Corruption: Will It Tilt The Nation’s Growth Or ill It? By Jimi Bickersteth

A stork on its stilts of a leg staggered as it opened its wings in a treacherous wingding to break its landing on the even surface of the lush plush of the nicely manicured green lawn,in a trace it was go

ne. Meanwhile,the perfidious influence of the fading halo of the evening sun was stealing through the shutters on the parapet where a metal spike had perforated the wall.

This breezes were strong this early evening as I watched the lone stork discreetly, trembling from the cold and the shocking
news I have just received
that some unknown persons have built structures on my parcel of land. I screamed holy Moses! as I dropped the call.
I feel stitched up as I considered the veracity of the news;how on earth will a
tenant to who I leased the parcel of Land in Akowonjo-Agege stealthily steal a march on me, by illegally applying for and getting a “Certificate of Occupancy”;
(“C of O”,for short),in spite of a valid proof and extent legal documents in my favour. Exquisitely painful, isn’t!
A stink bomb!But under my steam, I will resolutely fight this unfair treatment to its logical conclusions. My wife’s voice echoed in my ear.” Calm down- it’s nothing to get steamed up about.” A note of subdued excitement in her voice. I got the subliminal message. Of course, when a water-pipe bursts,the next thing to do is, turn off the stopcock.
I can feel and see trouble in store for people who’ve set much store by material possessions.
There is a storm brewing. However, there is a subconscious thought and feelings in the mind,which one is not fully aware of but which influence one’s actions-memories buried deep in the subconscious. I suppose that, subconsciously, I was reacting against my strict upbringing that often preached calmness-the majesty of calmness. But I am unable to subdue a mounting sense of excitement, of writing on and about corruption in the land.
Now from the ridiculous to the sublime. Corruption in the land has become a serial film that creates an atmosphere of menace. A menace to the society,its environments,and threatening the nation’s ménage. It is a scourge that
has turned our great nation into a house built on stilts at the edge of a lake.
A sad but beaming visage that has bred great incompetence, ineptitude, inefficiency, negligence and all known vices for which the country is an expert. A sad commentary on the part of government officials and politicians on one hand and the stupefying ignorance of the beneficiaries.
I uttered several vigorous but unprintable expletives,at the avaricious look of public service that has bred a whole generation of brilliant
employees and flamboyant
politicians who could not tell a racehorse from a cart-horse, nor see the cracks not only in the structure of the public service but also in the skewed structure of the nation;its get-rich quick
methods and its little Czars slowly crushing it and its political system out of existence.
The leaves glistened wetly in the rain as I stretched forward,found my laptop, talk about this
menace I must. Talk about corruption that has come to characterized our national life, corruption in high places and all over.
A scourge whose influence is all pervasive and often viewed through the warped sense and lens of our today’s debased moral standards.
This menace is ubiquitous, yet no one knew who it is, where it lived or what it looked like as it keeps changing shape and growing; but its small pieces build into larger pieces and the larger pieces complete the charade of a jig-saw,and a puzzle in which all of us at one time or the other benefited, and our nation now have a nice fire on its hands.
Corruption, especially, of people with authority or power willing to act dishonestly in return for personal gain, not following accepted standards,and in some cases, not following laid down rules and or regulations. Behaviours that
despicable and steadily
building in the nation’s cortex a corrupt leisure
industry.
Our society is successfully
breeding young people whose morals have been corrupted in an environment whose corrupting influence is so pervasive and widespread; go to our schools today
either for admissions purposes or sitting for an examination, go to public offices for
employment,they are filled with officials who are open to corruption.
The pervasive widespread damage has left the war against corruption and the new sheriff (seen,as a wet
blanket,who spoils other people’s fun  by disapproving of it and refusing to join) zero-tolerance for corruption and the concomitant reforms he’s trying so hard to institute purely cosmetic and ineffective.
Thus,leaving a nation cosseted by ineptitude, weak perceptions and good value judgement owing to the poor reading of the situations,ever wonder why the nation’s anti-graft agencies are blinding the nation with science and not
making one successful conviction,which otherwise would have served as a deterrent to would-be looters and offenders.
The scourge as I have pointed out elsewhere is truly and indeed widespread and runs contrary to the norms and traditions which are the cornerstone of the nation’s civilization. Transparency International noted that “corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gains.” It hurts everyone whose life,livelihood or happiness depends on the integrity of people in a position of authority.
The scourge has triggered a nation whose outlook is bleak, its nets are empty, who’ve tried everything it knows and its people are yearning and sincerely ready to give up. One can’t blame the people. It happens in life; you get to the place where you simply stop expecting anything good.
You’ve experienced too many disappointments and you’re afraid to dream, reach, stretch or broaden your horizons; because you are conjoined and intertwined with a nation and a government battling with recession which left you wrestling with depression and tormenting memories, unemployment, underemployment, addiction, financial failure, stresses, problems at work and at home, times of change;change here I must place in parenthesis is as in change, not as in the ‘APC change’ that has no gold standards.
The concept and blueprints to fight the evils of corruption apparently are in the mind of only Mister president; yes, PMB alone
while the rest of us are merely defined by feelings.The funny thing
about this war and its
execution is that the war commander himself has a starry-eyed notion
about reforming society and a scourge that has remained a complete enigma.
In all ages,well-intentioned people, like PMB,who have tried to establish a more just society and moderating revolution and sociopolitical engineering were constantly foiled by greed and corruption.His lieutenants, the dinosaurs and politicians, and their coterie of advisers are merely acting on their own
preferences,and it appears,
they do not seriously, share PMB’s passion and enthusiasm in fighting the menace. Some of them have amassed possessions,thinking the more they have the safer they are.
The same insecurity that motivated the builders of the “Tower of Babel”. Stockpiling possessions and property,accumulated and stacked until their tower of belongings in Dubai, UK and elsewhere in the world’s tax-havens grew so tall it reached heaven.
Thinking and believing riches bring security. But No! It doesn’t. The more you have, the more you have to lose! Its ironic; the more you accumulate the more protective you become and the greater your concern that it could all be swept away by events you can’t control.
Those that are rich in the present age and who
think it is a soothing syrup on their ergo,better, beware!
The nation’s thieving
‘politricians’ and public officials do not realise that
almost half the world- more than a billion people- lives on less than £2 a day. If your income is more than that, there is every possibility of entering the booby trap set by pride and arrogance.
For analysis sake,do you know that between 1948 and 2001 the US economy endured ten recessions, each averaging one year, and resulting in the lost of billions of dollars. That means every five years or so,the economy drops its suitors and starts all over again.
The moral here is,riches are like Monopoly money, if you’re better than your competitor, you end up with the deeds to the most expensive property. But guess what? At the end of the day when the game is over, as it would sure do, the participants leave the table and all the stuff goes back in the box. Humbling! Isn’t?
Many believed that success can only be measured at the end of one’s life, but that’s not true; one has discovered that success can be measured at different stages in life and that, if the nation is conscious of success at the level where we are today, that consciousness will take us to a higher level of success tomorrow; with a reinvented culture of excellence, the primordial instincts and innate sense of style which were intrinsic features for which our forbears prospered and for which they were widely acknowledged, the fruits of which today, we have left to rotten, while treading the primrose paths.
Today,necessity has laid it upon the PMB administration to reinvent the wheel, but with a template, blueprint and approach that should lead to a pragmatic ideology
who’s content must be included in the nation’s citizenship and civics education curriculum planning, development and implementation. Even as it starts a campaign drive in all the wards in the
federation for the teeming mass of its impressionable youths, a people crushed, who couldn’t make sense of living in a nation stifling their hopes of a “better life”;one where people live for each day’s pleasures.
It is sad,so sad, that the country is breeding a generation plagued-with drug and alcohol abuse, crime and prostitution, heading to jail or grave, worse yet,so many have joined the bandwagon of get-rich quick and by any means possible, with kidnapping for ransom and or ritual killings in tow. The youths should strive to make a case for themselves, nobody will do it,neither will demonstrating the absence of honesty, trust, truth,perseverance
and hardwork.
In the ensuing scenario and
rat-race,it is interestingly becoming unpleasant and difficult for the youths to listen to adults; to the advice of those who are older and experienced, as they now find it more easy to assume that older one’s do not really understand the challenges and problems the young face. I fart!
The nation’s social welfare
development must (i) reinforced its capacity-building and organized workshops, talkshow that is aimed at disabusing the nation from illegitimate ambition, the dastard and brazen acts of killings, stealing and yahooz.
ii)that they shouldn’t be impressed with those who get rich and pile up fame and fortune illegally;that if they managed to escape jail, they can’t take the
fortune with them, fame and fortune all get left behind. It is a truism that when they
think they’ve arrived and people praise them,musicians eulogized
them because they are
perceived to have done well for themselves, they enter the vault where they’ll never see sunshine again.
The nation can resist corruptive influences,however,individual efforts will never completely eliminate or root out corruption, because the causes go deep-far too deep and one’s fear is that corruption is inevitable and will never be completely eliminated, because it has a way of fighting back.
You are all corrupt ,yes!even me! Basically,because,our nation is characterised by craftiness, greed and selfishness. In such an environment, most people find it difficult to be different. Driven by selfish ambition, we become power hungry.
We,all of us,also develop a strong desire for money,more money and possessions-more than we really need,with the devil craftily exploiting our natural desire for material comfort and financial well-being to the point that we act deceitfully because of the irresistible pressure exerted.
Sadly,we are willing to behave in a dishonest way to achieve those goals. Rather than resisting unwholesome influences, we “follow after the crowd for evil ends”. Admittedly, it is not easy to be honest,and I’m being honest here, because of the pressure to meet goals and aspirations; to survive in a competitive world; a world in which most people regard giving and receiving bribes as normal practice.
When you are saddled with heavy financial responsibility, in a permissive environment and with no strong moral value and fibre, it is a challenge to be honest. But our lives will be more
meaningful if it can be reduced from the present height.
Have you ever been a victim of corruption? Perhaps not of the kind I recounted in the opening paragraph, but almost certainly you have suffered the effects of corruption because of its pervasive reality; and no one is immune to the perils of corruption.
To define the future, the nation must decide its fate during this trying times. The PMB’s administration appears to be trying hard to recover the proceeds of graft, one hopes he would not be encumbered by forces which he is unwilling or unable to control in a nation trembling like an Aspen leaf,one that is living a lie and with a body politics in turmoil. One, where,allegedly,public/civil servants stole approximately $9 billion;and another $2billion doled out as political patronage and oil blocs to the bargain. The urge to clear the Augean stable and the urgency to do it should give him the 00mph to keep going, having in mind the conservative feelings of a traumatized people.
Nigerians are placated by the president’s zero-tolerance for corruption and are filled up with expectations that if he can winkle the political will those staggering amount of ill-gotten monies recovered from corrupt officials would be deployed to act as a stimulus to jump start the nation’s ailing economy.#
Jimi Bickersteth is a blogger and a writer.
He can be reached on Twitter
@alabaemanuel
@bickerstethjimi
@akannibickersteth
Email jimi.bickersteth@gmail.com
jimi.bickersteth@yahoo.co.uk

