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How Buhari plunged Nigeria into recession

One funny aspect of this “blame game” thing, is that you only see what has gone wrong in terms of “the other person” – the person you are pointing accusing fingers at. You hardly realise that as you point one finger at the other person, three of your other fingers are also accusing you, but they are usually hidden from your sight. In the Bible, Our Lord Jesus Christ warned us not to judge others, but to first of all remove the log in our eyes before complaining about the speck in the eyes of our neighbours (or opponents).

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We are in an economic recession. Two questions are pertinent: (a) how did we get there? And (b) how do we get out of it?

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The All Progressives Congress, APC, Federal Government, in tackling question number one, blames “others”, but it does not see the roles it played in bringing the nation into this pass. This is what I am here to address; that we do not allow them to confuse us with their unrelenting propaganda, the vessel that brought them to power and which they are depending upon to run the affairs of a nation in a deep economic distress. Fortunately, the propaganda has lost its allure in the face of massive suffering, poverty, hunger, mass joblessness and soaring crime rates. Nobody wants to hear any more excuses, and this applies even to the apologists of the regime.

APC Federal Government spokespersons – Garba Shehu, Femi Adesina, Lai Mohammed, name them – have been blaming the nation’s woes on “16 years of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, rot”. They said they did not expect the “depth” of the rot they met. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo files in, and blames PDP Federal Government’s failure to save for the rainy day, forgetting that the APC sponsored its governors to oppose Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s proposal for us to save when we had an unrivalled oil boom. They also opposed President Goodluck Jonathan’s plans to deregulate the downstream sector of the economy to free up funds to attack our infrastructural deficit. Jonathan, not being “a Pharaoh” (as he put it) weakly buckled to acts which the opposition deliberately deployed to ensure his downfall.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo had shrugged off criticisms and led Nigeria to exit the slavish debt trap of the Paris Club by engaging Okonjo-Iweala to lead the negotiations in which we paid $12 billion to escape from a $30 billion debt burden. Through acts of impunity, Obasanjo created the Excess Crude Account, ECA, and saved billions, which enabled Nigeria to survive the 2008 worldwide economic meltdown.

President Umaru Yar’Adua played a statesman’s trump card through the Amnesty deal, which ended the militancy in the Niger Delta, thus creating a new impetus for us to enjoy more oil boom till the tail end of 2014. When Jonathan assumed office, he embarked on massive infrastructure upgrades nationwide, and this manifested in our airports, roads, rail, investment in power, education (especially tertiary) and of course, democratic reforms that made it possible for a powerful opposition to arise and sweep him from office.

Of course, there was massive corruption during the PDP years, but tell me in which regime since our independence when there was no corruption, even this current Buhari regime? The only difference is that the “enemies” are being targeted, while “friends and acolytes” are being shielded.

Of course, Nigeria’s economy grew in leaps and bounds under the PDP, but it was mostly oil-fed. We became the largest economy in Africa by Gross Domestic Product,GDP, but the proceeds went mostly to a few privileged and connected individuals. A little seeped into the middle class, but the mass of the people wallowed in poverty. This was probably why the 2015 election was called “a revolution of the poor”, but where has that revolution taken us?

So, yes, the recession was caused by our failure to save for a rainy day, but it was a collective failure of the nation. Jonathan cannot escape the blame because as President, he should have stamped his foot down and done what was best for the country, rather than dance to the tune of every Tom and Harry just for him to be elected for a second term.

We are in recession because we, as a nation, thought we were an “oil-rich” country. If you compare our best production capacities vis-à-vis our humongous population, and those of other Organisation of Oil Producing Countries, OPEC, and none-OPEC countries (such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Norway, Venezuela, USA Angola and others), it is obvious we are actually an “oil-poor” country and should not have depended on our oil alone for national survival. That mistake is a collective blame rooted in the mentality of the ruling class that took charge of Nigeria after the civil war. It goes beyond the PDP years; it is still evident in this Buhari administration.

Yes, we are in recession because of the renewed militancy in the Niger Delta. But who caused it? Before Buhari came in, we had massive oil theft. But when he assumed office and came at governance as if on a vengeance mission, the militancy resumed.

