Dear Basketmouth, here’s why Juju priests can’t help the Naira 

Dear Basketmouth, here’s why 'Babalawo' can’t help the Naira 

Hello Bright, you’ve done well for yourself as one of the most successful entertainers in Nigeria, thereby being a source of inspiration to the young generation. Latest rankings place you as the third richest comedian in the country with a net worth of $5.1 million. Since your days in the popular Night of a Thousand Laughs of the early 2000’s, the path to prosperity has been quite bright for you. I salute your resourcefulness, sense of industry and ingenuity.

This open letter is in response to your latest topical post on Instagram where you raised a pungent poser as to why juju priests are not deploying their mysticisms or metaphysical powers in propping up the Naira so that one United States Dollar can exchange for N150 rather than the current astronomical rate.

ALSO READ: Why can’t witch doctors use juju to save Naira – Basketmouth queries

In your words: “All these juju people sef!! Why e be say na juju wey woman dey use catch man and money ritual dem sabi do pass? Dem no sabi the one wey go make $ drop to N150 to a $? Or something to make some our leaders have empathy and sense…” If you are too busy for a long read, the candid answer to your question is the fact that actions have consequences. As the immortal Chinua Achebe puts it: “The man that brings ant-infested faggots into his hut should not grumble when lizards begin to pay him a visit”.

Make no mistake: I am no traditionalist neither do I believe in shamanism nor speak for adherents of sorcery. In fact, yours truly is regarded in some quarters as a man of the cloth. As is expected, your post got a lot of reactions with several bloggers seeing it your way. You have therefore provided the means by which we can address the millions of Nigerians who are oblivious of how we got here hence are mistaken as to the way out of the current currency hole and woes Nigeria has found itself.

For you, Basketmouth (Bright Okpocha), to even spare time to speak to the dwindling fortunes of the Naira and demand action from those you think have the magic wand perhaps confirms the fact that the severe depreciation of the local currency and the concomitant high inflation are no respecter of societal status. Indeed, both the rich and the poor are feeling the punch. Be that as it may, going back to the good old days rest squarely with Nigerians not any marabout, Dibia or Babalawo.

To expatiate my earlier straightforward answer, it is said in the Good Book that when people sow the wind, they reap the whirlwind. You only need to pay attention to revelations from the Senate to understand how your country came to this sorry pass. The Senate told us last week that a total of N30 trillion was printed by the President Muhammadu Buhari government and the money appears to have disappeared.

ALSO READ: Native doctor storms bank with juju to help customers gain access

Speaking during plenary, the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio said, “By the time we went in to look at the economic situation of the country, it was terrible… the kind of debt and economic mess that we are in, a lot of people will not understand.” Now, how do you want a witch doctor to remedy what has been so willfully destroyed with the destruction being lauded.

Interestingly, this Senate President served as a minister in the then government. At the valedictory Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting for ministers who were leaving the cabinet to join the race for the 2023 presidential election, these were Akpabio’s words to Buhari at the time: “May one of us succeed you in order to continue the good legacies you have laid on the ground. We have seen, and know, your vision. We know where you want the country to be.”

Good legacies? Does this suggest he knew that Buhari was working towards economically emasculating the country yet cheered him on? Be that as it may, it’s the same stroke for the people. Nigerians can’t be absolved of complicity in this matter. Despite Buhari and Godwin Emefiele’s ways and means overdraft, the citizenry failed to ask pertinent questions. Even at the polls, the electorate were not conscientious enough to vote wisely instead allowed ethnicity and other primordial sentiments elect their choices. Alas, the chickens have come home to roost!

ALSO READ: WANTED: Another AFCON distraction for Nigerians

Perhaps if power had changed hands from the APC, the Dasukigate probe of 2015/2016 will be child’s play vis-à-vis  what would have be unfolding in the polity by now. The President Bola Tinubu government despite facing heat and protests from Nigerians over the biting cost of living crisis caused by the profligacy and malfeasance of the past administration hasn’t shown enough courage to do the needful. The government is still in bed and beholden to Buhari who pulled all the executive stops to see to its emergence.

Earlier this month, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) tasked Tinubu to probe the whereabouts of the $3.4bn loan obtained from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by Buhari in 2020. Although the loan was said to have been taken to combat COVID, the civil society watchdog wants Tinubu to promptly probe the allegations that “the IMF loan is missing, diverted or unaccounted for”.

According to SERAP, the 2020 annual audited report recently published by the Auditor-General of the Federation “documents damning revelations, including that there was ‘no information or document to justify the movement and spending of the fund’”. There may be many more of such disappearances which cumulatively are among factors that have brought the Naira to its knees.

Against this backcloth, Dear Basketmouth, how then can we expect the Naira to magically firm up into exchanging N150/1$? I tell you, if fiscal discipline and financial rectitude weren’t the basic requirement, then there would have been signs of the fulfillment of the prophecy by a respected cleric that the days when naira was stronger than the dollar is in the horizon. Regrettably, the reverse has been the case since the declaration was made on September 3, 2023.

This, of course, is not to discredit the truth that the Almighty rules in the affairs of men. It is a given that His ways are not our ways. Back to the juju priests you challenged to boost the value of the Naira, you may be giving them too much credit. For what you’ve asked of them to happen, it will require the sacrifice of greed and graft on the part of the ruling elite while the people sacrifice their complacency and gullibility.

There is the other matter where you wished for the witch doctors to do something that will “make some our leaders have empathy and sense”. They may just tell you that the request will naturally happen only when government officials are sworn into office using African deities like Ogun, Sango, Amadioha, Obatala etc. But then, these juju priests can without resorting to any metaphysical measure, encourage politicians, who constitute the bulk of their clientele, to do right by their country for the good of all. After all, they can’t claim to be shielded from the realities of the current harsh economy.

Thank you!

You can engage with the author on X via @sylvesugwuanyi

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