By Arthur Nwankwo
A story was told about a certain man who would eat his meal without any piece of meat. Not that he did not like meat but rather he could not afford it. So on a sunny day during the harmattan his thatched house caught fire from a hunter’s tinder.
Unknown to him, he was sharing his hut with a giant rat, so as neighbors raised alarm that his house was on fire he contemplated the unimaginable. He saw one rat dash into the nearby bush and vowed that no other rat would escape him. While his hut was engulfed in a raging inferno this man was busy chasing the rats. He was catching the rat, determined to improve the quality of his feeding –even when his cooking utensils were burnt to ashes. The moral story from this anecdote is that it snacks of foolery and insanity for a man to be busy chasing rats while his house is on fire.
Nigeria is on fire and the APC government from all indication is busy chasing rat. What is happening to this country? The truism that he who the gods want to kill, they first make mad is eminently true of this country and its rulers. The recent remarks by President Buhari that he would not “kill’’ or devalue the naira , to me, smacks of lack of understanding of economic forces and inability to articulate any genuine economic development programme for Nigeria. Buhari or anybody for that matter does not need to tell us that Naira is dead. Devaluation of a country’s currency is indicative of one thing – that the country’s economy is sick and cannot sustain growth in real terms. The meat of real and visionary leaders always is to steer the economy back on track. Such leaders are pathfinders not fault-finders. By their actions, such leaders are able to fire an ember of hope from the ashes of hopelessness, he is able to inject new verve into exhausted possibilities and to create a path through a cul-de-sac for the people. Such leaders come into positions of leadership convinced and determined on how to re-engineer society for the over-all benefit of the people.
Such is the mindset that propelled the Barrack Obama presidency. You will recall that Obama came to power in the USA at a time the world and particular, the USA economy was in recession. So many business were going under igniting an era of ‘’bail-out’’ in the USA and many western European countries. Realizing the delicate condition of the USA economy, Barack Obama initiated a regime of economic stimuli and reengineering which has led to the rapid reversal of fortunes for the USA .He did not dwell on the short –coming of the preceeding George Bush administration or the billions of dollars spent in prosecuting the war against terror in the middle east as reasons why he will fail or succeed .He knew he was thrown up to leadership for such a perilous time , He approached his work with utmost commitment, curtailing foreign trips and concentrated on re-building the American economy .
The exact opposite appears to be the case in Nigeria. Its indeed lamentable that the massive failure of the Buhari administration in only eight month would always be blamed on the much maligned PDP . I have heard and read several APC stalwarts attributing Buhari’s failure to PDP’s regime of ‘’corruption’’. This, to my mind , is begging the issue at best , and escapist at worst. The essence of change is to move Nigeria to the next level. This indicates that the APC should have had a blue print for Nigeria‘s development.
Blaming the PDP for its ineptitude amounts to taking Nigeria for granted. This is why it appears nobody is calling the president to order, asking him to curtail his foreign trips that have brought no dividend and concentrate on building the Nigeria economy. Does it not worry the president that in the past eight months, the number of Nigerians feeding from the garbage dumps has increased dramatically, that in the past eight months, Nigerians have had to endure more hardship than they did in the last seven years, that in the last seven month that the fire of ethnic nationalism has burned with greater intensity, their frustration, anger and nadir have become emblematic of the people’s existence? Does the President and APC not know that these constitute the ingredient of social upheaval of cataclysmic proposition. It appears to me that PMB does not really appreciate the enormity of the Nigerian condition. If the president did, perhaps his approach to addressing these problems would be different.
It has also exposed the fact that Buhari’s government is deficit on several fronts, one of which is the inability to understand the synergy between a quiescent political system and sustainable economic growth. One begets the other. In truth, If a country does not get its politics right, it will not get its economy right. This is a very simple analogy. Our politics is acutely wrong. There is so much structural deformity in Nigeria and this has led to structural exclusion and marginalization. Political exclusion and marginalization in any society are hugely consequential and antithetical to sustainable economic growth. Is it too difficult to appreciate this fact? I don’t think so. I would rather submit that it is only stiff-neck foolishness or stubborn adhesion to the path of self-destruction that would motivate any government to act the way this government is doing. As many people would say, the stubborn fowl would always find shelter in the old woman’s pot of soup. Time to retrace steps is now. Nigeria- destruction beckons.