The Naira grab: we fought the battle, we won the war, By Kayode Gani Balogun
Sometimes, Public Analysis can be a chore. But once in a while, like today, you feel that it was worth it.
All those hours spent doing research, both by the production team and the analysts, looking critically at both sides of the argument and then presenting these facts in a lucid and logical manner on live television, while also trying to chart a middle ground, isn’t easy.
And then one uncouth and ill bred low forehead will rubbish that effort with innanities like “They are bought and paid for”,” They are lackeys” and my favourite: “What did you expect them to say? “
While politics have dumbed down the quality of public discourse to soundbites, one still expects that that critical pillar of the fourth estate of the Realm: Holding leaders accountable, would be an exception.
We were wrong. We were very very wrong.
Members of the Commentirati, a term coined by Kehinde Bamigbetan to describe analysts and opinion moulders in the media, no longer look at government policies within the prism of undiluted scrutiny, but through tainted political partisanship.
In the last eight years, the Journalists Hangout team have handled topics that even angels were wary to try, and it has awards and accolades to show for it.
We’ve handled topics that even the Vice President had to call into the program to explain certain decisions.
We have praised and criticized the government in equal measure on the same episode of the program many many times.
But nothing could equal the battle the program fought, on behalf of the Nigerian people, at the extreme callousness and incompetence of the Naira swap/grab malarkey.
Putting the politics of it aside was impossible, as similar programs, for reasons only they can explain, decided to support the sadistic implementation of an otherwise reasonable policy.
People picked sides based on their political leaning or whatever they thought was the political advantage of that policy implementation.
That Nigerians were dying, businesses were collapsing and people cannot access their money in banks was for them, the price to pay to end vote buying and eliminate kidnapping.
In a country famous for asinine logic, that one truly was a gem.
Today we tackled the subject again using Soludo’s speech as the anchor, and the CBN Governors reluctance to implement the Bankers Committe ‘s recommendation almost a full day after it was decided, but took only an hour to refute the allegation from a national newspaper of his alleged clandestine moves to influence the Lagos gubernatorial poll in favor of the son of his kinswoman.
And then, the something hits the fan.
First, The Presidency threw both Malami and Emefiele under the bus by absolving the President of any wrongdoing.
A few minutes later, the CBN capitulated ,declared its willingness to obey the Supreme Court judgement unconditionally, and the battle was won!
Congratulations are in order to Nigerians for staying the course and not resorting to violence, which was obviously the natural consequence of such sadistic deprivation in the long run.
The APC governors for their steadfastness on this issue. It takes courage to fight an administration that your party formed, trying to clear the mess created by a carryover CBN Governor from the PDP administration you wrestled power from.
Finally to all those analysts, commentators, columnists, editors and editorial writers, who never deviated from the position that the policy implementation was anti- people, anti- economic growth, and frankly, anti -common sense.
And for those analysts, commentators and media Practioners who supported the policy to the very end, I expect them to apologise to their numerous supporters on how they willfully benefitted from the peoples misery.
Although I am not holding my breath.
-Aare Gani Balogun is a renowned Public Affairs Analyst on TVC’s Journalists Hangout