By Ofio ‘Lojuayegbe
PMB inherited Meffy from GEJ and very few Nigerians are in doubt why Buhari not only allowed Meffy to continue in his position as CBN Governor but are miffed that he gifted him a second term, albeit for a job poorly done.
In President Buhari’s cabinet, two of the candidates who members of the cabal have possibly prodded to throw in their hats in the presidential rings can also be regarded as some of the most wasteful public servants in the history of Nigeria.
The first is Amaechi whose railway roadmap from Katsina to Maradi is without rhyme or reason; the second is Meffy, who possibly procured the blessings of the cabal to run for the presidency by gifting loans to the largest number of political farmers in the history of Nigeria.
When some groups, including Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, announced that they have, in conjunction with two other groups, purchased the APC presidential nomination form for Meffy, it wasn’t difficult for curious political observers to note that one or a couple of these “support groups” aren’t possibly doing it out of altruism. RFAN ran from Kano to Abuja to procure the greek gift to the most prodigal public servant they’ve ever known.
Meffy’s signature economic policy, which was meant to transform the agricultural sector, was the Anchor Borrowers’ Scheme. There’s no gainsaying that some gains were recorded as a result of this laudable scheme as the production levels of rice rose astronomically compared to the pre-Buhari years. However, like many government loans given to phantom groups and political farmers, it’s highly doubtful whether most of the initial beneficiaries are willing to pay back.
It will shock me if anyone argues that Meffy, a Lagos born and bred, street smart Delta boy doesn’t understand the racket behind groups forming cooperatives in order to position themselves for government loans which a large majority of their members will divert for less productive ventures, including acquiring new wives and going on holy pilgrimage. Some RFAN (Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria) members were quoted by some media outlets to have openly claimed they never knew those loans, running into almost 100 billion naira at the last count, were meant to be repaid. They as usual concluded that this was another free money from government.
The rice dust raised by Meffy’s ill-advised foray into uncharted political territory seem to be causing the CBN Governor serious rest-piratory attacks and rather than wait for God’s divine intervention to confirm the oddity or otherwise of his presidential ambition as he famously promised last week, he sent an emissary to the Court in the person of Ozhekome to seek their constitutional intervention. A classical case of eating your cake refrigerating it to have it eaten again.
The confirmation from APC ward Chairman at Ika North ward 1 that Meffy registered in his ward since February 2021, made the case even worse as it’s almost unimaginable that a CBN Governor will be a card carrying member of a political party. It’s akin to discovering that the Chief Justice of Nigeria is a member of APC. It may now become necessary to investigate whether most of the economic interventions carried out by the CBN, especially the cash handouts, have largely favoured APC members. Meffy’s audacious move to seek some prayers from the court is definitely devoid of any moral or ethical logic.
A CBN Governor is an appointee of the president, hence the call for President Buhari to show Meffy the door. Sadly enough, it’s most unlikely that this characteristically aloof president will pander to the multiple voices of reason and for once uphold the ethical and moral sanctity that is expected to be present in governance. With about a quarter of his ministers eyeing his chair, some of whom have woefully failed in the micro assignment given to them as cabinet ministers, this President jolly well doesn’t give a damn about whoever is contesting or the source of the war chest being amassed to prosecute their presidential ambition.
PMB inherited Meffy from GEJ and very few Nigerians are in doubt why Buhari not only allowed Meffy to continue in his position as CBN Governor, but are miffed that he gifted him a second term, albeit for a job poorly done. Or how do you spare a CBN Governor under whose watch the naira suffered an all time free fall against the dollar, inflation remained in double digits, the economy went into a recession twice in less than three years, and unemployment hitting the roof, in a Country like Nigeria with enormous potentials.
Many watchers believed Meffy must have copied from Amaechi’s playbook; impress the president with projects or policies unfairly skewed in favour of his kith and kin and find yourself in the good books of the cabal that runs the country on his behalf.
Meffy and Amaechi are from the South-south but of Igbo extraction. They probably fancy their chances based on two assumptions; (1) They have shown unalloyed allegiance to the president and his proxies within and outside the government, some of whom are members of the famed cabal (2) Their last names are Igbo by origin so their candidacy presents the president an easier decision on who succeeds him.
In calibrating the true cost of the presidential forms and the ambition of many cabinet members under President Buhari, lest not forget to factor in what their profligacy and ineptitude have cost Nigeria and Nigerians. In the case of Meffy, beyond the ‘paltry’ hundred million naira coffed out for the forms, his ambition is costing us two recessions in quick succession, inflation rates hitting astronomical records, unemployment biting harder than a cold winter weather in Alaska, naira hitting the rock bottom against the dollar, and the huge sum of almost 100 billion loaned to farmers in the guise of anchor borrowers’ scheme with less than a quarter of the amount repaid as at December 2021.
For Emeka Nwajuba, aside the 100 million spent on his nomination form, his ambition is costing Nigerians unending ASUU strike, over 14 million unschooled children, and an educational system that leaves little to be desired. For Amaechi, his Ministry fuelled the borrowing spree orchestrated by this government that has perpetually ensured our national budget remains in deficit in the last few years owing to unsustainable debt servicing. But our focus is on Meffy because his inordinate ambition is what is putting the polity in this odious state.
For a man who it was gathered celebrated his 60th birthday with an obscenely lavish party in Jamaica, he is comfortable enough, without breaking a sweat, to procure his own nomination form with his own money.
What Nigerians are demanding from the rice farmers is for them to pay up the 77 billion loan yet to be paid from the over 91 billion extended to them by Meffy, as they cannot substitute this humongous sum extended to them by the CBN Governor with the 100 million they jointly donated to purchase his presidential nomination form. Groups or people who have benefited from government owe allegiance to the country and not their patrons in the corridors of power.