This is likely the longest week in Nigeria’s history—at least the one I have witnessed. Members of the ruling and opposition parties, are joined in a brotherliness of accusation and violence, as electoral materials go up in flames. People are unsure of the next directive coming from a seemingly erratic President—a president who finds it hard to control his temper when he losses it. Students were just yesterday sent back to school, however, the election is hanging like a malevolent shade upon their education—they cannot start lectures. They go from one holidays to another. INEC has come out to uphold that yes, indeed, logistics was a problem.
Perhaps that was why the result sheets for presidential election in my senatorial zone; Enugu-North, went missing in transit. Pictures are seen of police officers doing the four plus four sign and yes, our president is bent on instructing said police officers to be ruthless with electoral offenders—an offence which has a procedure for dealing with it in the country’s constitution. Anarchy, instability and confusion should be first to third in the apt adjectives for this nation; Nigeria, at this point. Apart from the fact that it does no good for our psyche, it also does no good to prospective FDIs attempting to make its way into Nigeria; amidst the stereotype of corruption, violence and backwardness bedeviling the image of Africa.
Foreigners, especially westerners are almost sure that there is a synergy between the black man and violence. Hence, during charged political periods like this, their minds are made up and nothing is making it into the country a year before and a year after a major election. This leaves the country with 2 out of every 4 years, to convince foreign investors to locate their factories and investments in Nigeria—something that promises to create thousands of direct and millions of indirect jobs for the economy. The market reacts easily to instability. Every economy does.
See the case of bitcoin? Once it seems like everyone is dumping, everyone will dump till the prices crash. See the stock of big brands? Stock holders do not like to play with instability. However, in Nigeria, our government never thinks about it and when Companies fold up and leave, unemployment sets in, in droves, we complain and blame past governments. It is not rocket science to know that the delay of 6 months for the president to appoint ministers, led to the recession the nation faced. Nigeria knew of falling oil prices and was making provisions for that. However, the goodwill which the past government had built concerning foreign investors, was eroded in the 6 months of uncertainty, before ministers were appointed and policy direction, charted.
It would do us a good to know that for every time the President flouts the constitution, he sends a discouraging message to an investor somewhere hoping to invest say a billion naira into Nigeria’s economy. Nobody wants to lose money. Thousands of investors like that exist. They read the news and all they hear is a president fighting the judiciary, calling for extra-judicial killing of its citizen and flouting court orders to release individuals. When you are done calculating, you would understand that the real cost of the affront to our constitution is mainly seen in the 20.9m jobs we have lost cumulatively under Buhari, as at December 2018.