By Dele Sobowale
“I am beginning to wonder how many fools it takes to make the term ‘My Fellow Citizens’” – Honore de Balzac, 1799-1850, in LOST ILLUSIONS.
If you are a Nigerian, who has not lost hope in Buhari, you must either be a damn fool, a liar or a card-carrying member of the All Progressives Congress, APC, or all of the above. A government based on pure conspiracy, headed by an ill-educated leader and powered by frequently lying to itself and the people can produce no other result than what we are experiencing now. By the time Buhari is finished with us on May 29, 2023, we will also be finished.
Before providing the summary of our present predicament, permit me to answer a query from one of our readers. He asked: “Dear Dele, I have noticed that your predictions always come true about Nigeria. But, why don’t you advise government instead of writing ‘I told you so’ as you do all the time?”
Dear brother, I have learnt from bitter experience that Nigerian government officials don’t accept advice from those outside their circle of associates and top party members. The advice will be ignored; and, if written, might be subjected to attack and ridicule. Presidents, Governors and Ministers prefer to be wrong their own way than be right based on unsolicited advice. So, why bother?
STATE OF THE NATION, MARCH 2022.
“If you have tears, prepare to shed them now” – William Shakespeare, 1564-1616.
Nobody, with the minimum amount of common sense, can read the news published daily in Nigeria without feeling a deep sense of despair. Last week, I published an article on the ruling political “party” – the APC. Apart from reminding “Fellow Citizens” of the origin of the APC and my warnings in 2013, I also brought to our collective attention those who now call themselves “Yahoo-yahoo Governors” (including their chairman) and back-stabbers (referring to the majority of Governors). And, the lies! the lies!! they told using Buhari’s name to embark on a coup. Readers should ask: What sort of ruling party is led by people so lacking in self-respect.
Today, I seek to summarize the predicament in which we find ourselves under Buhari. It is painful; yet there is no hope in sight. It will end by reminding us of warnings in 2019. As usual, you ignored the warnings. Now thousands have been slaughtered by bandits and farmers have fled the farm on account of herdsmen.
“Let there be light” – First Order by Almighty God.
To the best of my knowledge, there is no nation, not even certified Banana Republics, which suffers from power supply as the largest economy and most populated country in Africa. Surprisingly, the situation is getting worse. The average power distributed per day in 2021 was less than in 2015 – contrary to the lies the FG and spokesmen spread. Below is the evidence:
March 14: Generation plummets to 1,339MW
March 19: Power Generation remains low at 2,301MW – only 14 power generating plants are supplying the grid.
GENERATING CAPACITY – STRANDED POWER
2015 6661MW 3,010MW
2021 6,336MW 2,246MW
Source: Association of Power Generating Companies, APGC
Four things about those figures, which should scare all of us, are the following:
•Contrary to falsehood proclaimed by FG officials, the generating companies actually generated more power in 2015 than they did in 2021. So, we have achieved decline in generating capacity in six years; and the seventh year of Buhari administration promises to make things worse.
•Gas turbines have all been wrecked; and there is no money to refurbish or replace them. Hence, generating capacity will continue to decline.
•Transmission is far behind generating capacity and will not keep up for lack of funds.
•Corruption and incompetent managers appointed to sensitive positions by Buhari’s FG have guaranteed that things can only be worse henceforth.
The Minister of Finance made an announcement recently which few Nigerians noticed. She said “the Federal Government has removed subsidy on power.” Translation for my Fellow Citizens: You will pay more for power and receive more atrocious service into the bargain. Grid collapse is here to stay.
INCREASING FOOD INSECURITY, HUNGER AND MALNUTRITION
“An army marches on its stomach” -Napoleon Bonaparte, 1769-1821.
Napoleon should know better than anybody else about food. As the military commander and ruler of France, he was called upon to provide for the stomachs of his people – in and out of uniform. He made sure food was not scarce. The same cannot be said of Nigeria in 2022. Here is the evidence:
“Bread, rice record 42%, 48% price hike in five years – NBS Report.”
Bread still remains the staff of life in many countries. But, long before Buhari, it has taken back seat to rice in Nigeria. Nevertheless, bread, rice and corn (maize) still constitute the bulk of our food. There is no need to go into the details provided by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS. One thing is certain. The majority of working Nigerians has not had a salary or wage increase in the last five years. Pensioners, in particular, as well as those on fixed incomes, have experienced more acute hunger and malnutrition in the period under review.
A few weeks ago, some actors gathered in Abuja, stood before what we were told were rice pyramids. Unfortunately for us, they were just fooling around about a serious matter. I certainly hope the man in the middle was not President Buhari. I took two steps about the show. First, I asked three scouts to go to the venue shortly after the stage show to gather paddy rice which would certainly spill from broken bags. Two, they were carefully inspected and it is doubtful if the rice on display was harvested in Nigeria. Let me stop there for now.
Bread, meanwhile, is set to become more expensive for four reasons. One, Russia and Ukraine between them export about 30 per cent of the world’s wheat. Right now, very little is coming out of that war-torn area. Two, the rise of crude oil price will increase the transportation costs of the consignments reaching us. Three, the actors who stood in front of rice pyramids could not build a wheat mole hill because the efforts made on wheat through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, ABP, have failed miserably. Billions of naira has been thrown away needlessly. The same is true of cotton. Four, virtually all Nigerian bakeries operate on diesel fuel. With diesel now approaching N700 per litre, bakeries are faced with two options: increase bread price or stop producing. Any way you look at it, my Fellow Citizens will suffer more. Segun, VANGUARD ace cartoonist, on February 17, 2022, asked: “Who’s the Petroleum Minister?” The obvious answer is: “The same guy who imported adulterated fuel; created problems for Nigerians; and went to rest for two weeks from his labours in London.”
There is more to discuss; but let me pause to blame My Fellow Citizens for the lashes we are receiving now. I predicted it in 2019. I begged you in these words: “Buhari’s first 20 appointments, out of which only Femi Adesina was the most senior, revealed nepotism on a scale never before attempted by a Nigerian Head of State except Buhari himself in 1984-5. Apart from the fact that a Daura featured then, as now, it was as if nobody else was fit for office unless from Daura or related by blood or marriage to the place. Failure to appoint Ministers and Heads of Departments and Agencies, for almost six months, was not a sign of caution as his two spokesmen would have us believe. It signaled lack of preparedness. The recession of 2016 was made worse because we have an economic illiterate as President who, unfortunately, has no good economists among his closest advisers. Nigeria is now the poverty capital of the world and will continue to lead the planet. Immunity, impunity enjoyed by killer herdsmen became a global concern only since 2015.
Let me summarize quickly. Nepotism/regionalism, unrelenting economic insecurity and increased personal insecurity, which will follow the re-election of Buhari, mean thumbs down. On anti-corruption effort, friends receive the hug; perceived opponents get the hammer. Where is the integrity?
Before that I had warned you that ‘The Next Level Is Pure Anarchy’. Now, My Fellow Citizens, you are reaping what you sowed by voting for Buhari in 2019.
The man announced a few months ago that he has done his best. I believe him. So, don’t expect anything better till 2023. Instead, prepare for something worse.
To be continued…
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