So the recession finally caught up with these change dudes

September 6, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

Tom Pietrasik



Prince Charles Dickson

Six years into the Obasanjo administration I wrote an admonition titled “Obasanjo’s Nigeria Defined: Recession, Repression and Reforms In Nigeria (The Real Picture)”; by June last year again I was writing another “Of Bailouts, Recession, Repression and Repetitions”.

I will not bore my readers with the several I wrote during the expectation fatigue laden era of Jonathan Goodluck.

Let me however, refresh our memories in the next few paragraphs.

The crocodile and alligator may look alike but they are not friends either, so the man who planted the banana and expected plantain on the premise they look alike would also be disappointed.

I have in the last few weeks watched the drama by our leaders in this new dispensation, listened to my President, Mr. Buhari, and I have legitimate fears that it may well be business as usual. Encouragingly it may be the fact that we are just starting, but in local parlance, we argue that the weekend is determined by the look of Thursday, whether it will be good, or not.

And so far the drama has not showcased much to cheer about. And it was with this in mind I watched governors smile in a photo-shoot with the President, after their meeting—whose sole purpose was federal bailout. As many as 18 states were owing salaries of various months, and shamelessly no ex-governor is in jail, or returning governor in detention for gross mismanagement.

So, what we have yet again is the continued reoccurrence and persistence of repression through economic, political, and social-cultural means, one, which has created a nation of traumatized and dehumanized citizenry. The indicators are obvious that the evil ruling class refuse to see a declining economy, political instability, pervasive and entrenched dictatorial and repressive mode of governance, mass poverty and growing worsening condition of social and personal insecurity and disharmony, widespread opposition against the government, a conglomeration of geo-ethnic and parapoitic associations, both sane and confused ones (with emphasis at the state level).

Consequently, despite doubts in many quarters about the desirability and continuing existence of Nigeria as an indivisible and dissoluble sovereign nation, we continue to soldier on. Soldiering on, in the face of a disconnected federal system, one in which many states are not viable on face value, or are cursed with a leadership bereft of ideas. It’s the pathetic truth although many would emotionally argue that I am wrong, and insist that I do not have anything good to say of Nigeria; well that’s not true, the truth is that our leaders and the people in concert have decided to enslave themselves as a result of parochial interest.

I would not be party to those who believe every Nigerian problem was a function of the “Otuekean” disaster, neither will I be party to those that are hailing the new helmsman in his pursuit of stolen monies and all that hunt, whether witch or real. However the current recession is one that has again exposed the leadership’s confusion over where and how it wants to get to its destination, if it has one at all.

The script is predictable, soon, in our confused state, a prescription called reforms would be required, my fear being that as with previous governments, we may have nothing different from the austerity measures or SAP, which all failed, even if we anticipated success then it could not have been from reforms with no name, no definition, no direction, no duration, and no people orientation.

Already we are being prepared for the hardship in front, when indeed the austere period is with us. Will reforms again not witness a fraudulent and crooks-infested liberalization of trade, petroleum deregulation without petroleum products, and commercialization of social welfare services. Soon, we will be ‘galaxyed’ with an array of stars called technocrats, experts and whatever in the name of Ministers, and if care is not taken, they will still negate their social contract with the people, abdicate their responsibility to recognize, protect and enhance the welfare, security and rights of the citizens.

Again we would go the road of adopting and implementing reforms that may as usual simply inflict enormous hardship, human depravation and insecurity on the populace. The nation is progressively steeped in socio-political and economic crises and repression and the the actors at the helm of affairs are busy chasing the shadow of past mistakes, while the political class walk through the valley of political permutations. The Buhari government should avoid treading, ruling or governing under a climate of political, legal and economic repression, although Nigeria as a nation has been repressed right from the colonial days to the days of neo-colonialism and today “Self-colonialism”, it has simply escalated in the last few months, and if this particular government is to succeed, it must run from the consolidation of economic, of politico-juristic repression to defend exploitation and power inequities.

The present reforms have made it possible for access to critical social welfare goods and services to be restricted only to the rich. The rich that can still afford it from their loot of the so-called national cake take scholarships meant for the poor. Buhari, and the state governors, will have to run away from the tradition of expectedly finding it difficult to do to simple things, mobilizing the vast national and human resources of the nation, effecting a proper restructuring of its institutions by reorientation and mobilization of citizens towards humanistic values, productivity, efficiency social justice, welfare and open accountability.

I end this admonition with George Carlin’s, thoughts “On Reversing Life’s Sequence”:


I want to live my next life backwards:

You start out dead and get that out of the way.

Then you wake up in a nursing home feeling better every day.

Then you get kicked out for being too healthy.

You enjoy your retirement and collect your pension.

Then, when you start work, you get a gold watch on your first day.

You work 40 years until you’re too young to work.

You get ready for High School: drink alcohol, party, and you’re generally promiscuous.

Then you go to primary school, you become a kid, you play, and you have no responsibilities.

Then you become a baby, and then…

You spend your last 9 months floating peacefully in luxury, in spa-like conditions: central heating, room service on tap, and then…

You finish off as an orgasm. I rest my case.


Buhari, legislators, governors and leaders need to get their act together and get it right; whether anybody told them or not, the goodwill is going, going and… As it is today we are playing a repeat episode of the same old difference—empty treasury, chasing corrupt politicians, owing salaries, RECESSION, PATIENCE…and at the end will all these translate to CHANGE—Only time will tell.










Prince Charles Dickson

Currently Prince Charles, is based out of Jos, Plateau State, and conducts field research and investigations in the Middle Belt Region of Nigeria with an extensive reach out to the entire North and other parts. Prince Charles worked on projects for UN Women, Search for Common Ground, and International Crisis Group, among others. He is an alumnus of the University of Jos and the prestigious Humanitarian Academy at Harvard and Knight Center For Journalism, University of Texas at Austin. A doctoral candidate of Georgetown University

Born in Lagos State (South West Nigeria), Prince Charles is proud of his Nigerian roots. He is a Henry Luce Fellow, Ford Foundation grantee and is proficient in English, French, Yoruba Ibo and Hausa. Married with two boys, and a few dogs and birds.


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