Agricultural Modernization In Kano State, By Salihu Tanko Yakasai

By the middle of this century (year 2050 to be precise), it is predicted that Nigeria, will have an estimated population of between 230 and 430 million people thereby surpassing the United States of America as the third most populated country in the world after China and India.
This population explosion will definitely pose serious challenges to governments at all levels and other stakeholders on how to make these huge human resources into an asset rather than a liability in terms of ensuring a highly educated, well-fed and secured society with a minimal unemployment rate. Unless concrete measures are taken, this demographic development will definitely lead to social dislocation through rural-urban migration, food insecurity, massive joblessness and other unwanted consequences.
In order to check this bleak scenario, the agricultural sector must be given deserved attention and, however seemingly gargantuan this formidable challenge is, the administration of Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, OFR in Kano State since May 29, 2015 has remained undaunted by according the agricultural sector the highest priority it deserves because the sector holds a lot of promises toward ensuring food security, industrialization, revenue/income generation, creation of gainful employment for the teeming able-bodied youth of both sexes, rural development, access to international commodity markets, poverty reduction, etc.
With over 90 million hectares of land of which over 75% is arable and cultivable, Nigeria has the highest ratio of usable agricultural land to total land mass in Africa if not in the whole world and Kano State, being the most populous in the federation, shares in this endowment of fertile land and irrigation infrastructures for all-season farming practice.
Despite these endowments, the agricultural sector in the country is bedevilled by a myriad of problems which include the use of simple and crude tools and implements, constraints of the land tenure system, inadequacy of agricultural education through extension services, lack of finance or credit facilities, problems of pest and diseases, lack of storage and processing facilities resulting in the loss of at least 20 to 40% of the annual harvest, poor transportation, poor marketing, negative attitude of people towards agriculture due to its low reward and boring nature, small and scattered nature of agricultural holdings, food imports that stifle local food production, rural-urban migration of young men and women causing shortage of labour on rural farms and conflicts between sedentary farmers and nomadic pastoralists.
Apart from these, there are natural problems facing the sector including soil erosion caused by water and wind that reduces soil fertility, the unstable and changing rainfall patterns attributable to climate change, desertification, rise of sea level and global warming, among others.
According to the 2008 World Bank Development Report, “In much of Sub-Saharan Africa, agriculture is a strong option for spurring growth, overcoming poverty, and enhancing food security. Agricultural productivity growth is vital for stimulating growth in other parts of the economy.” Realizing this vital role of the sector to the overall socio-economic development of Kano State and in his characteristic far-sightedness, Governor Ganduje initiated many policies and programmes aimed at developing the agricultural sector more especially as an alternative source of income to the oil sector with its vagaries in the international markets.
To evolve a comprehensive policy toward developing the agricultural sector, the present administration set up a 35-man Agricultural Technical Committee headed by His Excellency, the Deputy Governor and Hon. Commissioner of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof. Hafiz Abubakar, MFR. The committee, composed of highly knowledgeable professionals, experienced academics and experts in various fields, proffered various recommendations to the State Government toward revamping the agricultural sector in the State the implementation of which has since started in earnest.
In order to enhance the capacity of farmers, for example, the State Government employed additional 742 extension workers in order to train farmers in modern farming practices with the aim of increasing crop yields and weaning them from the age-old subsistence farming that is in most cases not productive. Equally, the government resuscitated Kano State Agricultural Supply Company (KASCO) that had been dormant for many years to the extent that the company has been contracted by the federal Government to produce assorted fertilizer for sale to farmers in the country. The sum of N164,942,400:00 was approved for the procurement and installation of a new fertilizer blending machine for the company.
The government also procured 500 units of irrigation pumps for distribution to dry-season farmers at the cost of N45 million, approved N20 million for the purchase of two combined harvesters for allocation to the State Wheat Farmers Association, granted N100 million interest-free loan to the association for the purchase of quality seeds for distribution to its members and gave N16 million assistance to the association to purchase six tractors with implements. This is in addition to the sum of N200 million earmarked for the tractorization programme of the present administration under which tractors are provided to farmers’ associations at subsidized rate.
Other interventions toward assisting farmers in the State include N213,400,000:00 approved for the purchase of 5,000 units of petrol engine water pumps for distribution to Fadama farmers and Water Users’ Association and the grant of N200 million loan to the State Wheat Farmers Association for the 2015/2016 cropping season to enable them to meet the proposed production level of 75,000 hectares and the demand of flour millers.
The State Government also provided fertilizer subsidy to farmers amounting to N2 billion for the production of 50,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer (1,000,000 bags) at the cost of N5,500:00 per bag for sale to farmers at N3,500:00 per bag while the contract for the procurement/supply of tomato seeds and pesticides to support tomato farmers in the State in the sum of N252,304,000:00 was awarded following the outbreak of Tuta Absoluta epidemic in the State.
This government’s intervention in the provision of affordable fertilizer and other farm inputs to farmers has solved the problem of racketeering, profiteering, product diversion and other underhand dealings resulting in lack of product availability, affordability and accessibility.
Also, to ensure the supply of hygienic beef and mutton for safe human consumption, the State Government earmarked the sum of N2 billion in the current fiscal year for the establishment of an ultra-modern Halal abattoir in the State which can also export excess meat for revenue generation for the State.
Training of farmers in and out of the country has also been prioritized. For example, the State Government sponsored 60 pastoralists to undergo training in artificial insemination in Turkey at the cost of N51,777,500:00 and the beneficiaries have since returned home and they are expected to share the knowledge acquired with others.
In order to ensure a healthy livestock for safe human consumption and economic value, the State Government embarks on the annual mass vaccination exercise (CBPP in cattle, PPR in small ruminants and anti-rabies in dogs) which has proved highly beneficial to the State.
The Ganduje administration embarked on the drilling of 1,000 tube wells  under its pet programme Kauda Rani in some Fadama areas (wetlands) across 29 local government areas which gulped the sum of N55.8 million, initiated integrated rural development programme titled Karkara Salamun Alaikum under which hundreds of kilometres of feeder and tarred roads are being constructed gulping billions of Naira in order to open up inaccessible rural areas, hundreds of boreholes either drilled or rehabilitated for the supply of potable water to the rural dwellers, electrification of many towns and villages, among other laudable interventions for the development of the rural agrarian communities in the State.
The present administration has also been according top priority to fighting the menace of desertification and other ecological problems through the annual tree planting campaign, establishment of shelterbelts and rehabilitation of existing ones and execution of erosion control projects toward ensuring sustainable environment for food production and safe human habitation.
So, the government has succeeded in coming up with a comprehensive policy for the development of the agricultural sector through accelerated food production, livestock development for meat, leather and dairy products, natural resources conservation, agricultural pest and disease control, agro-processing and value addition, agricultural programme management information system, skills acquisition training, agricultural productivity and diversification,  mechanization/tractorization, vaccination campaigns, renovation/rehabilitation of veterinary hospitals, micro-credit facilities for small and medium-scale agro-businesses, fisheries and poultry development, procurement of improved seeds and agro-chemicals for distribution to farmers, community warehousing to reduce post-harvest losses, training, collaboration with development partners, irrigation development, among a host of others which have already started bearing fruit.
Indeed, it is evidently clear that the Ganduje administration in Kano State has, in the past two years since its inception, recorded tremendous achievements in the agriculture sector being a catalyst to the overall development of any society.
The State Governor has demonstrated political will and commitment to develop this vital sector in order to put the State on a sound pedestal for overall development thereby rescuing millions of people from abject penury just like many countries in Asia and Latin America have succeeded in doing through agrarian revolution. As a pacesetter for long, the State has again set the pace on the modernization of the agricultural sector for food security, income generation and job creation which has been the preoccupation of His Excellency since assuming the mantle of leadership in 2015.

