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Nigeria, let the Igbo go

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Tunde Odesola

Tunde Odesola

(Published in The PUNCH, on Friday, March 17, 2023)

Cleveland, a city in Ohio, USA, was long regarded as the sufferhead among American cities. Bearing on its big head the weight of an unfortunate nickname – The mistake on the lake – Cleveland shares a few similarities with Nigeria. How did Cleveland get its nickname? This is how.

As recently as the late 1960s and 1970s, Cleveland was described as a city where ducks flew upside down because there was nothing worth dumping on. An unforgettable incident happened in June 1969 that made the appellation of a rundown city stick to Cleveland like a mask.

Just as Nigeria has River Niger, Cleveland has Cuyahoga River, where the city’s factories dumped their waste with reckless abandon. The Cuyahoga River, by the way, empties into Lake Erie, which is the 11th largest lake in the world.

On a fateful ‘Ọjọ́ burúkú, èsù gbo’mi mu’ day when the devil was horribly thirsty for evil, a spark from a moving train on a bridge above the river ignited the toxic chemicals floating on the river, resulting in an inferno five storeys high. The fire was quickly put out and nobody died from the incident.

If such an inferno occurred in our beloved Nigeria, your guess is as good as mine; fake pastors would’ve had a field day, the opposition would’ve accused government of arson, government would have said the fire was God’s wish, and Bubu wouldn’t visit the scene; Garba or Adesina would’ve issued a statement silent on casualties, calling on Christians and Muslims to watch and pray. The hopeless country would’ve moved on.

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Commerce, industry and life folded up in Cleveland as the former 5th largest city population in the US shrunk to become the 54th largest. The river of tears rolling down the cheeks of the Nigerian masses bearing the brunt of misgovernance such as naira scarcity and poverty is bigger than the fast-shrinking Lake Chad, slowly drying up rivers Niger and Benue, and the polluted rivers in the Niger Delta.

But Cleveland has rebounded and is holding its own as America’s third largest iron and steel producing city, arts and cultural hub, topnotch healthcare destination, champion of environmental protection and progenitor of Rock and Roll.

If Cleveland was a ‘Mistake on the Lake’, Nigeria must be a ‘Disaster on the Niger’. Or a ‘Blight on the Benue’. Nigeria’s socio-political history paints the picture of domination, suspicion, hate and jealousy among her various tribes.

The seed of tribal domination, suspicion and hatred was sown with the nation’s first coup d’etat when Igbo soldiers, Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu and Major Emmanuel Ifeajuna, in the night of January 15, 1966, led other coup plotters, who were mainly of Igbo extraction, to carry out a pogrom on Nigeria’s political elite that included Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa, and more than 20 top politicians, senior army officers including their wives, and junior soldiers on duty, even as another Igbo soldier, General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, seized the reins of power when the country was descending into anarchy.

Apart from Nzeogwu and Ifeajuna, other majors that were the masterminds of the first coup in Nigeria were Timothy Onwuatuegwu, Chris Anuforo, Dan Okafor, Adewale Ademoyega, and Humphrey Chukwuka.

A list of the casualties in the January 15, 1966 coup include Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Premier Ahmadu Bello, Premier Samuel Ladoke Akintola, Finance Minister Festus Okotie-Eboh, Ahmed Musa (Ahmadu Bello’s aide), Hafsatu Bello, Mrs Latifat Ademulegun, Zarumi Sardauna, Ahmed Pategi (Bello’s driver).

Others include Brigadier Samuel Ademulegun, Brigadier Zakariya Maimalari, Colonel Ralph Shodehinde, Colonel Kur Mohammed, Lt Colonel Abogo Largema, Lt Colonel James Pam, Lt Colonel Arthur Unegbe, Sergeant Daramola Oyegoke, Police Constable Yohana Garkawa, Lance Corporal Musa Nimzo, Police Constable Akpan Anduka, Police Constable Hagai Lai, and Philip Lewande. Unegbe was the only Igbo killed during the coup.

