Executive Order 5: Buhari’s Roadmap To Nigeria’s Economic Diversification – By Ayobami Akanji

John C. Maxwell once said: ‘’A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.’’ It is against this background that one can view the signing of Executive Order 5, EO5, by President Muhammadu Buhari, a move that will herald a new dawn for the Nigerian economy.

The EO5 is aimed at boosting the domestic production of goods and services on one hand while creating jobs in science, technology and engineering in the country on the other.

The EO5 also prohibits the Ministry of Interior from issuing visas to foreign workers whose skills are readily available in Nigeria.

Barely nine months after directing all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to give preference to local manufacturers of goods and services in their procurement processes, President Buhari last week signed another EO aimed at steering the nation away from foreign dependence and relying on local content.

Aside emphasising preference for Nigerian companies and firms in the award of contracts, the latest order is expected to also promote local content in the application of science, technology and innovation towards “achieving Nigeria’s developmental goals across all sectors of the nation’s economy.”

For sure, Nigeria is not reinventing the wheel as this is experienced in every country, which adopts a local content policy and strategies to grow its economy. And if implemented, there is no doubt that the nation will reap bountifully from the new measures. But the challenge has always been with the enforcement of our laws, which underline the import of the president activating his powers via the EO. Indeed, the order reinforces and broadens the Nigerian Local Content Law of 2010 in the oil and gas sector of the economy. It is noteworthy that some of the local oil firms are now big enough to run on their own steam with the technical know-how that allows them to buy assets in the oil and gas industry, become major players and manage their resources. Some of them are also into exploration and production as well as fabrication, engineering, and marine transportation.

However, by the time the MDAs begin to engage indigenous professionals in the planning, design and execution of national security projects and other related issues, as directed by the new order, the socio-economic impact on the nation will be all-embracing. Similarly, the new executive order, once enforced, will enhance increased participation of local indigenous firms in the science and engineering-related fields and increasingly build up their capacity in terms of manpower and infrastructure, all to the wellbeing of the nation.

Of particular significance is the inclusion in the EO that consideration shall only be given to a foreign professional, “where it is certified by the appropriate authority that such expertise is not available in Nigeria.’’ This is the discretionary power that is at the heart of the problem. All over the country today, there are numerous “expatriates” from several countries who are no better than certificated illiterates, but were granted express entries and work permits by dubious and corrupt immigration officials, this old order is now history.

Therefore, all factors considered, if faithfully implemented, the EO will enhance increased participation of local firms in the economy, create more job openings and minimise capital flight. It will also serve as another conscious step by the government to protect an important segment of the society and empower them to pull out of poverty. We are optimistic that the MDA’s will enforce and implement the new order to the letter.

In retrospection, months after the President was sworn in May 2015, in an effort to boost local manufacturing, the Central Bank of Nigeria restricted access to foreign currency to import certain goods in a bid to stimulate local production and economic growth.

This birthed backward integration – Nigeria now has a pencil and toothpick factory which shall halt capital flight, create jobs and boost the economy.

As a matter of urgency, we should recall that on May 18, 2017, the then Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, signed three Executive Orders, to improve the budget process of the country, support the implementation of the local content policy in public procurement and promote an enabling environment for the ease of doing business in Nigeria and attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country. These have increased confidence in the Nigerian economy, which is growing exponentially and impressively – this can be attested to by the fact that foreign exchange inflow into Nigeria hit $30.45 billion.

 ? Ayobami Akanji, a political strategist, wrote from Abuja Email: g.writer2011@gmail.com

Nigeria And The Corruption Perception Index: Perception Versus Reality, By Umar Yakubu

Perception and Reality are two different things – Tom Cruise

For the last 25 years, Transparency International, an international body comprising of eminent persons from various countries, releases yearly reports on the corruption of about 180 sovereign nations. The findings or reports, termed, the ‘Corruption Perception Index’(CPI) ranks these countries and territories based on their perceived levels of primarily public sector corruption.

In its methodology of assessment, the index uses a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is most corrupt while 100 is least corrupt. The information for the index is provided by ‘experts and business people’. In 2017, the index found that more than two-thirds of countries scored below 50, with an average score of 43, meaning that more than half of the countries surveyed did not make the halfway line.

Consistent with past trends, the worst performing regions is Sub-Saharan Africa with an average score of 32, and Nigeria scoring 27. That places Nigeria at the rank of 148 which is a drop of 12 places below where it was last year! Before we fret or celebrate over our new ascendancy, it is essential to highlight the methodology used to rank countries.

Transparency International uses thirteen different data sources from twelve different institutions to construct the CPI, they are African Development Bank Country Policy and Institutional Assessment 2016; Bertelsmann Stiftung Sustainable Governance Indicators 2017; Bertelsmann Stiftung Transformation Index 2017-2018; Economist Intelligence Unit Country Risk Service 2017; Freedom House Nations in Transit 2017; Global Insight Country Risk Ratings 2016 ;  IMD World Competitiveness Center World Competitiveness Yearbook Executive Opinion Survey 2017 ; Political and Economic Risk Consultancy Asian Intelligence 2017 ; The PRS Group International Country Risk Guide 2017 ; World Bank Country Policy and Institutional Assessment 2017 ; World Economic Forum Executive Opinion Survey 2017 ; World Justice Project Rule of Law Index Expert Survey 2017-2018  and  Varieties of Democracy 2017.

The main issue to address is not the complex statistical methodology it deploys, which it reassesses every two years, but the primary source of information it uses to arrive at its conclusion.

For data sourcing, it uses ‘businessmen and credible institutions’ as a source of information gathering. It is pertinent to indicate which type of business constitutes the sample size. Is it foreigners or locals? The ‘quality’ of the respondent matters in every research. There will be a difference in the results of a survey if the persons that probably come for business with ‘hot’ money are prioritized over those that live in Nigeria and engage daily in different sectors of the economy.

It further states that it collects parallel independent data from in-house researchers and two academic advisors, who are mainly expatriates. Though Transparency International reports that it has no affiliation with the independent data sources, probably for ethical reasons, it is not clear on the technical methodology concerning where the independent sources obtain their data. Nowhere in the technical methodology is it stated that data is sourced from relevant institutions within a country that is being assessed.

By its admittance, most of the sources do not have global coverage. For a country or territory to qualified for assessment and ranking, there must be at least three CPI’s data sources from the earlier ones stated. So it is safe to assume that the African Development Bank, which is based in Africa and should know Africa was the primary data collection point for Nigeria.

Therefore, the African Development Bank and at least two other institutions will collect data on matters regarding public sector corruption in Nigeria. It shall also assess the ability of governments to contain corruption and enforce effective integrity mechanisms in the public sector. They will also study the adequacy of the legal framework on financial disclosure and conflict of interest prevention.Also included is to ascertain whether there is legal protection for whistleblowers, journalists and investigators when they are reporting cases of bribery and corruption.

Other areas include the confirmation of an effective criminal prosecution for corrupt officials who divert public funds without excessive bureaucratic burden which may increase opportunities for corruption. Quite important is that they are to look at the prevalence of officials using public office for private gain without facing the consequences due to nepotistic appointments in the civil service or by narrow vested interests.

The global standard for assessing complex criminal justice matters such as money laundering, corruption or terrorism, researchers or assessors mainly look at the legal framework and see if its sufficient to combat such crimes. Next is the whether the institutions are capable of and having the technical capacity, funds, staff and other matters to implement the legal framework. Finally, is the measurement or impact of the first two, which is usually the area where most countries have challenges.