Buhari’s Trip To New York And The Question Of Change By Aliyu Abdullahi

Often times I hear Nigerian people ask where is the “Change” promised by the Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari? They were right to question the promises made by the President before the 2015 elections, afterall, they are the masters, and the President their servant, holding the highest and most exalted office in the Land on trust for the Nigerian People.

This write-up will attempt to answer the question of “Manifested Change” witnessed first hand this evening by the author at the Hotel Millennium UN Plaza in New York when the President arrived. Before the President arrival, we were gathered at the Hotel to welcome the President alongside some embassy officials, I was with couple of friends, former course mates from the Nigerian Defence Academy, with some of our seniors in the Military, stationed in the Nigerian Mission and the United Nations respectively, they were at the hotel since about 7pm when the President flight touched down in New York, and I was in my hotel room somewhere in downtown Manhattan on the 25th street by Broadway to be exact , and another friend, an Embassy employee (Awwal Umar Idris) called me and asked “Aliyu, where are you? We are all gathered here, you are the only one missing”, I responded that I was going to catch the subway from the 28th Street to Grand Central, Awwal said no, you can’t make it in good time, you have to get a cab and hurry up, don’t miss the President arrival,” I quickly switched off the TV and grabbed my jacket and headed out, flagged the first yellow cab I saw, the driver was an Indian, I said hurry up to 44th Street by 2nd Avenue, we zoomed up amidst some traffic jam, meanwhile Awwal kept calling all through the way.

Before reaching my destination right on the 44th Street was another jam of black people, i thought it was the Nigerian crowd that extended there, I alighted from the cab after handing a 10 dollar bill to Mr. Kumar the driver, I headed straight to the crowd only to discover it was another hotel where the Senegalese President was going to stay, there was merriment, singing and I decided to stay and see the arrival of the Senegalese President and his delegation, I was lucky, 2 minutes after, the Presidential delegation came, and I counted over 50 people coming out from a long que of vehicles, I thought the delegation was rather huge for a small country like Senegal and I murmured something like I am sure our President delegation will at the very least double that of the Senegalese President.

After they all entered the hotel, I proceeded to my destination couple of blocks away, there I met my friends to their delight, and other Nigerians who came to have a glimpse of President Muhammadu Buhari, we waited for about 5 minutes, and the President convoy arrived, it was only 4 vehicles, the first car to pull was a saloon car which the the President and his ADC was in, the second car was a black wagon bus and a third car following behind while the 4th were American FBI. The President alighted from the first car, the wagon bus has Femi Adesina, Bayo omoboriwo (the President’s photographer), Abba Sarki (SSA Domestic) with 2 journalists (Adamu Sambo of NTA & Gloria Ume-Uzoke of Channels TV) and their cameramen along side 3 DSS Officers. The third car has the NSA, Major General (Rtd) Babagana Munguno and 2 of his officer, these were all the President arrived with. Of course at the hotel with us already were some Governors and Ministers, I saw Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State, Deputy Governor Bala Banter of Kaduna State, there was Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Environment, Ibrahim Usman Jibrin, and the State Minister of Budget and National Planning, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed.

I was amazed by the small size of the President delegation, I quick remembered some years back precisely in 2013 during former President Goodluck Jonathan Administration when Sahara Reporters had a media war with the then Presidential Spokesperson, Mr. Reuben Abati over the size of the Nigerian delegation which was about 600 people as confirmed by the then Nigeria Ambassador to the United States, Mr. Bashir Wali. This year’s delegation is by fa the lowest of all the member Countries. A friend of mine, part of the Saudi Arabia delegation was with me, and he jokingly asked if Nigeria was still in recession, I responded with ‘no, we are out of recession’, he asked asked again that why then is your delegation so small this year, and I answered him that this is CHANGE as promised by our President Muhammadu Buhari, who is not only modest by life style but intends to cut all Government waste and plug all the loopholes that public officials usually exploit . My exchange with him prompted me to write this piece. If this is not “Change”, then I really do not know what is “CHANGE”.

Aliyu Abdullahi writes from New York.

I Forgive You, By Walid Moukarim

“I forgive you” said and meant from the heart and witnessed by Allah and His Angels, is one of the greatest gift any person can give or be given.

Yes, that I have resolved not to be amongst those who will stand with you before Allah on the day of Judgement laying claim for retribution, nor be a reason that Allah will say to you, “I came seeking and you turned me back”. Is not out of fear or weakness but out of great inner strength and an ever increasing need to be closer to Allah.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever suffers an injury and forgives (the person responsible), God will raise his status to a higher degree and remove one of his sins.” Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 998

Indeed, a Heavy burden I have taken off the forgiven if they but knew, and no greater love, compassion, mercy and brotherliness can be shown to anyone, no greater display of courage than that of the forgiver, for it is hard to forgive, to let the pain, anguish, humiliation, ridicule and much more all go, but then the peace that comes with it knows no bounds, the rewards are without horizons.

Yes, I forgive you and bear no grudges and Yes, you did not ask for it and probably do not care for now if I do or not. Yes, it was not easy and Yes I am at peace with myself, more focused and trusting that Allah will reward me bountifully, so much richer I am in self-esteem and honour for I found myself giving for the sake of Allah, not minding you and your antics.

“Hold to forgiveness; command what is right; but turn away from the ignorant”(1) [Quran 7:199 Yusuf Ali Translation]

(1)[Allah comforts the Prophet and directs his mind to three precepts: (1) to forgive injuries, insults, and persecution; (2) to continue to declare the faith that was in him, and not only to declare it, but to act up to it in all his dealings with friends and foes; (3) to pay no attention to ignorant fools, who raised doubts or difficulties, hurled taunts or reproaches, or devised plots to defeat the truth: they were to be ignored and passed by, not to be engaged in fights and fruitless controversies, or conciliated by compromises.]