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Yoruba leader, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, luckily escaped being killed in the January 1966 coup plot because he had been sentenced to a 10-year jail term for alleged conspiracy to overthrow the Balewa government in 1963.

Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, the President of the country, who was on a cruise to the Caribbean when the coup occurred, had transferred powers to the Senate President, Prince Nwafor Orizu.

Then came the counter-coup of July 1966 aka ‘July Rematch’ which was more senseless and sickening than the January coup as an undisclosed number of Igbo soldiers, including Ironsi, were murdered, setting Nigeria on the path of a civil war that started on July 6, 1967 and ended on January 15, 1970 – lasting exactly 2 years, 6 months, 1 week and 2 days.

It’s true to say that the spine of the fragile unity of Nigeria was broken by the January 1966 coup, it is truer to say that the Igbo have never recovered from the Biafra War. No tribe can ever recover from a war that killed an estimated three million people.

Aborigine Indians never recovered till date in the US, Tibetans, Taiwanese and Uyghurs never fully recovered in Chinese hands, natives never recovered in Canada – in wars wherein genocide, starvation and sterilization were potent weapons for forceful land takeover and imperialism.

War is always terrible and avoidable. It’s like the bullet, once shot, it hurries to wreak havoc. It’s sane to say that the January 1966 coup was a military action, whose consequence shouldn’t be visited on an entire tribe. But warmongers would say that everything is fair in war and that the Igbo got what they deserve. However, is it right to kill an ant with a sledgehammer? Is it right to kill a dog because it barks?

The whole concept of Nigeria’s amalgamation is insane, unnatural and pretentious because after the Biafra War, ‘No victor, no vanquished’ became the new song on every lip, whereas suspicion, mistrust and contempt sit in the belly of each tribe.

With the 2023 general elections, the chickens have, again, come home to roost. The elections have, once again, widened the national fissures of ethnicity, religion and hypocrisy accentuated by the headless regime of retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari – a beneficiary of coups. Buhari divided Nigeria so much that when people are killed anywhere in the country nowadays, the first question that comes to mind is, “I hope my tribe isn’t involved’.

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Sadly, ethnicity, religion and hypocrisy have been critical factors determining the swing of electoral victory in the 2023 elections, just like past elections. Sadly, this is what the political elite designed for the masses, and it’s bearing bountiful harvests.

If not hypocrisy, what would you call Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who, as the day of election reckoning nears, has gained rapid demotion from being Lagos State foreman to being Lagos State groundsman ready to hug the homeless, lick the vulcaniser arse and stand at church entrance like a stranded sexton.

If not for ethnicity and hypocrisy, why haven’t the Igbo ever been this concerted, assertive and vehement in condemning bad governance in Igbo land especially, and across Nigeria generally, as they’ve now been rooting in Lagos?

Inasmuch as I’m an advocate of giving the job to the best hands, notwithstanding religious consideration, I’ll be remiss and insincere if I claim that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s Muslim-Muslim was altruistic. That political act was in disregard of Christian religion, and could embolden an encore by the political class in future elections. Its unforeseen fallout is what’s making Sanwo-Olu’s heart beat 1,000 times per minute at the mention of Elluu Pee.

For one thousand and one reasons, the All Progressives Congress should’ve been punished at the polls but it exploited the nation’s faultlines, like other parties also did, to garner votes nationwide in confirmation of the weaponization of poverty.

No doubt, the memory of Biafra wracks the Igbo till date, the same way the loss of Ilorin, a Yoruba land, to the Fulani, rankles the Yoruba still. This is why ‘Lagos is no man’s land’ mantra provokes instant disgust in the Yoruba.

If the Labour Party loses Lagos governorship election on Saturday, the Igbo will come to great political pain, and return to the old song, “We want Biafra.” I join in the song; if the Igbo cannot aspire to be what they want in Nigeria, let them go.