In the areas enumerated above, are the Nigerians laws robust enough and in compliance with international standards such as the United Nations Convention against Corruption? Are there institutions strengthened sufficiently to execute their tasks effectively? Are there data available held by these agencies that would be contrary to data obtained from foreign experts? Transparency International is very clear in its technical methodology that it does not capture citizens perceptions or experience of corruption! So where does the information or data generated from to support the  ‘perception’ to reflect the reality of acts of public sector corruption in Nigeria?

It also attributes the lack of journalistic freedom and engagement of civil society to highly corrupt countries. The information is sourced from data from the “Committee to Protect Journalists” which indicates that, every week, a journalist is killed in a country that is highly corrupt.It will be difficult to support that assertion in Nigeria because the state has sufficient press freedom with no recorded casualty because of reportage on corrupt activities. Countries were journalists are killed, is usually not as a result of speaking out against corruption but other factors such as war or political assassinations.

Also, there is not a single reported case of government highhandedness to any civil society organization that has spoken about corruption. All anti-corruption agencies actively engage with CSOs as partners in the war against public sector corruption.

Furthermore, the ‘World Justice Project’ indicates that most countries that score low for civil liberties also tend to score high for corruption. Is there any evidence that Nigeria or any country in the sub-region is rated low on civil liberties or does not allow for civic participation? Most of the countries that scored high are old democracies with stronger institutions and based on that, will always have an edge and higher score over weaker democratic institutions.It is a constant that developed countries will typically rank higher than developing nations due to stronger regulations.

Another problem with the ranking is that it is measured by a different methodology every two years and would pose a challenge to making yearly comparisons. This significant subjectivity downgrades it as a tool for measuring the implications of new policies.

Part of its counter-productivity is that the ranking influences the actual perception of corruption because of the media attention they tend to receive. This raises the potential that the indexes influence the very same opinions on which they are based. This circularity reinforces perceptions of corruption, creating a vicious cycle between perception and fact. Evidently, perceptions of corruption can be shaped by media and entrenched historical stereotypes.Therefore, the perception of corruption does not always reflect the reality or complexity of the actual level or experience of corruption.

There is growing concern among anti-corruption agencies and the international community that perception-based indexes are not accurate measures. It is obvious that perception and experience of corruption are not the same things. Studies have shown that there is a wide gap between opinions and experiences from country to country. For example, in 2006, the perception based CPI rated the United Kingdom as the 11th and Turkey as 60th in the index.

However, using the Global Corruption Barometer, another form of measurement that is more of experience-based, reported that 98 percent of the respondents, who are residents stated that they had not paid any bribe in the past 12 months. The incompatibility of corruption perception with the experience of corruption points to the shortcomings of the perception methodology used.

The complexity of understanding how to interpret these indexes places the responsibility on anti-corruption agencies to explain index ratings to the media. That is probably why the Minister of Information was fidgeting on live television when trying to explain the CPI to the press because it didn’t make sense to him. One can only imagine what would be going through the Chairman of EFCCs mind that after going to Vienna in November 2017 brandish a recovery of N739 billion, tons of asset recoveries ,prosecution of hundreds of high profile cases and over ten countries drooling to copy the Nigerian model, only to descend by 12 positions. Ridiculous I say!



Umar Yakubu

Director – General

Counter Fraud Center


Twitter: @umaryakubu

Interrogating Nigeria’s Tenth-Rate Development Performance Through The Lenses Of Institutional Extractiveness, By Chambers Umezulike

A considerable number of hypotheses have tried to explain Nigeria’s tenth-rate development performance which is evident in low human development indicators, unemployment crisis, industrialization deficit, infrastructural gap and rising poverty. However, little attention is paid to the factor of institutional extractiveness. Such institutional extractiveness was an hypothesis primarily advanced by Acemoglu and Robinson, in their book, ‘Why Nations Fail’.

As such, this piece tries to contextualize the tenets of this hypothesis to Nigeria. This hypothesis has two scopes – the political institutional extractiveness and the economic institutional extractiveness. For the former, power has been concentrated in the hands of a few political elite who leverage on political patronage and resource extraction to maintain power. While for the latter, economic institutions have been historically structured by a generational set of elite to extract resources from the rest of the society for private gains, wealth consolidation and economic expansion.

In actuality, the extractive economic institutions have been somewhat dependent on the extractive political institutions for their survival.

Albeit the details of the extractive economic and political institutions hypothesis vary under different circumstances. As Nigeria’s case shows, they are at the root of the country’s development challenges. First, the extractive facets of Nigerian economic institutions which have failed to invest in people and mobilize the talents and skills of a large number of citizens, have made wealth creation and technological innovation difficult. Education in the country has been facing immense challenges at the basic and secondary levels leading to the powerlessness of teenagers from the large section of the society to acquire the needed skills with which they can contribute to economic productivity and prosperity. This is the same in higher education institutions whereby tens of thousands of graduates, of which a majority of them possess limited skills due to acquired poor education are left jobless with inadequate provisions on how they can fit into the society economically.  As such, new talents are not mobilized. Nigeria has many potential Zuckerbergs and Bill Gates who now roam the streets engaging in less productive economic activities.

The political and economical elite instead of investigating means to fix the educational system are rather maximizing the sector’s failure because they have little incentives to build, finance, and support schools/learners. They either send their wards to schools outside the country in Europe and the United States or flag-off private educational institutions themselves to further acquire wealth. In both instances, the public and civil servants and part of this elite, in most cases have to acquire the finances for such through corrupt means and patronage which are all under resource extraction. Upon the return of their wards from education overseas, they systematically fix them for employment in the lucrative government agencies and institutions or strategically in private investment.

These elites also extend such practice to the health sector, through frequent overseas trips always traveling to for health diagnosis and treatments, further creating a financial drain in the shambled health sector. The incentives to fix the both sectors have remained lacking since they can easily extract resources from the country and attend to their own needs in these areas. This has prevented the creation of a level playing ground for all citizens to aspire and contribute to economic prosperity, while discouraging the participation of a great mass of the population in more productive economic activities that make use of their talents and skills.

Without leaving out the preponderating effect of crony capitalism; privatization under the Structural Adjustment Programme was marred by the government conceding state investments to close allies and cronies, turning state owned monopolies into privately owned monopolies, instead of increasing competition. Such crony capitalism was predominant during the military era, and has relatively continued under the democratic dispensation. In many cases, one must be closer to the political powers in order to have nationally impacting business(es) or expand investments through all manner of concessions. Even to the level of obtaining foreign exchange at cheaper means against a wider section of growing businesses in the country.

Furthermore, licenses to operate in certain economic sectors are only available to those closer to political offices, from oil exploration to the most recent exemplification of such – the power sector privatization saga of the last administration. The poor business climate has discouraged the entrance of new businesses with new technologies. Despite all manner of technological breakthroughs of young Nigerians, with which in a number of cases the Minister of Science and Technology unashamedly uses for advertorials while playing to the gallery, ways to tap into such have remained lacking. Such young businesses have to battle with acquiring capital, passing through backbreaking registration processes with relevant authorities and infrastructural gaps.

Secondarily, Nigeria’s constitutional democracy still retains extractive political institutions in a certain way. Power has remained in the hands of a few political elite who were myrmidons of past military governments or were able to tap into the military-civilian transition quite early. Also playing a huge role in the political institutional extractiveness is a political patronage trend driven by oil rents. Political intents are majorly toward extracting state resources through oil rents for private gains. Sub-national governments have remained extractive, less innovative, creative, and rather depend on oil rents (monthly allocations from Abuja) with which they have largely remained unaccountable for. State national assemblies are controlled by governors.

