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How to govern Nigeria | Ali Muhammad Garba

How to govern Nigeria | Ali Muhammad Garba

This piece was originally published on Facebook on 8 January 2020.

Start with a ‘populist’ programme and make plenty of noise to affirm your campaign promises and resonate with the electorate. A bit of noisy razzmatazz on Boko Haram, funding for agriculture, some high profile arrests on corruption charges and, more importantly, painting the opposition and critics black. Hammer on the point that you are not a thief.

While this is going on, devalue the currency, remove subsidy, leverage on this to increase the national debt and, before anyone recovers from the surprise, drive hard to increase revenue. Never forget to accuse and blame the opposition, which has made your actions, correct, desirable and necessary. Remind all, that you are not a thief.

In the name of due process, shy away from politics and allow the party and other trusted persons to form the government and all its structures for you. Assure the party that you could work with anyone and anything. Once this is done, delegate authority to all and push the autopilot on. Then embark and focus on the more important issue of managing foreign matters including your personal affairs. After all, you are not a thief like ‘them’.

Accept and believe official reports presented to you by your trusted staff only. Ignore other unofficial reports and sources because they are not objective and are likely to be the work of critics and or the opposition. If you have to read and search for information in the news, focus on the cartoon section or on sponsored sections that show gratitude to you for the favours you have so graciously offered.

Use the content of official reports, which speaks on the number of Boko Haram members killed, number of people arrested on corruption charges, reduced inflation, rising foreign reserve, amount of money disbursed to farmers, etc., to praise yourself. And yes, do not ask for anything on poverty reduction. IMF and the World Bank do not use those to measure your performance.

Believe that you are the best and the only option and drive this down the throat if everyone; that you are in fact doing us all a favour by doing your best — after all, the Boko Haram insurgency is not your making; according to your intelligence reports, remnants of Boko Haram, the bandits and kidnappers are sponsored by the opposition to distract your government — and Nigerians are corrupt anyway — with the exception of you — you are not a thief. In any case, there is no time to ‘throw stone at every barking dog’. Besides, Nigerians are praying for you for your good work.

When it is time to renew your mandate, borrow and improve on what the opposition does on election matters. Promise free, fair and transparent election. Speak with solemnity in a manner similar to announcing the return of Jesus (AS) to command belief. And, in keeping with your due process belief, and that you are not a thief, allow the party to have its way and deliver your seat.

By that time, everyone would have known who you really are — an excellent book cover.

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