Nigerians should first and foremost see the present administration’s “made in Nigeria” branding as a clarion call for the definition of our national character, before we can appreciate the call to patronise made in Nigeria products. If we do not “Nigerianize” our character traits as Nigerians, we would be wasting our efforts at reorienting the minds of Nigerians to their real problems. It is ineffectual to the philosophy of change for a young man to clearly buy Aba made shirts for himself and return home to sew “Christian Dior” or “Yves Saint Laurent” labels to them, just so that his friends would appreciate he is wearing shirts made by foreign designers. We must support our own to grow us into world class, than to disdain what is ours. Charity is sweet when it begins at home. This is what President is forcing us to characterize and to do.
Never had there been such a time as this in the history of Nigeria when citizens are sharply divided amongst themselves. It is quite frightening how those who oppose this present administration noose around so much to find faults to disapprove, discredit and embarrass President Mohammadu Buhari’s every effort at making sense of the terrible times his administration has so unfortunately fallen into. Nevertheless, as one appreciative Nigerian, I cannot but thank God for endorsing the Buhari presidency for Nigeria at this time. I just cannot fathom another Nigerian on the saddle of the leadership of this country at this particular time. It really takes “the deep to call unto the deep“. Nigerians should ignore our present propounders of economic El Dorado…they are liars and exploiters, noisemakers and deceivers. They are crying wolf because this is the time for their own hunger and they fear been ran-out of “business as usual”. Nigerians just have to get this right, right now! There is nothing President Buhari can do at this time for us except “to ensure that Nigeria remains lubricated for the ‘work in progress'”.
Why won’t we watch lest we allow our sentiments bring us to lie upon ashes?
I am aware how the last presidential election caused a near deadly division amongst Nigerians: the Christians against the Muslims, the north against the south. The west/north conspiracy against the south south/east coalition. The religious, tribal and regional dispositions of opposites led to the suspicion that that election might end in the disintegration of Nigeria. Thank God, because what men proposed, God disposed. We thank God, that election held and by it Goodluck Jonathan won for himself the status of a selfless statesman. Nevertheless, for the topic of this article, I hold him responsible for how he “privatized” our Commonwealth after personalising the presidency, making the presidential stool a furniture any family member can sit on in his personal living room. “The man who loves to play with dogs must prepare for the day he will return in shredded clothing” is an Ibibio proverb.
My assignment here is to call the attention of my brother-Nigerians, especially those who religiously and very passionately hate President Buhari to the point of wanting him dead mysteriously, to a time when a cabal rose in the presidency to attempt the thwarting of the privileges designed by our laws for the benefit of the then Vice President Goodluck Jonathan. I am reminding the Nigerians on the aforementioned divide of how all Nigerians rose under the banner, or supporting the cause, of the “Save Nigeria Group” (SNG) to bring Jonathan to the Office of the Acting President of Nigeria.
As God himself had destined Jonathan for greatness, he called Umar Yar’Adua home to eternal rest. Jonathan ascended the throne of his political fathers on 5 May 2010. The euphoria of that moment engulfed about 99% of Nigerians who demonstrated their approval for the Jonathan presidency; except for the 1% who “gathered themselves together against the lord and his anointed“. Everywhere and anywhere, Goodluck Jonathan was considered a divine imposition on Nigeria, and he became the man whose name “broke his kernels for him”: never mind that he earned a doctorate degree in zoo-keeping. I dare say that 99% of Nigerians were all in support of Goodluck Jonathan. Never a time was when any president enjoyed such pan Nigerian support, except as was demonstrated in the June 12 2003 mandate of Moshood Abiola.
“‘I have rejected you as king over my people’ says the lord”.
In the face of the aspiration of the north to return to power in 2011, and in spite of efforts made by Babagana Kingibe, Yar’Adua’s Secretary to Government, before his principal’s death, to ensure power remains in the north should Yar’Adua dies, the north, through their governors, supported Jonathan to clinch the 2011 presidency. Jonathan won the 2011 presidential election in more states in the north than the northerners who contested that election with him put together. I dare again to say that I knew when God rejected Jonathan as President of Nigeria. It was like God’s rejection of King Saul Kish-Benjamin of Israel. Jonathan lost it all when he began to fight an internal war in some States in which his wife had so much private interests, abusing the powers we entrusted to him. He fought this war to an extent it polarized the nation. At the close of his administration he recruited characters that helped nailed his image into the coffin of political irrelevance as an unsound leader. If the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ever needs him, it will be for his well starched money. He appeared to many as a robot manipulated by 5 women. I once called him a ‘“woman’s wrapper”.
I came this far, rather, to show how ungrateful my brothers from the south south and south east have been in their response to, and payback for the north’s unreserved support for their altar ego at very impossible moments in the life of this country. This is uncharitable and despicable, it is selfishness and the evidence of the affliction of a warmonger-demon in the midst of Nigerians. Of course, we can accuse the north for always hanging unto power, what do we call this attitude and response of the defunct easterners, one of whom I am, to one man’s lost in a presidential election. Why should it be a reason to seek to actualise a clannish revolt because the taps – of free meals and wealth from redundancy – are shut up? I would have ignored their wailing save for the need to educate Nigerians that the present free fall of the Naira is a positive development for Nigeria.
