BRICS, Nigeria, USA, European Union, China and the next ten years
By Dr Orefo Nnamdi Onochie
Marxism and Socialism are predicated on controlling the economy of any entity, no matter how big or small, which grants that controller total emasculation of political power. There was an element and principle that Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin did not contend with, which in the end brought on the stagnation of the Socialist economy. That principle was the effect of technological growth on the wealth and preservation of Nations. So, while the Soviet Union used technology and science to expand their power, the United States and the rest of the G7 economies grew and at same time improved on the standard and quality of life of their peoples.
Beyond reducing the cost of living in their countries, they created so much comfort that became the envy of the socialist countries. East and West Germany were the perfect examples, and the Communist population of East Germany soon started running and escaping into highly developed and comfortable West Germany: the huge walls built to separate Berlin, soon became the symbol that must be brought down. This happened on November 9, 1989, and it was the harbinger of the final dissolution of the Soviet Union. Why go into this introduction, to show how Nigeria must not regret going into BRICS: changing the oppression of the West, for the deceit of China and Russia. Of the two evils, which is the least? Better to remain the bride that both must seek.
NIGERIA AND CHINA IN 2023
It was Femi Falana, the activist Nigerian Lawyer, who raised this issue. In an effort to save the Naira against devaluation, Falana brought up the idea of swapping the Naira and the Reminbi, RMB, the local currency of China. In 2018, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, faltering from the hard pressures on the Naira, propounded the currency swap doctrine, to stabilize and provide easing for the Naira: so it would be possible to pay for goods exported to Nigeria from China, in Nigerian Naira; and Nigeria would earn the RMB for products imported by China from Nigeria. On paper it sounded and appeared profitable and plausible, but it failed with little practice. Why? It was indeed, falling from the fry pan right into the flaming fire, the US Dollar is the frying pan, and the Chinese RMB is the flaming fire.
To understand this better, Nigeria’s annual export to China in 2022, was $3.2 Billion USD. While China’s export to Nigeria in the same 2022 was $22.3 Billion USD. Thus, if Nigeria were to continue and sustain the currency swap policy, in less than 5-years, Nigeria would be holding so much RMB that China would say to Nigeria, forget your Naira, and use our currency in your country, no wahala (local parlance for not to mind). The devaluation of the Naira ties Nigeria into higher debt to the US, which can only be paid by selling more to the US, otherwise on a certain day, the US can insist we pay back in full or they will run over Nigeria, with their superior military might.
Here is how the President, Yuweri Museveni, of Uganda, summed it up: African Presidents saw Muammar Gadafi, close to being overthrown by opponents against him sponsored by the West, led by NATO, so they gathered and set out to make peace between Gaddafi and his antagonists. They flew from Nouakchott, Mauritania, towards Tripoli, Libya, and less than half way, a high official of NATO, under US guidance, ordered those 12 African Presidents to turn back……..”you turn back”, they were ordered and without argument, the private jet turned back to Nouakchott, and Gaddafi was overran, captured, shot, bleed to death and his African brother Presidents were demobilized by the military and economic might of NATO, USA, and the G7. What were the lessons, and consequences of not “obeying” NATO commands? Was it possible that the private jet ferrying the 12-African Presidents could have been shot down?
What was the last platform that would have saved the prestige of these countries and Presidents and saved Gaddafi, his devilry not withstanding? Answer- grow your own economy, eliminate your foreign debt, zero out your foreign debt, strengthen your manufacturing base and economy, stop the devaluation of your local currency: and preserve your national and continental sovereignty and strategic power. Another military coup in Libreville, Gabon, August 30, 2023, where Omar Bongo and his son, Ali, had been Presidents for 53-years, and the UN, AU, France and Nigeria through Tinubu, is supporting “democracy”, in which Ali Bongo stole votes to win the “election”. Is that democracy, is such permissible in North America, Western Europe, Australia and NewZealand? Why prescribe and support that in Africa? Simply because it benefits their economic interests: African governments and populations must condemn such, and align with those who will imprint a transition to incorruptible neutral, just, fair, rotational Parliamentary political systems.
