Femi Ajayi's Outlook

Yar'Adua is demonstrating to Nigerians that he might be lacking the requisite to lead a complex nation like Nigeria. His choice as PDP candidate then was reminiscence to the fact that he was the best out of the worst leading candidates for Nigerian President then.


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Dr. Femi Ajayi


knew the opposition to the New Naira Regime as announced by Chukwuma Soludo, the Governor of Central Bank, Nigeria, would be strong. I am not surprised, and Nigerians should never be stunned at the flip-flopping Froggy attitude of the Federal Government toward the redenomination of Nigerian Currency, Naira.

In my last piece on this subject, I referenced forces that would definitely kill the idea of revamping Nigerian currency. Not quite hours after the publication, the politically inclined Attorney General and Minister of Justice of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mr. Michael Kasse Aandoakaa, (SAN), announced the suspension of the new Naira Regime as announced by Professor Chukwuma Soludo, because Soludo did not follow the Due Process. Nigeria needs to move beyond the millipede race in order to catch up with the rest of the world economically.

When you kept Lions for days without feeding, you are bound to have very aggressive reaction whenever there was an opportunity to be fed. It would be like the real life event between the Lion and Buffalo at a location caught on eight minutes video. Find out yourself through this video http://www.aolvideoblog.com/2007/08/08/battle-at-kruger/, to see how lower animals worked together to rescue one another. Nigerians might have to come together and rid the country of the selfish insatiable so called Nigerian leaders from the public services.

One of Nigeria problems, especially with Nigeria leaders, is not looking beyond their personal gains while in public service. Unfortunately, it's no different with the local organizations we set up abroad. The first question Nigerians would ask you what is in there for them, not what they are going to contribute to the organization. Ironically they would turn around to be fighting ONLY for themselves not for the generality of the community, after their membership of the association. Until Nigerian leaders start learning to think of others first before thinking of themselves before Nigeria could be better. Unfortunately, Mr. "Servant Leader" millipede start is not demonstrating that to Nigerians as his feather is weighing zero pounds.

Regrettably in Nigeria, good policy does not always have popular support, because Nigeria is putrid. We could realize that Chief Olusegun Obasanjo would never have the recognition of most Nigerians for what he did to improve upon the dent done on Nigeria. Ironically his policies would be treated without any credit, if not adulterated. Most Nigerian leaders think, possibly not seeing beyond their nose, and they could care less about the future of Nigeria. Their game plan has been to enrich themselves when they get to the corridors of power.

Due Process has been enshrined into the Nigerian public service vocabulary for ways and manners at which Nigerian public services are been carrying out. Public service without following proper procedure, not applying the common sense, or following the protocol, if I may bring it closer home a little bit, DUE PROCESS is what Nigerian public officials is bragging as a new phenomena in their vocabulary.

Some of them echoed "Due Process" without understanding the meaning. Just like some civil servants I spoke with while at the Cabinet Office in Abuja recently, they were very ignorant about the use of the word Diaspora. According to them they heard people saying Diaspora Nigerians, and they decided to join the 'band-wagon', by referring to Nigerians Abroad, as Diaspora Nigerians.

Unfortunately, we begin to see the hands of the naked evil-minded politicians on the progressive move to bring some sense into Nigerian currency. The abuse of Naira would continue: Those that depend solely on trading in hard currency, whose brain have been placed under their foot; who could not think of a better way to make their God-given brain to do more job for them; those that would like to just sit under the bamboo and mango trees drinking burukutu, palm wine, nun nun, in their respective hamlets and villages, going after women in the community; those that would get rich without sweating; are now at the game again. Those that arrogate to themselves as 'Royalties' so that poor people could come to them for one thon or the other, the lords of the flies, the tin god of WAZOBIA, the political game between "Chuwuemeka and Ibrahim" could be back again.

Since the former Deputy Central Bank Governor, Dr. Shamsuddeen Usman was appointed a Finance Minister; it was assumed that he would cut the 'wings' of Professor Soludo, the man who meant well for the Country. Given where Dr. Usman is coming from, based on the strained relationships between him and Soludo, one could easily guess and conclude that, given any opportunity, Dr. Usman, would give the 'glory' back to those that have nothing to do with their life more than to keep on punishing the poor Nigerians while they continue with their hard currency trade.

