For those reading me from outside Nigeria, let me summarise what’s up down here. Things are really looking good for President Muhammadu Buhari.
First of all, he’s alive and healthy, according to the Senate President who met him in London on Wednesday where he has been since January 19 when he travelled there for his medical vacation.
Second, crude production has climbed to 2 million barrels daily. This is still below the budget target of 2.2 million barrels daily, but a big jump from the 1.6 million barrels when Niger Delta Avengers were blowing up oil and gas installations last year and vowing total war.
Third, the World Bank has agreed to lend Nigeria 2.5 billion dollars to meet its budget deficit of almost two trillion naira. To understand how important this is, you need to know that Nigeria has been pursuing that loan since January 2016.
This was because oil prices collapsed and the money that used to flow into government coffers suddenly stopped flowing and the country went into recession. Millions lost their jobs, the naira crashed, the dollar ballooned and protests erupted in Lagos, Abuja and elsewhere.
But those protesting did not realise that Buhari was not the only one to blame. Years of gargantuan corruption and outright theft and mismanagement had crumbled the Nigerian economy.
so bad were things that nothing, virtually nothing was being produced here. Worse, electricity had crashed and millions continued to sleep in excruciating heat and darkness. But things seem to be stabilising now with that new loan that should be invested in infrastructure.
The construction of that badly needed infrastructure would create jobs and stabilise the Buhari government a bit. If that money is embezzled by politicians or used to pay salaries, Nigeria would go back to square one in addition to paying heavy debts.
But critics say, despite the “gragra” and big talks, Buhari has failed to reverse decades of chaos and rot. Jobs are still being lost, companies are closing shop, his ministers seem to be lost in their big talks and big heads with nothing in them.
Public opinion is turning against him and those who still back him are mainly northerners who are just bound by emotions of a brother who must perform by fire by thunder. In all of that, it is our opinion that things are getting better, not worse.