• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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BusinessDay

Another Tinubu milestone: We are now eating money

Economic crisis: Triple blow for Nigerian families

One major, under-stated advantage of living in Nigeria, that our challenges becloud, is the endless opportunities to keep learning. Never mind that you could discover you had learnt nothing on the rigmarole of life called Nigeria. The conclusion of that matter is usually that Nigeria happened to the person.

There was a time you were accused of “chopping life” if you looked healthy. The corollary was that you were “chopping” alone, possibly helping yourself to some resources placed under your care.

Read also: Nigeria still in search of nationhood 54 years after civil war

You were warned that if you “chopped alone”, you were bound to “quench alone”. Some smart ones took the advice to heart and they “prospered”. Their school of thoughtlessness propounded the principles and practices of corruption which can be summarised thus, “get as many people as possible involved, so that we are in it together”. More importantly, the principles commanded looters to take enough so that they can pay the security agencies, investigating authorities, the judiciary, executive, legislature.

More strategic ones keep reserves to fund special treatments if they are detained, imprisoned, or find themselves in circumstances that imperil them.

Non-traditional economists state that looting, and other unapproved economic activities that dwell on subverting the system, largely ride on waves of making legitimate money “dirty”. Once resources are “dirty”, they need to be laundered to acquire a semblance of legitimacy. The experts warn that other resources that are laundered include political power, the judicial processes, and concurrently media prowess.

For corruption subject matter experts, withdrawal of resources from the formal economy to extinguish their illegal provenance, is a bigger cause of inflation than the representations on classical economic theories.

These have dire consequences for the lives of ordinary people. I heard another one, the other day, ” Nigeria has high”. It was a Nigerian’s way of expressing the high cost of everything.

Another compatriot told me that Nigerians are now “eating money”. His explanation of this expression rests on the fact that everything, especially food, is so expensive that it is like

Nigerians stuffing their money into their mouths.
By his own theory, just as nobody can have enough money, we will keep eating but there would be no satisfaction.

Corruption has to be tackled to its barest minimum for Nigerians to breath. Many people have the capacity to deny others a living. The law is on their side, if not, they skirt it without consequences.

Senate President Dr. Godswill Akpabio, who knows a thing or more about these matters was upfront with Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Pastor Ola Olukoyede during his Senate confirmation last October.

“The reality is that the EFCC has engaged more on sensation than real investigation,” Akpabio said. He gave his “media trial” as an example. He advised the new leadership to act differently. Has EFCC changed? Will EFCC change?

Fighting corruption has been reduced to cheap comedy. Additionally, many Nigerian officials are holding high offices without responsibility to anyone, not even to their conscience. Many agree that few Nigerians have conscience.

Efforts to prod others to an understanding that the rat race is useless when human beings are the participants are lost in the din of misuse of resources, and an explicable importance attached to illegal acquisition of resources. When human beings win a rat race was their ambition to be rats?

Do people still listen to this Mahatma Gandhi injunction, “There is enough for everybody’s need and not for everybody’s greed”? We should exit the rat race for the human race.

Finally…

Death sentence for drug trafficking, as the Senate pleases. If death by firing squad of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Decree of ‪1970 – 54‬ years ago – has not stopped armed robbery, why does the Senate think the new law would make a difference? The issues are deeper. Some Nigerians who have chosen crime as their options say they do not have alternatives, and that they do not care how they die, in a country that does not care how its people live. I do not support their chosen option. Decapitation, no matter the severity of a headache, cannot provide a cure.

The President should not make a law of this bill.

The political crisis in Rivers State could graduate to a constitutional crisis if not halted. Governor Siminalayi Fubara has started asserting himself, as some thought he should have, much earlier.

The State House of Assembly remains in abeyance. If we spare a thought for what the peoples of Rivers State are going through, there would be higher chances that the crisis would end. Let us give peace a chance.

His Excellency, Alhaji Ahmed Usman Ododo, Governor of Kogi, is a lesson in modesty. I suggest that other Governors learn from him. He made a list of 15 important things he has done in his first 100 days in office. Unlike some Governors who foam and froth over nothing, Governor Ododo among other things announced some appointments on his first day in office, visited the National Security Adviser, received visitors, paid courtesy calls, attended meetings of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, met with the Minister of Agriculture. How many of these has your Governor done in 100 days?

Minister of Works David Umahi daily confirms that the processes that should lead to the commencement of the construction of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway Project have not been concluded. A newspaper advertisement on Friday was still discussing stakeholders’ engagement in a project that has started. The project is said to be of such importance that it would be constructed. Criticisms of the processes only rekindle the resolve of the Minister to go on with it.

The competition among Governors has shifted to more relevant personal spheres like who is more corrupt. The challenge in making reasoned judgements on who is richer is that soaring inflation gives variegated values to what was stolen. There are debates already about who stole more in an anticipated sitcom that is temporarily titled, ‘My Heist Is Heftier Than Yours’.

A picture emerged in the social media of a Rolls Royce Cullinan, reported worth $550,000, that broke down in Ikoyi, Lagos. The owner paid for four armed policemen to watch over it for days while he sorted out whatever the challenge was. Claims that we do not have enough policemen are correct. We have to prepare for the day, when similar vehicles that are seen all over Nigeria break down, and we need four or more armed policemen to guard them.

Condolences to the families and fans of Madam Elizabeth Evoeme, famously known as Ovularia in the unforgettable TV series ‘The New Masquerade’, a long-running Nigerian sitcom.

She passed on at 81, according to her family. Ovularia was the obedient wife of Chief Zebrudaya in the programme that started as a segment of ‘In the Lighter Mood’, of the East Central State Broadcasting Corporation radio. It later moved to television. James Iroha, the creator of the programme that brought laughter into homes after the Civil War, was also on the cast as Giringori, a houseboy. May the Almighty rest her.

Isiguzo is a major commentator on minor issues