WHAT IF AMERICA’S NEXT PRESIDENT IS A JONATHANIAN?
President Muhammadu Buhari needs to create a new impression of himself. He should do that urgently. The feelers I am beginning to have of him and some Nigerian governors he has been working closely with in recent times especially Adams Oshiomole (of Edo State) and Rochas Okorocha (of Imo State) is to the effect that they are yet to figure out the exact direction towards which the ship of nationhood should be steered.
As I write, it’s becoming clearer that there is yet a defined economic and fiscal policy on which this administration will operate. The capital market has suffered tremendously for this. Very little is currently being said about health care delivery, education, science and technology and public works. The international airport remodeling exercise which went on simultaneously across all air facilities in Nigeria have been placed on hold indefinitely. The situation came to the fore when two local airplanes collided in Lagos some weeks back – no minister and/or permanent secretary addressed Nigerian and international concerns. Several multibillion dollar business deals have been put on hold because there’s yet the smallest impression of what the disposition of the new federal government will be towards certain economic matters in the “fullness of time”.
Already, tension is brewing in plenty states in Northern Nigeria because the potency of our security structure is waning. Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and the military have talked about soft targets and explained that the rise in suicide bombings is indication that Boko Haram cannot hold forth anymore against our troops. As logical as these views may seem, I fear we may be facing a change of tactic by a Boko Haram that may have taken a clue from larger terrorist cells like the Taliban that have clearly graduated from direct confrontation with troops on desert plains via asymmetric warfare to large scale suicide bombings in remote locations and inner cities. Eastwards, Nigeria nearly slipped back to the era of extra judicial murders recently; the last of which was the killing of a cobbler plying his trade in the Bakassi Line area of the Ariaria International Market, Aba. Abia State.
The only lively news that excites me is those related to pledges by President Buhari to locate and repatriate to Nigeria funds stolen by bad politicians. My excitement notwithstanding I wish to caution that this pledge may be yet fulfilled in another 10 years with or without the aid of America and President Barack Obama who is currently running the last lap of his relay in the white house. God help Nigeria if the next American president is sympathetic to former president Goodluck Jonathan and/or the PDP.
Facts are sacred; they could be bitter pills also. These truths notwithstanding, they must be laid bare at all times. Nigeria is an oil dominated economy; the value of this commodity is depreciating by the day on the global market where there is a glut. Shortly, Iran would contribute to this glut by pumping an extra (at least) one million barrels per day into the already saturated market. Where will this unavoidable development leave Nigeria? Besides Nigeria, where would other countries that derive major revenue from Oil be left? We must therefore start to pay close attention to areas of production where we have comparative advantage over other producer countries.
The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari must understand that the time to walk the change talk is now; not when an imaginary $150B (President Buhari’s quote), $20B (Emir Mohammed Sanusi’s quote) and another $6B (Governor Adams Oshiomole’s quote) are repatriated to Nigeria. These funds (assuming they were ever stolen) may never be found on earth in one piece because even the daftest of high profile thieves do not keep stolen funds in liquid state.
Once successfully stolen in concert with Wall Street financial whizkids, the funds are “cleaned up” and invested in heavy portfolios that will cause beneficiary economies to quake if they are pulled out in one swoop. Suffice to say that no fiscally responsible country on earth would fold its arms and allow President Muhammadu Buhari instigate a recall of even $1B from its economy at this time. Even if the thieves abandon their loot, the leadership of countries where the funds are stashed will never. Ask Zurich!
The foregoing being the case, it becomes expedient that Nigerians are sternly warned of the implications of jubilating in expectation that our very frail economy will receive an American boost anytime soon; their nest president may be a Jonathanian.
Our economists are aware of this.
Ezeani Chukwunonso Elvis is an avid thinker, reader and researcher. He tweets at @NonsoEzeani1