If it were some leaders of APC who campaigned to give Nigerians an equitable quality of life, should those leaders not be answerable now for the failure to perform? If the president rode on a set of ideas to get to the presidency, would it not be right to say that he is an interloper who has perpetrated a monumental fraud on the people?
To develop a strong economy, President Buhari must come to terms with the complexities inherent in the capitalist democratic system. The state of the economy is inextricably tied to the cultural politics of the government in power and to the social climate within which it functions. Put in the popular idiom of social activists; ‘no justice, no peace’, and by extention, ‘no peace, no growth’. The president must desist from utterances and actions that create the impression that he is ethnocentric, bigoted, or biased in anyway. To this fundamental template, one can add specific suggestions. The president should agree to devalue the naira. An average of the bank rate of approximately N200 to the dollar, and the parallel market rate of N300 is good enough. Such an exercise will stabilise our currency at N250 to the dollar, and create investor confidence.
In order for the decision to remove subsidy not seen as another punitive Buhari Policy, the President must quickly tell Nigerians how much has been saved and what is to being done with the funds. Government’s determination of a N145 price tag for a litre of petrol is uninformed, even malicious. If government with its unlimited access to foreign exchange is selling fuel at N145 per litre, how can government know the cost of a litre to marketers?
Direct intervention to protect consumers from high prices even when government is directly involved in production and distribution will only make things worse for the consumer. Unwittingly, government has created the current economic dilemma in which the ‘black market’ has become the ‘real market’.
In order for the government to have a judicious account of spending and performance in the ministries, the president must get rid of some of his ‘noise maker’ ministers.
The noise of corruption around the minister for transportation is too strong. Rotimi Amaechi should go. Chief Audu Ogbe lacks the vitality to tackle the herdsmen crisis, or introduce vital innovations in the agriculture ministry. He should go. Beautiful and articulate as she is, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, the finance minister lacks the experience and status needed to negotiate Nigeria’s position at the international level. Finance is the epicenter of a nation’s lifeline.
Nigeria’s finance minister must be a person of world renown. Mrs. Adeosun does not fit this ticket. Alhaji Lai Mohammed has outlived his usefulness. He was an efficient hatchet man during the 2015 campaign. Lai Mohammed continues to operate on the level of a campaign propagandist. He has become a liability to the Buhari administration. Nigerians know him today as the minister of misinformation. Haunted by his name, Lai is known around the country as “Lai”, the “liar”. Lately, he has added graft to his other shortcomings. He is alleged to have pressured the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) and other agencies of government for millions of naira to fund his trips abroad. The administration will do itself and Nigerians a favour to relive Lai Mohammed of his duties.
The rationale to allocate the three vital Ministries of Housing, Works and Power to one man was always questionable. Mr. Fashola’s failure to perform so far is evidence enough for us to argue that two ministries must be stripped away from him. Leave him with perhaps, the Ministry of Works. Another flawed appointment was the allocation of Minister of Petroleum to the President. General Buhari has brought no benefit to the ministry. Rather, he has been a clog in the wheel of progress. Kachikwu’s initial suggestions to remove oil subsidies, and privatise oil wells were rejected by Buhari, yet when the oil industry fell into disarray, the National Assembly summoned the Minister of State, instead of Buhari. The president is doing a disserve, to Nigerians by keeping the portfolio of oil minister when he has no time to do the work, or even to explain the problems in the industry.
Unfortunately, things have become worse during the past 365 days under Buhari. Perhaps the only way to help Nigeria achieve its growth potential is through constitutional review, which will decentalize federal government, and empower the geo-political zones as federating units, with states as administrative components.
Dr. Adetokunbo Pearse is Editor-in-Chief/Publisher of PDP MATTERS and Lagos State Publicity Secretary of the party