The nature of events and circumstances that have greeted 2020 means that when individuals, corporate bodies and the government take a look back on the year, it would have been an unusual one.
For the government particularly, the year has been one of many ups and downs but it was another kind of ‘down’ when the Federal government-controlled Nigeria Commodity Exchange was dragged in the mud because of the gaffe by the managing director.
In a viral video Thursday, the managing director of the NCX, Zaheera Baba-Ari, was being quizzed by Ogun West Senator, Tolulope Odebiyi, and Baba-Ari could not give any hint of the prices of commodities her organisation oversees. Baba-Ari gave excuses that the prices changed daily but remained clueless as to what agricultural produce cost in the market.
Senator Odebiyi tried to be euphemistic but could not hold back in scolding the NCX boss. She’s not supposed to have a hint, she’s supposed to have all the facts considering that she’s appearing before a Senate Panel and watched by Nigerians on national television.
While it was perplexing to many watching on, it didn’t come as a shock because mediocrity is fast becoming the hallmark in the Nigerian leadership circle, if it hasn’t.
The gaffe by Baba-Ari led to series of quizzing on social media as to how she got to position in the first place. The answers thrown up by Nigerians largely bordered on cronyism and outright incompetence. A background check on her revealed that she holds Bachelor’s and Masters degrees in English and Language Arts. She also joined NCX in 1999.
Having presumably spent 21 years with the Exchange, it is not out of place for her to have risen to the top of the ladder but it should be examined how she got there given the public display of incompetence.
Nonetheless, accusations of cronyism are not entirely invalid given the recent nomination of President’s Buhari’s aide and an APC loyalist, Lauretta Onochie for the position of commissioner for INEC. Just like that nomination was a slap on the face of the intelligence of not just the federal legislators but also the Nigerian populace, the display by Baba-Ari was another.
If the commission that manages the effect of price fluctuations in the marketing of agricultural produce is led by an oblivious person, given the reported current inflation rate, then the government being removed from the reality of the masses should not surprise many anymore.
Kola Muhammed has imprint across local and international media. He is passionate about trends in the domains of culture, communication and technology.