Prophets. They have no honour in their homestead so the greatest of them warned us. Every nation has its unsung prophet. England had George Orwell. He gave them Animal Farm deriding the antics of the political class of his time. He followed it up with the classic Nineteen Eighty Four forewarning us of the advent of technology and the age of digital spying.
Well, Chinua Achebe was our prophet. Like most prophets, he was without honour at home. He gave us No Longer At Ease, and lamented that There Was A Country. However the one that most describes the Nigeria of General Muhammadu Buhari’s APC is the classic, Things Fall Apart.
Whenever you read a news headline selling Nigeria to Nigerians, you must convince yourself that Nigeria and its rulers live in alternate universe. Not too long ago, Agriculture Minister, Sani Nanono announced that even those Nigerians that could not order pizza from their favourite pizzeria in London for delivery in Abuja, are not hungry. Why? His ministry has conquered hunger. In Kano, a plate of nutricious food costs as low as N30. Lucky enough, Kano is one of the few states that generate its holy internal revenue devoid of the beer and prostitution that characterizes federal VAT.
Kano residents know that minister Nanono will not reveal the address of the magic restaurant. He’s afraid NGOs may spoil the fun by feeding panhandling almajirai that swarm the streets requesting to eat other people’s stale leftovers.
Accusing a minister in mai gaskiya’s cabinet of lying is either hate speech or sacrilege. Even with Minister Lai convincing us that there are no new legislation to punish people, they don’t want to spend eternity in hell. Besides, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje has pulled millions out of poverty by teaching them how to make tea or shayi. The shayi business is a poverty eraser. It puts more money in the pockets of Kanawa than all the industries in Bompai and Sharada of the halcyon years. There’s no business like Shayi business although it is doubtful that a loaf of bread, two poached eggs and over-sweetened tea brewed in borehole water sells for N30 a serving.
Nigeria’s economy is like the graveyard – it is fed daily but never seems to have enough. Thank God for General Sani Abacha, President Buhari’s hero for giving Nigeria the gift that keeps giving. The problem is that we can’t seem to stop borrowing. Months ago when the Swiss released a tranche of the Abacha savings, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was asked to empower APC sympathizers with it. They happen to be Nigerians.
Days ago, the Americans graciously announced they’ll be releasing $308 million of Abacha savings to help our poverty eradication ministry. On top of that, Minister Nanono has announced that we made N280 billion from selling cashew nuts in the past year.
Under Hameed Ali, the Nigerian Custom Service gave us N1 trillion in ten months. That was in spite of the closure of Seme and Idiroko borders. Who says the north can’t generate enough revenue to sustain a republic when it is making this much in spite of the closure of southern borders? On February 5, the Customs found $8 million cash belonging to mister nobody.
However, like the grave, our economy is asking for more. We have just approached the Chinese to release $23 billion of the $29.96 we requested from China’s bank of goodies. No matter how much insurgency and other troubles decimate our population, there would be people alive to pay our debts in future when oil becomes coal. The Chinese know how to recover debts – ask Zambia.
There’s a feeling of things falling apart when the president expresses shock at the parlous level of insecurity in the country. He was so worried he convoqued his service chiefs to tea. From that meeting, the president announced with glee that – our success over Boko Haram brought us international pride. America knows.
That must be cheering news for Governor Babagana Umar Zulum. He has been traversing Borno, Chad and Niger begging them to help him preserve the Kanuri nation and its guests from annihilation. It should be good news for the Christian Association of Nigeria, whose chapter chairman was recently slaughtered by the insurgents.
At any rate, Christians should stop crying more than the bereaved because of the slaughter of a few dozens. President Buhari has crunched the numbers and discovered that Boko Haram has killed more Muslims than Christians. Femi Adesina, the president’s spokesman has asked us to be grateful because things were worse under the PDP.
Only those with access to Aso Rock get high on Aso Rock snuff. A pinch of that stuff makes prophets of Nigerian officials. Minister Lai has a tall ambition – he is pitching NTA against CNN and what he sees is a future of digital broadcasting in Area 11.
Babatunde Raji Fashola, erstwhile power minister has just thrown a bombshell – No president in the world has done better than Buhari. I hope he doesn’t say it to the hearing of the Americans. Trump hates competition. He has just lost a Nobel Prize to some chap in Ethiopia and he is not a happy camper. Minister Fashola, wait until the Americans have handed over the Abacha savings before you annoy their unpredictable leader.