How to Be a Clueless President, By Femi Aribisala
Instead of giving Nigerians the change you championed, give them excuses. Blame Goodluck Jonathan for everything.
In six years of Goodluck Jonathan’s presidency, the opposition told us again and again the man was “clueless.” It made sure the tag stuck to him like glue. But now we have a new sheriff in town, with the APC claiming to be better at everything than the PDP. While that might still be subject to debate, there is overwhelming evidence that in the cluelessness department, the PDP is certainly no match for the APC.
Here is a compendium from the APC textbook of cluelessness, provided within barely one year in office. If you want to know how to be a clueless president, this is the APC blueprint.
Instead of giving Nigerians the change you championed, give them excuses. Blame Goodluck Jonathan for everything, including the harmattan. Whenever you make a blunder, pass the buck to the former president. If there is petrol shortage, blame it on Goodluck Jonathan. If the budget is dead on arrival, blame it on Goodluck Jonathan.
In the middle of an economic crisis, promise to provide Nigerians with free education; free meals daily for millions of Nigerian public school-children; free tertiary education; free health-care and free houses. Facing a drastic drop in Nigeria’s income, declare you will be giving grants of $1.5 billion a year to Nigeria’s poor. When you fail to deliver on any on these highfalutin promises, blame it quickly on Goodluck Jonathan.
Forget the name of you vice-presidential running-mate. Call him Yemi Osunbade instead of Yemi Osinbajo. Tell President Obama the name of your political party is the All Nigeria’s Peoples’ Congress when it is All Progressives Congress. Call your party on CNN the All Progressives Confidence.
Tell Al Jazeera INEC means Independent Nigerian Electoral Commission instead of Independent National Electoral Commission. Even though West Germany ceased to exist in 1999 and the current German president is Joachim Gauck, refer to German Chancellor, Angela Merkel as “President Michelle of West Germany.”
Destroy INEC by turning it into a National Commission for Inconclusive Elections. Go to the United Nations and give rousing speech about fighting Boko Haram, then fail to attend the crucial meeting on Boko Haram at the same U.N. session. Tell the Americans the Chibok girls were abducted from their “hotels” instead of their “hostels.”
Tell Nigerians there is nothing like petroleum subsidy. Then as president, announce the removal of the non-existent petroleum subsidy. Claim Jonathan diverted $700 million from the $1.1 billion Chinese loan for the Lagos/Kano rail project when only $400 million was earmarked for Lagos/Kano rail. Announce that foreign exchange can now be paid into domiciliary accounts without specifying if depositors will be allowed to withdraw them.
Declare that you will kill corruption in Nigeria while being surrounded and bankrolled by corrupt politicians. Then invite those with corruption allegations hanging over their heads into your cabinet. Maintain: “Jonathan’s ministers stole 150 billion dollars.” But fail to prosecute them for stealing $150 billion. Tell Nigerians $2.5 billion was stolen by the PDP through Dasukigate, but charge people to court for stealing no more than $100 million.
Believe that trying members of the PDP for corruption on the pages of newspapers amounts to waging a serious war on corruption and is a substitute for national economic policy. Say: “We cannot build an economy where corruption is the working capital.” Then declare to no effect that recovered stolen monies will be used to revamp the national economy.
Insist Abacha never stole any money, and then probe the PDP for the mismanagement of the non-existent Abacha loot recovered from abroad. Fail to recognise that with the official exchange-rate at N198 to $1, while the parallel market rate is $305 to $1, you have created the widest parallel market margin ever recorded in Nigeria’s history of Nigeria and laid the foundation for widespread corruption in the banks.
Accuse the opposition of using public funds to finance its election campaign, but fail to disclose where you got the money to finance your own very expensive election campaign. Claim to be so cash-strapped, you had to borrow N27.5 million to pay for the presidential nomination papers of your party; then state in your assets declaration that you have N30 million in your bank account. Commend INEC for running the ostensibly free and fair election that brought you to power; then challenge in court every election conducted by the same INEC that your party lost.
Claim you inherited an empty treasury in spite of the over $30 billion left in our foreign reserves. Say you met no money in the treasury, then spend N2.2 billion on a four-day junket to the U.S. with no agenda and with nothing achieved.
Say: the federal government of Nigeria is: “the biggest Boko Haram.” Then become the head of the federal government of Nigeria. Declare grandiloquently: “I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody.” Then say: “The constituents (that) gave me 97 percent cannot in all honesty be treated on some issues with constituencies that gave me 5 percent.” Say you belong to everybody but ensure that your personal aides are virtually all Northerners.
