For God, For Country, For Glory! By Adekoya Boladale

There is a general saying, that as humans we are less appreciative of the science involved in having a peaceful sleep and waking up peacefully everyday. Most people in religious parlance holds that the chemistry behind it is more of divine intervention. Atheists on the other hand are of the view that this exercise is the exclusive work of the human brain. Both may be right but who or what then is responsible for the passion of a man willing to die trying to preserve and protect the safety and lives of others?

Among us all, lies individuals who have taken up the responsibility to ensure we all can go to bed and have both eyes closed, among us are men and women who may also be in debt of the natural responsibility of providing for their family but choice to jettison this responsibility on the altar of patriotism and love for country.

Few years ago after my university education, I joined the ‘labour market’ in search of employment. After a long period of fruitless efforts my uncle advised me to enrol in the military recruitment exercise that was on as at then. I bluntly disagreed with him on this suggestion. Firstly, I do not admire such death wish. How will I willingly, without being under duress die for a cause that indirectly isn’t of my doing? Secondly, the military men I know then paint the picture of bullies, who find joy in taking advantage of helpless citizens for personal entertainment or aggrandizement, this to me, isn’t my calling.

But today, I know better. I have learnt to appreciate and respect the uncommon zeal of those who choose to defend the integrity of the territory of our dear country. I have come to realize that we all have a responsibility to ourselves and our country and while some may feel too weak to take up the barrel and fight for its sovereignty, the ones who do so deserves our support and encouragement.

Recently I came in contact with Ahmed somewhere around Ikeja, in Lagos State. Ahmed, is one of the few soldiers who survived the menace of the terror group Boko Haram in the ongoing war against the insurgents. Mid-last year, he and other members of his group where ambushed during an operation that turned out to be a bad Intel. His team members were immediately executed while he was beaten blue-black then kidnapped. While one would have expected the Nigerian Army to send a rescue squad to help, the commander of his battalion issued an arrest order against his family. What happened was that when the reinforcement team got to the scene of the ambush, they met the lifeless bodies of his colleagues and couldn’t locate him, the immediate thought was that he betrayed his colleagues and was a party to the attack, hence he was declared a mole.

Ahmed’s wife was arrested and locked up under intense interrogation, she was treated as an accomplice and an enemy of the state but even in the midst of severe interrogations, she continued to preach the innocence of her husband and herself. Meanwhile, Ahmed as a guest of Boko Haram was put under chains and tortured severally to give details about the military operations.

Ahmed was in detention for over six months but so was his wife. His children suddenly began life as ‘orphans’ and had to strive to feed themselves. Payments, including allowances have stopped coming and even if it hasn’t, their mother who has the right to receive such is under lock and key. After three months of intensive struggle, Ahmed’s family came for the children.
It was after a successful raid on one of the insurgent’s hideout and the arrest of one of the sect key man that he confessed during interrogation that they have a kidnapped military personnel. Ahmed was rescued and the his wife was let go.

As Ahmed recounts his personal ordeal, I asked him a question on what he will do should he be called up once again to fight for Nigeria. He looked at me and smiled, he removed his shirt and showed me a long mark that crossed from his chest round to the back of his neck and said ‘Oga, I swear Boko Haram na small thing, I don pledge to die for this country and if I still dey alive then I never fulfill my pledge (Sir, Boko Haram is not rocket science, I made a pledge to die for this country and as long as i live then I haven’t fulfilled that pledge) ‘

The response of Ahmed moved me to tears and I had to ask why he would return to the warfront even after the treatment his wife got. Ahmed responded by clearing the command of any wrongdoing, he said if he was in their shoes he would have done worst because most of the failed military operations are handiwork of moles and saboteurs in their midst.

Like Ahmed, their are tens of thousand more others who have pledged to liberate this country from the grip of terrorism or die trying. There are many more of unsung heroes who have laid down their lives to ensure the continuous existence of our country. While we watch matches, dance at clubs, talk and share jokes, they stand at the forefront, confronting the beast that wish to consume us all.

As some Nigerians plan to march in support of our troops who continue to keep sleepless night mapping strategy, setting traps for the blood hungry Boko Haram, the least we can do is show our affection and solidarity for the sacrifice these ones make. We should also endeavour to move a step further and show love to their families and loved ones who they have been forced to leave while obeying the clarion call.

Fellow Nigerians, let no one speak ills of these ones, let no one cast aspersions on their shortcomings. They should be treated as gods as we all are forever in their debt.

Adekoya Boladale wrote via adekoyaboladale@gmail.com. Please engage on twitter @adekoyabee and Facebook www.facebook.com/adekoyabee

 

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Abubakar Gimba: Tribute to a Pacifist Ideologue By Gimba Kakanda

A week ago, at a gathering of literary minds, we discussed him, his books, and even his health, which had, I informed my friends gathered, stalled his literary productivity in recent years. It was a friend from below the Niger who made him the subject of our conversation in his declaration that the man was under-sung.

“I don’t think so”, I offered. Describing a writer from this side of the Niger, one who broke boundaries and was author of widely read novels that still stir up nostalgia in many of us, books that also got recommended for tertiary institutions and listed in various syllabi of our national examinations as “under-sung”, was a tad uncharitable. Before Gimba, so many writers emerged in northern Nigeria, also exhibiting rare literary genius, some writing in indigenous languages, but all flickered out before they could even establish themselves. This set, to me, were the truly under-sung writers. My friends and I had no idea that we were only reviewing his essence, as he’s played his part out in full in this movie called Life, and was set to bow out finally around the midnight of Wednesday, February 25.

The north of Nigeria, where Gimba brought his talent to bear, was a dark house mainly known for its many military and political overlords, the very larger-than-life aristocrats and kakistocrats, who, with their counterparts in the south, turned Nigeria into a purgatorial space.

At the time Nigerian writers were shooting themselves to fame, with their participation in street protests, producing haunting oeuvres of protest literature, Gimba was a mandarin; a banker in the day, and writer at night. His brand of literary activism, which was an expose of societal decline captured in his novels and non-fiction, were seemingly “pacifistic” for the era. Though his social interactions gave him away as a member of the right-wing, as seen in his non-approval of the late Gani Fawehinmi’s style of unpacifiably radical civic engagements in a piece archived in a collection of his essays, Why am I Doing This? (Kraft Books, 2007), he was an unflinching critic of our socio-political and economic aberrations to which he was a witness, and thus, he’s known for emphasising, as encountered in one of his early novels, Witnesses to Tears (Delta Books, 1986),  that “the general practice of a vice does not make it a virtue”.

Gimba did not condone injustice, he was just too much of a gentleman to become a placard-carrying advocate of change. Karl Marx was obviously referring to writers and thinkers of Gimba’s school where, in his book, Eleven Theses on Feuerbach, he noted: “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.” Gimba’s thoughts for our generation are to inspire a mental revolution, and a change through non-violence. This is his perception, for ours is a place where agitations are easily negatively exploited. This dilemma of the change agents he presented in his novel, Footprints (Malthouse Press, 1998).

I became a specimen for the behavioral study of this deep-thinking writer during the memorable January 2012 fuel subsidy removal protests, which I initiated in Minna, and thus, for being boycotted by a branch of the state’s writers’ league, Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), of which I was a member, I renounced my membership. This decision was seen as rash by the novelist and in one of his interactions with members of the association, he expressed his disappointment in what was taken as misplaced radicalism. For a civil servant who became a Permanent Secretary in the state Civil Service at about the age I made that decision, dismissing mine as juvenile would’ve been a contradiction. I’m glad he never did that. I would later understand his philosophy, which I was too angry to see then, that to change a system one must be a part of it. This may be why Gimba was a critic and friend of the political establishment at the same time.

As social critics, those of us who once disagreed with Gimba, for sincerely highlighting that the main trouble with Nigeria is its people in his 2008 epistolary work “A Letter to the Unborn Child”, dissenting from Chinua Achebe’s now flawed assertion, a view he actually changed in latter years of his public intellection, that “the trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership” in his celebrated seminal work, “The Trouble with Nigeria,” I guess it’s not yet late to apologise to the Minna-based thinker. At least to honour his wisdom. He reminded us that it’s lazy to blame the leaders as architects of our miseries; for the whole is simply a reflection of its diseased units!

Abubakar Gimba was vindicated, over the years since the publication of that important book, by the political irresponsibility of not exactly the leaders of Nigeria, but the followers who subscribe to the leader’s polarising and divisive politics, forming a society of bigoted, uncritical and sycophantic followers, when they know better.

I was in transit, but writing this short and quick tribute, on my phone, to one of the greatest inspirations of my life, despite our occasional private dissents, can’t be an inconvenience. He was a quintessential Zaguru – a good man. Not just for being family, not just for sponsoring the publication of my poetry book, not just for being the man who taught me the virtues of pacificism – as I maneuvered between being an ideological “rascal” and a “radical” ideologue…  On so many occasions, many, curious about my literary presence, took me for Gimba’s son. He might not be my biological father, but he was one culturally. Our thickest link, perhaps, is the marriage of his eldest son to the eldest daughter of my parents – a union that has produced three beautiful children, and the first, a daughter, was named after my mother, Hauwakulu, also an incomparable Zaguru – good woman.

Indeed, history has lost one of its most resourceful custodians. Among Gimba’s books are Trail of Sacrifice (1985), Sunset for a Mandarin (1991) Sacred Apples (1994), Once Upon a Reed (1998), Inner Rumbling (2000), A Toast in the Cemetery (2002), Letter to the Muslim Fundamentalist (2004), This Land of Ours (2006), Letters to my Children (2007). What Gimba had shown in his career and association with every group of which he was a member are those qualities that made a true leader, which made him, without impositions, the natural head of all the groups he identified with. In the literary community, he became a National President; to the alumni of his alma mater, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, he was also the National President. Even in banking, he rose to the position of Executive Director at UBA.

These backgrounds prepared him for the leadership of his home state, Niger’s state-owned university, IBB University, Lapai; first as its Chairman Evaluation and Implementation Committee and then as its pioneer pro-Chancellor. So, it was not surprising that, when, in the uncertain 1998 and 1999, the People’s Democratic Party was scouting for an accomplished and popular Nigerlite as its Gubernatorial candidate, Gimba was first on their list. He reportedly turned down that invitation into the house of garbage that is Nigeria’s politics. For an activist too gentle to carry placards or endorse a popular revolt, that was a wisdom not misapplied. But if he had accepted, I’ve no doubt he would’ve gone down in history qualified for categorization as “patriarchal leader” in an Ali Mazrui book of Africa’s political biographies for, among many traits, his pacifism. Which is what the latter-year Nelson Mandela also exuded, and which is not cowardice. You’d be missed, Ya-Gulu. For your books, for your gentle words, for your effortlessly expressed humour, and of course for your similarly didactic poetry. May Allah forgive your shortcomings, and grant you eternal bliss!

@gimbakakanda on Twitter

 

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The Offensive Against Boko Haram: Four Years Late By Babayola Toungo

President Goodluck Jonathan is irritatingly boring and endlessly annoying in equal measures.  For a Commander in Chief to come out and tell Nigerians that he underestimated a threat like the Boko Haram is the height of irresponsibility.  This same man who is now telling us he underestimated Boko Haram was the same man who declared state of emergency on three north-eastern states on three different occasions for a total of eighteen months.  If he underestimated Boko Haram, why did he declare the state of emergency that was ruinous to the people and the area all this while?  His state of emergency only emboldened the insurgents to take control of a swathe of land the size of Belgium and spread over the three states under the emergency rule.  For those living in the three states it was a case of double jeopardy – bombings, killings, and abductions by the insurgents and harassment by the military.  I think Jonathan believed all Nigerians are either stupid or naïve.  In my view, he either has an addled brain or we are all dander heads.

How can the federal government that Jonathan is the Commander in chief be voting one trillion Naira consecutively for four years to the military and yet tell us that the military lacks the requisite equipment to fight a rag tag army that started out as a gun-snatching bunch of miscreants?  In a period spanning over four years, we have been told the same yarn while 15,000 souls perished and properties worth billions of Naira was destroyed.  While we are told that the military has no equipment to fight the insurgents, our military fat cats are competing with the politicians on who drive the flashiest cars, no doubt procured from the votes meant for the purchase of military hardware.  I therefore find it rather strange that Nigerians of all hue are falling head over heels to praise the military on the current offensive against the Boko Haram – where were the military all this while?

Within this period, with Jonathan as Commander in Chief, Baga was wiped off the map and many local governments fell to the insurgents.  We witnessed how big towns like Mubi, Bama, Gwoza, Gamboru, Baga, etc. was occupied for long spells by the insurgents with no effort by the government and its military chiefs to liberate them before now.  Where did the president and his military chiefs get the balls for the new tactics – in the past they usually hold a position and wait for the insurgents to attack.  They only ‘repel’.  When the February elections were shifted, Nigerians were given a timeline within which the insurgency will be brought to an end and this time the government appear to be on target.  Unlike before.

I was flaberwhelmed and overgasted (or is it the other way round?) to hear that the Borno Elders Forum, those who have been calling on Jonathan to act but had all their pleas fall on deaf ears; those who were shouted down by Jonathan and his chorus singers; those who have been on the frontline of the scourge, are now the lead vocalists in praising the military for doing what they were supposed to do ages ago.  Why do they choose to act now after much of the region is destroyed either physically or psychologically?  After over 15,000 lives were needlessly lost; billions destroyed in houses, businesses and man-hours lost at their ubiquitous but useless roadblocks.  After many businesses had to fold up because of curfews and restrictions of movements; after wholesale massacres and dislocations of entire communities with family members scattered all over the north.

Nigerians should ask Jonathan and his military chiefs for explanations as to the new found courage and equipment for tackling the insurgency that they couldn’t do in four years.  They should be asked to explain the new found resolve, courage, determination, weaponry and balls – yes, balls – to reclaim territories which they hitherto failed to do; they should tell us where they got the nous to invade the Sambisa forest, which they repeatedly told us is impregnable.  They should tell Nigerians how an army that was running away from the insurgents overnight got transformed into a fearsome fighting machine, driving fear into the hearts of hardened killers who now dress like women, just like Alamieyseigha.  But most importantly, they should tell us, which Shekau is the president ordering the army to capture alive.  Marlyn Ogar, the garrulous spokesman (woman?) of the DSS told Nigerians last year that Shekau was killed in Konduga and his body displayed for all to see.