CHINA PEGGED THE RMB AT 8.2 YUAN TO $1.00 USD FOR 11-YEARS
The statement above is alien and history to Nigeria. What is the currency principle of pegging? It is the robust principle employed by courageous governments to preserve their economies, local currency and build their manufacturing sector. As a Nigerian diplomat, I visited Saudi Arabia several times, though not a Muslim, and knew how in more than 30-years, the Riyal has been pegged against the US dollar. Compared with Nigeria and based on principles handed over to Nigeria by the IMF, World Bank and currency traders/companies (including Nigerians employed by the institutions): Investment Export Window, free-float policy, market fundamentals etc. The continued mystification, secrecy and cronyism promotes an economy that is bloated, on which only rent seekers, and not entrepreneurs get promoted.
Only the principle of pegging for at least two decades, and the agreed rehabilitation of forex street traders or their prosecution will cure Nigeria and save her manufacturing base. No country can survive currency swapping of the type proposed and agreed with China, being encouraged by Femi Falana. The IMF, World Bank, Eastern or Western Creditors cannot offer you prescriptions that will liberate your economy from their stranglehold. Only tough politicians with home-grown and domesticated policies and interests can offer that, which excludes military politicians skewed to the West or East.
PATRONIZE MADE IN NIGERIA GOODS ONLY
The burden of the recovery of the economy of Nigeria is so huge, that only a very humble and focused political mind can achieve it. In 2022, Nigeria imported goods worth 53.61 Billion US Dollars. Total exports of Nigerian made goods or products stood at 46.93 Billion US Dollars, which includes oil and gas. Our trade and payment balances are both in the negative. Much more are still invisibles and unknown miscellany, otherwise the run against the Naira would not be so massive and hard. Unless there is a leadership capacity to drastically reduce imports and save earned US Dollars, not fritter it by granting huge amounts of US dollars to cronies, pretending to want to revive our exports, (such as Tony Elumelu and Aliko Dangote), the next ten years will remain bleak for the economy and country.
The uncertainty will be so huge that structural preservation will be impossible: infrastructural development will remain fully stunted and the borrowing and corrupt foreign loan sheiks symbolized or represented by the types of Buhari’s Rotimi Amechi, who borrowed gigantuan sums with much less to show for it, and most of the funds were stolen into private accounts, kleptomaniacally preserved for running for national Presidential elections. It is already clear that the hopes of the Nigerian populace will be misplaced in the current milieu of Tinubu’s government.
ECONOMIC SUPERFLUITY IN NIGERIA
The earn and spend ethos of the current governing class is hopeless. It is not difficult to look back to the last 10-20 years in Nigeria, and into the coming future 20-years, and to see that corruption and insecurity will persist and blow-out the country.
A very thorough plan of revamping the Customs and Excise in Nigeria, to free it from nepotistic CORRUPTION, is the policy extension and preservation that will make it possible for the country to prosper and to survive. Nigeria cannot afford the current CBN forex of floated or market determined forex price. Including also the Presidential model, in which political campaigns are conducted by individuals or political parties, because the country’s GDP is very low, a Parliamentary system is preferable, which does not entail massive individual expenditures or national political campaigns.
In the current context, continuing hardships, will persist, in this sea of mostly stolen and unaccounted for wealth and plenty, and it will destroy the political base of the country. The only path to progress are paths used by India, China and Japan that promoted their industrial base, without acceding to undeterred importation of foreign made goods and services. Not the prescriptions of the World Trade Organization, WTO, and even if Nigeria remains a member of the WTO, her sovereign authority must direct her to completely close external importation, and insist on domestic production and consumption: any other policy will continue to bring down such an economy or the country. The Naira will NEVER stabilise.
