Buharinomics and the Endgame Scenarios

Simon Kolawolelive!, Email: simon.kolawoe@thisdaylive.com. SMS: 0805 500 1961

Simon Kolawole Live! By Simon Kolawole, Email:   simon.kolawole@thisdaylive.com, sms: 0805 500 1961

I love mathematics — it’s the calculations I can’t stand. Check this out: evaluate (1/2 – 1/4 – 1/8 – 1/16 + …) – 1. Goodness me, what’s that about? But, at least, mathematics is precision science. One plus one will always be equal to two. Economics, however, is not precision science. It is social science. And in social science, you can’t always achieve precision in analysing behaviour. Humans can react to the same stimulus differently. Thus, economists say “on the one hand” and “on the other hand”, taking into account the variables. They say “all things being equal” for a reason. An economic policy can work in Kano and fail in Katsina. But mathematics works everywhere.

Curiously, many economists and commentators seem to be casting Nigeria’s economic crisis as a mathematical problem. Their attitude is: you either use my formula to solve the problem or you will perish in hell. Anyone who disagrees with them is an “economic illiterate” or “naira killer”. I would rather think that whatever step we take today is an experiment: we still cannot say for sure what the end result would be. Some policies work in the short run and damage the economy in the long run. Some bring untold hardship in the short run and prosperity in the long run. Various countries have experimented with same policies and experienced different results.

Public debate in Nigeria is never civilised. To disagree on policy issues is a universal phenomenon, but the name-calling in Nigeria is simply amazing. Personal opinions are presented as canon and alternative views treated as blasphemy. Yet opinions must differ. When the Asian financial crisis broke out in 1997, the affected countries chose different paths to recovery. Thailand, South Korea and Indonesia adopted an IMF-inspired structural adjustment programme (SAP) and slowly recovered. Mahathir Mohammad, then prime minister of Malaysia, rejected IMF’s prescriptions, including devaluation — yet the economy also slowly recovered.

Those who opposed Mohammad’s obstinacy would later agree that whatever he was smoking was of high quality. Malaysia’s case was quite interesting. As the crisis threatened to topple the economy, Mohammad refused all entreaties to float or devalue the ringgit, which was then an international currency. Within weeks, it had lost 50 per cent of its value following speculative attacks, exchanging at 4.57 to $1 — up from 2.50. The stock market went into a meltdown. Rating agencies described Malaysian stock as “junk”.  But Mohammad remained stubborn. He arbitrarily fixed the exchange rate at 3.80 to the dollar and stopped the ringgit from being traded abroad.

Mohammad imposed tough capital controls, making it impossible for foreign portfolio funds to move out of Malaysia until after at least a year of investment. Initially, the economy contracted. Things went haywire. Foreign investors shunned Malaysia. Mohammad became a laughing stock. But he was flexible and kept tinkering. Things began to settle. Currency speculators lost out. Forex outflows dropped significantly. The overcrowded, troubled banking sector was consolidated. He then relaxed, and later removed capital controls as exports rose and the country’s current account deficit moved to surplus. Within three years, the economy picked up.

It, therefore, baffles me when people think there is only one way to tackle a crisis and that their way is the only way. Of course, President Muhammadu Buhari is not Mahathir Mohammad and Nigeria is not Malaysia. Malaysia was an industrialised country before the crisis, unlike Nigeria. And we should remember Malaysia already had sound economic, infrastructural and institutional backbone. It was like an injured player returning to the game, not a rookie like Nigeria being plucked straight from the academy. Parallels are, therefore, not to be overly drawn. On the one hand and on the other hand, the variables are different, all things being equal.

Nigeria, a one-track economy, is facing its own potentially defining crisis. The naira is on a spiral. Clearly, the immediate cause is that oil price has fallen, leading to a massive reduction in forex inflow, leading to scarcity of forex, leading to rationing of forex, leading to a freefall of the naira in the open market. It is obviously not Buhari’s fault. If oil price fell to $30 under President Goodluck Jonathan, we would experience similar challenges. Also, if oil price rises to $120 under Buhari — as we witnessed under Jonathan — there would be enough petrodollars to make everybody happy. We must never forget this fact in the midst of these unending arguments.

