Nigeria’s descent into Hobbesian state

Economics and government are like two sides of a coin. The former, whether couched in flowery epithet as ‘law of demand and supply’, capitalism or globalization, is nothing but a label for the first law of the jungle, concerned in the main, with the survival of the fittest at the expense of the weak. The later as an impartial arbiter, strives to check the recklessness and greed of man by moving society away ‘from the jungle also known as the ‘state of liberty and license, of enmity and destruction’, to that of peace and safety’ where the privileged who have taken more than their disproportionate share of the national resources and the less privileged can jointly live in harmony. Whenever there is disharmony and anarchy in any society, such as we have had in the US, Europe, Argentina, and Brazil in recent years, it is often as a result of the failure of government.

Our current descent into anarchy characterized by law of the jungle is the result of failure of our successive government and their economic policies dating back to the Babangida era.

Babangida and his economic wizards -Kalu Idika Kalu, Olu Falae imposed the Structural Adjustment Program {SAP} which we were then told had no alternative. Its effects which include the collapse of our manufacturing sector and massive devaluation of our naira from about one naira to one pound in 1981 to today’s N260 to one pound sterling have been duly documented elsewhere to warrant repeating here. The common link between Obasanjo, his Okonjo-Iweala/Chukwuma Soludo team and President Goodluck Jonathan and his Okonjo-Iweala/Sanusi Lamido is their disdain for contrary views and their insistence that our only pathway to economic growth and development is wholesale adoption of economic laws long discarded in most western countries where every government adopts a mixture of capitalism and socialism as an ideological orientation?

Many well informed Nigerians as well as newspapers through editorials campaigned vigorously for a place for small banks in an economy many others insisted mega banks were no answer to inefficiency and corruption. Every contrary view to Soludo’s selective perception was treated with disdain. As Sanusi, Soludo’s successor has now pointed out, mega banks were avenue for mega corruption by players in the economy who obtained non performing loans and bank owners who fraudulently used depositor’s money to acquire private jets and properties all over the world.

Sanusi, the new government economic wizard on his path expanded N620b tax payers’ money to bail out the mismanaged banks. A few months later, the banks were sold at give away prices to those who were alleged to have contributed to the misfortune of the banks. Three years on Nigerians, are yet to be told by government the impartial arbiter how much of the taxpayers’ N620 billion bailout had been paid back by the affected banks. And as part of the nation’s serial jeopardy, Sanusi’s policy led to the loss of close to 50% of the workforce in the banking sector

But elsewhere such as Europe and especially in the US where banks and manufacturing industries attracted government bailouts, they were in fact designed to enable people keep their jobs. And unlike here where our rulers have refused to talk about the status of the taxpayers money, it is common knowledge that some beneficiaries of bailout in the US including the City Group have paid back, while those that have started making profit are buying back government shares at a profit.

Similarly, unlike in the US where automobile industries that benefited from government bailout are not only making giants steps in terms of growth but also in reducing unemployment, we chose to ignore our automobile support companies like Michelin and Dunlop that have today joined the importation train bringing tyres from China and South Africa. We are today the world biggest importer of used and substandard tyres. Our market is so big that it has been said used tyres manufactured as far back as 2004, are shipped into Nigeria from Ghana and South Africa. While the nation imports products of labour from other nations, our university trained engineers roam the streets.

As part of our nations’ serial jeopardy, Sanusi’s policy of high interest rate in order to control inflation has driven the banks to embark on a mad rush for revenue mobilization. Our 19 and 20-year old girls are sent to the streets by the banks and directed to raise N200m monthly to keep their jobs. Scandalized by the callous act by the banks, David Mark the Senate President not too long ago called our attention the possible psychological, and emotional trauma these innocent young girls are subjected to so early in life.

N200m deposit can only come as products of corruption from government agencies. The strategy therefore is that the young girls are let loose on government revenue agencies that have been alleged to sit on collected revenues for few months before transferring such funds to the Federation Account. The government in the interim is faced with cash flow problems. The House late last year raised queries as to why budgets were not being implemented despite the evidence that showed revenues in excess of the budget were raked in by government monthly.

As part of our serial jeopardy, even when the banks got the deposit, the mobilized funds are still not given as loans to the manufacturing sector that are in a position to create jobs. They are instead diverted by the banks to buy government bonds at next to nothing interest rate. Of course this is a natural response to government policy of controlling inflation by keeping interest high.

But except perhaps government economic wizards, who does not know that the main source of inflation is the more than 50% of the nation’s resources the federal government that lacks the capacity to fight its known corrupt PDP members controls? Of course we can add as source of inflation the governors’ security votes, the lawmakers out-of-this-world earnings, the unearned five percent allocation to traditional rulers who lose the moral right to checkmate the local council officials who share their councils’ allocations.

An analysis of the current year budget will show at a glance, the bizarre appropriations to various bodies with duplicated functions. Why is it impossible for instance to insist that the EFCC survive on 20% of funds collected from indicted governors, bankers, oil fraudsters and PDP stalwarts?

A government whose leading members share our national patrimony has been rendered impotent when the governed engaged themselves in a war of attrition – kidnapping, armed robbery, importation of fake products including drugs all in pursuit of of individual needs and greed. And these of course include such needs as security, electricity, water, comfort and a secured future for our children to protect them from being assaulted and debased by predators that abound in the jungle. In the absence of government that can act as impartial arbiter or as in our own case where President Jonathan’s PDP administration is in acquiescence with privileged few who do not give a damn about Nigeria, the law of the jungle reigns supreme.

0 views0 comments