At the national level, such political patronage games are being played to retain allies at all levels of government through contracts, political appointments etc. This has been intelligently transferred to electioneering, which has become heavily monetized, whereby the political class siphon public funds in preparation for electoral cycles, and keep the electorate in check through the contents of ‘stomach infrastructure’. This is the most terrible as it has constrained the possibility of electing office holders with a strong sense of national interest.

Many of those with such interest have failed to ascend through the political structure and the few with such political pedigree are in bed with impedimenta such as – Godfathers to satisfy, loans to repay and several quarters to appeal, with a cabinet makeup of mediocre personalities. In furtherance, the political elite wielding power have set up economic activities to enrich themselves and augment their power at the expense of society.

Thirdly, of more surprising is the transferability element of this extraction. And in recent times, this could be showcased through the 2015 power exchange. The All Progressives Congress (APC) led administration made it to power, relegating the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that has been in power since the country’s third republic in 1999. They had the so called ‘change mantra’ and the citizenry expected a radical transposition in the manner things are done.

However, the new administration had incentives to maintain the extractive political setting. This started with the constitution of a cabinet, while many expected a new breed of technocrats with less political baggages, President Buhari constituted his cabinet with political allies. Eradicating corruption, a mantra of his government has been poorly executed. Under his watch, political corruption has thrived while he selectionarily addressed the menace. Board appointments followed the same way – pleasing politicians, to the extent that even dead persons were named members. A new level of incompetence that even such a list was not properly examined before the appointments were finally made. Calls for President Buhari to rejig his cabinet has fell on deaf ears because of the fear of losing allies as the next electoral window approaches.

The present administration has not done anything different from the previous PDP regimes it criticized. Rather, it has widened the net of resource extraction through hardcore sectionalism and nepotism.

Nigeria will find it difficult to economically prosper and develop under these institutional circumstances. A solution to this is a political upheaval which could translate to inclusive political institutions where entry level into politics is less monetized for the right minds to get elected and challenge the institutional extractiveness, reverse patronage politics and political corruption. Such can then result to inclusive economic institutions which will create a level playing field and invest in citizens to develop the right skills for economic prosperity than its extractive side that are structured to extract resources from the many by the few.


Chambers Umezulike is a Development Governance Expert, Researcher and Writer. He leads CODE’s Follow The Money Campaigns in Rural Grassroots Communities. He can be reached through chambers.umezulike@gmail.com and on Twitter via @Prof_Umezulike

The Mainland Experience: Diary Of A Frustrated Lagosian, By Tunji Giwa

You see, I love Nigeria so much. This is because everybody between the ages of 15-45 has one problem or the other they are handling and you’d never see them acting like their world is coming to an end. They just carry on with their normal day-to-day activities like nothing is wrong.

But I tell you, it would do you a great deal of good never to disturb a brother or sister who’s having a quiet time pondering over how to tackle life’s problems or anticipating the next issue life is going to shoot their way. Well that’s what I thought. I could be wrong or right, I would let you decide at the end of this piece.

Some days ago, I boarded a bus going from Ikorodu garage to Oshodi. So I sat beside this lady who looks nice and decent. She seems like one who doesn’t talk much which made me happier to sit by her. As the journey began, I brought out my earpiece to unwind and enjoy music just to escape the horrible reality that’s called life. Ten minutes into the journey, the lady who was sitting close to me asked me if I had enough money so she could break down the One thousand Naira note with her. I had to pause my music to reply her with a friendly smile saying, “No madam I do not have”. She replied, no problem brother, I was hoping that would be all I would hear from the aunty to my right but who am I to know this was just the beginning of a nightmare disguised in daydream?

Now, we got to Majidun and the next thing I felt was a tap on my shoulder. I pulled out the right side of the earpiece to reply the sister sitted next to me. “What is it this time around” was my facial expression. She said, “Bros, please help me call that gala seller”. This I did for her without hesitation. As I was about to plug my right earpiece to go back into the fake utopia of mine trying to avoid the stress of life, the old man to my left told me to please adjust (as we would say in Nigeria when we need more space). I gladly did even if it was at my own detriment. Now at this point, I knew if I don’t lose all my morals and home training, I’d be ridiculed back and forth by the lady to my right and the old man to the left. Now I’m slowly getting angry at them because initially I had a problem I was trying to avoid and now I’m being dragged into an awkward position after paying the same bus fare as them.

My head was bursting with fury, my face got hardened like that of a criminal at this point and I decided okay I’m not ‘gonna’ allow anybody inconvenient me if I’m okay with it fine and if I’m not, to hell with morals. I got caught in my thoughts I didn’t realised we were at Maryland. Just when I had thought that I had sent the right message to the two people giving me a hard time and that all would be well, there was a truck which broke down at Anthony and it had caused a massive stand still all the way down to Ojota. Now I’m being pushed to the edge here. The bus conductor  fled the bus in order to avoid us asking for our change.

At this point,  people who can’t keep up with the stand still got down and walked away, while the rest of us who didn’t have enough money to board another bus or walk away had to wait for the LASTMA officials and other able bodies to help us clear the truck. Now the sun decided to be harsh today. The weather wasn’t friendly. The heat came and it wasn’t funny. You’d think hell has to be real and if this is just Lagos traffic. Finally, they got the truck off the road. It took them two hours. All of a sudden we saw the conductor who had absconded. Now the bus got moving again. It felt like all was over. We were almost at Oshodi express way.

I couldn’t wait to aligt from the bus. Now my stomach began to act up. You could tell after all the stress that it’s hunger setting in. I checked for my wallet and I couldn’t find it.  I started thinking, where could I have dropped this wallet? I checked my back pack and all, thinking to myself what am Igonna do today?  How do I get to school from Oshodi? What do I eat now?

My heartbeat went from zero to hundred under a nano-second. The problems started piling up, now I’m wondering: is this the next problem life would throw at me after serving me a lot more than I can chew some days earlier which I wasn’t sure on how to handle? Now this! So I thought to myself: who did I offend? Slowly we were approaching Oshodi(Isale) and that’s the last bus stop.

The lady who I complained was giving me a hard time noticed I was blue all of a sudden, she tapped me saying “unku? unku? Kilon shele” Now I was about to give her a piece of my mind  then for some reasons I can’t explain. I paused to consider my action and not lose my composure, I was Ice cool when I replied her saying I can’t find my wallet she said I should ask the old man who sat down next to me, that earlier he found awallet on the floor and kept it for the owner to raise an alarm before handing it over.

Fortunately for me luck smiled upon me whenI asked the old man for the wallet and he gladly handed it over to me. Now at this point, I was about to cry when I realised it was the ripple effect of my actions that got my wallet back for me and not luck or good fortune.So I got down at Oshodi learning a valuable lesson about life. It’s so crazy how this life operates. Without much ado what I took away from the experience was, no matter how frustrated you are, never pour your anger on passersby. Your fate/purpose in life could be tied to them one way or the other.

Tunji Giwa

A student of Lagos State University.

