Archives

Our Nation_Our Politics. Why PMB Should Be Easily Re-Elected In 2019, Part 5.

Nigerian Economy, graphics, 1

Reason Number 4: THE ECONOMY. WHOSE ECONOMY?

(Warning: Long post)

This should be the final part of this series – Why President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) should be re-elected in 2019 despite the array of disaffection (many justified) with his stewardship so far. Till date, I have discussed three reasons – PMB’s deft use of red herrings to deflect and confuse, the state of the viable opposition party and the support of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and its effect in the political calculations for 2019’s presidential elections. I round it off with what should ordinarily have been the major determinant of any incumbent’s re-election prospects, but which sadly will not play a determinant role in 2019 – an economy superintended by an incumbent. 

Depending on whose side of the political divide you are on, your take would be either that the economy has deteriorated under the PMB led APC government, or that the economy is being retooled for better prospects in the future because this government inherited a ‘bankrupt’ rent economy from its predecessor. I believe there are merits in both sides of this argument. The decider therefore is who is better able to marshal its side of the argument. 

First, the truth is that Nigeria’s mono economy has always been a rent economy, of taker ‘landlords’ who amass wealth directly or indirectly from state resources with little or no backward investment to further grow that economy. Most of the investments and/or savings of these rent seekers are taken overseas, which develops those foreign economies at the expense of the source economy. Those foreign economies in turn ‘lend’ to our economy at exorbitant cost, ‘our resources’ that had been ‘flighted’ overseas! 

And because the Nigerian economy is mono-centric on oil, the only viable data past leaders have truly gathered and watched have been those related to Brent crude and OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) indices. So, the economy’s relative competence depends on the price of crude, and the vagaries of that market. It is for no other reason that many within and outside government see the Federal Government’s oil vehicle, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), as the cash cow that that must be milked, little or no questions asked. This for me is the real reason why attempts to reform the NNPC by statute will continue to falter and fail. Too many selfish, entrenched interests. Unless … (Story for another day)

Now this over reliance on oil has stymied whatever growth could have happened elsewhere to expand and grow the Nigerian economy. It is therefore not surprising that given this rent mentality, even the infrastructure of our dependent product has been left to decay – refineries, pipelines, depots and others in its value chain. Yet you get this cyclical argument – who is the better manager, government or the private sector? Over and over again – debating a solution PROCESS to death! So, whether it had still been the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) or any other political conglomeration that had won in 2015 Presidential elections, the economy would still have needed urgent and PAINFUL fixing. I suspect that even those who malign the present government’s handling of the economy would agree with this reducible minimum. Even the economy’s manager under the last administration now admit this much. So, the only question being how honest and competent any attempt at fixing the Nigerian economy would have been, based on which side of the political divide was in charge. 

And this is where again the ENTIRE political class (yes, of all shades and hues!) failed this economy. First there was this inordinately long delay, which confirms the argument the APC as a party and perhaps PMB himself was ill-prepared for office. Or how else would you campaign that the economy needs fixing, yet ‘watch’ its slow bleed for over 6 months after taking office, while at the same time attacking the fundamentals of the same economy as known to foreign investors?

Eventually after PMB named his economic team, rather than begin to interrogate the policies or lack of it from the team, most commentators and opinion leaders outside of the ruling party (the official opposition was AWOL all this time, remember?) focused on the qualification of the dramatis personae, comparing for instance, the ‘qualification’ of PMB’s (now ex-)finance minister with the immediate past occupant of the office! How she had only being a ‘commissioner for only 4 years’ before her appointment, while the former had been ‘a world renowned financial juggernaut’! And this went on for months, trying to score cheap political points, unfortunately further sending wrong signals to investors. The president himself did not help matters by his old-fashioned comments on state control of the economy! Not even within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) did we have any decent dissent about how to move the economy forward! Even at the official level, the ruling party did not for once engage in any meaningful debate on this! Our political class – long on slogans, short on nous! I digress, sorry. 

So, the economy would still have needed re-tooling, whoever had been in charge in 2015. The point being a fundamental rethink who have been needed. The truth is that such an overhaul cannot be successfully carried out in 8 years, regardless of the APC’s unguarded pre-election rhetorics of 1 or 2 years! And honest, non-partisan economists will confirm this. The first world economies, when the need arose for reconstruction, despite the MARSHAL plans and the likes of it, took decades to recalibrate and rebuild. This is another verifiable fact. 

This is yet another area where the media managers of the ruling party let the country down. Rather than focus lightly on what was done wrongly in the past, and now begin to sensitize about the painful choices ahead, they rather dwelt of the mistakes of the past! Why else did they reckon Nigerians got rid of the former ruling party in the first place? Nigerian political class – long on slogans, short on nous!

