Tuesday, September 29, 2020 8:18 am
By Tunde Asaju
So it’s night time in my hideaway, and I hate reading economic stuff as much as I hate mathematics. The reason idiots like me dance around politics, avoiding the cluster bombs and landmines along the way is that we have brains that cannot make sense of or process figures. Thank God who gave us geniuses like Ademola H Adigun, Bamidele Ademola-Olateju, Keyi Mathew, Ifeanyi Uddin and Tope Fasua.
When we are confused or mesmerized by figures, we go and hide behind their timelines hoping that we can make a little sense of the nonsense it looks like to us. They can’t see us, and they hardly disappoint.
So, before I slept last night, I was poring through my messages and saw a long letter written by Charles Chukwuma Soludo, Ex-CBN Governor warning President Muhammadu Buhari and his friends in the legislature not to sell the last of our national assets to finance their high tastes all in an effort to escape so-called recession.
Mr. Soludo delved into the efforts by the reigning regime to take itself out of the economic doldrums it has found itself and concluded that they should use their brains and save the pound and the penny (his analogy that’s likely to rankle Trump). He has advised Buhari not to take the bait of selling remaining #nationalassets to finance deficits and bail himself from the economic morass he inherited, jeopardized and now wants to totally wreck. This unsought for advice from Soludo is not for Buhari (he’ll be long gone even if he keeps shortening his age with affidavits or steroids); nor his girls (dem no dey marry poor man). Soludo asks them to look beyond selling these assets at structures and sectors that can grow the economy beyond the ephemeral recession and not hand over to our children and grandkids an empty treasury that would leave them with nothing to sell but their own blood and body.
Mr. Soludo reasoned that in a normal clime (Nigeria ó normal), this could be done with assurance that the proceeds would be judiciously invested. But with the examples of Nitel (yes o), NEPA, federal Abuja housing (na me dey name the ones I remember ó), these assets are sold, the buyers go home happy and the nation loses twice. No asset and no redemption.
So I’m not a fan of Soludo. I don’t like his zanny suits or his attempt to part ways with his known slave name. As I read through his treatise, in my mind, I was asking if he gave this kind of advice to the regime he served? Did they take his advice? If they didn’t, did he shrug his shoulder, ask for mmanya, kunun aya or whatever they drink in his circles or just rerurn home to romance missus?
It’s been years since he left office, has he gifted us a book detailing his experiences from the Ivory Tower to the corridors of power? Has he, like Saul on the way to Damascus found his epiphany? If so, has he returned to tell us he is sorry for the things he did wrong or that were done wrong in retrospect that he would love to draw our attention to? These things are germane to the transformation of a former member of the ruling clique as a critic.
But on this occasion, I am willing to turn Sai Baba’s bad ear and eye to whatever his past sins (committed or omitted, known or guessed) and say that I agree with him intoto. The current travellers have absolutely no interest in what happens after them. The lucky ones who survive the tsunami they’ll create as reverberation from their kleptomania and myopia would be recycled. They would soon jump ship into the next party with promise and then start criticizing their quondam friends as if they never dined on the same plate. Such kleptocrats should not be trusted with a salvation plan today or a prospective one for tomorrow. To them, tomorrow is not as important as what they can grab and grob today.
These generation of locusts in the executhief and legislathief arms would sell Nigeria and keep the principal and the change if they could (as if they haven’t). They will also use the technicalities of the judisharing to stop us looking back at their sins.
Like me, Shinzu Bubu has no understanding of economics. He is absolutely in government but not in power. He has no interest in long term if he could get a few hand claps for the nowness of now. His constituents, the vuvuzelas have sold their brains and their souls to mammon and ethno-religious jingoism. If we wait for them to ever wake up from the stupor of their ignorance, there’ll be nothing left of Nigeria.
We may all need to pile pressure on these pirates in government not to finagle our assets away. They should starve because they’ve been starving us since the British handed our fathers and us over to them. Even when they die, they make sure that we serve their successors.
Bottom-line, Soludo and I’m sure Amr Sanusi Lamido and others within and outside this country have enough matters left where the rest of us have coconut water to offer reasonable advice to Buhari. My prayer is that on this final home run, that Buhari and his co-travelers do not adopt the attitude of – kàkà k’éku má jẹ sèsé, afi ṣe àwàdànù – the rat that squanders what it cannot eat.
Maazi Soludo, you have well spoken as a patriot, even if you seem to behave markedly different now that you’re an ex- than I remember you doing when you probably could have done.
Later when it’s all done and dusted, don’t forget to tell us in retrospect, what you have learned in active retirement.
-Tunde Asaju, multi-lingual journalist and public affairs analyst, writes from Canada