Four Unfortunate and Wasted Years
Once every four years, we have a constitutional right to make ourselves heard in the way that matters most – the ballot box; and hence an opportunity to consign what can only be described as four unfortunate and wasted years to the annals of history.
As we approach the 2019 general elections, the three questions you need to ask yourself are;
1. Has the economy improved?
2. Are you getting value for your honest hard work?
3. Has the government delivered on its election promises?
And then, bearing in mind your answers to the above three questions, should you vote for a continuation of Buhari’s government?
I recently put this question to a cross section of people.
Here’s what they had to say.
1. “Honestly YES. Until I see a better alternative which unfortunately does not exist at this time. Sadly, politics in Nigeria will take another generation to evolve. We need more private sector interest. The majority of the population is uneducated and it will take a lot to replicate the structure of APC and PDP.
The likes of Sowore and Moghalu are to be encouraged. I have supported both financially.
Also fully engaged with ideological parties like ANPR and KOWA.”
2. “Of-course not! Is it not obvious?? Killings, incompetence and nepotism. ”
3. “I will likely not vote at all. We lack candidates and sadly I don’t really believe that votes count in our elections”
4. “Yes, I will because the economy is getting better and corruption is in the process of being controlled, Boko Haram is in decline. I understand the herdsmen are posing a challenge but they are not in Lagos state, Oyo state and neither Osun state.”
5. “This is a very tough question because of the way I feel about Nigeria right now. Our issues aren’t just about our leader but the actual average Nigerian – our psyche is completely messed up! My honest answer would be that I don’t even want to vote for anybody but that may look like I’m part of the people contributing to Nigeria’s problems. However, if I had to vote, I won’t vote for Buhari because apart from curbing corruption to an extent, his administration hasn’t done much to fix other problems of this country. I would probably vote for someone a bit younger but with experience of how to deal with a volatile state like Nigeria e.g. an Atiku, but not the spring chickens who are showing interest in the presidency but don’t even understand the country. Nigeria is a difficult state and even too large to be one country! If I were to make a suggestion, it’d be that each geographical zone of the country has its own regional head. A Hausa man cannot really understand the reasoning of a Yoruba man and vice versa. Our cultures are deeply rooted in our DNAs and it affects everything we do- We don’t even have a National identity!”
6. “No. His team hasn’t demonstrated to me that they have any clue about the economy.”
7. “I think not. He’s not done enough to deserve a second term unfortunately. He hasn’t shown he understands what it takes to fix Nigeria’s issues in the 21st century and he didn’t pick a cabinet team with the capacity to do so either. He’s also been typically northern by making sure key roles in his government are occupied by northern Muslims, not necessarily by suitably qualified and competent folk. Besides his real age must be at least 77 or something. We don’t need a president who will be in office at 80. The saddest part is the likely alternatives are crooked. So once again, as was the case in 2015, we will be forced to vote for one of two or three poor choices.”
8. “Nope. Not voting for Buhari. Look, this is no longer about corruption or no corruption. There is no country on this planet that doesn’t have corruption. The problem with Buhari is that he isn’t intelligent or dynamic enough to find solutions to Nigeria’s problems. And that means he isn’t capable of forming an intelligent cabinet. So, we lack capacity. Look at the state of the economy! Look around you – people are suffering left, right and center, with no hope in sight. To make matters worse, the people that can make a difference – the private sector – are too focused on profit-making to care about what’s going on.”
9. “Yes Buhari. Just need the north to do their damn term, so that they can leave us alone.”
“Yes, I will …can’t see another credible candidate for now. He is passionate about moving Nigeria forward…he is not the best person but he is best on the ballot paper.”
11. “No!! The unity of the country depends on proactivity and not playing games with lives. Buhari has done nothing but highlight the need for education and understanding. He doesn’t have either.”
12.” I will not be voting for Buhari. He has failed Nigeria in every way possible. He has continually shown he is disconnected from the people and reality. A complete lack of empathy. The simple fact that we have no electricity is an ongoing measure of the state of the country.”
14. “Things are dramatically worse.
Four main causes in my opinion;
1. He plugged corruption which used to provide income for a lot of people and didn’t replace it with govt spending in the economy.
2. He continued with fuel subsidy when that money could have been used for infrastructure and job creation.
3. He took too long to float the Naira and made the devaluation much worse than it should have been. We didn’t need more than a 50% devaluation if we had acted fast, instead we went to 125%.
4. He refused to obey the law and adjust electricity tariffs to reflect the cost of generation, so the sector is dead and no one is investing. We are distributing 4,000 MW, which is no better than 4 years ago. Maybe worse. So yes, everyone should feel worse off. Let’s not even talk about the state of our healthcare etc.
