Boko Haram and its Imminent Doom By Sonubi Tobi Olatunde

Over the last six years the Nigerian nation had been bedevilled with the extremist cum insurgent group known as boko haram. The boko  haram has more often than not resorted to the use of terror and has justified its identity as a a terrorist organisation.

The terrorist group before now has been involved in land grabbing exercise, similar to the Daish in the middle east. It has sought to enforce the most radical form of sharia and a proselytizing of the Nigerian north east under fanatical ideals based on distorted views of an Islamic society.

Until recent weeks, the Nigerian  military and in extension the political elite has been under Intense criticism for the lacklustre attitude and performance of the once preponderant armed forces in the wake of shabby display in the face of an ill-equipped and  poorly organized and rag tag group called the Boko Haram. In the face of amaranthine victories in  important towns like Baga, Mubi to mention just two.

One need praise the Nigerian military for it exploits  the last two weeks and the magic it seems to be performing even as though it seems the new script been rolled out has been carefully written and played out.

The subject of the discourse isn’t the hypocrisy of the military, neither is it the political gimmicks of the civilians with commanding authority but the inevitability of the success for the Nigerian army and the sanctity of the Nigerian nation state.

The boko haram as a group is losing its land hold in the north east and seems to have resorted to a panic mode.  The panic mode of this rag tag insurgents is one which excel in the use of Scotch-earth tactics including the use of suicide bombers, hostage taking,kidnapping and activating sleeper cells around the country with an element of surprise.

We have witnessed pockets of suicide bombers in the Jos environ and also in remote cities around the country where insurgents activities have been scare in recent times. For instance in Biu and Kano, the cries of attack especially suicide bombers have been rare in the last six months when the terrorist group held enclaves within the Nigerian state.
An attempt to explain the resurgence in the amount of the scotch earth approach of this militia is seen as a last ditch effort by the group to once again instill fear in the Nigerian citizenry. Resorting to this tactics where it loses members, kill innocent people and damage lives and property is only to create a false sense of its prevalence in the Nigerian state.
Its is pertinent to note that this tactics by the insurgent isn’t novel and the Nigerian state must have learnt from past occurrence how best to deal with such situations.
Again, it should be noted that if the military sustains it current stride and victories coupled with erstwhile intelligence gathered in the early days of the groups it would be easier to detract this evil perpetrators from their enterprise.  This tactics would only help expose the sleeper cells, decimation and help activate a movement for the total annihilation of the malign sect.

By SONUBI TOBI OLATUNDE
More from this author at tshoafrica.wordpress.com

 

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Buhari Is A Better Christian Than Jonathan By Ikechukwu Orji

It was Mahatma Gandhi who said he admired Christ not Christians. I guess he said this to remind people that most Christians are definitely not Christ-like. One cannot  claim to be a Christian when his attitude is opposite of the principle that we are called to live by.   There is no middle ground in this race. It is either you are living like Christ or you are a pretender. People like pretending to be what they are not. It is for this reason that one writer defined hypocrisy as a tribute that vice pays to virtue.

There is absolutely nothing Christ-like in President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration. His policies are harsh towards the common man. He has done absolutely nothing for the poor of the land. Rather, he has done a lot to favour the rich and eminent personalities. Any true Christian knows that God loves the poor and is earnestly seeking to do them good. He is seriously looking for those to use to render service to the poor. It can only take a wicked man to increase the prices of petroleum products on a New Year day thereby causing immense hardship to numerous poverty stricken citizens.  Any government that is anti poor is anti God.

Jonathan has refused to go after those who are squandering our patrimony. Corruption is rampant and he is pretending that all is well. You cannot be a follower of Christ and allow evil to run rampant around you. How long can we continue this dance of death? How long are we going to allow these men from the forest of thousand demons to continue to desecrate our land? It is about time we chased them away. We need discipline and decorum in governance. And that is what Muhammadu Buhari is about.

Buhari is everything that Jonathan is not. He is disciplined, painstaking and has a visceral dislike for corruption. He has promised to confront corruption and he is just about the only politician that has the credential to do that. He has done it before and he will do it again. The man cares passionately for the poor of the land and wants to do his bit to help them. Buhari is not a drunk and he is not in the business of running around with other people’s wives. As a Head of State, 11 out of 19 Ministers appointed by him were Christians.