I do not know what tomorrow holds but I know Allah who holds tomorrow.

Indeed Allah has said “Let not those among you who are endued with grace and amplitude of means resolve by oath against helping their kinsmen those in want and those who have left their homes in Allah’s cause: let them forgive and overlook: do you not wish that Allah should forgive you? For Allah is Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful” [Quran 24:22 Yusuf Ali Translation]

So Sir, Madam, Leader of mine, friend of mine, you who has chosen me as your enemy, you who took out your frustration on me, you who cheated me, extorted & lied to me and yes you who was hypocritical and back biting towards me, all of you and those who might feel I did not mention their crimes and trespasses done to me knowingly or by error, I Forgive You!

 

Walid S. Moukarim

Tweeter: @wsm4you

https://www.facebook.com/walidsmoukarim/

© 092017

Political Drama Season: The Atikus In The APC, Their Rehearsed Lines And Reality, By Umar Hassan

No,you are wrong.No one could have possibly predicted that political drama season would premiere with a serving minister endorsing another candidate in his sitting room over her principal,the President.She hasn’t claimed to be misquoted or ‘videoshopped’ and the president’s continued retention of her services has kept suspense at ice chill level.
Are a select few privy to some existing agreement to step down after his first tenure or is he just playing matured statesman?.Ratings are through the roof.
By virtue of her position as Minister of Women affairs,Hajiya Jumai Alhassan’s open support for Atiku Abubakar is a firm ratification of the failure and incompetence of President Buhari’s government.No one tells the smell of a husband better than the wife.
Things took a rather predictable turn from then on with Atiku capitalizing on that epic moment to say afterwards, the Buhari government had let him down.Now with the adrenaline at a controllable level,you get a chance to adjust moods and use a clear head.
Atiku’s theatrics aren’t top notch.As a matter of fact, the ‘Buhari has let him down’ speech had been prepared since 2015 just as it has been prepared for everyone to beat him in an election; primary or general.He is a political hustler who craves power and will go to any length to get it.
Before the next surge of excitement in the drama series of ours,we must seize this sober period to warn ourselves of the need to prepare well for the new season and what it portends.The need to remind ourselves that the chief protagonist and much heralded bearer of the torch of change has turned out the worst president we have ever had.We may not even have a country again come the next elections.Its that bad.
Every candidate will harp on the dismal performance of President Buhari and everyone will appear good but we must be most wary of those that helped sell him to us.For one, their sense of judgement is what they themselves drag into question when they tell us ‘Buhari has let us down’.What were those promises again?
A boko haram annihilation in 2 months,a $1-N1 exchange rate,N5,000 monthly stipend for indigent citizens and free feeding for students in primary schools.All appeared unrealistic and that anyone would expect an unintellectual and philistine Buhari to come through on all that bearing in mind oil prices had been on a steady decline since 2014 doesn’t speak too well of those in the APC fold.A party who has been described as a more formidable opposition to itself than even the PDP by embattled lawmaker, Abdulmumin Jibrin.
That some are already clamouring for an Atiku presidency means the desperation to want to see this government leave could very well expose us to a certain type of vulnerability.The vulnerability of settling for anything other than the Buhari government and that might ultimately translate to settling for less like we did with it in the first place.
Atiku may capitalize on the fact that this administration decided against extending probes past the Jonathan administration to dare anyone to provide any proof of corruption against him but that won’t change what we know.
Though the Buhari administration may make any other before it appear indefectible,we know Atiku helped Obasanjo oversee a government Nigerians deserved more from and only fell out with him because of his presidential ambition.
We must keep our emotions in check,memories vivid and expectations sharp.Enjoy the drama but hold on firm to reality.
Umar Sa’ad Hassan is a lawyer based in Kano.

Where They All Get It Wrong, By Terfa Naswem

Some events in Nigeria never stop to baffle me. Where were all the South East governors when the self-acclaimed leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu and his cohorts were engaged in activities that are against national and social mores?

The South East governors did not make any conscious attempt to call the self-acclaimed “paradigm” of the IPOB to order. Their sane red caps never functioned well at those points but rejuvenated when Operation Python Dance swung into action to subdue the situation.

Kanu has inveterate struggle for Biafra and he got it all wrong by allowing his fellow Biafra agitators to lunch attacks against innocent Nigerians and their property. He has put the Biafran cause in an irredeemable position by instructing his ardent loyal boys to engage in activities that are aberration. If Kanu and his cohorts do not abjure the Biafran cause, it will continue to pose a serious threat to the unity of Nigeria.

One of the problems of fighting for a cause without anticipating positive and negative outcomes and making impact-driven consultations through amicable means is that one gets blindfolded by selfishness which makes one to be bereft of socio-economic and political acumen. This is the exact position Kanu has found himself in.

The government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will never accede to Kanu’s demands of disintegrating Nigeria for the establishment of Biafra.  A lot of experts in Peace and Conflict Resolution foreshowed the federal government of the national security threat Biafra cause poses.

Kanu is only using the Biafran cause for self aggrandizement. He truly does not have the interest of the Igbo at heart. If he really does, he would not have allowed violence to be a “component” of Biafra.

Since Kanu is not an amenable person by nature, it is likely that he will continue to engage in activities that will provoke more Nigerians and make him become anathema to Nigerians. Many people in support of Biafra expect Kanu to receive approbation for the break of law and order he has caused in some parts of Nigeria, but most people see him as antithesis to peace.

Most of the IPOB agitators who have engaged in various destructive activities were beguiled by Kanu. He has brainwashed them with his “selfish philosophy” to commit calumny against President Buhari and anyone who opposes Biafra.

From all indications, Kanu will not fervently have compunction for the wrong he has done to Nigerians through his actions. He has shown how recalcitrant he is by refusing to even be receptive to the advice of those who truly care about the Igbo and Nigeria as a nation.

Trying to establish a sovereign nation by force can never work in our present world. Kanu is an enlightened and educated person who is supposed to be abreast of the realities of the fast-changing world and should not use obsolete means to abstain sovereignty.

If Biafra must be established, it has to be through dialogue, referendum, legislative delegation and peaceful movement. Anything short of these will make the cause to be abortive and recent actions by Kanu and his cohorts have already placed it on that line.

Restructuring Nigeria; Correct Me If I Am Right By Mikhail Adeniran

Many people have believed that the amalgamation of the norther and southern protectorate is a fraud by the British, the call for the restructuring of the country is because the current structure have failed on many fronts.

The argument that the current structure does not support true federalism us not entirely true, every ethnic group is well represented in the legislative and executive branch of our democracy. It is imperative that we challenge the current structure due to some reasons, some of which are due to the fact that Nigeria’s population is not what it was few decades ago. By 2030, Nigeria is expected to be among the top five most populous countries of the world with an estimate of over 350 million people. Currently we have a population of approximately 180 million persons, but the current structure was not considered for such population.

An example is on the issue of security and the Nigeria police. The Nigeria police force is one of the failed institution in this country. Personally, I have concluded nothing can change from this particular canker worm. From illegal detention to extortion to intimidation, there is no evil the Nigeria police isn’t capable. Too many of them are attached to private citizens and politician who can provide personal protection for themselves and their families. The current structure in the Nigeria police is centralized, it has to be “order from above”. The DPO reports a situation to his area commander, area commander relays the situation to the zonal commander who then reaches the state commissioner to pass on the situation report. The commissioner also relates the incident to the Inspector General of police who then finally gives an order. Now can you see how screwed up we are in this country?

It cannot be quid quo pro when it comes to ensuring the safety of lives and property of Nigerians. I have not understood fully all the variables in the state policing issue, but if we won’t have a state policing system, the current structure should critically be examined and restructured. With the current size of the police at about 30000 personnel, it is quite worrisome for a country of over 170 million citizens. Many of them are on private protection duty, some of them are on the road intimidating and extorting motorist. Our policing system need urgent and thorough restructuring.

