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PERSPECTIVE: What Happens Next? 

  BY KANMI ADEMILUYI Countdown To May 29 IT’S that moment after the event in this case the semi-conclusion of an electoral cycle that the question “where do we go from here?” inevitably comes up.  EXPLAINER Need For urgency as May 29 looms large The thrust of the transition process should be defined.  Need to…”
Yusuf
April 8, 2023 11:04 am

 

BY KANMI ADEMILUYI

  • Countdown To May 29

IT’S that moment after the event in this case the semi-conclusion of an electoral cycle that the question “where do we go from here?” inevitably comes up. 

EXPLAINER

Need For urgency as May 29 looms large

The thrust of the transition process should be defined. 

Need to emphasise the emergency program to tackle the crises. 

Redefining the tools and the medium of communications. 

The query is immortalised in the defining 1972 film “The Candidate”. The movie star, Robert Radford, was already an iconic star when he suavely played the role of an idealistic young lawyer running an issues-based campaign for the United States Senate.

The film seminally in its intensity redefined the genre of the political film. In reality a “faction” (fiction mixed as fact) it zeroed in on the defining issues such as the civil rights movement of an era.

The punchline of the enthralling movie came when the “Candidate” after attaining electoral success against the run of play sheepishly asks his weather – beaten professional consultant cum campaign manager “what happens next?” This is the point where the curtain falls and the film ends. 

It always gets to the point of “what happens next?” Not sensibly answered the effort becomes an anti-climax, more than that it brings forth the contentious observation of the late English politician, Enoch Powell that “all political careers unless of course they are terminated at a relatively happy juncture they always end in failure”. 

With the handover date of May 29 looming closer by the day, this is a natural issue to ponder about whether we are a heading for another debacle, promises unfulfilled or an anti-climax?

It is in the nature of the human condition to live in hope and even have great expectations, however optimism must always be tempered with caution.

Our title is also a play on the title of the headline of an Op-ed carried by OSUN DEFENDER in our last edition written by the erudite policy analyst, Bamidele Ademola-Olateju who headlined her defining interpretation “Yoruba! What is to be done?” We are here attempting to broaden the scope.

Facing The Future

Everything is contextual, unlike the green horn idealist and political neophyte played by Robert Radford in “The Candidate”, the president-elect Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is very long in the tooth, having endured long bruising battles on the political terrain. Much is to therefore be expected.

The country is however at a critical juncture and on many fronts, it is looking like make or break time in an existential struggle on a myriad of fronts. It ought to be a “cometh the moment cometh the man” episode.

The “transition” looks somewhat haphazard. The president-elect ought to have had his own transition team working hand-in-glove with the transition team of the outgoing administration.

With so much disaffection, this will have made the populace more optimistic. As the Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, alluded a few days ago people are looking for a decisive break with underachieving incorporating a breath of fresh air.

So far, the concentration has been on personalities rather on programs. Of course, the personnel will drive the program nevertheless the incoming team ought to show that they have a fierce intensity to respond to increasingly responding news.

The prospects are increasingly nightmarish. There are reports of the inability by Nigeria to sell crude oil shipments; for a country that is in the grip of a technical insolvency scenario this is dire. To make it worse, there are speculations about an inability to procure fresh loans from China.

What should be happening in the face of a lame duck outgoing administration should be a clear indication that the incoming administration is working on a structured economic response from June to address a deteriorating situation. Perceptions matter and a signal of readiness must be sent to markets at home and broad, the margin of error to maneuver is simply no longer there.

Some of the names been mentioned are reassuring. Banker and one-time Lagos State Finance Commissioner will be a very capable head of an economic team and his proven competence and integrity will certainly reassure markets.

He could turn out to be our equivalent of Ludwig Ehkard, the German post second world war Finance Minister who rebuilt Germany’s devastated economy. He should be mandated to publicly outline a response. 

At the end of it, all men to paraphrase Marx cannot determine the context of their entry point into the stage of history.

Preparation however matters however the context of entry. The country is in dire straits, there is a feeling of haplessness, the incoming team must therefore up the ante on communicating a clear economic direction. 

There are nuggets of solid thinking in the manifesto if the APC such as the setting up of Commodities Exchange, and the inducing of a credit-based economy. Both policy thrusts served us well before the “oil curse” and we should not have jettisoned them. 

The incoming president should be bold and daring in his communications making a clean break from the present. He ought to emulate former British Premier, Harold Wilson.

When Wilson was elected in 1964, he sailed into an economic crisis. Astutely, his communications team was not made up of spun doctors but consisted of those who could explain the crises in language that the lay person can understand.

It was effective and we need to learn from these communications will be decisive. We expect more trusted focus and intensity in the days and not just weeks ahead.

 

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