Buhari’s Change And Economic Realities

By Carl Umegboro
IN few months time, precisely, May 29, 2017, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will step into its second half of the 4-year tenure. Indeed, Nigerians’ experiences since the inception of the administration are better imagined than described following some firm policies, and above all foreign exchange crisis due to unprecedented crash in global crude prices. To a few that superficially voted for All Progressives Congress (APC), it was a drift hence withdrew allegiances, incidentally, the deed; be it positive or negative is already done. Beyond doubt, it was tough, rough and hard-hitting that pots of soups were allegedly stolen at cooking spots and other exceptional incidents.
To others particularly matured minds, it is a worthy sacrifice, akin to the biblical Moses and his journey to the promised land; a land flowing with milk and honey. On the way, it became sturdy that some couldn’t sustain it unlike in their former bearable situations, and lost confidence on Moses and his change mantra, determinedly requested for reinstatement to former positions. Thus, they cried, “….Who shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish which we did eat in Egypt freely, the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic, but now, our soul is dried away; there’s nothing at all….” (Numbers 11:4-6). However, those that conscientiously persisted met overwhelming expectations.  In other words, serenity and monumental supports to federal government at this critical period is vital vis-à-vis its rigorous efforts towards restructuring the economy.

From reports across most states unveiling various strenuous blueprints towards becoming self-reliant on the same commodities hitherto voluminously imported, deserves acclamation. Abia’s governor, Okezie Ikpeazu recently affirmed that Aba traders presently export N1bn worth of quality leather-shoes to overseas weekly. Out of curiosity, I discovered that made-in-Nigeria shoes have indeed moved to the next level; on designs, quality and convenience comparable to foreign shoes. By implication, the ban placed on some imported goods by the federal government though negatively affected importers is overtly positively resuscitating our local industries thereby improving the economy in terms of job creation. With the new mindset on improving our products, if adequate financial facilities can be accessible to genuine indigenous manufacturers towards boosting large scale production, in no distant time, that alone can boost the standard of living and the economy. Ditto on agriculture. Lagos, Ebonyi, Enugu and a host of other states for instance are waxing very strong in rice production that if the tempo is progressively sustained, the prices may crash below expectations soon. In Anambra, Willie Obiano unequivocally announced the state’s plan to export one million tubers of yam and other vegetables. Suffice to say that successful diversification to agriculture may soon be a done deal in Buhari’s change mantra. The south-south, northern and other states are equally working assiduously not to be left out on various farm produce. Recently, Nyesom Wike of Rivers presented to the Acting president as he then was, Professor Yemi Osinbajo his action-plans towards boosting agriculture in the state and reiterated his willingness to collaborate with the federal government for enhanced productivity.
Incontrovertibly, the vacation embarked upon by President Buhari in the United Kingdom which paved way for Osinbajo, the Vice President to take charge on acting capacity proved one or two remarkable points to the country. First, Professor Osinbajo operated and associated freely with enthusiasm from the same states, people and localities that have been no-go areas to President Buhari. Thus, to arrive at conclusions that chronic hate radiates among Nigerians is irrefutably apt. The tension in some quarters subsided with no arbitration or gospel-crusades irrespective of political attachment in those states. By implications, the economy could blossom exceedingly if Nigerians see each other as stakeholders in the Nigeria-project. The second point to decipher is that the adoption of Professor Osinbajo as the running mate to Buhari as well as his engagement to head the economic team by President Buhari is now evidently profound and philosophical. It clearly shows that with the Buhari’s willpower pooled with Osinbajo’s wealth of knowledge and subtlety, the country is settled for inevitable transformations. It dawned overwhelmingly that even those that hitherto regarded Osinbajo’s office as redundant, uncontrollably embarked on pouring encomiums on his performance, ridiculously for doing same things the government would have still done but with resistance if Buhari never travelled. This is on account that the economic team and its programmes did not come into existence during the vacation but has been a subdivision of the Buhari administration. The stratagem or rather diplomacy applied by the government is symptomatic of enormous capabilities, hence deserves commendation.
Imperatively, as the federal government works tirelessly towards fixing the country, though some more radical actions still needed particularly deploying more competent hands in some of the key sectors, it should meaningfully be a holistic approach extending to other arms of government; judiciary and legislature. The continued frivolous allowances payable to the Nigerian lawmakers amidst economic recession outside salaries in a society in which some families cry for survival is abysmally the height of wickedness and insensitivity. Every serious change will always come with tough times but inappropriate for the helpless masses to bear it alone. Such affluences and bonanza-allowances patterned after developed nations are too heavy on the economy at the moment for speedy resuscitation. Besides, what is the justification of paying such allowances to senators and members of the House of Representatives who are engaged on fulltime vocation until the expiry of tenure? Furthermore, as the second half of the administration commences shortly, President Buhari should try as much as possible do appraisal on his workforce for reshuffle where necessary. Those that made the serving-lists considerably on partisan lines which is normal should be swapped with more competent hands. In all games particularly politics, second half is always a decisive moment and no leader takes it for granted, if not, may end up with ‘had I known’. In the next two years, expectedly, dividends of democracy ought to be obvious in the lives of the citizenry putting into consideration all the planning and notable actions embarked upon across the states alongside the federal government. Without a doubt, 2019 elections will preoccupy the minds, but no better way to strategize for victory than satisfactorily meeting the targets of the electorates.
Umegboro is a public affairs analyst and publisher (07057101974 sms only)

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