Wednesday, 21 September 2022 06:29

Emilokan or Emilojebi? How 23 years of political domination sabotaged Lagos economy - Justice Faloye

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When you hear APC Lagos State government declaring the closure of two major markets from September 22nd 2022 for flimsy reasons, and trace their wilful economic destruction back to their 2015 intentional destabilization of our foreign exchange markets that led to the greatest divestment since the Civil War, one can't but wonder whether this is not a repeat or continuation of how the Europeans colonised our indigenous civilisations by destroying Nigeria’s economic foundations.

Some call it weaponizing poverty but it is economic treason against our popular sovereignty, and instead of Emilokan claim to presidency, arrogance of failure, what we should hear is Emilojebi, an acceptance of guilt.

In addition to dumping 400,000 guns on our coast to cause anarchy and take war captives for the Trans Atlantic slave trade, the Europeans’ most effective sabotage was attacking and destroying the economic foundations of Original Indigenous African civilizations.

First, they went to mine cowries off the Kenyan Coast which they dumped on our coast to debase our currency and return us to trade by barter. Second, civilizations are buoyed by civilizational goods which in our case were beads and Kolanuts, which they imitated and destroyed by setting up counterfeit beads industries in Cardiff and Bristol, and turned Kolanuts into Coca Cola fizzy drink. Third, using faulty moral values they proscribed our medical, herbal remedies and other socioeconomic sectors.

APC insults our collective intelligence by claiming that the destruction of our economy was caused by PDP that increased the country’s GDP from $57b in 1999 to $570b in 2014, before APC wiped off over $200b within a year of taking power. What transpired between May 29th 2015 and March 2016 was simply economic treason.  

Over the last seven years of APC leadership the value of Naria fell over 300% from N197 to N700 per dollar.  Unemployed persons increased over 300% from 5 million to 23 million unemployed (33% - second highest in the world). And, our foreign debt increased nearly 500% from $7.3b to $40b. This is not bad luck but wilful economic destruction.

I was an Economics undergraduate at the Universityof Ife (now OAU) when Buhari came into power in 1983 and destabilized Nigeria’s foreign exchange mechanisms. It wasn't until 15 years later when I researched all the world's Black national economies for my book, The Blackworld: Evolution to Revolution that I fully understood that like in some other Black nations, what Buhari had done systematically created one of the most corrupt systems known to economics, a foolproof system since it had little or no audit trail.

The trick of the perfect economic crime started with corruption propaganda to demarket and cast doubt on our accounting systems, to give the false impressions that the treasury had been looted dry, which is the public justification to tamper with the import list and structure of the forex market, leading to a predetermined crash in Naira, the widening of the Official and Black market rates, exploited by the leadership to make billions for themselves. Essential selling off our collective productive value for cheap and creaming the profit in their pockets. This is collective economic slavery.

So when Bola Tinubu formed an alliance with Muhammadu Buhari (with corruption propaganda as the primary tool of regime change), knowing it was the first step towards forex destabilization, I warned people and was on the lookout for the signs of the next steps. I religiously noted every statement and policy flip-flop made by APC leadership, from banning and unbanning bureau de change, adding and removing foreign school fees, etc to destablize the Naira. They prevented statutory bodies with the mandate from releasing the economic indices and actually how much was in the country’s foreign cash reserves until April 2016.

To stop any professional economist from raising public concerns, Buhari and APC leadership intentionally didn't appoint a cabinet and economic minister and team while they undertook monumental fundamental steps to destabilize the foreign exchange system in a nation where an average of 60% of raw materials were imported. It was only after successfully arresting and destroying the economy for a generation that Buhari appointed a Finance and other Ministers, and spewed the expensive joke that the ministers could only be 'noisemakers' after deliberately destroying the economy.

Some tribal irredentists would like to lay the blame squarely on Buhari shoulders, but according to the constitution, the person directly in charge of the economy was the Vice President, Tinubu's nominee for the job, Yemi Osinbajo. Infact, the greatest failures of the last 8yrs under APC were manned by Tinubu's Golden Team from Lagos State - Rauf Aregbesola as Minister of Interior under whom insecurity worsened to unprecedented levels; Babatunde Fashola who has failed to delivered on roads and electricity as promised. The only success has been Lai Mohammed in charge of a banal type of propaganda that insulted our collective intelligence. Unfortunately, Tinubu the only one that could boast of any financial understanding, albeit recordkeeping of tax reciepts, infamously advocated the printing of more Naira without value, Idi Amin style, which would fuel untold inflation that would totally impoverish the masses and further wreck the economy.

Actually, it is his supporters, embarrassed by the woeful performance over the last 8 years, that try to distance Tinubu and the top echelon from Buhari’s monumental failures, not Tinubu, Osibajo or Amaechi who have said no word against Buhari and even promised continuity of what, if not weaponizing of poverty and economic treason. Arrogance of failure in full display!