Our disagreement is basically how to get out of this mess which is damaging the economy day by day. Those who favour official devaluation of the national currency think it will address the forex inflow crisis, boost foreign investors’ confidence, stem the outflow of investors’ funds, remove forex market distortions and increase the revenue due to the three tiers of government — which is currently shared at N197 to $1 when indeed the street value is over N300 — and help wipe off the budget deficits. They think the naira has already devalued itself, in any case, and general prices have adjusted, but the government keeps deceiving itself by pretending N197 makes sense.

But there is another side to the argument, led by President Buhari himself. He says he will not “kill” the naira by devaluing it, and has picked out specific sectors he wants to make forex available to at N197 to a dollar. He believes only exporting countries benefit from currency devaluation. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has listed dozens of imported items it will not fund as part of the rationing of the forex reserves which are getting drained by the day. The CBN insists it will continue to make forex available only to “critical sectors”, and those who want to import non-essential items should source their forex elsewhere. The stated aim is to stimulate domestic production.

To be sure, I do not think, for one second, that simply restricting forex allocations will solve the problem. Actually, I have always argued that Nigeria’s real sector needs to be supported with solid infrastructure and generous incentives to fast-track industrialisation and purge ourselves of this importation epidemic and forex illness. We can even use tariff to discourage imports, even though the World Trade Organisation (WTO) will attempt to crucify us for raising barriers to “free trade”. But we must stop casting our current economic crisis in the single narrative of devaluation. We are dealing with complex human behaviour with several variables.

Since Buhari, the president, has maintained that he will not devalue the naira, then we would have to live with that for now. We cannot overrule him. I have now chosen to look at the different endgame scenarios for Buharinomics. There are two extreme scenarios I want to share. The first, which I call the “Sai Buhari!” scenario, is that things work out fine in the end. Imports drop sharply; pressure on naira falls; exchange rate stabilises; speculators bite the dust; investment in social infrastructure yields massive results; domestic manufacturing picks up; and we gradually overcome this economic hardship within three years. Sai Buhari!

The second scenario, the “Chai Buhari!” one, sees things get out of hand: naira slips into coma as speculators enjoy a free ride; black market hits N1000 to $1; prices of goods and services go gaga; the CBN can no longer make forex available for imports; we are queuing up to buy milk, salt and rice; unemployment soars as more factories close down; foreign investors shun Nigeria; Buhari then runs to the IMF for a $20 billion bailout as violent protests break out nationwide; IMF asks Buhari to devalue the naira, remove capital controls, abolish electricity subsidy, increase fuel price, and cut social spending; and Buhari painfully capitulates. Chai Buhari!

If I claim to know the endgame of Buharinomics, I lie. This is not mathematics. This is about how economic agents will interact and react under a different temperature, humidity and pressure. The fact that things are not going well today does not mean we are doomed. Indeed, with economic reform, things tend to get worse before they get better. That is why we have to look not just as short-term pains but also long-term gains. That is why I ultimately favour flexibility. In the Malaysia case, Mohammad was flexible. He resisted the IMF, yes, but even in his own policies, he evaluated results from time to time and acted with the latest information and within unfolding realities.

Meanwhile, there are certainly other possible endgame scenarios. For instance, if oil price picks up along the way, all this debate becomes an academic exercise. Moreover, there are rumours that some “saboteurs” are bent on making sure Buhari devalues the naira, and they will do anything to depress the naira in order to force the issue. Some bankers, currency speculators and top government officials are allegedly involved in the conspiracy. If this is true, it is yet another scenario I have not painted — the scenario where things that work in other countries spectacularly fail here because of the “Nigerian factor”. The endgame, then, remains highly unpredictable.R


You Got it Wrong on “Church and State”

By Ekerete Udoh

In your column of February 14, 2016 entitled “Devaluations and its Discontents” and in your ‘Four Things… section with the caption “Church and State” you  stated that “something revolted in me when I saw the gathering of PDP supporters at the Uyo Stadium last Wednesday to celebrate the victory of Governor Udom Emmanuel, in his election litigation”. You went on to say that you found it “very objectionable the way politicians hide behind God to waste scarce resources” and that Governor Emmanuel can “simply kneel down in his bedroom and thank God rather than hold a politically-charged service” and you termed the event “wasteful”.