On education, the Nigeria education system is in absolute sham, from primary to the tertiary level. In 2017, the Nigerian education is still using teaching methods and aids of the post-colonial era. No surprise when it comes to innovation, Nigerian students are seriously behind their counter parts from other countries, except for a “microscopic few” whose parents have sent to highbrow colleges and high school where teaching methods of the 21st are being deployed. The teaching job is now considered as a last resort job or a job to keep to the body and soul together. Once you graduate and the “dream” job haven’t come along yet, you can always settle for teaching, at least half loaf is better than none. Go to private primary schools and check out some of their teachers and you will be dumbfounded at their level of ignorance. They have succeeded in shattering the fabrics of foundation of education.

The government owned schools are even worse, when I was in secondary school, the only time we ever had full titration practical was during our WASSCE final exams. We had to settle for the alternative to practical option instead, because every time we hear different stories of how we do not have enough reagents to perform the experiment. Go to the science laboratory of government owed universities, it is the same situation. The current education budget structure is a mess, it has failed and cannot work.

Nigeria education system needs a total and complete restructuring at all level of the government.
A former president of this country commented that what we need is to restructure our minds, to him that is the only restructuring we need. The former president should know that our minds have been restructured to accept that the government have not successfully convict anyone of rape in this country in the past 20 years. Our minds have been restructured that to get adequate security, health, education for our children and ourselves, we have to provide by ourselves. We must not rely on the government.

One thing Nigerian politician do not get is they have relinquished the right to provide solution to Nigeria’s problem; they are the problem.

I understand that there can never be a perfect structure, but when the current structure has failed the Nigerian people on all level, there is need to join the call for restructuring. #OurMumuDon.

 

MikhaiL Adeniran
adeniranmikhail@yahoo.com

Biafra: Can We Ever Learn From History? By Babayola Toungo

In mid 20009, a misguided cleric, Mohammed Yusuf was killed while in the hands of a police with no conscience beyond its pockets.  This gave rise to the unprecedented insurgency, which began in 2010 in the northeast with a level of destruction in both human and material never seen in these parts of the woods.  It is estimated that well over twenty thousand lives were lost in this madness.

All because of the stubbornness of a semi-illiterate preacher; the ill-informed decision by community leaders to allow such miscreants thrive among their communities; the passivity and docility of the ordinary citizen and the cold complicity of the government of the day.  What started, as a local bushfire quickly became a conflagration that nearly consumed the whole of the northeast.  For almost seven years now, all commercial and productive activities around the zone have been grounded to a halt.

What Mohammed Yusuf started in Maiduguri engulfed the whole of Borno, Yobe and the northern parts of Adamawa states.  The three states suffered the indignity of being placed under state of emergency for three years – at a point of time there was no even telephone connection with the outside world.  While the Goodluck Jonathan “locked-up” the states from civilization Yusuf’s disciples, now under the leadership of a megalomaniac had a field day killing, maiming, raping, looting and generally destroying the zone.  When the government decided to lift the emergency, the rest of the world were shocked to discover that during the emergency period, the insurgents had gained control of twenty seven local governments in the three states.  The northeast may take another thirty years and a miracle to get back its pre 2009 status.

This introduction is necessary for us to begin to understand how those who court trouble and those who give succor to brigands may end up destroying what they spent a lifetime building.  I have condemned the invasion of Mohammed Yusuf’s compound by the military in Maiduguri in 2009 and his subsequent killing by the police.  I have also condemned the behavior of the local community for allowing itself to be cowed by jobless youths under the influence of an attention seeking man ready to play Russian roulette with their lives.  The biggest culprits in my opinion on the macabre dance that the insurgents have been putting the northeast in these years are the community leaders, the late Mohammed Yusuf and the local community in this order.

Yusuf, never in his wildest, dreams ever believed that he would be executed like a common thief by the same authorities that have been hands-in-gloves with him.  The youth whom he gave hope to, scattered in to the jungles and wilderness of Sambisa to become fodder for a maniac’s delusions.  Their host communities paid and are still paying the price of their folly of being tacitly complicit by keeping quiet while the insurgents were building their arsenals.  While their able bodied men were killed or maimed, their women were either killed, abducted into slavery, including sex slavery their young ones were maimed and sent to Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps.

The Nnnamdi Kanu drama in the southeast is giving one a sense of déjà vu.  Much as my humanness is telling me everybody is wrong about what is unfolding in the southeast, my practical self is urging me towards condemning the Igbo intelligentsia in egging this reincarnation of Mohammed Yusuf into taking the zone to the brink.  Those behind him may be thinking they are playing politics with what is happening in the zone, but are we all ready to live with the consequences of the acts of provocation going on right at this moment in some states of the southeast?

A confrontation between the military and followers of Mohammed Yusuf during a funeral procession by the sect lead to the unending insurgency we are going through in the northeat with all its attendant consequences.  In their imprudent ways they believe thy can dare the military and go scot free.  Their miscalculation led us to where we are.  Under president ‘Yar Adu’a the military was given the matching orders to bring Yusuf down.  Miaduguri never witnessed the kind of bombardment that visited this commercial town in its entire history.

I see Mohammed Yusuf’s parallel in Nanmdi Kanu and Maiduguri elders in the Ohanaeze – the main difference is that those Borno elders did not come out to support Mohammed Yusuf like the Igbo leadership and intelligentsia are doing.  I see an analogy between the funeral procession in Maiduguri that triggered the troubles in the northeast and the confrontation between the military and IPOB in Umuahia.  With the on-going insurgency in the northeast, which still manifest in form of suicide bombings, the people of the southeast will be well advised to rein-in Kanu and his bunch of brigands.

The fire lit by his followers by attacking northerners in the Oyigbo community of Port Harcourt on September 12th, 2017 portends grave danger to the zone.  The Igbos, being itinerant, may bear the wrath of their host communities and this may have ripple effects.  The innocent may be the only ones who will suffer while those who stoke the fire are cocooned in their comfort zones.

Part of the current face-off with the military in the zone is the presence of the military on the streets of ‘Igboland’.  So what is new?  Ihejirika and Minimah turned the whole north into one big garrison for four years between 2011 – 2015 and no one raised a finger from any part of the country to condemn the militarization of the northern society.  Gun totting, trigger happy military personnel molested the populace with abundance in these four hardy years.  But it all came to pass and no one called either Jonathan or his two military chiefs names.  Houses were searched in the dead of the night for illusive weapons.

The futility of the threats and ultimatum issued to the military appear lose to those who issue such threats – if the military refuse to vacate the streets what then?  Raising the decibel of your whining?  Playing to the gallery while the lives of people is on the line is callous, no matter from what prism you are looking at it.

 

Can you ever learn from history?

 

 

 

 

Benue: Man and Nature’s Angst, By Funmilola Ajala

At least for now, the gale of political implosions within Donald Trump’s White House and trading of diplomatic salvos between Washington and Moscow have taken the back seats. Attention has been hijacked by nature’s unpalatable visit to mankind and the attendant testimonies of woes by those directly affected.

Hurricanes, curried with some sweet names as Harvey and Irma, swept through parts of the United States and the Carribeans leaving behind unimaginable carnage and historic devastations. From Florida to Houston, Cuba to Bahamas, thousands were displaced as authorities tried – sometimes with little success – to limit the damage in the face of unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe. At the last count, more than 4,000 were sheltering in makeshift abodes in Texas alone.

Perhaps, 2017 would go down as an assertion of the fact that the marriage between man and nature has gone even sourer, despite evident denials of the realities of climate change by some powerful individuals. Although western media helped to magnify the environmental disaster just foisted on the Americas; still, similar harrowing experience had been the lot of people in other parts of the globe in recent times. China, India, Pakistan, Italy have all suffered thousands in human casualty from floods, monsoon rains, and earthquake respectively, all in 2017. And in Africa, mudslide buried more than 400 souls in Freetown, Sierra Leone, in a fell swoop back in August.

As elsewhere in the globe, Nigeria is not immunized from nature’s angst, though hurricanes and earthquakes rarely transgress this land. Notwithstanding, Sun does shine not always, even here. Benue State, which prides itself as the ‘Food Basket of the Nation’, has suffered greatly in the past two years. From deadly clashes between Fulani herders and indigene farmers to politically-related assassinations of top government officials, the crises appear endless – I mean those manufactured by humans. Latest in the upheavals to hit Benue is the flood disaster of September 1, 2017, creeping into Makurdi life a thief in the night.

