Goodluck Jonathan The Economist calls ex-president an “ineffectual buffoon”

The publication made the statement with regards to the wanton corruption which went on under Jonathan’s regime during which “politicians and their cronies fill(ed) their pockets with impunity.”

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Former President, Goodluck Jonathan play

Former President, Goodluck Jonathan

(Telegraph UK)
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International publication, The Economist has described former Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan as an “ineffectual buffoon.”

The publication made the statement with regards to the wanton corruption which went on under Jonathan’s regime during which “politicians and their cronies fill(ed) their pockets with impunity.”

The remark was contained in an article titled “Nigeria’s economy; Crude tactics.”

Read excerpts below:

In the eight months since Mr Buhari arrived at Aso Rock, the presidential digs, the homicidal jihadists of Boko Haram have been pushed back into the bush along Nigeria’s borders.

 The government has cracked down on corruption, which had flourished under the previous president, Goodluck Jonathan, an ineffectual buffoon who let politicians and their cronies fill their pockets with impunity. Lai Mohammed, a minister, reckons that just 55 people stole $6.8 billion from the public purse over seven recent years.

Mr Buhari, who—unusually among Nigeria’s political grandees—is said to have just $150,000 and a couple of hundred cattle to his name, abhors such excess. As military ruler he jailed, fired or forced into retirement thousands of bureaucrats whose fingers had been in the till.

This time, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested dozens of bigwigs, including a former national security chief accused of diverting $2.2 billion. The EFCC has a poor record of securing convictions; but a single treasury account has been introduced to try to stop civil servants siphoning off cash. And agencies which may not be remitting their fair share to the state are having their books trawled by Kemi Adeosun, the finance minister.

Oil’s price has fallen by half, to $32 a barrel, in the months since the new government came to power, sending its revenues plummeting. Income for the third quarter of 2015 was almost 30% lower than for the same period the year before, and foreign reserves have dwindled by $9 billion in 18 months. Ordinarily there would be buffers to cushion against such shocks, but Mr Jonathan’s cronies have largely squandered them. Growth was about 3% in 2015, almost half the rate of the year before and barely enough to keep pace with the population. The stockmarket is down by half from its peak in 2014.

Nigeria is fortunate in having low levels of public debt (less than 20% of GDP), but it is not helped by high interest rates, which mean that 35% of government revenue goes straight out of the door again to service its borrowings. It would not take much to push it into a debt crisis.

Frustratingly, this crunch is one that Nigeria has been through before—under the then youthful Mr Buhari. Then, as now, he refused to let the market set the value of the currency.

Instead he shut out imports, causing the legal import trade to fall by almost 50% and killing much of Nigeria’s nascent industry in the process. Between 1980 and 1990, carmaking fell by almost 90%. Today, as in the 1980s, the president is making a bad situation worse.

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