Buhari did not realise the harm he was inflicting on the psyche of the nation when he propounded his “97%/5%” formula, which went against the Federal Character principle in the constitution. He used it to divide the country along political party, religious, regional, ethnic and sectional lines, favouring his kinsmen and supporters while neglecting those who did not support him.

Not only that, he mobilised the agencies of state security to go after his perceived opponents in a one-sided anti-corruption war which only emphasised the return of allegedly looted funds. He did not make it a holistic affair. Some individuals who felt the system was blindly and vengefully after them returned to militancy and plunged the economy deeper into recession. Security threats expanded, from Boko Haram alone in 2015 to new fronts (the Niger Delta Avengers, armed Fulani herdsmen, Indigenous People’s of Biafra/MASSOB protests, and the Shiites uprising in Kaduna).

If Buhari had, on assuming office, called Nigerians together, told them to forget about the bruising transitional politicking and work together to rescue the nation from the imminent economic doom, there would be no other security challenge except Boko Haram. If he had dealt with the armed herdsmen to protect the people, formed an inclusive government based on constitutional provisions and brought in the best hands without looking at their political affiliations, religious backgrounds and ethno-regional roots, we would be fighting the economic problems as a united front.

Buhari’s anti-corruption war is a well-received policy. Nobody can openly say anything to the contrary. Corruption is a major factor in Nigeria’s backwardness. But the anti-corruption war should have been an institutional one devoid of politics. It should not have been merely aimed at recovering stolen funds, and even that should have been extended to all who stole, not just PDP people and the president’s political opponents alone.

Buhari de-marketed Nigeria and Nigerians in several world capitals by calling us crooks. Every Nigerian is a crook and not to be trusted, except of course, President Buhari, the man of integrity. The Treasury Single Account, TSA, policy, formulated by the Jonathan but left unimplemented to avoid harming the financial system, was put into effect by Buhari without consultation. Banks shrivelled and started retrenching massively.

His statist policies and lack of direction for the economy created fear and uncertainties among the private sector players and investors. After waiting for a clearer picture in vain, many (like the foreign and local airlines) closed shop and left Nigeria.

Unless Buhari starts seeing himself as the father of the nation rather than a sectional mujahid (“holy” warrior), he would never get it right. He must listen to the wise words of the Senators who are telling him to rejig himself and his government away from the blunders of the past sixteen months.

If he does so, our journey out of the recession will be short.

19 Comments on How Buhari plunged Nigeria into recession

  1. No be him fault jare


  2. Na PDP cause all this crisis


  3. Shoro niyen


  4. Well said sir. Let those who have ears hear and those who have eyes see.


  5. Pack of rubbish from one fucking freaky disgruntled PDP apologist
    We do not need this sort of heavily biased garbage at this time when Buhari is working really hard to lay a new foundation for this potentially rich nation that had been severely damaged over the years by unbridled corruption by the past governments
    If the past rulers had shunned corruption and utilised the oil money well, particularly when the oil price was good, Nigeria could have been greatly developed
    But they instead chose the path of public fund looting for their own selfish interest
    The same big time rogues are now doing everything to sabotage Buhai’s anti corruption drive, in other for Nigeria to revert to the status quo of free for all looting
    Buhari is quite on course
    What we are experiencing now is the usual toothing problem associated with any process of reformation
    In due course and soonest, Nigerians will start reaping the dividends of Nigeria’s Renaissance


    • @ Sunny there is nothing wrong with what the writer have said, please read without any form of bias. He said APC has been blaming PDP that they refused to save for the raining day yet it was the APC that sponsored that campaign and that is very true because Ameachi led that campaign then. On the writers thought on corruption that the fight is one sided which is also very true; fighting corruption is good but until the likes of Ameachi and co are probed then no one will take the fight serious. To make matters worse Dariye in plateau state just decamped to APC last week with all the corruption case hanging on his neck while he was in PDP yet they still accepted him. Is APC now a shielding ground? May God he’s this nation because all expectation has been killed. When we voted APC we never expected all these flimsy excuses. As a matter of fact everything APC is saying now we saw it 100% prior to 2015 election that was why we voted them to now start lecturing us for what we already know in my own oppinion I think is waste of time. Please let them get to work we want result and not blame game, election campaigns are over and is business time.


