Special report:  How Buhari Destroyed Nigeria’s Economy; Tinubu Urges Military To Shun Anything That Will Truncate Democracy

By Elizabeth Chukwuma

When the World Bank, under the Leadership of Ajay Banga, says Nigeria’s economy faces recession severe economic recession, described as the worst since the 1980s under Former President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration in June 2020, no body took the global Bank seriously.

Officials of the World Bank had said that that ‘’the country’s economy will contract by 3.2% in 2020 because of poor management of its oil resources by the Buhari’s Administration’’. There is no gain saying the fact that oil revenue alone accounts for over 80% of the country’s Banking sector credit, and 50% of all government revenue.

The World Bank officials were said to have warned then Buhari’s government   which relies on domestic and external borrowing to raise foreign exchange that the drop in oil prices in the international oil market, would affect the country’s oil revenues to fall from the already 8% of the GDP, achieved in 2019 to 5% in 2020 and may become worse in the coming years. Officials of the World Bank were said to have told then President Buhari that’’ tough fiscal policy measures are needed to stimulate the economy but the advice fell on deaf ears’’. He had planned to remove subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, popular petrol but could not implement it leaving it for his successor in office to do.

Barely four years after the Nigerian government failed to heed to the World Bank advice to initiate tough fiscal  measures to stimulate  the economy which then Buhari’s government failed to do  that  may have landed the country into the current economic mess  aggrieved Nigerians who could no longer take the hardship had taken to the streets in  Mina, Capital of Niger, home state of Ibrahim Babangida, a retired Army General and former Nigeria self- styled President, Suleja, a major town in the state  and  Kano to draw President Bola Ahmed  Tinubu’s attention to the hardship in the country.  

The deteriorating economic situation which the International Monetary Fund, IMF, under the close watch of  Kritalina Georgieva  was said to have also  blamed the country’s stagnant growth rate, widespread poverty, and severe food insecurity that have contributed to the persistent  high cost –of- living crisis  for the country’s economic crisis, noting  that ‘’it may be worse in the coming months if nothing urgent is done  to ameliorate the situation’’.

 IMF officials were said to have corroborated the World Bank report that’’ inadequate revenue collection had remained one of the major obstacles hindering the nation’s economy.  More worrisome was the Tinubu’s Administration’s decision to implement the old policies of the Buhari’s government which has to do with elimination petrol subsidy and free float of the naira in the country’s foreign exchange market and disruptions to the country’s Agricultural production.

Tinubu and Buhari in a pix when the going was good

Given that Tinubu is not ready to worsen the country’s domestic and external debts problem as the  Katsina state born former Nigerian President   did,  may have informed why the country’s external financing I scarce  as global  food prices  have risen sharply reflecting  the repercussions  of conflict  and geo-economic fragmentation. 

 IMF Authorities had made it clear to those that cares to listen’’ that what is appropriate for the present Nigerian government to do ‘’is to focus on restoring the country’s micro-economic stability and creating the enabling environment for sustained , high and inclusive  growth that will raise the country’s reserves and every limited  fiscal space constrain’’ .

The worry of many now is that under the Tinubu’s  over seven months of his Administration  a bag of  foreign parboiled  rice  is going for almost N80,000.00, a litre of petrol   over N700.00 while N1,500.00 is now going for the North American country of the United States dollar in the country’s Autonomous Foreign exchange market, AFEM. There are indications that why Nigerians are suffering, the National Assembly monthly take0-home salary is over $30 million. 

Sule Lamido Sanusi, a former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, during Goodluck Jonathan’s Administration and deposed Emir of Kano,  had said that Nigerians rather than blaming Tinubu for the present hardship in the country, ‘’accusatory fingers  should be pointed  at Buhari, ‘’over the way  he meddled the economy’’.  

According to him,   the former Katsina state – born Nigerian President’’ had turned deaf ear to reasonable advice on how to take Nigeria out of economic woes’’.   He noted that ‘’any economist   who has studied the previous Administration’s monetary and fiscal policies in the last eight years knows that Nigerians will fall into this difficult situation’’.

Sanusi: Governor of CBN Blames Buhari for Nigeria’s economic mess

The  erstwhile apex Bank governor  who could  not hide his feelings may have shocked Nigerians when he declared  that ‘’the difficult situation  is just the beginning  ‘’if the right  decision  is not put in place , noting that  such situations  had happened  in Germany , Zimbabwe, Uganda, and Venezuela in the past.

An aggrieved Sanusi had said that during Buhari’s Administration, Nigerians were living a fake lifestyle   with huge debt from both foreign and domestic sources. He averred that the Nigerian government owed over N30trn, which was said to have resulted   in debt service surpassing 100%. The  Buhari Administration was said to have wated N23 trn in eight years  with nothing to show for it but Tinubu in seven months  had printed N7.8 trn , thus making too much  naira available in the economy and still borrowed  like Buhari, his predecessor. That much was confirmed by Nnaemeka Obiaeri, a development Economist and Investment Banker. When he appeared on Channels Sunrise programme recently.  ,

Sanusi, the former CBN, governor has  made it clear to those that cares to listen that the country’s economy was  poorly  managed  under Buhari’s Administration  as the they  are  not willing ‘’ to take advice’’, apart from sycophancy.

He asserted  those sycophants  are  the ones  that were buying  the United States dollar  at the rate of  N400.00 and selling  it at the rate of N600.00 to N700.00 at the parallel  foreign exchange market or  their established Bureau de’ Change.

The former Emir of Kano had  lamented  that there was a case of a boy  who has no record  of service  both in the private or public sectors of  the economy   but own  a private jet and own houses  in Dubai, and England  because  he is buying US dollars  at so a rate  and selling them.