Why should a people confess God with their mouths but deny him in their activities?
The scriptural history of the Egyptian and the lesson embedded in the “7 years of plenty and 7 years of draught” was ignored by both Nigerians and their leaders: this is where that ignorance has brought us…to pay back for the period of the plenty we enjoyed. Whoever wishes to propound economic and fiscal policy-theories should continue, but it will be the height of satanism for anyone to insinuate that God has no powers to call nations to accountability, at any point in their existence. Why it was better for the Egyptians was that they had a dreamer-Pharaoh and visionary-Joseph, who both rose to the occasion. God raised Jonathan up for this kind of purpose, but he slumbered away without a dream like Pharaoh’s, and could not seek a man to plan for our years of lack – this was why God rejected him as Nigeria’s president. How can we escape such divine tribulation? We suffer because our leaders have not been accountable and the led have been naive and unconcerned, some even support those who bewitch us with their lives. Why should we not pay for our wastages? Is God no longer true and righteous in his judgments…can anyone indict him?
For what do our importers really use our import licenses and foreign reserves?
The following is the abridged list: refined petroleum products in the face of 4 moribund local refineries and modular ones labelled illegal; rice: this is in the face of the Jonathan agricultural revolution, which showed us some mountains of home grown rice in Doma, Nasarawa State: that may have been a Photoshop but evidentially, the Abakaliki rice farmers in Ebonyi State need government collaboration for extension farming at this time; wheat and corn: these are effectively grown in the north and what government should worry about is aiding farmers with storage and processing channels (revenues would be generated therefrom); cars, clothes, shoes, used clothes, used panties and bras – who imagines such insensitivity of purpose? Tomato generated paste, chicken, fish, eggs, vegetable oil, fertilizers, damn human hairs, milk, wine, sugar, steel, wood, biscuits, paints, pots, cups…and the question is: how do our exponents of Naira devaluation and free market enterprise explain the reason why our Naira should be devalued to afford the items listed above? I think Nigerians can sincerely do without them, if it must be our own dollar vault they would need to invade to accomplish these.
Are they pretending to be intellectually sound because they still want to operate Nigeria’s economy as a circus for greedy men and opportunists? These are what we achieved as “the largest and biggest economy in Africa” – the importations of finished goods. Away with the colony of people with reversed reasoning. Otunba Mike Adenuga came into national prominence as Chief Executive Officer of the defunct Devcom Bank. In the era of failed banks, his bank was one of the first to go down. He fled abroad and today he is a very big player in Nigeria’s communications market, tightly milking Nigerians. In the era of “round tripping”, young treasury staffs in banks became money lords who came together to establish banks like the Standard Trust Bank of Tony Elumelu; the Guarantee Trust Bank of Fola Adeola; the All States Trust Bank of Ebitimi Banigo and the Zenith (Trust) Bank of Jim Ovia- they all came into the Nigerian monetary market with “trust banks”, but how much do they individually trust themselves? The present problems we are facing is a crisis the banks and Bureau De Changes are profiting from.
Why President Buhari is tightening his noose around Nigeria’s foreign reserves
This is the picture Nigerians should see: Government has refused to make foreign exchange available from its vaults for frivolous “imports” sourcing, so the alternative is for importers to approach alternative markets for the foreign exchange they need. Now the question is, if government no longer issues its foreign exchange, and the banks and BDCs cannot access government vaults, where are the foreign exchange fundings coming from that is causing the crash of the Naira? They are from the same thieves who stole from us, those who benefitted from the Jonathan foreign exchange election briberies, politicians who desire all legal and illegal payments to them in Dollars – let us recall when Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi called the attention of Nigerians who have money to go and purchase the Dollar because a time will come when it will payback very well. That is a “visionary leader”. These are the speculators of the present suffocating foreign exchange rate some Nigerians are losing sleep about and busy propounding theories around – mercenaries targeting the continual fleecing of ordinary Nigerians. They are the ones flooding the market with their dollar booties, selling them at the best negotiable rate they like. This is the good news: that one day, their Dollar vaults will dry up, even if it takes the Naira to cough out a thousand of itself to wager the Dollar, or those who buy from them would refuse to continue buying. We can only suffer natural needs for a time but God is abundantly able to deliver us from this curse.
Yes! The Nigerians who milk their countrymen lacking the love of God have brought all these on all of us and like the president said “this is our moment for sacrifice” and supplications to God. Why are our businessmen not interested in sourcing direct foreign investments (DFIs), spending our foreign reserves on heavy machineries, combine harvesters, tractors, lathe machines, research equipments, processing units, turbines and other developmental and industry-driven goals? Why would those who import finished consumer goods not rather encourage foreign manufacturers to build their products assemblies for the processing of their products here – than to call hell to break loose because a few fleece-demons sucking the blood of our commonwealth cannot lay their hands on our N199 to $1 rate? This is in the face of the possibility that they can turn around and use their $1 got at N199 to exchange for N400, making N201 for doing nothing, in this same Nigeria, like it happened during the Ibrahim Babangida and Sani Abacha administrations. I believe that after this “Makosa dance” of theirs, they will be bent into line. Nigerians need to be patient with President Buhari.
