Saturday, November 12, 2016

Nigeria: In Search Of The Messiah

By Bayo Ogunmupe  
The alert that the occupants of the Bakassi Peninsula will soon become stateless, (being refugees) in Nigeria now, gives cause for concern. This alarm was sounded by the representative for Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) at the signing of the memorandum of understanding with ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja recently. The alert drew the attention of the world to the displacement of the people of Bakassi. These people are Efiks with linguistic and cultural affinity with Efiks of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Being Nigerians until Bakassi was ceded to Cameroon in August 2008 by the International Court of Justice.

Since then, Bakassi belonged to Cameroon but its residents remained Nigerians. Worse still, the two countries have not been serious in governing the territory inhabited by this people. Due to neglect by the Nigerian government, these people have nowhere to call their country. But evidence abounds that they are Nigerians because they registered and voted at Dayspring Island, Cross River State, Nigeria in 2015.
The people of Bakassi have chosen to remain Nigerians in spite of neglect. This is why we need a messiah to rescue Nigeria from predators who don’t see more than cornering oil money in Nigeria. We need a leader ready to tackle those seeking to balkanise Nigeria to satisfy their security concerns. Like the Jews who are still waiting for their messiah, we should start searching for an emancipator now. We need a leader who will emancipate Bakassi and lift us out of poverty.
Amidst the great yearning for a messiah came the confirmation by the First Lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari that the government of her husband had been hijacked by a mafia. The Senate President, Dr. Bukola  first broke the news at the height of his feud with Buhari over his alleged alteration of Senate standing orders last year. The confirmation of the mafia takeover was a huge blow to us who view Buhari as the much awaited messiah that will transform Nigeria to the Utopian land of our dreams. It means this government is in the hands of a few jejune individuals.
Thus, our salvation is being deferred. Therefore, we have to exercise ingenuity to salvage this country from the morass we are  in now. All the problems of the nation since independence stem from our inability to take proactive action due to ignorance and ethnic jealousy. Indeed, since Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun announced that Nigeria is in a recession last August, we have become interested in solving this economic impasse. Leadership is the key to recovery. Without expert guidance, there is no hope for recovery in the next few months. Which is why we must buckle up on getting the leader with the vision and grit to solve the problems.
For solution to recession, we must adopt the Keynesian model of massive government funding of public works, the enthronement of a N750 billion interest free, collateral free full employment plan for the unemployed, young or old. That is how to revive the economy. Such loans may be accessed from any finance institution nearest to the applicant. It is primitive for every Nigerian seeking SME loan to go to only one bank be it Bank of Industry or Bank of Agriculture. Such loans should be accessible from the bank nearest to him.
Moreover, we must stop domestic borrowing to finance the public sector. Governments have been wastefully borrowing money internally to finance domestic consumption. That is how we have been wasting over 40 per cent of every naira earned to service domestic debts; such profligacy is unheard of anywhere in the world. Also, the way government is going about economic recovery isn’t right. Let the N750 billion intervention fund be managed by the Central Bank; that is the way they do it. Promising money on infrastructure and creating a bank to manage it is the method of corrupt people.
Also, Infrastructure Bank, Development Bank, like the Peoples Bank, they are destined for extinction because it isn’t the duty of government to establish banks. With the exception of the CBN, all government banks must be privatised. What governments need is to establish finance schemes, the private sector will react appropriately to its needs. By establishing banks, government is funding corruption. Give all moneys gained from foreigners, the World Bank, African Development Bank and the like to the CBN to manage. They will then go into financing such schemes as full employment, agriculture and SMEs.
That is why we need a leader with integrity who will not abdicate his responsibility by turning governance over to a mafia. An awakened leader holds the key to our economic rebirth. Thus, good policy options and visionary leadership remain the way out of Nigeria’s current economic crisis. A people that are starving not because of a lack of abundance, but because the rules are skewed against them cannot listen to the Change Begins With Me slogan. They will not wait for their turn either. They are likely to attain their wishes by force, revolt or insurrection.
Indeed, the moral corollary to abundance given us by God is that its spread  should be wider and higher. But unfortunately, the Nigerian state manifests intolerance to the plight of the people, provoking  the people to question the legitimacy of those put in authority over them. Therefore, government has lost the steam and momentum generated during the election. Through government isolation from the party and the people, the people are frustrated, they are no longer impressed by buck passing; they are now angling for a new leader that will bring justice and succour to a country in tribulation. So, let us wake up to the reality of the search for a new leader by taking proactive action immediately.
*Bayo Ogunmupe   is a commentator on public issues 

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