      • Charles, well you are very much entitled to your opinion , likewise myself
        I respect your decision to pitch your tent with whoever or whatever side and expect you to respect mine
        I stand by my comment and I believe you will do the same with yours’


        • Thanks for your candid advise. Please also try and respect people’s opinion also like the the writers’ opinion above because your opening comment was too harsh on him. I quote “Pack of rubbish from one f*****g freaky disgruntled PDP apologist”, after all he was also expressing his own opinion. Thanks for your understanding.


        • Mr sunny whilst standing by your comments you and others like yourself must learn to have respect for others comments. Charles has only tried to balance out the views as stated but in standing by your comments should there be no dissenting or opposing view???? Have we suddenly developed chronic loss of memory. We can’t build a nation like this: believing that we have the magic wand when we don’t.


          • Dele ,can you carefully read through my reply to Charle’s again and point out to me where I suggested that I do not entertain contrary opinion
            In your own understanding, does my standing on my comment amount to lack of respect ? of course far from it
            I also clearly accorded my respect to Charle’s decision on where to pitch his tent as an adult
            So I wonder which case you are trying to make out of no where
            Or do you just enjoy raising unnecsasy dust just to make up the number


    • Interestingly, Sunny, I have read through your comments and the various ‘servos’ directed at you. Much as I respect everybody’s view, I am solidly on your side.
      My only regret is the type of Government on ground. Though I am not a military man, if we had the ‘opportunity’ of reverting to military regime, those looters and ‘padders’ would have been admitted into our various gallows and left there to enjoy their ill gotten wealth.
      Those advocating that APC should do in-house cleaning first are getting the logic wrong. Such a step if taken at the beginning is capable of setting ones house in total disarray.
      Dis-tractors and antagonists of Buhari should have a rethink because it is much easier to destroy than to build. God Almighty is on Buhari’s side and He will always guide and direct him on the way forward


      • @ Alex Ade, I like your comment and your suggestion of handling those looter is a welcome development so it can serve as example that is not business as usual. But APC should stop the blame game and get to work, they should come up with policies that will point to a bright future as far as Nigeria is concern and should stop behaving as if they are still campaigning. As a matter of fact all they are saying we saw all the nonsense that is why I voted for them, so they should save us these stories because we are aware and get to work. Thanks and have a blessed day.


  6. Nigeria is a sinking ship.


  7. Well said, However both government had a part to play. The Jonathan government started the process of recession, while the Buhari government pushed us right into recession with their negative policies.


  8. this isn’t the case now ,two occurences of me knowing d course of dis recession ,bt am against people saying he is the course


  9. He is trying his best also


  10. Sentiments, sentiments and sentiments all the way.
    This blame game should stop forthwith
    We should concentrate our efforts and energies at finding solutions to the mirage of problems confronting the nation.
    I think the citizens of the country that has enormous human and material resources should not be in this ugly situation we find ourselves had the political elites managed our resources properly.
    The good Lord will surely see the nation through this difficult time.


  11. @ sunny. The difference between constructive criticism and destructive criticism is in the language used to buttress ones point. Clearly when mudslinging the primary purpose is to try discredit another’s view when they run contrary to ours. You said “if I read carefully” but you were not careful in reading the tone of my comment nor the original writer. I was conscious not to knock your opinion but draw your cautious attention to the “other view” but as you did previously the fact that there is a tinge of objection you quickly threw another jibe at me as well that possibly I’m trying to raise unnecessary dust. I will just implore you to patiently read your comments to Charles again. Note that respect in speech is not respect in tone of speech. We just want to be able to be truthful to ourselves on this Nigerian quagmire. A tree can’t make a forest nor can buhari singlehandedly turn the fortunes of nigeria around. It is up to the political class to step up to the plate but so far that is yet to be seen. It’s still about apc vs pdp when in truth there is an undeniable mix of the two on both sides. I hope you still don’t think I’m just raising dust as the tone of my comment still remains respectful as it should be for all others. Thanks.


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