Though some Tinubu supporters argue that while Buhari has twice failed in governance, Tinubu will do better with his own team, but what has been the result of Tinubu and his team in Lagos for the past 23yrs? In addition to the obvious arrest of Lagos’ political development, using thugs and money to disrupt democracy, Tinubu has strangulated the world's most populous Black City.

Tinubu touts a bogus claim of increasing Internally Generated Revenue which in reality is the increase of taxation on the masses mainly through the informal sector that recieves no benefits in terms of housing, healthcare, water, etc. The informal sector, being one not regulated or supported by government, is where the government raises its taxes. In what is supposed to be a modern industrial society, an embarrassing 30% of all economic activity in Lagos is by Danfos and private transport operators - an Agbero economy. Without the informal sector unemployment would be 95% in Lagos.

In the formal sector, the economic growth drivers were telecommunication/Information technology and retail banking sectors buoyed by the fastest growing youth population, none of which arose as consequence of any positive economic policies by Tinubu. Lagos retained roughly the same percentage of Nigeria's manufacturing sector since the Eighties. Without laying the necessary economic liberating infrastructure, if anything he has retarded the natural growth of Lagos, being the major port city and the former federal capital and financial center where all multinationals site their headquarters and are taxed. Instead of building and strengthening the economic base of Lagos, he closes markets or makes life difficult for them for political reasons.

Fundamentally, Tinubu strangulated Lagos economic development by strangulating its transport system, which globally is the driver of economic development. He and his selected replacements have corruptly and mischievously been dragging their foot since 2009 by laying less than 1 kilometer a year of the 12 kilometer metroline from Mile Two to Marina. Over the last 7 years, one thing or another has kept one or two of the 3 trunk routes into Lagos City center closed. If Tinubu had not arrested the evolution of Lagos transport system from molue to metroline, the multipier effects would have fueled industrial advancement instead of agberos advancing to be political touts. He was contented with an agbero transport system that extorts Danfos and other private transport providers with multiple regressive taxation - an ancient regressive leadership mindset obessed with control.

Tinubu placed markets under his daughter as Iyalaje who unconscionably imposes taxes on poor market people regardless of actual sales and profit, while also effectively silencing their demands for better, even basic facilities like drainage and public toilets. He failed to mobilize investment to build a modern drainage system, resulting in constant floods with people and property washed away.

With skyrocketing cancer rates tied to new modern plastic and electronic waste, Tinubu put waste management in hands of unprofessional local political goons that are better at collecting refuse collection levies than the refuse itself. Basically, these agbero and cronies formed the economic structure of the increase of the much touted Internal Generated Revenue, extorted from Lagosians with no corresponding infrastructure, while Tinubu immorally collects a percentage for devising new ways to extort the masses.

With less than one million properties for over twenty million Lagosians, there is a shortfall of housing of about 5 million housing units, meaning the vast majority of Lagosians live in sub-standard congested 'severely blighted' habitats that constitute a whooping 200 slum communities in Lagos City. The cost of standard housing skyrocketed in a city with over 95% of Lagosians being tenants. Instead of pumping the necessary investment into housing and social regeneration for majority of Lagosians, Tinubu's team sought investment for housing the 0.001% super rich in Eko Atlantic. Forget the 200 slums. Social housing wasn't the only government duty that he ignored but also public health, leaving majority of Lagosians in dilapidated public hospitals with empty pharmacies, or having to seek help from neighborhood quack doctors or private sector traditional medicine.

Overall, Lagos is punching far below its weight or population, operating at less than 20% of its capacity. Imagine a major port city, whose state and federal government are under APC, not caring for several months that the roads to its ports were closed by trailers and in utter disrepair. A case of criminal negligence or economic treason?

The question that beats me is why is the Abrahamist neocolonist ruling clique willingly destroying our economic and political existence. Why for God’s Sake!! Having researched world civilizations for decades, I recongize the pattern is that of civilizational imperialism. Just as outlined above, the colonists brought us to our knees by first attacking our economic foundations by destabilizing our cowry currency, then armed bandits to terrorize and kidnap, then after bringing us to our knees proposed a Protectorate that became a colony that supplanted our way of life in what is known as epistemicide.

The Northern leadership has knowingly weaponized poverty, focusing on just sharing unsustainable petrodollars only to keep power, instead of covering the North with solar power panels to empower their people economically. Unfortunately, it appears that their Southern counterparts are on the same course to subject their people to the same conditions that turned the North into the poorest place on Earth. While the North used religious dogma, Tinubu embarks on tribal dogma.

Thus, rather than an Emilokan entitlement claim to presidency, it should be Emilojebi of the economic treason against the people’s sovereignty. A man whose 23yrs in Lagos is reflected in Danfos being 30% of economic activity, 200 slums and cannot lay 1 kilometer per year has no business being the President of Nigeria, or his boy Sanwo Olu remaining as governor of Lagos!