Governor Ambode, Minister Fashola And The Nation’s Economic Capital, By Eniola Opeyemi

“In our personal ambitions we are individualists. But in our seeking for economic and political progress as a nation, we all go up or else all go down as one people” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

I write as a concerned member of the Lagos society, not standing in between but airing my view as an active resident and citizen of the renown commercial city of Nigeria, one of the Largest economy in Africa.

I watched with surprise the address by the Executive Governor of Lagos state, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, when he took to the media to address the challenges he is facing while trying to reshape the city to a world class standard, no doubt, Ambode, as studied by me  after meeting with him before and after his emergence as the Governor, is not the talking type, but ‘what could have spurred him to make his recent public address on the perceived infighting?’ remains the question awaiting answers.

In 2015 many Lagosians took to the polling units upon being convinced of not remaining ‘an opposition party ruled state’ after several years of sustaining the opposition state status. But after the Press conference by the outstanding Governor, the doubts of whether Lagos state is still opposite of the alignment with the Federal Government tops topic of discussion at classrooms, motor – parks, newspaper stands, offices and other meeting points. Former Governor Babatunde Fashola’s response to Ambode’s press conference tells much about his Oratorial prowess, leaving him with answers that are not just derogatory to the Lagos first agenda but justifying his role in the allegations.

Recall, Fashola has done more federal projects such as the Badagry expressway also referred to as the ECOWAS road, link bridges among others in the state by resolving to the court to carry on to boost his scorecard.

Former Governor Fashola as rumoured is not on the same page with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, respected All Progressives Congress’s National Leader. But as a father, it’s expected of the political insignia to put his home in order, especially now that Lagos remains the image maker of the ruling political party, APC. Like Yoruba Adage state “ Ti a ba fi Owo otun ba omo wi, a fi ti osi fa mora”, Lagosians are watching, the grass may not wait to suffer the wrath of the fighting elephants and the elephants may not see a ground to leverage.

The Nation’s economy capital, Lagos State, has over recent time face criticism and antagonism from various quaters, such as rejection of its call for special status to the investigation by the House of Representatives on the transfer of the National stadium and so on.
The coming together of the Lagos state’s finest will strengthen it’s agitations and block loopholes in the quest of attaining it’s mega city status.

Itesiwaju Eko; lo je mi lo gun.

Eniola Opeyemi writes from the historical town of Badagry, Lagos state?.

An Open Letter To The Acting Chairman Of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, By Ene John

Sir,

INJUSTICE, BIAS, COMPROMISE AND UNPROFESSIONALISM OF THE EFCC ZONAL OFFICE, PORT HARCOURT, LED BY MR.ISHAQ SALIHU

Permit me Mr. Chairman, to boycott protocols, and address the issues the way it lays.

I write as an investigative Journalist and Human Rights Activist, who have followed the activities of the Commission, and have also worked with the EFCC and ICPC in ridding the society of corrupt persons and organizations.

May I bring to your notice sir, that on the 27th of February, 2017, in a letter to the zonal head of the commission in Port Harcourt, I requested for the Commission’s position, in the case between Mrs. Oghogho Irabor and Mr.Amadin Aideyan, which the EFCC has failed in its responsibility to prosecute the alleged culprit on account of fraud.

 

May I reiterate on my letter to the EFCC Sir that, the case between Oghogho Irabor and Amadin was brought to my attention, by one of the brothers to a party in the case.

Having met and conducted an oral interview in Benin in February 21, 2017, with the parties in the matter, including one of the lawyers, I wrote to the zonal office, port Harcourt, requesting for the EFCC’s position on the matter, to aid my  reportage in the below details:

In Jan of 2015, Oghogho Irabor sister filed a petition with EFCC and the case was investigated. On April 9 2016, after the EFCC did their investigations The EFCC Came heavily armed with 7 operatives to arrest Amadin Aideyan on April 9 2016 on fraud related issues from PH Zonal office.

On April 29 of 2016, in a conference with all parties at EFCC office in Port Harcourt, the alleged fraudster, Amadin Aideyan admitted to the fraud of withdrawals of over 15 million Naira from Pa S.A Aidenyan , their late father’s First Bank account, and the movement of the Properties of the bookshop to a different location, which he promised at the EFCC office in Port Harcourt, that he will take your men to where he kept those things when they arrive Benin again.