Now, with the forgoing, one should think that re-election would be difficult for the husbandman of this economy. No? But again, because the opposition, although loud about the criticisms of the ruling party, has been short, very short on well thought out alternatives, if at all, they have cut the APC a lot of slack! A bad economy should have been a platform for the opposition party to seek to re-launch its seriousness for office, by in-depth critiques, by the offering of alternatives. How many seminars or colloquium have the Nigerian political class organized on the economy, for instance? Most recently, you see a spattering of comments and critiques here and there. But these are just uncoordinated efforts by political contestants to gain the ear of the electorate for votes, nothing deep. Nigerian political elite – long on what is wrong, again, sadly short on what is needed!

This is where I think PMB’s government has been allowed wriggle room to score another masterstroke, albeit on the sly. What is the government doing? Pandering to the class that is most hit by the re-tooling process with its several palliative measures – the N-power program, the school feeding programs, ‘Tradermoni’ initiative, and the like. 

Yes, those in the lower and upper middle classes may scoff and ask ‘where is the proof of the impact of all these programs’? They cannot see it because it could not have impacted them directly. Rather they should ask those at the lower, most vulnerable base of the consumer economy. It is only then that you will appreciate this master stroke. And of the electoral mass, which segment has the highest voter pool? You guessed right! But why do I call these initiatives sly? Because they are long on impressions, sadly too little a drop to envelop the masses of the people. But, hey? “E go better, e go better – no be im dey make poor man tey for city?” Right? You catch my drift!

So, yes, many will argue that the economy is still very weak, that the policies of this administration could have been better thought out, and the execution of it better managed. Yes, yes and yes! But what would still have been the result after just 4 years, is the question many have not provided answers to!

I believe it is too early to call out this APC government on the economy, knowing as we do that the fundamentals of a decentralized economy takes more than a 4-year cycle anywhere in the world. So, I suspend judgment, not being a ‘disenfranchised’ beneficiary of the rent economy! 😉

In other words, what should have been the Achilles heel of PMB’s government has suddenly become a get out of jail free card! You do not believe me? Wait until after the coming gubernatorial elections in Osun State, Saturday next (22nd September 2018).

Because of the palliatives this government is handing out to the most vulnerable economic class, left, right and centre, I believe it would be given a renewed mandate by electorate at the next presidential elections. WHOSE ECONOMY? ECONOMY OF THOSE AT THE BASE OF THE PYRAMID!

To round up this series, it is my firm belief that the 2019 presidential elections is President Muhammadu Buhari’s to lose. I wager he should win re-election if he is on his party’s ticket; even if the race is tight, as it might well be, depending on who the PDP picks as its nominee.

FINAL WORD: It is often said that one week is a long time in politics. All my permutations may change overnight. So, let’s say my views are valid for today? Ok? Ok! In essence, please do not take this as a political advisory! Enjoy the coming election season! 😎

©Adewale Adeniji. 17th September 2018. 

African Politics_Crass Opportunism of ZANU-PF

220px-Flag_of_Zimbabwe.svg
 
As a young man, I invested a lot of time, energy and my meagre resources to understand African political Renaissance, post-colonial era; and I believe I still understand the dynamics. So, my take on the crisis the major state that evolved from the Monomotapa Empire – Zimbabwe – is a bit deep.
 
That Robert Mugabe (now only de facto president of Zimbabwe) has overstayed his welcome as leader of this great people, is commonly accepted by all. Apart from being dictatorial (which many seem to focus on), he is also too old to understand the nuances of his nation and appears bereft of understanding what the real economic issues are anymore. On this last bit, Zimbabwe’s economy is comatose, primarily due to his inability to understand the major role free agricultural enterprise (read Zimbabwean white farmers) has with the overall well-being of the country!
 
But he alone cannot, and should not be allowed to carry the can, for this misrule of almost 4 decades! Main point of this piece.
 
And many are complicit, from his contemporary, Joshua Nkomo, who has since long gone; but under whose watch Zimbabwe slid into dictatorship, when he lamely consented to his ZAPU party to be swallowed by ZANU to form ZANU-PF (Unity Accord of 1987, pursuant to the GUKURANHUNDI – low level civil war between Mugabe’s government and the opposition). What if he had withstood the persecution but stood firm for the sake of Zimbabwe; after all evil thrives were good men keep quiet!
 