First and foremost, I don’t think you have the right to suggest to Governor Udom Emmanuel how he should proceed to give thanks to God over a consequential moment that occurred in his life. It amounts to gratuitous insult to suggest such. Governor Udom Emmanuel has the right and spiritual latitude to praise God in any manner he deemed fit or to gather faithful to praise God for what He did for him, the good people of Akwa Ibom State and for the deepening of our democratic ethos, values and tradition.

The Supreme Court decision that affirmed the mandate the good people of Akwa Ibom State had given him, last April 11, helped restore confidence and strengthened our democratic norms; this was a great moment for our democracy and as a man of deep Christian faith and masculinity, Governor Emmanuel felt he needed to give thanks to God in a decidedly expressive and expansive manner. His motivation for doing such should not be questioned or be put through unnecessary layers of scrutiny.

Secondly, Simon, you are known to be dispassionate and thoughtful in your columns, but you allowed that element to take flight by making baseless and unfounded assertions. You termed the thanksgiving service “wasteful”.

How did you come to such conclusions? Do you have facts and figures on how much the event cost? The State Government did not have to expend huge amounts of money to host the event- it was a victory of the good people of the state over the forces of darkness, it was triumph of equity, justice and fairness over the drip-drip claptrap of satanic propaganda, vile rhetoric and of evil designs and once the mandate was affirmed, the people of Akwa Ibom State rose in unison and turned up in their thousands to thank God.

They came out of their own free will and volition. Our brother Governors  from the South-east and South-south, who were also in the crosshairs of the most vile and morally objectionable political machinations and blackmail by the other side of the political divide turned up in solidarity to join in thanking God for His intervention through the sound judgment of the Supreme Court. The same joyous mood was evident in the erudite and fearless Governor of Ekiti State, His Excellency. Ayo Fayose.

Where then is the ‘wasteful’ part as you stated in your right up? Was the optics of thousands of people singing and praising God for His manifest love and blessings something that ‘revolted you’? If that was your contention, then we can’t help you there. Akwa Ibom State is the only state that is named after God, our people are deeply religious,  and we sometimes wear our Christian  values on our sleeves as badges of honour and let me make a pledge here : we will continue to hoist our Christian bonafides for the next four years, and by His grace another four years. So my brother Simon, brace yourself, for you will be severely ‘revolted’ by more of such events in the coming years.

•Udoh is the chief press secretary and senior special assistant, media to Governor Udom Emmanuel​

  • Alhajivinco

    Rubbish Mr Udoh. Rubbish! Tell your governor to stop using state funds to serve God. Keep church and government at arms length please

  • Bala Khamofu

    My problem with us in Nigeria is that we keep playing politics long after elections are over. At this stage we should all be pursuing the same interests whether in or out of government. We should all be seeking after the good of the country and praying hard for the success of the government of the day because if they fail (God forbid!) we shall all suffer. One day Buhari will be out of the way but Nigeria continues. Please I want someone to help me answer the following questions: When Obasanjo took over in 1999 what was the price of oil and what was the value of the naira? Again how much was our foreign reserves and what was our foreign debt? Sometimes I feel like Nigerians are their own worst enemies. There are too many people out there who are willing to kill their own families and destroy the entire nation just to make money. Otherwise how can one justify the movement from about N200/$ to N400/$ within a few weeks. I find it difficult to understand certain things. Maybe because I’m not an economist.