Email: tundeodes2003@yahoo.com
Facebook: @tunde odesola
Twitter: @tunde_odesola

Opinion

Yoruba are cultured, classy, refined people, Omokri says as he condemns northerners

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Yoruba are cultured, classy, refined people, Omokri says as he condemns northerners

Reno Omokri, former presidential aide to ex-president Goodluck Jonathan, has praised the “good virtues” of the Yoruba people while berating the Northerners.

Describing the Yoruba as “such a cultured and refined people,”  Omokri noted that they are “a reflection of class and breeding.”

In a statement posted on his verified X page on Wednesday, Omokri made the remarks while backlashing the North’s approach to criticisms aimed at ex-president Muhammadu Buhari during his tenure.

Omokri noted that “the Yoruba are teaching the rest of us a lesson in tolerance and persuasion” in their defense of President Bola Tinubu’s administration.

On the other hand, he condemned the North for being “aggressive” in their reaction to criticisms directed at Buhari.

Omokri, who noted that the North perceived an attack on Buhari as an attack on the entire Arewa race, argued that “for eight years of General Buhari’s misrule, too many of our Northern brothers defended him rather aggressively and would not tolerate any criticism of the then President.”

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However, he opined that “when you criticize President Tinubu, his kith and kin from the Southwest take a different approach.”

Extolling their virtues, Omokri noted that “Even when they politically disagree with you, the Yoruba will still kill you with respect.”

Omokri’s statement reads, “Things have changed in Nigeria, only that we are not noticing. The Yoruba are teaching the rest of us a lesson in tolerance and persuasion.

“For eight years of General Buhari’s misrule, too many of our Northern brothers defended him rather aggressively and would not tolerate any criticism of the then President. To attack him was often perceived as attacking Arewa.

“However, when you criticize President Tinubu, his kith and kin from the Southwest take a different approach. You observe more persuasive responses. ‘Sir, it is not true’. ‘Egbon, I won’t agree’. ‘E sir, please don’t talk like that’. ‘ Give Akanbi time. Eight months is too short. (Akanbi is Yoruba for child of destiny).

“Even when they politically disagree with you, the Yoruba will still kill you with respect. Why won’t you love them?

“Such a cultured and refined people. A reflection of class and breeding. They stoop to conquer. Even when they disagree, by and large, they agree to disagree without being disagreeable. If everybody in Nigeria could imbibe their philosophy, Nigeria would be a paradise!”

Yoruba are cultured, classy, refined people, Omokri says as he condemns northerners

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The Israel of Shaitan – Femi Fani-Kayode

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The Israel of Shaitan – Femi Fani-Kayode

Whilst much of the world and most of America watched the superbowl the other night, the State of Israel was busy bombing and slaughtering the Christian and Muslim women and children of Rafah and its sprawling refugee camp in far away Gaza.

100 innocent and defenceless people were killed, most of whom were women and children, in the space of a few hours of relentless bombing.

Israel has expressed her intention to continue to bomb and unleash horror on Rafah despite the stern  warnings and desperate pleas from the rest of the world not to do so including her two greatest allies and closest friends, the United States of America and the United Kingdom.

The Jewish state has murdered no less and probably far more than 35,000 Palestinian civilians in the last four months, 17,000 of whom are children, and injured over 100,000.

I am compelled and constrained by my faith and love for humanity to oppose and resist such a monstrous entity that is given to commiting such inhumane and genocidal crimes against my fellow human beings for WHATEVER reason and neither can I be expected to confer on it some far-fetched and illusionary notion of “the right to exist”.

Surely no country, particularly one which was artificially-created and which was built on the blood, sweat, suffering, toil, tears and bones of the Palestinian people like the Zionist state, has the right to exist.

The oppressor has no right to exist if that “right” entails cheating, pillaging, plundering, enslaving, murdering at will and occupying the land of the oppressed.