Also complicit is the so-called Zimbabwean National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA). From their waged ‘war’ against white farmers (who were truly also Rhodesians/Zimbabweans) which led to the death of a once thriving agricultural base for the economy, to their active persecution of real and perceived enemies of Robert Mugabe, leading to a state of fear. What if they had as priority Zimbabwe and not Robert of Zimbabwe?
 
Also complicit is Morgan Tsvangirai, who traded the electoral victory of his Movement For Democratic Change (MDC) in the 2008 parliamentary elections to become a frustrated Prime Minister, in a brokered deal, only to lose in an official landslide to the party (ZANU-PF) he defeated 4 years earlier! What if he had not consented to South Africa’s pressure to trade his victory and opportunity of becoming president for the title of PM? Mugabe would have been long gone!
 
Then comes the ZANU-PF party itself. Carved in the image of Robert Mugabe just after the war of independence, it became the machine through which the enterprise of state was conducted with its attendant systems of patronage; thereby weakening state institutions! If Zimbabwe failed, a bulk of the blame should lie at the feet of the ZANU-PF!
 
Zimbabwe’s economy lies comatose, not just from the misrule of Robert, but from the collaboration and connivance of most of the leaders and bodies mentioned above, causing to fall flat on their faces these once proud Shona and Ndebele peoples.
 
So, you see my disbelief that these set of fellow travelers in ‘Bob’s’ party now seek to throw just their president under the proverbial bus! If Mugabe is liable to be kicked out of office, so should they all be thrown out! Where were they before Grace Mugabe became Robert’s wife? Were they not the same lot who said Mugabe’s first wife and revolutionary partner, the Ghanaian, Sally Mugabe, was a foreigner, not fit for government role? Yet they watched as Grace schemed her way into politics and verged on presidential power that threatened their collective survival before they woke up?
 
They are complicit in what Zimbabwe has become today, all these leaders, and particularly this party. They have no moral ground to abandon Bob of Shona land!
 
© 20/11/2017. Adewale Adeniji

Our Nation_Protests, Or Not?

 

 

We have been inundated with opinions and counter-opinions on the planned protest against the Nigeria’s government on the economic woes facing Nigerians. As usual, discuss on this has taken a primordial twist, by proponents of either side; pulling as usual the ethnic and religious fault lines of Nigerians.

I have ignored the back and forth till now, because frankly, I am at a loss as to why this should be an issue in the first place.

For one, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria guarantees right to gather and associate for specific purposes. There are international charters guaranteeing the same, so what is the problem? So, as long as the necessary preparations are done in line with the law, there should be absolutely why the coming protests should not hold.

For avoidance of doubt, we cannot claim to be a democracy and stymie dissents, protests or even the right to lampoon our leaders. And it is the duty of the state to guaranty the safety of lives and property during the planned protest. So, it baffles me why people are quick to condemn protests and their organizers. This government will be doing itself a disservice if it places a bar on the proposed protest march or any other one for that matter!

So what if the target of the protest is our president, Muhammadu Buhari? As American politicians are wont to say, if you cannot take the heat, stay out of the kitchen! All public office holders must be held accountable for their actions and inactions – and it is not only at election times that we should do so.

Second, I find it hypocritical for some folk to criticize president Donald Trump of the USA and egg protesters against him on, while arguing to shield another president from the protest of citizens of the nation he governs! Pure, unadulterated hypocrisy! And, with respect, such folk should be ashamed of themselves.

I even hear that supporters of the president are planning a ‘MEGA’ march in his support to counter that being planned? That is also their constitutional right, and supporters of the first protest would also be hypocritical to condemn such moves!

Nigerians should loose, once and for all, this big man syndrome that our leaders are immune from criticism. It will not happen again, not with the shenanigans of leaders past! Grin and bear it if you are the butt of jokes and derision, while in power.

I often tell my politician friends who moan about the use of social media to pummel them this: THE BEST REVENGE TO CRITICISM IS TO OUT PERFORM YOURSELF IN OFFICE!

Do that and you’d be ‘venerated’! Simple! You cannot claim the privilege of public office (lucrative one at that!) and wish your citizens to ‘leave you in peace’!

Ko le se le o!

So, for all bent on exercising their rights to freely gather and voice their opinions, which ever side of the argument you belong, WELCOME TO YOUR OPEN SEASON!

Wisdom Nuggets 101_Digital Disruption.

img_6814
 
Business is no longer being done in the ways taught in business schools or passed down in organizations through training. Business models are becoming dated in the face of nimble and agile organizations; due mainly in part to what is described as Digital Disruptions.
 
