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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Is there anything that could rescue us from the abyss?

When people are lousy history students, history will play its wrong side when they need the power of hindsight and past the most.

On November 6, 2021, I posted, “The Federal Reserve System (FED) in the United States from various sources is embarking on tapering, that is, trimming bond purchases over an extended period.” I guessed the possible effects on Nigeria, and in “(g),” I opined that the ripple effect on us as a nation is that dollar to the Naira could be as high as N700 – N1,000 before the end of 2022 (God forbid).” Because God has given us the power to reason beyond the mundane, he did not hear that prayer because of our endless wrong choices.

On May 19, 2022. I also reminded friends and family members that Naira was N600/$1 at the Parallel Market. Today, we have exceeded the minimum I predicted on November 6, 2021; the dollar in the parallel market is  #815/$. Many saw my post as “jagbajantis,” which is nonsense according to Dele Senkoya of the Masquerade fame. Many said they do not spend dollars, so they are less bothered. Whether you spend the dollar or not, the ripple effect of the crash of the Naira is here with us. Let us enjoy ourselves together.

The ripple effects are very obvious. Many states cannot meet their scholarship obligations to citizens. Parents have no other choice but to withdraw their children from overseas’ schools, and people say it doesn’t matter?

One of the reasons that led us to this parlous economic bus stop is the government’s prolonged rent mentality and skewed leadership crises that believe in a beggarly attitude  and loan seeking culture to finance its local obligations. Every rational mind knows that when you resort to loans to run your home, you are indirectly eating your tomorrow in advance. So, when a government borrows to fund recurrent expenditures, there is no way that government will be out of the economic crisis.

Presidents Obasanjo and Muhammad Buhari tried to reverse some of the lapses. They wanted to curtail the inflow of unwanted smuggled products into Nigeria, which were in part responsible for killing our local industries by closing our borders. This action was to engage neighbors on the need to stop smugglers from using their sea ports as launching pads to destroy our economy.

Unfortunately, members of the same government sabotaged themselves when borders were closed in some areas, and the rear left opened for smuggling to thrive in other areas.

The current Central Bank Governor (CBN) could have been a better administrator or technocrat. No matter how much this government rationalizes the policies of the CBN, the glaring historical truth is that it met the dollar at an official rate of N197/$, and parallel market rate of N435/$ in January 2015, which is now ₦431.83 official rate and parallel market rate of N815/$ in just seven and half years into its eight years of rule. Only God knows the rate it will leave the exchange rate in May or June 2023, when it will bow out.

Is there anything that could rescue us from the abyss? Yes! But it would not come easy without excruciating sacrifices and pains. It must start with voting right in 2023. A would-be self-sustaining country should ab initio plan to consume what it produces, ranging from medical, education, farm, and social investment products. Nigeria, from its foundation, did the opposite: exporting its mineral resources and exchanging them for finished products as imports. We did so with cocoa, rubber, palm products, and crude oil.

Nobody can spend the Naira in the United States or in any part of Europe. In Nigeria, it is a common sight. During elections, those who should be work towards banning the trend openly bribe delegates with it it. It will shock you to know that the last Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) election followed the same trajectory.

Dollars are supposed to be domiciled in the banks and not in wardrobes or sewage systems.  These are some of the abnormalities that must stop, and now is the time to be brutal in their reversals. Sadly, I do not see PMB achieving this before 2023.

If Nigerians want a better Nigeria, the onus is for Nigerians to ensure that they give their mandates to those who can rescue us and take us back to boom, not just in the presidency but in the National Assembly, whose members would refuse to be rubber stamps to the executive arm of government, and at the state levels where only Governors that could reason beyond taxes should be voted to power. If not, the next administration will face so many protests. It could also see hordes of Nigerians deported from many countries, while others will place more visa restrictions on Nigerians entering their countries. I pray history proves me wrong.

Grace and peace!!!

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