Why Transparency International Perception Of Corruption Index Report On Nigeria Is A Sham, By Okoi Obono-Obla

Transparency International is no doubt a respected Non-Governmental International Organization which is primarily devoted to internationally promoting and encouraging the virtues and ethics of accountability and transparency in the comity of nations across the world.
The avowed mission of Transparency International is to stop corruption and promote transparency, accountability and integrity at all levels and across all sectors of society.
Conversely the core values of transparency international Our Core Values are: transparency, accountability, integrity, solidarity, courage, justice and democracy.
I was one upon a time the Cross-River State Secretary of Transparency in Nigeria (which is the Nigeria local group affiliated to Transparency International) some donkey years ago.
I used the platform of the group to fight corruption and graft in the administration of former Governor Donald Duke of Cross River State (1999-2007).
Donald Duke is one of the promoters of former President Olusegun Obasanjo so-called Coalition Movement that have vowed to campaign against a second term for President Muhammadu Buhari.
Transparency International is run by a Board of Directors that is under the or the appointment of an Advisory Council. The Advisory Council is a group of individuals with extensive experience in the areas of Transparency International’s work. They come from diverse geographical, cultural and professional backgrounds.
The council is appointed by the Board of Directors to advise them and to support the work of the organization as a whole. Olusegun Obasanjo is a member of the Advisory Council of Transparency International.
In so far as the recent activities of former President Olusegun Obasanjo are concerned in Nigeria political scene, I consider him as a major opponent of President Buhari.
So, there is a linkage or nexus with the influence and clout of Olusegun Obasanjo on the activities of Transparency International and his opposition to President Buhari which is manifest in the recent report of corruption index perception released by Transparency International that scored Nigeria a dismal low despite the unprecedented and tremendous efforts of the administration of President Buhari in fighting corruption in the country.
In that regard the report of Transparency International in so far as its concerns Nigeria is bias and therefore a sham.
It is far from the reality on ground. There is a fundamental principle of natural justice that says that no one should be a judge in his own cause. Olusegun Obasanjo’s membership of the Advisory Council of Transparency International has cast a pall and doubt on the integrity and credibility of its report as far as it involved Nigeria and the efforts of the present administration to cleanse the Augean stable of stench of corruption and graft was instituted by previous administrations in the country.
I say without fear or contradiction that if the report of Transparency International is not fiction, Nigeria would not have rated today by the World Bank as 145th position out of 190 countries in the Ease of Doing Business index for 2018 The World Bank stated recently in its Ease of Doing Business report titled, “Doing Business 2018: Reforming to create jobs”.
The report indicated that Nigeria had moved up by 24 points from 169th position on the 2017 ranking and also 170th position on the 2016 ranking to 145 in the World Bank’s 2018 report. Nigeria has been identified as one of the top five countries for growth acceleration for 2018. Other countries in the group include Kuwait, Oman, Kazakhstan and Tunisia.
Sovereign Direct Investment in Nigeria increased by 798.35 USD Million in the third quarter of 2017. Foreign Direct Investment in Nigeria averaged 1317.76 USD Million from 2007 until 2017, reaching an all-time high of 3084.90 USD Million in the fourth quarter of 2012 and a record low of 501.83 USD Million in the fourth quarter of 2015. Foreign investors cannot pour into the country if Nigeria is p[received as notoriously corrupt as painted in the report of Transparency International.
A clear indication of foreign investor’s confidence in Nigeria is the fact that Nigeria’s finance minister, Kemi Adeosun said the country’s $1 billion Eurobond offered in the international market has been oversubscribed at an interest rate of 7.875%.
She said the Notes were approximately 8 times oversubscribed with orders in excess of US$7.8 billion compared to a pre-issuance target of US$ 1.0 billion. According to her, this demonstrated strong market appetite for Nigeria. “This is despite continued volatility in emerging and frontier markets and shows confidence by the international investment community in Nigeria’s economic reform agenda.”

Insecurity In Nigeria: Tough Times Don’t Last, But Tough People Do, By Johannes Tobi Wojuola

President Buhari, history is in his favor when it comes to tackling insecurity – his reputation precedes him. The quelling of the  Maitatsine Uprising in the 1980’s is to his credit – and formed a selling point for his election in 2015, when the violent terrorist group Boko Haram was raging the entire North and declaring Nigeria’s territories part of its unholy caliphate. It was literally a time of war: 14 Local Governments were under their control, in fear churches had reduced their hours of service time, scanners were deployed at every public building, alerts of where to go and where not to go spread throughout the online media, and crowded places were only visited by the strong at heart.

Then General, Muhammadu Buhari was the man envisioned to tackle this; he won, and his first move was the relocation of the Military Service Chiefs to the War Theatre – a pronouncement that set the ball rolling for the successes we see today in the war against Boko Haram. Next, he mobilized the world, primarily Nigeria’s neighbours, to come together and deal a collective blow against the terrorist sect that had become extra territorial in fact. Most bought in. Deals were forged with super-powers for the purchase of sophisticated war equipments. In no time, life was returning back to the people of the North East, this was the change they voted for. All territories hitherto under the control of Boko Haram were recovered, thousands were rescued, and hundreds of the terrorists were killed while thousands surrendered.

Matters of security

The group have been so decimated that in the last two years they have not had the capacity to mobilize to carry out coordinated attacks to override towns and cities like they once did.

Many would conclude that President Buhari has earned himself a good score, even an 80 over 100 in the war against Boko Haram.

But on matters of security it is not yet UHURU for President Buhari.

Decades of farmers and herdsmen clashes seem to have climaxed in the last two months, especially in Benue, Nassarawa, and Taraba States. Vicious killings, reprisals, attacks and counter-attacks have risen.

By and large, many actors and factors bear responsibility for the escalations. Destruction of farmlands by herdsmen, cattle rustling, the activities of state sponsored militia, who some herdsmen vacuously blame for their reprisal attacks, the unwitting and illegal sale of community lands to herdsmen by community leaders, cultural nomadic practices that have refused to acquiesce with modern day realities, an anti-open grazing law that remains inchoate and elementary as a solution to the herders – farmers clashes, porous borders, a security system that lacks capacity, and the sheer absence of the fear of God are just a few to mention.

No leader would watch such a massacre and do nothing. Perhaps, what gives out the wrong feelers is the President’s taciturn nature. But behind the cameras, the President has shown that this issue is on the front burner for him.

On the 25th of January, 2018, President Buhari passed on a letter to the Nigerian Senate providing a detailed breakdown of actions he has taken and is taking on the Benue Killings, most of which were related to orders he had given to security agencies, and strategic meetings he has had, and their outcome.

Since December, President Buhari has had several security meetings with his Security Chiefs dwelling mostly on the herdsmen and farmers clashes.

On the 15th of February the Nigerian Army commenced the Operation Ayem Akpatuma, a Tiv phrase for Cat Race. The exercise would aim at tackling, from the security angle, the farmers – herdsmen clashes, and the general insecurity in the North Central region.

It is indeed narrow-minded to accuse the President of complicity. Evidence says otherwise.

A high political point may have been scored by the President if he hopped on the Presidential chopper and landed in any of the aggrieved spots, particularly Benue State. Every political commentator would agree with this. But it seems that President Buhari is not interested in scoring political points; he is more engrossed with fixing the problem, and mending disputes that really are as old as the Bible’s Old Testament.

A lasting solution that goes to the root must be proffered. Parties who have lost loved ones on both sides of the divide are going to still be hurting, even with security measures put in place. Vengeance would yet lurk in hearts. Until justice is served, these problems would hang over the head of any government like the sword of Damocles.

President Buhari has set up a Committee to look into the rebuilding of communities affected by the violence in the affected states. This is a remarkable start to ameliorating the hurt the affected communities still feel. A team set up by the President to find a lasting solution to the crises was led by the Ebonyi State Governor, Governor Umahi, where they met with stakeholders to begin the long journey towards reconciliation. That is laudable.

