have two confessions to make from the outset.
I am an incurable optimist. I am a firm believer in the maxim that no matter how dark a tunnel may appear to be, there will always be some ray of light at the end.
Of course, this presupposes that for you to encounter this light, you must not stand still at the darkest end of the tunnel. Therefore, the philosophy underpinning this belief is that for you to get to the bright end, you must keep moving away from the darkest end.
You must stay the course; perseverance is the watchword. Don’t quit because quitters never win. Here, pragmatism is an inevitable companion.
This conviction also informed my reaction to the socio-political and economic developments in our country in recent times.
I strongly believed that no matter how starkly the national augury may seem to tilt south, we shall overcome as long as we have a leadership that is prepared to put on its thinking cap, prepared to listen, be pragmatic and innovative in handling the myriad of problems confronting the nation.
The last thing we need right now is a leadership that is in denial, a leadership that revels, like the ostrich, in burying its head in the sand, thinking that nobody is seeing it. The last thing we need in this country is a leadership whose only solution to the problems is to point fingers of blame at others. Unfortunately, this is the leadership we have right now.
My second confession is that I am really afraid for this country’s fate under President Muhammadu Buhari’s watch.
My worry was not informed by the frightening numbers released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Wednesday, August 31, which finally confirmed what many already knew – that the economy had slid into recession or that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth at a woeful –2.06% performance did worse than expected. It was –0.36% in the first quarter.
The fact that $1 exchanged for N425 last week with a potential of going beyond N500 before the end of the year, while inflation rose to 17.1 per cent in July from 16.5 in June is scary, but didn’t worry me much.
Ditto the unemployment figure which increased to 13.3 per cent from 12.1 per cent and investment inflows which dropped to the lowest levels at $647.1 million from $710 million.
These figures are the natural consequences of the otiose and impractical monetary and fiscal policies of the Buhari administration. Discerning Nigerians and members of the international community didn’t expect anything different.
But as grim as they are, what worries me most is the puerile antics of some chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC), including Buhari, and APC National Chairman, John Oyegun.
It baffles me that those who claim to be our leaders can actually indulge in such laughable political shenanigans.
Last week, APC National Chairman (South), Segun Oni, took the party’s penchant for tomfoolery to an absurd height when he claimed that it was voted into office to do the impossible.
“Yes, we are elected to do the impossible,” Oni was quoted as saying on Tuesday, August 30, insisting that “the economy was traumatised by a government whose only agenda was to win another round (of elections). “Therefore, everything that they could put into trying to win a second round, even bastardising the economy, was done and we are all here.”
The party Oni accused of traumatising the economy, of course, is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
But who is Segun Oni, the man castigating the PDP? If the PDP is actually a devilish political party as some APC overlords would like us to believe, Oni and his cohorts represent the dark side of the party.
In fact, they were the reason Nigerians despised and rejected the PDP. Oni was not just a chieftain of the PDP, he was “elected” Ekiti State governor on its platform and sworn in on May 29, 2007.
He was one of the people former President Olusegun Obasanjo used, as confirmed by the Court of Appeal three years later, to ruin our democracy. Oni became one of the public faces of the fabled PDP rigging machine. He defrauded the Ekiti people by stealing their mandate. In 2010, the Appeal Court declared him an impostor and sacked him from office. He lost the rerun election ordered by the court to Kayode Fayemi who contested on the platform of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).
In 2012, Oni became PDP national vice chairman (South West). All this while, the Ifaki-Ekiti-born politician never saw anything wrong with the party until he was sacked from the post.
In 2014, Oni dumped the PDP for the newly formed party of “saints”, the APC, and threw his weight behind the re-election of his political nemesis, Fayemi.
Of course, Fayemi, now minister of mines and steel development, lost the governorship election on June 21, 2014 to the PDP candidate, Ayo Fayose.
So, in the 16 years the PDP was in power and “ruined” Nigeria, Oni was not only a member for 15 years, he was a high-ranking officer, who played his own part in ruining Ekiti State in particular and Nigeria in general. It took Fayemi four years to clean up the mess Oni left behind. But his sins have been forgiven or simply covered because he has joined the ranks of the “saints” in the APC after losing out in the PDP. That is sheer hypocrisy.
And that is what you see all over the place. Most of the people making noise today and calling the PDP names were once members of the party who held high offices. They were part of the decision-making machinery that formulated the policies that “ruined” Nigeria.
So, how could such characters blatantly insult our sensibilities by unashamedly pointing the fingers of blame elsewhere and diverting attention from themselves?
Anytime I hear any of the former chieftains of the PDP talking about how Nigeria was ruined in 16 years and how they have come to salvage the country, my stomach churns.
These people capitalise on our very short memory to insult us. They think we are fools. In a sense, we are. Because it is only suckers, people inured to self-respect that can take what Nigerians take from their political leaders without a whimper.
In 15 months, Buhari, by sheer lack of capacity, has completely ruined what remained of Nigeria and its economy, yet some people still hail him as a “messiah”.
And Oni had the effrontery to tell us the APC was voted into office to do the “impossible”.
Didn’t the APC market itself as the party with the capacity to save Nigeria from the ruination caused by the PDP? At what point did the party realise that governing Nigeria was not just a difficult task but an impossibility? And if governing Nigeria has become impossible, why is the APC still in office? Shouldn’t it step down to allow people who believe that turning Nigeria’s fortunes around for good is still a possibility, no matter how daunting the task, to govern?
Perhaps, these APC jokers do not know or may have conveniently forgotten. They are in office because they told Nigerians they will do the job and deliver on their promises. Nigerians will hold them accountable.
Deflecting attention by pointing fingers of blame at the PDP is a no-brainer. Nigerians gave their verdict on the PDP more than a year ago. So, the joke is no longer on the PDP, it is on the APC. And no matter how hard the APC tries to obfuscate issues, one thing is certain. Never will it ever be said that Buhari was the best president Nigeria never had like it is said of late Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
Instead, he is working very hard to achieve the opposite. The way he is going, Buhari is likely to end up the worst president Nigeria ever had unless he changes gear.
.Ikechukwu Amaechi is the Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of TheNiche newspaper ([email protected])