The usurper, the conqueror, the pillager, the rapist, the mass- murderer, the thief, the land-grabber, the ethnic cleanser, the butcher of the elderly and the murderer of women and children may have the weapons, wealth, international support, power, wherewithal and homicidal disposition to commit and get away with his horrendous crimes against humanity but he has no “right to exist” other than the one that he forcefully and erroneously appropriated and conferred upon himself.

He exists and commits such unspeakable atrocities only because he has the power to do so and to get away with them and not because he has any right to exist.

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Great nations and powerful empires come and great nations and powerful empires go.

That is the way of the world, it is inevitable and it is well reflected in history.

The Babylonian, Persian, Mongol, Ottoman, Roman, British, Spanish, Russian, Han and Greek empires collectively and respectively once ruled the civilised world and their power was deemed to be never-ending and irresistible but where are they today?

They had their time, sometimes stretching into hundreds of years, but eventually they crumbled and were compelled by the force of circumstances which were beyond their control to relinquish power, to leave the scene, to crumble and to eventually vanish into the night.

And in that crumbling their so-called “right to exist”  solely for the purpose of destroying, enslaving, subjugating and tormenting others disappeared into the night with them.

So it shall be for the Zionist state if she does not repent, go back to God and change her wicked ways.

Like Juilus Caesar she came, she saw and she conquered.

From the time that she was re-established 75 long years ago she boastfully flaunted her awesome power, magnificent glory, unprecedented excellence and stupendous wealth over much of the world and particularly over the Palestinian people.

Like the Virgin Daughter of Babylon who was graphically displayed and meticulously described in Isaiah 47 of the Holy Bible she loudly and boastfully proclaimed to the world and all that cared to listen that “I AM and there is none besides me!”

Yet despite her hubristic pride and vainglorious proclamations of invincibility it is self-evident to the discerning that with her blind, vengeful and savage rage, her unconciable lack of restraint and self-discipline, her inexplicable descent into madness and the abominable atrocities that she is committing in Gaza on a daily basis her cup is full and the Most High God has set His heart and the people of the world against her just as He did 2000 years ago after they murdered our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

He shall surely break her yoke, bring her to her knees, revoke her “right to exist”, scatter her to the four corners of the earth, compel her to vanish into the night and ensure that her insidious and perfidious intention to establish a “Greater Israel” whose borders stretch from Egypt to Iran crumbles and is blown away with the wind.

The Zionist state’s sole purpose of existence is to crush, conquer, enslave and exterminate the Palestinian people in their nefarious and sinister expansionist quest and to deny them what is rightfully theirs including their identity, their history, their heritage, their land, their dignity and their lives.

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Worse still they seek to achieve this with the full backing and blind support of a Biden-led United States of America that is simply incapable of any rational thinking or being impartial when it comes to this matter and that has wilfully shunned world opinion, given a thumbs up to genocide, supplied aid, arms, money, and material support to the ethnic cleansers, abandoned the cause of the Palestinian people and given their oppressors the right, the weaponry and the means to wipe them off the face of the earth.

Yet consider this.

No matter how powerful she deems herself to be the Jewish state has an Achilles heel and a soft and vulnerable underbelly and she will NEVER achieve these objectives.

More importantly in the fullness of time and in the process of trying she may well be totally crushed and removed from the map of the world.

This is because God alone rules in the affairs of men and He is just and true.

The Bible says He is slow to anger but irresistible in battle. His power is awesome, His majesty is irresistible and His justice is swift.

He is a man of war and as the Bible asks, “who can stand against Him?”

He contends against those who contend against us, He fights for the rights of the less privileged and the underdog and He rises in defence of the enslaved and the oppressed.

He removes mighty Kings from their thrones in the blink of an eye and He causes paupers, the rejected, the hated and the deprived to rise up in power and excel.

He is the father of the orphan and the husband of the widow.

He is the champion of the poor, the needy, the elderly and the defenceless infant and He is the avenger of our blood.

