BY KANMI ADEMILUYI
DEFINITIONS matter. Ordinarily, we should be in a political season with upcoming off-season elections in Osun and Ekiti states and what ought to be a pivotal presidential election next year.
This, clearly not the case. What we have in reality looks more like a silly season. With all manner of shenanigans, vacous utterances, side shows the nation’s political establishment are clearly not in the mood to face a daunting future. Daunting is used advisedly, for the grim reality is that the terms – of – trade are clearly against a country whose ruling elite have no roadmap out of a mono – crop economy based on unprocessed non – value addition fossils. With the unexpected twists and turns on the international scene this has already become a problem which will become more pronounced as we go through not just a momentous decade but for Nigeria a make or break one.
It is not hyperbolic to use the expression “make or break”, it represents a grim reality. For a start Nigeria is going into the Africa Trade pact to integrate the economies of the continent pathetically ill – prepared. The economy is uncompetitive with dilapidated antidulivan trade facilitation processes. Even in the year of the lord 1950 or thereabouts what we call “ ports” in Nigeria will look like a contradiction – in – terms. Going into a free trade agreement with such debilitating drawbacks is like taking a sheep to slaughter. The general uncompetitiveness of the economy clearly does not bother the ruling elite. The jostle sometimes sarcastically referred to as “politics” is about drinking from a diminishing trough.
It is the absurdity of patronage client relationship driven political activity that is at the center of the season. Presidential wannabes with humongous funds have no think – tanks or research bureaus working in overdrive to produce rigorously thought out diligently costed programs of reconstruction which is in reality what the country so desperately needs.
A new government will therefore take over in fourteen months time without even a rudimentary, nay perfunctory outline of a medium term economic framework. This is to put it mildly tragic. A country with mass under and unemployment, such a gruesome amount of people locked into structured poverty and birth rates outstripping ephemeral growth rates should be more serious about its predicament.
To hide their crass ineptitude, the handlers of the presidential wannabes are now reselling a discredited “great man theory of history”. The position here is that the great man doesn’t need a program or a roadmap, he just needs to enter Aso Rock and in the words of a former President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt “ there will be a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage “.
This is a fallacy that outstanding figures never believed. Programs matter and Titanic figures such as Obafemi Awolowo, Michael Okpara knew about their critical importance. They were superb administrators because they had diligently prepared for office. They certainly did not enter office as “ great men”. Apart from the body of diligent work done by the Action Group, Awolowo himself had sensibly immersed himself in preparing an economic platform; Michael Okpara as a young thirty three years old medical doctor had put together an economic outline of the prospects of the eastern region befitting of a very astute political economist.
What is ongoing is a recipe for disaster. It is a scam to sell to people an absurdity that a great man with a magic wand will solve existential issues without a programme. It reflects a debilitating reality. As Galileo pleaded in trying to save himself from the wrath of the Pope “woe betide a nation in need of a hero”.
With presidential wannabes prancing around without a program there is very little to be optimistic about.