BusinessDay

Nigeria@inflexion point: OBIcracy vs gerontocracy, plutocracy, kakistocracy

It is not in my character to bombard my readers with these VERY BIG words. But serious issues require serious analysis, and the seriousness has just started with the speaking in grammatical tongues.

However, nothing to worry about; you are assured of detailed operational definition of terms. Given the indescribable power of Nigerian president, which grows organically as the days go by, it is indubitable that the 2023 presidential election is another opportunity for us to start afresh and to avoid the perennial regret of ‘the road not taken.’

In 2015, Nigerian entered a rickety ‘one-chance’ bus when a group of desperate, disparate and voraciously avaricious people ganged up to grab power (which they did not know what to do with) and promised us from top-to-bottom change.

I warned; many others warned and even the Bible warned us about those chanting change (Proverbs 24:21) but it appeared that we temporarily lost our collective sense of reasoning. Today, we know better and that is why I believe that 2023 is an opportunity to rescue what is left of the wooden-legged ‘Giant of Africa’ and the hope of the global black community. Indeed, I believe that Nigeria is at a strategic inflexion point!

The funny thing is that while the president is just getting tired of Nigeria, Nigerians are long tired of him and eagerly await his exit from the exalted and most powerful office in the world

A strategic inflexion point is a period when an organisation must respond to disruptive changes in the environment effectively or face deterioration; a decisive moment in the course of an entity that creates opportunities for a significant change from its current path, to change the fundamentals, for the better! If the inflexion point is not optimised then, nsogbu dikwo (‘troblems’ lie ahead)! It is also similar to the ‘tipping point,’ the critical point in a situation, process, or system beyond which a significant and often unstoppable change takes place. (See Malcolm Gladwell (2007) The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference).

In effect, we are ALMOST in a tabula-rasa (clean slate) scenario! The cylinder is almost empty and we have the opportunity to refill with the right quality and quantity of gas so as to fire FULLY! It is time to move from our potential greatness to actual greatness; that is if we get it right!

And guess what? Shakespeare had Nigeria in mind when he declared in 1599 that There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyages of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea we are now afloat and we MUST take the current when it sails or lose our ventures. (Brutus, Julius Caesar).

However, that tide which Caesar referred to, was not man made, it was an act of God! It is God that created the unfavourable combination of circumstances which make the Nigerian environment fertile for real change; not chaaanji! For the benefit of strangers in Jerusalem or those who pretend not to know where we are today, let me undertake a brief recap on why we need to CHANGE our trajectory, why 2023 is our inflexion point.

Just the other day the CEOs of Britain Inc (Boris Johnson) and Italy Inc (Mario Draghi) resigned not because they are tired but because they lost the confidence of their parliamentarians. In Nigeria, however, our president openly confessed that he couldn’t wait to leave office because he was ‘tired of working 6,7 or 8 hours a day’ for Nigeria, a county of 200m+ and yet, nothing was said about it beyond the ‘rantings’ of irritant news media and their jobless columnists. Even on occasions when our parliamentarians got angry, (over insecurity, insubordination of the Customs boss, budgetary figures, and the Electoral Bill) NOTHING happened.

Of course, we should not be surprised because the Senate president unabashedly said he would approve any request from Buhari because he meant well for the country, while the Speaker declared that he preferred being rubber stamp to being at loggerheads. The funny thing is that while the president is just getting tired of Nigeria, Nigerians are long tired of him and eagerly await his exit from the exalted and most powerful office in the world.

Sometimes ago, the bandits desecrated Aso Rock, infiltrated the NDA, shot down a military aircraft. They cordoned off Kaduna by attacking Kaduna Airport, bombing the Kaduna-Abuja train and taking over Kaduna-Abuja highway.

They then attacked the presidential convoy, invaded our high profile Kuje Prison with 1001 motorcycles, where they preached and even shared money to the inmates. And then an Emir in Zamfara crowed Alero, certified bandit declared wanted for murdering 52 people in Kadisau, 2019, a chief.

As the presidency was busy explaining why they can’t bomb the forests, the bandits audaciously promised to kidnap the president and el-Rufai and followed it up by attacking the presidential guards. Yet, while others are shot for thought crimes, these are treated with Christian Dior deodorant.

Read also: Kidnappers, bandits zeroing in on clerics, religious bodies

Now, Unity schools within FCT have been closed due to ‘worsening insecurity.’ An indication that Abuja is not safe. And in a cruel twist of fate, PMB was invited to deliver a lecture on insecurity in Liberia… and he accepted! We have a disquieting level of unemployment, underemployment, misemployment (an engineer teaching in a private primary school) and malemployment (a graduate selling recharge-card).

If you are lucky to see a $, it costs N700. Debt servicing is 119 percent of revenue in the first 4 months of 2022; ASUU is on strike since February and NLC is protesting in support but N265 billion has been invested in foreign education as at May 2022. Corruption is being vigorously contained in a situation when the accountant-general could easily privatise N100bn+, as agency fees for disbursing public funds.

The price of petrol surreptitiously rose to N179 (it was just reduced in Zimbabwe) while the landing cost is N470; we have spent N23 trillion in the past 17 years on amoebic subsidy which PMB rightly described a scam. and JetA1 fuel goes for N900, the same price as diesel and kerosenes. Lending rate is at 25 percent while banks pay 2 percent on deposits, as inflation rate is 19 percent debt per capita is now N180000 (N6900 in 2015). This is as about 100 million of our compatriots are in multidimensional poverty, while HDI is at the bottom.

Social tension is unbelievably high and yet after 7 years of a Northern Fulani-Moslem president, the ruining party picks another Muslim from a zone that had 8 years presidency and 8 years VPship since 1999 and paired him with another Muslim (for which unknown bishops had to be procured to shore up the MM ticked). The ‘main opposition party’ also gives it to another Northern Fulani Moslem.

This is while Deborah is still fresh in the grave. Suddenly, people who have benefited from obscene quota and scandalous Federal Character policies are reminding us that religion does not matter (while Islam is splashed everywhere in our Constitution) and are talking of competence.

Indeed, as Asa warned during the NNPC repainting ceremony, there is fire on the mountain. 2023 is indeed an opportunity to start afresh; any mistake will be fatal.

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