Tuesday, 27 April 2010
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs holds basic needs as breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, among other bodily functions. These needs, according to his theory, are basic and come before safety, love/belonging, esteem and self-actualisation. With 70% of Nigerians below poverty line, one man’s interests in governance and his attempt to retell history seems way above what we care about. That may explain why General Ibrahim Babangida would claim ownership for advantageous reformation of the Naira or fuel prices.
I was ten when General Babangida ‘stepped aside’. I am therefore a member of the youth whom he has declared unfit of govern. His opinion is his, the consequence of a right guaranteed by a Constitution, which predecessor he suspended for eight years. The same Constitution allows him to run for Presidency. His right to express his thoughts is also protected under a democracy, which no thanks to him, is still in his its infant stages. Fairly, he may have a point. Governing in Nigeria is largely dirty politics, where people are elected while in police custody or with corruption charges hanging, Damocles-style on their heads. Save the Fela Durotoyes, B.F. Fasholas, the Chiamanda Adiches, the (not so youthful) Bayo Ogunlesis and other young people in the public and private sectors, few Nigerians have governing experience. Fewer have had opportunities to misappropriate public funds.
However extensive, the general’s rights are, they do not extend to retelling history. His rose-tinted lenses for 1985 – 1993 is in simple-speak, lying.
Before the measures of the the Structural Adjustment Programme initiated by General Babangida in 1986, one dollar exchanged for 77 kobo. In the same year, post-SAP this time, the dollar exchanged for 1.756 Naira and continued to depreciate until today. The SAP was a response to failed fiscal policies created as to redress the deteriorating economic conditions post-oil price crash. Just before General Babangida, the increase in oil production and recovery of the agricultural sector from a two-year drought had lead to a reduction in inflation and real GDP growth.
General Babangida’s claim of beneficial oil prices is untrue. In 1992, the government of General Babangida increased the price of PMS from 70k to N5.00. This 614% increase is still the highest single jump in Nigeria’s history. In 1993, classic Maradona style, it was reduced to N3.25. The economy of course could not take it and the prices were again increased by General Abacha in 1994 to N11.00.
In some countries, a declaration of intention to run by a former military leader whose economic policies continue to hunt us, whose name is tainted by charges of corruption and who was hounded by the late Gani Fawehinmi on allegations of murder would create uproar. In saner nations, General Babangida will cover his head in shame and accept responsibility of his former Chief of Army Staff, General Abacha’s actions. If General Babangida had any sense of responsibility, he would be hunted by the dead from riots following the annulment of the June 12 elections among other human rights abuses. He would not wait for people to rise to the streets, Kyrgyzstan style to protest the insult.
In Nigeria, esteem is way up Maslow’s ladder.
Posted by Funlayo at 14:44