Take away the sentiments of the nomenclature, without misconstruing intent, the Federal Government’s suggestion of Cattle Colonies is another good start, if implemented well. And if all stakeholders buy in and play their part. Like ranches – albeit having the capacity to take up to 20 to 40 ranches in one co-location – the Colonies would provide a large expanse of land for herdsmen to ranch their cattle and avoid entering into farms. Water bodies, security and grass would also be provided for herdsmen in these colonies.

Classic propaganda

As general elections draw near, 2018 is largely an election year. It is thus expected that every misstep, mistake, misspeak and mishap by the government in power would be drummed up to paint a failing government – whether true or not. The herdsmen and farmers clashes have presented a classic propaganda topic against the administration, with the profiling of the President’s ethnic identity.

To boot, and unfortunately, some religious leaders have redefined the conflict in religious terms. Some have described the clashes as coordinated attacks on Christians. A claim that shows zero understanding of the pith of the crisis: one rooted in the distribution of socio-economic resources. And a far cry from anything religious.

Sadly, many who react to the horrendous killings do not really care for the lives that have been lost. They care more for the political points that Buhari can loose with the heat in the region.

Nonetheless, politics or not, the first and foremost duty of any government is the protection of lives and property. And for President Buhari, being on top of a serious security situation as the Benue killings is certainly not about hosting press conferences or playing politics with lost lives. While he may want to seek re-election, and do all that is politically needed to win, his prime task is to proffer sustainable lasting solutions to the root of this crisis.

For a tough man who has to his credit dealt crushing blows to the Maitatsine uprising and more recently the Boko Haram terrorist group, this may be just another tough time. And if President Buhari deals the winning blow that puts an end to these decades old clashes, he would once again re-affirm Robert Schuller: Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do.

Nigeria’s Annual Fuel Crisis, By Mohammed Salaudeen

Christmas and New Year celebration in Nigeria is almost always characterised with long fuel queues, high fuel price and (artificial) scarcity. Last December was not different despite the Nigerian National petroleum corporation (NNPC) assurance of having enough stock to meet consumer demand. The sad reality is that a lot of Nigerians spent their holiday keeping vigil at filling stations in a bid to get fuel.

Where did it start to go wrong?

To start with, monopoly of the commodity by the NNPC is a contributing factor to the fuel scarcity. The sale of fuel in the country is pegged at N145 while the landing cost, how much it costs to bring in fuel to the country sits at N171. Selling at the pegged amount when compared to how much it costs to import the fuel is not feasible, especially with the current exchange rate. It is quite unprofitable to sell at N145 without incorporating the extra cost spent in bringing it in to the overall fuel price.

The inability of the NNPC to create a window with CBN for private firms to import petrol themselves is part of the problem. Leaving out the Major marketers and Depot owners under DAPPMA (depot and petroleum products marketers association) while assuming the role of the sole importer in the country is always problematic because it is the marketers that own 80% of the functional retail outlets and facilities for distribution in Nigeria.

Poor preparation on the part of NNPC is another contributing factor to the fuel scarcity. Having admitted numerous times that the demand for petrol is usually twice as the normal demand – stakeholders should have been prepared. According to the NNPC, the average consumption of fuel per day in the country is 30 – 33 million litres. Based on this figure, NNPC claims to supply an average of 45-51 million litres per day to cushion the effect of the scarcity, which is in excess of what is required. This increase in the supply of fuel however does not reflect in actuality. There has barely been any stock across filling stations in the country since December 2017, yet the petroleum corporation claims to have increased supply. How come the reality on ground portrays the opposite of their declarations?

There have also been uncanny activities of some fuel smugglers and hoarders across the Nigerian border. Our petrol price sits at 145 / ltr while our neighbours in Niger republic, Cameroun, Chad and Republic of Benin all have their fuel price above 350 / ltr. In order to benefit from the high price of fuel in these neighboring countries, fuel truck diverters and smugglers move petrol to these countries with the aim of making big money. They settle security and regulatory personnel at the border and offer fuel meant to ease the artificial scarcity here to other countries instead.

The NNPC’s managing director (MD), Maikanti Baru during a session in January with the Joint National assembly committee on petroleum downstream, shared the same sentiment. He raised alarm over cross – border fuel smuggling syndicates sabotaging the efforts of the corporation to ease the distribution of fuel in the country.

What is the way forward?

For starters, the government should not be the one running the petroleum downstream sector. The NNPC does not have the capacity to continue this humongous task; they might as well allow private firms import fuel seeing as oil marketers own a large amount of the functioning retail outlets. The forces of demand and supply in the market will regulate the price of the commodity.

Our refineries also need to be fixed; Nigeria has refineries in Warri, Kaduna and Port Harcourt but has remained useless due to corruption. To be free from the constant fuel scarcity, Nigeria has to begin to produce and refine the petrol that it consumes.

Finally, NNPC needs to improve on the usage of its storage and distribution facilities to ensure quality delivery. Unfortunately, the integrity of personnel engaged in monitoring both storage and distribution are worrisome as they caved in to sharp practices easily.

Writers’ Bio

Mohammed Salaudeen is an MSc and MPhil Economics graduate with a bias for writing. He is a Guest faculty at Lagos business school with over two decades experience in FMCG & Oil and Gas.

The Emperor In The Senate, By Ibrahim Olalekan

On June 09 2015, the nation experienced what could be described as hubbub with the crass emergence of Abubakar Bukola Saraki as President of the Senate.

Prior to his emergence, The All Progressives Congress (APC), had chosen Senator Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan as its candidate for the Senate Presidency, but in a stunning blow to the head, Saraki, with the block support of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and some APC senators, defied his party’s wish to emerge as Senate President.

A major drama that played out before his emergence as Senate President was that of him shunning a meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), where Saraki had reportedly fumed that he could not be summoned to a meeting by a mere commissioner, a comment he later denied making.

Despite all these, coupled with his affection for the opposition party, PDP, at his party’s detriment, he has convincingly escaped party’s punishment, thanks to the party Chair, Chief John Oyegun’s inefficiency. Saraki, no doubt enjoys the lucrative and goodies that come with his office so much that he reportedly has a little above 200 aides to himself.

Overtime, Nigerians have seen and read how Saraki has used the institution to punish his colleagues that express contrary opinion or views. His “beloved son” Dino Melaye, representing Kogi West, has been permanently hired as hatchet man for the job.

On March 21, 2017, former Majority Leader, Senator Ali Ndume, at the floor of the plenary, urged the Senate to investigate the allegations that an armoured Range Rover, reportedly belonging to Saraki, said to have cost N298m, but which the chamber later said cost $298,000, was seized by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS). The lawmaker also called on the upper chamber of the National Assembly to investigate the certificate scandal involving Senator Dino Melaye.

Recall that an online news medium, Sahara Reporters, had alleged that Dino Melaye did not graduate from ABU for his first degree, against his claim that he studied Geography in the prestigious institution. The news medium also alleged that Melaye, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory, bribed his Head of Department, who assisted him to forge his transcript.

In related development, Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), had allegedly seized a bulletproof Range Rover Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) owned by Senate President Bukola Saraki.

However, rather than investigate Ndume’s motion, the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions issued him six months suspension “for bringing Senator Dino Melaye, and the institution of the Senate to unbearable disrepute.” The committee concluded that Ndume’s story “was cooked up with intent to embarrass the Senate President.”