His name is the I Am That I Am, the Ancient of Days, the Rose of Sharon, the Lily of the Valley, the Lamb of God, the Ressurected Messiah, the Coming King and the Lord God of Hosts and at the appropriate time He will honor His word and rise up for the occupied, the cheated, the subjugated, the humiliated, the denied, the oppressed and the enslaved and strike down their strong tormentor.

Simply put there is no place or space in todays world for the worst, most brazen, most primitive and most insidious form of racism, colonialism and fascism that today’s  Zionist State of Israel embodies, manifests and represents.

And neither does a vicious, relentless, barbaric, cruel, heartless and blood-lusting apartheid Jewish state which is led by evil men who have lost their sense of reason, their minds and their humanity and who behave in a worse manner than the wildest of beasts have a right to exist.

They LOST that right when they embarked on violating all international norms, laws and protocols and chose to target and kill Palestinian women and children for their sport and pleasure.

And the sordid and reckless friends and company that they keep do not help matters.

For example, egged in their insanity and to the brink of catastrophy by delusional clowns like the newly-elected Argentinian President who went to Israel a few days ago, wept at the praying wall in Jerusalem and proclaimed that the Jewish state should proceed to build the second Jewish Temple on the Al Aqsa mosque as soon as possible ignoring the fact that this would undoubtedly and instantly provoke millions of Muslims all over the world to violence, likely result in WW111 and probably end with the total and complete obliteration and annihilation of Israel, the Jewish state continues to wallow in her pitiful delusion of invincibility and infalliblity.

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I guess one cannot expect any better  counsel from a man who leads a Latin American country in which every single black person was wiped out, exterminated and eliminated at the outset on the grounds of not wanting their “beautiful” white bloodlines and unsullied Spanish heritage to be infiltrated, soiled, sulllied and diminished by the blood of the black African and which acted as a secure and valued safe haven for Hitler’s Nazis after World War 11.

With friends like President Javier Milei of Argentina the Jews do not need any enemies!

Surely this is not the Israel of King David, the greatest of all the Jewish Kings and a man who was described in the Holy Bible as being “a man after God’s heart”.

This is not the Israel of Prime Minister Golda Meir, who described herself as being first and foremost “a Palestinian”.

This is not the Israel of Prime Minister Yizthak Rabin who fought for peace with the Arabs and who was murdered by one of his own for doing so.

This is the Israel of Binyamin Bibi Netanyahu, a bloodthirsty, deluded and demonic meglomaniac and tyrant who is not a Jew in the true sense of the word but rather a bloodlusting and fascitic Nazi and flaming Zionist.

His is not the Ancient Israel of the Holy Bible which prided itself on decency, righteousness, the love and fear of God and justice but rather the Israel of the Rothchild family, the Israel of the Zionists and the Israel of shaitan.

His is not the Israel that is the beloved of the Lord and the apple of God’s eye but an Israel that does not know or recognise God and one that has no sense of decency, goodness, mercy and compassion.

His is not the Israel that is guarded jealousy by the Archangel Michael but rather an Israel that is led, guided, motivated and propelled by Beelzbub, Asmodeus and the principalities and demons of hell which seek to lead her to enmity with God and utter destruction.

Yet as insane and extreme as Netanyahu appears to be his bellicose disposition is nothing compared to the utter psychotic  and sociopathic depravity of some of his cabinet Ministers such as the far-right National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, who said that the Palestinian people should be driven into the Sinai desert or into the sea and who suggested that the 2.5 million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip should be displaced and scattered into 100 different countries at 25,000 Gazans per country or the Minister of National Heritage, Amihai Ben Eliyahu, who said that a nuclear bomb should be dropped on Gaza and that everyone in it, including the women and children, should be sent to an early grave!

If you think these outrageous submissions and nauseating contributions are, to say the least, shameful and unacceptable, I challenge you to listen to those that were made by some of Netanyahu’s other right wing Cabinet members such as the Minister of Intelligence, Gila Gamliel and the Minister of Finance, Bezalel Smotrich.