If I may repeat the advantages of the new Naira Regime; it would stop the abuse of Naira, it would make Nigerians stay at home rather than resulting into all evil practices of human trafficking for foreign currencies; the brain drain would be minimized; the social ills, such as prostitution, child trafficking, prostitution, the quest to go abroad for greener pastures, and bribery would be minimized; and the use of banking system would be encouraged discouraging armed robbery. People would strive to be working harder, the lost Nigerians Abroad would think twice before staying 'for ever' abroad. Many things would happen for good in Nigeria with the New Naira Regime that is being suspended now (September 2007). We cannot be selfish about the new Naira Regime. All sorts of fraud like the "dollar Man" would be minimized.

This goes down to the "Servant Leader" of good philosophy, who has started flip flopping now on some major policies that affect poor vulnerable Nigerians. Jostling with people's life is not how to be a "Servant Leader". Since May 29, 2007, up till today, September 3, 2007, Mr. "Servant Leader's" direction is still very cloudy.

Both the Presidency and Attorney General should get their acts together and stop confusing Nigerians. I hope President Yar'Adua is watching his steps, as he is on the brink of suspending some of the reforms embarked by the last administration. He first suspended Ahmadu Ali's houses earmarked for demolition then retracted that decision; Placing EFCC and ICPC under AG was ill-advised, and the flip-flop "Servant Leader" quickly succumbed without applying the scientific approach, and later swiftly recoiled.

He suspended Soludo's Central Bank reforms, the new Naira Regime, for refusing to follow the due process, the President turned around to say that Soludo has acted under the Act that created CBN and has full confidence in him; He is suspending the lands allocation in Abuja, and revoking some of them; Yar'Adua is suspending Education Reforms. May be Nigerians should join him to suspend the April 2007 Elections that ushered him in as Nigerian President of which he has agreed to have been massively rigged. The elections most Nigerians perceived to have been marred with malpractices and DUE PROCESS was not followed.

The "Servant Leader", if we may break it down, has to listen to the yearnings of poor Nigerians. When Soludo made his new Naira Regime public, it was opened for public debate. Professors, Experts, Novices like this writer have been reacting to the new Naira Regime. Mr. "Servant Leader" should have allowed the debate to go on, which could have influenced his final decision, and not stopping the new direction. That is what is expected of a "Servant Leader". It would also polish his Political manifesto, in reviving Nigeria and attaining the level he hopes to attain in 2020.

Yar'Adua needs some inferno in his system. During the electioneering campaign Nigerians did not see that fire in his system as Atiku was going to destabilize his imposed ambition. If he were left alone to face ANPP or AC, he might have not tasted Aso Rock, regardless. When it was even rumored that he died, Yar'Adua said little about it. Thanks to his mentor, Chief Obasanjo, the master of 'modern Nigerian election', who dispelled the rumor through a public phone call to Yar'Adua in Germany then. According to the saying, if you don't like the heat, don't go to the kitchen. He should not allow the retrogressive hands back to Nigeria again.

The President's 'sidekicks' AG, Mr. Mike Aandokaa, (SAN) and Finance Minister, Dr. Shamsuddeen Usman echoed by Mr. Segun Adeniyi, President's Special Adviser on communications, are speaking from both sides of their mouth. AG alleged that Soludo did not follow due process. According to the Chief Law Officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,

"…the action of the CBN Governor violated Section 19, sub-section 1 and 2 of the CBN Act. Therefore, the actions must abate. All actions of the CBN in the re-denomination must be in accordance with the CBN Act. So, until an approval is sought for and obtained in writing from the President, all actions on the re-denomination must stop. He should stop all other actions."

Finance Minster, Dr. Shamsuddeen Usman, would say "The autonomy of the CBN is not in question; they acted within the law (establishing it). … Obviously, they (CBN) didn't come to the government to approve (the proposals). The CBN Act doesn't allow it to get such approval before they act. They (CBN) don't require government's approval for decisions. Under the new policy the naira would have reverted to its pre-1986 level of about N1.25 to one dollar." What then informed the AG to state then that CBN Governor did not follow the DUE PROCESS?

