By Charles Iyore
Warning! Blood shortage can lead to organ failure!
Anaemia is a condition in which the body lacks enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your body’s tissues. Having anaemia can make you feel tired and weak. There are many forms of anaemia, each with its own cause. Anaemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.
The blood, however, is not the only utility that the body needs to survive, there is also the nervous system that coordinates organ function and then the oxygen supply through the airways (respiration) to convert stored fuel (sugar, proteins and lipids) into usable energy.
We are all used to the expression that “money is the life blood of the economy”, and so when organs in the economy do not have enough blood they can become tired, weak and sub-optimal in performance.
So are there any corollaries between the well-being of the human body and that of the nation as a living economic entity?
If the blood corollary is already established, the energy requirement (power) is the oxygen and the nervous system is the co-ordination or bureaucracy (machinery of governance).
When too many organs fail, the body is said to be facing an existential threat which could lead to a shut-down or death.
It is against the foregoing background that the cacophony of commentaries, emanating from the streets and the executive suite, must be a cause for concern. This “them and us” attitude to a common existential threat, must be the biggest demonstration of the “ostrich head in the sand” expression and an unimaginable national self-denial.
If the blood reaching the organs do not have the attributes (purchasing power, interest and exchange rates) to energize them to produce to the required level of productivity, the pumping heart (CBN) comes under enormous pressure and could become a poison agent.
The local by-pass operation in 1989 (Foreign exchange currency auction), starved many organs of blood supply and many have since atrophied badly, with others dying-off. That decay has run in parallel, for over 30 years, with blood infusion (US dollar debts). With every infusion, the blood in circulation has been quickly poisoned, with diminished attributes.
The judgement must, therefore, be made as to whether the anaemia is mild or severe. That judgement clearly cannot be made with the many adversarial lines. The expectation is that a father figure would broaden the church and offer a common vision.
Opinion is divided as to whether any patriarchal bringing together has occurred over the last 40 years, but all are, however, in agreement, that economic activity in the period under review, has all been motion without movement (growth).
It is against this background that concerted efforts have been made to reform the institutions (organs), the latest being the on-going one, by McKinsey and Company.
A review of the state of the nation shows that:
Agencies and all levels of government cannot balance their budgets
Bandits are running wild
Infrastructure decay is bad and deficits are wide
Educational system is not quite fit for purpose
Access to health is restricted to the few
Rural economies are decimated
Justice is not seen as served
That, however, is not the only story as there are some narrow points of success in the economy. Those points however, seem to benefit only the few and the majority are excluded.
Hardest hit is the growing youth bulge with many not having experienced paid employment, six years after qualification. Their agitation has often been met with kinetic responses since the shooting of Akintunde Ojo (of blessed memory) and they (youths) have never been engaged in any negotiated reasoning together, for positive change.
This is the scenario and it calls for a pulling together, rather than the “them and us attitude”. The expectation is that the statesmen elected into office should lead a serious national conversation and not assume that anyone who differs in opinion from them, is desperate for public office.
No one should be deluded as no individuals or groups are benefiting from this state of affairs and any gains are transient and pyrrhic, till the next round of musical chairs (elections).
We must, therefore, review the critical survival utilities in some sequence and begin to address them together. The lifeblood of the economy – currency and its attributes; the oxygen of the economy – power; and the nervous system of the economy – the bureaucracy.
The response to this national debate, has always been “oyibo repete”, “dogon turanci”. On the streets and in the executive suites, “smart alec” often, by those who in delusion, believe they are beneficiaries of the status quo.
Why is there so much money in circulation but not a circulation arrangement good enough to deliver impetus for increased productivity? Why is there so much power in private and public generation but no efficient bulk purchase and sales arrangements to make them a utility? Why is there so much relegation of merit, in the appointment process of our bureaucracies at all levels of government – Local, State and Federal – that they all lie prostrate and are unable to react to challenges of service in their environments?
These are the market reforms that will deliver sustainable ecosystems and institutional changes needed for reversing the anaemia, not US dollar infusion.
We are told about Mr. Gamliel O. Onosode (of blessed memory), who as CEO of Nigerian Acceptances Limited, refused to take fees in US dollar, but our Naira instead. The impetus for growth must be the Naira not the US dollar.
The conversation we would rather have is of a dot nation, the many republics that promise to deliver perfection but not good local governments, and ‘Boko Haram’ that uses mobile telephones and AK47s.
This is why many are beside themselves, at the swagger of authority figures with long motorcades, each with a platoon of state bodyguards, and in flowing robes, believing they are displaying affluence, but alas in a sea of poverty.
Have we truly lost our capacity for constructive thought?
• Charles Iyore, Partner at DNA Capital, Darenth Kent, England, can be reached at Dioncta@aol.com; and via SMS at +447932945002