The next oil price crash will be absolutely debilitating. And that will come in the next 5 – 7 years. And will keep coming every 7 – 10 years. Each time it happens, unless there’s rapid growth, we will fall further and further behind in real terms even after recovery. Yet the population continues to grow at 3% per annum and our cities become more congested, which means more crime and worse public services.
Any wise middle-class person that can leave Nigeria, should. The best gift a parent can give his or her child now is a foreign passport (if you are a Nigerian citizen and can have your child in America or any other country that gives citizenship at birth – do it). Because by the time the child is 21, this country will be unlivable.”
During my school’s First XV rugby tour to Holland several decades ago, it was customary to have drinks with the opposition team after each match. On one such occasion, members of the opposition team asked me if I wanted to take the spoon challenge (at least I think that’s what it was called). The spoon challenge is a game targeted at those feeling somewhat inebriated after one too many drinks. This is how it works – two individuals sit opposite each other, and each has a table spoon in his mouth. Each takes turns to bow his head, allowing the other to hit him as hard as possible with the spoon. To cut a long story short, no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get a decent hit. But for some reason, the other chap was able to inflict serious pain on my head whenever it was his turn. This went on for ages, until I eventually realised someone had been standing behind me with a big ladle. In other words, whilst I had been using a spoon to do damage to the other chap’s head, very unsuccessfully I might add, someone standing behind me had been belting me with a wooden ladle!
Rather unfair, wouldn’t you say?!
In not too dissimilar a fashion, we the electorate are hoodwinked every four years, with campaign promises that invariably fail to see the light of day. But there is a far bigger lie being peddled this year – the gross misconception that this government is somehow responsible for the slight improvement in liquidity and economic performance.
It most definitely is not!
Economic indices have improved for one very simple reason – an increase in the price of crude oil.
That’s all – nothing more, nothing less. This administration aptly demonstrated its inability to solve Nigeria’s economic malaise during the recession; and there is nothing to suggest it possesses the nous to take advantage of the increase in crude oil price with dynamic or even vaguely practical economic policies.
Let us not be fooled by the temporary liquidity that may come our way during the coming months, but focus instead on the performance of the administration’s first three years in office.
GDP per capita (USD) decreased from 3,312 in 2014 to 1,995 in 2017.
The inflation rate increased from 8.5% in 2014 to 16.5% in 2017
The unemployment rate increased from 4.6 in 2014 to 18.8 in 2017.
4. Exchange Rate
The Naira /US Dollar official exchange rate increased from 167.5 naira to 1 US Dollar in 2014 to 358 in 2017.
Any-which way you look at it, president Buhari’s administration has woefully failed to give any semblance of life or direction to Nigeria’s economy. Rather, what we have witnessed during the past three years or so is a cabinet completely out of its depth – no economic blueprint, a poor understanding of basic economics, and utter disregard for the perilous plight of millions of impoverished Nigerians.
There is no doubt that President Buhari cares very deeply for Nigeria. His desire for a healthy and prosperous Nigeria should never be questioned.
However, judging by his administration’s performance, it is fairly clear he and his colleagues lack the capacity to solve Nigeria’s problems. Rather, and again very much in the mold of the spoon game, as we continue to be hoodwinked with the amount of money retrieved from corrupt leaders of the previous administration, our economic status worsens by the second.
Is Nigeria less corrupt today than it was under Goodluck Jonathan’s administration? Of-course it is! How could it not be??!! And yes, we have president Buhari to thank for that.
But for how long will this administration continue to sing the same tune?
I voted for ‘change’ in 2015. In-fact, so determined was I that our nation be blessed with a messiah of principle, dedication and commitment to the cause of a better Nigeria that I walked a good five miles or so in order to vote. And like so many others, I believed the campaign promises, such as uninterrupted light, a strong and vibrant economy, and security. But unfortunately, today’s Nigeria is in a far worse condition than four years ago.
Hunger and suffering have risen to the most frightening proportions. The economy has regressed in ways we never thought possible, and Boko Haram is not only alive but kicking as fervently as ever.
By now it should be fairly clear to you that the real question at hand is not whether or not to vote for Buhari again, but – ‘Which candidate possesses the necessary nous and acumen to forge a better tomorrow?’.
It is time for us to put away our differences, bias, and ethnic leanings. What we need is a president with the necessary common sense, intelligence, flexibility, and astuteness to put together a cabinet with the knowledge, understanding, and wherewithal to find both short and long-term solutions to the myriad of problems that have crippled our nation.