Go-slow Endangers the Economy


In 2001, somewhere in California, United States, an old woman aged 79 was on an interstate highway driving very slowly. When the police stopped her and pulled her out of the road for traffic offence, the police said, “Ma, for driving slowly you’ve committed a serious highway traffic offence.” In her swift response she ask: “Officers, what exactly is the offence? Where exactly are those speeding running to? At least by being slow am I not avoiding accidents than those speeding?”

In response, the police said, “No Ma! In fact, by driving slowly rather than avoiding accidents your driving is a threat to yourself and thousands of other users of the highway. If you want to drive slowly you’d better leave the highway and take the state and rural roads, where the law says you’d drive slowly and not fast. Ma, you’re fined $50 for your offence.”

During his just concluded visit to the UNGA (UN General Assembly) in New York, while addressing Nigerians in Diaspora, President Buhari said, “Those who call me ‘Baba go-slow,’ where have they taken the country to with their speed?”

The president’s question was similar to that of the 79- year- old driver to the police who wondered why she should not drive slowly on an interstate highway when slow driving should be supposedly safer.

But unknown to Buhari as it was unknown to the old woman, driving slowly on a highway, like a go-slow government, you are meant by law of good governance to maintain certain level of speed in order to ensure that government drives a productive and high job creating economy.

At least, his predecessors were able to maintain the set out governance speed that ensured that they never broke the law of good governance. Not only did Buhari break the art of governance, his refusal to admit that go-slow is undermining the economy only expresses his ignorance of the law. Like the ignorant old women, President Buhari’s fine should be losing second term reelection biding. Did he know that it’s as a result of that that the economy suddenly went into recession? Did he know that it is as a result of his go-slow government that as high as 12 million Nigerians lost their jobs within three years?

Did he need to be reminded that it is as a result of his go-slow government that herdsmen have slaughtered many rural Nigerians with impunity because the government never came to the aid of these powerless Nigerians?

Does President Buhari know that it is as a result of his go-slow government that Nigeria has recently been declared the poverty capital of the world?

Buhari should by now be told that he has broken the law of good governance which sets out the minimum speed a government should be on, because he is too slow to have been driving below the minimum speed.

Those who did run fast did not sacrifice efficiency and productivity. At least, they didn’t turn the country into negative growths, not to mention turning the country into the world’s poverty capital. Had Buhari been speeding as required by the law guiding good governance, there wouldn’t have been anything like herdsmen killings as have become commonplace since Buhari became the President of Nigeria.

These are the tragedies of bad government caused by go-slow. It is a tragedy that in all honesty Mr President has no regrets for plunging the country into its present economic mess, which will take the Atiku Abubakar presidency a lot of economic reengineering to reposition.

Odilim Enwegbara, Abuja