Although the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) had forecast unfriendly weather this year, ‘prophesying’ doom in 28 States of Nigeria, yet no one dreamt the magnitude of the tragedy currently playing out in Benue.

While Florida State Governor, Rick Scott seems to be in the know on how to reduce the resultant effects of Hurricane Irma by making sure that affected residents are provided with basic needs – in the time being -, same cannot be said of an apparently overwhelmed Samuel Ortom who, once again, had to beg Abuja to come to the rescue of Benue in the aftermath of the flood. Of course, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) got a marching order from Aso Rock to intervene in the crisis, nonetheless the displaced have continued to lament the hardship in their market-turned IDP camp in Makurdi.

That gravity of the situation calls for the usual intervention of international humanitarian bodies like the Red Cross, Red Crescent, Medicine San Frontieres (MSF) etc, which have become key actors working with the United Nations in emergency situations. The ability of the agencies to swiftly react to cries from Benue may have, sadly, been corrupted by recent suspicion raised by development elsewhere within Nigeria.

On August 11, 2017, in a theatrical garrison expedition, Nigerian soldiers raided a facility belonging to the UN in Maiduguri, on the pretext that it may be a hole for arms being used by suspected Boko Haram members. This incident, no doubt, ruptured the hitherto working relationship between the Army and the UN. Many feared that, not minding the fence-mending effort of Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, the event poses longterm negative implications, especially for the IDPs in the northeast region.

More than once, embarrassing news had emanated from Maiduguri depicting how soldiers and policemen openly engaged in gunfight over who takes what in the sharing of foodstuff originally earmarked for the displaced.

To add to that, NEMA is at the moment caught in the web of controversy directly related to the alleged mismanagement of a whopping 13billion naira Ecological Funds. It is alleged that a larger proportion of the fund was shared by public officials who smile to the bank at the expense of wretched locals. Nigerians also watched in awe as the Sani Shehu-led Senate Committee on Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE) opened a can of worms detailing how the now suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal got involved in the infamous ‘grass-cutting’ scandal in Adamawa State.

And that brings us to importance of corporate bodies and individuals in responding to the Benue calamity. Music star, Innocent Idibia (Tubaba) had spent time with the flood victims while actress Tonto Dike also launched an appeal for donations from fellow compatriots – towards the same purpose. Just as the likes of Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner and co raised more than $60m through ‘We Are the World’, to help Africa escape famine in the 80s, it is hoped that Tubaba and his likes would seize this moment to have lasting impact on the affected.

Moreover, governments across board should be alive to the critical function of safeguarding people’s lives against dangers, both anticipated and unforeseen, through more accountability in public spending. Resuscitating that dearth or inactive synergy among key public establishments i.e NIMET, NEMA, and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) is equally pertinent in this direction with intensified social campaigns and sensitization of the populace to the inherent dangers in habits which degrade the environment.

And in the end, man’s sense of circumspection must be activated to appreciate that his lack of obedience to nature’s red lines can only be overt invitation to an inescapable apocalypse, which will ultimately blows no one no good.

 

*Ajala, a journalist, writes via ajalatravel07@gmail.com and tweets @ajalatravel07

The New Face Of Kaduna, By Abdullahi Turawa

After the commission of Africa’s biggest hatchery and feed mill constructed by Olam Grains Nigeria and the kaduna state government Recently, No doubt, Agricultural practice are the integral force for the economic development and advancement of any nation, many industries defends on agro product to survive.

Here in kaduna the company, constructed at 150 million dollars, consists of feed mill, hatchery and breeder farm that the company would process 180,000 tonnes of corn and 75,000 tonnes of soya beans annually on feeds production, and would produce 360,000 tonnes of animal feeds yearly, which will also employ also employ about 600 workers directly.

A total of 1.6 million day-old-chick will be hatched every week, and that the company has a 50,000 tonnes of on-site storage and had outsourced similar storage volume.

The rural dweller are the main driving force behind the success of farming practices all over the world, because they consider it as the basic occupation which they could engage upon their livelihood. In Nigeria about seventy percent of it population engage in one form of farming or the other.

Also the total number of 1.6 million day-old-chick will be hatched every week, and the company has a 50,000 tonnes of on-site storage and had outsourced similar storage volume. the company was also engaged in the training of farmers to increase yields and profitability as well as provide employment, with I believe it will yield positive results at the end of the day.

In view of this, the federal government and some states interested, embarked on several policies in other to improve the quality of farming practices to the world standard. Lastly We most commend the effort effort of Governor El-rufai and Kaduna state government. Long live kaduna state, long live Nigeria.

Abdullahi Addau Turawa is from Zaria. @Bababah_

Journey To Posterity, Repatriation – A Global Problem Whose Solution Must Be Global, By Jimi Bickersteth

A journey to Europe in the middle of August via the desert, its follies and plans for a good life that went awry.

