Still On a Threat Worse Than Boko Haram
Last week, there was an error in my piece, “A Threat Worse Than Boko Haram”: I meant to say $2 billion (two billion dollars) worth of crude oil is now stolen monthly by oil thieves and not weekly as I stated. But this error should not in any way provide comfort for President Jonathan whose presidency has failed in the most basic responsibility any presidency has towards the people: ensuring security of life and property/resources of the nation.
A few days after my piece came out, the Federal Ministry of Finance, as if to validate the poignancy of the article, announced that there had been a 42 per cent drop in the nation’s revenues to N495.98 billion ($3.1 billion) from the N863.02 billion ($5.3 billion) of the previous month. The drop, the ministry confirmed, was attributable to the activity of oil thieves. That means that, within just one month, oil thieves had stolen an additional $2.2 billion. I say “additional” because even the previous figure of N863.02 billion was a result of the theft of about 400,000 barrels daily, equivalent to roughly $1.2 billion monthly, as Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told the nation a couple of weeks ago and corroborated by the Financial Times of London of June 26, 2012. If you add this figure to the “additional” 42 per cent drop for last month, then, the net loss the nation suffered in the last one month is $2.2 billion + $1.2 billion = $3.4 billion. The logic of this is even scarier than people realise. If last month the nation earned $3.1 billion but oil thieves stole $3.4 billion, then, what that means is that the amount of oil stolen under President Jonathan is now more than what is left to run the country. President Jonathan’s government should make the Guinness Book of Records for this unique reason. We must also not forget that this $3.1 billion balance would, as usual, be subjected to this government’s house rule of massive stealing, leaving peanuts for the nation.
Because of this unprecedented theft, the Federal Ministry of Finance has had to revert to massive withdrawals from the excess crude account to be able to run the Nigerian state. If this stealing continues – as it surely would as long as Jonathan remains president – the excess crude account will much sooner than later become completely empty. By then, the only option that would be left for Jonathan would be to attack the nation’s foreign reserves. That, too, would completely dry up with time as long as this senseless oil theft is not decisively stopped.
But after the foreign reserves have been depleted, what then is going to happen to Nigeria? I can hazard a guess: Jonathan would, possibly out of desperation, start borrowing money from the oil thieves as the only source of big money, since, by then, they would be earning much more than the Nigerian state and especially as foreign creditors might start seeing Nigeria as not creditworthy. If, last month, oil thieves earned about $3.4 billion as against the nation’s $3.1 billion, the matter would only get much worse. But since the nation would have no way of repaying the oil thieves the loans, the only logical thing would then be to start handing over the nation’s vital assets to the lenders (oil thieves) as repayment. We may actually start handing over our airports, seaports and other valuable national assets to them.
If this logic sounds improbable to you, then, you have not been paying attention. This is not sophistry; it’s serious and real. Nobody should say this is impossible because several things once thought to be impossible have become very possible under President Jonathan. Who would have thought it was possible to hand over the maritime security of the nation to somebody like Tompolo before Jonathan happened on us? Jonathan did that and nothing happened. Nobody could stop him – not the National Assembly, not the elders of the nation and not the youths who have greater stake in the nation.
I sometimes really wonder why President Jonathan wants to seek re-election in 2015. I had never thought this level of incompetence was possible for a nation’s president. Does any sane person really want Nigeria to continue on this path till 2019? Even Nigeria’s worst enemies would not wish the nation this calamity.
But, as I have always said, Jonathan has a right to contest and nobody has any right to tamper with this constitutional right. But Nigerians have a right to defend themselves. That is precisely what they will do in 2015. Yes, Boko Haram insurgents have killed thousands of people, but if these oil thieves are not stopped in their tracks, they would kill the Nigerian nation of 173 million people.
Between Akande And The Kindergarten President
Why was the president so upset when Chief Bisi Akande, the APC interim chairman, characterised him as a kindergarten president? At least, that was the impression the president’s kindergarten handlers gave. They accused Akande of belittling the exalted office of president. That is the major problem with President Jonathan’s handlers. They do not seem intelligent enough to know the difference between Jonathan as a person or Jonathan as Dame Patience’s husband, to put it more correctly, and the office of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. There is a world of difference between the two. Jonathan can leave Aso Rock tomorrow – and he will surely leave some day – but the office of president of Nigeria shall remain in perpetuity. And by the way, is it not true that President Jonathan behaves like a kindergarten president? Even kindergarten pupils know this.
As elections approach, many people are going to characterise the president in harsher terms. I have always found it funny that the president wants to enjoy the democratic freedom to say that the “south-west is too important to be left to rascals” as he did during his campaign in 2011, referring to the ACN, but was upset when Bola Tinubu, the ACN leader as he then was, responded in kind by saying people should ignore the ranting of a “drunken fisherman whose boat was about to capsize”, referring to President Jonathan. Then, as in Akande’s kindergarten case, the president’s handlers said Tinubu was bringing down the office of president. The president and his handlers want to have the privilege to say Buhari is a bigot and sponsor of Boko Haram even when they know they are lying but cannot stand the truth about themselves. They want to lie about their opponents but do not want the truth to be told about them. That’s shallow. I am repeating a piece I wrote on March 12, 2012, for the enlightenment and civilisation of the president’s handlers. They will not succeed in hiding President Jonathan’s total and complete lack of aptitude for the job of president with that kind of kindergarten blackmail.