Buhari and perpetual pauperization of Nigeria, by Umar Faruk Said


“Our economic advancement demands the end of colonialists and neo-colonialist domination of Africa.”
Reading through the first page of the preface to Max Siollun’s Oil, Politics and Violence, one cannot help but appreciate God’s marvelous economic endowments on Nigeria. There, the author states that Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP) is “larger than the combined GDP of its fifteen neighboring West African countries that make up the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).” However, despite this opulence about 75% of the country’s population lives in abject poverty. Poverty in abundance, what a disturbing paradox!

More irksome is the frequency of President Buhari’s penchant in securing foreign loans, which must have impressed in the minds of sane Nigerians the specter of an impending, fierce economic hardship in the country.

The lamentable repercussions that followed our 1986 reception of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan should have served a lesson to our leaders, to refrain from sinking deeper into the economic servitude meant by foreign loans.

As the giant of Africa, if Nigeria’s leaders cannot take the lead in fostering economic cooperation among African countries (especially member states of ECOWAS), independent of Europe’s or America’s influence, the unpleasant conclusion we must draw from this is that we are in Europe’s and America’s servitude not only economically but even mentally.

Nigeria is currently witnessing the worst economic downturn under Buhari administration, as depreciation of our currency value is unprecedented. This has caused inflation, cost of living and hardship in the country. This is not all we will have to grapple with; only God knows the extent of mess we will have to clean by the time he leaves office. The administration’s removal of fuel subsidy and all the taxes imposed on the citizenry cannot match the multiplier effect of these endless tranches of foreign loans. Not only that, the unsettling consequence to infer from history is that our economic policies will henceforth reflect no concern to our domestic realities. A chunk of our annual budget will be going into servicing the debt that has no obvious impact on the poor masses.

Blackmailed with debt, we will no longer have the liberty to enter bilateral economic relations with any non-European or non-American friends without being threatened. Even after their disguised sabotage on our economy, the ‘benevolent’ creditors will continue to unabashedly storm our quarters of leadership with their unsolicited ‘experts’ advice’ on what plans to adopt for our economic development, which our leaders very often take gullibly to heart.

They will also continue to freely admit us into the disingenuous class of most corrupt countries in the world. It is a pity that our leaders seem to lack the wisdom to understand that our continued indebtedness is, among others, the reason why we are to this day seen and referred to as an underdeveloped nation on global stage. Again, heavily indebted as we are, our leaders cannot have the nerves to discredit our creditors’ or their agencies’ subjective placement of our country on the global poverty index, nor can they challenge their fabricated figures of our derailing economy, even when in fact there is progression in the economy. They do all these to perpetuate their control as our overlords.

I now understand, quite convinced, that apart from the destructive effect of the West’s slave trade on Africa, there is that of mental emasculation and privation of independent, sound reasoning. Our brains with which we were born have seemingly been removed and replaced with dummy ones. In our economic programs, we are practically reduced to robots. If not so, why do our leaders accept weird advice from those self-acclaimed experts who know nothing of our country, save the half-truth, farcical reportages they grasp from their own biased media, out of which they extract only what suit their narrow minds?

The consternation is that most of the so-called experts/leading scholars hardly ever visited Nigeria, and if they did, on one brief or a few occasions. How can such ‘experts’ have the credentials to claim expertise on our economic conditions?

Nevertheless, our leaders cannot think twice on the ill-advice, unscientific projections of our economy, which are often bereft of logic, unacceptable to common sense. How can they question judgment of their infallible European and American idols, since they have systematically been robbed of their sense and left with no sense!

Buhari as Nigeria’s President, and other African leaders like him whose obsession with anything European or American deprives them the power of reasoning to look inward and explore alternatives for developing a suitable model for Africa’s economic development, are the reason why the West has continued to see Africa as the dark continent, of violence, hunger, diseases, poverty, superstition and ignorance. Their portrayal of Africa as a squalor presupposes that we need their assistance for our survival, even though they are the vampires that have always sucked our blood.

They conveniently attribute our wretchedness to bad governance, only to re-echo the core precept of their foreign policies in Africa: that we Africans cannot govern ourselves. But an African, whose brain is not yet taken out of his skull, or rather whose thinking is not distorted by western myths, can easily assail and dismiss such claims as what they are: professional lies. As Kofi Annan once said, “we have the means and the capacity to deal with our problems, if only we can have the political will.” Having that political will would require that no African country should make the mistake of having a comprador-leader like Buhari.

Said writes from Funtua, Katsina State, and can be reached on 08039329260.