Novelist and international literary star, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, has also felt the compulsion to lend her voice to Nigeria’s poor socio-economic state. She did this in a piece titled Nigeria’s Failed Promises.
As a matter of urgency, all concerned about the sorry state of Nigeria are speaking out as loud as they can.
The first lady’s surprising interview, criticisms and warnings following the ills of the current Buhari’s administration will definitely be the climax.
The exquisitely simple writer, Adichie, in clear cut descriptions walked down a 30 year old memory lane when Buhari was the military ruler of Nigeria.
“I was 7 years old the first time I recognized political fear. My parents and their friends were talking about the government, in our living room… they spoke in whispers. It was 1984 and Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari was the military head of state.”
“Soldiers flogged people on the streets for “indiscipline” – such as littering or not standing in queues at the bus stop. On television, the head of state, stick-straight and authoritative, seemed remote, impassive on his throne amid the fear and uncertainty.”
Adichie however did not mind that the former general had won elections to rule again; this time as a democratic leader. Somehow it appeared as though “he represented a form of hope”.
Striking a fair balance the talented writer admits that Nigeria is really a difficult nation to govern. Nevertheless she has not been blind to the series of leadership tests that Mr President has subsequently failed.
She notes that the first signal of concern was the outrageous time it took for the President to choose his ministers.
Bringing in the claims of the first lady, it is quite worrisome that after all the time it took, she says that the appointed ministers were unqualified and worse still “unknown” to her and the President.
Adichie wrote that “the real test of his presidency came with the continued fall in oil prices.”
“The official exchange rate was kept artificially low. On the black market, the exchange rate ballooned. Prices for everything rose: rice, bread, cooking oil… Some businesses fired employees; others folded.”
“The government decided who would have access to the central bank’s now-reduced foreign currency reserves… this policy spawned corruption.”
“The president seems comfortable with conditions that make an economy uncomfortable.”
Going further on, she shared the disappointment that the President did not listen to economic experts who foresaw the recession which according to her has now inspired a brand new greeting for Nigerian middle class – “Happy Recession!”
On a sad note she also points out the dangers of the President’s aloofness towards the gruesome murders from Fulani Herdsmen across Nigeria.
Chimamanda Adichie did not leave any stone unturned as far as following Buhari’s administration is concerned. She wrote about the President’s nepotistic tendencies, selective arrests and prosecutions and the recent “unlawful” arrests of judges.
“Mr. Buhari’s tone and demeanor are reminiscent of 1984.”
Concluding her essay, the Nigerian writer and social observer wrote this:
“There are no easy answers to Nigeria’s malaise, but the government’s intervention could be more salutary – by prioritizing infrastructure, creating a business-friendly environment and communicating to a populace mired in disappointment.”