Buhari, Jonathan and Obansajo. My views
This, only goes to show how the "Jonathanians" have been very wasteful, short-sighted and myopic. By the way, am aware of these stats, as I am reading President Obasanjo's "My watch", that explicitly shows the ramifications of such actions in a wider context.
That said, I understand the author of this message, is probably trying to show, albeit subtly, the difficulty of managing such an economy that PMB has had to grapple with. But if we are really going to be objective on PMB's handling of the economy, going forward, I honestly think he's been very poor, despite the mess he's been left with.
As a friend said to me last week, without GEJ's crass incompetence, bewildering cluelessness and lethargic leadership, PMB, plausibly wouldn't have emerged as our President, because GEJ lowered the bar so low that, Nigerians opted for ANY alternative but GEJ.
This brings me to the next point; has PMB managed the economy very well? My response, in conformity with a lot of economists, pundits and scholars is a unanimous -NO!
It's a good stride to have taken on the issue of insecurity and may be corruption. But ultimately, what the poor man wants and needs is food on the table or money, at least to survive, in his pocket. He wants to simply see the government taking steps to address this. He wants the government to take painful decisions and most importantly, see the government taking those painful decisions, too, with him, as it shows one of the virtues of good leadership-empathy. He doesn't want a delay in decision making or worst of all, indecision. He wants to see a painstaking balancing act among insecurity, corruption and the economy. He doesn't want the government to prioritize insecurity and corruption, and make feeble attempts at the economy. Some of the choices PMB has made (or refused to make) have compounded the situation while there are no visible signs in the horizon that things would get better any time soon. If anything, there are fears that things could actually get worse, unless he makes a course correction in his approach to serious issues of governance.
Even investors, do not really have confidence in the country at the moment. To buttress this, here is what happened at a high brow restaurant in London, as recounted by Segun Adeniyi:
"It was a business lunch by a group of investors who had eagerly been waiting for information about the business climate in Nigeria. But their guest, top official of a multinational banking and financial services company, who had spent a week in Lagos and Abuja before returning to the United Kingdom, was evidently in no hurry as she sipped her drink. After a while, she looked in the direction of one of the four men at the table and said, “If I say 1 and 2 is equal to 12 what will 2 and 3 be?” The man did not need to think twice before he responded: “The answer of course is 23.”
Shaking her head, the lady replied: “You are wrong, the answer is 5”. Before the obviously confused men in the room could react to such algebraic manipulation, the lady posed another question. “What if I join 3 and 7, what would that give me?”
This time, the man decided to hedge his bet: “The answer will either be 10 or 37”.
Smiling, the lady responded: “You are wrong again. The answer is 21.” And then she added the clincher: “That is the best way to describe what is going on within the Nigerian economy today, where all the variables are up in the air. The only thing that is predictable now is the unpredictability.”"
I have a lot to say and vent, but i'll leave you with this story to encapsulate my point, more poignantly, on so far, how I think PMB has approached governance in the last 16 months.
So, here goes the story: “It was evening time and a man was walking home with his son. They were crossing the street when his wallet dropped. While he stopped to pick it, the little boy ran across the street. A car that was coming knocked the little boy down but instead of stopping the driver sped off. The father stood there shouting at the driver and screaming at him to stop and strangely when that failed, he started chasing after the car. He stopped a motor bike and got on it knowing the car would have to stop by all means at the police barrier which was ahead. He urged the motorcycle rider to speed up and to catch up with the car. “Truly they met up with the driver at the police barrier, where the driver had stopped and gone in to the small office to report himself. The father came into the office and started slapping the driver before the police could hold him. The driver was just pleading that he was sorry and that he did not see the little boy and that because he was afraid that people around could lynch him, he had sped off to the police. “The police asked the father where his son was and he told them the boy was at the accident site. The police asked if the little boy had died instantly and the father said he did not know. The police personnel were shocked that the father had thought it was more important to catch a culprit than to see to the life of his son. They got back in the driver’s car and drove off to the accident site but the boy was not there. Some people around there said a car had picked up the boy and sent him towards the hospital. At the hospital the doctors examined the little boy and did all they could and at the end they declared that had he been brought a little bit earlier the boy could have lived…” .
