There was mixed reaction over the announcement of a bailout for the states by the Buhari administration. This was the best response to the inability of most state governors to pay their worker’s salaries.
Some people obviously do not agree that the best way out of the lingering salary arrears owed most state workers is a bailout. They argue that bailing the governors out would amount to encouraging corruption and profligacy. But we need to give the Buhari administration a benefit of the doubt. The reason for people’s opposition over this move by the Buhari administration is quite understandable but President Buhari sure has a control in place.
The bailout by President Buhari must be hailed by all and sundry especially as most state governors become financially handicapped. Would we rather workers who have been owed over seven months’ salary continue to hope against hope that the state governors would do something to end this imbroglio or should we allow the federal government to step in, in order to put an end to the suffering of these workers and their families? Should the governors be continued to be attacked while their workers die of hunger or should we say the intention of President Buhari’s bailout was to encourage corruption at the state level?
These are some of the questions we should ponder about. If the immediate past administration had properly managed the economy, we would not have found ourselves in this mess. The last administration did not care about the future or future generations. They kept piling up debt with great consequences for the Nigerian economy and generations yet unborn. Many Nigerians did not have the audacity to call the attention of the managers of the country’s economy to the damage done by their flagrant abuse of power until Professor Chukwuma Soludo challenged the immediate past minister of finance and coordinating minister of the economy to a debate and reeled out some facts about the state of the Nigerian economy.
When there was global economic recession, Nigeria was insulated to a great extent due to the initiative and interventions of the then administration. Soon as the international community started recovering from this recession, we went on a spending spree without avoiding a national economic crisis. In spite of the unstable economic realities, we got a rebasing of our economy and started boasting of being the number one economy in Africa. Some Nigerians actually bought into this rebasing of the Nigerian economy providing one form of argument or the other in favor of it. They fail to acknowledge the economic realities on ground believing the assertion that ‘Nigeria’s economy is now number one in Africa’ was true.
This is why President Buhari’s bailout to the states is welcomed and must be applauded. We must not forget that many workers have had to suffer untoward hardship due to the inability of some state governors to pay their workers salaries for several months. Nigerians should not think that President Buhari is rewarding the governors for their profligacy and poor financial management but rather the Buhari administration is trying to break the stalemate with its bailout. Those skeptical and weary of the president’s bailout should know that it is inevitable considering the situation most state governors found themselves.
The approval of a comprehensive relief package to salvage the lingering crisis of unpaid workers salaries across most states may be strange to us as a people. Despite having a record of unstable economy and unimpressive economic growth, things have not gone this worse and rather than encourage a government that is trying to address the current economic crisis in the best way it can, some people are dragging the president to court and criticizing his move. These people see their opposition and criticism of the president’s bailout as a way to rubbish the present administration but this is not the time for politicization of issues.
President Buhari’s administration should not be deterred by the incredible opposition and antagonism of some people who do not want the recovery of the Nigerian economy from the current recession. I am glad the president thought it wise to approve a bailout and that is a big point for the Buhari administration. A lot more is still expected from the president and his economic team in order to get Nigeria out of the present economic crisis. President Buhari has made a right move with respect to the bailout. It’s unfortunate that the Buhari administration had to do this without the National Assembly may be, due to the ongoing crisis among members of the National Assembly.
The president’s economic management team has to be immediately constituted in order to boost the confidence of the business community, investors and the Nigerian people in this administration’s ability to address the current economic challenges.
It is not enough to roll out a bailout but it is important to have a holistic approach towards economic recovery. It was quite sad when the president said his cabinet may not be constituted till around September stating that Nigerians have to continue to exercise patience with his administration. This is most unfortunate especially considering the president’s excuse of late handover by the immediate past administration as well as the unresolved leadership crisis in the National Assembly. We have to quickly address these issues as a people in order to get our country on the path of economic greatness.
President Buhari needs to make Nigerians feel the direct impact of his economic recovery programs. He has to ensure that the state governors give a proper account of how the bailout funds were utilized in their states. He has to prove to his skeptics that he has the right economic plan and agenda to get Nigeria out of the current economic mess with his economic initiatives, interventions, policies and programs. President Buhari has to exceed the expectations of Nigerians for which reason he was deemed the perfect candidate to get the country out of the doldrums and make life better for Nigerians.