Buhari posses a propensity to take the wrong decisions.
When Buhari became president, fuel was retailing at N86.50….Nigeria biggest cost, pre-subsidy removal was subsidy payments on imported petrol..Candidate Buhari said he did not “understand what fuel subsidy was”. What he was saying is fuel subsidy was all fraudulent…that once he stops corruption, there would be no need for subsidy on imported petrol…
So when he became President, he refused to raise local price of fuel nor pay subsidy to importers. With no subsidy payments, importers of petrol simply stopped importing..fuel lines grew, nation was paralyzed. Buhari had to present a N413b supplementary budget to cover subsidy payments. He was also forced to raise local retail prices of PMS….Today fuel retail price is N143.
Can we quantify what the economy lost because Buhari took the wrong decision not to partially remove PMS subsidies or raise fuel prices ?
Lets look at the Naira…when Buhari took over Naira was exchanging for N197 to $1. As oil prices fell and imports into Nigeria increased, President Buhari refused to officially sanction the devalue the Naira, he called devaluation “killing the Naira”.
Without a defacto approval from Aso Rock to devalue, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was left with only one option…Defend the Naira. So the CBN started an insane policy of artificially seeking to dampen demand for US dollars. After 2 years of that failed exchange rate policy that saw Nigerian dollar bonds kicked out of the JP Morgan Government bond index, Nigeria eventually devalued.
Today official Naira exchange rate ie N360. Can we quantify what the economy lost because Buhari wanted a strong Naira?
Finally lets look at National security and power generation.
Nigeria gets its power from gas. Gas is found in the East of Nigeria but the population and economic centres are in the West of Nigeria. Someone took a decision to place power plants in the West of Nigeria and pipe gas from the East of Nigeria….Those gas pipelines are old, exposed and a prefect target for criminals and “freedom fighters” who under MEND started to blow them up.
Under President Umaru YarAdua an amnesty agreement was signed, in summary the “freedom fighters” were bribed to stop the destruction of national assets of pipelines in return for juicy contracts and “salaries”….it worked, there was calm.
Buhari had different ideas, he wanted to renegotiate the agreement, he said “The militants must dialogue with the Federal Government or be dealt with in the same way as Boko Haram, We will deal with them as we dealt with Boko Haram if they refuse to talk to us”. He stopped the juicy contracts, Buhari launched Operation, Delta Safe and Crocodile Smile to bring the region and its resources under the full control of the Federal Government. The “freedom fighters” restarted their bombing of gas pipelines…power supply crashed, oil exports crashed. The army went in and could not stop the bombings.( how could they? the pipelines run under people’s homes , how do you patrol and control that?)
Nigeria was again forced to negotiate…After negotiations, the amnesty salaries were restated, gas supply went up, crude oil exports went up. Can we quantify what the economy lost because Buhari decided to use the stick instead of the carrot in the creeks?
These were major decisions where the President’s decisions making were based more on his personal opinion. The President position on devaluation for instance was not based on economics but personal conviction. However these pale in comparison to the Buhari’s current headache which is IPOB. Under Nmandi Kanu, IPOB is a unique problem because it own existence goes against the existence of Nigeria as a sovereign entity. These is really no middle ground, it is either IPOB wins or Nigeria wins.
So far, Buhari has bungled the IPOB response, he has equated Nmandi Kanu to Biafra, equated IPOB to Biafra and legitimate cries of marginalisation from the South East to Biafra. IPOB was elevated by Buhari, He sustained them by killing them in broad daylight, he has nourished their ideology by his own comments such as 97%/5%. Buhari fought in the Nigerian civil war, his mindset views Biafra as the defeated enemy, when he sees IPOB, he see an enemy he defeated in the 1960s. he cannot quite appreciate these are Nigerians demanding the right to free speech and expression that is enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution.
It is not illegal to form a group or association and peacefully seek to negotiate the very foundations of your own nation, its happening in California, Brussels, Barcelona, Bahrain, Scotland and Cameroon. There are Mr President no “non-negotiable” issues in a democracy. Democracy is afterall “a system of government in which political authority is vested in the people (derived from the Greek words “demos”=the people and “kratos”=authority”.
IPOB should be allowed to demand, peaceful….then the Nigerian federation should have the opportunity to democratically defeat these demands, peacefully.
Buhari now has a decision to make with IPOB, He must resist taking decision based on his personal beliefs alone and instead take decisions that will make Nigeria greater. Let me be clear, should the military go into the South East and start to kill Nigerians…again, then again Buhari would have taken the wrong decision….again.
No matter the “provocation”, the answer to IPOB is not bullets.
My own is to post…