FridAY Column by Engr. Abubakar A. Fari
Buhari had held a meeting with the governors in the Villa behind closed doors. This development was reported by among others, the Daily Trust of Saturday December15, 2018 titled “Buhari to Govs: ECONOMY IN BAD SHAPE” which suggests ‘tightening of belts’. The long and short of it is that the economy is in “bad shape”. The question is has the Nigerian economy ever been in good shape? Do Nigerians even understand what exactly the word “economy” is in practice or in nation building? From the simple definition of an economy or the synonyms yours sincerely will attempt to again navigate on the issues and throw perspectives in a simple manner as far as possible. If one sees “economy” as to refer to FINANCIAL SYSTEM, WEALTH, MARKET, COUNTRY, NATION, COST CUTTING MEASURES, CUT-BACK and SAVING, then we go from there. An analysis of how to go about it from the prism of these economic synonyms will be presented free of charge to Buhari and any Nigerian saddled with holding trust at the local, state and national level. This will hopefully be a food for thought for all the three arms of government, military, technocrats, education administrators in the primary, secondary, and the tertiary institutions.
The root cause for international trade wars revolve around foreign exchange impact (FX) and value-added on a standalone basis to the various contending economies. US under Trump is seen like a “mad doggie” running bananas. When you leave the dog alone it will attack, and what of if you attack it? It is all the same America first. America first is a familiar tune that is derived by the dogma entrenched by the Zionists in the so-called “Gods own country” that there are “no permanent friends but interests”. One can extend the logic further that the America forcing its way albeit to end in futility as the sole “Unipolar Power” that there is no “free lunch” will hit the rocks according to Putin in Russia. If at all then one will ask who will pay for the America “first” dogma and its position as a sole super power. So someone has to pay for it. Kim Jung Un of North Korea will rather develop his nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles in case Trump insists America “first”.
China has lifted over 700 million out of poverty as the news unfold. But Nigerians would rather retain Trillions of Naira equivalent to US billion in loots to our ruling elites and the gurus in the PDP camp who cannot escape scrutiny by the anti-graft agencies. It is not lifting
Nigerians out of poverty like China that the Obasanjo and co support. Rather an Atiku mantra that represents the old school of thought with respect to fighting corruption and financial prudence given that “theft” is not akin to corruption. The Fx and the value added internally generated from the sweat and the gifts endowed to the citizens that makes countries pay for imported goods and balance of payments reconciliations are not the main concern but the “free lunch”.
If you eat somebody’s lunch then you are selfish. And Russia and China as well as the EU that are sending discordant tunes will not allow “free lunch” and so America “first” is gyrating to a dooms day scenario. For now Salman and his Arab brothers undermining Islam and Muslims have no qualms for America “first”. Their motivation is not Fx and value added for the Muslim world to rise to self dependence and dignity, but the ownership jointly of the petrol Dollars by a cabal jointly between Saudi-Arab monarchs with the US-Zionists mercenaries. No wonder Trump said, “if not for the US marines and fire power, the Saudi family will be kicked out of Riyad in less than two weeks.”
With respect to unsolicited economic propositions for the powers that be and the reading public, yours sincerely has been at it since 1981. On November 17, 1981, the first was published by the New Nigeria under the caption, “Time delay and the Nigerian Economy” after graduating from my MBA at ABU Zaria. The second was published in the Weekly Trust of August 19, 1999 titled “Recipe for economic development”. The third was also published by the Weekly Trust of October 22, 2005 titled “Strategies for the Economic Empowerment of the North and Nigerians”. The fourth captioned “Lamido’s naïve support for Obasanjo’s reforms” that appeared in the Daily Trust of Friday, October 21, 2005. The sixth published by the Sunday New Nigeria of October 26, 2008 titled “Doomsday for Capitalism” and also the Sunday Trust in the same month.
Other perspectives include leadership perspectives that are critical to economic progress titled “Saving Buhari or saving Nigeria” which hit the pages of the New Nigerian on Friday December 4, 2009 and that of the Daily Trust edition of Friday December 11, 2009. Again the Peoples Daily of Friday, December 3, 2010 published “Legislators: Law-makers or money-makers”. Yet again we had in April 2011 just before the do-or-die PDP/GEJ elections Pepplles Daily carried the piece titled “PDP turning Nigeria into a Banana republic”. And after 2015 the predictions came to pass.
Towards this end also, I did a piece or many pieces to advise on economic issues for the public and the political ruling elites. When we went to congratulate the late Yar’adua upon his successful win as Governor of Katsina state, yours sincerely told him that I would do a position paper on economic development as a contribution and he welcomed the idea. It was done and personally submitted it to him around October 1999. The title was “STRATEGIES FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND EMPOWERMENT OF KATSINA STATE” and as accordingly to the other states. When we met few weeks later, Yar’adua said he had read it and that it was “well taken”. That gave me the motivation to deliver similar propositions to Governors Aleiro, Makarfi, Muazu and even travelled as far as Dutse but missed Turaki because of the haphazard protocols in the government houses. Makarfi passed it to his Ministry of Trade and Commerce. Kebbi to his permanent secretary economics affairs who concurred with me that the ideas were much consistent with his views.
The private sector and indivisuals that fall under the micro-economic environment should see themselves as “me too”. All Nigerians are stakeholders albeit in varying degrees and relevance. The understanding of the importance of Foreign Exchange (Fx) and value added to a national economy and indeed the health and the vitality of a nation is not one that serious minded people will treat with kid gloves but instead raise the status of “looting’ to a do-or-die. Fx and value addition are not mutually exclusive but as twin sisters towards economic regeneration, cost-effective production, export promotion, job creation, qualitative education and high skilled manpower, self reliance, poverty alleviation, security, relevance in the international arena and many more. Failure to recognise these as the living interests of any serious nation or entity leads to eventual chaos, insecurity and endless conflicts.
Now based on the economic paradigms defined above about economic direction setting one would conclude that the understanding of economy is upside down, if not absent in the dictionaries of most Nigerians. A historical synopsis about politico-economic developments will set the discourse on track. In economics what is central to the equation are the issues revolving around “country” and “nation” as the starting point from the synonyms. During Gowon Administration, we recall that an economic policy and a decision maker made the statement to the effect that with the unbelievable petro-dollars, Nigeria “had so much money and did not know what to do with it” beg the question. With the backwardness and insufficiency in food health, housing, education, basic infrastructure and quality manpower and basic skills to produce says a lot about the quality of leadership. Late General Hassan was quoted in the early 70’s to lament that “Nigeria was sick from head to toe”. The transitions from first republic till date indicate that nation building set to take Nigeria to greater heights remains a delusion.