The moral of the story is how some people pursue vengeance at the expense of restoration and the consequences that come with such a choice. While the authorities are ever quick to take action against corruption, especially those that had to do with how the 2015 presidential election was funded by the defeated Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with dirty money, the economy is going down by the day. You see the major problem we are facing in our dear country is lack of institutionalism when you lack this no country can be great. An example is even if you have a Donald trump as a president ( GOD forbid) with all his extreme views the institutions he would inherit have been the same since 1776 with a few adjustment there and then … But the point is he wouldn’t just have everything done his way he must abide by the rules and regulations through due process. Unfortunately that’s not the case in our dear country whether is Goodluck or PMB we would be faced with the same dilemma “ANARCHY and IMPUNITY”. On the issue of institutionalism, it was President Obama, in his first term, who visited Ghana and said: “What you need are strong institutions. Africa, on the contrary, has strong men and weak institutions.”
As much as I love President Obama, I beg to differ with him on this. We need strong institutions and strong men, too. Without the strong men to enforce the institutions, how will the institutions thrive and be sustained for the long term?
When you make an allusion to Donald Trump, it only goes to reinforce what I just said, now. America may has strong institutions, but without a knowledgeable president that knows the intricacies of decision making in a complex world we live in, it won’t continue to thrive, the way it’s thriving, at the moment. When Trump, insults the GOP establishment, makes a blanket call on banning Muslims, tries to alienate allies, makes attempts at giving Japan the capacity to acquire Nuclear weapons… you’re tempted to ask yourself, what happened to the institutions? Can’t the institutions prevent him from doing all these? Unfortunately, NO! I have been following election season very closely, watching the DNC and RNC’s conventions in full. One contrasting thing between the two candidates is their policy in all aspects, from the economy to foreign policy. Both of them, have the institutions to work with. But Trump, has clearly shown it is not enough. You also need a strong candidate, that is knowledgeable and patriotic. Trump is simply an entertainer!
Going back to Nigeria, President Obasanjo has shown that, even with weak institutions, you can make a difference with your actions and decisions as President. I think he’s been a far better President as compared to all his successors. Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, stated in his book that, when he came on board, he met a very bad Singapore in shape. But with sound leadership and institutions built over time, Singapore become a 1st class country.
PMB needs not to keep lamenting on the past administration. His honeymoon is over. He needs to take the act of governance, seriously. In my opinion, GEJ had a better team as compared to his. He needs to have more competent hands in deck, to salvage this country from the abyss. And here’s an example. In February, I went to see his Chief Of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari, around 2:30pm. We had a good chat, and as I was about leaving, he mentioned to me that he was sleepy. On my way out, out of idle curiosity, I asked the secretary whether the COS had spent the whole night working. He said he didn’t even come to the office until 10am and that the COS sleeps quite early. The COS didn’t come to the office until 10am? Isn’t he supposed to drive, move and force this government to forge ahead? He is supposed to be the unsung hero. In political parlance, one could say; he owns the President. Which brings me to the point that, PMB doesn’t have a good team, to help him out. The SGF is another example, that 3 Perm Secs under him are complaining of his sheer ignorance and lack of direction. With PMB’s weakness of being almost 75, without the strength and energy, that typical septuagenarians don’t have, how do you expect him to attain feats with this government?
Institutions are very important, but strong men (i.e competent, patriotic, visionary, fair, just etc), too, are equally important in nation building. Institutions don’t build people. It is people that build institutions, on the contrary, and a weak leader can demean and weaken, even the strongest of institutions, as clearly shown by the candidacy of Trump.