My eyes took in the deep valleys above us as we leave the last vestiges of civilization and the narrow vee of softly breathing water. A great length of luminescent grayness showed and we were filled with expectations, even though, uncomfortable.
A day after,our enthusiasm dampened, my hair tousled and eyes were heavy with
lack of sleep and the news by the head of our crew, that the desert trip to Europe has to be aborted,owing to uproar in Europe and the US, the anti-Brexit affair,the terrorists scourge that has led to the ridiculous treatment of
our people with suspicion that verged on hostility.
With about five deaths on our hands, one can not but
pity the kindly old lady who takes in waifs and strays,suffering from an attack of vertigo,and wailing miserably out of the pretty motley crowd of fortunes seekers; whose
hopes of riding the crest of a new wave of fame dashed.
Meanwhile, hundreds of kilometres in this middle of nowhere, a hundred or so zebras run freely across the African grassland. Their striped flanks heave as their thickly maned necks rock to the rhythm of their powerful movements.The sound of their hooves pounding the perched earth rumbles across the plains.
A cloud of red dust billows upward behind them and can be seen for kilometres. They run, free and wild, with no sense of restraint. As if by some unseen signal,they begin to slow and then stop. With their strong, thick teeth,they tug at the dry grass.
The herd is alert,occasionally looking up, listening, and smelling the air,carried by the wind,the distant sound of a lion’s roar reaches their ears and they tense. They know the sound well.
With ears held high in the air,grass motionless from their mouths, the zebras look in the direction of the moaning cry. Sensing no immediate danger, they bend their long necks again as if by rote and continue grazing.When the sun’s heat begins to intensify they are on the move again.
This time it is the smell of water that draws the wild horses toward a river. On a high bank,they stop and stare down at the slow moving brown water,snorting and pawing at the dry dust. Strong thirst,with one last headlong thrust,they run to the river’s edge.
One by one they drink their fill from an apparently
inexhaustible trough,then turn and head back on to the open plains, silhouetted against the deep red glow of the setting sun and framed by the beauty and warmth of the African veld,looking magnificent, free and at liberty.
I yawned loudly, a thrush
gave a full throat, and they listened in silence until with a rush of wings it was away with its migratory instinct.
If this narrative is winding, it’s because, one has plumb the depths of despair, even as this trip to Europe through the desert is long and winding,and yours sincerely returning empty-handed,defeated and crestfallen.
The fear of president Trump, a fellow good at repartees and arrant display of political callowness and repatriation in a world where everyone (supposedly) belongs is the beginning of wisdom.
The anecdote of the zebras; an analogy that explains how the animal family is wired with camaraderie and flock together as “bird’s of the same feathers”,and the contrasting human family; a brand, born from the very onset to be class-conscious;and bred to
discriminate amongst and within itself,in a world where poverty and inequality are endemic and
that has been curiously designed with the application of principles of natural justice in particular
circumstances,(and this time of repatriation),where the existing laws would not allow a fairly reasonable result.
It is (arguably, though), the first world war,a war that has really,never ended, the subsequent drought and famine that opened the migrants eyes to the European continent and consequently, the broad and wide page of the deluge of
floodgates of emotion, destruction and protest, that has characterized their existence and status,and that has,sad as it were,become an enigma
and a global phenomenon.
It can be argued further, that since the ‘first world
war’ and its attendant hardships and difficulties, people have had to do the only thing they could, to ameliorate their living conditions and leaving for the uncertainty of the unknown became not only an option, but the only option and making the choice was too easy.
In spite of the global enormous social, opportunities, economic and power inequalities and the challenges it posed, people,(including yours sincerely),abandoned homes in search for water,food,sustenance, work and greener pastures.
While some died in the process, those that sailed or landed safely, arrived in
Europe bosom in droves, only to be joined at the borders by an already large and growing number of population, large one at that, who don’t pay taxes.
This increasing number of people have recently soared higher and skyrocketing, and so too has the reluctance of States to provide for the teeming mass of immigrants who more often than not rarely feel at home.
The migrants plight is more compounded, the reason been simple, the US and Europe have also suddenly find themselves inundated with many millions of immigrants (legal and illegal),and are on the cusps of already struggling just to feed their own citizens.
The US and Europe apparently, because of the failing global economic system, could no longer
provide much help to the multitudes who suddenly appear on their doorsteps. And, congruent to this, the wealthier nations, faced with their own peculiar problems are becoming ever more reluctant to help support the many migrants in the world. Hence, immigrants, most of who are hungry, desolate and tired are now exposed to increased risks, dehumanizing conditions and are more vulnerable to intimidation, arrests and now threats of deportation.
The immigrants are seen as destroyers and usurpers,who are seemingly seen as potentially harmful and destroying Europe’s
economy, unduly
increasing cost of administration and living
and that of general
maintenance of infrastructure and physical planning; and subsequently,
due to Europe’s inability to capture the immigrants in their planning and development, the visitors
suffer and face severe hardships, employment restrictions, unemployed and underemployed, the situation is so bad, that you don’t know how they make ends meet;and to add verisimilitude, going by Trump’s (who some people have come to admire greatly while some others consider him a poseur)threat and repartees at every turn and events, they now face the misery of displacement.
The scope and scale of this problem,the human suffering which underlies it,as well as its impact on international peace and security should actually, and rightly so, make the grave issues of repatriation, deportation and immigration an issue of great international concern.
It is no coincidence that no international organization or body cares for the welfare of such persons, and their desperate plights often draw scant attention from the media,coupled with the bungling ineptitude of our African mealy-mouthed
political leaders on this occasion and the continent’s governments, bogged down in a conflict of resolution of its diverse political and socioeconomic problems, may be unwilling or unable to protect and provide for them.
Many of the soon to be
uprooted “has-been and been-tos” would be limited to a meagre existence,that’s as maybe. Sequel to this, there is the growing tide of economic migrants. There are several reasons for why the number of migrants
population is increasing by the minutes, even as the African verdant hills and meadows are left fallow:i)the gap between the rich and poor countries of the world keeps growing alarmingly, and ii)the TV and internet daily flaunt the affluent lifestyles in front of some poorest citizens of the globe at a time,when,iii)worldwide travel has become easier, even if expensive, and iv)borders are getting more porous.
While some migrants-especially those who already have relatives in industrialized countries-make the move successfully, others end up ruining their lives. Those (like me) who fall into the hands of fraudulent and criminal traffickers face particular danger and some
have wasted hard-earned money on processing fake visa’s only to face deportation at Europe’s entry points; some have died of shipwreck in the attempt to stray into Europe, others endured weeks of deprivation, hunger, thirst and physical abuse in the course of looking for the mirage in Europe, which is like the appearance of a sheet of water on a hot road -a mirror of our times.
The world’s migrants population is increasing by the day within the European cultural matrix and many of this ‘Journeys to prosperity’ turned into nightmares that ended in tragedies for millions of migrants, and in any case,it is becoming quite difficult to differentiate between who is a political refugee and an economic migrant.
Practically, every migrant
has his own nightmare to relate. Whatever the reason for which these people have been uprooted-be it war,persecution or poverty-their suffering provokes the whole gamut of human emotions, despair and empathy. For some of them,it would be easy to reconstruct their lives,but for others, the feelings would be that of inertia and resignation.
Even in the best of circumstances voluntary or forced repatriation of immigrants involves hardships because it means being totally uprooted and
consequentially,  the start of a tough restoration process. Even more distressing, is the situation of millions who will be
forced to return their home country against their will.
One must state in parenthesis,here,however, that forced or reluctant repatriations will never solve the problems poised by immigrants if the underlying causes are not addressed. The events of this decade-and,indeed, those of the past years-indicate very clearly that migrant issues cannot be discussed without its security implications and
addressing the conflicts, interests, and the causes which bring about displacement in the first place. Hence, it is about recognising the human rights of all men,women and children to enjoy peace, security and dignity without having to flee their homes.
The solutions to the intractable global phenomenon should be a three-pronged attack,by the three separate forces that can be identified in the ongoing saga of global political intrigue and sordid affair, advancing from different directions. The number one force is the US
and Europe,the second is the nations from where the immigrants originated and three,of course,the migrants.
The search for a global solutions which should not be kept in mothballs any longer, needs to be predicated on a three dimensional multilateral
action as the best way of achieving good results
and bearing in mind that, States and empires have collapsed as a result of internal and communal conflicts, economic and social factors depriving their citizens of any effective protection,
and everyone a loser.
Elsewhere, human security has been jeopardized and compromised by governments which refused to act in the common interests of their people, which are the fundamental causes of insecurity-usually have their roots in hatred,prejudice and injustice. Therefore, since,wars begin in the minds, it is the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed- a change of thinking is needed.
There’s sometimes a difference between fact and truth-truth based on information;the African continent ( being,arguably,
the most populous beneficiaries of the US and Europe’s bountiful bouquet of roses-migration and its latest reality offers repatriation),should not focus on the sin of commission inherent in the migration reforms and regime in Europe and the US-the wrong that would be perpetrated-but about its own leaders sins of omission-the good the African continent fail to do.
Man,often,seldom know ahead of time the full significance of what we do, don’t do,or fail to do, and when wrong desires coincide with opportunities the battle has always been challenging; particularly, now that the US and Europe are poised not to make the continent feel good about feeling bad.
The African continent must quit oversimplifying the immigrants laws that has bred not only discontent,but that is going to sentence its immigrants citizens to adversity, but, rather, consider the rational calculation of its effects and embrace the intelligent convictions based on a feelings of a real people with real problems, in need of solutions, palliatives and succour.
The African must be eager to arrive, even as we begin to look for immediate, remedial and lasting solutions. Our sores were caused by crumpled roses,not thorns. And we must accept that today,we need to encourage the multitudes that had the grounds in Europe and the US cut off from their feet’s and who have their heads dropped like a rose on a broken stem to rise up.
There is no apple-pie order for doing this, as the continent’s ship appears to have wreck in a storm,and
leaders that show they are not really up to the ingenious and creative challenges needed in sociopolitical engineering. To move forward, the leaders must appreciate that the core of the continent’s problems, which led our people on the migration adventure in the first place, is the immense disparity between the continent’s productive capacity and the ability of its people to consume.
The continent therefore has to by all means possible, revive ailing and or dead industries, and, to raise the output of industries. The leaders must do what they must to give vision to our dream;vision is the continent’s most desperate need,as there are no hopeless situation, only people who think hopelessly. The dream that would lead to fostering a new set of economic and social measures, fight corruption, combat poverty, counter unemployment with work and provide social safety net.
Granted that the US and Europe in a bit of lateral thinking seem to have gone off social upstarts and are fast becoming less welcoming towards the unconventional in a world enshrouded in need, a recession and a global retarded economy. But in interface with charm and diplomacy,it is a pity not to appreciate the difference between repatriation viz the migrants psyche in a land that has been variously described as a “land of tenants”. If you have become paranoid aand pompous,it borders on preposterous to profane
and debased the,’tenants’, for no reason, other than they have settled down, you’ll have debased the American Dream. It’s a retrograde step for humanity. plus ça change.
 