My request was to inquire why the EFCC has refused to charge him, and the challenges the commission may have encountered in carrying out its statutory duty.

In my letter to the zonal head of Port Harcourt, I had stated that I was strongly informed that one of the parties,  Amadin, is bragging that he can’t be touched because he has paid off the EFCC officers.

Sir, you will agree with me that the Buhari’s administration, which you currently serve as the EFCC chairman, do not condone corruption, hence, this case has lingered since April 2016, the commission made an arrest, and freed the suspect, and nothing was ever heard, giving credence to Amadin’s boastfulness, that the Commission has been “settled.”

In several petitions to the EFCC, the lawyer to one of the parties, Barrister Joe Aliyu had written the commission, without response.

Sir, one of the parties said, he has been in contact with the EFCC Abuja and Port Harcourt offices on twitter, but no favourable response, as the EFCC has maintained a long silence, in the midst of an overwhelming fraud and admittance by Mr.Amadin.

According to the EFCC operatives in April 29 2016, ‘we will come to Benin city and do more investigation.” where Barrister Joe Aliyu and the Amadin’s lawyer will be invited before a final report will be made by them, but up till now, nothing has been heard from the commission.

 

Sir, the media as a tool for the downtrodden, and an unbiased umpire, this letter is to draw your attention to the compromised stance of your men, where they refuse to act appropriately in discharging their duties, which they swore to do.

The lackadaisical attitude of your men is a call for concern, as the integrity of the commission is at stake, as Nigerians watch keenly.

Like I stated in my letter to the zonal head in Port Harcourt, I quite understand that investigation takes process, and considering the upheavals the commission may face in carrying out its responsibilities, which is enormous.

There are documents to this case, which has lingered for years, which is in possession of the commission.

May I also submit that, in my visit to the EFCC office on Friday, March 10, 2017, the operatives kept tossing me to bank fraud unit, back to the zonal head office, and back to the bank fraud unit, without knowing or understanding what to tell me.

In the bank fraud unit, one of the operatives said, the investigation on the case was closed and minuted to the Zonal Head, while at the zonal head office; I was informed that the case was ongoing.

I have been to the EFCC zonal office four times, in a space of  one week, on this case.

The EFCC Port Harcourt Zonal office needs to live up to its responsibilities, in the discharge of its primary duties.

I have decided to use the media in reaching you, to draw your attention to the anomalies at the South South Zonal Office of the commission as I am part of the media, which the confidence of the public needs to be restored, as members of the public are losing interest in cases which have been pending there and overdue for prosecution.

It is my strong belief, that upon receipt of this letter, you will use your good offices to cause justice to prevail, and the needed prosecution effected on the matter.

Thank you in anticipation of your prompt response.

Accept the assurances of my highest regards, Mr. Chairman.

 

Yours in service,

Eneh John,

Investigative Journalist and Human Rights Activist

Editor-in-Chief,

Trail Reporters News

www.trailreporters.com, trailreporters@gmail.com

Secretary, Coalition of Human Rights Defenders(COHRD)

11 Flashpoints For Governor El-rufai By Halilu Hassan Zaria

With almost two years into the journey of making Kaduna state great again, it is important to look back and take stock of the successes achieved by the Mal Nasiru Ahmed El-Rufai led administration in Kaduna state. Permit me to say that there has been tremendous success achieved in less than two years despite the dwindling revenue accruing to the state from the federal allocation and the economic recession which makes pundits predict that the next two years would be greater in terms of more developments. So much has changed since the inception of this administration and this article intends to look at some of these areas.

First was the massive recovery of government properties from illegal occupiers and encroachers which had hitherto led to distortion in some of the governments plan. This move though was greeted with a lot of criticism at first but as time passed, people praised the governor’s effort which was seen as timely.

