Nigeria: When ‘Clueless’ Is Better Than Calamitous
December 4, 2016

Nigeria: When ‘Clueless’ Is Better Than Calamitous

By Bolaji Tunji –
The present government of President
Muhammadu Buhari would, in a few
months, be two years old. Ever since
the government was sworn in, save for
the euphoria that trailed a new
government and the expectation of
Nigerians looking for change, if truth
has to be told, Nigerians have not
really got anything to show for all the
change that they were promised.
There is hardship in the land
occasioned by the poor state of the
economy. Nigerians are hungry. Prices
of essential commodities are soaring.
Food items are no longer affordable.
As for social amenities, Nigerians
experience more of darkness than
light as power has worsened. Former
Lagos governor and Minister of Power,
Works and Housing, Raji Fashola, has
not been able to find solution to the
Most of the people who aided and
supported this government such as
former President Olusegun Obasanjo
have equally signaled their
dissatisfaction with the way things are
going. He told the government to
concentrate on clearing the mess
inherited instead of complaining about
the situation. In the early days of the
administration, it was the in thing to
blame the Goodluck Jonathan
administration for the rot in the
system. If the present government
would continue to have its way, it
would still have preferred to continue
blaming the previous administration.
But this would have shown the new
government as lacking in initiative for
still blaming its predecessor at nearly
two years of taking over. Come to
think of it, does this present
administration have initiative,
creativity? I do not think so. As much
as Nigerians admire the person of
President Buhari for his honesty,
integrity (I equally do), he has fallen
short of the expectation of so many
Nigerians. This is not just about
criticizing the president for the sake of
it, but criticism is coming because the
president, in the past 17 months, has
shown his unpreparedness for
governance. I want him to succeed but
wishing is different from the reality.
The reality is that nothing is working.
Companies are finding it difficult to
continue and jobs are being lost.
I have written about the fact that there
is no clear cut economic blue print and
so many other Nigerians, who are in
position to know this, have said the
same. It is what former President
Obasanjo described as administration
by “adhocry”.

Looking for quick fix
solution without an in depth
understanding of the problem. It is
what led this same administration to
China like other administrations
before. Obasanjo visited China twice,
late President Umaru Yar’Adua,
President Jonathan equally visited
before President Buhari’s visit in April.
Prior to that trip, the government had
made us to understand that solution
to the problems we are facing
especially as it concerns the dollars
would be found in China and that the
focus on that country would reduce
the over dependence on the dollar. I
had sounded a warning that the China
trip would not solve our problem as it
was an ad hoc solution. We were told
that many agreements were signed in
areas of power, solid minerals, etc. I
am yet to see any of these taking off.
Why not against such a trip, it should
have been taken as part of a larger
picture of our economic policy. If we
have an economic policy, the question
would have been; how does China fits
into the overall picture?
Still on the economic direction of this
administration, as said earlier, the
president seems unprepared for
revamping the economy and bringing
us out of recession. He had contested
for the presidency of this country on
three different occasions before his
fourth attempt got him the
We are talking of a period that is not
less than 10 years, are we saying the
president was only interested in
campaigning to win election and would
retire to his Katsina ranch after every
election loss, that he did not prepare
anything in terms of “to do” if he
eventually got the job which he
actually did in the last attempt?
In essence, the president, in over a
decade of contesting for presidency
did not assemble a team of experts to
identify the problem of the country
and proffer solution that would
eventually come into use in the event
of his presidency. But that is the
So what then is the vision that is
driving the country? What are his own
visions? Running a country is not all
about fighting corruption or insecurity.
You can’t be doing this to the
detriment and survival of the people
who look up to you. Obasanjo fought
corruption and recovered money
stolen during the General Sani Abacha
era. He equally paid off our debt,
Nigerians did not suffer as much
during that period.
Then a barrel of crude oil was $16.56
in 1999. It rose to $27.39 in year 2000
and came down to $23 per barrel a
year later in 2001. As at November 30,
2016, a barrel of crude oil is $49.44. It
is still more than what Obasanjo got as
president. So people saying the slump
in oil prices has adversely affected
governance should empathically shut
up. Also blaming corruption during the
last administration will also not fly.

I am not in support of corrupt
tendencies, but the truth is that
corruption is not new to Nigeria and
there is no government that is free of
the tar of corruption. It has always
been part of us. It is just a click away.
Wikipedia has a lot on it. From pre and
post independence Nigeria to the
present day. The military government
of General Mohammadu Buhari also
has a section there. So enough of this
corruption cry.
A few days ago, the government
through the Nigeria National Petroleum
Corporation (NNPC) announced its
intention to buy crude oil from Niger
Republic and in the process construct
1000 km of pipeline from that country
to the Kaduna Refinery. Immediately I
heard this, what occurred to me was,
‘another foolish, ill-conceived
project’ . The reason given does not
make sense in this period. We will be
developing the Niger Republic’s
economy to the detriment of ours
because we will be paying for the
crude oil. And the last time I checked ,
Nigeria is still regarded as an oil
producing country and a member of
With the government’s intention, we
would spend scarce resources (in
forex) to construct the pipeline. This is
money that should be channeled into
something more productive to the
economy especially in this period of
recession. The idea should be
discarded unless there is an agenda
beyond what is obvious to all of us.
On a last note, there is nothing that
stops this government from
assembling a team of economists and
financial experts from within and
outside the country to brainstorm and
come up with solution to the economic
problem. Their solution should come
with a timeline that should indicate
what should be done and when
including what the result would be.
There should also be room for review.
To most of us, the administration does
not seem to have a clue on the
economic problem and this is
definitely calamitous.
*Bolaji Tunji is a commentator on
public issues