Those who consider that the migrants brought insanity and its own troubles, should consider that over the years, greed coupled with timid,vacillating leaders brought the continent into disrepute for giving no thought to provision of infrastructure, communication, power,housing etc,the lack of this essential have frustrated their compatriots to seek refuge in the extreme cold of Europe and a new moppet trying to stun the continent with his precocious statesmanship. One can expect sensations in his moral crusades and love for propriety. Of course,for the migrants crying blues about the situation is like looking for the skipper of the Titanic.
But we should grasp no straws at the reality, our continent have the character, drive and resilience, but just need the rich vein of form to right the wrong in the polity; the wrong uses of resources and a desire to holistically free up more resources and assets for investment and reinvestment; even as it facilitate a conducive, enduring and enabling environment. Environments that should be insulated from any
network of bureaucratic bottleneck and taken cognisance of the fact that the vogue all over the world is downsizing and outsourcing.
It is said that most millionaire’s are made during and right after a recession, therefore, for the African continent with all it has pleased nature to endow it with in human and material resources to be passive and quiet would be a chevron on the road to its progress,material well-being, prosperity, freedom and development.
The African continent must begin to march and match with the rest of world in to the new economic order. To do this and in the pursuit of wealth and wealth creation, it needs.(i)a steady and uninterrupted power supply and new energy levels.(ii)to prepare a blueprint for a tariff regime that would protect its local investors and entrepreneurs.(iii)proper tax incentives including tax rebates, with tax benefits and direct access.(iv)indigenous industrial and productive base such that Africans would have the right to participate in their own welfare and to take advantage of ownership opportunities in a free and fair competitive environment.(v)increase political will to ensure there’s a boost in its economy and curtail the influence, power and impact of the dinosaurs and politicians that prey and appropriate to selves the people’s resources.(vi)to close the ever widening vast chasm separating rich and poor,chasms which at first seem shallow but were deep and wider than
imagined-a chasm that met but do not mix.
Africans must lift themselves out of this dark,dreary and depressing movie. The elements are saying amidst the looming economic doom and the embarrassment of immense proportion called repatriation the continent can no longer be shushed on the issue of life’s necessities, provisions of which are the primary duties and for which its governments should be soppy about,but presently in a curious blend of sophistication are neglected.
The threat of imminent repatriation of our kith and kin from US and Europe should ignite in the African leadership and their consciousness, the theory of paradigm shift, as a vital key to its success; a key that in literal sense, challenges us to think differently in order to discover new truths, to begin to think outside the box.
Let Africans change their mindset and move from the stable of lies and greed as it begins to invest in its peoples in a transformation that can only be achieved through education. Its time
to boldly go for politicians,men and women who will dream dreams and have great visions of what can be achieved in their lives and in the lives of others. But they really do not have to be fantastic heroes, to provide the little niceties and privileges of life to the teeming mass of our people, if only they could be sufficiently motivated, honest and altruistic enough.
The last but not the least is to reckon. The word “reckon” is an accounting term, meaning,”to put to one’s account.” Having taken all things into consideration with all the variables; and having made their calculations and arithmetic, families should be circumspect and count the cost before migrating for economic reasons, in view of the many criminal gangs involved in trafficking migrants and the difficulty of legally migrating to countries of the developed world.
The reality of repatriation is a heart-warming and salutary ‘tale’ of unending shattered lives which will either leave one yearning for a chance to get away from it all or convince one that the uncomfortable security of life in the stinging cold is not such a bad thing after all.
Last line: Herrick wrote, “The world is round and is nowhere found to flaw, or else to sever;so let our love as endless prove and pure as gold for ever.”
#Jimi Bickersteth
Jimi Bickersteth is a super blogger and writer.
He can be reached on twitter
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Nigeria – Now That The Recession Is Over, What Next? by Bukola Ogunyemi

On Tuesday, the National Bureau of Statistics gave a lot of Nigerians the news they desperately wished to hear – Nigeria is out of recession. After five consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth that started in Q1 2016, Nigeria’s economy grew by 0.55% in Q2 2017. Predictably, data once again became the hero and villain in a long-running social media battle of bias between the supporters of Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, and his critics.

The optics of sneaking out of a 15-month recession apart, a 0.55% year-on-year GDP growth is hardly anything to cheer for Africa’s biggest economy. But as the NBS data reveals, the Q2 2017 growth is an improvement, even if marginal, on the GDP performance recorded in the preceding quarter (-0.91%) and the corresponding quarter of 2016 (-1.49%). Beyond the numbers, however, questions persist about the long-term economic recovery prospects of the nation. Questions that demand that all post-recession celebrations be suspended until further notice.

27 months into the Buhari administration, the patience of the Nigerian masses on the state of the economy and general standard of living is wearing thin, and understandably so. Inflation rate dropped for the fifth consecutive month in July, but the prices of goods and consumables which skyrocketed during the recession remain exorbitantly high. In reality, the recession persists for the economically dis-advantaged demographic of Nigeria’s 170 million population.

Nigeria’s path out of recession is lined with commendable efforts in improving the ease of doing business through the Presidential Enabling Business Council (PEBEC). Chaired by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo. the Council implemented a 60-day National Action Plan on Ease of Doing Business and was able to tackle some of the critical bottlenecks and bureaucratic constraints that had hitherto defined the ordeal of doing business in Nigeria.

Osinbajo, who assumed the role of Acting President while President Buhari was away in the United Kingdom on medical leave, issued executive orders on port operations heralding a much-needed improvement in the operational efficiency of the nation’s airports and seaports. He also signed two critical bills on improving access to credit, a major stumbling block for businesses in Nigeria. As the NBS data released yesterday show, Nigeria came out of recession the same quarter the implementation of these reforms started.

The recession has also proved pivotal to Nigeria’s drive for revenue diversification and a rebalancing of the economy’s over-reliance on the oil sector. The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) for example recently revealed it generated N2.11 trillion as revenue in the first six months of 2017 and is on course to meet the N4.94 trillion revenue projection for the year. Similarly, the Nigerian Customs Service generated N486 billion as revenue in the first half of the year, surpassing the N385 billion generated for the same period in 2016.

On the part of the Nigerian Ports Authority, reforms like the implementation of a Revenue and Invoice Management System has gone a long way in blocking revenue leakages and improving ports operations through the exclusion of unnecessary human interface in doing business at the ports. As a result of this and other reforms, the agency was able to surpass the N16 billion revenue projection for the first quarter of 2017, raking in N118 billion.

Progressive reforms in the monetary policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria, notably the introduction in April of a special foreign exchange window for investors and exporters have been instrumental in the journey out of recession and its sustenance is important for further economic recovery. The special forex window grossed about $2.2 billion of trade in the first six weeks of its introduction and its impact on the market capitalization of Nigerian Stock Exchange – which jumped from N8.748 trillion in April to N11.463 trillion in July – is undeniable.

All these notwithstanding, the perennial issues of corruption, public sector bureaucracy and the high cost of running government remains. The duplicitous arrangement of line items in Nigeria’s 2017 budget berates hope of its ability to shape any lasting change in the life of the common man. Businesses still face the hurdle of multiple taxations coupled with the obdurate challenges of power and bad roads.

A good number of Nigeria’s 36 states are broke, largely dependent on monthly revenue hand-outs from the federal government. The bulk of these monthly federal allocations, in turn, go into servicing the salaries of civil servants with little or nothing left for the execution of capital projects and provision of social amenities. Yet some of these states offered subsidies for religious pilgrimages this year alone up to the tune of N50 billion.

President Muhammadu Buhari, whose campaign was built around his anti-corruption stance, has set about recovering funds looted under past administrations with resounding success. Critics, however, berate the former dictator for unlooking the corruption going on within his own administration. It took some weeks longer than necessary for President Buhari to suspend a high-ranking member of his government after he had been indicted for tampering with funds allotted for the care of those displaced by Boko Haram insurgency.

With the negative impression of an economy in a recession now dispensed with, the Nigerian government must keep its focus on providing an enabling environment to attract more investment and for businesses to thrive. Talks, for example, of reviving the defunct national airline, should take into consideration the huge drain on public revenue that South Africa’s romance with the same venture has been.

Bukola Ogunyemi, a media entrepreneur, writes from Lagos. This article is syndicated via AfricanLiberty.org

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