‘It is dangerous to abandon one’s self to the luxury of grief’- Henri Fredric Amiel
The first antithesis is that Buharism is not an ideology. Ideology connotes commitment to a cause; the principle behind the cause and the theory of change that could trigger structural transformation; the end results of any ideological leaning. However, I will pretend it is an ‘ideology’, since some people under the refuge of ignorance or political expediency have tagged themselves ‘Buharists’. What this group enjoys is commitment to a person; not to a cause! At best, they are cult-followers of a political leader, Mohammadu Buhari.Their concern is the constancy of the person, not structural revolution. Taken as given, I will restrict discourse to the three pillars of the pseudo-ideology tagged Buharism- economy, security and anti-corruption. These are the three –clauses in Buhari’s social contract with Nigerians. By the contract, he raised himself up for judgement. In judging him, no pity is desirable. It’s a contract, not act of benevolence! The trio are at the core of life and living, the very existential base of a state and her people. He has spent both the morning and afternoon of his government. This is the threshold of its night. Verdict is not out of place.
With economy that is out of recession but leaving majority of its expected beneficiaries in the doldrums, it can be argued that we are dangerously but swiftly moving in the direction where well laid errors are aptly unveiled not only to destroy common sense but also to control thoughts and behaviour in a way that breach simple principle of Economics. The most obviously upsetting and nauseating force of this principle is an Economic Policy that has no alternative to importation of the country’s chiefest product, petroleum.. The second is the criminal intellectual conspiracy of Economic Voodooists that have been assembled as the Nigeria’s Star-gazers; who have become exclusive necromancers, the only persons who have the magic wands of talking to and resurrecting dying or dead economy. Churning out data of success that have no bearing with the realities of pangs and pains that drenched Nigerians like mid-day sweat.
The last few months have witnessed absurd fuel scarcity, price increase of basic items, including transportation. Aside from this eroding disposable income it has also shrunk per capita income, stifled economic growth as well as worsening poverty. The emphasis of economies all over the world today is the massive production of what you have raw materials to produce, thereby boosting the power of your comparative advantage and connecting with the inner needs and material desire of your people so that they are not swept away by tide of globalization. The resurgence of unending concept of subsidy on ‘imported fuel’ has introduced a breathtaking complexity to the sanity of Nigerian Economy and its managers . This concept challenges the fundamental principle of development economic that you do not import what you can export. It places unprecedented strains on logic, whether of Economics or Village Square wisdom that error can be promoted to table head of truth to the extent that what define the direction of debate today in Nigeria , an Oil Exporting Country is the piousness of fuel importation. Those in the corridor of power and their gullible allies continue to waste public fund to defend and promote Economic Insanity that does not only defies logic but also absurd and invalid in the realm of deep thought and development economics practises. My worry still is that having realised the futility of the import, we have now handed over the duty of salvation to a private refinery builder. The Massive infrastructural Development promised by the Federal Government in its glossily published party manifesto remain beautiful pages of paper. Official Inflation rate is as high as 18%. In reality, it is as high as 40% to the everyday people who have to pay double for almost everything within a twinkle of the eye after the inconsiderate fuel fuss. Blighted and blinded by monastic revenue expected crude oil, the Government failed to realise that the cost of contracts, purchases, overhead, capital and other factors in achieving its deliverables will be severely affected. A country whose currency, Naira has been on edge of irredeemable free-fall in the last four years has no reason to assume that the theoretical economic dictum of ‘cetere paribu’- (all things being equal) will avail and assail for it.
The combinatory implication of high interest rate, high inflation rate, low per capita income, high cost of living and preponderance of unemployment is geometric increase in crime rate and crises. It has led to fractured values at Family level, where parents who are pushed to nadir of poverty have lost control over their children who are now more than ever likely to drop out of schools, go to bed hungry and wake up angry. The consequence that this will continue to impose on society is that most of the estimated revenue will be used to contend with new crimes and crises that are emerging.
Every Macro-Economic decision that does not consider the role of human capital and value, predicts the short –run of its consequences on human conditions and manages these consequences through interface with the realities of its environment is like a person fetching water with basket. Acclaimed economic progress on paper must find expression in our day to day reality. The demise of ideas in our corridor of power to correlate this is not a reflection of intellectual death. It is a sign of intellectual dishonesty masturbated by sycophantic display of loyalty to a President and policies they love with their eyes but loathe with their heart.
A government that is fighting corruption, yet excessively living with its awkward manifestation and gradually accepting its indispensability has no trust or history behind it to fulfil its anti-graft promise. Under the guise of Constituency allowance and other fraudulent allowances, a Legislator whose take-home pay as fixed by the National Revenue Mobilization is 900,000 Naira, today, illegally take home 14.2 Million/Month. This could be worse in the executive when you go through the recklessness and the gluttony that characterised heads and sub-heads in the budgets in the past three years. The government is still buying cars among others for them even when these have been monetized through government’s policy. Many government officials do not pay tax as appropriate neither do they account for sundry loans and monies recovered so far from looters. A government that closes its eyes to the corrupt practices of its functionaries and continue to insist on their piety despite damning allegations is a government in denial of what anti-graft war represents.
Inclement economic climate, poor management of economy, poverty, inequality and ubiquitous social injustices are the strongest drivers of violence and violent extremism that have become everyday experience in Nigeria today. Nigeria is too fragile a state now for this government to claim any victory in its promise to make Nigerians and Nigeria safe and secure. Ceaseless bloodletting through cattle rustling herdsmen’s attacks, Boko Haram’s assaults and other sundry crimes and criminalities are votes of no confidence on the capacity of the government to defend, protect and secure. The excuse that these occurrences pre-date this government cannot hold water. It was the failure of the previous governments that made way for this government. This will not even be an issue if Buharism is an ideology. Nigerians voted for ‘change’ in 2015 and cannot afford to grief all the tenure-long, more so that President Buhari has driven into the last mile of his journey in power. A third year of four-year tenure is already a grossly dark evening. Nobody should not blame us for being impatience any longer. We have lived long enough to know that hope is a good breakfast and lunch; but a bad dinner! I doubt if the Buharists understand this!
Gbenro Olajuyigbe is the Executive Director of Emergency& Risk Alert Initiative.