By May 29, which is about a month away, this government will do two things. It will celebrate its full three years in office. It will then go on to begin a countdown towards the end of its first full term in office.
It is true that as a government it is working assiduously to return for a second term; all its old and young men and women are putting hands and heads together to ensure that this happens.
You cannot take that away from these individual men and women, who are working to see that government does not change hands. Everyone in their position would do the same. Who doesn’t want to keep on being powerful and or walking the corridors of power? I am sure many, many do.
But our concern is with the economy. It is not that we do not care about the politics of the country; it is just that we think that politics is only a tool to get into government, where you’ll meet complex national issues, chief of which is dealing with the economic well-being of your citizens.
It is the reason why we have said here before that after the politics, then comes the economics; and that this should become the consuming passion of a leader and his team.
It is on the basis of the performance of the economy that, where genuine, true democracy is practised, citizens assess their leaders and, either commend or condemn them.
But everything is not war. We are not saying this is a politics versus economics battlefield. We are simply saying that politics finished three years ago, and that managing and running the economy should have started three years ago. Unfortunately, politics never stopped. As a result, economy suffered and is still suffering for it.
It is for this reason that many say the last three years have been very difficult, economically. There are those who have found it harrowing. There are those who have felt left out, in fact millions have felt left out. And we are not talking about politically inclined types, but very apolitical people who do not wish to come near politics.
Yet, too, there are those who would say things have not been difficulty. And those who would say we have to endure this hardship before things can get better. We think this to be true. But it needs to be contextualised.
This government has given Nigerians many reasons for why things have been difficult. But it has also given itself a pat on the back because it considers itself to have done well, if you go by what the retinue of spokesmen and spokeswomen, as well as principals, say under the circumstance.
In an ideology-less environment it is often difficult to clearly find parameters to measure the behaviour of government, especially for a financial newspaper like this. The confusion is so strong that if they asked us where government stands on many economic issues that affect people’s lives and business, we would not be able to tell.
Our inability to tell clearly is the result of the failure of those who have responsibility for government economic actions to be clear about the central principles guiding the actions they appear to take on our behalf; and for which we are forced to live through, whether we like it or not.
We are probably not clear about this because either they think we don’t deserve to know or, as it is usually the case, ours is an arrogant world where leaders owe nobody anything, not even an explanation for wrongheaded actions. And this is so long as they can sustain themselves on the revolving chair for all of the time allowed by law.
We know that government after government in this country likes to live in self denial. Government acts as if all is well all the time and they believe that they are God’s gift to Nigerians, even when they are offering blatantly poor service.
But we know that across the length and breadth of the country, the message is that all is not well. Expectations have been shattered; hopes have not been restored, not even in half measures. Nobody offers himself or herself up to take any blame for failure. Why would they? After all, they say they are the best thing to happen to us in such a long time. And that’s even when government plays no role in our lives, in whatever way you might think.
As we march towards the election year, we ask for a little bit of economic hope; one that helps to reduce the pain, not only of the individual Nigerian that we talk to in the course of producing this newspaper, but also business, which feels disconnected from all that is going on in this country, because government wears a garment of hostility when relating with it. A friendly disposition towards business and a partnership with business can turn things around for this economy.