A famous quote by a wise man says “history is to a people, what memories are to events”. The above quote may not be something said to be far from reality considering the recent toll of events ravaging Nigeria’s economy. It is as though the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and his assumed team of economic advisers will be forever be remembered for orchestrating successfully two seasons of recessions and economic downturn.
In the first instance, one needs to ask why it had always been Buahri. As it was in the days of our fathers in 1984 so it was in 2016 and four years later, the story remains the same. Would we say all these recessions were products of conspiracies? Or probably the gods of economic development have not assigned Buhari to lead Nigeria from the pits of economic woes to the palace of economic goodness?
Who do we blame for these recessions?
Do we blame the incompetency of the current administration which has been characterised as one filled with economic saboteurs and nepotists christened advisers and ministers or we blame the gullibility of the Nigerian popualce who weere blinded by the luxury of the change mantra which was the agenda of the APC? Or we blame the international community who have left is to our fate knowing that the threads of langauge and ethnic diversity which were used in weaving the nation’s fabric were shallow substances that cannot stand the test of time?
It is sad that the current crop of Ministers who have been assigned to man different offices are individuals whose level of intelligence and orientation is myopic. Thus, rather than see into the future, they are clouded by the failures of the past government. On several occasions, these individuals have displayed the highest level of mediocrity making even a street urchin wonder why they were appointed in the first place. Like a famous public speaker once said, the current federal executive cabinet is to be regarded as recession cabinet.
The erstwhile Minister of communications who served in the first tenure of Buhari’s government once justified the communication tax imposed on Nigerians. To him, Nigerians talk too much. Hence, there was the need to reduce their verbal voraciousness by increasing the amount they pay for making calls even if the reasons were relating to Business and partnerships.
As if that were on a lighter scale, the nation’s agriculture minister, Sabo Nanono, once asserted that Nigeria had abundance and hunger and famine wasn’t present due to the relatively cheap nature of food items. In his words, “I think we are producing enough to feed ourselves. I think there is no hunger in Nigeria; there could be inconveniences. When people talk about hunger in this government, I just laugh. In this country, it is fairly cheap to buy food”. Is this not tragic?
And for the President who is the “oga at the top” the situation remains the same. There is always a scapegoat who is to take the blame for any failure. The 2015/2016 recessions according to him were caused by the failures and ineptitude of the previous administration chaired by Goodluck Jonathan.
Apparently aware that Nigerians will backfire with their logs of criticisms, the President quickly asserted that the 2020 recession was caused by the Corona virus pandemic which ravaged the entire world. Who is fooling who?
Was Nigeria the only country worst hit or probably the likes of Ghana that took proactive steps having seen the economic danger posed by the pandemic took proactive steps so their roofs wouldn’t be blown away.
Many including the author are not surprised by the recent recession Nigeria plunged into. This is because when a nation is manned by a team of ignoramus posing as intellectuals, the result is nothing but failure, woes and economic upheavals.
The World Bank in its June 25, 2020 report gave a forecast that Nigeria would slip into a severe economic recession, the worst since the 1980s. Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank country director for Nigeria, recommended. In order to avoid speaking half truth, the report suggested proactive steps which the nation could take. Such included the job creation, provision of economic relief packages inter alia.
However rather than heed the hunter’s whistle, Nigeria decided to take a shortcut which eventually spelled more doom. We preferred to increase the cost of governance, increase the subsidies of petroleum products, secure loans that were spent on trifle matters and close the borders making it almost impossible for local producers to transport their goods outside the shores of the country. How do we want to escape if we neglect such magnitude of warnings?
How would a nation that services its debt profiles with more than half of its annual revenue not enter into recession? Does it make sense that a nation where over 70% of its citizens live in penury and poverty has the record of having its parliament feeding on bogus allowances? Two wrongs absolutely can make a right, we cannot expect to do the same thing repeatedly and experience different results. Insanity.
Until the nation’s policy and decision makers kill the pest destroying the leaves, we will continue to have a bountiful harvest of recessions and economic woes fueled by underdevelopment. It is high time we listen to the voice of the hunter lest we become the proverbial stray dog.