Ask metered taxis, the effect that the UBER App has had on their business. The effect of digital disruption is that entrepreneurial start-ups reaching the $1billion evaluation milestone quicker than before; and the average lifespan of S & P 500 companies has shrunk by almost two-thirds in the last 50 years?
 
Implication for you and your business is simple … innovate, digitize or fizzle out. As Digital Disruption is happening across industries, are you really willing to take that risk?
 
© 14th November 2016. Adewale Adeniji/LexConsults Humanae International.

Our Nation_The Curse of Nollywood

Fellow Nigerians, I, like you, have been assailed in the last two days by 2 ‘burning’ issues in our polity (No, not the recently hot topic of the DSS/’Corrupt Judges’ saga). These are the twin issues of Aisha Buhari’s BBC Hausa interview, where she publicly gave counsel to the man she sleeps in the same house with; and Reuben Abati’s discourse on the ‘cursed’ Aso Villa, seat of Nigeria’s presidency, a sort of hammer house of horror tale.
In fact, yesterday evening, a dear friend and brother, (tagged in this post) called and urged me to start a discussion on Abati’s article published in a national daily. 
I have resisted that particular invite until this evening when my Babe casually mentioned something in a discussion on an unrelated issue.
What strikes me in the manner of our discuss these days is that it appears we have lost all propriety and balance. Vitriol (often transferred aggression more than any thing else) dominates almost all discussions. The implication is that we just jump on every issue without recourse to introspection, and just unload. 
I have quite a number of friends I follow on social media – and it always amuses me no end when having unloaded their preconceived views at the beginning of every new issue, they gradually climb back down when better reasoning surfaces! Maybe you have also noticed? 
So, how does this affect these twin issues I identified above? 

PMB was in Germany when ‘Aishagate’ (as a friend uncharitably called it) broke. And to town we all went, talking about ‘the other room’!; about the fact that PMB has been abandoned by his wife; and the like. You get my drift?
Can anyone recall why our president took the trip, or what he achieved in Germany, if at all? How would our tottering economy benefit from that trip? All many saw was Angela Merkel’s face when PMB uncharitably publicly replied his wife!
Then Reuben Abati’s tales by moonlight surfaced. And everyone, initiated and otherwise, began to see ‘sense’ in the fact that Babalawos and Mamaalawos have buried whatever at the seat of power. ‘No wonders!’. ‘I talk am!’ began to surface. 
No one paused to think – what the world reference of the purveyor of this mumbo jumbo is? And trust Fani-Kayode to pour petrol on a cindering issue! Is this not an attempt to explain away the obvious, and now admitted, incompetences of past leaders? How about Abdulsalam Abubakar? What evil(s) assailed him whilst he occupied Aso Rock? How do you explain that none was obvious during his tenure? I can go on and on. So, why do a hasty generalization, as Abati did? Maybe because many still live in fear and awe of what they cannot understand? Why not sit down and think deeply on this? What is the state of health of the average Nigerian, in or out of Aso Rock? Is one an indication of the other? Oh, that is a long thing? (Apologies to the Koko master!)
My conclusion? Nigeria has become (to our collective shame) a land of educated folk who choose not to think, but allow others (a few, calculating agenda setters) think for them. 
Welcome to Naija’s Nollywood generation. A world of make belief, awada kerikeri generation. More of salacious topics. Let’s go get them mentality. The sad thing? This happens not just in public discuss o; but in private interactions too. It pervades every area of our existence now! 
For the next couple of days, you will see murals, cartoons etc. on Aisha and Buhari’s OTHER ROOM. It will carve itself into our lingo just like Mama Patience’s ‘Diaris God o’ did, as did that artiste’s ‘Iyalaya anybody’!
Fellow compatriots, can we not think deep for a change? So that we can ask ourselves and our leaders hard, probing questions, devoid of primordial connotations, shorn of fears?
When would we begin to set ourselves and our leaders a long ‘to-do’ list for our selves and our nation?
Isn’t it time we left Osuofia, Lalude and Bala in Nollywood where they belong? Let us begin to live as we ought to. In tune with reality, captains of our own destinies. 
Reactions to this will determine if we are able to do this. 😜
{My sincere apologies for the length of this. Nah! Didn’t mean that!}
© 15th October 2016. Adewale Adeniji.

MY BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SEPTEMBER 2016.

Books_The Creative NationBooks_The Devil's AdvocateBooks_The Last CustodiansBooks_Power of Self-Control

 

You read to expand your mind (i.e. grow your brain) and position yourself to take advantage of opportunities.

 

When was the last time you read a book?

 

It may just save or preserve your future! If you love books, please pass on. Danke.

‪#‎IloveBooks‬!

#Books