I moved to America in the middle of their recession and the major factor used in judging recession was the fact that many houses were on sale with no one to buy. The privates jets were packed and the economy tanked.
Today, The New York Times is seeing the same things happening in Nigeria, but instead of using the same America and Greece reasoning to say it is evidence of recession, these Americans are telling the world that it is corruption being fought.
In an article, titled Nigeria President Escalates Campaign to Stem Corruption, the The New York Times, said:
“Private jets that used to crowd the airport here have been grounded, their wings clipped by the new government’s crackdown on corruption. Rolls-Royces, Range Rovers and Jaguars are gathering dust in the showroom of this capital’s top car dealer. Luxury villas are left unsold, as is the fine Italian marble used to bedeck the homes of Nigeria’s newly rich.
“Since assuming power in May on a pledge to root out the graft that has long permeated Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari has squeezed the flow of public funds in an effort to clean up Africa’s biggest economy.
“He has put many public projects on hold to review the contracts, and ordered many government ministries, departments and agencies to consolidate their bank accounts for closer monitoring of financial transactions. He has overhauled the management of the state oil company, while also moving to retrieve stolen money.”
Then their next line is just totally false. When did Buhari arrest Deziani?
“In recent days, the campaign escalated with the arrest of two high-profile figures: Diezani Alison-Madueke, the former oil minister whose five-year tenure was marred by recurring accusations of widespread theft; and Olajide Omokore, the chairman of a Nigerian oil company. Both were held as part of inquiries into corruption and money laundering.”
See how foreign media tells lies? Simply because Buhari and his Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has been unable o charge anyone and the so-called “anti-corruption” claim cannot be backed up, they then resort to fiction. WHEN WAS DEZIANI AND OMOKORE ARRESTED BY BUHARI?
They article kept talking about prosecution. Who has been prosecuted? Amaechi? Fashola? Akpabio? Who? The worst has been the Dasuki who is charged with being in possession of seven rifles without a permit, and not corruption.
Their next paragraphs should thus be taken for what it is AN ECONOMY IN TROUBLE. JP Morgan has delisted Nigerian stocks from its relevant index. Manufacturers first cut production by half and its dropping. The Nigerian Stock Market has lost over N3 trillion naira under Buhari. Companies are no longer re-investing.
Nigeria is no longer a choice destination for foreign investment, drooping from number one under former President Goodluck Jonathan to number seven and hitherto poor Ethiopia is number one. These are things the government should be ashamed of and Nigerians worried bout. Yet, The New York Times is weaving a most deceptive yarn that it is as a result of fighting corruption, a fight they could not even site a single example of.
The Central Bank officially has put the blame squarely on the government by blaming these happenings on a LACK OF POLICY. Various economic bodies have said the same thing, forcing the president to appoint ministers and get the government started.
As Buhari jets out Tuesday, October 27 to New Delhi on yet another one of his purposeless foreign trips, he is yet to still set up a cabinet. Yet, The New York Times is helping us celebrate that Nigerians can no longer by the cars and live luxury lives.
I guess the last administration and the wealth that was prevalent goes against the narrative of Africans living on trees and impoverished.
That the Omokores and Igho Sanomis (Sanomi that the city of Texas has honoured for enterprise) are now handling the jobs that American companies use to do and making “white-man money” and it is “killing them” to see Nigerians make money. See how they celebrate a very bad thing. Here this:
“At Coscharis, the leading dealer of luxury cars here, Happiness Adibe has been going through her worst year in her nine years as a saleswoman. Last year was her strongest: a record number of buyers, mostly businessmen and politicians, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars buying Range Rovers and Jaguars from her. Seventy percent of her customers paid cash.
“There’s no money now, no money,” Ms. Adibe said. “Contracts aren’t going on now, everything is standing still. When contracts are going on, people are getting contracts and doing their, you know, thing.”
So that Coscharis may be forced to sack people as will so many others, is that what The New York Times is asking of Nigeria and her economy?
When houses became cheap, in fact in some towns like Detroit, going for as low as one dollar, YES ONE DOLLAR, was Obama or their governor fighting corruption?
Nigerians must rise above the pre-colonial era of swallowing what these people tell us hook line and sinker. These are the type of foreigners that told our fore-fathers that local gin had germs in it and thus our ancestors began to offer the foreign Seamna’s Aromatic Schnapps to African gods and ancestors. (NB – Our local gin cannot have germs because alcohol kills germs.) Yet they told us that, as easily as they are telling us that Nigerians and their ability to buy luxurious houses and cars is neccessarily a factor of corruption.
I have been to Florida. They have so much yachts costing millions and houses like heaven, does it mean America is corrupt? If it is, if it is corruption that is making Americans to be able to live in the houses I see in Beverly Hills and do what they do in Vegas, then indeed we are happy the last administration was able to make us more like America.
This new hunger and starvation pervading the land is devilish and we should all rise up and reject it as a people.
Wealth is not necessarily corruption and if it is, we cannot hate wealth.
Poverty, also, is not desirable in any form and The New York Times should not take all Nigerians to be dolts.
Ena Ofugara studied law in the University of Benin for some years before leaving Nigeria for the United States where he is studying while working. He has a passion for Nigeria. He has a clear bias for his people of the Niger Delta and he believes the Nigerian system – justice, social, economic – is rigged against his people. So he became a social and political commentator to highlight this injustice. Connect with him on Facebook.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.