By Reno Omokri
Sometimes, I wish President Muhammadu Buhari would have been as proficient in arresting Nigeria’s recession as he is in arresting his critics! How I pray that this administration was as eloquent at announcing to the public what it has done as it is expert in informing the public what it is that ex-President Goodluck Jonathan allegedly did not do! If only this government applied itself to generating wealth for the nation the way it has devoted itself towards borrowing $29.9 billion. Wouldn’t they have been popular if only they took time to sell their ideas and programs to Nigeria the way they lobbied to sell national assets that more serious governments acquired for Nigeria in times past. But alas, this is an administration that believes in propaganda instead of proper agenda!
And speaking of propaganda, nothing proves my point than the conflicting statements that keep emanating from the Presidency.
After attending Eid prayers in Daura on September 12, 2016, President Muhammadu Buhari spoke to newsmen and said ‘we should thank God this year, the report I’m getting, which is very pleasing, is that we will have a bumper harvest this year.’
Well, we should thank God everyday and every year, whether or not we have a bumper harvest because we enjoy our existence by His providence, but that is not my point.
My point is that after saying what he did, President Buhari’s presidency turned around on November 14, 2016 to raise an alarm of an impending famine.
The loud headline on the Punch Newspapers on that day screamed ‘Presidency Raises Alarm Over Imminent Famine’!
Now how can you have a famine two months after a supposed ‘bumper harvest’? This makes no sense!
Sometimes I wonder whether the President Buhari led administration is confused or perhaps it is forgetful or maybe if it is untruthful!
How can you have a bumper harvest and then say that famine is imminent in the same breath? Is that now how they accused Goodluck Jonathan of looting $15 billion out of $10 billion?
I hope those who excoriated me when I pointed out that Audu Ogbeh, a graduate of French, was the wrong choice to succeed Akinwumi Adesina, a PhD in agricultural economics from Purdue university, can now see the sense in my admonition.
Just three years ago, Nigeria under President Jonathan received a Food and Agriculture Organization award by the United Nations for reducing hunger and now we have made a 360 degree turn and are on the brink of a famine.
And the contradictory statements continue.
President Muhammadu Buhari during his Independence Day broadcast of October 1, 2016 said ‘investors from all over the world are falling over themselves to come and do business in Nigeria.”
How the President uttered that lie with a straight face still amazes me. But what was even more amazing is the headline in the papers on Tuesday, November 15, 2016.
On that day, The Cable newspaper ran with a headline ‘EU: Five Reasons Our Investors Are Not Coming to Nigeria’ in which it interviewed Michel Arrion, head of the EU delegation to Nigeria, who gave reasons why European Union investors were not ‘falling over themselves to come and do business in Nigeria’, chief of which was the Buhari administration’s unstable and unreliable foreign exchange policy and its general economic direction.
Talking about unstable financial policies, with all due respect, Kemi Adeosun cannot pull off the economic magic that Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala pulled off under President Obasanjo (when oil sold for less than half of what it sells for today) and under President Jonathan.
Kemi Adeosun has a bachelor degree in economics from the University of East London. I schooled in England and I know that that University is a second class university. The school ranks number 126 in the U.K University League Table 2017. Go ahead and Google it!
Moreso, this is someone who has just a degree in economics and post graduate diploma which is not as high as bachelors.
Now you had someone who has a PHD in regional and economic development and worked as a Managing Director at the World Bank and also a former Minister of Finance replaced by Kemi.
In a difficult period like this you need to put your best hands and as a leader, you have to be unsentimental and take hard decisions. Nigeria is in recession and we need our best hands.
The above fact was made ever more obvious on Monday November 14, 2016 when the National Bureau of Statistics revealed that Nigeria is experiencing a record inflation of 18.3%. To put things in perspective Nigeria’s inflation rate fell below 9% under President Jonathan but has doubled under President Buhari!
From record recession to record inflation and now record famine. This is what happens when you blame others instead of taking responsibility!
Success in government comes from deciding early on in what direction you as President want to go and only bring in appointees who are going in the same direction as you are. Such appointees will help you overcome your weaknesses
because everyone has weaknesses and makes mistakes.
The difference is that wise leaders focus on recovering from mistakes while leaders lacking in wisdom focus on who to blame.
You see, the purpose of power is not to impress people with what you can do but to achieve greatness through with the power you yield.
It is highly embarrassing that this administration continues to blame previous administrations yet in all spheres and in all indexes it is underperforming when compared with the very administrations it denigrates.
And not content with denigrating past administrations, this government wants to extends its caustic tongue on foreign governments.
After the Federal Executive Council meeting of Wednesday November 9, 2016, the minister of agriculture, Audu Ogbeh said of Donald Trump’s victory “he made comments about Nigerians when he was campaigning that they had stolen money, they should go back to their country and live. He has a very low opinion of the blacks and Hispanics. We hope he’ll become a president now for all, including Nigerians and others, resident in the US.
“But if he doesn’t, it means we’ll have to re-tune and re-tool our foreign policy to begin to find a situation where we may have to be welcoming some of our people if they come under extreme pressure. We hope it doesn’t happen.”
First of all, it is really sad that the minister based what he said on beer parlour rumour because Donald Trump has never even mentioned Nigeria during the electioneering campaigns and all those reports have been debunked by the BBC which did a fact check on what Trump did or did not say titled ‘Mythbuster: What Donald Trump didn’t say about Africa’ and published on November 11, 2016.
However, with all that President Buhari’s grass importing minister of agriculture said about Donald Trump, let us appreciate the fact that though Donald Trump has not even been sworn in, he has already named some members of his intended cabinet just days after winning the election. That is real change, not the reverse change promised by someone who waited for 6 months after his swearing in before naming his cabinet consisting of an Agriculture minister who studied French and other misfits!
The situation has degenerated to the level where Nigeria is now the butt of jokes in West Africa.
At a campaign rally of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Kofi Adams, National Organizing Secretary of the party said “President Buhari in his maiden speech asked Nigerians not to expect any change from him culminating in his abysmal performance as he has succeeded in running down several policies and initiatives introduced by his predecessor. He has plunged Nigeria into serious economic hardship”.
On Twitter, a popular Kenyan meme is making the rounds with two pictures. One shows a handsome young man with a very well crafted haircut captioned ‘what Buhari Promised Nigerians’. The second shows an old man in a haircut that you would rather die than have cut on your head with the caption ‘what Buhari delivered’!
Ordinarily, I and other Nigerians should be angry at these insults and jokes, but when your own President travels to London to tell the world that his citizens are ‘criminals’ what else can those citizens do but ‘sidon look’ when others see their emperor naked even when he thinks he is the best dressed man there ever was?
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