The nation would however not forget signatories to the report and are: Senator Samuel Anyanwu, Senator Obinna Ogba, Senator Jeremiah Useni, Senator Tayo Alasoadura, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, Senator Matthew Urhoghide and Senator Mao Ohuabunwa.

In what appears to be another looming suspension of opposing view, the hatchet man, Dino Melaye, on Tuesday February 20, raised a Point of Order on the floor of plenary demanding that Oma-Agege be probed.

Recall that it was same Melaye that raised the point of order that led to the suspension of Senator Ali Ndume for six months in March last year.

Melaye said, “President Muhammadu Buhari is not only my party man; he is a president we all laboured to vote for. My colleague, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, addressed the media last week. He said the decision taken by this senate was targeted at President Buhari.

“I want to ask that the statement made by Omo-Agege, among other statements, be investigated by the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions. They need to find out if our actions were targeted at the president, he added.”

Senator Omo-Agege, with nine others: Senators Abdullahi Adamu, Malam Ali Wakili, Abu Ibrahim, Abdullahi Gumel, Binta Masi, Yahaya Abdullahi, Andrew Uchendu, Umaru Kurfi and Benjamin Uwajumogu had addressed the press where they expressed reservation over the change of elections sequence.

If a ranking Senator Ali Ndume could get a six-month suspension, Omo-Agege may be served a year suspension from the Senate for opposing the almighty Saraki. As it stands, the Senate has rejected Omo-Agege’s apology, and he is as good as gone.

Senator Abdullahi Adamu, on his part, got served as same hatchet man, Dino Melaye, signed the letter announcing his sack as Chairman of the Northern Senators Forum (NSF). The letter which was read on the floor of plenary by Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, named Senator Aliyu Wamakko (APC Sokoto), as the new Chairman of the forum-.

Each time a point of order is being raised by the hatchet man – Dino Melaye, and the day the victimized Senator is suspended from the Senate, Saraki has found a way not to attend plenary but delegate Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, to chair plenary for the day and perfect the malicious act.

It is also important to note that progressive Senators in the red chamber are yet to stand against this draconian act, probably because Saraki is yet to touch one of theirs. But how long would they wait before it gets to them?

I will end my note on this broadcast message: “God shall continue to bless President Muhammadu Buhari for allowing Saraki to emerge as Senate President. Saraki now stands exposed and Nigerians can truly see his true character. If Buhari hadn’t allow him, Nigerians won’t have known how intolerant Saraki is and by now they would have been packaging Saraki as a suitable presidential candidate. Thank God for Buhari, Saraki has been exposed as intolerant of opposing views. Imagine if he were President, by now Saraki would have banned Facebook and Twitter.”


Drafting A People’s Manifesto, By Edwin Madunagu

It is now appropriate, indeed imperative, for the Nigerian Left to present its own manifesto to the country. This should be in form of a people’s manifesto, a people’s charter of demands in a situation of national emergency. A people’s manifesto at this point in our history is not a dissertation-like programme of social transformation, the type of thing any Left formation should be able to produce in 24 hours.

Rather, it should be a clear and concise statement of not only what the Left believes should be done to reprieve the nation from a threatening catastrophe, but also a statement of what—in alliance with other socio-political forces—the Left can mobilize the Nigerian people to do.

To put the matter differently, a people’s manifesto at this time is first and foremost a Nigerian Left’s manifesto in the ordinary sense of the word: a “public declaration of intentions, motives, or views” or a “public statement of policy or opinion”. Yes; but beyond this, a people’s manifesto is a people’s charter of demands presented to the Nigerian state and governments by the Nigerian Left. A people’s manifesto has this double character because although it can be used for an election, it is not election-bound.

This opening declaration should, however, not be misunderstood as implying that without an explicitly Left intervention, the country is doomed. No. Nigeria can still be reprieved—as it was reprieved in 2015—and before that, in 1993 and at some other critical points in the country’s post-civil war history. What my proposition should be understood as implying is that if the country continues in its present course, a reprieve from catastrophe will again be a temporary or false one.

And a temporary or false reprieve will, again, make the nation’s fundamental problems more acute and complex when they explode again in a conjuncture—as will surely happen again. The problems will then be much more difficult to resolve in the context and framework of a single country.

This article is, however, not the people’s manifesto as advocated. It is rather the initiation of a discussion on its contents, nature, parameters and politics. An illustration will also be provided.

A Nigerian people’s manifesto drafted and presented by the Nigerian Left should not begin with a catalogue of what a Nigerian state or the incumbent or future government should do for the people. Rather, it should begin with a self-introduction of the movement, organization or platform presenting the manifesto. There are at least three reasons for this. In the first place, the Nigerian masses have, for decades, been recipients and victims of deception from personages and entities in power or seeking power.

The people are, therefore, increasingly cynical. In the second place, the Nigerian Left has a strong and enviable record of involvement in popular struggle and patriotic selfless service which it should be proud to present to the public.

In the third place, we know that in this era, it is not only speech-writers that can be hired; manifesto-writers are also hired. In other words, manifesto-writing has been professionalized. Just put the money down and say what type of manifesto you want and the scale of lies you wish to be included, and the job will be done. Although there are always differences between fake manifestoes—however beautifully written—and genuine manifestoes, most readers may not be patient enough to spot the inconsistencies and incongruities in fake declarations.

I wish to propose that the difference between a people’s manifesto drafted and presented by the Left and other manifestoes cannot be found in the “lists of contents”, a comparison of what the authors and publishers promise to deliver to the people: roads, bridges, hospitals, schools, airports, electricity, jobs, “stomach infrastructure”, etc, etc.

The difference lies in the “totality” or “packaging” which shows whether the manifesto is a revolutionary and popular-democratic declaration or a pack of lies, deceptions and illusions. On the one hand, the “totality” or “packaging” indicates not only what will be done but also how it will be done, with what resources it will be done, where the resources will come from, and when exactly it will be done. For, even if you swear by all the deities known and unknown, that you will run from Lagos to Calabar in three hours I will be a bastard to believe you.

On the other hand, in this period of extended emergency, the “packaging” or “totality” unambiguously answers the question: Whose desperate needs are being articulated and planned for: those of the Nigerian masses or those of exploiters, predators and state-robbers who always present themselves as “the nation”? To put the matter more bluntly, does the manifesto unambiguously indicate plans to immediately redeploy the nation’s resources in favour of the hungry, the endangered and the forgotten?

An appropriate “table of contents” for a people’s manifesto in this particular period of extended national emergency in the lives of the Nigerian masses may be structured in several ways. For instance, it may have the following eight-point structure: Who are we (that is, the authors—the Nigerian Left)?; The country we now have; The country we wish to have and are committed to fighting for; Fundamental human rights; Directive principles of state policy; Social transformation; National unity, federalism and popular-democratic restructuring; and Immediate steps (on pressing needs and current crises).

Back to history. The Nigerian Left is one of the oldest ideological tendencies in Nigerian politics because the Left grew out directly from organized anti-colonial and labour struggles—both of which started in the early 1930s. By the eve of independence in 1960, popular democracy and socialism had become the clear aim of the Left.

As early as May 1961, a Leftist group in Lagos, organized by Gogo Chu Nzeribe, Peter Ayodele Curtis-Joseph, Tanko Yakassai, M.O. Johnson, J.B. K. Thomas and a few others, had, in an extended public declaration, described itself as the “organization of workers, women,  farmers and farm laborers, peasants, artisans, teachers and intellectuals, small businessmen and women, professionals, lawyers, youths, students, the unemployed, the maimed, the deformed …”

This was a clear ideological selection which the authors justified this way: “These are the people who know misfortune and therefore are capable of waging limitless and courageous struggles until victory is won”. Left out of this long list was the “indigenous Nigerian capitalist and feudal class that had emerged as the virtual successors to the British colonialists”. The group pledged to “organize, unite and lead the peoples of Nigeria in a relentless and uncompromising fight against capitalism and capitalist exploitation of the Nigerian peoples”.

