As Nigerians suffer from the longest-lasting petrol shortages in at least 30 years, being compounded by little or no electricity supply, and no fresh ideas from the federal government on how to fuel economic growth, six ministers, led by Propaganda Minister Lai Mohammed decided yesterday that the best thing to do was talk a good game at a “town hall” meeting in Lagos.
Apparently, the plan is to take the show, after Lagos, to Kano and Abuja.
Joining “Comical Lai” on the stage were Babatunde Fashola, struggling at the power ministry, Ibe Kachikwu, floundering at petroleum with constantly shifting deadlines on when there would finally be enough petrol at fuel pumps, Rotimi Amaechi, the Transport Minister, Okechukwu Enelamah, the Trade and Industry Minister and Geoffrey Onyeama from the foreign ministry.
Watch a clip of the event below:
Fashola must be shrinking by the day in the estimation of those that used to think he was the business, as they struggle to deal with the heat without power supply. Those with “light” would have seen him claim ridiculously that the problem with power supply could be summed up with “one word” and then ended up using two sentences to explain the problem. He said: “There is not enough power generated. 5,000 megawatts is not enough”. I’m not sure those sweltering in the heat would be that interested in why there is no electricity. They want solutions, that are proving to be beyond Fashola. But he “assured” the friendly (and handpicked) audience that things will get better.
He then claimed he was in a “result-oriented business” and would be judged by results that were not looking good at the moment. But he said he now had one “result” in terms of “understanding” what the problems are!
Kachikwu was just as bad, waffling about “transparency” now at the state-owned petroleum company, NNPC. He dazzled with a lot of BS about billions recovered and a drop in the billions the company was losing. If the country was so flush with petrol money, why was the budget padded with further borrowing? Perhaps, there wasn’t enough time for Kachikwu to explain.
Amaechi was his same old incoherent and rambling self. He said he had handed over a long stretch of rail to GE in return for building Nigeria a “university of transport” and a factory for rolling stock for the railways. He didn’t seem to provide a target for delivery of those wonderful goodies. If it is anything like the Port Harcourt Monorail, in which Amaechi sank a fortune for nothing as governor of Rivers State, Nigerians are in for a long wait to see this university and factory from GE.
Enelamah and Onyeama said nothing of note, with the exception of the former’s strange and subservient claim that China had agreed to train Nigerians and they were going there to gain “experience and wisdom”.
The “wisdom” of this “town hall” exercise with six ministers, who seem to have a lot of time on their hands, in the face of so much misery for Nigerians, was not visible to the naked eye.