Primate Ayodele’s Advice to President Buhari: Going Beyond the Political Prophecy
By Dr. Joel Ademisoye
Wow! This Man of God’s advice to President Muhammadu Buhari got me interested and thinking about the current economic mess in Nigeria. I really appreciate and applaud the Primate Ayodele’s understanding of the basic economic problems facing the country and its citizens. Thus, Primate Ayodele Elijah Babatunde, the head of INRI Evangelical Spiritual Church at Oke-Ofa, Lagos, is beyond the realm of a political prophecy in Nigeria.
However, the Primate offered President Buhari a simple economic solution in comparison to the complex, complicated and sophisticated economic analytical tools employed by the professional economic advisers to the president, using a rational and logical economic principles, assumptions, model of analysis and the need for the government assistance to promote the development and growth of the indigenous companies like the Globacom. I think the request for a government financial assistance to the indigenous companies is an accepted norm and a common practice in the international community and in other foreign countries around the world, such as the United States, United Kingdom, India, etc. For instance, in recent times, particularly during the Covid-19 Pandemic period, many governments in the world gave financial assistance to businesses and companies to keep them afloat and surviving the devastation of the deadly virus that ravaged the global economy. So, arguably, the government helping the country’s indigenous companies to develop and grow isn’t unique to Nigeria. For instance, the Buhari administration might take the decision and action to provide the financial investment or loans to increase the capital funds that Globalcom has access to in its development plan. Or it may provide a financial assistance to the indigenous start-up computer companies in Nigeria.
I like the Primate Ayodele’s advice to President Buhari, because it is a brilliant business idea that is capable of providing seeding money to the indigenous businesses or companies that would have a multiplier effects on the Nigerian economy, some of which Primate Ayodele identified in his message to President Buhari, such as the generating of employment opportunities across the country. Also, I found the Primate Ayodele’s advice to Buhari as tantamount to ‘thinking outside the box’ with the direct financial investment in the indigenous sector of the country’s economy. Imagine that there are many millions of indigenous companies struggling out there in Nigeria. The truth of the matter is, these struggling companies urgently need government financial assistance or government loans to find their feet and firmly planted in the business world. I believe this is a new economic frontier targeted for the businesses and companies expansion by the Buhari administration. This would act as a catalyst or a spark for the revitalization of the sluggish national economy under the Buhari government.
However, new strategic pathway of improving the Nigerian economy is urgently needed, because the current Buhari’s economic policies, strategy and implementation methods aren’t effective and yielding the expected results as reflected in the country’s current poor economic indicators- high unemployment, acute inflation rate, increasing foreign loans from China and debt burden, etc.
What is President Buhari’s economic team in Abuja doing? Recently, President Buhari made a important change to his economic team by appointing a new economic adviser to the president named Professor Doyin Salami (Source: Geoff Iyatse (Lagos) and Terhemba Daka (Abuja), “Barely one year to go, Buhari appoints economic adviser,” The Guardian, 05 January, 2022.). This change in economic adviser to the president, is suggestive of the economic meltdown and the Buhari’s struggle to fix the country’s economic crisis.
Moreover, I see the Primate Ayodele’s advice to Buhari, from the economic perspective and its merit to diversify the country’s heavy dependency on the oil as the mono-economic source of the national revenues and the primary generator of the foreign exchange for Nigeria. The development of the telecommunications as a part of the infrastructure sector of the Nigerian economy can go a long way to diversify, provides stability and liberate Nigerians from the economic logjam, hardships and the collapse of the oil markets and its international politics, involving the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies versus the rest of the world debacle. Nigeria as a member of the oil cartel, the country’s independence and freedom to function and operate outside the rigid policies, regulations and setting of production outputs based on quotas for the members of the group can be too restrictive and counterproductive to the economic and financial interests of Nigeria.
I hope the Economic Advisers to the Buhari administration are listening and taking notes on the basic economic importance, implications and relevance of the expansionist role of the telecommunications sector can play in the country’s teetering economy. Yes, I subscribe to the views and support the economic advice offered by Primate Ayodele to Buhari, that the government investment in indigenous companies like Globacom can promote and release the potential of employment opportunities for the Nigerian youths. This new approach to boosting the Nigerian economy might help to reduce or ease the current economic realities of high Inflation rate of 15.4%, Interest rate: 11.5%, whopping high unemployment rate of 33.3 % among the Nigerian population, who are stuck in the ‘prisons’ of unemployment across the country and the historic National Debt of Nigeria in 2021, which is put at 158.45 billion U. S. dollars (Source: Statista.com), that I think the borrowed amount is astronomical and staggering at the moment, considering that the country’s economy is woefully underperforming and corruption isn’t abated by the Buhari administration.
Unequivocally, corruption is tightening the economic ‘screws’ on the quality of life for 87 million Nigerians, because in 2018, Nigeria replaced India as the extreme poverty capital of the world (Source: Bukola Adebayo, CNN, “Nigeria overtakes India in extreme poverty ranking,” June 26, 2018.).
In addition to the significant effects of the need for the government investment in the telecommunications sector and other indigenous companies, it is part of the strategy to promote an indigenous approach to the funding and development of the Nigerian domestic economy. This strategy leads to promoting the ‘in-ward-looking and self-reliance’ approaches to reduce the country’s national economic development dependency on foreign capital. This enables and ensures the full participation of the indigenous companies, particularly the small and medium businesses and companies that can fuel the synergy to attain their full potentials of growth and development across the country.