Another area the governor has made impact is the educational sector. Kaduna state has before the El-Rufai administration faced a daunting challenge of lack of infrastructures in the state government’s schools. Learning environment was inconducive and there existed a huge dearth of teachers especially in the field of science. The governor made this challenge his first priority by embarking on massive renovation of the state owned public schools across the state. He didn’t stop there; he further directed the revamping of the Kaduna state owned furniture company and awarded contracts for the assembling of classroom furniture for the state public schools. Some schools have taken delivery of these classroom furnitures. The governor also tackled the manpower challenge faced by the state owned secondary schools, with particular preference to the field of science by employing over two thousand five hundred science teachers who have for long been deployed to their respective place of assignment. Tertiary institutions were not also left out in the educational intervention programme of the El-Rufai led administration. A visit to any of the state owned tertiary institutions would witness massive capital projects ongoing while some have been completed. The governor also increased the budgetary allocations to these institutions to boost their effectiveness and place them amongst the leading tertiary institutions in Nigeria. Applicants into the state owned tertiary institutions also benefitted from the goodwill of the present administration as sale of application form or scratch card was abolished on the directive of the governor. Students now apply to be admitted into Kaduna state tertiary institutions free.

It is also on record that governor El-Rufai has restructured governance in Kaduna state by appointing qualified and experienced individuals into his government. The state now boasts of well experienced technocrats who have distinguished themselves in their respective fields manning sensitive offices. The results of appointing competent hands is been immensely felt across the state.

The state civil service which was previously on the verge of collapse has been revamped by the El-Rufai led administration. Attitude to work has changed and corruption which used to be a major problem of the Kaduna state civil service before the coming of El-Rufai is no more in existence. The governor has also succeeded in reducing corruption in the state civil service by carrying out a rigorous verification exercise for the state civil servants which led to the extrication of over 13,000  Ghost workers from the states payroll, thus saving the state huge sums of money. Accountability was further ensured in the state’s civil service through the adoption of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) system. The adoption of the TSA system by the El-Rufai led administration has tremendously reduced corruption and diversion of government’s funds which was prominent in past administrations. The El-Rufai government has effectively catered for the welfare of the state civil servants by sustaining and ensuring prompt payment of salaries. This is a far cry to what is obtainable in most states who owe their workers for many months.

The governor has also embarked on massive road projects across the state at the lowest possible cost. Prominent among these road projects is the 5.125 kilometer Kawo to Lugard Hall Roundabout Road expansion project which was inherited from the immediate past administration. The governor not only continued with this project, but he also re-negotiated the contract sum. The popular belief in Nigeria “that what goes up never comes down” was defeated with reference to this project, as the overall contract sum was trickled down from 3.685 billion to 2.50 billion thus saving the state government about 1.1 billion naira. The state government road construction/rehabilitation projects are also seen in virtually all local governments of the state, about twenty nine contracts were recently awarded covering roads in both urban and rural areas in 18 of the 23 local government areas across the state.. Some of the major ongoing projects are Ungwan Doki road, Ungwan Sarki road, dualisation of Rigasa road, Aliyu Makama road in Barnawa, expansion of Kano road junction to PZ road in Zaria, construction of five kilometer road linking the airport to the Rigasa train station amongst others. The Kaduna State Public Works Agency (KAPWA) has also woken up from its long slumber since the inception of the El-Rufai led administration. The impact of this agency was felt on major federal and state highways across the state especially since the launch of its “Operation Zero Pothole” programme. Federal roads, especially the Zaria to Sokoto road which used to be death traps due to its dangerous potholes have been maintained by the restructured KAPWA. Other roads have been maintained. Similarly, in order to tackle the flood challenge witnessed in parts of the state three years ago due to lack of drainages on the roads, the present administration has taken steps by constructing drainages in most parts of the state. With work still ongoing in some parts, it is hoped that flood would become history in virtually all parts of Kaduna state upon completion. In addition to road construction, the El-Rufai government also plans to light up Kaduna state by making provision for street lights on some major roads of the state.

The El-Rufai led administration has also recorded tremendous increase in the state’s internally generated revenue. Figures released by the Kaduna State Internal Revenue Service (KDRIS) showed that the state generated more than 17 billion naira in 2016, as against the 11.5 billion naira generated in 2015. The state government was able to increase the states IGR by blocking leakages and ensuring that tax payers pay directly to the bank. The massive projects going on in the state would also motivate tax payers to pay their taxes promptly, especially as the state plans to increase its internally generated revenue to 50 billion naira in 2017.

To enhance the transport system, the El-Rufai led administration distributed vehicles to unemployed people with payments made in installment. The government has also employed competent hands to run the state owned Transport Authority. This is in addition of its plans to introduce the Kaduna State Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system in Kaduna metropolis. Provisions for these buses has already been made as the road in Kaduna is currently been expanded to three lanes, thus leaving the BRT buses with its dedicated lane.

