If I were advising the Buhari campaign, I would tell him NOT to run – Akintunde F. Adeyemo (JD)

If I were advising the Buhari campaign, I would tell him NOT to run – Akintunde F. Adeyemo (JD)Photo Credit: Bayo Omoboriowo

STATEMENT OF FACTS: Objectively speaking, If I were advising the Buhari campaign, I would tell him NOT to run on his economic records in the last 3 years, for they look so terrible.

This is a precursor to my essay on my assessment of the Buhari administration.

In preparation for an essay that I’m currently working on, I have been reviewing some important economic indicators (including those released by the Central Bank of Nigeria and National Bureau of Statistics), and I can tentatively and confidently tell you this: Objectively speaking, if I were advising the Buhari campaign, I would tell him NOT to run on his economic records in the last 3 years, for they look so terrible.

Two days ago, just to be sure that I wasn’t misreading the available data, I had to send it to a friend, an economist in the US, and he affirmed my interpretation (if he allows me to mention his name, I will do that in my final essay).

My friends, things are BAD (I won’t lie to you), but don’t buy into those who promise quick-fix solutions to our fundamental problems (more on that later).

My latest probe was borne out of my curiosity to uncover why my respected friends, who are progressives and one-time fans of the Buhari administration, have suddenly started chanting Atiku Abubakar. Because I don’t fight irrationally, I had to embark on what I do well—read, research, and report.

When I finish writing my essay, you can judge for yourself (read it with an open mind, please). I have nothing against Buhari or Atiku, so don’t take it personally. I’m here, in observation of my civic duty, to inform my fellow citizens.

Sure, the battle is between Buhari and Atiku, so voters must pick one, but we must thoroughly examine their records.

Statement of facts: We never fully recovered from the last recession. My economist friend put it this way: “Even though the Buhari administration embraced the Keynesian economic model—massive public spending on infrastructural projects (he referred me to the 2018 budget)— it was undermined by corruption and political quagmire, particularly by the Senate.”

From the notes I took from our telephone conversation, he also alluded to the gyrating oil prices (see my past articles on this topic) as one of the problems undermining our economic stability.

By the way, whoever wins the next election will face the same vexing problems that the current administration is facing: As the United States Federal Reserve, the REAL world bank, tightens its monetary policy (leading to increase in interest rates), foreign investors will begin to scrutinize their investments in developing countries. Atiku, who is banking on attracting foreign investors, should not overpromise voters.

Also, China is now locked in an economic battle with the United States, and China recently had to pump in $160 billion into its own economy to avoid economic problems, and that tells me one thing: Our leaders can’t reliably bank on China to continue to bail us out; even if it does, the interest rates will be detrimental to our financial stability. Voters should ask these candidates on how they intend to solve these brewing problems: Please, don’t vote on HOPE this time oooo.

Equally important is the instability in the oil market: The future looks grim. I reasonably expect that oil prices will continue to gyrate for the next couple of years. My rationale is based on my understanding of geopolitics. Ask our leaders how they plan to diversify our economy, just like Saudi Arabia and other major players are doing.

Here is the good news from the private sector, though: Dangote is currently building a world-class refinery in Lagos with a combined capacity of 650,000 barrels of crude oil daily. This ambitious project, projected to cost $12 billion, will solve one of our most vexing problems—fuel importation, which comes with a baggage—fuel subsidy, which politicians use to siphon millions of dollars.

By the way, the Buhari administration has stopped releasing data on how much it is currently using to subsidize fuel (that is troubling from a government that supposedly portrayed itself as transparent).

According to the Financial Times, though, previously released figures showed that the Buhari administration paid more in fuel subsidies than the Jonathan administration. Again, will the Buhari administration explain to Nigerians why it is hiding current figures from the public? If I can get those figures, it will further help my research of the Buhari administration.

Don’t let me give out everything. Look out for the essay, which will be published before the end of the month. Since I don’t know how to abuse people, I will fight back with my pen, which further aggravates those who refuse to debate our fundamental problems but prefer a cult of personality.

As an institutionalist, I am more interested in how we can strengthen our institutions and consolidate our nascent democracy. To do that, we must question our leaders of all stripes. Stop being sentimental.

Written by Akintunde F. Adeyemo (JD)