Sudan’s fallen ruler, Omar al-Bashir, won many fights for three decades. He mastered the politics of the UN. He overcame America and South Sudan. He triumphed over the IMF and World Bank. He fought rebels, friends and enemies – and won. But at the end, he fell because of BREAD. Yes, bread – so simple and harmless – brought down one of the last surviving yoyo men of Africa.
During the peak of Covid-19, we were all here chronicling how money men and women were dropping money like bread labels to support the governments to feed some Nigerian citizens. And the government was also announcing tons of money to support Nigerians and small businesses. Typically, once in a while, I had asked here: who had benefited from those funds?
Except some political jobbers who wrote to me privately, claiming that they received some funds from the government, most small businesses did not receive anything or refused to acknowledge publicly. Yes, from all angles, the support did not reach the destinations.
But it does seem that I was right: the website for the N75 billion fund sharing just went up this month. And the distribution of the fund is yet to begin. Scale this experience across state capitals, you will get the idea why the citizens are frustrated: the goodies have not reached them even when the hunger in the land has grown at an exponential rate. Why should it take this long for free resources given to the government in March to reach citizens in October?
Mr. President, you have a real challenge before you: if you do not manage all those vapor promises well, your government could be in trouble. How can anyone justify allowing food items donated by companies and well wishers to expire in warehouses when people are hungry? If EFCC does not see this as a moral economic crime, it has lost its usefulness. So, the politicians loot the treasury, and are now also looting garri, beans and rice?
Yet, that does not mean our young people should be looting. They just need to channel this energy to extract the maximum value from the political leadership. That value must include free and fair elections. If we have free and fair elections, most of these characters would not be on the scenes.