Their views are truly beyond the pale and would make even Dr. Faustus’ demon, Mephistopheles, tremble.

Yet it doesn’t stop there. Worse of them all is a modern-day Jezebel by the name of Tally Gotliv who is an Israeli MP and who, just a few days ago on the floor of the Israeli Knesset, said that the war must continue in Gaza, there must be no ceasefire, the occupation must be sustained, the siege must not be lifted and the people of Gaza should not be allowed one drop of water or one morsel of food and instead must be “starved to death!”

This modern day harpy should have not been named Tally at all but rather Medusa the Gorgon or Cruella De Ville!

Does anyone still believe that these bestial creatures are God’s chosen people or some kind of star-studded master race?

They may be a chosen people but judging by their rhetoric, speech and actions they were not chosen by God but rather by the devil.

To talk about wiping out a whole race of people with nuclear weapons is, to say the least, cold-blooded and barbaric and it is the kind of rhetoric that Hitler’s Nazis indulged in.

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It has no place whatsoever in todays world and whether it comes from the Jews or anyone else we must condemn it in the strongest terms.

The State of Israel that I know, that I love, that I pray for everyday and that is eulogised, celebrated and  enunciated in the Holy Bible is not one and the same as the vile, callous, murderous, beastly, accursed and blood-drunk Zionist entity that is presided over by the creature called Bibi Netanyahu, that falsely and erroneously describes itself as Israel and that feeds and drinks on the blood, flesh, tears, misery and suffering of the Palestinian people.

The Israel of old that I knew and loved was a shining beacon of light, love, joy, hope and goodness to the world and to humanity and was truly a blessing to all but Netanyahu’s Israel is a curse to the world and is shrouded in perfidy, deceit, evil and darkness.

To those that still claim to love the Zionist state and who believe that they are above the law and can get away with anything I say this: search your conscience, find your humanity and always remember that God is fair and just.

He will never support or encourage the barbaric things that Israel is doing in Gaza and neither can there be any blessing in supporting it.

Be guided, be wise and never forget that every form of evil and oppression has an expiry date.

For the Palestinian people and indeed all those from all over the world that stand by them and that are weeping for them, the night may be dark but joy comes in the morning!

Permit me to end this contribution by sharing a little more about the nature, history, character and experiences of these beautiful Palestinian people that Israel wishes to remove from the records of history.

Ever since the people of Gaza voted for Hamas in a free and fair election in 2006 Israel turned their entire territory into the worlds largest and most horrifying concentration camp and open prison.

Right from the outset everything and everyone, including food, water, medical provisions, electricity and other essentials of life that went in and out of Gaza was controlled by the State of Israel.

All her borders were closed and no-one could go into or come out of the Strip without the permission of the Jewish authorities.

In addition to that no nation, corporation or individual from the international community was allowed to provide them with succour, aid or provisions without the permission of the Israelis which was almost impossible to get.

They were treated like caged rats and they were subjected to what can best be described as a military siege and blockade from the land, the sea and the air right from the outset whilst their people, including women and children, were systematically targeted for humiliation, slaughtered, butchered, tortured, maimed, abducted, raped and murdered by members of the Israeli Defence Force whose greatest claim to fame for the last 20 years is the ability not to fight and win wars against other standing armies successfully but to rape, pillage and slaughter innocent and defenceless Palestinian civilians including women and children.

Permit me to add the following which in my view serves as the ultimate indignity and humiliation.

As a matter of policy the Israelis do not return the bodies of any Palestinian, whether man, woman or child, that dies in their prisons.

If you are a Palestinian and you go to jail or are put in detention in Israel, if you die there you are NEVER going home to be buried and your loved ones will never see you or your body again.

