FORENSIC FORCE: Now that I am president
Now that I am
president, I am thoroughly at a loss on what to do. For starters, how
can I possibly pick only 40 names out of over 300 that are lobbying to
be ministers? I dashed to Obudu to get some work done, but they all
followed me there. Madam wants her 35 percent; ‘Shambolic’ has some
names; the party is angling for a few portfolios; current ministers
want to be retained; yet every day, more CVs flood in.
To worsen matters,
the country is broke. I had no idea the rent of Aso Rock would be this
steep. True, I asked them to renew my tenancy, but did they have to
empty the treasury? I know that a substantial amount of ‘agency’ fees
‘flew-by-night’ to private pockets. No wonder, they are already talking
of an ‘exploratory team’ for 2015. They are all patting themselves in
the back, happy with my ‘overwhelming’ mandate. I wonder, between me
and them — who really won? They gave me the verdict, but took the
vaults — leaving me to run the country on zero.
Now that I am
president, what do I tell the 30 million youth who have no jobs and
have little prospects of finding any soon? There was a proposal that
the funds in the excess crude account be set aside to create jobs and
stimulate the economy. Before anything concrete could emerge, those
wolves, the governors descended on me with demands that we share the
money. Now the money has disappeared, there is nothing to show for it.
No wonder so many of them defied political logic and staged stunning
re-election shows. I hope Nigerians do not begin to ask too many
On the campaign
trail, I promised to revive the education sector when elected. Now that
the deed is done, how do I begin to crack this monstrous conundrum? Not
a single university in Nigeria is among the list of the first 5,000
universities in the world. I remember we approved the opening of about
nine new federal universities and ordered the release of N1.5 billion
to each. With what I now know of civil servants, I suspect that very
little of that amount will actually go to support the establishment of
the new universities. Even then, where will we find the qualified
people to teach in these schools and pay them competitive wages?
And talking of
wages, how do I explain to workers that though I approved the minimum
wage bill of N18,000, government cannot possibly pay them that amount
without sacking thousands? I am told that the entire oil income for
this year cannot pay workers’ salaries. Where are the funds to embark
on capital projects? This year’s budget commits N2.5 trillion to
recurrent expenditure, but we need to borrow money to finance even
that. I shudder to imagine what will happen if the price of oil falls
below $80 a barrel. Can’t we find money elsewhere to pay these huge
bills? That Aganga chap, what has he been doing?
Now that reminds me
of the promise I made to diversify our foreign exchange sources from
oil. But what does that really mean? Looking at things from this side,
where do I go? Is it to agriculture? But what have we put in place to
stimulate the agricultural sector and improve productivity? Do our
farmers have the capacity to produce food that will actually meet
international standards? We approved N200 billion for the sector, most
of which has been disbursed, but local food production has not gone up;
the sector has not created jobs, and we still import rice worth over $2
billion annually. And some of the beneficiaries of the fund were
prominent in my campaign…
And talking of
prominent personalities in my campaign, old man OBJ has proved rather
useless in the larger scale of things. He couldn’t even return his
daughter to the Senate, but now wants me to appoint her a minister or
ambassador. Meanwhile, I hope the details of the meeting between the
‘rascal’ and the ‘drunken fisherman’ never make it to public domain.
But did I offer too much? Can I really grant all the demands he made to
seal our pact?
In the meantime,
how do I tackle corruption, insecurity, poverty, unemployment, and
manage inflation? How do I improve power, education, health, public
infrastructure, revive industries, diversify the economy and unify the
country? When do I remove the subsidy on petroleum products, raise
taxes and increase VAT?
Now that I am president.