To address the states traffic and environmental challenge, the governor implemented the law establishing the Kaduna State Traffic and Environmental Law Agency, KASTELA which was jettisoned by the previous administration. Establishment of this agency led to engagement of the services of over two thousand, five hundred traffic marshals to perform traffic and environmental enforcement duties. The establishment of this organization has led to increase in the states revenue generation as vehicle and motorcycle owners were forced to update their licenses and other documents to avoid stiffer penalties. Establishment of KASTELA has created employment opportunity for people of the state.

The health sector was not left out of the El-Rufai developmental strides as renovation work was done on many health centers across the state with most of them equipped with state of the art facilities and also skilled manpower. Most of these health centers now take delivery. The governor also engaged the services of over six thousand youths as refuse collectors on major streets across the state. The impact of this has been felt in terms of reduction of diseases and ensuring a clean environment.

Similarly, the El-Rufai led administration has also showed commitment towards providing water to the people of Zaria and its surrounding local governments. The water project was started by the Makarfi led regime, but suceesive governments have shown less commitment towards completion of the project. Since the inception of the present administration, progress has been made on the Zaria water project, with laying of standard piped witnessed in virtually all communities in Zaria. The rehabilitated water treatment plant was also put to test recently, thus signaling that the project would be completed this year as promised by the Governor.

The governor has also maintained a cordial working relationship with the legislative arm. Several bills have been passed and unlike other states, there has been no love lost between the executive and the legislative arm. This has led to most of the successes recorded so far.

However, cases of insecurity in some selected areas of the southern part of the state remains a challenge of the present administration, measures have been taken and it is hoped that these measures would bring about lasting peace in the affected areas.

The El-Rufai government is less than two years old, yet so much had changed and looking forward, if the pace is maintained, I am optimistic that at the end of his four years first tenure, Kaduna state would indeed be great again.

Halilu Hassan wrote from Zaria E.Mail haliluhassan@yahoo.com

Who Are We? Who Are They? By Hassan Hassan

There is a new bipolarity among Nigerians replacing the class groups of upper and lower. The new divide is WE and THEY. What is the isle of difference between us? Who are WE? Who are They?
We are talking, communicating and raising understanding. They are mute, don’t answer questions, don’t ask questions but operate undercover. We are working, helping our government to serve, and giving out everything in contribution and sacrifice. They create for she give. They work for money. All their life as workers, they use their offices to short-change the public. They must get money to commit to public service. They take, never give.
We are selfless. We think of our parents, family, kids, others in need, seeking collective progress. They are selfish, hardhearted. They abandon parents and relations. They are inclined to their nuclear families only. They think about themselves, others go to hell.
We help and share with the needy, raise funds, mobilise for community, help the displaced. They deny, ignore reality of misfortunes on others. They care less. They look inwards. They cook once a day to store food to late night, no guest or hungry can make any idea.
We pay our dues; obey the laws and authority, sensitive to official and public matters. We register our new cars and renew every year. We pay our taxes. We respect public property and resources. And we are serious about them.

They disrespect law and authority. They evade orders, create loopholes for sabotage, theft and crime, carrying many plate numbers and can swear to any extent in lying. They disrespect public property and is like their holy book preaches to them that public resources are personal to you and you can use them in any way you want.
We pray and worship God to our best and it is God’s mercy we seek because it will finally matter not our best.

They are capitalist with God. Their prayer is their reason for heaven no matter what. They count every act of worship and they will calculate them to finally save their souls, not minding any mercy.
We are liberal democrats, socialist to an extent, seeking collective solutions to common problems. We believe in different ways to solving problems, and no human is dispensable in society.

They are callous capitalists, conservatives. They arrogate knowhow and solutions to themselves and self-centered in their thinking. To them no human is indispensable.
We can farm. We farm in respect to national leadership with the vision that oil money has killed our potentials, made us too dependents, indolent and unproductive. We seek alternatives, we diversify.

They are first citizens with special status that is self acclaimed. No one can push them to farming and enslave them. They better be enslaved by the weight of their potbellies.
Our women, kids are under us, obedient, respectful, diligent, humble and merciful to us. They listen and obey. They ask before they go before they take. They don’t ask for what is not in the house. They manage and respect food with best attitudes. They need less or no supervision in life. This is because we behaved to our parents as kids.