I cannot comprehend how a military that stood by, feigning helplessness, not long ago, can be praised for doing their job four years late.  I am yet to be convinced that an institution like the Nigerian military, revered abroad for its prowess, will woefully fail in its primary responsibility of defending the territorial integrity of the nation could be praised.  I fail to see how I am supposed to be grateful to those who intimidated, harassed and even question my humanity.  I am at a loss on why I am expected to canonize an army that more often than not act like the Boko Haram, at least in the northeast.  I am but a poor Nigerian whose humanity was diminished by those holding guns on our highways while terrorist were having field days in the towns.

What do I tell a parent whose daughter have been abducted for almost a year with no hope of seeing her again?  What do I tell a family that lost a child to the marauding killers?  How am I supposed to look someone who lost his worldly possession because of the inaction of the government and its security apparatus and tell him that the military is doing well for him?  How do I tell an orphan to put his trust in a government that stood by while his parents were butchered?  I cannot in all honesty and with a clear conscience say kudos to our government and the military for discharging their statutory responsibility of protecting the lives of the people and the territorial integrity of the nation four years late.

No sir, Mr president, I am not buying into this latest vote-getting scam.  Not at the expense of those traumatized by your inertia.

 

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Abubakar Gimba as a Moral Compass of the Society By Abubakar Evuti

When Professor Chinua Achebe wrote his book The Trouble With Nigeria (1983) he opened it thus:

‘The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership.’

And this simplistic argument was widely accepted. When I read the book sometime in the year 2005 I too was quick to agree with Achebe and quick to join the our-only-problem-is-leadership train. It was so for many of us (and perhaps it is still so) until I read Abubakar Gimba’s Letter to the Unborn Child. Here, with a single question the Minna-based thinker deflated Achebe’s argument and the conviction I held almost dogmatically. With that one question Abubakar Gimba roused discomforting thoughts in my mind.

‘Today’s leadership was yesterday’s followership. And today’s critical followership will be tomorrow’s leadership. Leaders do not fall from the sky…Leaders are not little angels dropped on us from the sky: they are born and bred among us and by us. How could they be different from us?’

But this article is not the place for a comparative analysis between Achebe’s The Trouble with Nigeria and Gimba’s Letter to the Unborn Child —even if I feel I was qualified to carry out one.

Abubakar Gimba was born on March 10, 1952 in Nasarawa, Lapai Local Government of Niger State, Nigeria. Between 1959 and 1962 he was at Gulu Junior Primary School and later at Lapai Senior Primary School. Between 1965 and 1969 Gimba was at Government College Keffi, Nasarawa State where he obtained his West African School Certificate. He then enrolled into the School of Basic Studies, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria from 1970 to 1971. Later he secured admission to read a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics in the same institution between 1971 and 1974.

After graduation Gimba observed his one-year mandatory NYSC program me at Akai Ubium in the then Southern Eastern State. Gimba then joined the North West State civil service in August 1975 as Planning Officer in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and in April, 1976 he was transferred to the newly created Niger State.

1976/7 saw Gimba at America studying at the University of Cincinnati for a Master of Arts degree in Economics. He returned to serve as Economic Planner in the service of Niger State Government and was subsequently appointed Permanent Secretary of the newly created Ministry of Economic Development.

Between September and December, 1982 Gimba attended the University of Bradford’s Project Planning Course. He was a member, Board of Trustees of Nigerian Books Foundation, and on November 22, 1997 he was elected National President of Association of Nigerian Authors.

Gimba writes in virtually all genres of literature. But he was most concerned about arresting the ebbing-away morality of the society. Perhaps that is why he wrote many ‘letters’ —Letter to the Muslim Fundamentalist (2004), Letter to My Children (2006), Letter to the Unborn Child (2008) etc.

In my final year in school, my project supervisor rejected all the topics I proposed. Exhausted I threw up my hands and asked her to select for me whatever topic she sees fit. She refused but invited me to her house where she handed me two books by Abubakar Gimba: Footprints and Letter to the Unborn Child.

‘Read them’ she said, ‘and see what you can make out of them.’

After reading the books—and ingesting the disturbing but truthful messages he kept hollering at us, the society— I was in my supervisor’s office the next Monday with a project topic: The Writer As a Moral Compass of the Society: Examining Abubakar Gimba’s Letter to the Unborn Child.

That was who Abubakar Gimba was; a moral compass of a straying society reminding the society the difference between wrong and right. He won’t let us rest as he highlighted the social mishaps that bedevil the society. But he didn’t stop there, he went further to show us the solutions to these problems. Abubakar Gimba’s commitment to moral uprightness in the society cannot be overemphasized. He was a writer with a clear purpose. In his own words:

I set out to be a novelist with a cause. With a mission. Mine was a literary adventure in advocacy. To get the society in which I live to be a better place for our generation…

My business as a writer is to try in my little ways to remove the moles in the eyes of Nigerians so that they can see the so many possibilities that would make our nation grow… Basically, I write about social issues… things I see around me. And why I do this is to draw attention to issues and let people judge. You try to mould opinion in a particular direction. But I must also say that a writer must try to convince people not to incite.

Professor Vicky Sylvester of the Department of English, University of Abuja said this of Abubakar Gimba:

He (Abubakar Gimba) would want the people and state to change for the better especially for the sake of the Nigerian child whom he believes has no optional country to Nigeria and must necessarily move away from the conduct that bedevils the nation. He thus adopts the epistle in which he is a passionate narrator capturing the devastating reality, perception, and delusion of the compromised situation of Nigeria. He adopts an ethical stand point evaluating conduct of Nigeria and the country’s down trend since independence.

After examining all he has achieved one may be tempted to water down the loss by using the cliche, ‘Oh I am not going to mourn him. I am going to celebrate him for a life so well lived.’ But, however one tries to, no one can talk away this loss, this painful tragedy that befallen us in the form of the death of this nectar of knowledge. It is just as an African proverb aptly captures it: when an old man dies, a library burns to the ground. Adieu!

(Please Plant a Tree Today.)

The writer is on Twitter @ngugievuti

 

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Prospects for Democratic Consolidation in Africa: Nigeria’s Transition: Buhari’s Chattam House Speech

Permit me to start by thanking Chatham House for the invitation to talk about this important topic at this crucial time. When speaking about Nigeria overseas, I normally prefer to be my country’s public relations and marketing officer, extolling her virtues and hoping to attract investments and tourists. But as we all know, Nigeria is now battling with many challenges, and if I refer to them, I do so only to impress on our friends in the United Kingdom that we are quite aware of our shortcomings and are doing our best to address them.

The 2015 general election in Nigeria is generating a lot of interests within and outside the country. This is understandable. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and largest economy, is at a defining moment, a moment that has great implications beyond the democratic project and beyond the borders of my dear country.

So let me say upfront that the global interest in Nigeria’s landmark election is not misplaced at all and indeed should be commended; for this is an election that has serious import for the world. I urge the international community to continue to focus on Nigeria at this very critical moment. Given increasing global linkages, it is in our collective interests that the postponed elections should hold on the rescheduled dates; that they should be free and fair; that their outcomes should be respected by all parties; and that any form of extension, under whichever guise, is unconstitutional and will not be tolerated.

With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, the collapse of communism and the end of the Cold War, democracy became the dominant and most preferred system of government across the globe. That global transition has been aptly captured as the triumph of democracy and the ‘most pre-eminent political idea of our time.’ On a personal note, the phased end of the USSR was a turning point for me. It convinced me that change can be brought about without firing a single shot.

As you all know, I had been a military head of state in Nigeria for twenty months. We intervened because we were unhappy with the state of affairs in our country. We wanted to arrest the drift. Driven by patriotism, influenced by the prevalence and popularity of such drastic measures all over Africa and elsewhere, we fought our way to power. But the global triumph of democracy has shown that another and a preferable path to change is possible. It is an important lesson I have carried with me since, and a lesson that is not lost on the African continent.

In the last two decades, democracy has grown strong roots in Africa. Elections, once so rare, are now so commonplace. As at the time I was a military head of state between 1983 and 1985, only four African countries held regular multi-party elections. But the number of electoral democracies in Africa, according to Freedom House, jumped to 10 in 1992/1993 then to 18 in 1994/1995 and to 24 in 2005/2006. According to the New York Times, 42 of the 48 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa conducted multi-party elections between 1990 and 2002.

The newspaper also reported that between 2000 and 2002, ruling parties in four African countries (Senegal, Mauritius, Ghana and Mali) peacefully handed over power to victorious opposition parties. In addition, the proportion of African countries categorized as not free by Freedom House declined from 59% in 1983 to 35% in 2003. Without doubt, Africa has been part of the current global wave of democratisation.

But the growth of democracy on the continent has been uneven. According to Freedom House, the number of electoral democracies in Africa slipped from 24 in 2007/2008 to 19 in 2011/2012; while the percentage of countries categorised as ‘not free’ assuming for the sake of argument that we accept their definition of “free” increased from 35% in 2003 to 41% in 2013. Also, there have been some reversals at different times in Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Mali, Madagascar, Mauritania and Togo. We can choose to look at the glass of democracy in Africa as either half full or half empty.

While you can’t have representative democracy without elections, it is equally important to look at the quality of the elections and to remember that mere elections do not democracy make. It is globally agreed that democracy is not an event, but a journey. And that the destination of that journey is democratic consolidation – that state where democracy has become so rooted and so routine and widely accepted by all actors.

With this important destination in mind, it is clear that though many African countries now hold regular elections, very few of them have consolidated the practice of democracy. It is important to also state at this point that just as with elections, a consolidated democracy cannot be an end by itself. I will argue that it is not enough to hold a series of elections or even to peacefully alternate power among parties.

It is much more important that the promise of democracy goes beyond just allowing people to freely choose their leaders. It is much more important that democracy should deliver on the promise of choice, of freedoms, of security of lives and property, of transparency and accountability, of rule of law, of good governance and of shared prosperity. It is very important that the promise embedded in the concept of democracy, the promise of a better life for the generality of the people, is not delivered in the breach.

Now, let me quickly turn to Nigeria. As you all know, Nigeria’s fourth republic is in its 16th year and this general election will be the fifth in a row. This is a major sign of progress for us, given that our first republic lasted five years and three months, the second republic ended after four years and two months and the third republic was a still-birth. However, longevity is not the only reason why everyone is so interested in this election.

The major difference this time around is that for the very first time since transition to civil rule in 1999, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is facing its stiffest opposition so far from our party the All Progressives Congress (APC). We once had about 50 political parties, but with no real competition. Now Nigeria is transitioning from a dominant party system to a competitive electoral polity, which is a major marker on the road to democratic consolidation. As you know, peaceful alternation of power through competitive elections have happened in Ghana, Senegal, Malawi and Mauritius in recent times. The prospects of democratic consolidation in Africa will be further brightened when that eventually happens in Nigeria.

But there are other reasons why Nigerians and the whole world are intensely focussed on this year’s elections, chief of which is that the elections are holding in the shadow of huge security, economic and social uncertainties in Africa’s most populous country and largest economy. On insecurity, there is a genuine cause for worry, both within and outside Nigeria. Apart from the civil war era, at no other time in our history has Nigeria been this insecure.

Boko Haram has sadly put Nigeria on the terrorism map, killing more than 13,000 of our nationals, displacing millions internally and externally, and at a time holding on to portions of our territory the size of Belgium. What has been consistently lacking is the required leadership in our battle against insurgency. I, as a retired general and a former head of state, have always known about our soldiers: they are capable, well trained, patriotic, brave and always ready to do their duty in the service of our country.

You all can bear witness to the gallant role of our military in Burma, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Darfur and in many other peacekeeping operations in several parts of the world. But in the matter of this insurgency, our soldiers have neither received the necessary support nor the required incentives to tackle this problem. The government has also failed in any effort towards a multi-dimensional response to this problem leading to a situation in which we have now become dependent on our neighbours to come to our rescue.

Let me assure you that if I am elected president, the world will have no cause to worry about Nigeria as it has had to recently; that Nigeria will return to its stabilising role in West Africa; and that no inch of Nigerian territory will ever be lost to the enemy because we will pay special attention to the welfare of our soldiers in and out of service, we will give them adequate and modern arms and ammunitions to work with, we will improve intelligence gathering and border controls to choke Boko Haram’s financial and equipment channels, we will be tough on terrorism and tough on its root causes by initiating a comprehensive economic development plan promoting infrastructural development, job creation, agriculture and industry in the affected areas. We will always act on time and not allow problems to irresponsibly fester, and I, Muhammadu Buhari, will always lead from the front and return Nigeria to its leadership role in regional and international efforts to combat terrorism.

On the economy, the fall in prices of oil has brought our economic and social stress into full relief. After the rebasing exercise in April 2014, Nigeria overtook South Africa as Africa’s largest economy. Our GDP is now valued at $510 billion and our economy rated 26th in the world. Also on the bright side, inflation has been kept at single digit for a while and our economy has grown at an average of 7% for about a decade.

But it is more of paper growth, a growth that, on account of mismanagement, profligacy and corruption, has not translated to human development or shared prosperity. A development economist once said three questions should be asked about a country’s development: one, what is happening to poverty? Two, what is happening to unemployment? And three, what is happening to inequality?

The answers to these questions in Nigeria show that the current administration has created two economies in one country, a sorry tale of two nations: one economy for a few who have so much in their tiny island of prosperity; and the other economy for the many who have so little in their vast ocean of misery.

Even by official figures, 33.1% of Nigerians live in extreme poverty. That’s at almost 60 million, almost the population of the United Kingdom. There is also the unemployment crisis simmering beneath the surface, ready to explode at the slightest stress, with officially 23.9% of our adult population and almost 60% of our youth unemployed. We also have one of the highest rates of inequalities in the world.

With all these, it is not surprising that our performance on most governance and development indicators (like Mo Ibrahim Index on African Governance and UNDP’s Human Development Index.) are unflattering. With fall in the prices of oil, which accounts for more than 70% of government revenues, and lack of savings from more than a decade of oil boom, the poor will be disproportionately impacted.

In the face of dwindling revenues, a good place to start the repositioning of Nigeria’s economy is to swiftly tackle two ills that have ballooned under the present administration: waste and corruption. And in doing this, I will, if elected, lead the way, with the force of personal example.

On corruption, there will be no confusion as to where I stand. Corruption will have no place and the corrupt will not be appointed into my administration. First and foremost, we will plug the holes in the budgetary process. Revenue producing entities such as NNPC and Customs and Excise will have one set of books only. Their revenues will be publicly disclosed and regularly audited. The institutions of state dedicated to fighting corruption will be given independence and prosecutorial authority without political interference.

But I must emphasise that any war waged on corruption should not be misconstrued as settling old scores or a witch-hunt. I’m running for President to lead Nigeria to prosperity and not adversity.