  • Shetty

    I can’t resist continuing with the blame game but we were put into this shit by the the actions and the inaction of the previous regimes especially The last one which fail to invest in regenerative sectors while the oil boom last and even went further to deplete the excess crude account save by the obj regime from $25 billion dollars to $2 billon and foreign reserve from $60 billion to $30 billion and the unbridle theft that went on unchecked during that period , all over the nation . We therefore at this moment need not only a strong leader to get us out of this mess but a visionary one who can see a lot of blessings in this seemingly hopeless situation .

  • “Korede

    Anybody with sound economic knowlegde will not condemn what Simon has submitted here. It is a fact. Babangida played with the IMF solution (devaluation) and Nigeria never recovered from it. Economics in not Mathematics and that is a fact. Let everybody stop buying imported items (that has substitute in Nigeria) today and wait to see if Naira will not appreciate against all other foreign currencies.

    Let us produce more items that can be exported today and see if our local currencies will not appreciate.

    It is just as easy as that.

    When you buy items that we cannot produce in Nigeria, limit the number of such item.

    Most of the people here talking have so many cars, television, A/C (all items that eat into the dollars earned by government) when one or two of such items are enough for them, they have them in large numbers. Their houses are equipped with imported fittings whereas those fittings are available locally.

    I said here before now and I am repeating it again, do we know why Gambia (a very tiny country of population and land area less than Ogun state) have a stronger currency than naira?

    An assignment for all.

    Government is also guilty of the scenario painted above.

  • Olumide Soneye

    Buharinomics: the economics of aggressive price control of a product you have no control of the supply in the face of increasing demand.

    • Orphic

      Nigerians, please you can kill a person with laughter!

  • Me

    Let no one be surprised at the outburst of Mr. Ekerete Udoh. The failed “diasporan” is only facing the direction of his belle!! To feign ignorance that state fund was expended on the Live national broadcast on 2 TV stations (when we’ve just been informed of how N2bn was paid for a TV documentary), hosting of General Overseers of churches and all the other expenses in logistics and procurement is deceitful. Ekerete may wish to play the ostrich for “belle” sake, just don’t try to get the rest of us (serious minded) into your “play play”.

  • EzekielIwa

    When we start doing the right thing and doing things right, we will surely get out of this economic troubles as a Nation. A firm, transparent leader can transform the economy of a nation without being an expert in Economics. I also subscribe to those calling for Mr president to constitute an economic team comprising of Tested, Esteemed, Seasoned Professionals who will operate freely and constantly guide Mr president, VP and his team on Economic related matters on how to turn things around. Thank you for a balanced article @ Simon.

  • KWOY

    The summary is that there will be more poverty in 2019, & things will be more terrible. The deliberate deception about things getting worse before they get better is just deception. By 2019 there will be more poverty and hopelessness

  • koye

    There is no conspiracy in economics
    You either have the maize or the wheat
    If nigeria can produce 30million tonnes of Maize today
    there will be no crises in forex
    if nigeria can produce 20 million tonnes of peanuts there will be no crises
    You have the rains you have the land ,what is your excuse.

    Everybody living off the goverment, thats what it is pure and simple

    • osagiejacobs

      That is just it. We want growth without work. Policies and controls are meaningless without work.

    • Aminu Ahmadu

      Bullseye….You are the man!!!!

    • The Leviathan

      Exquisitely simplistic!

      Now, all we need is Mr. Koye to come grow the maize and peanuts, and we can all live happily ever after!

      • koye

        It is simplistic for the above reasons
        1. it sends a signal to the rest of Africa and the World that you are a potential
        Agricultural superpower
        2. It backstops your currency in times of low oil prices and stops
        a run on the Naira
        3 The Naira becomes the reserve currency of AFRICA because the rest of Africa
        will hold on to the naira as they would feel in times of famine in East or South
        Africa that you would have products to sell.
        4 Reserve currency status attracts a lot of investment and multiplyer effects.

        5 Youth unemployment is drastically reduced as the secondary use of this products are numerous , from feedstock to making ethanol and food security.

        6 The currency speculators will have confidence in the NAIRA AND NOT DUMP

        • Ogom

          “If Nigeria can produce 20 million tonnes of peanuts.. ”

          I think what The Leviathan was trying to say was, your whole argument is built on a very big, improbable “IF”.

