January 16, 2023

We are in big trouble and no leader in sight

By Dele Sobowale

“One third of the world economy will enter recession –IMF. Report, January3, 2023.

“World  Bank downgrades Nigeria’s growth forecast to 2.9%. Report,  January 12, 2023

While most of the world’s Presidents and Prime Ministers are now deeply worried by the projections from the IMF and the World Bank about inevitable global recession in 2023, Buhari is going round the globe claiming fictitious achievements in his disastrous eight years in office. At a minimum, that should tell us what a bloody blunder we made by electing  President Buhari.

How on earth can we expect the man to understand that if your economy grows at 2.9 per cent and your population at 3.2 per cent; and inflation gallops at 22 per cent, your government will send at least 2 million more people into poverty? The man doesn’t know; doesn’t care to know; and that is why he now attends only functions of the All Progressives Congress, APC, where only self-deluded sycophants are bound to clap after he makes his boring and untrue declaration that “I have fulfilled my campaign promises”. To be quite candid, if the speaker was not the President of Nigeria, many of us might seriously wonder about his health. 

Perhaps, we should; because the economic health and the physical health of 220 million Nigerian citizens remain in the hands of a man who has accumulated N77 trillion debt in eight years; is set to add another N3-5 trillion by May; and he calls that fulfilling his promises and doing his best. Nations are as mentally healthy as their leaders are mentally sound. That is the difference between Japan and Brazil; Netherlands and Nigeria – as the world has recently discovered. 

When the 2023 recession gets underway, it will be the third recession in eight years under a President who is actually proud of his achievements – however self-deludedly those accomplishments are defined. Fact is, no nation can make progress if the national leader has no grasp of the metrics for measuring improvement. Buhari lives in a world of his own; far removed from other well-informed leaders. 

That is why, while other governments have started to study the nature and direction of the forces which will shape the recession in their own country. They are aware that every recession is a unique experience in some ways and generic in other ways. They also know that in a recession, some sectors are seriously savaged; others mildly and surprisingly, a few will actually thrive unscathed.

The research effort is directed at determining how various sectors will be impacted, how badly and to plan their economic recovery efforts around the outcome of those studies. Serious world leaders are busy now doing that, President Buhari is busy taking an illusory victory lap. That is why we are in deep trouble. Global threat has been announced; the Nigerian government is taking no pre-emptive steps to minimise the impact. 

Incidentally, we should not allow ourselves to be deceived by those whose phobia for the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund ,IMF, who will tell us that the global institutions hate Africans in general and Nigeria in particular. While the two bodies downgraded Nigeria by 0.9 per cent, they reduced the USA by about 1.6 per cent, India by around 2.1 per cent and China by 4 per cent.

Britain was already in recession before the latest announcements and is expected to decline further. What should bother us is the response of government to such revelations. Serious governments are already working to minimise the hardships recession will bring to their people. Buhari’s government is doing absolutely nothing. That is only one reason why we are in big trouble.


“$9 billion pledged to Pakistan for flood relief.” News Report.

 Every country has the government it deserves.

Joseph De Maistre, 1753-1821.

Nigeria is in deep mess because we have the government we deserve. We voted for Buhari to continue in 2019; and the repercussions are being visited on us. How the government of Pakistan handled the flood which ravaged the country last year and how the Buhari administration responded to our own flood illustrate the differences between two leaders.

Nigeria and Pakistan have almost the same populations – Nigeria 220 million and Pakistan 240 million. They were the two nations most devastated by flood last year. The worst hit areas in both countries were farmlands. Entire communities were devastated and crops destroyed. A very serious humanitarian tragedy was building; not because of the way the Pakistani authorities handled it. “Nothing is bad or good, but, thinking makes it so”.

That was Shakespeare, 1564-1616. Pakistan cleverly turned its domestic disaster into an international catastrophe; and the world is responding. FGN made our own disaster a domestic affair and the world left us strictly alone. Pakistan got the world to think about its problem as a global challenge; nobody in the Nigerian government had a similar action plan. Now Pakistan is going around collecting billion dollar cheques, Nigeria is getting nothing.

Most of us would remember that shortly after the flood occurred, Buhari travelled to South Korea. By contrast, Pakistan’s leader cancelled all foreign travels immediately. Instead he ordered a careful assessment of the damages done to the country’s economy and structures. He then developed a recovery plan which has gathered $9 billion in pledges of aids and soft loans to repair the damage.

By contrast, even today, the Federal Government of Nigeria, FGN, has no idea how much we lost; so Buhari is in no position to go out and ask richer nations for relief. Our President is not even thinking about it; and he has no Minister or Special Adviser to help him out. That defines, in a nutshell, our leadership deficit which has been costing us dearly.

More disturbing about flood is the fact that last year’s might not be the last of such magnitude. This year’s flood might be just as terrible if not worse. Pakistan is already enlisting global support to reduce the damage next time. To the best of my knowledge, the FGN has no report about the 2022 flood, its causes and how to avert similar occurrence in the future. For instance, it is now an established fact that asking people to leave flood-prone areas a month before it occurs does not work.

Mapping out the most vulnerable areas during the dry season and gradually evacuating people might work better. Pakistan is receiving money, equipment and technical advice on flood control; Nigeria is receiving nothing because our leader has not made a request for assistance from anybody. 

Buhari has travelled out at least eight times since the flood disaster; he had met foreign leaders, including US President Biden. There was no indication that he brought up the matter of flood relief; donations to compensate our farmers for global warming mainly brought about by the US, China and India – among advanced countries. The Pakistani leader never allows them to forget it and he is achieving incredible results for his people.

The difference is clear in leadership. Pakistan has a modern leader; Nigeria is in search of one right now.