Buhari showed leadership when a dangerous Islamic sect known as Maitatsine threatened our peace. He refused to register Nigeria as a member of the Organization of Islamic Countries and banned government sponsorship of pilgrimages to Mecca. It is a well- known fact that his personal aides and domestic workers are mostly Christians and under him no one was victimized on the basis of religion.  It is on record that Jonathan is the first President to lead Nigerian delegation to the Organization of Islamic Countries in February 2013. He has spent an average of $14 billion on 26, 000 Haji pilgrims annually from 2010. From all ramifications, Buhari has more Christian qualities than Jonathan.

Buhari’s government will focus on building a society that would begin to move the powers of a smothering federal government back to states and local government. Government will be closer to the people and better aware of their real needs and wants. APC as party is open and beckoning to a majority of Nigerians not because we are handing out goodies to people but because we have a better proposal for them and their families.

As a transformational leader, Buhari is sure of what he wants happen and is extraordinarily strong-willed about it. He has one thing in mind instead of a variety of passing impulses. He wants a society full of opportunities. In short, the key to a successful transformational leader is to keep your eyes focused on your goals. And the people’s general has a knack for ignoring unproductive criticism and feels neither threatened nor moved by it. He is not one of such politicians that display so much pettiness and hostility that is simply not productive. Surely, Nigeria will be better under him.

Ikechukwu Orji

ikechukwuorji@yahoo.com

 

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Home Yams, Diaspora Goats By Pius Adesanmi

A home always begets its Diaspora. To account for certain pathologies and behavioural traits; to understand why a given Diaspora ticks in a certain way, you must dig and trace their routes all the way back to their roots. More than three hundred years after separation, after the middle passage, after Massa, after the plantations of the Deep South, after the Civil Rights movement, after this and after that, there are still African American ticks you encounter and you say: hello Africa, na your face be dis? Long time! No matter the encrustations of time and new acquisitions of culture and experience, a Diaspora is always a mirror of the home which begat it. The source-culture always survives.

Career Jonathanism has its own Diaspora. The career Jonathanian abroad is a mirror image of the career Jonathanian at home who begat him. Hence, we face a reproduction of behaviours, of pathologies, of attitudes which cover the entire spectrum of ugly realities that have come to define project nationhood in Nigeria. Today, in London, a fragment of Diaspora career Jonathanism was on duty at Chatham House, ostensibly to disrupt General Mohammadu Buhari’s scheduled engagement in that space of global intellection and voice support for the incumbent, Goodluck Jonathan. In actual fact, they were responding to the call of stomach infrastructure.

There is now ample video evidence of the fact that these Diaspora career Jonathanians were there on the strength of financial inducement. They were there for their own crumbs of the national cake that their principal has been dumping inside every available pocket in Nigeria and abroad like a mad fisherman sailor. However, what I do like about the organizers of the London stomach infrastructural spectacle is their devastating honesty – and even modesty! They requested stomach infrastructure of only $20,000 and wrote a memo to that effect.

That these London career Jonathanians requested money and even insisted on a paper trail which went public is a testimony to their sound knowledge of how things work in President Jonathan’s world. They understand only too clearly that there is no chance in this world that the FFKs, the Fayoses, the Kasahmus of this world and other corrupt lunatics running the show for the President at home would send twenty thousand dollars to their London Diaspora outpost and actually invoice just twenty thousand dollars! If those at home woke up on a good day, I wager they’d send twenty thousand dollars to those poor souls in London and invoice anywhere between five to ten million dollars. On a bad day, the invoiced figure could be considerably higher. In due course, predictable fights among them over the loot will lead to more leakages and we shall hopefully learn how much was invoiced at home for the twenty thousand requested by the Diaspora. Whenever this over-invoicing goes public in a messy intra-Jonathanian fight as it is guaranteed to happen eventually, the lonely Londoners now have a public memo to back up denials: hey, we asked for only twenty thousand dollars o! So these people at home claimed to have sent us ten million dollars? Chai!