          Also, “simplistic” isn’t the same thing as “simple”.

          Allow me to explain:

          “Simplistic”, bad.
          “Simple”, good (sometimes)

    • james_grim_teacher

      Please leave them to continue asking about economic blueprint.

      In the US nobody asks that stupid question . You look at the interest rates, look at exchange rate and government spending and you know what you need to do in the economy.

  • Darlington

    Simon, pls call a spade by its name, a spade. Buhari is a big joke as 21st century president.

    • james_grim_teacher

      Most world leaders don’t think so. Most knowledgeable people don’t think so..but a Nigerian educated , under 45 year old person night think so because all he has to compare with are Abacha, Obasanjo and Jonathan which is sad really.

  • Jon West

    Comparing the serious and intellectually gifted medical doctor, Mahatir Mohammed to our bumbling President is a great injustice to intellectual discourse. Dr Mohammed was able to confront the International monetary system because he understood their colonial undercurrents and knew he had the local economic intellectual fire power to confront and overcome them, and his success is an affirmation of this mindset.

    Our President is intellectually deficient and an illiterate in most aspects of governance, and this is with due respect. Goodluck Jonathan , Obasanjo and some of those before them were also illiterate and deficient in economics and some other aspects of governance, but were clever enough to source and surround themselves with the Nogozi Okonjo-Iwealas, Mansur Muktars, Chu Okongwus, Kalu Idika Kalus et al to help them out of terrible economic situations. Our own man appointed a rookie hairdresser economist as Finance Minister, and has no economic management team and you are comparing him with Dr Mohammed? Simon Kolawole, when will you become your own man?

    • VERA

      thank you

    • God bless u my brother

    • fld8778

      Thats the problem with Jon West, he always potrays himself as an intellectual while he is just a bigot filled with bias and therefore cannot see anything good in what this administration is doing. If you ask him (Jon West) what he thinks the solution to the nigerian economic challenges he will just start talking about abstracts and vague solutions. I challenge you go give us in specific terms the solutions that this governments needs to adopt to get put of the current challenge. Go ahead we are waiting.

      • Jon West

        To start with, just implement the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference.

        • The Leviathan

          Which of the recommendations exactly?

          • fld8778

            thank you for that question

          • Jon West

            Just any one , and then the dominoes will fall into place.

        • “Korede

          Break it further on how this will solve our economic problems.

          • Jon West

            I am not here to teach you economics and politics 101. Go to school if you want more learning.

          • “Korede

            What a clever way of avoiding trouble. The national conference is not the answer. It is only a way of putting more resources at the disposal of some regions at the expense of others. We have not seen the impact of such resources in the last few years that the implementation of 14% or 15% derivatives. Shame on all the leaders of those regions. Only Edo and possibly Ondo in recent time are feeling the impact.

            Best of luck to you.

          • Jon West

            Only Edo and Ondo? Really? In any case what did the Federal Government and the other states do with their 87% derivation? I hope you have a job and that you can find food to eat.

          • “Korede

            If you further raise the question on what other states and FG do with their own share of the federation account, then I think I do not need any school of economics or politics 101.

          • james_grim_teacher

            You see how empty people are?

            People are suffering from extended post -election blues and they don’t know what tablet to take to solve their problem.

            It is National Conference will stop stealing, or recover money stolen. National Conference will develop solid minerals and reskill the youth. The man is just empty.

            The whole charade of National conference is that people who have looted will enjoy the loot in peace because there would be no sovereign legal entity that will press the legal case.

            We have a hard fought democracy won just 17 years ago. Let us give ourselves a break, work hard and grow a little.

            The current federation we have has more than 5000 ways different ways that the artificial federation units – state governments can generate investments to be each richer than most African countries.

            Even ND governments can invest their 13 percent funds in oil and gas through purpose built financial vehicles.

            For many years the state governments in the ND could have raised 2billion dollars each from environment taxes that they had the power to levy. Empty people just talking rubbish ..all because Hausa man has returned to office.

