Find below a sample of the reactions that followed my column with the above title.
One thing I know for sure cannot be taken away from you is the passion with which you have analysed our country's problem both in the Jonathanian days and now. I applaud you for being consistent and humanist, at least so it seems, in most of your articles.
I do share in many of the observations raised against the PMB's administration. But I seek to differ with you in the rush to judge the administration given that, it is only in office for less than a year. Even more so, one thing I, you or anybody else cannot take away from PMB is his sincerity and integrity. But these alone, although important, I must admit, are not enough to translate into viable policy options. Worse still, is also the bereft nature of the personae surrounding PMB, who, in fact, are subtly behind many of the policies that have continued to raise eyebrows and condemnation.
But I can sure you, there would still be Nigeria for all of us to speak of only if we, I mean all Nigerians, sincerely and continuously appreciate government's efforts (this is an area I find lacking in most of your engagements), this is in addition to remaining on guard against action or in action of government that hardly could serve the collective interest.
Once again, keep it up!
Abubakar S Ahmed Ph.D
I agree with you that things are generally bad in Nigeria at the moment. The economy is in a bad shape. Many of our people are suffering severe deprivation. However I also think we are seeing the efforts being made to improve on the quality of governance and at the same time enhance integrity in government business.
Of course most Nigerians accept the hike in petrol price because of the promise of eventual stabilisation of the supply with the possibility of a lower price in the long run. While most of our political leaders may not have a proper or healthy political/ideological orientation, some are committed and hopefully in this dispensation, many more will emerge on the national stage. I don't agree with you that the government is witless, incompetent and irresponsible. Rather, I see a new commitment to the agenda for national redemption.
As for the middle class, it may be selfish but is neither docile nor self-satisfied. Of course it has factions and the dominant faction is sold on a neo-liberal framework built on market orthodoxy. The class has tried to embrace democratic logic in its struggles. There are complex socio-economic and political problems to resolve and I want to believe we are making some progress.
I read your offering this morning with mixed feelings. Mixed feelings because on one hand, you brilliantly dissected the Nigerian state and the short comings of its selfish middle class and on the other, you kept hammering needlessly on the issue of the recent hike in petrol price, blaming it as the trigger for the hyper-inflation we are presently contending with.
I don't know when government or governance ceased to exist in Nigeria. But since the coming of the military in 1985, there has been a gradual and systematic descent into 'No Government'. Public services and utilities began to degenerate and continuously got from bad to worse. The entrenchment of corruption as state policy by the military further worsened the situation. The souls of Nigerians were completely destroyed as people no longer see any difference between what's wrong and right. And no society can function in such Hobbesian state.
I shade tears anytime I see kids sitting on bare floors, in some cases without roofs, in public primary schools. The teachers are barely qualified to teach. And you wonder what knowledge is being impacted on this youngsters. Public utilities like electricity and water supply are epileptic. Virtually every household has become a local government (apologies to Wole Soyinka). So I completely agree with you that government has no meaning or doesn't exist in the lives of so many citizens. In fact, I support the idea that the national budget should be shared to all Nigerian citizens annually.
On the fuel price increase, prof, you are continuously getting it wrong. President Buhari inherited a near bankrupt economy. I'm sure you are following the mindboggling revelations of the unconscionable thievery of the last government. As at today, I doubt if 5% of the looting between 2010/2015 have been uncovered. Secondly, since PMB took office, oil price has been fallen except for some marginal increase in the last few month. Currently it's about $42/ barrel.
You should know that, it's the revenue we get from oil sales that we use to fund petroleum products importation. Don't forget there are other commitments which government must keep, like payment of salaries, payment to contractors and settlement of international obligations, etc.
You should also take into consideration the sabotage by Niger Delta militants. Their activity is reducing the volume of crude oil export. So it's under this difficult situation that president Buhari had no choice but increase the price of petrol at the pump.
We have already lost hope. Buhari, the seeming Messiah of Nigerian masses, has joined the class of lickers either consciously or subconsciously. A man of proven integrity is circled by highly corrupt political sycophant who keep telling him all is well with his erroneous policies. He addresses us saying he feels our pain, but he can’t imagine our plight.
Today if an average Nigerian is earning 50,000, that amount has reduced by half due what you call hyperinflation. Gradually the middle class is being eliminated with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, and the government has no palliative on ground. Verily Allah is saviour.
Yusuf Anas, Kano Poly.