May 18, 2024

APC And Lesson From Last Child Of Tortoise

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If I were President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, I would choose to answer the name of the sixth child of the Tortoise. According to the folklore, after the first five children had been dismissed as failures for the names they adopted, the sixth cradle, when asked which name, he would answer, says: “E maa pe mi ni Afi-oro-oloro-se-arikogbon – call me He-who-learns-from-another-person’s-experience. While he may not have forgotten anything Buhari did or did not do, it is also clear that Tinubu has not learnt anything from what Buhari did or did not do.

Are we really sure that he is also not printing money like his soulmate, Buhari? Indeed, a Development Economist/Investment Banker, Nnaemeka Obiareri, was on Channels TV a few days ago alleging that in seven months, Tinubu printed N7.8 trillion and is still borrowing.

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Here is what he said: “Buhari came, under eight years he printed N23 trillion and wasted it. Under president Tinubu in seven months, we printed N7.8 trillion and we are not talking about that. What did they do with the naira and we keep borrowing and Nigeria keeps worsening?” We have not read or heard the government denying that claim. It should.

The thumb is called atampako in my roots where a premium is placed on family ties. They warn that no matter how one struggles to cut the thumb into two, it is perpetually difficult to say that the head has no relationship with the neck (Bo ti wu ki a la atampako si meji to, a o le so pe ori o ba orun tan). The neck is the pillar which supports the head. Any attempt to separate the two spells doom.

That is exactly what the Minister for Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun attempted to do last week. Edun was before the Senate Committee on Finance to answer questions on why the nation’s economy has collapsed, irredeemably, under the government he serves. The senators, one is tempted to believe, were worried, like the poor masses, about the economic calamities that have been the portion of the masses in the last nine months’ administration of President Tinubu.

Like someone under a spell, the Coordinating Minister of the Economy told his audience that the present administration should not be blamed. Rather than ask the ‘strategist’, Tinubu, why he has not been able to fix a single aspect of our ailing economy, Edun said that the inquisitive senators, and other Nigerians, should go back to the lethargic General Muhammadu Buhari’s era which brought Nigeria’s economy to its knees. Edun told his audience that for good eight years, the Buhari administration was just printing money!  He added that most unfortunately, the money printed was not matched by any productivity. Then he submitted thus: “For eight years, the weak were left to their own devices. It is the privileged few that took everything.”

In essence, what the man appointed to midwife our economy said at the senate session is that Buhari and his gang merely printed money for eight years and nothing was put in place to put the money so printed into any productive venture. As I read over the submission of the minister, again, my mind went back to my secondary school days. I pictured Messrs Alebiosu and Fabamise as they taught us elementary Economics, especially the causes of inflation. Again, I remember that Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, about two years ago, said that the government of General Buhari was printing money to be shared as allocations to the remaining two tiers of government. I wish I were a Cardinal in the Catholic Church. I would have just canonised Obaseki and my good secondary school teachers! Nigerians are in for the biggest economic mess. The ones we have asked to manage our affairs have no idea of what the problems are. This administration, like the immediate one it took over from, has nothing to offer than blame game. We have entered a typical one chance! The Babalawo we ask to consult the oracle for us cannot read a simple divination corpus. Where do we go from here?

Back to our atampako allegory. I find Mr. Edun’s appearance before the Senate Committee on Finance as most unfortunate. It is not just unfortunate, but equally very insulting on our collective sensibility. By all standards, Edun is the most senior member of Tinubu’s cabinet. As the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Edun is expected to be the brain box of the administration; the very go-to-man, whose fountain of wisdom all other cabinet members are expected to tap from. But look at what the man dished out before the committee! For eight years, the Buhari administration blamed its predecessor, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, and the 16 years of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governments for our economic woes. The likes of Edun and his principal, President Tinubu, queued behind Buhari in the blame game. Because Nigerians were greatly dissatisfied with the performance of the PDP-led administration, they elected to follow the Mai Gaskiya to the battlefield. In that war of political, security and economic attrition against the Jonathan administration, Tinubu was the Aare Ona Kakanfo, with the likes of Edun and other Tinubu’s boys acting as General Officers Commanding.

For those eight ruinous years of the locusts that the Buhari administration was, not a whimper of condemnation was heard from the Tinubu camp. Rather, while seeking for votes, Tinubu promised to continue from where Buhari stopped. Pray, if Buhari’s achievements were not fanciful, why would anyone use them as the parameters to be considered to be elected? So, is it the same Buhari that Edun is asking us to carry canes and whips and flog for ruining our economy? What does Edun think Nigerian people are? Fools?

What happened in the eight years of Buhari that is not happening now? Was it not under General Buhari that Nigerians first heard of “budget padding”? Has that changed? Why are the northern senators (those ones again?) complaining that the 2024 budget was increased by N3.7 trillion? What about insecurity, abduction, bloodletting, killings and other vices that were the hallmarks of the Buhari regime? Have they stopped? Should we also blame Buhari for the recent abductions in Kaduna and Sokoto States? Is it not the same All Progressives Congress (APC) that ruined our economy and printed money for eight years that is also in power today?

