THE ALTERNATIVE By Reno Omokri
At least three major UK-based companies appear set to deliver a fatal blow to Nigeria’s economy due to the cluelessness of the Muhammadu Buhari administration. P&ID is already an infamous example of how having an inept leader is about to cause Nigeria to lose almost $10 billion from our foreign reserves, or other foreign assets, simply because Buhari did not set up his cabinet for six months after being sworn in, and left government to his unelected cabal, who were more interested in lining their pockets.
Additionally, Buhari erroneously thought the P&ID contract was signed under former President Goodluck Jonathan. So he dragged his foot and instead approached a US court for a subpoena, which he got, to search for hidden accounts held by Jonathan. Alas, he found none (because none exists), and it was belatedly brought to his attention that the contract was signed under former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, and specifically by Rilwan Lukman, who ironically was a crony of Buhari. And now, due to a mix of tribalism and ineptitude, Nigeria is stuck with a $9.6 billion judgment debt.
And then there is the Azura power purchase agreement (PPAs) and loan guarantee, which former President Jonathan wisely refused to sign, but which, unlike the former president, Buhari agreed to sign. By signing an indemnity clause for a World Bank loan, President Buhari has now saddled Nigeria with a compulsory monthly payment of $30 million a month, whether or not the plant takes off and delivers as scheduled.
And now, for the latest one. Another European company, Eurafic Power Limited, has secured a judgment debt against Nigeria because the Buhari administration mishandled a simple contractual agreement. As you read it, they are in the process of placing a lien on 33 assets Nigeria has in the United Kingdom.
Why do these gaffes keep on occurring and reoccurring on Buhari’s watch? This is not the first time this is happening. Nigerians in their 40s and above would remember that in 1984, General Buhari also unilaterally and without thought to the consequences, cancelled the Lagos Metro-Line project of the Lateef Jakande-led civilian administration, and incurred a judgment debt to Nigeria of the whole sum of the contract, as punitive damages.
In other words, we paid for the project, and we still did not get the project. It is precisely because of Buhari’s ineptitude that Nigeria went from being the world’s third fastest growing economy, in 2015, to the world headquarters for extreme poverty today. Buhari is a plague, a cancer, a cankerworm and a disaster that should never have befallen Nigeria or any other nation on Earth.
And these unforced errors are taking a toll on Nigeria’s finances. The rats have sensed that we are sinking under Buhari and are abandoning ship. There has been an unprecedented exit of foreign investment from Nigeria. We have lost our place as West Africa’s top recipient of Foreign Direct Investment to Ghana. And the reason for this is not #COVID19. Ghana also suffered from the coronavirus. By the end of the second quarter of 2020, foreign investment inflow into Nigeria was ₦ 143.65 billion. That may look good on paper until you factor in the fact that outflow stood at ₦287.57 billion. The inconvenient truth is that Nigeria experiences a negative FDI flow of ₦143.92 billion.
And the government’s recent actions show that the penny has not dropped for them. Rather than stimulate the economy, they are taking measures that will ensure the ruination of the economy. America plans a new $2 trillion stimulus for citizens in the wake of #COVID19 (this is in addition to the $2 trillion they have already given). Ghana has been paying utility bills for citizens for months. And Nigeria’s answer to COVID19 is increasing electric and fuel prices? Instead of a September to remember, Buhari has given Nigerians a September to dismember their hopes, dreams and aspirations. Nigeria badly needs a new occupant in Aso Rock!
On September 1, 2020, the National Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, increased electricity tariffs and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulations Agency, PPPRA, also increased fuel prices. In a country that is already the world headquarters for extreme poverty. How much more can Nigerians take?
This is the same country that wanted to spend $500 million renovating the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA). If the government has such careless money to throw around on an unnecessary expenditure (who even listens to NTA), then why burden citizens with such burdens as this recent increase in tariffs?
And to make matters worse, the All Progressives Congress released a statement blaming the Peoples Democratic Party for the new fuel price increase. Five years in power and they are still bowling? When will these people ever take responsibility for their actions?
Meanwhile, true to his Taqiyya nature, Buhari lied during the 2015 campaigns that he would sell off our Presidential jets and cut down on the running costs of the Presidency. This is his fifth year in power, and he has not sold even one plane. Instead, his children use Presidential jets to attend private functions! Imagine what would happen if ex-President Jonathan had done that!
And to crown it all, you have a President that cannot manage his own home (his wife and his relations fight publicly at Aso Rock), that can’t manage the Boko Haram war, or the economy, or our relationship with Ghana, yet he wants to use CAMA to manage the affairs of churches that are managing their affairs better than his? Is Buhari even okay at all? It makes more sense for him to call on the churches he wants to manage to come and manage both him and his government. Who should be managing who? This is a man who signed a document where his name was written wrong. You can’t manage your name, and you want to manage their game?
All of these remind me of something former President Jonathan said on Wednesday, December 10, 2014:
“The choice before Nigerians in the coming elections is simple: A choice between going forward or going backwards; between the new ways and the old ways; between freedom and repression; between a record of visible achievements and beneficial reforms – and desperate power-seekers with empty promises.”
Was Dr Goodluck Jonathan wrong? Nigerians are now in a position to make an informed judgment.
The very first income you enjoy in life is your mother’s breast. Two of them. Not one. Again, I repeat, not one! From the day you were born, nature was teaching you never to rely on a single source of income. If one breast does not produce milk, the other will. If your mother had only one breast, and that single breast fails to produce breast milk, you would have perished. The reason you are perishing now is because you are depending on only one breast, in the form of salary. You need multiple breasts to suck on. If salary fails, then you suck the breast of business!