Significantly, these young Nigerians opposed regionalism and declared their commitment to “one undivided Nigeria, under unitary and centralized government”. And, consistently, they declared their belief in the creation of a “Union of African States” and “one common nationality for all Africans”.

The revolutionary Lagos group—let us call them so here—advocated a 40-hour week for all workers, full employment, unemployment benefits, social security, worker-participation in management, special allowances for “all labour that is especially risky or dirty”, adequate minimum wage, free medical treatment, free education, paid maternity leave, paid rest-time during nursing period ….”.

Putting itself forward as a vanguard in post-colonial nation-building, the group concluded its public declaration by repeating that it was formed to “lead the peoples of Nigeria in their just struggles for peace, friendship, national reconstruction, a better future, democracy and the triumph of socialism”.

That was the Nigerian Left about 57 years ago, just six months after independence. A contemporary people’s manifesto can proceed from here by indicating what has changed, what has remained and what has emerged.

Madunagu, mathematician and journalist, writes from Calabar, Cross River State.

CODE, Dotun’s Exit And Next-Generation Leaders, By Hamzat Lawal

Not long ago, my friend and co-founder at Connected Development (CODE), Oludotun Babayemi, exited from the Executive Management of CODE and moved to a non-executive role as member of the Board of Trustees. This means that he will no longer have day to day responsibilities or routine involvement in CODE activities, though he will continue to consult, advise and support me and the management team.

I am delighted to say that Dotun’s exit in a very remarkable way symbolizes the core spirit and value of the CODE brand and Follow The Money movement. The essence of CODE is not only captured in its written goals, mission and vision, but in an unwritten belief in the evolution of personal development.

For those readers who are not conversant with CODE, it is useful to state who we are. Founded in 2012, CODE is a non-government organization (NGO) whose mission is to empower marginalized communities in Africa. We strengthen local communities by creating platforms for dialogue, enabling informed debate, and building capacities of citizens on how to hold their government accountable through “Follow The Money”, our governance accountability and transparency initiative.

CODE provides marginalized and vulnerable communities with resources to amplify their voices with independence and integrity while providing these grassroots populations with information that engenders social and economic progress. To enhance effective democratic governance and accountability, we create platforms (mobile and web technologies) that close the feedback loop between citizens and the government. Thus, with global expertise and reach, we focus on community outreach, influencing policies, practices, and knowledge mobilization.

Our commitment to participatory capacity and community building and monitoring and evaluation creates effective and sustainable programs even within the most challenging environments.

Nevertheless, against this backdrop, we have as our fundamental drive, the hunger to evolve into a global brand that provides a platform for participatory governance, and youth development. We want to see a future where today’s CODE leadership shall be replaced tomorrow by a new cadre of civil society leaders who grew up within our ranks, and evolved into strong thought-leaders while we, the old guard, move on to higher national and global duties.

We want to see Next-Generation leaders who are well-equipped for tomorrow, trained from the emerging societal challenges of today.

This is why we recognize the importance of mentoring. I believe that for there to be a seamless transition into the next generation there needs to be a conscious mentorship agenda on the part of thoughtful leaders of today as well as a willingness on the part of today’s followers to enter what I call a “leadership conveyor belt” in order to be transported through the assembly line of Future Leader manufacture.

For instance, before Dotun left the Executive Team, he consciously planned an exit strategy which sought to “recruit and rejig” a replacement team in the CODE programme value chain.

When we started recruiting A – Team staff last year, he planned to have each new member take the pieces of his role in scaling the organization, and he provided support for their various tasks while he made his transition to work with the Board. It was when he saw the success of his transition strategy that he felt convinced that the coast was clear to make the launch up the next rung in the ladder.

For me, it was a fulfillment of the CODE dream – establishing a template for leadership evolution.

It is a situation I can relate to, having experienced a similar transition in my task in my other life at the African Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC), when I moved from an Executive role as the Communications Director to a non-executive advisory role as member of the Board. Likewise, some day in the future, I will bow out as the Chief Executive of CODE to a non-executive role.

Just like Dotun is doing today, I will have the privilege of being able to step back and watch CODE develop and grow while I explore other opportunities to add value to the society and impact my world.

I believe robust and sustainable transition is the only way we can emphasize and stay committed to the ongoing success of CODE in particular, and of the wider transparency and accountability community in general. We must remain passionate about open-data, technology and citizen participation, as this is the only real doorway into the journey to deepen democracy by empowering more communities with enough knowledge to be able to hold their government accountable.

And this brings me to a very vital point. It took a long time of personal thought and research to come to the conclusion that the future of Nigeria and indeed Africa depends on active participation of civil society in the political process. A democratic state cannot be stable unless it is effective and legitimate, with the respect and support of its citizens.

Civil society is a check, a monitor, but also a vital partner in the quest for this kind of positive relationship between the democratic state and its citizens. Therefore, the best model would be when the civil society, empowered with their developmental experience and capacity, finds itself playing active role in politics.

There are reasons for this conclusion. First of all, the most basic role of civil society is to limit and control the power of the state.  For instance, as is the situation in Nigeria, when a country is emerging from decades of military rule, it needs to find ways to check, monitor, and restrain the power of political leaders and state officials.

Civil society actors serve as a watchdog, and raise public concern about any abuse of power.  They campaign for access to information, including freedom of information laws, and rules and institutions to control corruption. They promote political participation by educating people about their rights and obligations as democratic citizens, and encouraging them to critically examine electoral manifestoes and vote in elections.  They help develop citizens’ skills to work with one another to solve common problems, to debate public issues, and express their views. They play an important role in mediating and helping to resolve conflicts – by adopting bargaining, accommodation and compromise. These are all functions that guarantee a functional, sustainable state.

Secondly, civil society organizations help to develop the other values of democratic life:  tolerance, moderation, compromise, and respect for opposing points of view. And, without this deeper culture of accommodation, democracy cannot be stable. These values cannot simply be taught; they must also be experienced through practice.

So, I see a future where civil society actors-turned politicians shall help to develop programs for democratic civic education in the schools; revise the curricula, rewrite the textbooks, and retrain teachers in order to educate young people about the mistakes of the past and teach them the principles and values of democracy.

Furthermore, because they have ingrained capacity as a result of their experience, these future leaders shall strengthen democracy by providing new forms of interest and solidarity that cut across old forms of tribal, linguistic, religious, and other identity ties.  Democracy cannot be stable if people only associate with others of the same religion or identity.  They will also play the vital role of engineering electoral best practices by ensuring that the voting and vote counting is entirely free, fair, peaceful, and transparent.

Thirdly, political recruitment of today is flawed.  We need a new model to identify and train new types of leaders who have dealt with important public issues and can be recruited to run for political office at all levels and to serve in state and national legislature. To achieve this, civil society mentorship processes of today could become political recruitment platforms of tomorrow.


Hamzat Lawal is an activist and currently the Co-Founder/Chief Executive of Connected Development [CODE]. He is working to build a growing grassroots movement of citizen-led actions through Follow The Money for better service delivery in rural communities. He is also a Leader of the Not Too Young To Run Movement.


