By Dele Sobowale
“Every government is run by liars; nothing they say should be believed.” I.F Stone, 1907-1989
Disbelieving Nigerian government officials is the beginning of wisdom. It might sometimes save your life. For some reason, this administration has packed in more shameless dissemblers than any other government since I started writing for SUNDAY VANGUARD in August 1994. Prior to that, I was writing for the paper only on Monday – on the Business and Economic pages. That adventure started in 1987. Irrespective of whether the issue is budget, economic performance or power or road construction, one official or the other is releasing a whopper which only inmates of the seat of power or idiots can believe.
Permit me not to go too far into history. What we are getting is sufficient to make one shiver each time anybody in this government opens his mouth to talk. We will leave Ogapatapata alone for now.
Vice President Osinbajo is a SAN and a Pastor. When he declared that his party members are not thieves, he betrayed both the silk and the collar. Two of the card-carrying members of the APC and former governors have just exchanged their designer suits for the ill-fitting apparel of prison yards for stealing. That makes VP a false witness.
“Borno communities are now safe for habitation.” That was the false declaration by the Army Chief a few days before Boko Haram attacked Damboa, on Sunday, June 17, 2018, slaughtered thirty one people and injured forty-eight in a “community safe for habitation”. Now if a safe community can lose so many in one night, how many can we expect to be lost in an unsafe one? Meanwhile, the Army Chief also claimed the place is safe for farmers. Obviously, only a farmer who wants a grenade lodged in his loins would venture near a farm in Damboa after this.
More importantly, this episode has a lesson to teach all of us. Avoid any place declared safe by the Army. Most likely Boko Haram would want to prove our inept army officers wrong by targeting that very place.
“Power grid loses 1,087.6MW, eight stations shut” – News Report.
The news report also informed “Fellow Nigerians” or Fellow Sufferers that “power generation dropped to 2,905MW from 3,992MW the preceding day. Thus, three years after Buhari became President and Super Minister Fashola was appointed Minister in charge of power, Nigeria, Africa’s largest rebased economy, can only muster enough power production to equal the largest power plant in South Africa. We are still experiencing power supply levels not much better than we had in 2010. But, to listen to Lai Mohammed, the FG spokesman we have made such giant strides under Buhari as to eclipse all previous governments. Yet, there has been no single month in which there had been no grid collapse. We are making progress; or aren’t we?
As I am writing this column, the President of Nigeria is just about to sign the 2018 budget. Half of June is gone. So we have only six months and twelve days to implement a budget which the Minister of Budget and National Planning laboured hard to get presented to the National Assembly before November last year. The 2017 budget established a dismal record of being signed into law in May last year. Any serious government would have out of shame attempted not to repeat the same dreadful performance. With the 2018 budget being signed in June, Buhari’s government has reached a new low in economic management. But, don’t tell Lai that. As far as he is concerned we are making progress. If Buhari gets re-elected next year, the 2019 budget might be singed just before Christmas. That will be real progress!!
Meanwhile, if you have been following the palaver within the ruling party, then you will understand why Nigeria cannot make any headway as long as we are ruled by a mob. There is no leader of the APC – either at Federal or State levels. Like Chicago Mafia groups, there are cliques in every state and at the centre. But, only recently one of their Ministers was telling anyone who would listen to that malarkey that “APC is united only a few troublemakers cause problems.” Really?
Finally, the Ministry of Defence and the Army had at least revealed why herdsmen would remain killers for as long as Buhari is President and his Minister remains in office. They have united to put the blame for the killings on states with anti-grazing laws. There are two problems with that brainless proposition. One, the massacres of people in Enugu State and Agatu occurred before the anti-grazing laws were passed. Two, Plateau, Zamfara and Adamawa have no anti-grazing laws. Yet, their communities have come under attack.
Elsewhere in the world, only highly intelligent people are appointed Ministers. The rotten logic behind the Minister’s proposal demonstrates the quality of the man. But, he was appointed by somebody. Yes, “it requires wisdom to understand wisdom” as Walter Lippmann, 1899-1974, had told us. It also requires intelligence to know intelligent people.
BEWARE APC DANGEROUS TO YOUR HEALTH
“Many of the projects cut are critical and may be difficult, if not impossible, to implement with the reduced allocation. Some of the new projects inserted by the National Assembly have not been properly conceptualized, designed and costed and therefore will be difficult to execute.” President Buhari of the APC reporting APC-LED NASS.
If the All Progressives Congress, APC, is a consumer product requiring registration by NAFDAC, the nation’s regulatory agency would have insisted that on each package a strong warning must be written saying CONSUMERS BEWARE. THIS PRODUCT MAY BE DANGEROUS TO YOUR HEATLTH. Unfortunately, political organizations are registered by INEC whose mandate does not include vetting the gangs calling themselves political parties to determine if they meet the minimum definition of political party.
Notice I did not say party because APC is not a party. It was a conspiracy hatched in 2013 by three legacy groups, ACN, CPC and ANPP to seize power at the centre. A political party must set out to meet the aspirations of the people among which are security of lives, properties, economic progress and the pursuit of happiness. APC has failed woefully on all counts.
Life today is more insecure, Nigerians have been getting steadily poorer since 2015 and the misery index has shot up using the rate of reported suicide among adults and youths alike as the metric for measurement.
One common thread links all these – the rapid decline in budget management under the Buhari/APC ruling organization. Granted no single budget had been faithfully executed since 1999. But Buhari/APC had added the element of budgets delayed for so long as to exclude implementation. If Buhari had been the Prime Minister in a parliamentary system and had made that declaration, a motion for vote of no confidence in him would have been moved by a parliamentarian.
In plain language, what Buhari had just announced to the whole world amounts to saying that he had just signed a worthless document.
Is that the leadership we need?