Truly, when the President sneezes, the State Governors catch cold. This is what we are worried about.
However, Governor Godwin Enogheghase Obaseki has just taken the bull by the horn and it is to be seen if his vituperations will provide another cheap example of how good ideas die in Nigeria.
It is now about three weeks since Obaseki asserted that when in March the Federal Government could not gather enough money to pay salaries, it headed for the Mint from where it reeled out
N60 Billion, which it distributed to the States.
Unfortunately, Nigeria has become one country where serious allegations are reserved for mere comic relief and then swept under the carpets.
We have waited this long to see how the authority in Nigeria would handle this seemingly damning allegation but we find none. At first the minister of finance, Zainab Ahmed, denied the allegation outright.
Almost immediately, the Governor of the Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele, could be seen trying to tow the same line with the Finance Minister but as soon as push came to shove, he could be seen beating a retreat from that position when he asserted “we did what we did in the interest of the Nigerian economy”. The question now is who is right and who is wrong? This matter is serious enough to be opened for national discourse and debate but like any other Nigerian issue, after the initial bravado, the matter has apparently been put to rest!
By our estimation if Governor Obaseki made a false allegation, then the Federal Government should have found a ready example of a fake news which, coming from such a giddy height, should have been dealt with appropriately. But if he is right, appropriate sanctions should have been brought on the authorities of the Federal Government.
But what do we find in Nigeria? The PDP governors’ forum spoke out in support of Governor Obaseki while the governors on the other side of the divide have remained stoically silent. This is not right. The Governors should speak out in unison. After all, Nigerians economy is neither PDP nor APC!
If the National Assemble realizes the enormity of the issue at hand by now the matter should have been promoted to the front burner. Or, is this another case of just obeying the master’s voice?
Before we reach the point of heading for the Mint each time we are broke, we should remind ourselves of the cases of countries that once travelled that route.
The first country that readily come to mind is the Bundes Republik, Deutschland – West Germany as it was then known.
The country came out of the Second World War with heavy economic burdens and was totally broke. It simply headed for the Mint and reeled out unquantifiable amount of Deutschmark, to the extent that the Deutschmark was no longer worth the paper on which it was printed!
When next you visit Munich, try to go to the museum of natural history where the museum officials will be quick to show you a letter that was mailed with one million Deutschmark. The big envelop had postage stamps pasted on all sides and they wrote the balance in long hand.
Nigeria today is already faced with serious stagflation. Will this be cured by travelling the same route with the ancient Germans? Of course, NO!
Anything that affects all must be approached by all. The National Assembly should quickly wake up to its responsibilities lest we all get consumed. Like or hate Obaseki, one thing is certain: the time has come to concentrate more on the message and less on the messenger.