Buhari-3

The Buhari government must supplement its anti corruption crusade with equal opportunities for all Nigerians and come out with palliative measures to cushion the effects of the recession. In the absence of these, all his efforts may amount to a tale, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, apologies to Williams Shakespeare.


In the last fifteen months, the living conditions of Nigerians have continued to deteriorate due to economic recession, with the consequences of dwindling purchasing power, rising incidence of crime and soaring costs of living. The condition is best described by late Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s 1977 song “Suffering and Smiling.”

The suffering of Nigerians who are struggling to get three square meals has some explanations in the large scale looting of the treasury by the last administration, the crash of oil prices, low foreign reserve and irregular payments of salaries in many states of the federation. But, how do we rationalise the secret recruitment going in ministerial departments and agencies, while many graduates are roaming the streets? After all, people are given jobs to minimise economic hardship. It is sacrilegious that top government officials in the Buhari administration are beneficiaries of this crime against the people in places like Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and others.

Can President Buhari pretend he is not aware of this? Or is it a kind of George Orwell’s animal farm where some animals are more equal than the others? David Parradang was fired as Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) in 2015 for recruiting people without approval. Governor Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau state went as far as going to beg President Buhari to reconsider his position on this matter, but met a brick wall. Why has he not given the Parradang treatment to those involved in the other recruitment rackets? Is this the change President Buhari promised Nigerians?

In case President Buhari has forgotten, there has never been any government in Nigeria’s history against which people marched on the streets and accused it of secret recruitments. This is a bad precedence coming from a government that enjoyed tremendous goodwill during the elections because people were tired of Jonathan and his “transformation” team.

If President Buhari wants to succeed and make Nigerians take him seriously, he needs to put an end to secret recruitments, and sanction agencies and individuals involved. In the absence of this, a credibility question is hanging over his change regime. Many Nigerians are so disappointed in the All Progressives Congress (APC) government that if there were mid- term elections, like in the United States, the party will be seriously humiliated. The APC governors and legislators have also not shown any remarkable difference from those they booted out of power. Every day, it is one tale or the other of the unexpected coming from the circus called the National Assembly. I do not understand how a popular government will continue to squander its goodwill when it is just approaching its second anniversary.

The Buhari administration needs to come out and admit to Nigerians that they failed to tell Nigerians the truth about the state of the economy, for political mileage, when they took over in May 2015. Hence, they continue to make promises that are not realistic in the short term.


Of particular interest to Nigerians are the recruitments at Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), where the governor, Godwin Emefiele may go down in history as the one who did more damage to the naira than any other apex bank chief executive. He has become famous for policy somersaults that have continued to wreck the naira and the economy in general. In December last year, he stopped the sale of forex to Bureau De Changes, accusing them of round-tripping and being owned by some CBN officials. These are the same Bureau de Changes he has been selling forex to since he became CBN governor in June 2014. All this while, he did not know the owners. Three weeks ago, he resumed selling forex to them, seeing the damage they had done to the naira by promoting scarcity. This amounts to going back to his vomit.

Last week, he committed another blunder by suspending nine banks from the forex market for not remitting Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) funds to the Treasury Single Account (TSA). While one is not rationalising illegality, Emefiele should know better that the banks concerned are influential in the market, and should have rather imposed heavy fines on them instead of suspending them. In this way, they would learn the hard way, like the MTN, whose steep fine for misconduct ate deep into its profits. Events at the apex bank are of concern to Nigerians because apart from NNPC, it is one organisation whose policies impact directly on every Nigerian.

Emefiele keeps bombarding us with the story that Nigeria’s failure to save when it had the chance to, our insatiable appetite for foreign goods and the falling price of crude oil are responsible for a struggling naira. While this argument may hold some water, can he in all sincerity tell Nigerians that their purchasing power has increased in the last one and half years with an ongoing salary drought and creeping inflation. The truth remains that the lack of thorough understanding of the importance of the free market in a developing economy by the Buhari administration has compounded the woes of Nigerians.

Does the minister of Information, Lai Mohammed want to tell us that Goodluck Jonathan is the one crashing the naira? For God’s sake, Jonathan left office in May last year, and if the government is bereft of ideas on how to move the economy forward it should come forward and tell Nigerians. The people cannot be jobless, yet, the little they have is worthless in terms of purchasing power. The likes of the minister of Information have almost succeeded in making Jonathan a hero due to their excuses in delivering on the goods of good governance.

The Buhari administration needs to come out and admit to Nigerians that they failed to tell Nigerians the truth about the state of the economy, for political mileage, when they took over in May 2015. Hence, they continue to make promises that are not realistic in the short term.

Despite the suffering of Nigerians, one thing that is not in doubt is the commitment of President Buhari to building a new Nigeria. If it will take him, his wife and children to eat just once a day to get the economy on track, he looks like one who would do so.


In an article “No Accolade for Mr Jonathan, Please”, I compared the Nigeria Goodluck Jonathan was handing over to Muhammadu Buhari to an old car: “After six years of the Jonathan presidency, Nigeria is today like an old car, with worn out tyres, broken head lamps, non-functional brakes, no shock absorber with an inebriated driver.”

I said it will take the government about two years to find its rhythm, but the government started painting a rosy picture, but, backtracked after raising the hope of the people. Hence, the government should blame itself for the pressure its now under from the people.

President Barack Obama of the United States in 2008 told Americans, “we will not get there in the first four years”, seeing the bad state of their economy when he took over; why should ours be different.

Despite the suffering of Nigerians, one thing that is not in doubt is the commitment of President Buhari to building a new Nigeria. If it will take him, his wife and children to eat just once a day to get the economy on track, he looks like one who would do so.

However, what Nigerians find worrisome is his indifference to the secret recruitments in federal agencies under his watch, a wobbling naira, and the growth of crime in geometrical progression. A government that diligently fights corruption, recovering billions of naira, yet the citizens are feeding from hand to mouth will not make any impact. The Buhari government must supplement its anti corruption crusade with equal opportunities for all Nigerians and come out with palliative measures to cushion the effects of the recession. In the absence of these, all his efforts may amount to a tale, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, apologies to Williams Shakespeare.

Abdulrafiu Lawal, a Public Commentator can be reached through rafla2002pl@yahoo.com. Twitter @AbdulRafiu19