Buhari, Jonathan and a Redefinition of Change 


By Reno Omokri

Name your dog Buhari and you will be diligently prosecuted in today’s Nigeria but kill a harmless woman preaching the Gospel of Jesus and you will be acquitted! Welcome to the new improved Nigeria!

This may sound surreal but it is the present day reality we live in in Nigeria.

The injustices in today’s Nigeria are just too glaring. For instance, Reuben Abati ALLEGEDLY got ₦50 million from Dasuki and goes to jail. Rotimi Amaechi ADMITTEDLY spends $500k (₦235 million at today’s rate) on a one day dinner for Soyinka and becomes a minister! Yet we say we are fighting corruption.

In the midst of these social injustices we have a  President who continues to complain to anyone who cares to listen that he met an empty treasury. 

Said the President “I felt like absconding from the country due to the economic challenges.. We inherited a badly managed economy”.

The above statement by President Muhammadu Buhari is most dishonest and in terms of lying it is only bested by his Independence Day lie when he said “Investors from all over the world are falling over themselves to come and do business in Nigeria.”

Nigeria’s economy is being badly managed now. It was not badly managed under President Goodluck Jonathan.

I will now list several actions of the Buhari administration that brought our economy to the state it now is in-a recession.

The first is the rushed implementation o the Treasury Single Account instead of the gradual implementation planned by the Jonathan administration which conceived of the concept of the TSA. The second is failing to appoint ministers on time and when he finally appointed ministers the President appointed a woman whose highest degree is a Bachelors in Economics from a second class British University (The University of East London) to succeed a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and former Managing Director of the World Bank as minister of finance.

Not done with putting round pegs into square holes, President Muhammadu Buhari appointed a man who studied French to replace a man who has a PhD in agricultural economics from Purdue University and who had worked at the highest levels of the Rockefeller Foundation as minister for agriculture.

The third reason is the President’s interference with the independence of the Central Bank of Nigeria and his public comments of what he would do with the Naira. This led to foreign exchange  restrictions that saw 270 companies fold up (according to the Nigerian Labour Congress), 7 foreign airlines leaving Nigeria, 10 foreign shipping firms divesting from our economy and over $3 billion capital flight from Nigeria.

The fourth and most avoidable reason was the constant negative comments that the President made whenever he left the country on state visits. President Buhari de-marketed Nigerians by calling us ‘criminals’ to the Telegraph of London in February of this year. He went to India and declared that Nigeria’s institutions were massively corrupt and then he went to the US to say the same. Yet he expected foreign investors to flock to Nigeria? I do not think so.

Before Mr. President puts the blame for our present economic malaise on former President Jonathan, he should remember that during the previous administration Nigeria was projected by CNN Money to be the third fastest growing economy in the world and by both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund as the largest economy in Africa.

Moreover, when he was speaking to the Conservative Party, former British Prime Minister, David Cameron,  said of Nigeria under Jonathan  as follows “Yes, we’ve been hearing about China and India for years …but it’s hard to believe what’s happening in Brazil, in Indonesia, in Nigeria too”!And when the President complains that Jonathan did not save he must assume that we all love reading cartoons like him instead of the history books! 

President Buhari must think that we have forgotten how the Jonathan administration met about $6.5 billion in the Excess Crude Account, ECA, and increased it to almost $9 billion by 2012 only for the Nigerian Governors Forum led by his Supreme Court justice visiting minister for transport to use their influence at the House of Representatives to get them to declare the Excess Crude Account illegal in 2012. Not done, Rotimi Amaechi and his cronies at the NGF approached the Supreme Court to challenge the legality of the Excess Crude Account and Jonathan’s decision to transfer $1 billion from that account to the Sovereign Wealth Fund. 

Still not satisfied, Amaechi and his co travelers  caused the then minority APC members of the House of Representatives to approach a Federal High Court, on the 7th of February, 2014, for a perpetual injunction restraining the Jonathan administration from operating the ECA and to pay all the proceeds of that account into the Federation Account for sharing amongst the three tiers of government.

The effect of that action was that the  Jonathan administration was forced to  share the funds in those accounts amongst the three tiers of government.

And what did the Senate, controlled by the President’s party say when they rejected his proposal on the $29.9 billion loan that your administration sought permission to take?

The Senate rejected the loan request because of the “incompetence of presidential aides tasked with preparing the proposal”. Yet this is a President accusing the administration under whom Nigeria enjoyed her most consistent and fastest GDP growth of badly managing the economy. Go look in the mirror sir! 

Mr. President, if this is the change you promised us, then please permit me to redefine change.

CHANGE is defined as elders borrowing $29.9 billion to spend on their wants while CHAIN is defined as youths who would have to pay back (with interest) the $29.6 billion that was not spent on them. If your father goes to the bank to borrow money to buy clothes for himself and puts your name as surety to repay the loan, you will be a fool to be excited that you will one day inherit second hand clothes. I have said it before-a President who could not generate wealth for himself in his private business cannot generate wealth for you through government business. A president who had to take bank loan to buy his nomination form would definitely have to take another bank loan to fulfill his campaign promises!

––Omokri is the founder of the Mind of Christ Christian Center in California, author of Shunpiking: No Shortcuts to God and Why Jesus Wept and the host of Transformation with Reno Omokri.