By Adewale Sanyaolu Despite being a country with the second largest deposit of bitumen in the world, Nigeria, according to Foraminifera, a marketing and research firm, spends about N2 billion yearly on importation of asphalt, a derivative of bitumen. The occurrence of bitumen deposits in Nigeria is twice the amount of existing reserves of crude…
Former President Goodluck Jonathan left office on May 29, 2015. He didn’t exit with kisses, hugs and roses. Even though it was a loss with about two million votes, the fact of a change of guards in the leadership of the Nigerian nation, flawed as the then ruling party claimed the election was, meant that majority of Nigerians were willing to try new hands in the running of the affairs of Africa’s most populous and most problematic nation.
Expectations were naturally high, given the avalanche of promises made by the then opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, APC: They promised to fix the economy, build rundown infrastructure, restore hope in the nation by tackling the rampaging Boko Haram insurgents. To government supporters and many Nigerians, they get a thumbs up for the efforts in the North-East for dealing with the Boko Haram terrorism to a level that has put them in disarray and lament. The group isn’t dead and buried yet. But they are limping and crawling and bloodied, severely clobbered. However, not a few will agree that the economy has been in comatose, to put it mildly, while infrastructural turnaround hasn’t happened.
The monumental rot left behind by the Peoples Democratic Party; dwindling resources from our major export earner – petroleum, as a result of the fallen global oil prices, and other reasons for the way things are in the country can be subject of debate, depending on which side the proponents and opponents stand.
But, what can’t be honestly disputed is that: Many Nigerians aren’t finding life funny. Tough times are here. You see that daily on the streets and in the balance sheets of many companies; retrenchments, closed shops, salary cuts and other austere economic options.
How government is tackling the mess of the moment, and when things will get better are government’s headache to worry over. Isn’t that the reason they sought and got the mandate? But until things get better, we can’t say it has. The duty of the patriotic citizen is to tell truth to power, to say things the way they are.
Now could that be the explanation for what happened a few days ago in Sokoto State? For those who missed out on the news, here is the report of what happened: Former President Goodluck Jonathan had visited the state to commiserate with the family of the deposed Sultan Dasuki. Noting wrong in that, as one of the former Sultan’s children, Col. Ibrahim Dasuki, now facing interrogation and incarceration for alleged diversion of arms purchase fund, was his erstwhile National Security Adviser.
But, what confronted him must have shocked even the former president. Placard-clutching citizens reportedly mobbed him, chanting his praises, beseeching him to make a return to the position he was voted out of. Was he daydreaming or what?
The news, which appeared on the British Broadcasting Corporation network, local and social media, was quite shocking and dramatic. Eighteen months down the line, the man who was lambasted for being the architect of our nation’s woes, whose government’s recklessness allegedly led us to an alley of tribulation, pays a visit to Sokoto State, a core northern enclave, which gave the ruling party massive votes, and what does he get? A rousing welcome. Unbelievable.
What happened? Not easy to fathom or explain. But one can only hazard a guess: A strong wakeup call to the present administration, to rev up its game, that many are not happy with the economic situation that has drawn a map of hardship on faces across the land
Of course, we agree that it didn’t cause the mess it’s trying to clean up; it didn’t anticipate the magnitude of the rot it met, but all these explanations do not make much sense and meaning to a hungry and angry man. What a hungry stomach needs is food, not explanations or platitudes.
The government must take the ‘message’ from Sokoto serious. No one who loves the president and wishes his administration well, will advise it to ignore the loud grumblings, which the Sokoto drama amounts to.
Indeed, the economy needs an urgent fix. Government must find a way to immediately reflate the comatose economy, invest massively in infrastructure and put more money in the hands of Nigerians.
The president must declare an emergency in the economic sector, tap on the best brains irrespective of party affiliation, tribe, religion or whatever. Wherever the best brains can be found, within or outside Nigeria, let them be brought on board to salvage the ugly situation. This is about our collective survival. This is about our destiny as a people. We are at war, economic war. No pretences about this. And we must unite to defeat the economic monster, threatening to annihilate us. Patriotism, love of the fatherland, demands this of all.
FROM MY MAIL BOX
RE: TRUMP: A WAKEUP CALL
“Trump: A wakeup call,” is timely. The problem is that Africa does not have what it takes to absorb the calibre of Africans that Trump was referring to, as usurping positions that, in his unethical purview, rightly belong to American indigenes.
Africa is technologically deficient to promptly respond to such a challenge. All be it, I doubt whether United Nations would close its eyes at such an abuse, even pretentiously, in 21st century world.
Trump has the trappings of an unusual being but the world would not go to sleep if he decided to engage in ploys that would truncate sanity in the globe.
Trump’s newly carved thrust in leadership might also be a blessing to responsive African leaders to brace up positively to the challenge. But, does Nigeria, with her ethnic leadership as core political drive, belong to that class? Far from it.
May God save Nigeria. Amen.
…Lai Ashadele, 0706-767-7806
Your today’s message on Trump and Africa is true. A lot of Americans do not like the direction of their country, and were not courageous to speak up, until the arrival of Trump. Like in Nigeria, where a lot is bad and those who are supposed to say something are not doing that due to tribal, religious and other material gains.
‘Trump: A wakeup Call.’ Hope somebody out there is listening. Every country shapes their world through leadership choices they make. Americans saw in Trump the man that stood up to the demands of the moment. We cannot define their world to them. Those that look up to America for solution should early realise that Americans are tired of giving free lunch. Good piece, my brother.
…Kazie Ogaziechi, 0803-194-5957