One thing you can never take away from the inherent psyche of an average Nigerian is a big dose of cynicism, especially against the those institutions representing the state, be it in form of personnel, agencies or the guiding laws of the republic. A typical example is a radio interview I was once privileged to listen to, conducted by the Late Richard Kotey of Voice of America with the late irrepressible activist and human rights advocate Chief Gani Fawehinmi. As is usual with all communications with the fiery Lagos lawyer, it was more of a spat than a mere cozy exchange of information with a very cynical journalist, openly wondering why the Nigerian activists collective is always highly distrustful of their governments. Indeed, it was at the very moment the legal guru was explaining the characteristic devilish capacity of those in authority to manipulatively control the mindset and outward thinking of the citizens, the telephone simply went dead. It took a couple of minutes before the Voice of America Studio was able to reestablish contact with the interviewee. Though for the rest of the program, tried as anyone could within the studio, the late Chief could only believe that the disruption was engineered by the agents of Nigerian state.
Thus, it is upon such a mindset that the statement by Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, at the Presidential Media Chat seems highly portentous, when he indignantly blurted-out that; “I never promised to reduce poverty. I only promised to create wealth,” as if the policy-inspired economic act of wealth creation is mutually exclusive of the developmental activity of poverty reduction. Some communication experts and media managers have pondered and placed the current presidential thinking within the realm of that natural age old human failing of Freudian slips. Surely no sensible administrator, operating a progressive economic model, could opt for a system that merely creates wealth for individuals without leaving any impact on the development index of the greatest majority of persons in the society, which directly affects the level or even availability of individually generated income within the community and indirectly has an effect on the quality of life of any itinerant citizen within the locality to have an existence elevated from the desperate need and want of the basic necessities of life.
However, just like the psychoanalytical root of the expression Freudian slips has suggested, as an error in speech which usually occurs due to some unconsciously subdued wish or a dynamically repressed truth. The series of happenings seemingly unconnected yet naturally attached to the economic fortunes of the Nigerian state and need I say its citizens, has left an indelible impression that indeed Mr. President actually knew what he was inferring about his administrations unfair economic distribution system, which is highly tilted against the greatest majority of citizens of this country, who are unquestionably the poor and the ordinary folks. Coming with the release of the well researched economic projection that came in the form of the Economic Intelligence Unit’s annual Global Quality of Life index, which enumerated the best places in the world where an individual gets social relief, either in having access to basic infrastructure, welfare supporting mechanisms and low crime rate. Unfortunately, on all this fundamental determinants, a child born in the year 2013 in Nigeria is projected to be living in the worst place on earth.
The grand irony though, is that it is also in the same week of the publishing of the Economist Magazine subsidiary’s index, Forbes Magazine, another equally credible financial economy publication, released the names of the richest individuals and personalities in the African continent and it is Nigerians that made one the highest net gains in personal worth. The incredulous perception is that since the people quoted have made their profits within the Nigerian economy, the normal assumption is that far from the expected, the economy is in a great shape pandering to the grand motives of entrepreneurial profits and personal industry. After all, it is a widely accepted economic norm that the wealth of nations is measured by the general prosperity of its rich people, for they are the principal employers of labor and substantial payers of taxes. Thus, we know a communist China has grown economically, when it only came second to the capitalist United States of America, in a survey of countries with persons with assets of a billion dollars throughout the year.
However, a little perusal of the entries into the billionaires list, state that apart from the person who is placed first in the entry, an icon in the manufacturing industry of household necessities and cement, all the other entrants made their Forbes appearance on the winning of concessionary oil blocks, a fact which made them less likely to be high employers of labor, due to the evident structural reality of the petroleum industry globally and in Nigeria, thus confirming the fact that indeed this administration is only interested in creating wealth rather than reducing poverty.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters