By Anote Ajeluorou
NOTABLE poet, polemicist and economic thinker Mr. Odia Ofeimun has asserted that lack of proper economic thinkers in Nigeria’s governments have been responsible for the country’s woes. He accused those managing the country’s economy of myopia, as they fail to take the future into account and adequately plan for it.
Ofeimun was speaking two days ago in Lagos at the presentation of a provocative book Economists As Assassins: The Nigerian Connection written by Dr. Jimanze Ego-Alowes, a political thinker who has written two other books – Minorities As Competitive Overlords and Corruption in Africa: Resolution through New Diagnosis.
Economists, Ofeimun argued, had done so much harm to the Nigerian economy it would not be out of place to cock guns when any of them is in sight. He advised that everyone should learn the rudiments of economics so as to avoid being hoodwinked by professional economists. He also stated that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari was already falling into the same error of cluelessness it accused President Goodluck Jonathan in its romance with western governments that are battling to stabilize their economies and which will not hesitate to use Nigeria as buffer.
According to him, “ Ideas, when they are mixed, destroy lives more than guns. Everyone ought to be an economist. My father’s vast wealth was knocked off when the banks crashed in the 1950s; I had to read economics so I don’t get hoodwinked.
“In fact, there are no proper economic thinkers in Nigeria’s governments. So, we’re in danger of doing something out of sync with rationality. All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are not discussing the Nigerian reality. When people turn expletives and curses into economics, then there is trouble. When one party says another is clueless, it means no Nigerian has a clue. The problem that Jonathan had is exactly what Buhari is having whether to sign or not to sign economics partnership with Europe. Asking for help from them is asking for trouble because they are in trouble, too. A country needs to have strong spines to stand firm”.
Ofeimun also accused Nigerian economists of failing to take the future into account while organising the present. As he put it, “Who has done a proper description of the future we must move into? We haven’t been able to describe the present well either and the past remains vague. Those managing the economy have forgotten what it means to plan for the future. Nigeria is the most eminently savable country in the world”.
On Ego-Alowes and his revolutionary ideas, Ofeimun said, “I don’t have to agree with him, but I always want him around. He always takes the broad strokes in his writings and makes you fill the gaps”.
Also speaking was newspaper columnist Mr. Henry Boyo, who described Ego-Alowes, as a courageous and creative writer who has a treasure trove of novel and original ideas and who often leaves his readers stunned with his original opinions. According to him, “Jimanze must love this country to have written so passionately and engagingly. You are a great writer, one of the best of your generation. I have never seen anyone who sees Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu as a thug, but Jimanze did”.
Others present were former Commissioner for Information in Anambra State, Mr. Tony Onyima, Mr. Nik Ogbulie who chaired the event and columnist Otunba Tola Adeniyi among other media buffs.