How does Edun intend to cut the atampako into two and declare that the head is not a sibling of the neck? Where was Edun when Tinubu asked for the cows when Pa Reuben Fashoranti’s daughter, Mrs. Olakunri, was murdered by killer-herdsmen in 2019? Which party rode to power using the propaganda of students’ abduction in Chibok, Borno State in 2014? How many students were kidnapped under the Jonathan administration? How many have been abducted in the APC-led administrations between 2015 and today?

What lesson has the Tinubu administration learnt from the failings of his immediate predecessor? Truth be told. The APC sowed the seed of students’ abduction, when, instead of joining forces with the ‘clueless’ administration of Jonathan to find a lasting solution to the Chibok abduction of the 276 school girls in their dormitories, it chose to use the unfortunate incident as a weapon to get rid of the administration. By doing so, the APC, as an opposition party then, planted the evil seed. That which was planted must grow and bear fruits. We are in the harvest season; our baskets are filled to their brim. Check it out. Between 2012 and today, 1, 630 students have been either abducted or killed. Of the figure, the PDP government accounted for 375. The remaining 1,255 students were abducted under the APC administration. And, we are still counting. Last week, over 300 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), were abducted in Borno. The list is endless.

Within two days last week, over 300 students and teachers were abducted in Kaduna and Sokoto States. That should ring a bell. If we add over 300 IDPs abducted to the figure, we will know that we are in real trouble. Nothing has changed. Maybe Tinubu should also blame Buhari for that! It is rather sad that nobody in this government appears to be bringing past experiences to the table. The Vice President, Dr. Kashim Shettima, was the governor of Borno State when the Chibok abduction happened. What did he learn from that unfortunate incident? How, will an experienced hand like Shettima be in government and thunder would strike us on the same spot not just twice, but, multiple times? Funny, again! How on earth do you transport 287 pupils out of their schools in the name of abduction? How many vehicles were used for the operation? How many hours did it last? The teachers that escaped; what did they do? They just went back home to drink their fura de nunu? How about the villagers; nobody saw anything? No one among the students was stubborn enough to resist being taken away? Or those who came for them gave them our old goody-goody candy to lick? Where on earth are 287 pupils being housed; who is feeding them, and attending to their medical needs? My father advised me that I should never join anyone to plan evil. May the good Lord bless his soul (Amen). Shettima, the other time, lamented that saboteurs were after this government. I shook my head. What do people say about karma being a beast? God have mercy! This administration should thank its stars that it has a docile party, the PDP, as the opposition. We all know what the APC did while in opposition.

Enough of excuses and blame games! President Tinubu and his boys should know that as much as Nigerians regard the PDP government as a failure, life was more abundant under the party. Again, the PDP ruled for 16 years and left power nine years ago. If the current administration wants to continue where Buhari stopped the blame game, let it be known therefore, that Nigerians know how much they bought a bag of rice under the ‘clueless’ administration of Jonathan. They know how much a litre of petrol was then. The masses know that on the roads and highways, they could travel and sleep in the conveying vehicles without any fear of kidnappers or killer-herdsmen as we have today. Equally, Nigerians know the exchange rate under that administration and what is obtainable now. It is totally pea-brained for anyone to think that the present ineptitude could be blamed on the past administration. Tinubu was not elected to tell stories about how Buhari printed money for eight years. His job is to fix the ruined economy left for him by his protégée and friend, like the ‘master strategist’ they told us he is. This is the time for him to tap the brains of the ‘technocrats’ they promised he would assemble.

If indeed the Buhari government was so foolish as to print money endlessly, there is a solution to that. Interrogate the man at the helm of affairs then, and get him punished wherever any infraction is established. Tinubu should borrow Professor Tony Afejuku’s appellation: ‘No Paddy for Jungle’, instead of the current futile Aunty Sally exercise. Majority of Nigerians know that Buhari was a monumental disaster in government. We need no further profiling. This excuse is becoming irritatingly dippy! Buhari blamed Jonathan for eight years without a single probe of the man. Tinubu cannot afford to do the same. If Buhari printed money, and we cannot point to a single thing he used the money for, as Edun stated, the man should not be allowed to continue picking his teeth in his Daura farm. Yes, he warned that nobody should call him for questioning while leaving on May 29, 2023. That is an empty threat. Except Tinubu benefited from the rots in the Buhari administration, I don’t see any reason why the ‘Mai Gaskiya’ cannot be made to account for his obvious misdeeds while in government. If Tinubu cannot probe the allegation of money printing, barmy as it is, then the government should keep quiet and get to work. Only an indolent workman blames his equipment!

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