I said that these diaspora career Jonathanians were being cautious and honest by issuing a memo in which it is made clear that they are in this Jonathan business to eat. I have more sympathy for them than many career Jonathanians caterwauling all over social media from home. Not long ago, some of them gathered in Port Harcourt – ostensibly for a “retreat” – as if one does not know that where one or two Nigerians are gathered in President Jonathan’s name, trailer loads of looted naira are there in the midst of them. One of the assembled is a member of my generation who had even nursed the ambition of being Governor of Lagos state and had gone ahead to run a fairly above-mediocre Facebook campaign for that office and had started to earn my admiration as a compatriot doing things for altruistic purposes and not for the money. While the back-patting for a successful Port Harcourt retreat for President Jonathan raged on his Wall, one honest citizen advised them and the Jonathan campaign to let the money trickle down to the grass root. The fellow also complained that civil society groups were being left out of the financial windfall. My take from that intervention is that there isn’t too much honour among thieves in the sharing of the Jonathan campaign loot by those working for him.

In essence, even in that hermetic circuit of Presidential campaign slush fund eating, these characters cannot ensure democracy, equity, justice, and fairness. It is each to himself, trying to carve as much of the loot as possible into his own selfish pocket, not allowing it to trickle down as we continuously hear from disgruntled career Jonathanians, cheated out of the big pie. Anti-Buhari protesters in London today

Many have expressed disgust over the behaviour of the London career Jonathanians today. We are informed that many of them were rented for as little as a hundred pounds, some for two hundred pounds, etc. That is plausible. Twenty thousand dollars is roughly ten thousand pounds. Mirroring the behaviour of the home crew, the London organizer would first have to pocket nearly half of whatever amount received in London before distributing the remaining crumbs to the poor souls who went to expose themselves to winter elements in front of Chatham House today.

But my question to those who are condemning diaspora career Jonathanians for the self-demeaning act of allowing themselves to be rented and exposed to the elements in London is this: why would you expect the diaspora career Jonathanian to be different from the home career Jonathanian who begat him? Don’t you think that it would be illogical for this particular diaspora not to be a mirror of its home and source-culture? At home, career Jonathanians are raking it in left, right, and centre. Why would the Diaspora they have spawned not be infected by the Ebola virus of stomach infrastructure?

In fact, given the fact that those on the Jonathan campaign train at home are eating the campaign slush funds selfishly, unfairly, and undemocratically, allowing very little to trickle down, as evidenced by revelations whenever they inevitably fight over the loot, I hazard to say that career Jonathanians in the Diaspora are now using the philosophy of President Jonathan to get their own share of the loot. Yams grow in yam mounds until they are dug out at harvest. Since yams have learnt to grow without leaving the mound, Diaspora goats have learnt to dig mounds without ceasing.

 

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Nigeria 2015: The Change We Need By Abdulrahman Usman Leme

The 2015 election in Nigeria is seen by many as a make or mar election, and arguably the most crucial election since Nigeria’s independence. Over the years Nigeria’s unity has been put to test several times, from 1966 coup that led to the civil war and the subsequent coups and counter coups, economic and political instabilities. The ethnic and communal crisis, the invasion of our communities by foreign mercenaries and arguably the greatest of all threats, the boko Haram crisis, have all threatened and continue to threaten the unity of the Nigerian state. Perhaps one last challenge for the Nigerian state is the 2015 elections described as the most crucial election in Nigeria’s history.

Many Nigerians seems to have had enough of the ruling party’s tricks and poor leadership, from North to South, people are now willing to overlook their differences be it religious, ethnic or sectional to fight for better leadership. The ruling party for the past sixteen years have continued to oppress, exploit and subject the citizens to abject poverty. It’s at the time of election that they come bearing gifts, “Ghana must go bags” stack with money looted from the treasury to buy votes and continue to take citizens on a ride with their empty promises, which they don’t intend to keep.

For the past few weeks we have been fed with all sorts of stories surrounding the postponement of the elections; suddenly we have an active National Security Adviser working with the Service Chiefs to curtail the Boko Haram insurgency and ensure Nigerians are safe to vote – weeks after calling our poorly armed soldiers at the battle front ‘cowards’. These people seem to have been on sabbatical leave while Boko Haram were taking Nigerian territories and forcing our soldiers to run for their lives or tactically manoeuvre into neighbouring countries over the past five years or so.

