The monthly revenue allocation to the three tiers of government for the month of June justifies the arduous cleansing work the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari has undertaken since it came on stream on May 29, 2015. The cash-starved tiers of Nigerian government were still smarting and bleeding profusely from a combination of scorching corrupt acts that practically crumbled the country before Buhari came, the astronomical slump in the price of oil; the mono commodity that has fuelled Nigeria's economy as well as its legendary profligacy and the vengeful actions of a politically-tainted war of attrition by the so-called Niger Delta Avengers. The monthly monetary sharing ritual that serves as fuel to the three tiers of Nigerian government had, in the sequel, became a mirthless exercise where paltry amounts were shared for attending to the mounting multifarious challenges of governance in Nigeria. At one of such sharing exercises, a state ended up with a mere N6 million which was reported as not enough to pay the monthly electricity bill of the government ministries in the state. With the combination of the factors above, it seemed the world had crumbled for many States as their dependence on monthly revenue allocations continued to fail them badly.
But the June allocation was different. A princely sum of N559 billion, N200 billion more than the previous month's allocation, was shared to the three tiers of government. Governors wearing wrinkled faces as the challenges of paying workers salaries mounted must have had their faces creased with smiles at that pleasant development. Hopes must have been re-activated that indeed governance in Nigeria which had been threatened by insolvency, is on the rebound. Reports said that the June allocation remains the highest in two years! When we note that these two years included the period when oil sold up to $140 per barrel, and Nigeria exceeded its OPEC supply quota, there is a need to ask what magic came into play in June. What happened? Did the country hit a jackpot? When we note that the foolish actions of the so-called Avengers have even halved Nigeria's oil production quota and oil price is sluggishly climbing just above the budget benchmark, more puzzles gush out. Just pray, what really happened?
These puzzles were addressed by the details that attended the June allocation. These formed the indexes for the exercise as well as answers to the question attending this spurt of good fortune. When we probe further, there is a silent optimism that Nigeria is on the part of revival - thanks to the frugal, accountable, cleaning, sanitisation efforts of the Change government of President Buhari. Here are some of the details attending the June revenue allocation, as has been enumerated by the Finance Minister and further accentuated by the boss of the Federal Inland Revenue Services;
- 70 per cent of the revenue shared in June comes from nonoil sectors.
- This is the first time in Nigerian history of oil politics that the country achieved that hefty feat.
- The allocation was 83.2 percent more than the previous allocation and kick-started the process of rescuing Nigeria from insolvency.
- By December 2016, the country projects to have over 90 per cent of its budgetary revenue from non-oil sectors.
Gleaning all above, there is the message embedded in the exercise that Nigeria is irrevocably on the mend through deliberate acts of facial discipline, cut in the humongous cost of governance, entrenched anti-corruption template; all integral and critical parts of the Buhari government. There is a deeper message that Nigeria can survive the curse of oil which governments before Buhari's have entrenched and which fuels the nay saying orientation of the agnostics that believe that President Buhari's government will not take Nigeria out of the woods the previous governments ran it into. Still in the lessons of this cheery development that Nigeria can rightly be recovered from a seemingly certain path of doom past regimes prodded it to with their uncurbed profligacy.
But did Nigeria hit a jackpot? Yes and that jackpot is the cleansing works President Buhari's government has done to governance since that regime berthed. Despite the deadly onslaught of those who see no future with cessation of official corruption, the Buhari government had been unflagging in dealing this cankerworm a red eye. Outright stealing and primordial looting of the commonwealth that surged to a dizzying height during the Jonathan regime Buhari succeeded, has stopped. Taking uncensored liberty with public fund has been stopped, running innumerable fonts for siphoning public resources by political office holders, their cronies, and civil servants have been plugged. It is no more business as usual. Fly in the night party bogey men who become instant millionaires after one pilgrimage to Aso Rock have become things of the past. A sybaritic cult of predators and political loafers who do nothing than pimping in the verandah of power and getting a huge cut of the national patrimony has been annihilated. Buffoons and layabouts that feed off state resources, trading in dubious contracts and receiving illicit concessions aimed at stealing public funds have been ran into extinction. A culture of padding government payroll with millions of phantom workers has been busted and carefulness, discipline, and frugality have been brought to save as much as possible for the Nigerian people.
The question to the scoffing cult of die-hard nay Sayers who are yet to heal from the drubbing Buhari gave the old rotten order and who have in their entrenched bitterness grown incurably blind to the revival the government is doing in Nigeria remains; would the unbelievable scenario of government getting more revenue to share in a period of austerity be possible if not for what this regime has been doing since it came to power? Could the wailing wailers, inconsolable beneficiaries of rot and dirt wager that continuing what they know best would have navigated the country out of the Sheol when oil price nose-dived to $28 per barrel? Could those raising dubious baleful cries of hunger today tell us the possible scenario we would have been faced had Buhari not come to do what he is doing today? Today's Venezuela would have told a more cheery picture of what Nigeria would have been had Buhari not come and had he not employed his winnowing fork to sweep off the accumulated dirt that has hobbled Nigeria for several decades.
We know the victims of Buhari's winnowing fork are many, and these are the hordes of beneficiaries from the rot and dirt that was brought in to defraud and wreck the country before he came. They are so riled at the cleansing work going on today that they are virtually on the brinks of mental breakdown. They are the sons and daughters of filth who would rather the old stale order from which the stole, reveled and partied at the expense of the country, is left unscathed. They are those who have naively invested in the continuation of the same jaded ways for their continued survival but who lost all their deposits with the coming of President Buhari and the measures he had taken to recover the mileage these locusts have devoured of the country. They have become mortal enemies of Buhari who are wont to develop instant paranoia with the mention of his name, but they are eating themselves up in vain. The cleansing of Nigeria is an idea whose time had come for that holds the chord for the continued existence, health, and growth of the country.
All said, Buhari's winnowing fork with which he is parking the dirt and debris that have accumulated for decades remain the only way Nigeria will miss total bankruptcy. There is no alternative to what he is doing; not in the least, the culture of Byzantine brigandage and free loading that Buhari succeeded. His winnowing fork remains the reason why the country is beginning to reap bountifully in an era of recession. His cleansing acts have ensured that our collective patrimony remains intact for our collective well-being and not to serve the self-serving interests of a cult of political profiteers and swindlers that live off the life blood of ordinary Nigerians. Most importantly, his winnowing fork is navigating the country away from the lazy route of total dependence on oil to harvesting the fruits of our hands. His winnowing fork is trashing out the chaffs, gathering the grains and most importantly redirecting Nigeria and Nigerians to the paths of rectitude, transparency, and frugality; a path we long departed from and landed where we are today.