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๐ƒ๐ข๐ฌ๐ฌ๐จ๐ง๐š๐ง๐œ๐ž ๐š๐ง๐ ๐๐š๐ซ๐จ๐๐ฒ: ๐“๐ก๐ž ๐๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ข๐๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ฒ ๐€๐ง๐ ๐‘๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐๐š๐ซ๐ญ๐ฒ ๐Œ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐‹๐ž๐š๐ ๐๐ฒ ๐„๐ฑ๐š๐ฆ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐ž

๐ƒ๐ข๐ฌ๐ฌ๐จ๐ง๐š๐ง๐œ๐ž ๐š๐ง๐ ๐๐š๐ซ๐จ๐๐ฒ: ๐“๐ก๐ž ๐๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ข๐๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ฒ ๐€๐ง๐ ๐‘๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐๐š๐ซ๐ญ๐ฒ ๐Œ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐‹๐ž๐š๐ ๐๐ฒ ๐„๐ฑ๐š๐ฆ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐ž

๐๐ฒ ๐”๐ ๐จ๐ฃ๐ข ๐„๐ ๐›๐ฎ๐ฃ๐จ – By 1976, the alarm bells had started ringing. Before then, the country had had so much money it didnโ€™t know what to do with it. But by 1976, corruption and profligacy had settled on indolence and seized the country by the throat. Food production had been plummeting, but nobody bothered because the public had developed a gluttonous appetite for foreign goods.

Then Obasanjo and crew woke from slumber and launched Operation Feed the Nation. The civil war had taught them how to use propaganda. That operation didnโ€™t reach the farms. It ended on radio jingles. Wanton wastefulness and sybaritism complicated by incoherent thought at the highest levels didnโ€™t allow any practical purposefully coordinated activity. Perhaps our priority was Festac 77, so we ended the era in a cement armada. That was a parody.

Shagari and company came in 1979. Like intoxicated sailors, they steered the country with a broken moral compass into rough waters of laziness and vanity. But while doing that and staring at jarring agricultural output and balance of payment figures, they replaced the moribund Operation Feed the Nation with a more lyrical Green Revolution. Behind that green facade, politicians imported luxury rice and wines, premium canned fish and meat, and partied hard. By 1982, the countryโ€™s foreign reserve had all but disappeared.

So the government decided to paper over the crack. They got busy in the parliament and conjured up a new bill. Economic Stabilization Act of 1982, they called it. The Act was a halfhearted attempt by a dissipated crew to check the drift. Our sailors were still jaded and unrepentant. That legislative instrument of desperation raised excise duties and taxes and removed some subsidies. Indeed, the Act should have been named Economic Rescue Act. Because stabilization suggested that the ship of the economy hadnโ€™t run aground. The oil boom had gone bust, but our frantic sailors were still high on foreign liquor.

The military came in at the end of 1983. When they arrived, the nation had a paltry 2.8 billion dollars in foreign reserves. Too little money to fund imports for more than one month. Buhari and company, summarily, introduced Austerity Measures. To their credit, that was the first time a government thought attitudinal changes were as important as the withdrawal of subsidies and tax increases in solving economic maladies. The War Against Indiscipline. That government lived frugally. But many of its policies were so draconian that it couldnโ€™t attract foreign investments to grow the economy. The restriction of free market was asphyxiating.

After Buhari was overthrown in 1985, Babangida announced his Economic Emergency. Following that Emergency fiasco which lasted 15 months, the economy contracted by more than 8 percent. Dissonance had returned in full force. Dissonance is a marked disparity in what a preacher says and how he lives. The government preached one thing and lived the opposite. With the economy refractory to his ineffectual elixirs, Babangida devised the notorious Structural Adjustment Program SAP.

Strikingly, all the attitudinal changes Buhari had tried to institute were undermined by Babangidaโ€™s legendary permissiveness. Though his policies lacked a human face, his government lacked basic moral scruples. The haphazardly implemented program that preached fiscal discipline but managed to enthrone systemic sleaze left the country financially and morally dissipated. Dissipated to dissoluteness.

When a beleaguered Babangida stepped aside or jumped off the ship and ultimately paved the way for Abacha to usurp the throne, the country was contending with a major political tornado. With the benefit of hindsight, Abacha was the most hypocritical of the lot. A taciturn Pharisee. While setting up failed banks and failed contract tribunals to clean up the polity, he looted the country into anaemia. That was the man that hallucinated Vision 2010.

The pattern has never really changed. So we can safely march on to the present. President Tinubu has come with the guts to confront the situation. The ship is floundering in rough waters. Jagaban has courageously yanked off the petrol and dollar subsidies and thrown them overboard to lighten the vessel. He plans to be combative on taxes. The enlightened consensus is that he has used his scalpels diligently on the public side of the wound. The wound had festered and the pus had to be drained. Pain is inevitable. Once again the public has been sent reeling by spiraling inflation and miserable living conditions. But while the public is grappling with food and fuel and tormented by insecurity, newly elected govt officials are again partying like school boys on summer holidays. At every turn, a politician is hiring aides like a buffoon. The government has used the surgical blade on the public but has done nothing to trim government profligacy, gluttony and vanity. Tinubu must circumscribe his government.

President Tinubu should know that if he removes all the subsidies in Nigeria and throws a tight band around the belly of the nation to flatten it , he might achieve nothing if he doesnโ€™t institute stricter measures to squeeze out profligacy and corruption from government offices and treasury. Nigeria has never lacked economists and economic policies. Obasanjo, Buhari, Babangida, and Abacha had them all. What the country has lacked is the political courage to institute frugality, probity, transparency, and accountability. To be sustainable, any attitudinal change must start from the top and must be seen in the personal lifestyle of the president and his men. Then it can diffuse to all governments in the country. A cost-cutting mentality that prioritises production over consumption.

President Tinubu must begin his moralising with the presidency and the ruling party. Only principled governance and politicking can save the nation. The civil service is a gas-guzzling smoke-puffing rickety bolekaja. True reform of the civil service and military must start with a reformation of the presidency and the ruling party. The president must lead by example. If he exhibits a cost-cutting mentality around the presidency by being spare, others will emulate. Positive symbolism is critical. The decapitated EFCC has become an orphaned and tailless cow tormented by flies. Itโ€™s a moral tragedy. If the president installs a buffoonish rogue as his party chairman then the party canโ€™t sell any moral ideas to anyone. If the president removes the petrol subsidy and retains some subsidy in corruption that allows indicted politicians to peacock about in the corridors of power, his reform will become a parody.

Only strong moral leadership can rescue this country. Our leaders are still living subsidised opulent lives. Pain and anguish may be corollaries of effective therapy. But both monkeys and baboons ought to be united in it. Decreeing misery for the monkeys while baboons live out their fantasies in wantonly pampered lives is a display of naked dissonance, a comical parody, that will birth an armageddon.

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