Poor Leadership And Its Implication For Nigeria, By Mohammed Salaudeen

Identified leaders manage Nations, corporations and communities and families with the expectation of bettering their people.  Leaders everywhere are expected to inspire people to deliver value. We elect/appoint leaders to lead and whenever we do, there is need to deliver to the expectation of the people.

So, what do citizens expect from their leaders?

There’s no doubt that Nigeria has a leadership challenge. It is as if the country has been bedeviled by poor and insensitive leaders despite huge population of faith based religions, sound education and acclaimed cultural and morals values.

Like other African countries, we have leaders within the age range of 70 and 80 in the management of the nation’s affairs. Most of who have been in leadership position since their 30s and 40s. The citizens have not seen growth and development expected of an independent democratic nation for close to six decades now.

A large percentage of Nigerians are living below the average stipulated standard of living. With the poor quality of education, most of our University graduates are unemployable. Poor power supply, bad roads are also plaques to consider. The future looks bleak with a huge youth population without education and poor health due to drug abuse.

Just when one thinks we are slowly getting out of the hook, another set of incompetent leaders will emerge masquerading as demy gods. Unfortunately, while the struggle for making good leaders is in process, the ordinary people drive the illegal process of installing bad leaders. A case of people getting the leaders they deserve.

How will leaders govern a set of people that celebrate corruption and then cry when the damage is done? We all bribe to get our ways and expect to be bribed to do our jobs. How productive will we be when we spend more time in places of worship than at work? Nigeria even has more places of worship than places of work. Religious leaders now preach sectionalism and tribalism while beating the drums of war. It is indeed a sorry state of affairs.

We must get out of this unending choice of jokers singing the songs of tribalism that does not benefit the people. They claim membership of same religion without value addition as well as ethnic coloration without thinking of the people. Our leaders simply eat on behalf of the masses and perpetually leave them starving.

We must stand up; know our leaders in and out leave money politics. There’s also a need to see local Government and state positions as the most important because they impact the people more than our over concentration in the centre.  More appalling is the level at which we celebrate incompetence; give awards to leaders for performing poorly or below average on sentiment.

When we learn and grow individual and families we would have add value to their lives they will in-turn be inspired to further develop others to grow.


Mohammed Salaudeen is an MSc and MPhil Economics graduate. Guest faculty at Lagos Business School with interest in Management and Leadership. Have over two and half decade experience in FMCG and Oil & Gas.

Quick Math In Kogi State: Mediocrity = 4 + 4, By Isa Mubarak

If I am to write a book, ‘How to Be the Best Governor in Kogi State’ it’ll be an international bestseller and will be critically acclaimed. This book will contain only one page and a chapter.
Now, people are wondering what this book will be about. In a land where mediocrity thrives, I don’t need to talk about IGRs, GDPs, Infrastructure, Health care or any of those fancy terms. To be the best Governor Kogi State ever had is to PAY SALARIES, don’t owe workers and pay promptly. That’s all. That’s it.
As easy as these ‘tasks’ may seem, some Governors are still failing woefully at it. I’ve lived among the people of Kogi State for over a decade and I can tell you that this is a safe haven for mediocrity. An average Kogite don’t really care if you build tall infrastructures, better healthcare system, good roads and all that, so far you pay them their salary arrears and salaries promptly. The citizens don’t demand much from their Governors that’s why we’ve been rewarding our mediocre Governors with ‘4 + 4’, one after the other.
The way our leaders act is a result, and a reflection of our actions and inactions as citizens. This thing is simple yet majority of us in Nigeria still don’t get it. Leadership is less than followership.
In May 31st, 2017 my article ‘Yahaya Bello’s Screening Fiasco’ was published on DailyTrust newspaper. It was about an unending screening which lasted for over a year and the consequent hardship on workers, families and all other happenings that came about as a result of such incompetence.
When the screening finally came to an end, I decided to give him the benefits of doubt once again, perhaps it was the committee in charge of the screening who did a woeful job, maybe things will begin to go smoothly now, and we will finally enjoy the rights as citizens. And he (GYB) assured workers they won’t be owed a penny anymore only for workers to be paid in percentages and quarterly.
I wrote another newspaper article after that, ‘Good Guy, Bad Politician’ in the article, I highlighted some few good things I noticed in his government especially his detribalized stance and also pointed out his amateur approach to governance and politics. I cited his qualms with Sen. Dino Melaye and Kogi APC executives among other controversies.
In the article, I wrote, “He (GYB) dissipate so much energy on needless ventures rather than focusing on governance…”
This won’t come out as a surprise to some, that Yahaya Bello by action or inactions has portrayed himself as President Buhari’s spokesman or as some would call it, “Buhari’s boy boy.” It became apparent the day he declared public holiday in Kogi State when the President returned from his sick leave, it is now evident that he has frequented Aso Rock more than most working Governors, quick to reply the President’s critics, such were his reactions to Obasanjo’s letter and the Catholic priest comment.
It would seem that our Governor is trying rather too hard to get federal government attention, like a son trying to get a father’s attention. The passion he exhumes in this sector, one can only assume his return to power depends massively on Buhari, like all other politicians who used the ‘Buhari effect’ to win the 2015 election.
Some criticized him for agreeing to the cattle colony proposal by the federal government too nippily without giving it much thought. So quick to assign 15,000 hectares of land for that purpose, making Kogi the first state to implement it. I have my reservations on the issue of cattle colony but his hasty actions seem rather desperate and attention seeking.
More recently is the Kogi Investment Summit, as wonderful as that initiative was, public affair analyst seems not to be impressed. Their arguments were based on the fact that the Vice President who was in Kogi State at the time, didn’t commission ‘any’ project or infrastructure in the state, perhaps there wasn’t any project to commission.
Our Governor is like those below-average students, who knows the reason they go to school but totally oblivious of what to do in school. To thrive, he tries to be on the good side of the teachers and headmaster and when it’s time to get work done, he looks at his colleagues to get ideas but can’t execute it as beautiful as they did.
I am talking about the screening exercise, proposed teacher’s screening test, media week, economic summit and other projects which were all done by other states, but more successfully.
Recently, during the Kogi Investment Summit, a statement was attributed to Gov. Yahaya Bello through his Chief of Staff, Edward Onoja. He is said to have stated that the Paris Funds and the Bailout Funds people are always asking of were used for ‘security’ in the state.
He actually said as I quote “People have been asking of the Bailout Funds, the Paris Funds and what they were used for. If you look around, you will see security vehicles, we bought over 150 of them. Today, we are safe in Kogi, no robbery or kidnapping. These things don’t come cheap; it requires lots of money.” Implying that if government didn’t use it for that purpose, majority of Kogites would have been kidnapped by now and their salaries wouldn’t have been enough to pay their ransoms.
No denying that he has done a wonderful job in that sector (security) but if not because of persecutions that comes along with freedom of expression, I would have shared my views on a lot.
Kogi State Governor is like a kid who was gifted with a beautiful bicycle that became overjoyed, and he is just basking in the euphoria of owning a beautiful bicycle and enjoying the praises of his parents and other kids in the neighborhood to understand what he is meant to do with the bicycle.
This is not just about Yahaya Bello or his government, this is also about those who preceded him and those that may succeed him and Kogi State people and their acceptance of mediocrity. Such mediocrity as portraying the newly renovated government house gate as an achievement and you see youths parading the photos on the internet tagging the former house gate as ‘analog’ and the renovated as ‘digital’ – such mediocrity!
By Isa Eneye Mubarak
Tweets @IsaMubii

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