In reforming the economy, we will use savings that arise from blocking these leakages and the proceeds recovered from corruption to fund our party’s social investments programmes in education, health, and safety nets such as free school meals for children, emergency public works for unemployed youth and pensions for the elderly.

As a progressive party, we must reform our political economy to unleash the pent-up ingenuity and productivity of the Nigerian people thus freeing them from the curse of poverty. We will run a private sector-led economy but maintain an active role for government through strong regulatory oversight and deliberate interventions and incentives to diversify the base of our economy, strengthen productive sectors, improve the productive capacities of our people and create jobs for our teeming youths.

In short, we will run a functional economy driven by a worldview that sees growth not as an end by itself, but as a tool to create a society that works for all, rich and poor alike. On March 28, Nigeria has a decision to make. To vote for the continuity of failure or to elect progressive change. I believe the people will choose wisely.

In sum, I think that given its strategic importance, Nigeria can trigger a wave of democratic consolidation in Africa. But as a starting point we need to get this critical election right by ensuring that they go ahead, and depriving those who want to scuttle it the benefit of derailing our fledgling democracy. That way, we will all see democracy and democratic consolidation as tools for solving pressing problems in a sustainable way, not as ends in themselves.

Permit me to close this discussion on a personal note. I have heard and read references to me as a former dictator in many respected British newspapers including the well regarded Economist. Let me say without sounding defensive that dictatorship goes with military rule, though some might be less dictatorial than others. I take responsibility for whatever happened under my watch.

I cannot change the past. But I can change the present and the future. So before you is a former military ruler and a converted democrat who is ready to operate under democratic norms and is subjecting himself to the rigours of democratic elections for the fourth time.

You may ask: why is he doing this? This is a question I ask myself all the time too. And here is my humble answer: because the work of making Nigeria great is not yet done, because I still believe that change is possible, this time through the ballot, and most importantly, because I still have the capacity and the passion to dream and work for a Nigeria that will be respected again in the comity of nations and that all Nigerians will be proud of.

I thank you for listening.

 

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On The Trail of Oil Thieves By Olusegun Adeniyi

It had been a long day and as the session with the youth of Twon Brass came to an end at about 6.20pm last Friday, we were looking forward to another two to three hour trip by water back to Yenagoa. Then, the alarm bell rang. One of the officers who had come with us on the journey whispered to the Niger Delta JTF Commander, Major General Emmanuel Atewe, that two blue-coloured gunboats and five speed boats were spotted passing from the Atlantic Ocean into the creeks. “At what time did they pass?” Atewe asked. 16.47 hours, came the reply. “And why did you not alert me immediately so we could pursue them?”

It was evident that we had an emergency on our hands but when I tried to ascertain from the JTF spokesman, Lt Col. Ado Isa, what was going on, he said there was nothing to worry about. I was not fooled, especially when all the soldiers who had been relaxed earlier in the day began to take strategic positions the moment we got back to the Jetty. It also did not escape my attention that whereas we had arrived Twon Brass from Igbomatoru with the five gunboats with which we left Yenagoa earlier in the morning, Atewe was making orders for two additional gunboats to join our convoy.

Perhaps to add to the urgency of the occasion, the JTF Commander and his men drew away from us to converse in low tones but I managed to get closer enough to hear what transpired. “From tomorrow, I want to be in the waters everyday and we must catch those criminals. But right now, I have some civilians with me so I won’t take chances. We must avoid an ambush,” Atewe said. “Which Jetty is the closest to this place?” When told that the Ogbia Jetty would take about an hour to reach, he directed that we should return through Ogbia. “But it will be a tactical movement,” he added. “I also want all the weapons tested again like we did in the afternoon. When we move, you have my order to take out anybody who fires in our direction.”

However, as the officer was shouting to those commanding other gunboats that we were now going back through Ogbia Jetty, Atewe said in a firm but quiet voice: “Pass my order with wisdom”. It was on that note that we left Twon Brass at exactly 7pm last Friday in a convoy of gunboats whose lights were turned off thus making our return journey through the creeks somehow surreal.

I returned to Bayelsa last Friday morning for the continuation of my investigations into the menace of oil theft in Niger Delta. I believe this is one serious issue we have not been paying much attention to but which has profound implications for the future of our country.  Aside the fact that we are losing billions of dollars, we may never be able to resolve the power situation if we do not deal with the associated issue of pipelines vandalisation, neither would we ever be able to have any functional refinery as things stand today. And we are not even talking of the environmental hazards or the serious national security threats being posed.

“We are losing revenue; 400,000 barrels of crude oil are lost on a daily basis due to illegal bunkering, vandalism and production shut-in. I have to clarify that it is not as if the entire 400,000 barrels is stolen, no. What happens is that whenever the pipelines are attacked and oil is taken, there is a total shutdown. All the quantity of oil produced for that day will be lost because it means government cannot sell it and it means a drop in revenue,” Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said last year. Against the background that the humongous leakage far exceeds the annual budget of several African countries combined, we can only imagine the damage being done to our national economy. But it could have been worse.

In the last one year alone, the JTF has been able to arrest 53 vessels, 200 barges and several hundreds of boats from oil thieves while destroying 840 illegal refineries. However, securing a network of 16,120 kilometres of pipelines conveying different products across the country has been nothing but a herculean task. Even though the NNPC alone has 23 depots, 19 pumping stations and 277 tanks that can store 2.6 billion litres of products, pipelines remain the most efficient, cleanest and cheapest way of carrying crude and petroleum products.

Yet to demonstrate the enormity of the problem, I understand that in the process of supplying crude to our refineries whenever they work, we lose about 20 percent to theft and when the refined products are being transported, we lose another 20 percent to this same criminal gang—all through the pipelines. Most often armed with dangerous weapons as well as drilling and pumping machines, packs of electrodes, satellite phones, night vision goggles, power-generating sets etc., the oil thieves are evidently no small players. Even the pipelines for gas–a product that cannot be evacuated by the criminal cartel–have become easy targets, essentially to sabotage the power sector. That then explains why despite the commendable efforts by the NNPC gas-to-power team led by Dr. David Ige, stable electricity may for a long time be a mirage in Nigeria with the integrity of pipelines being continually compromised.

Given the foregoing, I have always been interested in the story of the multibillion dollar oil theft that has serious implications for our economy and national security. So when last Thursday night, I received a call from Atewe, (a former course/classmate at Ife as I explained on this page on February 5 in ‘2015 Elections: A Time to Choose…5’, asking whether I could come the next morning to join his trip to Igbomatoru, one of the villages hitherto very notorious for oil theft, I did not hesitate before accepting the invitation. I took the morning flight to Port Harcourt last Friday and was picked up at the airport for the Bayelsa State capital. Incidentally, when we were about to depart the Yenagoa Jetty at exactly 11am, Atewe drew my attention to one young boy who was bathing naked on the other side. “Look at that boy, you may think he is just another innocent guy but I am almost certain he is an informant for the oil thieves. The moment we leave here, he is going to call someone to send alert about our movement. It happens all the time,” he said.

The ride on water itself was fun. With us in the JTF Commander’s boat was Elder James Oyeinebi Yague, representative of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), who became very valuable as he practically served as a tour guide, giving me historical insights on every spot throughout the two-hour journey to Igbomatoru. For instance, he showed me both the maternal and paternal villages of the Petroleum Minister, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, pointing my attention to what he described as “oceanification”, given the way waters had eaten deep into some of the villages. In one, an entire primary school had been washed away.

The journey also took us through the new airport being constructed, the Wilberforce Island at Amassoma, the Oporoma NNPC floating mega station and a neglected Rice Farm that was once reputed to be the biggest in West Africa. Interestingly, on many of the boats we encountered were children, including one who was sleeping by the edge while the mother rowed. When I expressed my surprise as to how a mother could take such risk, elder Yague reminded me in Pidgin English: “Water no dey kill Ijaw”.

Eventually we arrived at Igbomatoru where the villagers had been waiting for the JTF Commander who reminded them that when he came earlier in June last year, he explained the danger of oil theft and the long-lasting scars it would leave for many generations to come in the community. “That day you made a pledge to join us in fighting the menace and we have been receiving helpful reports from you which indicate that you are living up to your promise. But in the course of that my visit, you told me that this community had no drinkable water and I promised you a borehole which I have come to commission today. It is a demonstration of the fact that we are not soldiers of occupation. Stealing is stealing so let nobody deceive you into believing that oil theft is a normal behaviour,” said Atewe

After his remark, Atewe then presented to the community several gifts. While thanking the JTF Commander for the gestures, the community leader made more requests. Atewe was shown a near-by primary school where the roof had been blown off for months and he promised that the JTF would take up the reconstruction. And then everyone started coming with his/her own problems which they wanted the JTF to solve. It was after the ceremony at Igbomatoru that we moved to Twon Brass which took another one and a half hours by water. There, the deputy Amayanabo said the real challenge is not with oil thieves but rather sea pirates and drug peddlers who have become a menace in Twon Brass.

While I will continue to dig into the issue of oil theft in Niger Delta, I believe Atewe’s strategy to buy the support of the locals through his community relations efforts is commendable, especially since it is winning the confidence of the villagers who are becoming strategic partners by providing useful information about the oil thieves to the JTF. But this is one national security challenge that requires as much concerted efforts as the Boko Haram crisis in the North-east. Even while I am sure we will all come back to our senses after the elections, I hope we will not allow the problem to fester until it is too late before we realize the danger it poses to the economic and security well-being of our country.

Indeed, the King Within

I have had the privilege of two close encounters with the Dein of Agbor, His Majesty Benjamin Ikechukwu Kiagborekuzi 1. Yet on both occasions, I felt too overawed to initiate a conversation with the young monarch who has one of the most fascinating stories to tell. The current edition of the WINGS, the Arik Airlines official magazine, features an interesting story of the 37-year old bachelor king. It is written by a Canadian, Ms. Tamara Gordon, who is making a movie about the life of the monarch, especially on the years spent in the United Kingdom before he returned to the country in 2003.
Born in July 1977, as the only male child to then Obi of Agbor who died in 1979, he was crowned at just 28 months old, making him at the time the youngest monarch in the world and it was so recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records in 1980. However, with fears that he could be killed by those seeking his throne, he was taken to the United Kingdom where he schooled and did not return until 13 years ago when he assumed his palace duties.

In a most fitting remark amid laughter, the Dein had asked Ms. Gordon: “Have you ever seen ‘Coming to America’? Well, this is ‘Returning to Africa’”. She obviously did not buy the bait because the title of the coming movie is ‘The King Within’. For her, “this is the story of a supposed ordinary kid from the streets of West London, who returns to his ancestral land and turns out to be a king. For all intents and purposes, his life is the perfect modern fairytale, but also reveals the complexities of today’s multicultural world.”
The Dein said he was never affected by the fact of his destiny throughout his sojourn in the United Kingdom. “I wasn’t thinking of my kingship,” he said. “I was experiencing life like any other young boy in London. I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth. None of that was a reality to me.” Asked whether he encountered racism on account of his colour, he said his experience of it was mild. “The most I got was ‘I don’t like black people but you’re alright’. I was always the alright one”, he said. However, the Dein obviously had issues with the educational system. “I felt frustrated at school. I knew that there was more to black history than slavery. I was a living proof of that.”

Now back home as a young monarch among old chiefs, how does the Dein, who incidentally speaks with a British accent, cope? He sounded rather philosophical about it. “Times have changed so much. The divide between the elders and the youth need to be bridged. We younger people need their wisdom, knowledge and experience. We must never forget the sanctity of our elders, but they as elders can benefit from our zest for life, vigour, strength and vision.”
The Dein, however, sees a challenge: “I grew up amongst the people, so I feel comfortable with the people. I think monarchy should be close to the people for effective leadership. But in Nigeria, my subjects have a reference for the monarchy and that keeps them at a distance. I don’t have magic—I can’t solve problems unless I know who or what those problems are. God has blessed me with a conscience. I hate to see people suffer. I see boats and Bentley in Nigeria where there is no electricity or roads. It is crazy.”

That he remains a bachelor at 37 is a problem for the handsome King who confessed to being lonely even when he says he does not believe in arranged marriages. “I absolutely love children. They are God’s most precious gifts to us all. I wish I had my first at 28 but plans and reality are not always good bedfellows.” Would he marry a foreigner? He said his people have already assured him they would accept if that happens to be his choice but he sees complications. “It would take a very strong woman”, he said before he also added, “it would give the child unnecessary problems.”
It is indeed remarkable that as a young boy growing up in London, Benjamin (as the Dein was known and addressed by his peers) said nobody in the schools he attended and the environment he lived, knew who he really was, because he didn’t tell them. That in itself sends a message, as the Dein reflected: “Never judge a book by its cover. Who would have known that hidden amongst us was a king? You never know who you are speaking to.”

That profound statement gave the filmmaker the inspiration to pursue the story because, according to Ms Gordon, she is tired of the stereotypes and negative images of black youth in the British press. “This, I feel, is perhaps how every young black person in the West should be seen–The King Within—instead of being too often ostracized and vilified. If every child could grasp the true richness of their cultural heritage alongside their often adopted nationalities as first or second generation immigrants, they would have so much more wisdom to draw on, and so many more options to play out.”

So apt!

 

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The Constitution Does not Contemplate a Formal Handover to a President Elect by an Outgoing President

By Okoi Obono-Obla

Recently, the loquacious Special Assistant to President Jonathan, Doyin Okupe boasted on his face book page that President Jonathan would not hand over to General Muhammadu Buhari in the event he wins the next month presidential election.

The two strongest contenders in the presidential election scheduled for the 28th March 2015 according t pundits are President Good luck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and General Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The import of this outrageous utterance ; thoughtless blustery and treasonable statement by Doyin Okupe is that President Jonathan would stay in office even if he fails to win the presidential election or that General Buhari will not assume office as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria even if he wins the presidential election.

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega is the Chief National Electoral Commission of the Federation by virtue of the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended). He is also the Returning Officer for the presidential election in his official capacity as the Chairman of INEC. By virtue of this indisputable fact, the Chairman of INEC is vested with the power and responsibility to declare the winner of the presidential election.

In the event, the Chairman of INEC declares that General Buhari is the person that satisfied the constitutional requirement or that he is the person elected by majority of lawful votes cast in the presidential election in the country; the Chairman of INEC (as the Returning Officer) is obligated to publicly declare General Buhari the winner of the presidential election and issued to him a certificate of return.