BRICS AND THE NIGERIAN STRATEGIC FUTURE
There is a temptation to dream of being a member of the BRICS. One side is to oppose the West, led by the US. The other side is the incomparable position that non colonial socialism or Marxism compels the major members, China and Russia, to have had a history of support for colonized countries. But even such considerations are futile. In the immediate post independence periods, the Non Aligned Movement, championed by Indonesia, that included India and Balewa’s Nigeria, was an alternative bloc that was free from the Cold War of the capitalist West, and the Socialist/Communist East.
The international environment and spectrum today is much more different. Though the West is still using the CIA to scuttle and replace governments not inclined towards their system of capitalism, yet there are vestiges of consumerist capitalism in the Chinese model of socialism. Russia is even more weakened in this context. There is a clear effort and propensity of the BRICS to replace the West, and be worse than the West, easily discernible in the personalities of Xi Jingpin of China, and Vladimir Putin of Russia. It is an imperialist character that India does not exude, same with Brazil and South Africa, but there are fears of Hindu imperialism that frightened and equated Hinduism with Zionism that alienated mainstream Muslims, especially in Yoruba areas of Nigeria.
It is in milieus such as this that a policy of neutrality, practiced and symbolized by Switzerland is very attractive to big continental or even independent countries, that will enable them to prosper, grow technologically advancing entities, customs, traditions that are non Caucasian and clearly African. There will always be pride in our own different traditions and cultures, distinct from that of Europe and North America, including IndoAsia. China and India are adept at exporting their national ethos, geared towards a demographic advantage of leasing out huge portions of their population. Easy monetary loans and indebtedness that reduces and abuses the sovereignty of countries where there are rogue politicians, are methods used by all three major countries of BRICS, China, Russia and India, to export new colonial policies.
STRATEGIC 20-YEAR OUTLOOK
Countries in the African continent, including Nigeria, must be wary of not only these countries, but their new BRICS ideology. That is my primary reason for seeing huge advantage that the new members of BRICS, does not include Nigeria. Can Nigeria survive outside of such a new strategic political formations such as these? The amplified answer is YES!
The solutions lie in centralizing fairness, equity, justice, national honesty and cohesion, that will attack CORRUPTION, ISLAMISATION and Ethnic domination, of the type that Buhari bequeathed to Nigeria, and which is currently consuming her, through the inordinate misconceptions of Tinubu’s ethno-Yorubaism, perfected by the APC in Lagos State of Nigeria, and softly supported by other South West peoples of Nigeria.
This nepotism and tribalism is already so divisive that other parts of Nigeria are deeply engaged in ensuring that they will not be overwhelmed or DOMINATED by any one particular ethnic or religious group: if the West, being Europe or North America is Caucasian by race, and Christian, how different are they from the Middle East, being Arabic and Islamic, or the East being Chinese, Indian, Confucian or Hindi. Once there is ethno and ideological perception in any of these typologies, the best strategic position is to remain NEUTRAL, and reject the entreaties to join them or get recruited.
Slavery or domination by any of these countries, groups or entities is not different, one from the other. Grow, develop, evolve and prosper and preserve your own entity, use your own resources, applying science and technology as your strategic guide and base. India and China have perfected it. African countries, especially South Africa, both Sudanese Republics, Congo DR, and Nigeria, must reject BRICS, despite that South Africa is already highly engrossed in the formation; it should reassess its position and withdraw from the group. US dollar, or no US dollar, what other national currency will be used now to replace the US dollar internationally? How will the zealous crypto currency of young people impact on global economics, exchanges, trade and environment? The future may indeed lie in this genre.
The new race to establish stations, countries or positions in outer space, such as the Moon and Mars, how will these impact on the world? What is the place of developing countries in all these? Let our charity begin first here on Earth, in our current entities, instituting FREE EDUCATION, primed in SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: FREE MEDICAL SERVICES, to stabilize our demographic situation, then we can create our own free and non dominated or overwhelmed society.
This should be our major pursuits in the next 20-years.
Signed Dr. Orefo Nnamdi Onochie, Chairman-Convener, NACOPPIN NIGERIA 2023.