            Where is the money to do restructuring? It is not less than 15 trillion over 5 years
            Very annoying lazy, urban middle class beer parlour talk – restructuring

          • lotanna azubogu

            I’m appalled at your consummate ignorance regardless of your showmanship about being knowledgeable. You should be ashamed restricting the national conference resolutions to Mere oil oil funds sharing.
            Please make effort to acquaint yourself with the contents of the report.

          • “Korede

            You will do well by highlighting them here and help Jon West to explain how it will solve our present economic problems.

            Please do not call names. You are so brilliant and you need to prove that now.

          • james_grim_teacher

            You don’t know jack. The entire purpose of the article was to call the president “unintellectual” which you have a right to do.
            What you should not be given is the freedom to be let out easily. Kindly proffer alternatives to the problem we have now.
            What would you do differently Mr Intellectual?

          • Eziokwubundu

            Then stop parading yourself as Mr know it all. Why criticize what others are doing when you can’t profer viable alternatives? You are just playing to the gallery.

        • lotanna azubogu

          Thank you very very much, for that, is the sure panacea to Nigeria’s age long intractable quagmire

    • james_grim_teacher

      Actually they are the same. At almost every line I saw parallels. Buhari is focused and positively stubborn. Look at “fast money” and the way the Jonathan attracted it without laws to protect Nigeria from in and out movement.
      You are one of those shallow people with intellectual pretensions deceiving yourselves with “flash”.
      There are fundamental issues with the economy that only discipline, hard work and sacrifice. Anybody looking for magic solutions like John West is in the state of the ex President. A dumb uncle Tom not asking fundamental questions but going with the flow.

      Buhari should continue with the double tier exchange rate so that priority national projects can be continued and priority sectors can be nurtured until we develop internal efficiencies to compete which won’t come without a war on corruption.

      Until then you should keep deceiving yourself that you are an intellectual or an economic whiz kid

  • Mentor

    I like the part on those using the words “economic illiterates” to describe those who do not agree with them. It is even a shame that such words are coming from commentators that are non-economists, citing dictionaries to demonstrate their depth and breadth of economic knowledge.

  • Ogom

    “Chai Buhari!” will happen sooner or later.
    I’m hoping for sooner, before we reach the N1000/$ mark

  • gohen

    Simon, simon simon, how many time did I call you ?. You mean you have the audacity to compare Malaysia of 1997 to nigeria of 2016. I see why BUHARI doesn’t seem to give a damn about any advice, because there are just too many people talking from both sides of the mouth.. PLEASE SIMON CAN YOU TELL US THE NUMBER OF SOUND HARVARD/ non HARVARD TRAINED ECONOMY ADVISERS THE PRESIDENT OF MALAYSIA HIRED AT THAT TIME.? of course you will never mention them, and remember that the malaysian president never busied himself travelling allover the world when there was fire at home.
    Like I have always said, lets assume that fixing the economy and naira,and everything in between are difficult to do , WHAT IS DIFFICULT IN REDUCING THE PRESIDENTIAL FLEET OF 10 AIRCRAFT ?. 10 FOR ONE PRESIDENT That claim to be prudent and austere!.. This is the same aircraft he so much criticised.

    • Dejandon

      I dont understand, reducing presidential fleet of 10, even to zero, how does that affect the economy? Or this is just to give us body language like someone is acting?

      • gohen

        Dejandon, you almost got it right with your last question. Yes at least this action is easy, the action will show how sincere and austere he really is. Like you put it … just to give us somebody language like someone is acting/listening

      • james_grim_teacher

        Buhari was not even the one that bought them. At the height of Boko Haram war, Jonathan even dipped hand into NAF money to buy more aircraft for the extremely large Presidential fleet. The facts are there. The PAF had more aircraft than NAF at a stage.

        Those planes are going to take time to sell but when a Nigerian middle class beer parlour parliament starts talking about it you would think it is just to take them to Jankara market and start ringing bell.

    • james_grim_teacher

      I am struggling to find where it was written that it was President Buhari who bought 20 aircraft for the Presidential fleet.
      Buhari has said he was going to sell 50percent of the aircraft and I would assume they are looking for buyers.

