For an administration that have, all too often, preferred the bubble of exaggerated self-assessment to the living reality that have come to define the lot of the ordinary citizen.
It must have come something of a relief for its army of critics that Channel Television’s Seun Okinbaloye reeled out the stats that a somewhat startled President Muhammadu Buhari could only muffle a feeble dissension.
And so it went:
Okinbaloye: “When you took over in 2015, our debt stock at the time was about 12 trillion, now it’s about 32 trillion…Inflation rate was about 9%, it’s now sitting at about 15%; unemployment rate was about 9.2%, it’s now at about 32.2%; exchange (rate) was about N197 to a dollar, now it’s way over 400 naira to a dollar. Now people would look back and say before you took over some of these indicators were fair, and now the figures are not friendly at all.”
PMB: “Well, I am not sure how correct your calculations are, but all I know is that we have to allow people have access to the farm. We just have to go back to the land.”
As they say – facts can prove stubborn sometimes. Which is it must have come to those expecting a robust rebuttal from the president – the same man who in another breathe tagged the opposition PDP as ‘failure’, as something of a disappointment – or an anti-climax! So much for reeling off tangent on a subject that, among others, constitute the main issue of the moment and one that would willy-nilly define this presidency.
Of course, it might sound somewhat ‘extremist’ to describe the number one citizen as the administration’s de-marketer-in-chief; there is no doubt, a lot that could be said of his grasp of the fundamentals of policy that cannot but leave the ordinary folk bewildered.
And that is not to say that most Nigerians do not already know where the president stands on major issues of the day. Or his capacity, which for good measure, has proven to be somewhat overrated. Whether it is pastoralism where the presidents insists on the rights of the herders to open grazing or the good old enterprise of tilling the soil which his administration continues to push for the same old antediluvian tools of the trade, or the security arena where the president, a brass hat, is fixated on the unilineal model of command and control, what Nigerians have come to see is a leader stuck on models utterly mechanistic and outmoded; a model so unsuited to the nation’s constantly evolving dynamics that one could not but wonder about a presidency caught in some time warp.
One often pities our dear president though if not entirely his administration for a chunk of the mess that is not entirely of their making. Picture of the Jonathan years as the years of the locust; surely, Nigerians remember an administration that had so much money it could indulge in all manner of frivolities that added nothing of real value to their lives; an era when more revenue inflow meant net zero savings, less accretion and more debts to pay. As if one needed reminding of the so-called ‘strategic alliance’ – that barely-disguised Ponzi scheme supervised by the national oil corporation under which some juicy oil blocs were alienated to private interests under some dubious partnership. Recall a country so utterly bled that even votes meant for the military in war-time went into the private accounts of officials the consequence of which the ordinarily formidable Nigerian military was reduced by to a platoon of cowboys by the Boko Haram.
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