Many of us have lost friends and family members to this crisis, directly or indirectly – we cannot account for the exact number of innocent lives lost to multiple attacks by Boko Haram. Worse still is the fact that we have a sitting President who lacks empathy, a President who would rather dance ‘Nanaye’ in kano than mourn scores of bomb blast victims, a President who would rather wait till few days to election before visiting the war torn North East, a President who dines and wines with international criminals, ex-convicts and drug barons, a President who uses the military to rig election and above all a President who saw the nurturing of a rag tag insurgents into a highly sophisticated group of terrorists due to negligence and sheer incompetence.

Boko Haram is one of the many problems facing our country, we have our sacred institutions being ridiculed every day by a desperate President, a man who thinks stealing is not corruption, a man who had no plan whatsoever to become president but found himself leading Africa’s most populous nation, a man whose campaign strategy has only improved from being shoeless to seeking sympathy votes from one church to the other. The list is endless, I can go on and on our economy is in turmoil as I type the naira is on a free fall, as you read this your purchasing power must have reduced by 2 %. But we have a choice at our hands to set us free from the hands of’ king Nebuchadnezzar’.

The APC is not a party of saints and we aren’t looking for saints either. At this moment, what we need is a platform where we can be given the liberty to test our democracy and the power of the people, the PDP has denied us this freedom since 1999 that is why we have been having accidental public servants leading us to doom at different levels. The APC have so far demonstrated that they are ready to at least allow us determine who leads us or not and they seem to believe in the power of the ballots and this is a stepping stone and an opportunity we can’t let it slide.

While the APC is running an issue based campaign, through town hall meetings and media chats both within and outside the country, the PDP thinking it is business as usual are busy sponsoring ridiculous ads on newspapers and national televisions against the person of the opposition candidate. They have failed to realise that Nigerians are wiser now and will not fall for their cheap blackmails, we need change, the change we need will not be provided from the same party that has held us captives in our own country over the past sixteen years. The PDP and their supporters keep threatening us with war, their friends meet in government houses and issue out threats, a serving governor is not only sponsoring provocative ads on national dailies but threatening to withdraw his state from Nigeria.

We must remain resolute and send them packing no matter the provocation; we must resist resorting to violence. The only way Nigeria will reclaim its lost glory in Africa and the world at large is by ensuring a successful common sense revolution has taken place. Our revolution will not be like the Arab spring, we have suffered enough and have lost enough, now is the time to use the ballots not the bullets to reclaim our country from the hands of these ‘corporate thieves’ who have been running the country like an empire where some kingmakers sit in their villas and palaces and impose their cronies on us. We want change from this oppression; we want to be given the opportunity to taste the beauty of democracy where the principle of one-man one-vote can be respected.

At the moment we have limited choices but between the two major candidates, we know one of them the sitting the president have done his best and his best is the worst type of leadership this country has ever tasted. He has been tested and cannot be trusted not with our territorial integrity, not with our economy; our girls are still missing, our billions are still at large, the likes of Stella Odua, Maina, Faruk Lawal, Femi Otedola, Abba Moro and Diezani Alison madukwe are either somewhere enjoying their loots or still looting. We need change and GMB is that man who would rather keep Abdullahi Bolaji and sack Abba Moro or keep Professor Alkali as education minister than hand it over to a reckless Wike no matter their political differences. General Buhari is a man who is not afraid of competence in his 20 months in power he appointed his cabinet base on competence regardless of their religion or ethnicity. This is why he is the change we need, we may think we deserve better or want a younger president but at this moment we are left with this two candidates one described as incorruptible, discipline and no nonsense and the other currently overseeing a failing government, the choice is ours and we must not fail to get it right this time around. The change we need is GMB. I watched him during the APC convention and here is some of what he said:

“I do not intend to rule Nigeria. I want
to democratically govern it with your help.
I seek a Nigeria where Christians and
Muslims may practise their faiths in peace
and security; a Nigeria that is just and
where corruption no longer trespasses into
our institutions and national behaviour and a
Nigeria where our diversity could be used
for our national prosperity”     God bless Nigeria!

 

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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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