Nigeria’s omnipotent chief of staff to the president, Abba Kyari, is famed to be the real man behind the mask that take decisions for the nation’s stygian presidency. In my first article about him last month, I wondered why the head of the president’s servants acts as the real ruler of Nigeria. The answer is simple but that is not why Mr Kyari is on my page today just as we can’t avoid a word or two of those.
The chief tax collector of Nigeria is one of the most important jobs in the country. S/He enjoys more perks and wealth than most presidents of other 3rd World nations. Babatunde Fowler,a god-son of Bola Tinubu, is current chairman and chief executive. In normal times, he would be over-seen by a minister of finance. But as we must now know,these are not normal times.
And so, Mr Abba Kyari wrote a letter (Not on behalf of the president!) to Mr Fowler which essentially alleges that the rulers think that there should be more money than they currently receive. He claims that
“There is a variance between budgeted revenue and actual collected revenue.”
Just when you think that it should be obvious to anyone of average brains that a projection must vary from realty, Mr Fowler rushed to explain, August 19,being the deadline, and in 3 pages!
Mr Fowler blamed a slump in oil price, slow economy and a recession as reasons why those who were in charge before him collected more money.
As we always do,conspiracy theories that fill the media and on the lips of the millions of lost citizens must factor in what we write. For the purpose of this page, we shall take only two. Again, they are what they are- namely, theories.
Someone Wants Tunde Fowler’s Job.
At some point in the middle of Mr Buhari’s first term, it was widely reported that Mr Fowler had exceeded those before him in tax collection. Those would be members of the PDP, now opposition. And “figures ” were put forth to back this. The objective, at the time, being that Mr Buhari’s administration was more transparent.
About 3 months into a second term and having borrowed more money than any government in Nigeria’s history, Mr Buhari and the interests he serves have to get money by all means. Money no longer pour in from outside to help fight “insurgency”. And it must pay more than half what it earns via crude oil to service loans. What’s worse, no one is ready to loan more to Nigeria.
And so, if the clique takes over tax, and have their men and women in the relevant places, the spending habits can go on once again.
Mr Fowler’s tenure is ending and it could be renewed were things to be normal. Arguments will spring as to which tribe should “produce” the next chairman. Mr Buhari’s tribe will take it. It serves two purposes. The first one being that they get more money without too much paper work as it happens in the petroleum industry. They will litter the place with Hausa -Fulani who are known to regard government money as their birthright.
Secondly, those who don’t like Bola Tinubu, one of the warlords of Mr Buhari’s party, will be happy to see Mr Fowler go. It has been rumoured that he has filled the service with his tribes people, Yoruba. He has also hired “consultants” to work with government auditors. The consultants are paid huge fees and are ,again, from his tribe and are personally known to Mr Fowler.
Only recently, a group in Nigeria’s North accused Mr Tinubu of trying to bring down Mr Buhari’s government while still praising the dictator in public. They cried that Mr Tinubu’s people are “The biggest beneficiaries of the government . And it is time to severe all connections with them”. Thus, it makes for a reasonable theory to assume that Mr Kyari’s assault on Fowler is to make that happen.
As expected, the Lagos media machine, a tool Mr Buhari rode to power has gone to work in Mr Fowler’s defence. And Mr Kyari might need to watch it.
The True Nature Of Buhari’s Government.
It is no longer news that there is a “cabal” that controls the government. I have heard about a cabal in a cabal. Former Senate president,Bukola Saraki, at a world press conference last year said “when I say that there are governments within this government, nobody believed me. Today’s event ( an armed attack by DSS on the National Assembly) has proved that”.
The problem with a cabal is that the first casualty is competence. It is the reason ,for instance, that the NNPC( Buhari is chairman) has reported yearly losses for the past 4 years. It is also the reason the country is in coma. By the way, Abba Kyari is a member of the board of NNPC.
Here is a conspiratorial tweet from Reno Omokri. “Tunde Fowler responds to General @MBuhari’s query on why FIRS makes less than they did under @GEJonathan (even though they lied publicly that they made more).In summary, what Fowler said to Buhari is ‘Blame your incompetent handling of the economy’!”
Another drawback for cabals is the struggle for power. And we all know that scruples and good behavior are considered hindrances in those struggles. What happens? A bad mafia arrangement where some must be sacrificed. It is no surprise, therefore ,that former governor of Lagos, and Tinubu’s former god-son, Akinwunmi Ambode, is being raided by Mr Buhari’s EFCC. The idea is to get Mr Tinubu to keep the noise level low. In short, play ball, or else.
We can go on endlessly about the morass that Nigeria has become but to what end? To be sure, things won’t get better under this arrangement.
When a chief of staff is more powerful and clearly more visible than the president, then the nation must suffer. And to think that Mr Buhari was sold to naive Nigerians as “A no nonsense man”!