If, INEC declares General Buhari the winner of the election, henceforth General Buhari is legally and constitutionally assumed to be the President- Elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The President Elect is entitled by conventionally to initiate processes to take over the Government of the Federation from the outgoing President such as his constitution of a Committee to liaise with the outgoing President on presentation of a formal handover.

The outgoing President is obligated to cooperate with the incoming President on modalities for the handover of the instrument of government to the incoming President.

However, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) does not contemplate a formal handover ceremony by an outgoing President to an incoming President.

In other words, the outgoing President Jonathan is not bound to formally hand over to General Buhari before General Buhari can assume office as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

It is an incontrovertible fact that President Jonathan took oath of office and allegiance on the 29th May 2011 for a four years tenure; that would expired by constitutional effluxion of time on the 12am on the 29th May 2015.

In the event, President Jonathan fails to win the presidential election he does not need to prepare any handover notes for the incoming President.

President Jonathan may not even attend the ceremony of inauguration of the incoming President that would likely take place on the 29th May 2015 at the Eagle Square, Abuja, if he so wish.

The person that is obligated by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to play the most important assignment on the day of the inauguration of the next President is the Chief Justice of Nigeria.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria is the person on whose responsibility lies on to administer the Oath of Office and Oath of allegiance prescribed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the President Elect.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria can administer the oaths on the President Elect in his Chambers in the Supreme Court of Nigeria or any venue of his choice.

The inauguration or the oaths taken ceremony of the President Elect must not therefore necessarily be in Eagle Square. The attendance or presence of the outgoing President is not required.

Section 140 (1) & (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) provide thus:

  • A person elected to the Office of President shall not begin to perform the functions of that Office until he has declared his assets and liabilities as prescribed in this Constitution and has taken and subscribed the Oath of Allegiance and the Oath of office prescribed in the Seventh Scheduled to this Constitution.
  • The oaths aforesaid shall be administered by the Chief Justice of Nigeria or the person for the time being appointed to exercise the functions of that office.

The Oath of Office and Oath of Allegiance must be taken by the new President before he can assume office and start performing the plenitude of executive powers vested on him by the Constitution.

As soon as President Elect takes the oath of office and oath of Allegiance of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria he becomes automatically transmute to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the next four years from the 29th May 2015 to the expiry of his term on the 29th May 2019.

So all the hoopla that President Jonathan would not hand over to General Buhari if he wins the presidential election is blustery and smacks of ignorance of constitutional law of the country.

OKOI OBONO-OBLA

 

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MDGs, Water and a Dying Nation By Sulaimon Mojeed-Sanni

This year marks the end of the current international development agenda reached in year 2000, centred on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs encapsulate eight globally agreed goals in the areas of poverty alleviation, education, gender equality and empowerment of women, child and maternal health, environmental sustainability, reducing HIV/AIDS and communicable diseases, and building a global partnership for development.

For Nigeria, it has been 15 years of motion without movement. Based on perceivable scenarios, Nigeria would not achieve any of the goals. In 2013, when the team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) visited the Office of Senior Special Assistant to the President on Millennium Development Goals (OSSAP-MDGs) to find out the country’s performance track towards achieving the MDGs, Dr. Precious Gbeneol, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Millennium Development Goals, disclosed that the three tiers of government spends about N3 trillion annually as against the total sum of N4.3 trillion required to achieve the MDGs targets before the 2015 deadline. In a way, the SSA was preparing Nigerians mind that the lacuna of funding would be the albatross to achieving the MDGs.

From the goal one of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger to goal eight of developing global partnership for development, Nigeria, despite her natural resources, human capital and ecological advantages remains in dire need. On the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Index report of 2013, Nigeria was categorised as one of the African countries not recording remarkable improvement. According to the report, Nigeria was ranked amongst countries with low development index at 153 out of 186 countries that were ranked.

Life expectancy in Nigeria is placed at 52 years old while other health indicators reveal that only 1.9 per cent of the nation’s budget is expended on health. The report asserts that 68.0 per cent of Nigerians are living below $1.25 daily while adult illiteracy rate for adult (both sexes) is 61.3 per cent. Based on UNICEF data, every single day, Nigeria loses about 2,300 under-five year olds and 145 women of childbearing age. This makes the country the second largest contributor to the under–five and maternal mortality rate in the world. It is observed that preventable or treatable infectious diseases such as malaria, pneumonia, diarrhea, measles and HIV/AIDS account for more than 70 per cent of the estimated one million under-five deaths in Nigeria. To crown it, the MO Ibrahim Index for African Governance,  2013 rated Nigeria 41st out of 52 African countries. What this meant is that government impact minimally in the life of the citizens. As at today, one Dollar change N208 at Bureau De Change and with Nigeria’s monolithic crude oil at its lowest, corruption remaining endemic, there arises pressure in meeting basic social needs. Even water a supposedly common commodity acclaimed by late Afrobeat Legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti as having “no enemy”, in our ensuing failed state cannot be made available to all. The foregoing presents the case of a nation losing its soul.

While a Millennium Development Goals Report in 2012, reported that 783 million people, or 11 per cent of the global population, remain without access to an improved source of drinking water. A good number of the figure not covered lives in Africa and Nigeria. The 2012 report shows that 89 per cent of the world’s population was using improved drinking water sources, up from 76 per cent in 1990 and assumed that if the trends continue, 92 per cent of the global population will be covered by 2015. But the African predicament might obstruct the target, many in sub-Sahara Africa do not have access to clean water, the Nigeria case is even more terrifying. According to Water and Sanitation Media Network,” 35 million Nigerians still defecate in the open; about 90 million are without access to safe drinking water, and 130,000 under-five Nigerian children die annually from preventable water borne diseases.”

Between 2011 and now, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) office model costing says $2.5 billion (about N375 billion) is needed to meet the nation’s water and sanitation targets, the Federal government noted that an extra N200 billion is further required to provide additional development in Dams with hydropower components amongst others within same period. When the idea was presented in 2011, the federal government planned to fund the water roadmap via direct public and private sector financing, in which, budgetary appropriation as well as cost sharing arrangements with states, local councils and communities would be the public proposed fund-raising approach, while private funding will be accessed via multilateral credit, loans and internally generated revenue. That was the last heard of the water road map.

One of the most important milestones of world’s effort in making water available to all was the recognition in July 2010 by the United Nations General Assembly of the human right to water and sanitation. The Assembly recognised the right of every human being to have access to sufficient water for personal and domestic uses (between 50 and 100 litres of water per person, per day), which must be safe, acceptable and affordable (water costs should not exceed 3 per cent of household income), and physically accessible (the water source has to be within 1,000 metres of the home and collection time should not exceed 30 minutes). Going by the foregoing, it is criminal on the part of government not to make water available to all.

Despite this milestone, it is unfortunate to note that over 40 per cent of all the people in Sub-Saharan Africa are without improved drinking water and are not in any way poised to meet the MDGs’ drinking water target this year. On February 12, 2015, I came across an article, “Vote For WASH”, written by Greg Odogwu in The Punch Newspaper, where he noted that there are communities even in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, where human beings drink from the same river as animals. “They wash, bathe, and drink from the same lake where animals drink. And, side by side, they use the same “sanitary facility” with cattle. Their children fall sick of unknown illnesses and die. Yet, after every four years, politicians troop to these communities in their best campaign convoy with pomp and pageantry, making promises that will not be kept, until the next election when electioneering commences again.” WASH is the generic acronym for Water Sanitation and Hygiene.

Early this year, Water Aid Nigeria and #Vote4WASH team commenced a social media campaign to #SaveKwalita community in Gwagwalada, Abuja. It is stated that in this community, there are about 600 children without water, sanitation, health centre and school. For those who do not know, Abuja is the Federal Capital of Nigeria, the biggest economy/giant of Africa.

It is not like the Nigerian state has been standing akimbo. In a report written by Ameto Akpe for Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting in 2012, she wrote that, “in January 2011, the federal government launched the water road-map, a blueprint that describes the government’s objectives in developing the nation’s water resources between 2011 and 2025. The plan includes the promise that 75 percent of Nigerians will have access to potable water by 2015, and 90 percent by 2020. With the launch of the plan, Jonathan’s administration announced the availability of special intervention funds for several projects.”

The proposed interventions were to be “drilling one motorized borehole in each of the 109 Senatorial Districts, rehabilitating 1,000 dysfunctional hand pump boreholes in 18 states, supplying and installing 10 special water treatment plants, and completing all abandoned urban/semi-urban water supply projects.” Nearly 3 years on, one cannot categorically point at these projects as finished or abandoned. President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011 declared, “no Nigerian child in the next few years shall trek long distances to carry water.” As at the end of 2014, women and children in Langtang area of, Plateau  State, still travel long distance to get water. The Guardian Newspaper front page of February 17, had a picture of school age children with buckets looking for water in Gombe metropolis. Same scenario goes for many urban and rural communities within the country, the government of the day has failed in bring something as essential as water to us without sweat.

In a Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) of WHO/UNICEF for water and sanitation in 2012, it was estimated that based on progress in the past,  it would take 28 years for Nigeria to meet the target of making water available to 75 per cent of her citizens. The JMP reports show that between 1990 and 2010, there was only 11 percentage point increase in access to improved water supply in Nigeria. Currently, 58 percent of the country’s 160 million people have access to potable water. The report noted that for the Nigerian government to deliver on its promise of 75 percent coverage by 2015, access must increase by 17 percentage points within the next three years.

But rather that improve, than country is in a fix. Last year, Water Aid Nigeria, an international non-governmental organization estimated that 112 million Nigerians lack access to basic sanitation and clear water. However, as against obvious reality, President Goodluck Jonathan during 2015 New Year broadcast asserted that access to potable water had improved from 57 per cent to 70 per cent, this presupposed government had been resilient in meeting its target, but budgetary allocations to water and sanitation sector have been fluctuating. In 2010, the federal government budgeted N112 billion for water and sanitation but by 2011, budgetary allocations had dropped to N62 billion. For 2012, the budget for water was only N39 billion, while in 2013, the budget for Water Resources grew to N84.2billion.

In a pocket handle book produced by the office of the Special Adviser to the President on Research, Documentation and Strategy, headed by Oronto Douglas, as at 2012, the achievement of the current administration in the Water Sector was listed as completing seven water projects, providing about 4.3 million Nigerians access to portable water; completion of Nine Dams in Akwa Ibom, Katsina, Enugu and Ondo states which increased the volume of Nigeria’s water reserve by 422mcm. The same booklet pointed out that 4,000 jobs were created and as at 2012, 65.29% of the population had access to safe water, compared to 60% in 2011. And 375, 000 farmers now had access to irrigated land in 2012, up from 236,000 in 2011.

In 2014, when the same booklet would be reproduced ostensibly for 2015 elections, the only achievement recorded in the water sector was 422m cubic metres of water added to country’s reservoir, the same one documented in 2012. For discerning minds, this is a clear case of deceit and blatant disregard for citizens who take time to check government files.

As the world prepares to transit to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), successor to the Millennium Development Goals, it is indeed a national embarrassment that Nigeria would be dragging the burden of the last 15 years into the new world development plan. Is it possible for Nigeria to halt implementation of SDGs post 2015 and concentrate on achieving the MDGs? Logically, how can Nigeria process to sustainable development when it cannot guarantee water for all? I grew up in an environment where students that fail repeat classes, collective promotion without disaggregation would be the bane of our attaining the goals as projected. The proponents of WASH are of the opinion that their campaign is not about vague promises of electricity, employment, etc but a very basic environmental and fundamental human rights of access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. That is not too much to ask a responsible and responsive government.

The nadir of Nigeria’s lack of access to save water is the crude alternative of commercialised sachet water “pure water” Nigerians have found consolation in. Even though almost every sachet comes with purported NAFDAC number, many know how weak the inspection processes are and most “pure water” are the end product of impure environments. As a matter of urgency, NAFDAC needs to review its monitoring policy and make public, verifiable data on the number of companies it has approved to produce sachet water and their company addresses. Rwanda has been identified as one of the few African nations to have met the one of Millennium Development Goals target of halving the proportion of its people without access to sanitation. Key to Rwanda’s success have been empowering communities, strong political will and accountability of service providers and governments, which have been held up as examples for other Sub-Saharan African nations as they confront their own challenges in water and sanitation.

One known feature of the Water resources sector in Nigeria is the litany of abandoned projects embroiled in corruption. It is opined that lack of accountability, transparency and clear management structure, are all albatross of making water available to all. Both the Executive and Legislatures (through their constituency projects), construct borehole that breaks down few days after   commissioning. There is hardly any maintenance structure to sustain these water projects. And for centrally controlled water works department, lack of efficiency has created economic deficits. There exist weak rate collection structures; thus, the water sector cannot be equitably relied upon to generate revenue. It is estimated that at least 90 percent of the country lacks a clear framework for the metering, billing or collection of water payments. Water bill payment defaults are estimated to have accrued to an astonishing debt of N1 billion. This sector alone, given the necessary political will, would have created ample employment opportunities and help the country in bridging the gap of unemployment.

At the 24th African Union Summit, which closed on 31 January, 2015, African Union’s official launched the Kigali Action Plan of 50-million euro agreement to bring drinking water, basic toilets and hygiene promotion to 10 million Africans in 10 countries: Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Lesotho and Mauritania, all on the list of Least Developed Countries (LDCs), in the next 15 years. Even though Nigeria is not amongst the countries, an home-made plan needs to be developed to essentially reduce the number of people without access to water in Africa’s biggest economy.

 

Sulaimon Mojeed-Sanni wrote from Centre for Democracy and Development(CDD), Abuja.

Twitter handle: SM_S0407

 

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Odudu Ukpanah: Beyond The Social Media By Eneh John

As hours gets into days, days to weeks and weeks into months, we look at how far we have pushed the struggle for the Release of Odudu Ukpanah.

As a follow up to my last publication entitled: WEEP NOT FOR ODUDU UKPANAH:THE POLITICAL PRISONER, it smacks rear intelligence for people with very low level of reasoning mentality to try to turn Odudu’s case to an ethnic sentimental issue.

To everyone who has identified with the struggle genuinely, God sees your heart.

We did it before, we won.

We will win in Odudu’s case.

Our enemies will never triumph over us because, for this one, we can count them.

“Eneh,that guy is from ANNANG and you are going to fight for him, you are not even from there.”

The most annoying of all these messages is what i quoted above.

I don’t need to come from Akwa Ibom to identify with a genuine cause.

Just like my friend Fejiro Oliver once said, “the worst form of activism is SELECTIVE ACTIVISM.”

I am charging as many that will read this article, to live above sectionalism.

Live above tribal, religious and political sentiments.

