The more you see in Nigeria, under the current rulership, the more you are confused. The more you read newspapers or listen to daily news broadcasts to keep abreast of current events, the more you regret why you are educated and invest energies in current affairs. “Ignorance is”, at times, “golden.” That is right in respect to Nigerian current regime and how it is run. Ignorance of the existence of this regime might be better than knowledge of its existence. It is even more discomforting for those who study democracy, system of government (bureaucracy), and the rule of law. For, they must be up-to-date about current affairs (which, in current regime, are not palatable) to teach, to write, to advocate or to counsel. You can hardly guess right who rules this geographical expression called Nigeria until someone claims they are.
Apparently confused, about three years ago, I wrote an article titled “The Presidential Villa of Many ‘Presidents’: Who calls the Shots” in Saharareporters and published by other online newspapers. In the article, I asked who exactly is Nigerian President. For, Nigeria is glaringly leaderless. Nothing has rendered my question baseless; though the question remains difficult to answer. The more you provide an answer, the more you are confronted with myriads of dissimilar answers. Those currently at the helms of affairs are rulers who disdain the rule of law because they are the laws of the land. They are, intrinsically, the law.
Since a couple of months ago, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele—one of the most powerful men in Nigeria—had been the most visible functionary in the circle of Nigerian rulership. He will likely be the most talked about ruling functionary till the end of this “empire.” It is all about his stifling monetary policy which catapulted Nigerians, coldheartedly, back to the atavistic age of moneyless economy where trade by barter was the order of the day. It can be argued that barter, as a method of exchange, remains even in developed economies in times of monetary crisis. But how does one describe the current deliberately engineered monetary crisis in Nigeria by this heartless regime?
Or how do you describe a regime who subject all Nigerians—the salaried and the unsalaried, the rich and the poor, the literate and the illiterate, the jobless and the jobbers—to a carefully choreographed hardship? Now it is not about not having money, it is about accessing it. So, in some places, Nigerians resort to barter not for lack of money but despite the possession of money. We literally become beggars not because we do not work to earn but because we are made to earn and yet beg. This is gross injustice. A Sokoto cleric, apparently disappointed with the state of affairs, concludes that the infamous Egyptian pharaoh (Fira’un) and his callous ministers—if still alive—would need some tutorials on injustice and wickedness by this regime.
When Gudaji Kazaure raised the dust about Emefiele’s involvement in the multi-trillion naira allegedly accrued to the government through stamp duty which was unaccounted for, some wrongly believe Emefiele will be made to sit on a hot seat. When the Department of State Services (DSS) made allegation of terrorism against him, there are those who wrongly thought he will be investigated. Yet many believed it is mere noise. Then, in an article titled “Governor Godwin Emefiele: Between the DSS and the Logic of the Court,” I wrote: “Many believe that provided Emefiele has the support of his boss (the President), the sky is his limit. And all the noises shall soon subside.”
Any noise about the stamp duty and terrorism allegations any longer? That is Nigeria for you. Though I find it difficult to believe the Governor has any link to/with terrorism. But as if to validate the allegation of terrorism, he proudly told the Nigerian public that CBN has agents in locations around Sambisa to exchange old naira notes for new banknotes. In locations adjacent to the dreaded Sambisa? Indeed, those agents most be super agents. Watch Emefiele: “You can see the videos about our staff and agents how they are doing cash swaps in our communities. In Areas like Baga, Monguno, Rann on the lake Chad River Basin, Ngala, Banki, Kirawa, Ngoshe on the borders of Cameroon, Gwoza, Bama, Chibok, Damboa, Izge, Lassa Askira and Poka. All these are areas around the Sambisa. Our agents and staff are all there conducting cash swap and cash exchange—old to new currencies.”
I initially thought the CBN Governor cited communities in Sambisa just to convince the public that the cash swap and exchange will be a hitch free exercise. That is to say, if CBN agents and staff are in remote and dangerous locations, why should those in other ‘safe’ communities nurse a doubt or any fear about the currency swap and exchange? But when I watched a video of one of the notorious bandits bragging that he has enough new notes to buy weapon which he displayed (and that they have even bought some weapons with it), I realized Emefiele knew what he was talking about when he said the CBN staff and agents are around Sambisa.
In the national broadcast by the President yesterday (Thursday), he, in contempt of court, reiterated that N500 and N1, 000 are no longer legal tender. He, however, exempted N200 note. Why? Some Nigerians are of the opinion that the President, being a Fulani, is sympathetic to N200 note because it bears a COW imprint. Hmm! Nigerians! I hail una!
Any more evidence to be convinced that our current rulers embody the law of the land? They are law personified. I don’t know if there are Nigerians who make sense of the unsolicited and unnecessary broadcast which only affirms to us that we are being deliberately punished by our rulers. One sense I make from it is the possible correctness of the allegation that the policy is all about some politicians—contesting in the forthcoming elections who have stockpiled billions of naira—especially the famous Bullion Vaner (Tinubu). You may wonder why the validity of N200 is extended till after the elections, but not the higher denominations. Of course, politicians hardly dispense N200 notes—which might not be in their vaults—for vote buying.
I am not saying vote buying should be encouraged nor am I a supporter of Tinubu. What I am saying is that the whole saga of the naira “repainting” and the rash decree to immediately illegalize the extant notes in our pockets is crude injustice against Nigerians. Many have died. Many are dying. Many businesses have collapsed. People sleep in hunger, wake up in hunger, and are over shadowed by hunger—even with money in their bank accounts. Nigerians are battered and literally “Emefielized” with a virus they now call “Emefielesomiasis.” Except the few who had japa(ed) before this wicked policy was implemented, virtually all Nigerians have this virus and know how contagious it is.
With the current disdain for law in Nigeria by our rulers who are, ipso facto, our “owners,” don’t be surprised if the rumored “state of emergency” is declared or elections suspended. Nigeria is on the trajectory of transition from democracy to “courtocracy.” In “Courtocratic” Republic of Nigeria, the masses do not count; law is disdained and disobeyed by rulers; elections are actually won in courts as if courts are electoral colleges where judges are electors; and elections are won even without contesting. This is what is experienced when a country transit to “courtocracy”. Do not be shocked if Emefiele becomes next president without contesting!