You will be denied the normal burial writes which are accorded to every himan being and your body will be dropped in some filthy hole in the corner of some rat and cockroach infested Israeli jail like that of a stray dog!

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Farooq Kperogi: Tinubu’s accurate 12-year-old prediction on subsidy removal effects

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Farooq Kperogi

Farooq Kperogi: Tinubu’s accurate 12-year-old prediction on subsidy removal effects

On January 11, 2012, Bola Ahmed Tinubu published a sober, thoughtful, deeply insightful, and penetratingly foresightful article titled “Removal of Oil Subsidy: President Jonathan Breaks Social Contract With the People” that uncannily prefigured the untoward consequences of petrol subsidy removal that Nigerians are currently grappling with.

The article has trended on social media in the last couple of weeks, but I had never taken the trouble to read it until multiple people who I regard highly sent it to me in what seemed like a coordinated torrent of forwards.

But after reading the 4,000-plus-word article and finding out that it predicted the current petrol-subsidy-removal mass excruciation Nigeria is suffering with almost mathematical exactitude, I became suspicious of its authenticity. It was too good to be true.

My incredulity compelled me to make inquiries, which led me to realize that the Nigerian Tribune had actually fact-checked the genuineness of the article on May 31, 2023. It not only found that it wasn’t fake but also scanned and uploaded a printed copy of the article published in The Nation, Tinubu’s paper.

I encourage everyone to read it. In the article, Tinubu derided the 2012 removal of petrol subsidies as the “Jonathan tax,” and the following paragraphs are particularly noteworthy for the mysterious precision of their prescience:

“Government claims the subsidy removal will create jobs…. The stronger truth is that it will destroy more jobs than it creates. For every job it creates in the capital intensive petroleum sector, it will terminate several jobs in the rest of the labor intensive economy.

“Subsidy removal will increase costs across the board. However, salaries will not increase. This means demand for goods will lessen as will sales volumes and overall economic activity. The removal will have a recessionary impact on the economy as a whole. While some will benefit from the removal, most will experience setback.

“What is doubtless is that the Jonathan tax will increase the price of petrol, transportation and most consumer items. With fuel prices increasing twofold or more, transportation costs will roughly double. Prices of food staples will increase between 25-50 percent….

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“Most people’s incomes are low and stagnant. They have no way to augment revenue and little room to lower expenses for they know no luxuries; they are already tapped out. The only alternative they have is to fend as best they can, knowing they must somehow again subtract something from their already bare existence.

“There will be less food, less medicine, and less school across the land. More children will cry in hunger and more parents will cry at their children’s despair…. Poor and middle class consumers will spend the same amount to buy much less. The volume of economic activity will drop like a stone tossed from a high building. This means real levels of demand will sink.

“The middle class to which our small businessmen belong will find their profit margins squeezed because they will face higher costs and reduced sales volumes. These small firms employ vast numbers of Nigerians. They will be hard pressed to maintain current employment levels given the higher costs and lower revenues they will face.

“Because the middle class businessman will be pinched, those who depend on the businessmen for employment will be heavily pressed. States that earn significant revenue from internally generated funds will find their positions damaged. Internally generated revenue will decline because of the pressure on general economic activity. The Jonathan tax will push Nigeria toward an inflation-recession combination punch worse than the one that has Europe reeling.

“This tax has doomed Nigeria to extra hardship for years to come while the promised benefits of deregulation will never be substantially realized. People will starve and families crumble while federal officials praise themselves for ‘saving money.’ The purported savings amount to nothing more than an accounting entry on the government ledger board. They bear no indication of the real state of the economy or of the great harm done the people by this miserly step.”

Like I have done for years, Tinubu also fulminated against “European conservatives” whose economic prescriptions are at variance “with the needs of the Nigerian populace.” He even said something that is eerily close to what I wrote in a previous column. “There has been no nation on the face of the planet that has developed or achieved long-term prosperity by devotion to conservative, ultra-free market economic ideas that dominate this government,” he wrote.