They are slaves of their kids and women, wives. They can’t shut them down or leave the house because they know they will beg them to come back. They can kill them, make any crime, small one big. They must buy what is not needed at any cost or the wife will threaten to go to her father’s house. Their kids talk anyhow; say what they like to anybody in anyway. They are spoiled, arrogant and delinquent.
We are modest. We live in the frames of our own definition of life, within our earnings and in sensitivity to our roots, values and think about life for our people who are not so privileged. They are immodest. They live a competitive life defined by the bastard culture of materialism, which translates into even their forms of worship or service to God. They must buy, at all cost, what the social circle determines in order that they fit.
We campaigned, mobilised, voted, counted, defended, and escorted. We love and support PMB on purpose for his fighting corruption and insecurity. We take corrections and ready to submit ourselves to same subject of change for good.

They de-campaigned, didn’t vote and prayed for a jilt that didn’t come. It was the day starting counting their disappointments in their ill wish to PMB up to yesterday. They are still counting and will count more, daring God and asking “Why Now God!?”
Our prayers and wishes are positive, for fellow humans and for PMB and all, because in praying for others we invite the prayers of the angels.

Their prayers, wishes are negative, evil, selfish, vengeful, and targeted at select individuals. They are gull of venoms of anger, hatred, bad blood, jealousy, envy.
We are mode. We think big and far. Our hearts are large to accommodate, tolerate and reserve.

They are mean. They think little and now. They are little characters. Their hearts are small and limited to them. Qaswat Qulubuhum.
Who are we? Who are they? Who are you?
We are we. They are they. You are you.
Be proud of yours and be grateful to parents, teachers and to God, for who you are. Chuckle, Smile wide. Laugh life out. Live it. The Future is being assured. Join. Help. Work. Pray.

 

Hassan Hassan is of the Department of Mass Communication, Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi

Rest In Peace My Dear Friend Onukaba By @DeleMomodu

Fellow Nigerians, as for me and my house, no news could be bigger and sadder than the gory death of my dear friend and brother, Onukaba Adinoyi-Ojo. This has been a week of major events but none touched me as mightily as that of Onukaba, one of Nigeria’s finest journalists. Where and how do I begin to tell you about Onukaba?

I first encountered him on the pages of one of Nigeria’s greatest newspapers of all time, The Guardian. His name then was Shuaibu Ojo but he later changed to Onukaba Adinoyi-Ojo. At the time, I read everything he wrote except those that escaped my attention. I was his devotee, to put it mildly. He was a pen god and many like me worshipped his writing prowess. He wrote with so much authority and maturity that made me assume he was an old man until I met him. There were many distinguished writers and reporters at The Guardian – Stanley Macebuh, Patrick Dele-Cole, Chinweizu, Olatunji Dare, Odia Ofeimun, Yemi Ogunbiyi, Sonala Olumhense, Greg Obong-Oshotse, Edwin Madunagu, Tunji Lardner Jnr, Seyi Olu Awofeso, Andy Akporugo, Amma Ogan, Tunde Thompson, Nduka Irabor, Eluem Emeka Izeze, Ben Tomoloju, Mitchell Obi, and others – but Onukaba stood out in his own right as a reporter and writer. The Guardian was home for literary giants and Onukaba was clearly one of them even though he was relatively younger than most. Any self-respecting writer therefore wanted to appear on The Guardiaan’s effervescent pages. I was one of such dreamers but didn’t know how to go about it.

Onukaba was God-sent. Our paths crossed by pure chance. I was managing Motel Royal Limited, a holiday resort in Ile-Ife owned by The Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade Olubuse II. Onukaba loved culture and came on several occasion to do stories on the Ife palace and its festivals. Olojo was the biggest cultural event in the traditional calendar of a town reputed to be the cradle of civilisation and`famous for its 401 deities. Onukaba was lodged as a guest of His Majesty at the hotel during one of such festivals at the time when I was managing the hotel. I recognised his famous name as soon as his registration was forwarded to my office. I sent word out that I would love to meet him as soon as he arrived.

