Larry Charles Fejokwu
Over 80 per cent of Nigerian population, not just the down trodden masses, but including the fast depleting middle class, were the victims of the vicious and insensitive economic policies of the past sixteen years of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration. These policies were responsible for the defeat of PDP, the so-called largest party in Africa.
It is therefore strange that the outgoing Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister of the economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala would be presenting her unsolicited proposals to the administration of APC.
Nigerians prayed for Change and as God granted Nigeria a new lease of life, Nigerians will continue praying for the Change administration to stimulate economic prosperity for all. A massively endowed nation has been massively mismanaged, hence millions are unemployed and power remains dead at under 4000mw after billions of Dollars invested since 1999.
The Buhari administration of APC, recently announced to the world that it would inherit a debt of over $60 billion in both local and foreign liabilities. Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice President revealed to a shocked audience in Abuja at an APC Dialogue that the “Buhari led government will inherit the worst economy ever in the history of the nation.” This was a terrific verdict for the Economic Management Team in particular.
According to Punch Newspaper report of P. 3, May 2015, “Osinbajo put the nation’s local and international debt profile at USD$60 million with a 2015 debt serving bill of N953.6 billion. He said: “We are concerned that our economy is currently in perhaps its worst moment in history, with local and international debts at USD$60 billion. He noted that an estimated 110 million, out of the nation’s over 170 million population were living in extreme poverty while the largest chuck of the benefits of the nation’s wealth was going into the pockets of a small percentage of the population. According to him, the nation’s dwindling oil revenues have made it difficult for 24 of Nigeria’s 36 states to pay salaries.”
With such economic report card, should PDP ever wonder why it was massively voted out by the silent, debased majority of Nigerians? The Economic Management team must apologise to Nigerians and assist the new regime recover looted funds. APC should undertake a thorough objective analysis of the failed economic policies of the past sixteen years that have made Nigeria and Nigerians the laughing stock of the world.
An appropriate state of the nation on the Economic Management Team was an article: “Nigeria’s Independence,…” by Olamide Bakare – Department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos P. 96 (Guardian Oct. 23, 2014, Back Page).
“…It is pathetic that 54 years after the ousted Mr. Jones (Colonial Master) the Nigeria of today is a poverty stricken nation caused by the “Napoleons” in power with the aid of sycophants “squealers,” serving as the government media mouth piece. In April 2014, during the WORLD IMF/WORLD BANK Spring Meetings, the WORLD BANK President, JIM YONG KIM said: Nigeria occupied the third position among the top five countries that has the largest number of people. In the same vein, collaborating the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report, the country Director of the WORLD BANK in Nigeria, Maria Francois Maria-Welly, asserted that 100 million Nigerians live in abject poverty. In like manner, the World Bank’s Acting Country Manager Mr. John Litwack, expressed concern during the 2014 Nigeria Economic Report Launch in Abuja, that 58 million Nigerians are living at the poverty level out of an estimated population of 170 million. It is equally sad and lamentable that Nigeria has not risen above 10 per cent budgetary allocation to education, despite the 26 per cent UNESCO’s recommendation. It has never been the dream of Nigeria’s nationalists to see a Nigeria where about 10.5 million out of school children would be roaming in the streets.
Apart from the 10.6 trillion ($67 billion) that was reportedly being squandered by the various “Napoleons” in the corridor of power, it would take divine revelation to know the colossal amount that has gone down the drain in the economy. Although the government hit back at Oby Ezekwesili when the former Vice President of the World Bank released the shocking revelation, it is yet to respond to the public debate she threw at them. In addition, despite the 220 billion squandered on the power sector by one of the “Napoleons” in recent times, Nigerians are still dreaming of a country where the “windmill” would be permanently cured of its ancient epileptic bedevilling it….. Are Nigerians living in the Nigeria that was dreamt by her founding fathers? Is Nigeria celebrating the Independence of Mr. Jones or lamenting the indigenous colonisation of the “Napoleons”. That was the report card on the Economy. With such stark realities of a
debased economy and debased values of the poverty ridden population of over 100 million, it was not surprising that Nigerians massively voted out the corrupt and discredited economic policies of the PDP and Jonathan’s administration on March 28, 2015.
President Buhari had recently remarked that it was ridiculous to consistently appropriate over 70 per cent of the budget to recurrent projects. It was not therefore surprising that the economy was paralysed. To most Nigerians, whatever results, were fraudulent propaganda manipulated to deceive Nigerians that jobs were being created for development growth. The realities on the ground, which millions of Nigerians perceived, belied the statistic. Nigerians massively voted out the insensitive and corrupt policies which consistently kept Nigerians at the bottom of most global development indices. Nigerians, were indeed frustrated with those in human policies, and heaved a great sigh of relief that the PDP regime was voted out. Nigerians in general and the APC administration in particular do not need Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s proposal, as echoed from the World Bank Spring meeting in USA. The APC administration is already undertaking due diligence to begin the rescue of Nigeria from the pit of economic mismanagement and massive corruption in all sectors promoted by the policies of the PDP regime. At the appropriate time, the new administration may have questions for the outgoing Finance Minister and her economic management team.
The Economic Management Team should be apologising to Nigerians for massively devaluing their lives, and the Naira in the past six years. In 2005, as Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi negotiated debt relief of $12 billion. Did Nigerians win? Nigeria lost. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, must undertake a thorough soul searching and ask herself serious patriotic questions. Are Nigerians happier today than they were in President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration, when she negotiated the controversial debt relief, which made Nigeria pay off, in controversial deals, a whole TWELVE BILLION US DOLLARS, to the Western Creditors for our so-called debts? As a highly indebted poor country, Nigeria would not have accepted that deal, which made us pay off TWELVE BILLION US DOLLARS. A more patriotic and realistic option, would have necessitated flexible negotiations and staggered pay off. That deal contributed to devalue Nigeria. Yet more loans are proposed by economic managers. Yet in these past ten years, Nigeria could not build one modern refinery, and subsidy is drowning Nigeria.
In the last six years, the foreign reserves and Excess Crude Oil accounts have massively depleted, and yet Nigeria has nothing to show for it – No water, No light, No first class highways; Universities remain dilapidated. Even after the ASUU strike of 2013 – 2014, the Federal Government has again failed to pay in 2014, the promised N100 billion for the rejuvenation of Nigerian Universities. Another hope betrayed. With all these sordid and very unimpressive economic policies that contributed to the overwhelming defeat of PDP, Nigeria as a nation, Nigerians at large and the APC Change administration do not need any lecture or proposal from the economic Doctor whose pills starved Nigerians and underdeveloped Nigeria’s infrastructure, especially in the past ten years.
May God support and Bless the Buhari administration to effect the authentic CHANGE Nigerians desperately need.
Good Bye NOI !!
Your Economic Policies Devastated Nigeria & Nigerians.
*Fejokwu is a Political Communication Analyst.