has so far shown class and kept away from adding to the distraction, deliberately refusing to take presidential bait, once or twice. Nigeria needs more elders like him, elders who won’t contract the recession-borne flu!
c) Patriotism: Have you noticed that recession has totally dried up our sense of country? Focus of national discourse has moved. Ethnic warlords or kingpins are on the prowl. When last did someone mention a pan-Nigeria mission? States and regions are winning, the country is losing. This is a serious matter that requires urgent, systematic attention. We must fight this mental recession twice as hard or we could resolve the economic recession only to find out we no longer have a country.
d) Integration: This has always been suspect but recession seems to have inured citizens to the widening gulf. Where’s our oneness? Why have we become such a disunited people? We ask what the Igbo or Fulani or Yoruba want; not what Nigerians want. And we are disdainful because we believe we are more equal than others. This relationship-recession has not helped Nigeria. The authorities must fight it or risk the tag of being the era that fragmented our people the most.
e) Election: The day President Buhari was sworn in, I swore that we had seen the last of election disputes. Nearly two years on, and after one, two, three or so state elections, I have been unswearing. Perhaps it’s recession that has cast our elections in concrete such that, despite change, things are still as they used to be, if not worse. There’s a certain Neanderthal desperation by all stakeholders that make one to wonder if the god of election has cursed Nigeria. Our elections still bear the primitive paraphernalia of the Stone Age!
I have made the point already. Those battling to rescue Nigeria from the throes of recession must appreciate the hidden fact that her purulence far transcends an economic infection. This country suffers a condition called general debility. The economic intensive care that we noise so much about is just one-tenth of the treatment she needs. Approaching from all sides with deafening clamour is all that is needed to wake up the snoring giant. God bless Nigeria!
Rainbow on the horizon
A citizenry facing hardship is deaf to preachment and blind to aesthetics or such other non-food-related inanities. A nation playing host to the World Cup witnessed a mass demonstrations chanting, ‘We want beans not goals.’ Although Nigeria is now at that survival-first juncture, Nigerians cannot gloss their leader’s stunts away. For example, Gov. Mohammed Jibrilla Bindow’s decision to move Adamawa State executive council sitting to the dilapidated hall of Villanovo Government College is a tiny masterstroke that can arouse massive selflessness in other leaders as well as the citizens!
The Nigerianisation of America
It appears the United States bent on beating Nigeria (or Africa) to the global electoral booby prize of 2016. Imagine that after her rancorous presidential election hitherto considered to be possible only in the third world, the so-called First World nation has descended even lower. At the time of writing this, a recount is in the works. Would the U.S. recover if this back-and-forth proved conclusively it was hacking, not Donald, that trumped Hillary on November 8?