Ours was a case of love at first sight. I found Onukaba to be my age mate. This was the first surprise. I was shocked to see that he was smaller if not shorter than his gangling pen. He must have wondered why I stared endlessly at him. He wouldn’t know or even imagine how much I respected his brains. As a budding writer, I craved his talents. We got talking and we realised we shared common interests, especially our love for the African Writers’ series. It was fashionable in those days to impress people with authors and books you’d read, not like these days when your bank statement is the easiest way to show off. Onukaba was stunned about my robust knowledge of African culture. I regaled him with tales of Ife idols. He was fascinated by my Bachelor’s degree in Yoruba from the then University of Ife as well as my plan to be the first graduate of Yoruba Studies ever to attempt a Master’s degree in Literature-in-English.

Onukaba encouraged me to write a piece on the popular Olojo Festival for the African Guardian magazine which was edited by Nduka Irabor. I co-authored the essay with Kwesi Sampson and Onukaba was our courier to Lagos. A few weeks later, the article was published by the magazine. It was the biggest thing to happen to me personally and I was on top of the world. I bought copies and showed to anyone who cared to listen to me. Being published in any of The Guardian titles was a big deal to everyone at the time, and I was no exception.

Onukaba encouraged me to write more. Through him and the inspiration of Dr Yemi Ogunbiyi, I started contributing as regularly as possible to the op-ed page. Dr Ogunbiyi was a lecturer from the Dramatic Arts Department at the University of Ife but later served his sabbatical at The Guardian and rose to become a Director at Rutam House, Lagos. I was paid N25 per article and always waited to publish four essays before travelling from Ife where I was now a post-graduate student to Lagos to receive the princely sum of N100. Trust me, it was a lot of money to an indigent student like me and it came in handy on several occasions. The Naira had great value in those days.

I remember my first article in The Guardian titled, ‘The Politics of Language’. It was a defence of Ngugi wa Thiong’o when he decided to stop writing in English language and chose his Kikuyu language and Odia Ofeimun was miffed about the decision. Of course, Ofeimun fired back thunderously at me to attack what he called my jejune thesis. This was how I got initiated into that exalted company of writers in Lagos. I kept writing for The Guardian and was also appearing in the Sunday Tribune at the introduction of my best friend Adedamola Aderemi, the Prince of Ile-Ife because of his conjugal ties to the Awolowo family. The Sunday Tribune had a fantastic Editor in Mr Folu Olamiti who did everything to encourage me. Onukaba followed my trajectory with keen interest. He rhapsodised about how beautifully I wrote.

 

Despite being able to establish myself as a writer, my real love was teaching. My ambition was to be a teacher, marry a teacher and live happily ever thereafter. But man proposes and God disposes. I searched and scratched everywhere for a teaching job but there was none anywhere. In frustration, I became exasperated. All my friends had jobs except me. And I was dying in silence, almost going off my rockers. I met Onukaba in Lagos and he said he could introduce me to a few Editors but could not really promise anything. He asked if I was ready to migrate to Lagos and my response was an instant yes.

Nigeria In Recession: Obstacle Or Opportunity? By Olawale Rotimi Opeyemi

A nation is said to be in recession when gross domestic product (GDP) declines for two or more consecutive quarters where GDP is the market value of all goods and services produced within the country in a given time. Following this definition, Nigeria has slipped into recession, with the latest growth figures showing the economy contracted 2.06% between April and June 2016 respectively. Nigeria in 2016 witnessed two consecutive quarters of declining growth.

In more comprehensive definition, a nation is said to be in recession when the economy declines significantly for at least six months; beyond the GDP, when there is economic recession, there is a significant decline in the following five economic indicators i.e. real GDP, income, employment, manufacturing and retail sales.
Following the five economic indicators stated above, Nigeria has been faced with tough economic issues for decades, but recession was officially declared in 2016. Nigeria’s GDP dwindles, for many years; unemployment has kept increasing while local manufacturing has dropped significantly. Nigeria made a long walk to recession which is caused by a combination of components. Some of these components include:
Shrinking oil revenue: Nigeria’s economy is largely dependent on crude oil revenue, crude oil sales account for 70 percent of government revenue in Nigeria; thus the fall in oil revenue implies fall in government income. A major feature of Nigeria’s economy since the 1980s was its dependence on petroleum, which accounted for about 87 percent of export receipts.