Say: “I bear no ill will against anyone on past events. Nobody should fear anything from me. We are not after anyone.” “There will be no paying off old scores. The past is prologue.” Then send EFCC dogs after Elder Godsday Erubebe.
Say: “I pledge myself and the government to the rule of law, in which none shall be so above the law that they are not subject to its dictates, and none shall be so below it that they are not availed of its protection.” Then seek to replace the rule of law with the rule of fear. Go on national television and tell Nigerians you will not be obeying the courts in the cases of Dasuki and Kanu. Interfere in the judicial process by publicly declaring your enemies guilty without trial.
Tell Christiane Amanpour on CNN that you will defeat Boko Haram within two months if elected. Then say you did not say so. Declare that you will defeat Boko Haram by the end of December 2015, then say you only meant to defeat it “technically” after it unleashes mayhem on Maiduguri while you were busy celebrating its fictional defeat.
Say: “Boko Haram is a typical example of small fires causing large fires. An eccentric and unorthodox preacher with a tiny following was given posthumous fame and following by his extra judicial murder at the hands of the police.” Then send troops to massacre hundreds of Shiites in Zaria. Involve Nigeria in a Middle Eastern regional struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran by joining the Saudi led anti-terrorist coalition. Open the door for wider terrorist attacks on Nigeria by killing Shi’ites in the North while the Saudis execute Shi’ite mullahs and prisoners in Saudi Arabia.
Prosecute avoidable wars on several home-fronts: against Boko Haramites in the North-East; Shi’ites in the North-West; Biafrans in the South-East; and Niger Deltans in the South-South.
Grind the country to a halt by making yourself Sole Administrator of Nigeria for six months. Squander your vital first 100 days in office doing absolutely nothing; while receiving cheers as “Baba Go-Slow.” Present “body language” as a substitute for policy. Ensure that over N5 trillion is wiped off the Nigerian Stock Exchange within six months of your coming to office.
Promise: “I will stabilise global oil price.” Then watch as the oil price tumbles from $50 to $28 within eight months of your presidency. Also ball-watch as the naira tumbles to a record-breaking N305 to one dollar.
Declare when the country is broke: “I will provide one meal a day for children in public primary schools.” “I will make direct cash transfer of 5,000 naira to the 25 million poorest and most vulnerable citizens.” Propose through your Minister of Science Fiction to create 3.4 million jobs in Nigeria in 2016 through the production of pencils. Plan to have 365 cultural festivals 365 days a year under your Ministry of Culture.
Shout “chanji, chanji” while a large chunk of your party-members are turncoats from the same PDP that ruled the country for the last 16 years. Refer to ministers as noisemakers then establish a Cabinet of ministers. Take six months to choose a cabinet then come out with old cargoes. Tell Nigerians you delayed appointing ministers because you were looking for saints and angels, then appoint many known devils. Say: “The corrupt will not be appointed into my administration.” Then appoint those with corruption allegations hanging over their heads.
Delight in putting square pegs in round holes. Make Kayode Fayemi, who has a Ph.D. in War Studies, Minister for Solid Minerals instead of Minister of Foreign Affairs. Make Professor Anthony Anwukah, a professor of Education and a former vice-chancellor a Junior Minister to a journalist, Adamu Adamu, in the Ministry of Education. Make Solomon Dalong, a former Assistant Inspector of Prisons the Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports. Make Muhammadu Bello, who headed the National Hajj Commission for eight years, FCT Minister.
Propose a N6 trillion budget in 2016 for a nation that failed to meet revenue estimates of N4 trillion in 2015. Predicate this on borrowing N2.2 trillion, which requires N1.2 billion daily to service.
Benchmark your budget on the price of oil being $38 in 2016, making it dead on arrival with the oil price falling to $28 within a fortnight of your budget presentation. Fail to anticipate that, once sanctions against Iran are lifted, the oil price will go further down as Iranian oil is added to the international oil glut. Allocate N40 billion to look for oil in the North-East in the middle of an oil glut when Nigeria needs to diversify from oil.
Within the framework of a drastic cut in Nigeria’s income, raise the budget for Aso Rock from N6.6 billion in 2015 to N18 billion in 2016. Earmark N3.6 billion for the purchase of several BMW saloon cars! Budget N1.75 billion for feeding in Aso Rock in 2016 when Jonathan only budgeted N530 million in 2015. Allocate only N29 billion to the Ministry of Agriculture, while earmarking N39 billion for the Ministry of Information and Culture.
Present the budget to the National Assembly without first scrutinising it. Present the budget with fanfare, then send someone to steal it from the National Assembly. Present the budget, then withdraw it after reading it. Remember this: when the budget fails, blame it on Goodluck Jonathan!