During the week, there was a cross-fire between the presidency and the spokesman of the PDP, Olisa Metuh on the status of the Nigerian economy following comments made bya the president regarding same and the resultant outburst that such comments have the capacity to scare away foreign investors from Nigeria.
I have since concluded that one of the initial weaknesses of this government is its failure to properly take advantage of the massive endorsement it received from Nigerians in March and April by engaging in unnecessary political infighting beginning with the distribution of positions of presiding officers in the National Assembly to those of principal officers of both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The initial failures have contributed immensely in breathing life onto the PDP, a party that was effectively killed by Nigerians after the elations. Such failures on the part of the APC have continued to inflict untold pains on not just some of us that have stacked all for the sake of change but even the political economy and society of Nigeria that has clearly said in a loud and clear voice that the PDP was long overdue and nailed the party and its adherents after the elections.
To begin with, the question to ask the one-man gang left in the PDP is what foreign investors he and the party are talking about. In the last six years of the Jonathan administration, the only truth that we saw and knew in Nigeria was the statistical noises as to the quantum funds that came into the country in terms of foreign investment with very little or nothing in practical terms to support such huge joke and lies. It is therefore ironic that the party and its remnants would continue to lay claims to lies and deceit even when clearly in all practical purposes they are out of touch with the rubrics of government in the country.
I think Mr. Metuh has become so desperate that at every inch he opens his mouth to speak even when as it is in many cases unwarranted and clearly with nothing serious to say. Again, this routine outburst is fuelled mainly by the seeming crack in the APC, which clearly serves the purposes of the PDP, and in my view, it’s unfortunate.
I don’t know who in Nigeria, within all social classes, is still in doubt of the fact that the national economy is in ruins. I don’t know who does not know and or feel in one way or the other the pains and agonies that the mass of the people are undergoing in the country arising from the massive theft and pilferages that took place, especially in the six years of Goodluck Jonathan’s administration to the extent that he or she can come out so early in the morning and begin to place facts on their heads.
Nigerians know that the theft that occurred between 2010 and early 2015 is unequalled in the history of this nation. It was due to the gargantuan pilferation and the discontent of the people that the Brooklyn Institute came up with its failed state index in which Nigeria had crossed the line in 11 of the 12 indicators. It was also the massive failures of the national economic management that made the American intelligence community came up with the conclusion that if things would not change, Nigeria would collapse in 2015.
These two very painful but realistic conclusions based on science and empirical studies clearly have shown the state of the nation, its economy, politics and society and therefore by implication deterred any serious investor from coming to do business in the country. What this means also is that those who paid attention to what was happening in the country had more facts on the reality on ground than the government that was simply political even at the peak of obvious national economic and social calamities.
I agree with the president that those we call foreign investors are apparently more knowledgeable about the dynamics of the Nigerian economy and atmosphere for investment than the government that just left. Many reasons are responsible unfortunately. The nation has for a long time not been in control of its statistics and figures, including population. What we hear every day is that Nigeria is estimated to have about 170 million people, which is a forecast, based on the 2005/6 – population census.
I doubt this assumption because vast of the increases in population is taking place in areas where record is not kept. Over 60 percent of births are still in the countryside and are hardly recorded due to poor health facilities and literacy. Equally is the case with death registration across the country. Several citizens in millions still do not record or register death. In the midst of this ocean of absence, lack and severe dearth, I wonder how effective records regarding the population of the country could actually be computed with a view to forming a database for planning purposes.
In the history of Nigeria, it was during the government that just left that we heard of monies in billions of dollars being misappropriated or unaccounted for. The best answer to this allegation that former president Jonathan gave was during one of his infamous interviews with journalists that if the claims of missing billions were to be true, the Americans would know because the dollar is their currency! What a response from a president who doubled as a Doctor of Philosophy!
I know so as several other citizens do that the reality of the Nigerian economy is that it is in bad shape. We came from a regime where accountability was selective and a means of hunting political opponents or people from the other divides but as long as one belonged to certain cabals, it was legitimate to steal or to say the least, it was right for those from certain quarters to take from the public till because of one flimsy reason or the other.
Even ministers of the last government who barely understood the dynamics of the national economy and the thievery that took place hardly can open their mouths to say anything except of course a few who hardly understood what the essence of government was but were simply accommodated to satisfy certain political motives and pecuniary interests.
I agree that indeed the economy is in bad shape and requires discipline and painful decisions to put it back on track. So-called investors are apparently more informed about the state of the economy and whether to invest in it or not. Most of those who came in reality were either agents who collaborated with internal forces to reap the nation or clearly those in very lucrative ventures such as the oil sector, areas where no matter the amount of risks, its worthy to participate because the return on investment is too lucrative and partly due to internal weaknesses of the regulatory regimes and as such investors took everything almost for free.
The earlier the nation comes to the realisation that the economy is in bad shape the better and the road to revamping is rough and painful the better. I think we must begin to wear our helmets for the sake of tomorrow.