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Turbulence, more turbulence around the world, By Michael Ovienmhada

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Turbulence, more turbulence around the world, By Michael Ovienmhada

Turbulence, more turbulence. That’s about the only way one can describe the state of the world today. Inflation bites everywhere.

Whilst peoples in certain countries have long established cushions to the problems of high prices, financial institutions like the IMF are cheering Nigeria on—to remove cushions that have helped stabilize the country for a long time. ‘Nigeria has come of age,’ Murtala Mohammed declared over 40 years ago, but it seems like the politicians of today did not get that memo. I remember Maggie Thatcher in campaigning in her first election had said “What is good for General Motors may be good for America, but what is good for America may not be good for Great Britain.” That, my friends, is clear-minded thinking. Nigeria must grow its own home-grown economic Think-Tank—one whose only focus would be to think of what is good for Nigeria.

We are where we are. Fuel subsidy has been removed. The Naira has been left to its own fate. The people are stranded on many fronts. Whereas in those other countries, the people do not have to grapple with lack of electricity, for us here, it is the biggest driver of indirect taxation, and therefore, a big driver of inflation. Messing with fuel subsidy absent quality improvements in electricity supply was a ‘nailing of the coffin’ for many businesses. I have been a businessman all my life. I do not need the IMF to tell my country what is good for my country. I know. Mama Osaro in Agbado market knows. I’ll tell you what she knows: She knows that transportation is the greatest driver of prices; She knows that there are 62 roadblocks between Lagos and Benin and that each of these roadblocks is a toll collection point; She knows that her perishable goods will perish because there’s no electricity, and because the roads are bad; She knows that she cannot get a Bank loan at an interest rate low enough to make her business viable; She knows that farmers can no longer go to their farms because of insecurity; Finally, she knows that the politicians do not know what she knows, but that many of them know how to do one thing very well—-loot. So, she knows her problems will not be solved or addressed by anyone else but her. And so, she reasons: ‘What must I do to survive?’ For her, it’s a simple proposition: Raise prices. We therefore have our country in a spiral. One problem fuels another, and yet another until the economy looks like a driverless train.

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I am not one to write without proffering solutions. I will begin with electricity. Now that electricity is restructured, something drastic needs to happen. States like Ondo, Edo, and Delta need to invite BEDC to a friendly meeting. Proposition 1. Can we partner with you to enable your company do a better job of giving us 24/7 electricity? Proposition 2. If we cannot partner with you, can we buy you out? What’s your price? Proposition 3. If propositions 1&2 are not an option, are you ready for a ‘roforofo’ fight?
My guess is that they will opt for proposition 1. With proposition 1, immediate opportunities and benefits exist for everyone. In Edo State for example, 900 MW of electricity becomes immediately available as BEDC has first Rights to it. The thing to then work on together would be a backward integration to build a Gas company immediately to guarantee steady supply to power the idle turbines. In other words, none of the three states mentioned above should now be thinking about building any new Power plants. Our problem now is how to use up existing capacity. To give you an example of how low our needs are right now, BEDC only directs 100MW to Edo State, and whenever we get even 50% of that, we rejoice. The reason is—- there are no industries to take up the power. One fuels the other. Because there’s no power, there are no industries. Because there are no industries, there’s no power. That’s a bad cycle to be in. Let’s solve it. After all, we built empires over 500 years ago. We can do better than this.

Elsewhere around the world, in the United States, it is clear that there will be a rematch between Biden and Trump. The people will choose what they choose to choose on November 6th, 2024 and the world will get what the world gets.

In the State of Georgia, what appeared to be a good case against Donald Trump and his associates regarding actions taken in 2020 is unraveling like a bicycle not well assembled in the factory. What, for example, was Fani Willis, the Fulton County District Attorney thinking, crossing such thick ethical lines to befriend an attorney who was also working on the Donald Trump case? Now, her behavior has created a circus within a bigger drama. She is now the case. It is hard to feel sorry for someone who should have known better. She has created a mess for herself with her own hands. Even if she may not have broken any laws, she has clearly broken ethical norms and standards and I would be surprised if she is not removed from the case. The next prosecutor, if anyone agrees to take the case, may choose to proceed with the case or dismiss it altogether because Donald Trump’s lawyers can now argue that the case is so tainted that it might not be possible for Donald Trump to get a fair trial. That’s the way the law works. That’s the way life works. Certainly, that is how the Cookie crumbles.

Around the world in the Middle East, Gaza burns still. The humanitarian crisis gets worse by the day. Children of Gaza deserve a better deal from adults. Netanyahu is not listening to anyone. Hamas is unyielding. The suffering in Gaza is likely to go on for a long time as America no longer exercises much leverage over Israel.

In Ukraine, the war grinds on. The nature of war has changed in such fundamental ways that a big power can no longer crush a small power Willy-Nilly. Drones have changed the balance of power. They are the new army, but even more robust and more sophisticated. Any country that embarks on large scale production of drones will begin to feature as a new kind of Superpower. The only fear about drones is that it can easily fall into the hands of non-State actors and that would be dangerous for governments.

Still on Ukraine, a little bit of news came out of France a few weeks ago when Macron of France said concerning the war in Ukraine that the possibility of NATO sending troops into Ukraine could not be ruled out. These words were echoed by the Polish Prime Minister a few days ago. He expressed it more clearly—-“this is not about us being afraid, it is about letting Putin know he should be afraid.” The stakes are getting higher. It was always a slippery slope when Russia started this needless war in Ukraine.

As the world turns, elections are coming in Edo State in September this year. The major Gladiators are known, but their deputies are yet to emerge. It would serve the PDP well to hire the steady hands of the current SSG. He will give Asue Ighodalo the peace, stability and hands-on advice he needs to make Edo State a winner. APC has a challenge to live up to in choosing a deputy. Who are they going to find to match the credentials of Osarodion Ogie? They have their work cut out for them. As for Labor, I doubt that they will find a credible Esan man who may assume a label he doesn’t like. The Also-Rans—remain exactly where they have always been—- Also-Rans. May the winner bring succor to our people all over our dear State.

Michael Ovienmhada,
Author, Poet, and Playwright.
[email protected]

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