It is the issue of tribalism that has kept some persons where they are today, instead of advancing.

When you are born in a state, grow up in that state, be schooled there, and never go out, it becomes part of the issues to be resolved which centres a person’s mindset around his immediate environment and renders the thinking faculty to a state of PAUSE.

Beyond the social media, Odudu deserves a word of prayer in your closet.

Beyond typing #releaseoduduukpanah on facebook, he deserves our defence beyond the prison walls.

This is a genuine struggle which must be achieved.

Odudu Ukpanah needs us more at this time…

The support for his freedom must not die…
This is not about party affiliations, its about asking yourself, what if i was the one in there?

How will the world have reacted?

Whether you are a Christian or a Muslim, or any other religion, let the burden of this family be your burden.

Because the struggle continues…
Together we will make it happen.

A REPUTATION FOUNDED ON INTEGRITY MUST BE NURTURED BY TRUTH.

Eneh John is a Journalist and Secretary, Coalition of Human Rights Defenders(CORHD)
E-mail: enehjohn49@yahoo.com

 

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Before Godwin Emefiele Undervalues the Naira By Nasiru Suwaid

Last week was truly a historic watershed in the annals of the Central Bank of Nigeria, as the apex bank of the largest economy in Africa, when in a single day and without the sitting of the Monetary Policy Committee of the policy institution, the Nigerian naira was ‘technically’ devalued, to climax in the loss of 30% percent its value in a three months period, as the national currency was official sold at N155 to 1 United States of America dollar at the end of last year and by the proclamation of last Wednesday, the 18th of February 2015, the naira was officially pegged at N198 naira to 1 U.S. dollar.

By this decision of the nation’s top monetary policy administrator, the governor of Nigerian central bank, the country’s national currency was officially revalued, thus an automatic devaluation from the former price of N168 naira to $1 U.S. dollar, the price the American dollar was used to be bought and sold at the Retail Dutch Auction Sale market (RDAS). Even though, the Nigerian apex bank has for long being selling the dollar, at a price much closer to the exchange rates at the Interbank Foreign Exchange Market Rates (IFEMR), which is about N171 naira to $1 U.S. dollar.

It is most noteworthy to observe, that it is not only decisions regarding the value of naira which was taken, also, the Nigerian central bank abolished two tier exchange rate system, with the stoppage of the two official exchange formats, the Retail Dutch Auctions Sales (RDAS) and Wholesale Dutch Auction Sale (WDAS) that the government uses to subsidize foreign currency demands of the manufacturing industry and importers of refined petroleum products but which have often being cited as an avenue for disruption and destabilization of the foreign exchange market, because the ‘subsidy’ to the ‘special or essential’ sectors of the economy was mostly abused, through its encouragement of ‘round tripping’ by a few unpatriotic Nigerians.

The poser here is whether it is good economic policy management, to punish a whole sector like manufacturing, because of the illegal actions of a few, more so as, for a country striving to diversify its economy from a single unprocessed product, such as crude oil, economic industrialization is the best approach. Thus, surely, removing such incentive of a cheaper foreign currency acquisition is not the most appropriate way to go, besides, isn’t effective application of the law for foreign exchange offenders a better option.

Looking deeper into the new policies as announced by the Central Bank of Nigeria, first the naira was devalued without the deep introspection and collective input of the Monetary Policy Committee, with the usual reassuring pronouncements that usually emanates from such a meeting and in a market steeped in speculation, such a fact actually helps a lot. More so as, the Nigeria Foreign Reserve has fallen by nearly 25% percent in the past three months, which has stood at $33 billion dollars as at last week, thus with low crude oil prices and a very low foreign reserve, from whence would the national currency attracts confidence, that could make it to trade at higher value against other international convertible currencies.

One confusing aspect of the new policies announced, was the instance where it goes against the nobel fiscal and monetary initiatives of the present administration, which is about the encouragement of non-oil exports sector of the economy, as a source of foreign exchange to the economy, in which an export company is not required to do a foreign exchange rebate. Where the ‘return’ of foreign exchange proceeds of sale of exporting companies is not required, right now, under the new policy, high punitive pecuniary sanctions are to be slapped on companies, that failed to return the proceeds of the sale. The question to be asked, is how do you encourage non-oil sector export, when companies are punished and discouraged from ‘hanging’ on to their own legitimate earnings, also, how would such a reality aid in the diversification of the Nigerian economy from a mono product economy to a diversified multiple foreign exchange earnings based economy.

Meanwhile, the ‘real’ value of the naira at the Bureau De Change (BDC) as well as the black market continues to slide and plummet downwards, that as at the beginning of this week, the Nigerian naira sold for N219 naira to $1 U.S. dollar and most importantly, it is the unofficial exchange market that is determining value for the new Nigeria’s official exchange market at the Interbank Foreign Exchange Market (IFEM) and setting an unsustainable reality that is quite inimical to economic growth, planning and stability.

And this two other things:

NIGERIAN MILITARY’S CHIVALRY, FIVE YEARS LATE

Sometimes I often wonder, on what is really wrong with Nigerians, regarding the concept of timing and doing things at the appropriate time. And, it is not just about the individual only, rather, it is inclusive of the other segments of the institutional state, those Ministries, Departments and Agencies which implements government policies in the interest of the people, perhaps, it is the reason why public officers are always required to swore to an oath, that they would never act on the premises of personal ‘gain’, whenever they ascend the throne of leadership responsibility.

Take the Nigerian military as an institution, before now, the narratives by those who should know the organization, and here, I am not referring to the retired rank and file as well as officers corps but the current leadership of the combat defensive agency. For the past few months, it has been a litany of complaints galore, from the wives of soldiers who would barricade an army barracks, in a vain effort to stop the deployment of troops to the warfront, without the fighting men being properly kitted and armed with adequate weaponry.

To the complaining senior officer cadre, who often accuses their junior ones of laziness and cowardice, by going to the media to wash the dirty linen of the institution, leading to the ridiculous extent of a whole Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Kenneth Minimah, that head of a very noble and ‘gentlemanly’ profession, to shockingly but inadvertently advocate for ‘wife beating’, when he threatened to order his men to beat off any woman, who protest the sending of her husband to fight against the insurgents in the North-East.

In fact, the National Security Adviser, Retired Colonel Sambo Dasuki went a notch higher, in the open complaints series and season, when he chose the global eminence and arena of a Chatham House Royal Institute of International Affairs, London, to ‘portray’ the typical Nigerian soldier as a truant vagabond and unserious bunch of indisciplined ranting individual, whose sole purpose for enlisting into the patriotic calling is the monthly pay check only, indeed, it reached the incredible extent, where nobody, not even their most senior commanders, could vouch for their officers competence, capacity and capability.

Now move fast forward to today and the emerging conversational mood of a nation, slowly rediscovering the effective capability of its armed forces, as unlike before, when it is the Nigerian troops, who usually do the tactical withdrawal, upon sighting the highly vicious rebels, as of very recent times, it is the petulantly daring insurgents, who are now making a run for dear life. The question that needs to be asked is what happened to the Nigerian military, that immediately after the presidential and parliamentary polls were postponed, it rediscovered its confidence, was it because necessary weaponry and equipment were procured, to match the promise of a more secure Nigeria, used as a pretext to scuttle the February 14th elections, which made for a series of victories to be recorded.

If a nation facing dwindling revenues like Nigeria of today, could be able to buys arms with lesser resources, how is it that a country that enjoyed economic booms for years, was unwilling to get those military hardware to prosecute a war. Does it mean that the series of open complaints, condemned by the army as subversive mutiny was actually true, mind you, the timeline of five years ago, since the conflict escalated, stood as the difference between the life and death to the tens of thousands of would be victims of the devilish insurrection. What I am trying to ask is whether the war was allowed to linger a while for purely personal and selfish interest.

THE NNPC OPEN-HIDDEN FORENSIC AUDIT REPORT

Generally, no issue has defined the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan as financially irresponsible, than the allegation against the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation for the lack of remittance of crude oil sales, amounting to nearly $20 billion dollars by the then Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (as he then was known). The reason for the wide belief, in the highly indicting assertion is the general credibility of the person who made the incredible claims and the strategic position he occupied, as the principal treasury keeper of the administration.

Thus when such individual makes a claim, it is usually not taken lightly, in fact, it should be investigated by a body with unquestionable integrity, obviously, it must have been the reason, why the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, advocated the usage of the globally certified accounting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), to audit the account of the national oil company, regarding what was sold and what is remitted unto the coppers of the Nigerian government.

Fortunately for the administration, the foreign firm of forensic expert auditors, have already submitted its report, which the president received a few weeks back and promptly handed it to the Auditor General of the Federation, with a demand on the public officer, to study the report diligently and extract ‘useful’ recommendations, that could aid in the process of having a more accountable oil industry, but first, he must present his findings in a week’s time. However, Mr. Samuel Ukura did not take up to four days, before presenting his discoveries, which is quite uncharacteristic of Nigerian civil servants, when he addressed the press and not the expected Nigerian president, who gave him the assignment in the first place. Where he cleared the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation of all wrongdoings, though accepting that at the very least, the sum of $1.48 billion dollars was not remitted to the national treasury.

It is noteworthy however, the Accountant General of the Federation repeatedly ‘announced’ in the impromptu press briefing, that legally and constitutionally, he is only answerable to the National Assembly. Thus, you would understand my shock and disbelief last week, when the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila demanded the production of the report, explaining that the house was yet to see the document. The question here is how could a report that is produced to ‘satisfy’ the yearnings of the public, be denied to them as well as their elected representatives and yet the same public is expected to ‘accept’ the grandstanding proclamations in form of unconvincing snippets, clearing the government agency of all forms of financial misappropriation.

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Responding to Soludo’s ‘Buhari vs Jonathan by Sampson Onwuka

This response to Soludo essay ‘Buhari vs. Jonathan; let the real debate begins’ is based in large part on a response to Ernest Simeon Odior covering the chief problems of Nigerian economy and why the gaps in budget and financing will paper out differently with additional shedding of Crude oil price.

Charles Soludo’s recent paper has attracted all kinds of attention including indigent responses from Politicians who’s need to put the essay behind them or drive a force in considering the problems of current political dispensation. It would be important that Lamido Sanusi responded – at least based on those legitimately qualified with experience to do so – be he obviously can’t, he has a pontiff role to perform as the Emir of Kano and as such his comments will be consigned to general reassuring observation, like Shehu Shagari an original pontiff in his own right, the political wright (writ) and arguments from these icons of recent statesmanship and cadre may or may over shadow the thrust of Soludo’s arguments. While both leading parties of PDP and APC may speak volumes about new roads, fire and electricity, – and we have heard this before – airports, running water, and the new themes of Shipyards, Enugu dual bridges, Owello road, Kano and Kaduna dualization, the unfinishable Benin – Ore – Shagamu highway, NMBS and issue of housing authority, the Country really do not have the means and the resources for these projects. To even pursue some of the projects, it was borrow on top of the money it has always borrowed even when there is plenty to spend and when the budgets are ground breaking. This is the rea story, we have enjoyed a period of seeming prosperity not because of the competence of the current administration which he rated economically ‘f’ but because of the inability to meet the needs and promises at his beck and call and the relying on further borrowing may put Nigeria below (BB –) which Charles Soludo for the records achieved in office from D rating. On a purely academic process, we may or may acknowledge the fact the bust of Nigeria Asset class, loss of National property for instance crude oil to hungry idiots from elsewhere are part of the fundamental deals with FDI and long term investment, are insinuations that can be located in Soludo’s use of ‘conditionalities’, to an extent that a short fall in any real market structure; debt to ratio, debt servicing, and return rate due to porosity of currency rate and debasing of currency especially with the chief operating companies in Nigeria overweight on their investment capacitance and commodity, can wipe out in one year, a total life savings of a fixed income earner and benefactor of unemployment compensation including a favorable continued time artificializing of IRS. Many of the Short sales that arrived Nigeria from oversea and from Nigerians with more than one International Repos in Nigeria are like Nigerians themselves betting on the collapse of Nigerian stock exchange which stalled in the last few months and perhaps briefly lubricated with Presidential elections spending. But for how long and to what extent is the spending? Put it different, it leads from Soludo’s arguments and concerns that houses progress made conventionally and unconventionally in Lagos and Abuja is not so much sustainable, that it requires additional national spending to ensure its future, else these buildings will end up in hands of banks that has a stake in driving Nigerian Bond market reverted to project A such as Electricity and Energy supply which Aganga engineered with the help of Goldman Sachs.
To put it bluntly and using my own terms, Nigeria is basically a poor country that need real plans if has any future plans of surviving the current economic depression. In essence, relying too much on crude oil as the only cash crop is not without a finality which the easy money of the last decade leads from false economy to sponsor a future of prosperity even when this is not the case. The nominated projects including problems of housing in my beloved Riverine States, was not overcome during this administration with its easier monetary income. And to every extent, we can maintain our advocating for either essays of Soludo with a response to Odior and from that response to the article as from Soludo we may argue that we are suggesting that the article is not necessarily political, that given the economic conditions of the world presaging the article’s composition, possibly written in December 2014, are ingredients in the global markets such as crude oil price decline. The timing of the composition and publication suggest Soludo’s interest that is not far from politics especially the spent force and energy arguments of GEJ’s official accomplishment and recent linked-in pages.
Sailing above this politically of the responses to Soludo is the issue of the format and intellectual brocade over and around the Zeist of 2015. The critical format of Soludo’s argument and the man’S natural power of delivery is what seem to now divide the country, nesting between the legitimacy of GEJ’s return to office and the images of Buhari with austerity to reckon against backdrop of the end of Shaghari’s administration. The major punch line in his evolving essay and which can be argued from the position of an economist, is the comparison between the Shagari’s later day administration and the rise of crude oil prices which did not end very well with many States still starving and owed back to back salaries. He leaped frog into the problems of the current administration with the intervention of the military in 1983 and why there was the issue of Austerity. In some sense, there is a decline which he was perhaps indicating from the evocation of the 7 point policies of Obasanjo that seem to be a throwback to the past.
A summary of Charles Soludo’s essays is hard to box in, but he is essentially decrying,

(1) the lavish psychology of the country in the years of its boom and why there is need to look at what the country holds for you under the ‘f’ class economic class under these new bishops of Nigerian financial, warranting a reaction from Pat Utomi who went a shade away from ‘consumptive budget’ to questions of spending parallel to New Deal and his Lee Kwan Yew. Sometimes you wander if this man is playing the country towards a socialist ideology, and wonder how fittingly APC resembles socialism or was his endorsement due to Fashola who was proved a lightning rod for APC political stake in Nigeria.