      • gohen

        Thanks for finding time to share your thoughts on my comment. I assume we are all doing this for our nation
        Actually,I wasn’t talking about the source of the aircraft. During the campaign,he promised doing away with the aircraft, because they were unnecessary luxury.

        Secondly if they were looking for buyers like you are assuming, then I think the information should be in the open space for all and sundry. These are properties belong to the government, it should be sold openly.

        Apart from the aircraft, their are other indices that support the fact that the government of the day is derailing from the promises made to us. This is not about Jonathan, this is not about Buhari. It is about you, me,our friends and families,IT IS ABOUT NIGERIA.

      • lotanna azubogu

        Please read what you wrote again, but this time, pretend that someone else wrote those words, and about Jonathan.
        The deep rooted sentiments and hypocrisy of some of you guys regarding Buhari’s, crystal clear, maladministration is nauseating. Just what will you loose by being open in this era of official mediocrity

  • Dipo NormanWilliams

    Simon you would realize that I have also become quite critical of you. I noticed that whereas in the previous administration you were very categorical in your pronouncements, today you have become somewhat of a flim flam. You don’t take any positions so as not to seem to be shooting yourself in the foot. There is nothing wrong with being a supporter of Buhari and also being a very vocal critic of his style of administration. What I find objectionable are the legions of robotic supporters who have suspended their ability to think and are ready to support whatever he does or doesn’t do even if it is detrimental to their own welfare. First of, NO economy can survive through a lack of policy direction and inactivity. We have no vision of our economic future unlike what obtained under Obasanjo, Yaradua and Jonathan. We are adrift. It is the lack of direction that has caused a monumental loss of value both in the stock market, in industry and with potential investors in infrastructure. You didn’t address this even more fundamental problem. The depreciation of the Naira and the speculation thereof is just a symptom of a bigger problem. So delving into different scenarios shows you don’t even understand what our issue is. In Mahathir Mohammed’s case, no one was left in doubt as to the articulation and ruthless execution of their economic vision. Mahathir was advised by very prominent Malaysian economists and advisers. Buhari has no one. The VP, our brilliant Osibajo, is frightenly out of his depth. He has no understanding of the rudiments of economics and worse still, some of his earlier pronouncements on the economy showed the world that he doesn’t have a sound understanding of how economies work. Unfortunately, Nigeria is at a point where we need seasoned people to chart the course. We cannot have people learn on the job. It is a frightening prospect of which the consequences may be too devastating to appreciate.

    • Mentor

      Excellent points on lack of economic direction and team!

      • james_grim_teacher

        Define economic direction?

    • james_grim_teacher

      I challenge you with these facts.
      1. There is an economic direction, it is clear enough but some people are too dazed by it because it is not what they are used to or what they expected.
      2. They have commenced and are expressing in ACTION a clear left of center economic agenda that has caught people flat footed. It is social welfarism .
      Live with it
      3. There are also many unpalatable things for most people like forex restrictions and import tariffs that the only way they can vent frustration is by mouthing the same thing – no economic direction.
      Meanwhile textile factories in Kano have started humming, Innoson is going to double capacity, Leather tanneries are opening up and there is a glut of tomatoes, vegetables and potatoez already in markets in the north.
      4. Personally I don’t like competition so I need people like you to continue asking about economic direction when I know that a simple look at the budget, forex policies, interest rates and customs and excise latest import duties have already shown me the economic direction.

  • amador kester

    You stopped the buharinomics music at crescendo.. You should have gone on to marshal out the numerous ramifications of other possible scenarios beyond sai buhari and sai buhari. I do not thinks its a banal exercise in futility.. So do the nation a favour. One more headache. Its like the reconfigurations of this website ( or so it appears) makes one dizzy

    • opamkaa

      Many thanks, jare, for giving me the opportunity to laugh.

