BY IKECHUKWU AGADA
It was John F. Kennedy who said, “Things do not just happen, things are made to happen. “
When most kings ascend the throne of their forefathers, they resolve not to stir ripples in the waters for fear it could trigger a wave that might capsize their fledgling rule. In other words, they see but seldom talk; talk but seldom walk. It is only a wise king that knows that a crown of gold is useless if the people do not respect its wearer. “The Next Level Anthem beggars description.”
Image makers have vested interests in manufacturing publicity for their principals. After all, relevance is the name of the game. Thus, even unsavoury episodes are touted as good publicity, so long as the name stays on the lips of the general public, for good or ill. Defending the present administration is herculean because even the blind can see the handwriting on the wall. The Next Level Anthem will make an excellent material for a Nollywood blockbuster.
You many be forgiven if your first impression about the “Next Level Mantra” was paradise on earth. It is a systematic and well thought out agenda oxygenated to impoverish the masses and turn them into robots. It is therefore a no-brainer that things are transforming from bad to worse.
The claim by the Federal Government of Nigeria that shutting border has frustrated smuggling is a welcome development but should not be an excuse to injure innocent Nigerians. The failure of the current government should not be excused on the masses. Nigerians should not be punished because of poor and compromised border security as the development has triggered over inflation(Prices of goods are now reaching the clouds). Closing of border should be holistic(Not closing South leaving North because of predetermined agenda) with adequate provisions made to cushion the effect.
There is a common defect among policy analysts and decision makers of the Federal Government. This gap has to be closed. The revised 7.5% Value added Tax, CBN cashless policy and the composition of the Economic Advisory Council are all economic catalysts but adequate palliative provisions ought to be made to cushion the resultant effect on the poor masses.
For an administration that elevates politics over policy, implementation is her greatest undoing because of vested interests. What is the assurance that the advice of the newly formed Economic Council will be carried out by the President when he is surrounded by a strong cabal? Maybe! the composition is a mere cosmetics aimed at dousing the lamentation of Nigerians?
How does government impose such tax in a country where Government Schools are in bad shape, hospitals are not functioning well, no pipe-borne water, bad roads everywhere and electricity is a scarce commodity? Attempts should not be made to compare developed western countries with good accountability and transparency in governance with Nigeria, where the masses are impoverished via unfriendly leadership. This calculation will not yield the desired result but will increase the non formal economy because emphasis is on payment and deduction and not authentication of the source of the money which may lead to an increase in cyber crimes and corruption.
It is unfair to talk about VAT increase when #30,000 minimum wage implementation is yet to see the light of the day. In a nation where there are countless number of Out-Of-School Children and many live below one dollar per day, imposing unnecessary tax increase is most unfortunate. The CBN forex restrictions on some imported products should be extended to foreign education and medical trips abroad in order to use the Nigerian content initiative to fix local hospitals and public schools and make them attractive so that those who cannot afford (medical or educational) trips abroad can also enjoy good healthcare and sound education in a country they are joint heirs to, perhaps, this is one of the reasons why some sister nations do not value Nigeria and her citizens despite being the giant of Africa.
Solving security and electricity challenges should be paramount in a country where a sitting Chief Executive Officer of a State took a selfie with bandits brandishing arms; negotiating with these men(Fulani Herdsmen) is an affirmation of Fulanization Conspiracy Theorem. It is sad that Nigeria is going on a borrowing spree when #100billion has been earmarked for the National Livestock Transformation Scheme despite the mutual suspicion and public outcry over the RUGA racket. Perhaps, these developments are some of the reasons why the 2020 budget is yet to be passed.
The Federal Government should mandate the CBN to as a matter of urgent public importance, to suspend these anti-people, anti-economy and pro-poverty unfriendly policies in order not to frustrate the ease of doing business. The Senate should concur with the House of Representatives by taking a stand against these policies before it becomes law.
This government is obviously on a revenge mission, a cursory flip through the yellow pages of history will leave you breathless. The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. Nigeria at this challenging time needs leadership that will inject pro-people innovations, and game-changing ideas to improve the international image of the country and bring honour to her citizenry.
GOD BLESS YOU