(2) The second denomination of Soludo’s writing is the issue of solution to the problem, which he believe to be necessary given the debt Nigeria sank into when the government shifted from surplus and easy money of crude oil boom from late 70’s through to early 80’s and why Nigeria’s failure in preparing for a possible hard and difficult times is not met with serious and competent economic agenda.

The root problem it’s not the spending or the proposed spending by either parties, or the benevolence to expand the government, we can only guess even from Soludo’s piece that the main event is how to realize the money against the unbundling of new economic realities and demographic. He did not specify how basic economic changes can be reached and met, but seem to suggest that poor administration of the duties of financial ministers and the errors involved in federal accounting process is the major reasons why there is a problem primary to preparedness.

(3) The third principal issue raised by Soludo is the preparedness of both parties, although a response from Governor of Ekiti State Kayode Fayemi attempted to show the policies and plans of APC, Fayemi was ‘flying on engine’ with his comments, especially for a man who has never visited South East for a Start. Some of the APC programs including the promise of creating 20, 000 jobs in every states, are government problem item requiring still another round on spending. PDP to argue has the programs that covers new police equipment, border control and patrol for custom, reformation of the jails in Nigeria* (my favorite) and renovation for 120 Eminent School for high school education, grants, grid system electricity, rehabilitation of health, farm and agriculture, wildlife preservation and fish industries and hatcheries, detective for airports and port security, mines and national park programs, local intelligence corporation using high speed internet and crime support units, employment benefit and improved pension and back to incentives (another favorite), all of these can’t be a single parties cooperative agenda, it is part of the national planning which PDP cannot ameliorate.

(4) The other political item which need not to be rehearsed is the issue of local political bandwagon, with emphasis to arena where Charles Soludo once pursued political interest; Anambra, his commentary on Peter Obi, warranted a vacillating reaction from Anambra Peter Obi who is on his way out or so it seems in Anambra. This point he made in his essay warranted a reaction from Peter Obi’s media consultant Valentine Obienyem, and from this range of group of argument the more thorough issue of economic recovery and economic balance sheet which GEJ is wrestling to overcome showed up differently and remains part of the reactionary tendencies in other people who are looking to be heard.

(5) The problems of accountability where he questioned the missing 30 trillion naira from Nigeria and erroneous administrative measures implored Nigeria’s current finance and economic minister Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, who should or should not be blamed for some of the woes of the country which the ex-governor of CBN mentioned in his essays – perhaps committing in his second essays the same fallacies asLamido Sanusi that injured the operability of a CBN as grudgingly repaired by Godwin Emefiele.

We begin from the end, by citing the issue of corporate finances raised by the authors.

Should the finance and economic coordinator be blamed, the answer is no, not entirely. But it could however be said that specific areas of the economic monetary and capital flights in Nigeria under her administrative belt make her a scape goat and ultimately guilty for the poor and non-existing financial accounts of Nigeria. Perhaps a separation between Economic Coordination should be partition from Nigerian Finance, that both ministries in future should consider a difference between accounting procedures and price penetration of its investment categories.

With advent of military leadership in 1983 under very spurious and questionable circumstances of Buhari and Idiagbon we can enter some of the frayed arguments by Soludo as if from a vintage which only a few Nigerians can access. But this vintage in the years that Soludo was in Nigeria, may or may not have been so precise that Nigeria’s sophistry included the inoculations of Sanusi and at debasement impregnation of Nigeria by Oscar Onyema is a country that is shocking behind many nations of world, to a point that its lack of adjacent philosophical procedure and entailment of business logic, it’s a concern that must not be taken lightly on any account in the country.

Soludo was right that both parties looking to re-enter Nigerian politics were not prepared to deal with the problems that country is having. For sure, he couldn’t have known the difference between economic theories guiding the country if he was in Nigeria, his switch of official positon from neutral and pampering iconoclastic in Nigeria affairs including his reserves on some of his assumptions of future of the country assumed a tidal wave when he was moved to overseas and see what many of us have seen, a country far below its capacity level, and looking to be redeemed.

There is also the questionable character of the current Petroleum Chairperson, who as some people may or may not have known, its over-night one of the richest persons in Nigeria, worth in recent times, billions of dollars. The accounting strategies in Nigerian is way below standards, and the accounting procedure of the existing economic countries of Nigeria is so personal that it is impossible to outdo the Madam Iweala and minister of Petroleum as generally accountable to these problems in Nigerian finances. If one is willing to add….

Paul C Nwabuikwu speaking on behalf of Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, pointed out that during the period in question, Nollywood, Bank Development, NMRC (Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Corporation) were created including the 6 million farmers in Nigeria, all of which requiring government spending. In all reality we could suggest that part of the budget expansion of federal government and the provisions for these new but minor introductions of changes in Nigeria, but may be considered part of fiscal policy and expansion following the….has little or nothing to offer Nigerians and the President saving for issues of….

“On the issue of debt, Nigerians deserve to know the truth and we have said it before. The truth is that the government borrowed in 2010 to pay an unprecedented 53.7 percent wage increase to all categories of federal employees as demanded by labour unions. The total wage bill rose from N857 billion in 2009 to about N1.4 trillion in 2010, and as a result, domestic borrowing increased from N200 billion in 2007 to about N1.1 trillion in 2010 to meet the wage payments. Where was Soludo at the time? Why did he not react to the borrowing then? Was it because he wanted to pander to labour in preparation for his political career? (Nigerian Eye, January 28th, 2015) …..

In Madam Iweala’s words, “an embittered loser in the Nigerian political space” that is “so derailed” to “commit intellectual harakiri by deliberately misquoting economic facts and maliciously turning statistics on their head to justify a hatchet job”. Whereas the madam cannot justify her position on Soludo on any count and for any reason, this position is ultimately wrong. She seems to fail to deal with some of the numbers in Soludo’s message than arguing from a general point of view. From a general point of view, the argument seems to give her general defense mechanism, yet in all, the mechanism she implies is faulty to a certain extent. For all we can suggest and speaking with her general point of view without in this case indulging Soludo’s point, we can point out that Soludo’s essays mentions that an increase of crude oil prices occurred between $40 a barrel during his time reaching $60, to a $100 a barrel until fairly recently.

He used a leverage to enter the argument of Shehu Shagari where he insisted that the boom in crude oil did not guarantee employment or full employment, and from all accounts, the problem of employment may be rooted in the disbursement process to these workers in the States whose wages were not paid in spite of the boom and as such fixed and resources allocation took a beaten and was not fully met and guaranteed. Shehu Shagari problems were not necessarily patriotic – he was and still one of the thoroughbred of Nigerian politics and Pan African West African – he’s was the problem of corruption hence a correlation between his administration and the current oil swelling and easy money administration of our current President Goodluck Jonathan. In Charles Soludo’s words,

“For comparisons, President Obasanjo met about $5 billion in foreign reserves, and the average monthly oil price for the 72 months he was in office was $38, and yet he left $43 billion in foreign reserves after paying $12 billion to write-off Nigeria’s external debt. In the last five years, the average monthly oil price has been over $100, and the quantity also higher but our foreign reserves have been declining and exchange rate depreciating.

“My calculation is that if the economy was better managed, our foreign reserves should have been between $102 –$118 billion and exchange rate around N112 before the fall in oil prices. As of now, the reserves should be around $90 billion and exchange rate no higher than N125 per dollar.”

We can loosely argue for and against both engineers of finance and two time GEJ cabal; Cabal Madam Okonjo Iweala and Bishop Charles Soludo who is defining the generic, the political dogma. These two may or may not have been primus inter pares of Nigerian economy, or political Irokos defining a party’s agenda, whereas a party is just a social and political gang engaged in civil party and leadership right, it is a back seat or so it seems for an oval office or political appointment of import.

The point is that quantity of currency or quantity of money in expansionary market policy seems to show that there is a deficiency gap in considering a digital money, slightly different from Credits cards and Debit cards, to psychologically discourage the tendency to spend or expenditures with respect to Robert Mundel and Harry Johnson, who see the relationship between purchase and balance sheet economic unraveling as similar to expenditure or study of expenditures, which are necessary for improving aggregate demands but do not have to toe the lines of John Keynes even though he should be absorbed of the comparison and shadowing in of his monetary policies by Harry Johnson who see Keynes as fatal example of old forms of economic theories. But in the context of quantity of money given the mindset of Fisher and his MV = PY, Friedman’s MV (f.) (Money velocity, compared to Friedman’s money supply, may show that the two angles on both equations should emphasis quantity of money where price theory is reversion to what we have. And in the programs endorsed by the Bishop Charles Soludo, Emir Lamido Sanusi, OBJ,Cabal Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and GEJ, were leading expansionary government programs, need to emphasis the spurious impact on the country through its core inflation.

Madam Ngozi Iweala also made the comments that “Soludo has shamelessly pandered to so many past leaders that Nigerians are asking one more time – what position is Soludo gunning for now?”, the comments stem somewhat from elsewhere and in the middle of this somewhere it’s an unfinished affair of Soludo exiting from office, since the opening accounts of Soludo’s piece emphasis that he was not courting official position or seeking political office. His statement may be political tossed as a warranted disclaimer for reasons of ulterior motivations or foreseeing hints of political tuning, may also be considered a throw off and false advertising of some measure but the heat in the argument is in its seriousness….may be reduced to a form of adhominem which the statement essentially assumes to mitigate, for all intent of reason, the Madam had her reasons for inserting damaging castigations although as a noble intellect, but such castigating it’s like her serving a bad apple at the beginning of good buffet. Nigerians are starving believe or not does not mean Soludo’s argument is right, Nigeria may lack political agenda does not mean they are not essentially prepared. It is not the so called Federal Government to provision for the rest of the Country piecemeal to deliver an economy that protects all asunder, it is up to the country as a unit to development its financial and literary capacities and force a tentative change.

Madam Ngozi Iweala argued that, “There is definitely an issue of character with Prof. Charles Soludo and his desperate search for power and relevance in Nigeria. Nigerians should therefore beware of so-called intellectuals without character and wisdom because this combination is fatal,”, it is a fair and faraway argument which we can understand from a different premise, that Ravi (2007) delimited cycles of inflation “And of an economic slump is triggered by inflationary pressures, monetary expansion begets escalating inflation without curing the recession.”

“When interest rates fall, bond prices move in the opposite direction. So bond investors reaped huge gains. However, elderly retires suffered greatly, because many of them live on their interest incomes which plummeted.” Commodity futures… Investment as structure is not a new argument; it is a reasonable argument used by a Ravi to check of the Capitalist tendencies of actual world

For if this is true, we can see the difference between Friedman and Fisher, since Velocity argued from its impact on interest rate can be considered money, where interest rate which as Ben Bernanke mentioned is price, therefore interest rate and funds rate is rate of money and its velocity is concomitant to the argument about the supply of money – my demand cave – and probably attributable to the early levels or stage of the rates and flows of money in action, the M1, that at end of flow, there is a new level of quantity of money theory that straddle between M1 and M2, which is the path created by the expansion or contraction as the underlining securities and how well it stays with the return of money; the derivative, that the end of flow of rate of money, there is a diminishing of the correlation between the rate of money and velocity to the money in circulation which is not exactly knowable.

Therefore one function which Soludo’s argument did not perform is the rate of money and its relevance to price, beginning at the receiving end of the flow and velocity of bull-like easy money to a bear period with finagling and penchant for claw back. For if we consider that the scalar and vector quantity is added to the first rate of monetary expansion and the upside it’s in inflation, there is a tendency to mitigate inflation through a fund’s rate that can be achieved from interest rate preceding a future money actions by Federal Reserves or Central Bank, such that the conditions of money to expire its flow is Sound Money, whereas the flow measured from a period of spending may not necessary smoother out, it is Stable money.

The price of product or manufacturing than the quantity of money redeemed by inflation or inflationary pressure, although by price theory, these paths cross each other only if we explain it through M2 as equal to the supply of money, and by nominal interpretation will create a bad receipt for expansionary path of a final product increasing a central bank expansion, and the propensity to leverage a system ; that a such propensity increases derivatives and options as opposed to the path suffered from M2 in explicating velocity where sharp difference exist, which will argue that sensitive inflationary conditions nominally decreases a propensity to leverage an underlying security or cave a derivative.

What we may argue also is that the conception is only good on paper, since in real life, people tend to take more risk when there is little chance of profit and not the other way round. The only explanation to this is what I tend to offer, that as much fixed rates are in US linked to US Government bonds perhaps the case in Europe and housing numbers and mortgage linked to fixed income without necessarily torching permanent money.

It constitutes trade deficit which is just as similar and the same as car parts. The flooding of Nigerian economy and market with foreign paper, which were not redeemed through direct investment rather redeemed through public and private acquisition of shares, means by numbers you lock out the local investors who are still cheap, cherishing but perishing the new integration of their economy through the internet.

In the words of Soludo, we infer the following, “The economy roared to average yearly growth of 7% between 2003 and 2007 (although average monthly oil price under his regime was $38), and poverty dropped from estimated 70% in1999 to 54% in 2004. Obasanjo was his own coordinating minister of the economy and chairman of the economic management team— which he chaired for 90 minutes every week. I met with him daily. In other words, he did not outsource economic management.

We expected that the next government after Obasanjo would take the economy to the next level. So far, we have had two great slogans: the 7-point agenda and currently, the transformation agenda. They remain empty slogans without content or direction.”

Pat Utomi, (Feb 1st, 2015) compared Soludo’s argument to Deeprak Lal and between quantitative easing…“Soludo’s solutions sometimes sounded like Deepak Lal on the poverty of Development Economics. I think that if we see current oil price slum as an opportunity rather than a threat then we have to see a role for government in the way Lee Kuan Yew used state intervention when Singapore was prostrate in 1965, as Nigeria is today.” What Pat Utomi, Peter Obi, missed so far from his argument, is the comparison between the Obasanjo’s 7 point policies with IMF transition strategy from Government based production units to private business and by private handlers.

Break it down…

ECOWAS; Economic Community of West African States began it full swing in 1979, set against the cultural unity of Expo ’77, West Africa, braced the region for a future which includedsingle currency money – at the chief argument of the commentators and chosen heads from the exposition in TOGO, but did not incorporate the price of that economic banter, for instance, debt across the border, problems of credit and the issue of acceptance in the Global economy.