The Special Adviser to the President on Communications, Mr. Segun Adeniyi would say that

"… all programmes and policy initiatives of the bank which fall within the ambit of its powers and authority, as enshrined in the CBN Act and other relevant laws, will continue to have the full support and approval of Yar'Adua. …. The CBN has autonomy over monetary policies but it is the responsibility of the Federal Government to manage fiscal policies. But what happened over the redenomination is that the CBN went beyond its powers and the issue has been resolved."

In all these President Yar'Adua says that Soludo has acted according to the dictates of the Act that created its autonomy. He has confidence in him.

Nigerians agreed that Soludo should have consulted with the President. That is depending on how the President would react to it. If you know whom you are working with, and for, you would think of an approach to do that. Lack of action on any issue is a policy. CBN being autonomous and Nigerians are looking to a better approach to their economy; Soludo has to make it public. Eventhough he might have risked his job, but there is life after CBN Governor. He is a reputable Economic Professor. At least Nigerians is now aware where the progressive train is going to be grounded. We could look at it as a proposal that needs some adjustment and not the final implementation. Soludo has the authority to initiate economic policy that would be progressive for Nigeria.

Could we assume that some Nigerian political leaders may not even understand the meaning of the Constitution, let alone practice it? The Attorney General blows cold and hot simultaneously and Mr. "Servant Leader" echoes it as well. What drive human beings are principles and if you don't have that, you will be flip-flopping from one end to the other. Principles could be right or wrong, but sticking to it is what makes a leader, that is what I like in George Bush Junior, the current (2007) President of the United States of America. Bush remains committed to what he believes in till the end. Flip flopping is a sign of a weak leader and an absence of guided principles.

The newly reconstituted Economic Management Team (EMT), chaired by Finance Minister, Dr. Shamsuddeen Usman, dropped the names of Soludo and Ribadu. It was even rumored that Soludo was under pressure to resign. EMT was charged to immediately consider Soludo's Naira redenomination policy.

If the reasoning for reducing the members of the EMT, by removing Soludo and Ribadu from EMT, was due to non-performance of some EMT members; is Dr. Usman right to say that both Soludo and Ribadu were among those that "never made useful contributions", or he is just playing politics. Nigerians believe that the sour relationship exist between Usman and Soludo. We all know that he became Finance Minister through the 'back door' in collusion with those that do not wish Nigeria well, those whose life depends on hard currency trade. Those that could not use their brain to better their life except the lazy approach to make money without sweating.

It was even reported that some prominent northern leaders also rejected the proposal. They accused Soludo of introducing an unpopular economic policy to bring down the Yar'Adua administration. We can see the shallow thinking of some leaders, whose objection was based on selfish interest. How could the new policy that has not taken off the ground bring down Yar'Adua's administration, if we may ask? How do you want to bring down something that is still on the ground?

Even some individuals that are supposed to know better have interjected their politically minded approach to interpret the new policy to mean that "Naira would be at par with dollar". I don't think people really understood the policy as explained by Soludo. He is not working to equate the Naira with Dollars. That is the area some prominent Nigerians, who think for most Nigerians, have to understand and be highly enlightened.

Yar'Adua is demonstrating to Nigerians that he might be lacking the requisite to lead a complex nation like Nigeria. His choice as PDP candidate then was reminiscence to the fact that he was the best out of the worst leading candidates for Nigerian President then. Yar'Adua could be missing the prerequisite to lead a complex nation like Nigeria.

On his 100 Days message to Nigerians, Yar'Adua says:

"Frankly speaking, I felt very uncomfortable {with the policy}. We concluded that it is like carrying out a surgery on a patient who is not sick. The surgery to remove two zeros is a surgery for hyper-inflated economies. We've had stable exchange rates and single digit inflation over the years. We are not convinced that the state of the national economy requires such policy". We would imagine that Soludo has the second change, without taking a unilateral decision, but "must follow the due process".
Nigeria economy needs that "surgery" to get the country on the race for the economy growth with other advanced countries that are already in the race for the year 2020.

We believe that Soludo New Naira Regime is good economics, which might have met with wrong procedure and politics. Should Nigerians allow politics to triumph over policy? Nigerians are watching the direction of Nigerian "Servant Leader", after his 100 days, Wednesday, September 5, 2007.