Punch a new hole in your belts….

Some things just dont change……no matter how many years pass by.

I saw the Nigerian papers today and all of them carried some comments from one Olusegun Obasanjo.
His new year message was to warn Nigerians of an impending recession and asking them to tighten their belts.
Presumably this will involve making new holes in said belt.

He said “If we budget $49 per barrel for crude oil in the year 2009 and the price of crude oil in the international market is now below $40 per barrel, we don‘t need an oracle to tell us that we need to tighten our belt.

“That is the outlook for the world economically and it is not too bright because whatever affects the rest of the world will affect Africa and Nigeria.”

He said Nigerians must be proactive and innovative to enhance revenue from other sources, saying that the gloomy global outlook ‘may not allow us to grow as we have grown in the past.’ 

On the face of it there appears to be nothing wrong with this statement.
Certainly Nigerians have been asked to tighten their belts every year for as long as I can remember.
But Obasanjo as the author of such statements makes it all the more interesting.

One of the biggest problems with bad leadership is that in most cases the effects of such leadership are felt long after the perpetrator has left the scene.
In this case for instance, Obasanjo continues to be a drag on the national fabric as a result of the succession he engineered.

The job of the Nigerian presidency would be difficult for even a fit and healthy 40 year old, never mind a fifty something year old beset by a myriad of unknown medical conditions.
But Obasanjo imagined Yar’Adua as good enough for Nigeria and so he leveraged all the resources available to him and saw him elected.

2 years later, a nation that appeared to be going nowhere in the first place, now resembles a parked vehicle with the engine taken out.

So you have a universally lauded Professor of health due for a ministerial appointment and where do you shove her?
Yep, the ministry of [mis]information where she would oversee the likes of Cyril Stober and perhaps Hameed Adio.
Completely and utterly visionless.

These guys havent got a clue where they are carrying the nation and you wonder if they even fully comprehend the nature of the job they have been called to do.

Back to Obasanjo’s comments; are we not the same country that sold oil for $147/barrell in July last year?
Have we now spent it all? again?
What is the essence of this oil money if the Niger Delta people are not feeling it, the Yorubas complain they cant get any of it and everyone else is willing to swear they are yet to see the benefit of the damn thing.

This guy is effectively telling Nigerians that there’s nothing to look forward to in 2009.
Strangely, we never hear that Nigeria is enjoying a period of economic growth until after it has apparently ended.


But maybe there’s a reason him and folk like him can get away with cheekiness like this.
Maybe they are politically astute enough to know that the average Nigerian is selfish beyond the original definition and scope of the word.
Maybe they know that there is currently no leader or politician selfless enough in the country that will mobilise the people to speak with one voice on something…anything.

Has any nation ever achieved anything meaningful without it’s citizens putting aside differences to agree on something greater than themselves?

The individual selfish end is best met when the common good is advanced.

Maybe in 2009, we will learn to reject people like Obasanjo who squander 8 years of a democratic presidency and everything he ‘achieved’ is easily forgotten within 1 year.
Maybe in 2009 we will not suffer fools gladly when it comes to elected representatives.

Maybe we will learn to question our leaders when they ask us to suffer for another one year without explaining what exactly they plan to be doing in the intervening period to make things just a little better.

Or maybe we’ll just have another year where the president dissapears for weeks and no one knows where he is and then  suddenly surfaces and tells us he has been on the lesser hajj.
Or maybe the president will bring back the late Ozumba Mbadiwe [man ot timber, caliber and caterpillar] from the grave and make him a minister.

Heck, we could even raise the price of petrol to N90/litre to make up for the shortfall in the budget if oil falls to $30/barrel……get the people to pay the difference and if they refuse, make the thing scarce.

And nothing will change…..and before you know it we are in 2010….declaring new beginnings all over again.
And some ex- this or that uses a newspaper interview to warn Nigerians to prepare for economic recession.

Maybe this time they will advise us to remove the belt when it cant be tightened anymore and go naked.

Go forward…..make real change….achieve something lasting.
Or stay where you are….motionless…lifeless……dead….hopeless.

Happy new year. 

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