  • remm ieet

    This Ekerete Udoh’s rejoinder appears to be a bullying tactic, expected from a man who has failed to understand why the state takes religion seriously in Nigeria and turn good governance on its head. What business did the governor have with a stadium-sized worship audience when he is not an evangelist? That is precisely the problem with Nigerian politicians. At the very beginning of his service to Akwa Ibom state, this man has already sneaked in religion to manipulate the suspicions of the “faithfuls”, about the genuineness of his mission to serve. Politiicians use the church to negotiate their way out of commitment to really deliver. Sixteen years of democratic experiment proves this. It is not a new thesis designed by a journalist.
    This is a democratic system, where people are allowed to speak their own mind. What is so critical in condemning religious hypocrisy when millions of Nigerians have fallen victims of religious scam. It is not the publicising of the governor’s religion that matters but the public investment in the development of the people of Akwa Ibom state that will be praised. The Akwa Ibom people are still waiting to see that happen–after sixteen years! Sometimes the rigidity of men of power to accept change in reality, pushes them to the extremes of religion, where people dictate God’s laws and contravene the letters and the spirit of the Nigerian constitution.
    The governor should do his job and stop allowing his ego to stand in his way. After all, he is supposed to be a humble man of God who has been “divinely appointed” to save his people from destruction.

    • EzekielIwa

      He who pays the piper dictates the tune. He is simply justifying his Pay and position. That is how i will put the Inept and Lazy response of Udoh (the chief press secretary and senior special assistant to Gov).

  • Mayo

    Ekerete was right that Simon did not mention the cost of the ThanksGiving and so Simon had no basis to claim the event was wasteful. But Ekerete claiming that the presence of other Governors and the populace praising God is proof that the event was not wasteful is totally absurd. There is no relationship between the two. For those saying – look at what Ekerete has turned into, you shouldn’t be surprised if you recollect that Ekerete wrote 3 articles in ThisDay backpage defending the former Akwa Ibom Governor giving Tuface and his wife brand new cars and paying for folks to attending Tuface’s wedding in Dubai.

    With regards to Buharinomics, Simon is right – this is Social Science and sometimes you can’t get precise answers. However, in my opinion, the reason why folks are knocking Buhari hard is that Buhari often comes across as ‘not knowledgeable about things’ and stubborn, someone who believes he is always right even when others know he is flailing. I do not mean to disparage him but his statements, utterances and behavior gives the impression of someone ‘stuck’ in the old way of doing things and someone who doesn’t understand that the world has advanced over the years. Examples are his use of the phrase ‘kill the Naira’, talking about devaluing against the Deutsche Mark, relocating the full military command to Maidugri (wars are no longer fought that way), trying to run the country as a sole administrator for the first few months, not having an economic advisory team, believing that killing corruption is the be-all to running a country, etc. As far as I know, after Buhari left power and was released from House Detention, Buhari did not give speeches or write Op-eds about the state of the Nation. He only gave interviews on BBC Hausa on matters that were strictly North-political. When he first contested against GEJ and participated in the debate, almost all the answers he gave during the debate went back to corruption. He was like a one-trick pony.

    • NIBC

      He should have contested the office of EFCC chairman or begged to be nominated on the supreme court bench rather than come here to waste the time this nation doesn’t have.

      • The Leviathan

        If one is trying to fill a bath tub with water, the first thing you do is plug the drain!

        Later on, you may increase the flow of water from the tap, add a second and third tap, or even re-balance the whole tub to ensure water gets around the entire tub equally…

        But first, you plug the drain.

  • UcheNnamdi

    It is a shame that Ekerete Udoh will send a right of reply laden with utter rubbish . It is bridled with sycophancy and underscores Simon’s point exactly- the mixing of church and state…. I wonder if the cause of this is a lack of exposure on his part? I used to respect him as a News reporter… What a shame-again.

    • EzekielIwa

      You are so on point and i know that is why Simon didn’t add a single line to his rejoinder. A baseless Rejoinder IMO

  • chyke

    Look at what Ekerete Udoh has turned into. A quintessential journalist, but once he started working for politicians, he turned into a turncoat and rejoined writer. A big pity