The tortuous journey of the current occupiers of Aso rock and the presidency has continued and following the initial denials that Nigeria was only in a regression, the federal government has now admitted that the Nigerian economy is indeed in recession. From all indications and the evidence so far it has been from one confusion to another since May 2015 when this administration was sworn in. First, it took forever for Mr. President to nominate Ministers whom he could easily have nominated the very day he was sworn in. Then the budget process took forever, albeit with all the drama (stolen not stolen, missing not missing, padded not padded, but really padded). They have also claimed they have an economic policy, but not even those who lead the economic team know what this policy is.
The president has remained largely silent on what his economic plan is, the same way he largely says nothing about certain important national issues. It seems this administration has a way of seeing the same thing in different perspectives. A vivid example is the much talk and bravado against terrorism by Boko Haram, but silence over the terrorism by Fulani herdsmen. If one goes back in time to 1983/84 there are several examples of President Buhari’s selective interests on burning national issues or ideas that he even set up himself including the case of the 52 suitcases.
The economy in 1984 when Buhari was the Military Head of State also stagnated largely because of his policies, but he kept blaming the immediate democratically elected government of Shehu Shagari, the same way he now blames Goodluck Jonathan for the present economic woes in Nigeria. Those old enough in the mid-1980’s can recall the era of essential commodities, the trade by barter and about the first time Naira really started sliding all under President Buhari. Now, in 2016 Buhari wants to return to a military dispensation of autocracy. When the then General M. Buhari had all that military power and more, the economy was at best run down. This was why it was easy for Nigerians to accept IBB and co when they swept Buhari off. If we all go back to that announcement that brought in IBB there was clear pronouncement of the shrinking and hazy economy just like we have now. Buhari and APC do not need any emergency powers to resuscitate the economy, it is either they can do it or not under the prevailing laws of the nation.
The APC administration and President Buhari’s inner circle do have to believe they can revive the Nigerian economy before they can have the psychological and spiritual will to do so. If they are asking for emergency powers, it means they do not believe they can do so. The administration has to examine if the current economic team has what it takes to redeem the economy. The President should start with the vital question: Can my economic team do the job? Nigerians will be foolish to allow President Buhari and APC have any emergency powers.