Let us recall the history of the present circus show called “…foreign exchange market rate”
Let us appropriately locate the blame for the free fall of the Naira: when Yakubu Gowon said “Nigeria’s problem is not money but how to spend it“, he prophesied our nemesis. At this time $3 was exchanging for N1. At the end of the military regime of Mohammadu Buhari in 1985, $1 was 90k. By 1986, as Fela Anikulapo captured it in one of his songs “they introduce 2nd tier, everything come tear to pieces”. The Second Tier Foreign Exchange Market (SFEM) of Ibrahim Babangida opened our foreign reserves and gave the Dollar a free reign over the Naira. That foreign exchange regime gave birth to the “failed banks” era. It was in his administration that the dollar gained prominence over the Naira for the first time, exchanging at N17 to $1. Babangida received the dollar from Buhari at 90k and left it at N17 to $1 for Ernest Shonekan. To support my position on Nigerians fleecing Nigeria for themselves, let us recall when people like Aliko Dangote emerged in our economic consciousness; Raymond Dokpeso, Ben Murray Bruce, Otunba Mike Adenuga, Otunba Subomi Balogun, and Femi Otedola, whose father was Lagos State governor at that time: these men all benefitted from the weakening of the strength of the Naira in the international foreign exchange market by the Babangida administration.
Rather than allow the economy grow, they insisted on their personal economic growth. As it stands today, these men are waxing strong internationally whilst Nigeria is fast depreciating in her honour before the world. Let me briefly expose the hypocrisy of the examiner of the “common sense” philosophy – Senator Ben Murray Bruce, whose name in itself is not a Nigerian brand. Take his business brands also, are his brands of businesses “made in Nigeria”? If it so portrays, why can he not sell his business brands to the northeners? So people like Senator Bruce should shut their mouths up. If Ben Murray Bruce wants to propagate the “made in Nigeria” brand, let him begin with his name and businesses. It is not a Nigerian brand for young women to expose themselves in their briefs to the free view of licentious men.
President Buhari has no need to raise another class of young Nigerian dollar-billionaires against the growth of our dying economy
The present exponents of devaluation are descendants of those who propounded the same devaluation of the Naira during the Sani Abacha administration, and are quickly pointing to that era of their economic progenitors, in comparison to the Buhari administration. Sani Abacha pegged the Naira at N22 to $1 when it exchanged for N85 in the parallel market. This is like President Buhari pegging the Naira at N199 to $1, while in the parallel market it exchanges for about N400 at a point. The scenario from the illustrated perspective is undoubtedly the same, but the half truth of these devaluation wizards is exposed in their silence over the truth that while Sani Abacha pegged the Naira at N22 to the Dollar and the parallel market exchanged for N85, issuance of foreign exchange for whatever purpose did not abate. Those who had access to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) foreign reserves, rather than using the dollars they got at N22 for imports or other economic-beneficial ventures, they injected the dollars received at N22 to $1 back into the economy by taking the dollars to Bureau De Changes, exchanging them at N85 parallel market rate, fleecing Nigerians of N63 causing an inflation in the economy that we never recovered from. From that time the Naira has kept descending in its rate.
It must be clear to Nigerians that during the Sani Abacha era, individuals and treasury staff of lending banks who had a access to our foreign reserves took their Dollars at N22 and all they did was to take them to BDCs to exchange at the parallel market rate making N63/dollar exchanged; for doing nothing. Whoever doubts me should trace when the present mega banks were established. It is clear how all our renowned bankers and business moguls are products of the exploitation of Nigerians during the Abacha era. Nigerians need to know the real owners of the BDCs in this country. Unlike as it was in the Abacha era, President Buhari has pegged the Naira at N199 and has also refused access to our foreign reserves for any frivolous import proposal, and also watching those who are hoping to take the dollars issued for exchange at the BDCs. How is President Buhari’s foreign exchange policy similar to that of the Abacha era?
These men find ways to handle government regulated exchange rate and deploy them back unto the economy through the BDCs generating levels of inflation Nigerians have been suffering. But God has chosen to intervene on behalf of the poor so that all Nigerians would appreciate the divine and understand how one cannot eat up his cake and still have it. My concern is upon the fact that the gloom-preachers of devaluation are distracting us from our real focus: praying for our leaders. The poor Nigerians have been suffering since Ibrahim Babangida. The economic theorizers should relax their “Satanic verses” and worrying about poor Nigerians. They do not need to also worry about the costs of food stuffs in the country. When we have built the right character from our present sufferings, the sustainable building of our economy will be secured, otherwise, if Nigerians refuse to build character as President Buhari is insisting we must, then we are hopeless and will still be enslaved to a merry–go–round economic swings.
A Dino Malaye abuse of our foreign reserves