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Disagreeing with Chimamanda Adichie

Given Chimamandaa��s popularity in Nigeria, it would be foolhardy to underestimate the effect her article would have on the minds of the people as well as the international community. Having authored a number of best sellers Adichie will always capture the attention of the literary world, no matter how she puts it.

On coming across the article I had two options, first was to read and largely ignore the write-up, lapping its elegance and writing style. Second was to respond and settle a number of errors that loomed large in such an ostentatious critique of the Muhammadu Buhari administration. I chose the second since elegance, writing style and ostentatiousness cannot be a surrogate for truth.

Adichie says she recognised political fear at the young age of seven, while I cannot disagree with her that it was at that age she first witnessed such; I largely disagree with her attribution to Buhari as the author and finisher of such fear and apprehension. Fear has always been part of our political culture in Africa and right from the word go at independence, Nigerians no matter the regime, civilian or military had a number of citizens whose rights were abused by the agencies and institutions. Was it not under President Shehu Shagari that Shugaba Abdulrahman was deported to Chad and rechristened a Chadian citizen? Or what of the abuses suffered under the Obasanjo administration? I remember my mum would always caution me whenever I went into my tirades against Obasanjo, while my father had to hurriedly drive to Kirikiri to get a copy of a newspaper where his son was alleged to have written an article abusing the government, but not before he had given me a dressing down on the phone.

No doubting, I am amongst those who believe that Buharia��s delay in appointing his ministers was almost a hamaratia yet to say that his cabinet harbours a number of recycled figures who Nigerians were disenchanted with is fictitious. Buharia��s cabinet from the look of it is star studded, with reputable names such as the likes of Kayode Fayemi who the Economist Magazine described as a a�?Forward thinkera�?, or Amina Mohammed who has always stood out at every juncture of her life in service? Can Nigerians be disenchanted with names like Babatunde Raji Fashola, Ibe Kachikwu, Okechukwu Enelamah, Ogbonnaya Onu or a Chris Ngige?

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Adichie rails at Buahria��s management of the economy in which she agrees is sickeningly dependent on oil and has a number of consequences when prices plunge, how this is Buharia��s liability beats me as a number of administrations preceding Buhari largely failed to diversify the economy amidst the unwholesome acts of rent seeking that continued to sink the economy. She attacks Buharia��s defence of the countrya��s currency , an act he bore with a mind to protect the poor from undeserved hardship. She is silent however on the fact that while a country like Saudi Arabia added 750 Billion Dollars to its foreign reserve in the last six years where a barrel of crude oil sold for a record high of $110, the previous administration of which she was an aficionada of failed to save nor channel such earnings to the benefit of the ordinary Nigerian. Lacking an understanding of basic macroeconomics as I believe she has degrees in medicine and creative writing, Adichie fails to grasp the fact that had the country been able to raise its foreign reserve to a sizable amount, we wouldna��t be in the mess we are now. Managing the economy of a country like Nigeria isna��t some literary exercise, it goes beyond the wishful thinking that authors convey to their characters, neither is it where one waves a magic wand and there you have it! Governance is a continuum, thus the faulty policies of a previous administration are likely, very likely to dampen whatever corrective measures a new administration brings with it. We all witnessed the dysfunctions of the former Soviet nations following the fall of communism.

On the issue of an arbitrary list of goods deemed unworthy by government I assume Adichie may not know that the reduction of aggregate demand for imports is a means of staving the pressure on the exchange rate. A situation where scarce foreign exchange is used to import items such as toothpicks, soap and cosmetics, palm oil, vegetable oil, meat and Indian Incense in both short and long terms cannot do the exchange rate nor the economy any good. That fuel importers have access to such shouldna��t boggle any serious mind, for with the below optimal production of finished products by our refineries would Adichie prefer that they source for forex themselves, knowing that energy is the life blood of any economy? Now should a few Nigerians choose to roundtrip, how is that Buharia��s fault? Would such roundtripping not occur if all forex needs including the one for Indian Incense was heeded to?

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