While  the poor management of the Nigeria’s economy  by the  Buhari’s Administration has  become the discussion wherever two or three people meet, another major   revelation by  one Ogbu Onyeka Michael , a Branch Controller of CBN, currently Headed by Olayemi Michael Cardoso  . The CBN, branch Controller had revealed that Godwin Emefiele,   the former CBN helmsman had approved $6.230 million to settle election observers in the last 2023 general elections. 

Cardoso” Governor, CBN

Ogbu, the CBN, branch Controller,   had said that  the amount  was given out in cash   to  one Jibril Abubakar, an official of  from the official the office of the SGF following approvals  by then President Buhari and Emefiele, the ex-CBN, governor. He had said that the request for the release of the $6.230 million to settle the foreign election observers was made by Mustapha, the immediate past SGF.

Boss Mustapha, immediate past Secretary to government of the Federation had told an Abuja High Court o Tuesday, February 13, while testifying   in the trial of Emefiele, that Buhari’s signature was forged by those who withdrew the $6.230 million from the CBN, on February 8, 2023.

Based on the purport document allegedly written by the former SGF, the CBN Internal Memo dated 7th February , 2023,  purported written by the apex Bank Director of Banking Services  Department  to the  Controller , Abuja Branch, with the intent  that the CBN , Abuja Branch Controller  will believe that documents were genuine  to pay them the sum of $6.230 million, which he did. This how had the situation of things were in the country at the tail end of the Buhari’s Administration: stealing from government coffers by Officials?  

Even Emefiele, the former CBN, governor had told the Court that his ‘’signature was also forged’ by those who withdrew the $6.230 million from the apex Bank for payment of foreign election Observers. Already, three persons :Adamu Abubakar, mam Abubakar and Eric Ocheme who were said to have forged the immediate past Nigerian President Signature and provided the documents  purportedly written by Mustapha, the former SFG,  to Emefiele in January 23, 2023,  to induce the payment  of the $6.230 million  from the CBN were said to have been put on the watch list of Interpol.

In spite of the fact that more damning  reports are still coming about Buhari’s eight year-old Administration and poor management of the economy, which is causing Nigerians much  suffering,  Sule Lamido, a Chieftain of the Opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP,  and former governor of the north western staten of Jigawa , and who incidentally had served a minister of Foreign Affairs during Former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s government  would want Tinubu,  ‘’to take preventive  measures  against the general  discontent  in the country arising  out of  increasing poverty,  high cost of living  and the insecurity  currently bedeviling  the nation  to avert a likely disaster’’.

Lamido: former governor of Jigawa state wants Tinubu to address the sufferings of Nigerians before it is too late

Tinubu may have read the handwriting on the wall that there is total discontent of his Administration in both official and unofficial circles  that he was said to have  urged  the Nigerian Army  on Saturday, February 10, 2024,  ‘’to shun actions  that would  truncate  Nigeria’s democracy’’.

Ajuri Nggelale, Media Aide to the President had said the former Lagos state governor made the plea to the soldiers   at the Diamong Jubilee of the Nigerian Defense Academy, NDA, Kaduna.

Appealing to the soldiers  ‘’to continue to play  their Constitutional  role of safeguarding  the country’s territial  integrity  he noted any inimical acts  ‘’can destroy the gains of democracy  which  we have  enjoyed  in the last 20years’’.

The Nigerian President appears to be worried because in the past three years or thereabout, some African countries such as Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Sudan, and most recently Niger and Gabon, have been controlled by the military junta who had cited corruption insecurity, and increased poverty and high cost of living as the bases ‘’for the takeover from democratic governments’’ in their respective countries.

In a related development, the Economic and Final crimes Commission, EFCC, under the Leadership of Ola Olukoyede,  appears to have beamed their searchlight  on the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA,  which ha Mohammed Bello-Koko, as the Managing Director and other government agencies collecting North American country of the United States, US, dollars, in their transactions to be among those putting much pressure on the local currency and why it is depreciating in the country’s  official foreign exchange market. 

Olukoyede: Executive Chairman, EFCC, tackles Individuals & Organizations who conducts their transactions in US dollar

The maritime agency which is never short of reasons for charging some of its operators in US, dollars   had said that ‘’it is because ‘’shipping is an international industry and the American dollar  is a widely  accepted  means of payment’’  and therefore not involved in killing the naira at the country’s forex market.

Sarah Ballah, acting General Manager and  Head of Corporate Communications of the Authority had reportedly said that it could not have failed to charge for its services in US dollar like other maritime nations ‘’ because shipping businesses  are international’’ , nothing that  since the agency is dealing with the international Community  and in which some transactions  have to be done  on the internationally  accepted medium of exchange, which is the US  dollar  .

She had said that some of the things that that the Authority does like procurement of vessels and pilot cutter among others, are transacted in US dollars and not naira because they are dealing with  the International Community.  She further stated that some other transactions involving the services of barge operators can be paid in US dollars or its naira equivalent based on the existing rate at the   CBN controlled Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market, AFEM.   

The NPA, spokesperson may have been encouraged to respond to enquiries  why it is charging US dollars  in some of its transactions with operators because EFCC, Authorities were said to have assemble  a ,000 –person special task force  to operate across   its 14 offices, targeting individuals and organizations  involved  in illegal  dollar transactions  to relieve the pressure on the naira.   The anti-graft agency may have set up the task force to strengthen the naira because of the failure of the   government backed CBN, multiple foreign exchange policies to revamp the struggling local currency against the US, dollar, Which recently fell o over N1,500.00.    

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