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Buhari; His Winnowing Fork In His Hand

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The monthly revenue allocation to the three tiers of government for the

month of June justifies the arduous cleansing work the regime of President

Muhammadu Buhari has undertaken since it came on stream on May 29, 2015.

The cash-starved tiers of Nigerian government were still smarting and

bleeding profusely from a combination of scorching corrupt acts that

practically crumbled the country before Buhari came, the astronomical

slump in the price of oil; the mono commodity that has fuelled Nigeria’s

economy as well as its legendary profligacy and the vengeful actions of a

politically-tainted war of attrition by the so-called Niger Delta

Avengers. The monthly monetary sharing  ritual that serves as fuel to the

three tiers of Nigerian government, had, in the sequel, became a mirthless

exercise where paltry amounts were shared for attending to the mounting

multifarious challenges  of governance in Nigeria. At one of such sharing

exercises, a state ended up with a mere N6 million which was reported as

not enough to pay the monthly electricity bill of the government

ministries in the state.  With the combination of the factors above, it

seemed the world had crumbled for many States as their dependence on

monthly revenue allocations continued to fail them badly.

But the June allocation was different. A princely sum of N559 billion,

N200 billion more than the previous months allocation, was shared to the

three tiers of government. Governors wearing wrinkled faces as the

challenges of paying workers salaries mounted, must have had their faces

creased with smiles at that pleasant development. Hopes must have been

re-activated that indeed governance in Nigeria which had been threatened

by insolvency, is on the rebound. Reports said that the June allocation

remains the highest in two years ! When we note that these two years

included the period when oil sold up to $140 per barrel and Nigeria

exceeded its OPEC supply quota, there is need to ask what magic came into

play in June. What happened? Did the country hit a jackpot? When we note

that the foolish actions of the so-called avengers have even halved

Nigeria’s oil production quota and oil price is sluggishly climbing  just

above the budget benchmark, more puzzles gush out. Just pray, what really

These puzzles were addressed by the details that attended the June

allocation. These formed the indexes for the exercise as well as answers

to the question attending this spurt of good fortune. When we probe

further, there is a silent optimism that Nigeria is on the part of

revival-thanks to the frugal, accountable, cleaning, sanitisation efforts

of the Change government of President Buhari. Here are some of the details

attending the June revenue allocation, as has been enumerated by the

Finance Minister and further accentuated by the boss of the Federal Inland

Revenue  Services;
– 70 per cent of the revenue shared in June comes from non oil sectors.

– This is the first time in Nigerian history of oil politics that the

country achieved that hefty feat.
– The allocation was 83.2 per cent more than the previous allocation and

kick started the process of rescuing Nigeria from insolvency.

– By December, 2016, the country projects to have over 90 per cent of its

budgetary revenue from non oil sectors.
Gleaning all above, there is the message embedded in the exercise that

Nigeria is irrevocably on the mend through deliberate acts of facial

discipline, cut in the humongous cost of governance, entrenched anti

corruption template; all integral and critical parts of the Buhari

government. There is a deeper message that Nigeria can survive the curse

of oil which governments before Buhari’s have entrenched and which fuels

the nay saying orientation of the agnostics that believe that President

Buhari’s government will not take Nigeria out of the woods the previous

governments ran it into. Still in the lessons of this cheery development

that Nigeria can rightly be recovered from a seemingly certain path of

doom past regimes prodded it to with their uncurbed profligacy.

But did Nigeria hit a jackpot? Yes and that jackpot is the cleansing works

President Buhari’s government has done to governance since that regime

berthed. Despite the deadly onslaught of those who see no future with

cessation of official corruption, the Buhari government had been

unflagging in dealing this cankerworm a red eye. Outright stealing and

primordial looting of the commonwealth that surged to a dizzying height

during the Jonathan regime Buhari succeeded, has stopped. Taking

uncensored liberty with public fund has been stopped, running innumerable

fonts for siphoning public resources by political office holders, their

cronies and civil servants have been plugged. It is no more business as

usual. Fly in the night party bogey men who become instant millionaires

after one pilgrimage to Aso Rock have become things of the past. A

sybaritic cult of predators and political loafers who do nothing than

pimping in the verandah of power and getting a huge cut of the national

patrimony has been annihilated. Buffoons and layabouts that feed off state

resources, trading in dubious contracts and receiving illicit concessions

aimed at stealing public funds have been ran into extinction. A culture of

padding government payroll with millions of phantom workers has been

busted and carefulness, discipline and frugality have been brought to save

as much as possible for the Nigerian people.
The question to the scoffing cult of die hard nay Sayers who are yet to

heal from the drubbing  Buhari gave the old rotten  order and who have in

their entrenched bitterness grown incurably blind to the revival the

government is doing in Nigeria remains; would the unbelievable scenario of

government getting more revenue to share in a period of austerity be

possible if not for what this regime has been doing since it came to

power? Could the wailing wailers, inconsolable beneficiaries of rot and

dirt wager that continuing what they know best would have navigated the

country out of the Sheol when oil price nose dived to $28 per barrel?

Could those raising dubious baleful cries of hunger today tell us the

possible scenario we would have been faced had Buhari not come to do what

he is doing today? Today’s Venezuela would have told a more cheery picture

of what Nigeria would have been had Buhari not come and had he not

employed his winnowing fork to sweep off the accumulated dirt that has

hobbled Nigeria for several decades.
We know the victims of Buhari’s winnowing fork are many and these are the

hordes of beneficiaries from the rot and dirt that was brought in to

defraud and wreck the country before he came. They are so riled at the

cleansing work going on today that they are virtually on the brinks of

mental breakdown. They are the sons and daughters of  filth who would

rather the old stale order from which the stole, revelled and partied at

the expense of the country, is left unscathed. They are those who have

naively invested in the continuation of the same jaded ways for their

continued survival but who lost all their deposits with the coming of

President Buhari and the measures he had taken to recover the mileage

these locusts have devoured of the country. They have become mortal

enemies of Buhari who are wont to develop instant paranoia with the

mention of his name but they are eating themselves up in vain. The

cleansing of Nigeria is an idea whose time had come for that holds the

chord for the continued existence, health and growth of the country.

All said, Buhari’s winnowing fork with which he is parking the dirt and

debris that have accumulated for decades remain the only way Nigeria will

miss total bankruptcy. There is no alternative to what he is doing; not in

the least, the culture of Byzantine brigandage and free loading that

Buhari succeeded. His winnowing fork remains the reason why the country is

beginning to reap bountifully in an era of recession. His cleansing acts

have ensured that our collective patrimony remains intact for our

collective well being and not to serve the self-serving interests of a

cult of political profiteers and swindlers that live off the life blood of

ordinary Nigerians. Most importantly, his winnowing fork is navigating the

country away from the lazy route of total dependence on oil to harvesting

the fruits of our hands. His winnowing fork is trashing out the chaffs,

gathering the grains and most importantly redirecting Nigeria and

Nigerians to the paths of rectitude, transparency and frugality; a path we

long departed from and landed where we are today.
Peter Claver Oparah
Ikeja, Lagos.
E-mail: [email protected]
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