He had an opportunity to make real reforms early on, to boldly reshape Nigeria’s path. He wasted it.
Perhaps the first clue was the unusually long time it took him to appoint his ministers. After an ostensible search for the very best, he presented many recycled figures with whom Nigerians were disenchanted. But the real test of his presidency came with the continued fall in oil prices, which had begun the year before his inauguration.
Nigeria’s economy is unwholesomely dependent on oil, and while the plunge in prices was bound to be catastrophic, Mr. Buhari’s actions made it even more so.… Seguir leyendo »
We call it light; “electricity” is too sterile a word, and “power” too stiff, for this Nigerian phenomenon that can buoy spirits and smother dreams. Whenever I have been away from home for a while, my first question upon returning is always: “How has light been?” The response, from my gateman, comes in mournful degrees of a head shake.
Bad. Very bad.
The quality is as poor as the supply: Light bulbs dim like tired, resentful candles. Robust fans slow to a sluggish limp. Air-conditioners bleat and groan and make sounds they were not made to make, their halfhearted cooling leaving the air clammy.… Seguir leyendo »
On New Year’s Day, in my ancestral hometown of Abba in Anambra State in eastern Nigeria, my family and I woke up to unbelievable news: the price of petrol had doubled. Overnight, the government had removed what it called the subsidy on fuel, and almost immediately, transport fares exploded and food prices rose astronomically. It used to cost 4,000 naira — about $25 — to fill my petrol tank. Then it cost 10,000 naira. When I stopped to buy okpa, a steam-cooked bean dish, from a street hawker, she said it was no longer 50 naira; it was now 100.
“Why?” I asked.… Seguir leyendo »