“If no nation has grown using these conservative ideas,” he asked, why are we stuck with them? I have an answer, and it’s three-fold: sadly familiar Nigerian elite self-love, xenophilic obeisance to meanspirited racist wretches at the IMF/World Bank, and a visceral disdain and blithe unconcern for ordinary Nigerians.

Like Tinubu pointed out in 2012, the removal of petrol subsidies in 2023 merely took money from the so-called oil subsidy cabal and put it directly into the pockets of politicians without hurting the bottom line of the subsidy cabal. The cabal simply pushed the extra cost of importing petrol to consumers.

In the aftermath of the removal of subsidies, allocations to the three tiers of government rose by 29.05% in just six months. By the end of 2023, governments shared N15.1 trillion, which represented an increase of N3.4 trillion from 2022.

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Note that, according to the Punch of September 22, 2023, N3 trillion was budgeted for petrol subsidies from June 2022 to June 2023 (although it was N1.57 trillion in 2021 and N1.27 trillion from January to May 2022, indicating obvious fraud). In other words, the money that would have been used to keep the pump price of petrol at less than N200 per liter was simply shared between the presidency, governors, ministers, and the rest.

State governors now receive several folds more money than their normal monthly allocations without a corresponding increase in their expenditures. Because they have way more naira than they have use for (of course, they don’t care about the masses), they convert the extra naira into dollars, which contributes to the relentless depreciation of the naira, according to the BusinessDay of February 13.

In other words, to put it even more crudely, the masses and the economy benefited more from the corruption of the subsidy cabal than from what has replaced it since May 2023. But, as I pointed out earlier, the subsidy cabal isn’t hurt in the least by this change. Apart from pushing the cost of importation to consumers, they are now receiving subsidies through the backdoor to keep the price of petrol from climbing to over N1,000 a liter, which the IMF is now instructing Tinubu to stop.

The only losers are ordinary Nigerians, small businesses, the informal economy, and the manufacturing sector. After Tinubu said subsidies were gone in May 2023, the GDP of the transportation sector contracted by 50.64% in the second quarter of 2023 and by 35% in the third quarter, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The road transport sector is the most reliable barometer to measure the health of commerce and of the informal economy in Nigeria. Petrol subsidy removal is killing it. A November 28, 2023, BusinessDay headline succinctly captures this: “Subsidy removal pushes transport industry into recession.”

My job as an inveterate opponent of subsidy withdrawal is made easier by the knowledge that Tinubu knows the truth. He knows for a fact that petrol subsidies are not a waste, especially if the corruption in the administration of subsidies is addressed. He knows that it’s an investment in the people and in the economy.

Petrol doesn’t just power the transportation sector, it’s also the main source of electricity generation for industries, small businesses, and the vast majority of our people. Given that Nigeria has the worst electricity generation record in West Africa (and possibly in Africa), it’s easy to see why a drastic rise in the cost of petrol activates an across-the-board cost-push inflation and deepens the misery index in the country.

Tinubu knows this but has chosen to care more for the validation of the sadistic bastards at the IMF and the World Bank than the comfort and wellbeing of his people.

There’s no doubt that it’s the IMF and its evil twin, the World Bank, that are ruling Nigeria. Tinubu’s government is just a proxy. For example, just two days after the IMF told Tinubu he must remove electricity subsidies (I had no clue such a thing existed given the unreliable electricity in Nigeria) Minister of Power Adebayo Adelabu announced that the government would withdraw electricity subsidies.

The same IMF has also instructed that the surreptitious subsidies the Tinubu administration is paying to stop petrol prices from getting to—or even rising above— N1,000 a liter must be stopped. Get ready for another bumpy ride, Nigerians. Until half the country drops dead from starvation, the IMF, which is the real government in Nigeria, won’t rest. I can guarantee you that.

Farooq Kperogi: Tinubu’s accurate 12-year-old prediction on subsidy removal effects

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