Re: Buhari, Jonathan and redefinition of change, by Niyi Akinsiju

Its apparent Mr. Reno Omokri, former aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan, is desperate to rewrite Nigeria’s years of official infamy under his boss in embossed lies of performance and service delivery, even as he struggled to glorify the dereliction and abandonment of government duties and responsibilities as basis of comparison with the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
It would seem that Reno’s principal motivation in his “Buhari, Jonathan and a Redefinition of Change” title of an article published in a section of the media is a servile celebration of mediocrity as he made to claim credit or antagonise policies being implemented by the current administration.
Reno begins with an excoriation of Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, former Governor of Rivers State and now Minister of Transport, in the oft repeated rumour of Amaechi expending $500,000 on hosting Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, to a dinner to commemorate the Nobel laureate’s 80th birthday anniversary. Of course, Soyinka had in character dismissed the small talk bandied around back then as indicative of the tendency of “those who are neck deep in the sewage of corruption ensure that they splatter sewage in all possible and improbable directions”.
Reno is flourishing in the business of splattering sewage in all directions: It’s easy to understand that from his rather tepid submission when he asserts in that article: “Nigeria’s economy is being badly managed now. It was not badly managed under President Goodluck Jonathan.” Nothing incites derisive laughter than this public relations faux pas. Where was Reno between 2010 and 2015? Just wondering if he understands the basics of a well managed economy.
He goes on to list some of the reasons Nigeria is in a recession to include the rushed implementation of the Treasury Single Account instead of the gradual implementation planned by the Jonathan administration. The rushed implementation of the TSA as Reno puts it, should understandably be a continuous source of hurting for all staff in the administration of Dr Jonathan.
Free un-reined money from revenue generating Federal Government agencies would have continued to be a source of bilking the national resources in criminal continuation of official heist that government has come to be known for between 2010 and 2015. Perhaps Reno forgets that the implementation of the TSA is in compliance with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which requires all government income be paid into the federation’s consolidated account. Nigerians know that if his principal, Jonathan, stays in office for another 20 years he won’t have the will to implement the TSA, the temptation of diversion and abuse was excessively overwhelming.
Reno lists as one of the reasons we are in recession to the late appointment of Ministers and “the appointment of a woman whose highest degree is Bachelors in Economics from a second class university to succeed a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and former Managing Director of the World Bank as Minister of Finance. Now, this says much of the pedestrian mindedness of Reno. Coming after the authoritative The Economist magazine publicly corrected its own initial opinion of Mrs Kemi Adeosun in an editorial on July 26 underscores Reno’s appeal to the base. A quick recall of the editorial suffices.
In an editorial captioned ‘How Nigeria is Fighting Corruption’ of July 26, The Economist explains with regards to the financial artistry and capabilities of Mrs Adeosun:
“Most government agencies, including the ones that collect taxes do not make their budgets public. Nor do most states and local governments, which suck up about half of public revenues. In an effort to fix this, a tenacious finance minister, Kemi Adeosun, has told state governors that they must make their finances public before they receive a second federal bailout. She has struck thousands of ghost workers off the public payroll. Her ‘treasury single account ‘ may be the biggest coup of all. It replaced a labyrinth of government piggy banks, giving Nigeria more control of its earning. Financiers reckon that it could serve as a lesson to others in West Africa as well. The continent’s most famously corrupt country might yet teach others a thing or two about transparency.”
Hope Reno is reading this and reflecting on the deeper implications of The Economist conclusions? Seriously, only a man given to incredible sycophancy can make this attempt to whitewash the unwholesome misalignments of Nigeria’s national economy between 2010 and 2015. We are still reeling from the squandering of more than N51 trillion revenue generated during those years plus $7 billion externally borrowed money and more than N30 billion domestic debt during the five years of Jonathan presidency with nothing to show for it. On the aggregate, Nigeria is compelled to service the accumulated loan with N1.36 trillion this year alone.
Whatever may be the misadventures of this country, it is an established historical fact that we never had a spineless, ineffectual presidency as we witnessed under Jonathan. All functions of institutions of state were simply geared towards advancing and satisfying the huge greed and irrationalities of officials of government.
It is in consequence of this that Reno and some of his co-travellers would excuse the irresponsible extirpation of the national fiscal buffer, the Excess Crude Account, on the lame and laughable explanation that then President Jonathan was harassed by Governors to share the savings in the ECA! Yet, majority of Nigerians, except those that suffer from selective amnesia, would recall that under President Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria had more than $23 billion in the ECA. Jonathan inherited $7 billion in the ECA from the late Umaru Yar’Adua’s administration in 2010. He grew the ECA to $9 billion in 2012 when the price of a barrel of crude oil was at its highest of $120 per barrel on a 12-month moving average through to June 2014. However, by May 2015, he was only able to handover a paltry $2.07 billion in the ECA, with oil price crashing to a low of $26.
Which man born of woman would not be scared at this mournful prospect as fiscal inheritance from his predecessor? And an economy perennially purloined by a horde of thieving officials, egged on by a President that had declared that stealing does not equate corruption. As the national economy laid prostrate in the days after the handover of government to Buhari, who, but the likes of Reno would not confess to a seismic heart movement when he gets to see the details of the wantonness visited on the national economy by those who were sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution of the country for the well-being of the citizens.
By the way, Reno would have heard how the Nigerian economy is on the rebound despite crude oil price pressure and quantity shortfall. Nigeria has returned to being the largest economy in Africa by value of GDP and the $1.82 billion imported into the country over the last six months talks much to a renewal of foreign investors’ confidence in Nigeria. Meanwhile, the Buhari government has been paying off liabilities incurred during the days of Jonathan, the payment of 81 months pension arrears for service men and women, the N46 billion debt from fertiliser purchase inherited from the last administration, has initiated job creation schemes such as NPower, GEEP (Microfinance), NELEX (http://www.nelexnigeria.com/), the BOI Funds for Graduates and Youth Corpers, among others are some of the many good things happening under the Buhari presidency.
. Akinsiju, a public affairs and development analyst, writes from Lagos.