A former U.S Chairman of House Intelligence Committee, Pete Hoesktra has issued a rejoinder to President Buhari’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.
President Buhari’s article which is titled “The Three changes Nigeria Needs” states the three ways in which his administration would restructure Nigeria’s ailing economy. The Buhari administration has received severe criticism for the handling of the economy, its shambolic handling of the 2016 Budget and its one sided anti-corruption campaign which is fast becoming little more than a media circus.
Despite grandiose promises of “change”, Nigeria and Nigerians are undoubtedly worse off than they were a year ago. Although the present administration has halted the advance of Boko Haram, the militancy in the Niger Delta is back amid agitations in the South East by ‘Biafrans’.
An unwillingness to devalue the Naira and strict foreign exchange policies has seen the Nigerian currency take sustained losses and for Pete Hoesktra, perhaps Buhari is Nigeria’s problem and not its Messiah.
In his op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Hoesktra writes;
“Mr. Buhari notes that building trust is a priority for Nigeria. But an anticorruption drive that is selective and focused on senior members of the opposition party creates deep political divisions. Meanwhile, members of Mr. Buhari’s own cabinet, accused of large-scale corruption, walk free. Seventy percent of the national treasury is spent on the salaries and benefits of government officials, who make upwards of $2 million a year.
As for Mr. Buhari’s ideas to rebalance the economy and regenerate growth, his damaging and outdated monetary policy has been crippling. The manufacturing sector, essential to Nigeria’s diversification, has been hardest hit, exacerbating an already fast-growing employment crisis. Foreign investors have started to flee en masse.
Mr. Buhari makes only brief mention of the country’s deteriorating security situation. But security and stability are precursors to economic growth and development. Boko Haram has been pushed back for now, but little attention is paid to the structural issues that have spurred its rise.
Instead, the Nigerian government has diverted much-needed military resources to the Niger Delta, where rising militancy has reduced Nigeria’s oil production to less than half the country’s capacity, and half the amount required to service the national budget. Much of these tensions arise from Mr. Buhari’s decision to cut amnesty payments to militants and an excessively hard-line approach in a socially and politically sensitive environment.
Other ethnic tensions are also growing. In the country’s south, protests have been met by a bloody response from the Nigerian military, stoking the fire and galvanizing support for an independent state of Biafra. Rising tensions could again pose one of the greatest threats to Nigeria’s stability and future.”