We need here to rehearse some of the teachings and assumptions in this piece that one, Nigerian Oil Subsidy,ECOWAS; Economic community of West African States, Government policies driving currencies, SAP; Structural adjustment programs, WAI; War against indiscipline, Better life Program, 1986 Austerity Measures, Privatization Scheme, Removal of Crude oil Subsidy have all come and gone but IMF has still tied the country’s future to these schemes and to Debt that don’t count as a credit and has forced Nigeria and some West African countries downward with its policies, policies that even a progressive third world economy like Nigeria, can no longer absorb.
In Nigeria and in West Africa these days, we hear of the ‘Millennium Development Goals’‘Privatization Schemes‘, ‘Balance of Payment’,‘Austerity Measures’ (removal of oil subsidy), ‘Foreign Direct Investment’,IDAsFDI; Foreign Direct Investment’,‘Debt Crisis’, but all of these are IMF measures which Nigeria that is U.S centered has no real party. But these Schemes exist today and part of the Obasanjo’s 7 point policy and part of Nigerian politics and part of the Nigerian running of their plans for BETTER LIFE. It involves a kind of budget expansion which the switch in the process essentially combines for the best of the process or transition from the process.

The problem with this budget expansion is the issue of long term investment, the Vanilla for instance that Oscar Onyema was selling to Nigerian and Foreign Investors, and the attention to long term bond that NEPA, GEJ and Aganga (the other bishop) of GEJ’s financial starship were marketing to the world could not have survived the heavy and overlooked price pressure from bank stocks given the debt to investment which forex normally stall, or given the widening gap of Nigerian economic depression or newly privatized economy based on their local rate of return other than Gross Domestic Product which adds FDI to it as opposed to VAR and housing index.

The debt to investment will stall and will continue to widen and Nigeria will never get to it or get over it. To understand the problems of a third world transitional processes involving in leading a local economy from poor urban environment to a more technology based economy, we need to demarcate between the issues of GDP and GNP which due to additional foreign investment, widens, excretes good numbers to the rest of world, rebase, or debased processes, but above all, it is a paradox of the local economy….

This better life the case of Argentina and Mexico, like Brazil of the 70’s and Korea of 70’s will not be achieved under these programs that are run by IMF. Part of these measures is that it leads to something when benefitting, and we are tempted to ask how can a transition from one program to another take place, for it seems that the process of Free Trade agreement exercising itself in Europe and now the North America operates, usually leads to the lands of regional exchange and single currency. Not before the wasting and rubbishing of the local currency and economy making it easier to penetrate or exploit. In proper light, the measure at work is similar to EU, compared from every angle; it is similar to the future ideas of regional government and higher penetration of existing Companies.

Nigerians has been forced to blend in to the fact that there is a New World Money Order called Euro. There is nothing wrong in accepting the doctrines of European Union and it does not seem that the policies pursued by Europe are as bad and misleading policy. Yes, some versions of the policies are desperate conceived for Third World economies or whatever name that is applicable and in terms of the quality of European Economy and its no-grow economy, these IMF programs and loans are very not called for and are basically predisposed to debtors damages.

The trick of this process is that a poor execution procedure in narrating Harry Johnson’s account from the new reality of Mundell regional currencies, give and take on one critical aspect of all these schools and perhaps why the systematic argument of the quantity theorist may not fully apply unless as I mentioned from Western Union and Currency wars, that the a single in all its measure of economic value is also a market quantity.

Needless to say that their book raised several questions about the illusions of West Economic Society and NIE ‘New International Economic Order’ as derived from Europe, questions it did not answer, perhaps better explicated as questions which did not exactly converted for answers. But from the defense pact and from policies prodded by individual Government in West Africa, it seems common sense that the business structure between these West African countries was likely to change or expected to change, so also the structure and business of its local Community and Nigeria is not different. What have witnessed in the last decade or so is that the paper currency and the call for a new Nigeria and West Africa are actually hijacked by private interest from all and asunder.

A short précis of Pat Utomi and Madam Ngozi Nkonjo Iweala (II)

The economic fiber of Nigeria was rubbished by cell phone application of process, for if I for one, made the argument in New York in 1998 during a small NITEL meeting trying to attract business that the future of Nigeria was cell phone industries not land lines based on the report of cell phone successes in the Low lands of EUROPE or Nordic circle where land lines could reach. A new APP on Africa was also launched and it showed original studies on the need for high tech over low tech even for the once the locals couldn’t afford. It was therefore a waste of time to pursue land lines when the means of communication that made it possible its easier through cell phones. In addition to these ideas, Motorola was making its presence felt in Lagos and to some extent in many parts of Nigeria. Another unraveling of the new age economy of these Nigerians was their film industries which stunt in quality with a shift from….

The rest is history which is perhaps in-gathering like Weather Conditions, and many of us may wry a smile since the devastation did not leave us amused at the beginning and may be seen to have completely given the high price and pernicious prices Nigerians were forced to pay for a

I seem not to regret that the industries which are so emphasized will pose this unconventional inflationary pressure and problems in Nigeria. We may argue that the prices of cell phones are lower than ever, but Transcorp which Obasanjo and Iweala including Soludo brought to Nigeria, were so private and privatized that they are probably part if not majority owners of this International conglomerates that acquired NITEL for pennies. From Transcorp we indulge half the argument raised by Soludo and half the issue meted out by Iweala and from the sidewalk of price and price theory, it becomes easier to see why the problems a country like Nigeria is experiencing and why the world – or in this case Soludo should take note in estimating the effects of State imposed transition from State controlled production units to private hands and management in any local economy.

For if we apply some measure of financial processes to this example, we notice the irrational and the human side of money and self-preservation at the center of this privatization scheme. No true economic hitman or woman will fail wring the neck of these noise making Nigerians and without their knowing it if the seating Government such as Obasanjo and his compeers will be enticed to a 7 point strategy and they will fail. The dark side of such a scheme is that Upper House Theater is created, a vacuum system is generated and by selling a mere idea that moves business into your hands as the seating president or governor, will compel you and your company to defend this upper house problems of price theory. In terms of the rubbishing of Nigerian economy in the earlier years of the cell phone industries for a start, it is the price of supporting your lifestyle in Nigerian that suffered the most.

With direct protection of these areas of business which was part of the so called 7 point, you offer these mercenaries all the materials they need to essentially rob your country and fleece it dry. Look at differently and not to digress, many companies that made money from Nigerian Telephone industries moved their resources elsewhere almost every month. South Africans made more money from Nigerian cell phones that all the Nigerians companies put together, and these companies charged and bilked Nigerians rejoicing almost detrimentally of their new found connection that they forgot that the resources where already existing, the only that needed to be done, was authorized a protection by the federal government usually when a transfer of power from, military to democratically elected offices take place, and the rest of the reaping was a second matter.

We cannot push the indelicacy of this hit economy called Nigeria to Petroleum, for if we care to look at process involved in emasculating the OPEC out of its control of Nigerian Oil block, or the processes involved in breaking down some of the congestion with Shell which Halliburton did, leaving Exxon-mobile in charge of Nigerian resources many oil well South-South of the Country and the boundaries with Cameroons, we find that the profit which are touted from this process of resource allocation to federal purse, are no longer easy to demonstrate and are in fact out of control.

Recently, GEJ asked every group drilling and bunking crude oil from off the continental shelf of the Riverine areas to disembark their boats or have it blown to bits and he did. We measure however that even with the rise of the crude oil prices to 100 per barrel, and Nigeria removing itself cyclical crude oil subsidies; meaning, Government has to subsidies on the price of crude oil as a way to easy off the problems of inflation which a rise of crude oil prices or even a market level perorate prices entering public consumption creates the problem of continuous disequilibrium —-usually private decision function based on price theory—-but in time past, with hard and fast military whose corruption was not something dissimilar, the country was paying too much and essentially wasting it as opposed to saving some of the money for latter day or macro government (increasing consumption budget) by definition, which Madam Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, argued in the interest of Nigeria and fattening the saving purse of the treasury, which in the end, may lead to more government spending than the unconventional tactics of inflation control.

For a point, this subsidies are probably not necessary yet on the same point, removing the subsidies is torturing the bond market, which naturally offload investment from long term comfort and sustainability to short term – placing a separate funk on the Stock market, whereas momentum shift the emphasis of growth to paper currency, shadow banking and inflation in the country especially at the time of easy money. We may also come to understand the shift at this level occurs when a housing number shoots ahead other CPI measures in the country.

For if we care to look at the poverty level in the Nigeria, we may notice a bipolar trend, one, a shrink of populist idea of poverty; there are more Nigerians with houses than ever and more Nigerians with cars than and cell phone to booth, but the laxity of economy survey gives way to more problems overall economic growth which is implosion of Nigerian mid class and shocking debasing of its quality of life.

In some sense, most Nigerians are actually starving from even the most available of resources than ever before, yet compared to poor examples of market resources like we have in Lagos and we have in Abuja with oversea dumping of resources in Nigeria more than anytime, you are likely to accept there is emergence of a 1% population in Nigeria with all the money which will not buy much still, and the big gulf of proper and green market in Nigeria given the deepening crisis which is gradually coming.

In spite of the write off of Nigerian debt under Obasanjo which Soludo maintained in his essay, and the swelling of resource allocation and sovereign wealth, property from all asunder including the increases of crude oil prices swelled the chances of inflation. GEJ to be sure administration actually owes the world dangerous amount of money and in terms of Soludo argument, outside the issue of Sound money. In terms of NEPA which are said to be privatized very soon, who idea that was is not clear, the price of protecting the inflation and not the output of Electric energy, for they could not save enough or realize to even ensure the health of an economy, in spite of

The question is not transition from government owned industries to private business during which a country experiences its highest changes and churn off more business and economic harvest than ever. We take an instance the issue of privatization from many parts of the Global Macro applies also in Nigeria, may therefore be leading the suggestion that with the advent of free trade in some parts of the world for instance the NAFTA, allays the fears of Soludo assuming we bump him up on his argument, for when privatization in Europe and in North America reached a deciding and critical level, the new owners of the business gradually began to shift to debt and rate of return.

II

Soludo….

“Today, the combined domestic and external debt of the Federal Government is in excess of $40 billion. Add to this the fact that abandoned capital projects littered all over the country amount to over $50 billion. No word yet on other huge contingent liabilities. If oil prices continue to fall, I bet that Nigeria will soon have a heavy debt burden even with low debt to GDP ratio.

“His record on the economy is a clear ‘F’ grade”

“One of those present took the satire to some level by comparing Jonathan to the ‘performance’ of the former Governor of Anambra, Peter Obi. He noted that while Obi gloated about ‘savings’, there is no signature project to remember his regime except that his regime took the first position among all states in Nigeria in the democratization of poverty—- mass impoverishment of the people of Anambra. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, poverty rose under his watch in Anambra from 20% in 2004 (lowest in Nigeria then) to 68% in 2010 (a 238% deterioration!).

——————————————————————-

Pat Utomi…..

“This leads to another point I am not in agreement with Soludo on. He talks about cost of programs and the fact that low oil prices mean you cannot finance a big idea. In 1965 Singapore’s main revenues came from rent for the British Naval Base and the British had decided to shut all bases east of Eden. The decision of leaders of the United Malay, National Organizational (UMNO) to eject Singapore from the Federation that was thought to be the only hope left.”

“Let’s ask people, regarding incumbents, is your life better today than it was four years ago and to the challengers how can you make these same lives much better four years from now. (?)”

“To win elections from intimidation, a shower of insults and trying to diminish opponents rather than engage their minds can only produce Pyrrhic victory. The worst such “victory” would be to win an election and lose a nation through bitterness that makes it difficult to get people to work together to advance the shared good of the people. For people like me the public sphere is about the pursuit of the elevated immortality.” (Vanguard News February 1st, 2015)

The main event of the problems associated with the 1920’s and the Age of Depression is whether or not equilibrium is possible with the changes in GDP as opposed to having full employment, and can inflation occur when there is full employment? In one Nutshell, we can reduce the question to this standard Virginia University ‘Portable MBA’ asked a question, “Is it possible to have an equilibrium at some level of GDP other than full employment, and is it possible to have inflation at a level of GDP below full employment” Keynes argument that in order to ‘stimulate the economy’ there’s need for the government to intervene to improve aggregate demand through ‘expansionary’ fiscal and monetary policy, was derived from his thesis that depression in the world was due to insufficiency of Demand, that a sort of deflation essentially took place in U.S of the 30’s and such there’s need for more government spending.

But this theory mainly works in a nearly successful economy like U.S of the 20’s and 30’s, and Europe sometime later. In a country like Nigeria, a theory of munificence through spending has little or no merit unless we admit to ourselves that the country has been a Depression or simply a form of crisis. In fact it could be disastrous to prove will have the country towards a fulfilled future if does not. It is therefore economic bias to suppose that as such Government spending was a way to push towards full employment, which in turn improves the resources of the buying crowd.

It is true that Keynes Identified ‘insufficient demand’ as the reason why there was general fall in prices, wages, and it is quite clear that he may have identified a problem associated with the ‘demand’ hence the supply of financial resources if need be was important. Insufficient demand is not the problem in Nigeria. It is however possible that Keynes identified a problem and not the problem. If this theory applies to recovery, then recoveries involve useful government spending then, Keynes was mainly been notional about the macro implications of his theory. However separated from these theories is the plain fact of a single currency over a broadest possible extent, could it be that the changes that govern investment is left to the agreement possible demands or the largest portions of any society having some access to the
However, the theory of Aggregate Supply and Demand is a remedy for economic recovery and as such only ‘probably’ good for recovery – even though the theory is applied everywhere and for every occasion. What is the economic theory?

This theory does not help our understanding on how to grow in any economy; the most important aspect of any economy is growth. In essence we are left with what really happens when any nation on earth is meeting expectations but experiencing a growth problem like Europe? Or, when a country is not meeting expectation but also growing like in Nigeria. That latter is a sample of a sluggish economy and sluggish economy often lead to a breaking of economic structural and then a country leans to old and proven theories as a way to recover. There is the spending or the expansion of the Nigerian Government, and it is common sense that inflation and foreign direct investment gives the impression that you are growing, and a cut back on spending which usually follow, could be a symptom signaling a further dive into depression

III

In a separate treaty on the Nigerian economy by Ernest Simeon Odior and the dollarization of Nigerian naira look forward to role of foreign denominator in a local economy and how it promulgates inflationary pressure. Some of his outstanding examples can be said to have defined the premise that facts from examples as the examples between arguments made about the use of dollars or foreign currency such as the British pounds makes the formidable case that their presence in any and under any exercises of trade exchange, only led the buyer from the centrality of its unit of exchange to other market forces dictated by price and currency, enhancing the departures from currency or encouraging lack of confidence in major domains often create additional gaps in the money market spreads hence incur real inflation rate on the buyer and the economic disequilibrium.

