Not Yet a Clear Path to Recovery

It was Nnamdi Azikiwe who said on television on his return to Nigeria during the civil war that no one used Sunday-School language to deal with a scoundrel.

In fact, if a government resorts to arm-twisting and suppression to treat political matters, it invites equal physical resistance from the oppressed, because the law of changeless justice binds the oppressor with the oppressed, said Booker T. Washington in “Off from slavery.” King Charles Two stormed parliament and lost his neck, in response, to Oliver Cromwell.

We have heard of Portuguese parliament. Not so long ago the Greeks were settling scores with their fists in parliament. Boris Yeltsin, not so long ago also, locked up the communist majority in the Dumas with the support even of Bill Clinton, then America’s president. Was that democracy at play? President Andrew Jackson believed more in violence in settling state matters. Morality is debatable in politics because it seems surreal.

There is nothing really new on earth. Events occur cyclically. Legislators turned mountain climbers and so what if only to beat a plot. These are the hard ways, perhaps, to freedom in an atmosphere of illegality where four is more than 25 and seven more than 19. Didn’t a president say that 16 were more than 19? My lesson in law at journalism school was that courts dispense the law and not morality. The law is the common covenant to ensure peace and should not be broken. But when the state becomes a scoundrel, the people ditch Sunday School language in reply.

Atiku Abubakar, number two, crossed carpet to Action Congress while still an incumbent and the law upheld it. (Aminu) Masari, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, followed Atiku to the same party while still in office. The courts did not question it.

And President Goodluck Jonathan received Ondo Governor Segun Mimiko officially from Labour Party to the PDP at Aso Villa in continuation of the trivialisation of politics set in motion since General Olusegun Obasanjo’s rule when Arthur Nzeribe acrobatically dumped All People’s Party in the Senate for the PDP, after threatening that president with impeachment. What have we not seen? And that is why nobody really on the political stage now has any clear thought on how to rescue Nigeria from her present economic woes, except perhaps, the attempt made by the departed Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, in 2011. All other pronouncements have been copied from the hymn book of the World Bank and the IMF, the two darlings of the exploitative Nigerian elite.

It is the thinking of Edo Governor Adams Oshiomhole that exposes the emptiness of the Nigerian elite more succinctly. That governor is waiting for the private sector to bail out Nigeria. The comrade capitalist sees nothing but oil, the wasting asset, as the only durable income earner for Nigeria and the states. Zik, Obafemi Awolowo and Ahmadu Bello before him would have thought of other sources because they successfully launched this nation into industrialisation and agricultural prominence without the black gold. Nigeria had no oil when it led the world in palm produce, was third in cocoa production, was a major rubber exporter globally and supplied half of Africa with intermediate products from her factories. She was next to Sudan in producing cotton in Africa.

Yet Oshiomhole, the bourgeois, sees rent from oil as the only recipe for meeting government financial needs, which should be engineered by the private sector. That Oshiomhole’s interview in TELL promises no redemption for Nigeria if that is the thinking of the All Progressives Congress, APC. One is not surprised because men like Atiku, Bola Tinubu and other fat cats should be breathing hard on the party to toe the path to Washington. Even young (Sam) Ndah-Isaiah and Babatunde Fashola are of the same disposition.

China is the second largest economy in the world. The state is still the engine of its economy. No economic player there operates outside the rules and participation of the state. China, as a government, even goes outside its borders to practically invest in projects to feed its economy. Two years ago, it acquired millions of hectares in Laos for rubber plantation. And this is rubber Oshiomhole has not given any thought as a major income earner in Edo where it grows wildly without government’s assistance. So Oshiomhole sees rent collection from oil as the only means of financial support for states?

Dennis Osadebay, David Ejoor and Sam Ogbemudia would have thought of other sources. Their belief in the mixed economy rewarded bountifully for the old Midwest state.

Oshiomhole’s interview was like Atiku reciting Adam Smith’s manifesto. It was even far from left of the centre. Does Oshiomhole know that as at 1959, 25 per cent of economic activity in America had state’s participation from the county to the White House?

Franklyn Roosevelt started the atomic research project with only $1, 000 when Albert Einstein brought the findings of those Hungarian Jewish émigré to his house in New York.

American government invests heavily in researches which in the long run end in the private domain. It even intervenes in business as we saw George W. Bush act when the economy was in the doldrums.

The German state participates in all ramifications of business. It is the same with Japan’s constructive approach to economic development. One is still searching for the comrade governor’s neo-capitalist model. This is not condemning Oshiomole, but he seems short of ideas for Nigeria’s economic recovery. And such ideas must apply unconventional methods to unusual circumstances. CBN pegs naira at N168 to a dollar. So market forces are crumbling? What is the light at the end of the tunnel in this IMF regime?

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