.Is AMCON being blackmailed by debtors?

BUHARI: Tinubu, Osinbajo, Amaechi in battle for ‘anointing’ – Sunday Vanguard STORY OF THE WEEK, February 13, 2022

And what a story! Mentioned also in addition to the National Leader and Vice President, among those waiting for their Master (thank God I don’t have a Master from Daura; God is enough for me) to decide were Fayemi and Fashola – the outgoing Governor of Ekiti State, almost totally over-run by herdsmen, and Fashola, former Governor of Lagos State, and Federal Minister of Works and Housing.

In many ways, each of them is worthy of consideration by the Yoruba people. But, each time I meet a Yoruba person, female, male, young or old, and the question is asked: What do you think the Yoruba people gained from being in APC?, the answer invariably is: “Nothing”.

But, when another question is asked: “What have we lost?” The most common lamentation is about the “loss of our lands to Fulani people while nobody is fighting for us.” In that regard, none of our leaders is spared from condemnation.

Furthermore, I am yet to meet a Yoruba person who benefited from the Federal Government without being related to a top party leader. The sense of abandonment, “use and discard” is so pervasive that I sometimes wish the candidates were there when the people they claim to lead a talk about them. It will certainly deflate a lot of egos about their popularity among the people. Permit me to provide two examples, out of dozens to illustrate the problem.

VAT COLLECTION LITIGATION

“Courage [especially in political leaders] is the greatest of all human attributes” – Ernest Hemingway, 1898-1961.

Yoruba have always fought for True Federalism or derivation. But, the military has saddled us with a unitary Constitution.

 Value Added Tax, VAT, is the best illustration of how much we have been losing and continue to lose under the present arrangement. The South-West contributes at least 60 per cent of VAT revenue; but, receives in return less than 20 per cent.

 No zone and its political leaders have more interest in getting a better deal than Yorubaland. Obong Victor Attah, leading less than a dozen politicians in the South-South, increased their derivation from one per cent to 13 per cent.

He was not VP, Party Leader and the Speaker was not from Akwa Ibom. But, see what they got when one leader staked everything for his people. Incidentally, Attah was a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, when he was fighting for justice.

By contrast, since 2015, none of the Yoruba APC leaders has ever spoken about the VAT injustice. Our states, particularly Lagos, are being forced to go into debt while surrendering billions every month to others. No presidential aspirant had the balls to say “Enough”. Instead, it has taken Governor Wike of Rivers State to lead the charge; only for us to timidly follow. It is quite possible that our leaders will withdraw from the case if asked to do so by Buhari.

The question might as well be asked: When exactly did the Yoruba people become so enslaved that their leaders have subjugated the vital interests of the SW to a “god” created by politicians desperate to be President?

THE DEEPENING ECONOMIC QUAGMIRE

“The IMF had on Monday [February 6, 2022] predicted that Nigeria’s debt service-to-revenue ratio would jump to 92 per cent in 2022 from 76 per cent in 2021” – News Report, Sunday, February 13, 2022.

In my nearly 30 years of writing for VANGUARD, first on the BUSINESS pages on Monday, I cannot remember a single year when the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, IMF, have had to raise alarms concerning the Nigerian economy as in the last six months. Additionally, other financial institutions have joined in the outcry. The comments quoted above paint a true picture of an economy in which the fiscal and monetary policies have gone out of control. One financial expert, Mr Aliyu Ilias, who commented on the unfolding calamity, had this to say: “The consequence will be a larger infrastructural deficit; it will also deepen poverty; and forex will be a problem because we will have to go cap in hand to borrow again.”

The man only told us half the tragedies awaiting us this year alone. And, we still have five more months of Buhari administration to endure in 2023. Bluntly stated, what the IMF is forecasting for Nigeria amounts to this: Almost the entire revenue generated by the FG will eventually go to pay the debt. As a result, the FG will go out every month to borrow to pay salaries, meet overhead expenses, fight insecurity, feed school children, buy chow mein for  Chinese debt collectors and pay for Buhari’s next visit to London for medical check-up.

This is the government of the ruling APC to which the leaders belong. I state without fear of contradiction that if they are not leading members of that party, they would have been the loudest in condemning it.

By any measure known to people, who have not taken leave of their senses, this is a colossal failure led by Buhari. It, therefore, beats my imagination why anybody, who means well for Nigeria, would be seeking that man’s endorsement.

Birds of the same feathers flock together. Successful performers seek the acclaim of other top performers. Only those who cannot, or refuse to, see a loser will pretend that all is well and want his blessing – all because they want to be President.

With regard to the economic predicament in which we find ourselves, each of the aspirants can either claim to know that we are on the brink of a monumental catastrophe or not. Anyone admitting ignorance of our situation should suspend the campaign for the presidency now; go and assemble a team of economic/financial experts for a tutorial before rejoining the race. It is neither in our collective interest nor his to reach office on May 29, 2023 and collapse.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter” – Rev (Dr) Martin Luther King, Jr, 1929-1968.

The one who knows we are in serious trouble, but, who adopts the “see nothing, hear nothing and say nothing” attitude is even worse. He is a living corpse seeking to take the rest of the country down with him. He might be labouring under the illusion that he will straighten things out after reaching Aso Rock. He should look around ECOWAS. The economy might have deteriorated so badly between now and Inauguration Day that all he will receive is a kick in the backside from a recruit in uniform.

To me, it is doubtful that Yoruba people are so desperate for the presidency as to allow those without guts to beg their way into Aso Rock as a gift from Buhari for eight years of atrocious government.

BUHARI WILL PREFER CONTINUITY

“It requires wisdom to understand wisdom…” – Walter Lippmann, 1899-1974, VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS, p 275

Let us ask ourselves the question: Who can Buhari choose if he is left to decide? The obvious answer is, somebody like himself mentally. He wants continuity as a means of proving himself right with his destructive decisions. He believes in the borrow-and-spend approach to economic management. He has two terrible apostles on the list. If Baba Awolowo had believed in borrow-and-spend, Nigeria could not have fought a war for three years without borrowing.

We need fresh ideas…

To be continued

ENTER PROF KINGSLEY MOGHALU

“Do not fire too much over the heads of your readers [and listeners]. You have to write [and speak] to the millions [of Nigerians] and not to single thousands”, Trollope, 1815-1882 to George Elliot, 1819-1880

People who think that they can keep quiet when tragedy looms for personal gain, at a time like this, remind me of that statement by BM FIXER: “In a sick country, every step to health is an insult to those who live on its sickness.”

Among the brightest and best tentative aspirants coming up with new economic management ideas is Professor Moghalu – an Economist; if I might add. But, this message is for Prof.

Campaigning to Nigerians is not like a Faculty Seminar at Tufts University, North Cambridge, USA. I have no difficulty understanding you; I use a dictionary. But, tone down the language. At UniJankara, we run tutorials for people like you who speak BIG grammar to help them reach the masses. They have the votes!! Speak their language. Even Economics can be simplified. We title the Course KEEP IT SHORT AND SIMPLE, KISS.

To be continued…..

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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.