In limelight, we might consider that speaking about manufacturing with the kurtosis of 0.5 or 0.05, is reasonably ambitious – may or may not necessarily apply to Soludo’s argument or inferred from the noise of expanded national budget or the decay and collapse of decision function of the individual buyer whose main strength is the currency, a case now deplorable given the copulation of Nigerian Naira to U.S dollars and to a large window, given the excision of these facts from other academic exercise on finance and money draw new bloods on the merits and demerits of having a naira in Nigerian denominator which hardly afford much in spite of the increased and improved GDP.

If we care to push the business beyond the corridors of Nigerian politics, there is something to learn from even the more careful cases of African American communities, that a possible colonization of Nigeria through financial resources when there are branching to the best of world and making China visible to US and the West is actually possible. A constant and gradual erosion of the local businesses especially in areas with the least attention, force progress to yield backwards and Nigeria may have its days reduced to financial accounting and debt servicing even when they are leading the world in West African market. It is a harsh reality that nearly took Mexico to a different in 1980’s through to the early parts of 2000’s, that even with new and enhance business from Mexico in United States, especially in California and Texas, there is a still serious gap, serious income gap between a FDI and local workers that perish at the treadmills at border crossing.

Do not say Nigeria is above it, it is a careful study of Mexico and its cultural hiatus from colonial arrival of Spaniard through the attempted destructions of these institutions by the Pancho Villa and the revolutionaries; Emil Zapata to mention, and new growth of Mexico has some changes been wrought on the old empire, yet the subsistence economy of the past is still very possible, whereas Nigeria which has been around as much old the continent under different names and languages may or may not have rooms anymore for such society, yet the price of free market comes with that the manufacturing is not the same as production is not small misplacement of Economics, that the initially position of the manufacturer or manufacturer index could indicate its origins by the levels of free trade between separate Nations of interest and perhaps nothing else.

The professor looks to show that CPI and interest rate may adequately help disequilibrium of private interest, but we are certain that this point is either too general to the land of reasonable point of view with bearing that the total view from the main point assayed by the author is leading but missing from his piece is that all financial products, all behavioral activity of the consumer are final products duct-tape to demand and hence price from disequilibrium, and not supply which is industries which is advantage from supply /pricing towards equilibrium. It is common sense that CPI cannot easily beset interest rate in spite of frisson effect, that Anambra’s poverty centrality may be a factor based on Asia influence than the problems of weak economic agenda in Nigeria.

It may seem that the ends of rates is to perform the buying functions of demand equations, ends, if not the whole essence of rates is therefore averse for offload unwanted momentum (propensity) from a stock of real interest and not through the classic variable on aggregate demands. As such the question and the issue of Soludo’snegative result from budget expansion is bipolar of its definition since Nigerians though struggling are also making some progress. On a more original contrarian position, which echoes the rest of the piece is that Nigeria asked to perform an equation almost too quickly. One of the few better things that Madam Ngozi Okonjo Iweala has manufactured as minister of finance is the issue of sovereign wealth fund investment, which took a while to enter into a process, it is a process that Nigerians would not have missed anywhere in the world.

Ernest Simeon Odior’s Journal of Emerging Issues in Economics, Finance and Banking (JEIEFB) an Online International Monthly Journal (ISSN: 2306 367X) Volume: 1 No.5 May 2013. Citation from Ernest Simeon Odior – Dept. of Economics; University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos NIGERIA ‘Macro-economic variable and the productivity of the manufacturing sector in Nigeria; A static analysis approach’ , where the focus of his writing it’s the story of Nigerian Industrial weight from 1975 through 2011 did not point to Crude oil as incentive, not that it mattered, did not indicate the number of industries in Nigeria from 1975 through to very recent times that needed efficient energy system or where enhanced with new realities of energy and crude oil.

“This implies that, the adjustment coefficient (ECM) or the speed of adjustment of MAP if deviated from its long run equilibrium is 0.04, while the intercept term still is positively related in the long run (13.10). Also the error correction estimate equation shows that the long run behavior of Exchange Rate (EXR), road Money Supply (M2) and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) appear to have negative relationship in adjusting to long-run disequilibrium given the ECM value and that the long run behavior of Consumer Price Index (CPI), Interest Rate (INT), Credit to the Manufacturing Sector (CMS) appear to have positively relationship to the adjust to long-run disequilibrium given the ECM value. Since the magnitudes of some coefficients are large, these…..”

Robert E. Lucas, Jr. Prize Lecture, December 7, 1995, MONETARY NEUTRALITY, University of Chicago, USA, “The central predictions of the quantity theory are that, in the long run, money growth should be neutral in its effects on the growth rate of production and should affect the inflation rate on a one-for-one basis. The modifier “long run” is not free of ambiguity, but by any definition the use of data that are heavily averaged over time should isolate only long run effects. Figure 1, taken from McCandless and Weber (1995), plots 30 year (19601990) average annual inflation rates against average annual growth rates of M2 over the same 30 year period, for a total of 110 countries. One can see that the points lie roughly on the 45-degree line, as predicted by the quantity theory. The simple correlation between inflation and money growth is .95. The monetary aggregate used in constructing Figure 1 is M2, but nothing important depends on this choice. McCandless and Weber report a simple correlation of .96 if Ml is used, and .92 with M0 (the monetary base). They also report correlations for subsets of their 110 country data set: .96 (with M2) with only OECD countries; .99 with 14 Latin American Country.”

This argument on the neutrality of money shows a kind in economic synthesis that directly influenced by the quantity of money people, Friedman and Company, for a gentleman Lucas, Jr. who argued that maintaining Welfare society is much more expensive than sponsoring free trade and industries, it looks like the emphasis on 30 year was referencing a VAR housing numbers which does take into account the negative bias of inflation numbers, a smart argument and sensible, perhaps a correlation between Stanley Fisher, Ben Bernanke, Lawrence Summers, quantity without the endogenous and self-repairing economic factors which is free from resistance such as long term housing numbers affected by APR’s current rate, whereas Bank’s interest rate is not useful denominator and what was a better interpretation of Friedman.

This fact is excessive and the figures only highlights the seemingly obvious, that excessive presence of foreign denominator easily mitigates on any local market, and it looks to arrive its final impact on the buying power of any private (individual) or in disequilibrium, since it can only be the case from a negative balance sheet, that the final impact of social decision is depended on budget, perhaps meeting a rational economics which makes and breaks exogenous mode lines and endogenous exposition or shocks. For debt is generated endogenous from a system, but returns on investment is an exogenous shock. Between the essential variable of shocks and auto-repair regression or VAR which does not apply to housing.

The debt as investment becomes a different matter when it travels through a fiscal policy. The main is the execution of the process which is the cog in wheels of progress for many economic communities and Nigeria as well. A transformation of the infrastructure can be achieved through a yearly budget especially when the demand on cash crops in the International Market does not create…. Part of Krugman’s Great Unraveling is how the interruption of classic expansion through budget was mitigated by the exceptional aggregate propensity best informed from the arguments of Keynes concerning the very knack of US struggles for New Deal away from Walter Bagehot of the 1870’s. By premise if not by total recall, we are looking to advertise that the whole measure of regression used by the Odoir as from the original intent at marginal utility (‘Macro-economic variable and the productivity of the manufacturing sector in Nigeria; A static analysis approach’) measured or metered from any standard deviation of any industrial market(?), in this case Nigerian Industrial 1975 – 2011, looks to impose that a tipping point is visible through this period, where the behavior dynamics of consumption or consumptive behavior differs sharply enough ….Therefore speaking of credit to industries or credit to industries as a way to enhance manufacturing (?) we are not so general and comprehensible that individual interest in transform is easily incorporated into a general interest to national and overall interest by way of Banks.

“Credit to the manufacturing sector has the potential to increase the level of manufacturing output as long as the demand is targeted towards Nigerian manufactured goods as more money is made available to the industries to produce more. The policy implications is that there are basic structures that must be put in place for Nigerian manufacturing sector to obtain higher productivity, loans and advances has the capacity to sharply increase the level of production if only credit lines.”

 

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Buhari-The True Democrat Nigerians Don’t Know By Yusuf Maitama Tuggar @YusufTuggar

I have to begin this by coming clean and declaring my conviction in democracy. I fully subscribe to the notion that democracy is better than dictatorship- military or otherwise- starting with the simple reason that it is more legitimate. In a democratic system, people choose leaders to represent them in government through agreed upon procedure- an election. In a dictatorship, however, such leaders are forced upon them through a process that lacks general consent and with little or no input from the citizens of a country. When military coups occur, only a handful of uniformed men sit in a room to decide who becomes the Head of State. But even in the worst democracy, there is the need to show the participation of the citizenry in choosing their leaders. This provides an avenue for self corrective mechanisms that often do not exist in dictatorships; a constitution, periodic elections, a legislature, independent judiciary, political parties, freedom of speech and civil society organizations. The need for public support to survive elections ultimately forces civilian regimes to allow these corrective mechanisms to function freely, which in turn brings an end to rigged elections, abuse of the rule of law and bad governance. There are no such long-run opportunities in a dictatorship, as those ruling continue to try and perpetuate themselves in power, through a suspended constitution, no question of elections, absence of representative legislatures as a separate arms of government, constant meddling in court rulings and verdicts, non-existence of competing political parties and crackdowns on independent media and proscription of civil society organisations.

Nigeria’s independence in 1960 came at a time when the world was going through a revolutionary fever. Young men in the military had little patience for the slow workings of representative democracies and wherever they looked, there were examples of how army officers had overthrown civilians through military coups in an attempt to fast track their countries to development in defiance of what they considered neo-colonial contraptions to run African states on behalf of former racist masters. In the bipolar world of that era, some subscribed to communist ideologies as the panacea. Without holding brief for many who came of age and whose world view was shaped during that era, they believed it was their duty to serve as catalysts in dismantling the shackles of colonial bondage, liberating Africa by picking up arms if need be and using state control of the economy to industrialize their countries. This idealist trend continued until the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 and in Nigeria up to the death of General Sani Abacha when it became obvious to all and sundry that “corrective” military regimes had a tendency to derail and turn into sit-tight dictatorships that were worse than civilian administrations. International pressure was equally brought to bear on such regimes after the cold war, in the absence of an eastern bloc alternative or a western bloc prepared to look the other way while they committed atrocities upon their citizenry, in order to gain an edge over ideological and military rivals.

Born in 1942 and only 18 years of age at Nigeria’s independence, Muhammadu Buhari was no different from the other idealistic young men and women influenced by the post Second World War political currents. To expect him not to be would be to expect adolescents today not to be influenced by Twitter, Hashtags and Facebook. But in my opinion, some of them came out of that era wiser, more tolerant and even more patriotic. They truly made the transition from romantic military revolutionaries to democrats. I became fully convinced of this when I invited General Buhari to help us campaign in a bye-election for the Gamawa State House of Assembly seat in Bauchi State in 2009. Buhari had campaigned for Isa Yuguda to become the ANPP Governor of Bauchi State, visiting all 20 Local Government Areas- including some significant towns in districts. But two years on, Yuguda decided to cross over to the PDP and had his deputy Garba Gadi impeached and removed from office. He replaced him with the Speaker of the State House of Assembly who was the member from Gamawa, seemingly as a reward for a job well done. The vacancy meant that there was going to be a bye-election in which the PDP with a sitting Governor and deputy from the constituency was sure of winning. In such a mid-term election for an obscure position representing a rural constituency, General Buhari who had lost a presidential election for a second time need not have obliged my invitation, but he did, for the simple reason that he believed in the basic tenets of fair play and the possibility of transforming Nigeria into a just society.

Before Buhari’s arrival, the DPO had informed me that the podium we had erected in Gamawa where he would address a mammoth crowd was illegal and we had to pull it down. I decided to go above him and discuss the matter with the Bauchi State Commissioner of Police but met with an even more hostile response. After Buhari’s arrival, we forged ahead unconvinced of the illegality of the activity, bearing in mind Isa Yuguda had held a similar campaign rally in Gamawa three days earlier. With the festivities concluded and before setting out for another town Gololo, we took the General to the Local Government Guest House for refreshments and brief use of its facilities. To my surprise, the Local Government Chairman (who had been campaigning with Buhari and I two years earlier for the ANPP) had given specific instructions we were not to be given access to the Guest House, before skipping town. However, the workers could not bring themselves to deny General Buhari, a former Head of State (and to a lesser extent myself, a serving federal legislator) access. What was more embarrassing, when General Buhari asked to use the toilet, we found that it had been deliberately locked and were informed that the LGA Chairman had left with the keys. Some of those in our company insisted on breaking the toilet door but were prevailed upon by a stern-faced Buhari who said it was not necessary. The thought that raced through my mind in those moments was that this man, as a former leader of our country, had the choice of not subjecting himself to any of this humiliation and indignation. He left the comfort of his Kaduna abode to be denied the use of a fetid toilet with no running water in backwater Gamawa, simply because he believed in the right for us to vote for our representatives in government no matter how lowly. 2009 was not an election year and he was not running for President. He rooted for the underdog because he felt voters had been betrayed. On that day, I developed a new sense of respect for the man beyond any office he may have held and saw the milk of human kindness in him beneath the stoic exterior.

General Buhari has served Nigeria more out of uniform than when he wore it for the simple reason that he has strengthened our democratic system. He has tirelessly contested for President three times and thereafter subjected himself to our dubious court system- perhaps sometimes knowing the high probability of an unfavourable outcome. By doing so, he has tested our system over and again and exposed its inherent flaws, leaving a rich literature of legal proceedings for posterity, so that future generations will not make the same mistakes. In doing so, he has gained more supporters and admirers like me who are cautious of promoting a cult of personality for any living being. But he is once again contesting for President at a time when most Nigerians have woken up to the fact that we desperately need to establish the fact that we can change our leaders through the ballot box when they fail to deliver. This does not stop them from trying again if they so wish, but for us to take our democratic experiment to the next level, we need to do away with the perception as well as possible reality that we are creating a hegemonic one-party state in Nigeria. The democratic maturity exhibited by Buhari, a former military ruler, needs to be adopted by the entire nation by voting in a change in leadership. Nigeria has come of age and should be able to vote political parties in and out of government at the centre. It is a case of growing up to become like Ghana or like Congo. The question we have to ask ourselves before March 28 is, would Goodluck Jonathan have run and lost three times, gone to election tribunal three times and visited Gamawa (or dusty Gololo for that matter) to campaign for the PDP in a non-election year?

YUSUF MAITAMA TUGGAR

 

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