Buhari Is Operating An Outdated Economic Model, says Chimamanda Adichie

Buhari Is Operating An Outdated Economic Model, says Chimamanda Adichie

Internationally renowned author and feminist, Chimamanda Adichie has dished out an undiluted and heartfelt article published by NewYork Times on the current economical recession and President Buhari’s failed promises to Nigerians. Not only did she point out the fact that he wasted an opportunity to reshape Nigeria, but also describes his regime as one operating with an outdated economic model.

Serving it hot like fire, she explains that the first clue was the unusually long time it took him to appoint his ministers. In her words, “after an ostensible search for the very best, he presented many recycled figures with whom Nigerians were disenchanted. But the real test of his presidency came with the continued fall in oil prices, which had begun the year before his inauguration.

While expressing her disappointment at the current economic recession and plunging devaluation of the Naira due to Nigeria’s over-dependence on oil; she states that “Nigeria’s economy is unwholesomely dependent on oil, and while the plunge in prices was bound to be catastrophic, Mr. Buhari’s actions made it even more so.

After reading the article, I couldn’t have agreed more because she spoke the mind of every Nigerian and was unapologetic about it. The bitter truth is that this substandard governance is here to stay for another three years. Below is an excerpt from her article that made my heart quiver and at the same time wonder ‘which way Nigeria?’

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Nigeria is difficult to govern. It is Africa’s most populous country, with regional complexities, a scarred history and a patronage-based political culture.

Mr. Buhari has spoken of his ‘good reasons’ for ignoring the many economists who warned about the danger of his policies. He believes, rightly, that Nigeria needs to produce more of what it consumes, and he wants to spur local production. But local production cannot be willed into existence if the supporting infrastructure is absent, and banning goods has historically led not to local production but to a thriving shadow market. His intentions, good as they well might be, are rooted in an outdated economic model and an infantile view of Nigerians. For him, it seems, patriotism is not a voluntary and flexible thing, with room for dissent, but a martial enterprise: to obey without questioning. Nationalism is not negotiated, but enforced.

The president seems comfortable with conditions that make an economy uncomfortable — uncertainty and disillusion. But the economy is not the only reason for Nigerians’ declining hope.

“A few months ago, a young woman, Chidera, came to work as a nanny in my Lagos home. A week into her job, I found her in tears in her room. She needed to go back to her ancestral home in the southeast, she said, because Fulani herdsmen had just murdered her grandfather on his farm. She showed me gruesome cellphone photo of his corpse, esecrated by bullets, an old man crumpled on the farm he owned.

“Chidera’s grandfather is only one of the hundreds of people who have been murdered by Fulani herdsmen — cattle herders from northern Nigeria who, until recently, were benign figures in the southern imagination, walking across the country with their grazing cattle.

“Since Mr. Buhari came to power, villages in the middle-belt and southern regions have been raided, the inhabitants killed, their farmlands sacked. Those attacked believe the Fulani herdsmen want to forcibly take over their lands for cattle grazing. “It would be unfair to blame Mr. Buhari for these killings, which are in part a result of complex interactions between climate change and land use. But leadership is as much about perception as it is about action, and Mr. Buhari has appeared disengaged. It took him months, and much criticism from civil society, to finally issue a statement ‘condemning’ the killings. His aloofness feels, at worst, like a tacit enabling of murder and, at best, an absence of sensitive leadership.

“Most important, his behavior suggests he is tone-deaf to the widely held belief among southern Nigerians that he promotes a northern Sunni Muslim agenda. He was no less opaque when the Nigerian Army murdered hundreds of members of a Shiite Muslim group in December, burying them in hastily dug graves. Or when soldiers killed members of the small secessionist pro-Biafran movement who were protesting the arrest of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu, a little-known figure whose continued incarceration has elevated him to a minor martyr.

“Nigerians who expected a fair and sweeping cleanup of corruption have been disappointed. Arrests have tended to be selective, targeting mostly those opposed to Mr. Buhari’s government. The anticorruption agencies are perceived not only as partisan but as brazenly flouting the rule of law: The Department of State Security recently barged into the homes of various judges at midnight, harassing and threatening them and arresting a number of them, because the judges’ lifestyles ‘suggested’ that they were corrupt.

“There is an ad hoc air to the government that does not inspire that vital ingredient for a stable economy: confidence. There is, at all levels of government, a relentless blaming of previous administrations and a refusal to acknowledge mistakes. And there are eerie signs of the past’s repeating itself — Mr. Buhari’s tone and demeanor are reminiscent of 1984, and his military-era War Against Indiscipline program is being reintroduced.

Read the full article Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Nigeria’s Failed Promises

Culled from: NewYork Times

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