Shall we tell him(President M. Buhari) fellow Nigerians, including those in his age bracket, rise up before dawn to queue for hours at the banks to collect as low as N5000? Shall we tell him the operators of many of the Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMSEs) groan in pain, putting heavy burdens on their families and on the families of their employees? Shall we show him evidence of perishable items that are rotting away in the stalls of many petty traders? He probably doesn’t know that we buy money from the POS operators at as high as 30% commission
By Abiodun Fijabi
The 1977 novel by Jeffery Archer goes by this title. I had read it with bated breath as an undergraduate. The plot to assassinate the US President was real and threatening. A plot complicated by a love story was planned with ruthless efficiency. It was an intricately complex plot that only a tenacious and skilled FBI agent – Mark Andrews – could stop. Knowing the President’s antecedents, the FBI had a decision to make. A decision that could escalate the plot and put the safety of the world’s most powerful man at risk. Shall we tell the President? That was the important question.
The current shortage of the Naira in Nigeria many will swear – rightly or wrongly – is a plot from the pit of hell. The devastation that has followed this poorly implemented policy is better imagined than experienced. Even the President agreed to the pains and sorrows that this policy has unleashed on his beloved people. He voiced what amounted to an apology in Kaduna recently while campaigning for the gubernatorial candidate of his party in the state. A Presidential candidate of the opposition had won the state at the just concluded elections and the President was willing to pull any strings to regain a state that is arguably his second home. Which brings one to question the President’s sincerity. No one expects the nation’s President to suffer like the rest of us from the pains and the sorrows that have attended the cash crunch. So, does he know? Does he really know where the shoe pinches? Is he fully aware of the extent of our pains? Shall we tell the President?
It’s a decision we all as crack detectives in our own right and as stakeholders in the Nigerian project should deliberate upon. Shall we show him the huge crowds at the entrances of the banks and at the ATMs? Shall we tell him fellow Nigerians, including those in his age bracket, rise up before dawn to queue for hours at the banks to collect as low as N5000? Shall we tell him the operators of many of the Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMSEs) groan in pain, putting heavy burdens on their families and on the families of their employees? Shall we show him evidence of perishable items that are rotting away in the stalls of many petty traders? He probably doesn’t know that we buy money from the POS operators at as high as 30% commission. I doubt if he knows inflation has hit the roof, raising the cost of living astronomically and reducing exponentially the quality of life. He is probably oblivious of many preventable deaths from starvation, deprivations and mental health. I suspect he is being told our elastic limit is so high that we are suffering and smiling.
I think we should tell the President in no unmistakable terms. But how shall we tell the President? How do we bypass the insulated walls – physical and psychological – that keep many leaders, including ours, from seeing, hearing and knowing the true state of the nation? Recourse to the Judiciary? Well, we have done that already. Recourse to violence? Hell no!!! Haven’t we destroyed enough banks and public infrastructures? How about enduring till May 29? Lord, have mercy! What else? Please allow me time to think like Mark Andrews – the crack detective in Jeffry Archers’ Shall We Tell The President. May be I should take the next flight to Abuja to personally deliver the Certified True Copy of the Supreme Court judgment to the Attorney General. What do you think? Please wish me luck.
Abiodun Fijabi, a public speaker, trainer and public affairs commentator, writes from Abeokuta