By Bakare Ademola
The respected economist, Mr. Henry Boyo has never ceased to amuse me with his numerous commentaries in both electronic and print media. He has taken so much pleasure and relish in every opportunity given to him by the media to unleash his acerbic commentaries on the Nigeria’s apex bank – the CBN. As if it was orchestrated media appearance, the above titled caption at the back of The Punch and Vanguard newspapers edition of Monday, February 29, 2016 and on the popular Sunrise Daily broadcast programme of the Channels Television of same day, the renowned economist and characteristic of him since I have been reading his opposing views of virtually every of the CBN monetary policies dated back to Chief Joseph Sanusi’s days as the Governor of the Bank to the present leadership sounded as a rehash of his usual playing of the broken record of excess liquidity in the system as the intractable problem of the fate of the naira and the economy.
Though I had once taken the respected old war horse on sometime last year on one of his unpatriotic and selfish comment on the management of the economy, particularly when the apex bank suspended 41 items from it FOREX shop. However, I would have ignored him knowing him for who he is, but the uncontrollable visible the anger on his face when Maupe Ogun, one of the anchors of the programme asked him what he would have done better with his acerbic criticisms of CBN’s monetary policies, if he was in the saddle as the governor of the bank.
Mr. Boyo responded almost jumping out of his seat thus, “it is a common sense thing”, and you the media have been sold lies over time and have become culprits in the mismanagement of economy”. Watching him in my view proffers no reasonable solution but his ritual ranting inability of every CBN governor to arrest the menace of excess liquidity in the economy which he claimed was a deliberate scam being perpetrated by the Bank.
Also in his back page write up column of the above named newspapers, he was quoted – “Indeed, if the IMF team sincerely expects sustainable inclusive growth for Nigeria, there is no way they would have failed to examine the persistent cause of the systemic surplus naira, which forces the CBN to regularly commit to reckless. Some would say fraudulent, financial mismanagement to fight inflation when it compulsively sets to restrain borrowing and consumer demand by marginally reducing the persistent irrepressible liquidity challenge, with unreasonably high interest rate paid on funds which CBN borrows and simply stores as sterile and idle deposits”.
In my view, there seems to be a disconnect between policies and expected economic gains which is not the fault of the managers at the apex bank, but the efforts of the fifth columnist in the economy, the speculator who engages in round tripping in order to short change the financial system. Even when the IMF team visited, led by its Managing Director, Ms. Christine Largade, they acknowledged the efforts of the CBN and the federal government for what they have done in the economy, and observed that if the Nigeria can fix some noticeable structural defects in the system, Nigeria would be one of the best economies the 21st century is waiting for.
But rather than Mr. Boyo joining hands to applaud the CBN as done by the Bretton Wood institution ventilated his frustration on the IMF for closing its eyes on what he called ‘CBN distortional monopoly of dollar supply and serial naira devaluation …’ While I agree with him and many other commentators that devaluation will not help Nigeria at this moment, the clamour for diversification of the economy to make Nigeria competitive internationally is what we all should join hands with the CBN and the federal government to bring to fruition what we have mouthed for decades, rather than rubbishing every effort of the economic managers. This is not to say that Mr. Boyo’s commentaries are valueless or unpatriotic, but he would have employed a better and more dignified ways to get his views across to those in authority instead of trading them at the market place for reasons best known to him. It diminishes his stature and the values he stands for.
If he has been threading a more dignified path, those in authority, past and present, would not have ignored him. He would have been invited into government to contribute and practice what he preaches, but surprisingly no one has found him useful. If he ever wanted the position of the governor of the apex bank, there are more honourable and dignified ways to achieve this purpose than running down or impugning the integrity of those God has placed in those positions of authority. The Holy Scripture admonished that ‘promotion comes from above’, not by intelligence nor might and those he has promoted must be supported not to be pulled down.
I wonder if Mr. Boyo had in the past make overtures to past and present governors of the Bank or officials of the federal government and was turned with his offer to assist in the management of the economy. And if his credentials as good as they are cannot earn him any coveted position, he should restrain himself from negativity which gravely says much about his person and character. We all have our dreams and aspirations – some have come to fruition, some illusive, peradventure, if probably Mr. Boyo had humbled himself with his God given intelligence and academic prowess and use it to the advance the growth of the economy and Nigeria at large and not for selfish desires, he probably may have been in annals of history in this country. But unfortunately, this is not the case. Let him advance solution to the current economic challenge and stop character assassination and name calling. He has become more of a distraction not to be noticed, and Nigeria does not need that now.
Few words are good for the wise.
* Bakare Ademola is a media consultant based in Abuja