Expensive governance style: Nigeria is running a very expensive political system, 58 percent of the nation’s allocation is spent at the federal level while 32 percent goes to the 36 states and 10 percent for the 774 local government areas. Also, bogus salaries, allowances and luxury that accompany political offices make governance expensive in Nigeria. Since independence, government expenditures have been increasing, as a percentage of gross domestic products, national government expenditures rose from 9 percent in 1962 to 44 percent in 1979, the pattern is still on-going.

Corruption and weak institution: Nigeria is ranked as one of the most corrupt nations in the world. Corruption among ranking government officials have become a norm. Nigerians are persuaded that corruption is the biggest challenge been faced by the nation and it has remained a persistent issue.

Political instability, sharp ethic and religious sentiments: Nigeria is a victim of consistent political instability; uncertainties, tension and unhealthy rivalries among the political elites which are predominant features of Nigeria’s political climate. More also, sharp ethnic and religious identities have further divided the nation, even economically.
Forex crisis, low local manufacturing and dependence on importation: Nigeria depends largely on importation; almost everything in Nigeria is imported aside Nigerians. Even though the nation is endowed with enormous resources and raw material, local production is low. Reliance on importation has placed an incessantly high demand on foreign currencies (dollars, euro and pounds) which led to the prolonged forex crisis faced by Nigeria.

These factors contributed largely to Nigeria’s current economic woes. And until they are resolved, the economic woes will be prolonged. However, solution is only required and celebrated when there are problems; Nigeria’s economy is in a problematic state, no doubt. Many industries, start-ups and local businesses have found it difficult to survive in the economic climate.
Unfortunately, due to shrinking oil revenue and chronic mismanagement of public resources, the government is unable to embark on many capital projects that will create enabling environment for businesses to grow and the economy to flourish. While about 27 states are struggling with payment of salaries, the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported that 1.7 million Nigerians lost their jobs in 2016 only due to harsh economic environment.

As this period pose as major obstacle to growth in Nigeria, importantly it comes with rare opportunity for economic revolution that will set Nigeria ahead economically across the globe. Despite dwindling oil revenue, it is interesting to note that, non-oil sector GDP grew in 2016 for the first time in decades. According to presidential economic adviser, Adeyemi Dipeolu, he said “There was growth in the agricultural and solid minerals sectors…” This undoubtedly true!
However, reliant on oil and failure to diversify weakened Nigeria’s economy with ease. Kevin Daly from Aberdeen Asset Management said “a lot of Nigeria’s current predicament could have been avoided…the country is so reliant on oil precisely because its leaders haven’t diversified the economy. More recently, they have tried, and failed, to prop up the naira, which has had a ruinous effect on the country’s foreign exchange reserves and any reputation it might have had of being fiscally responsible.”
A quick look into the past, after independence, Nigerian seemed very promising as many classified her economy as emerging economy; a potential is yet to materialize. Non-oil sector, particularly the agric sector served as the major source of revenue for the nation. In the 1970s, agriculture accounted for 70% of Nigeria’s labour force as the most important, stable and resilient sector of Nigeria’s economy.

The sector provided food crops such as yams and manioc (cassava) in the south and sorghum (Guinea corn) and millet in the north. In 1999, production of yams was 25.1 million tons (67% of world production); manioc, 33.1 million tons (highest in the world and 20% of global production); cocoyams (taro), 3.3 million tons; and sweet potatoes, 1,560,000 tons. Other sectors such as mining also played key role in Nigeria’s economy in the 1960s and 1970s.

Though the current economic recession looks like an obstacle to many Nigerians, majorly it comes with tremendous opportunity to spur economic growth and wealth creation for the citizens. There are numerous opportunities in the non-oil sectors such as agric, mining, education e.t.c. which are not capital intensive but are transformative. Such opportunities are been promoted by committed Nigerian groups such as Nigeria Investment Cloud which has been committedly bridging investment gaps between Nigerians in diaspora and investment opportunities in Nigeria, particularly in the non-oil sector.

Apparently, Nigerians can no longer depend on the government to spur economic growth, and the government can no longer depend on oil as a source of revenue. Thus, it is not too late for Nigeria and Nigerians to rethink and translate this recession into economic lifting for the nation.

The falling oil revenue is an eye-opener to non-oil sectors. Engaging numerous opportunities in non-oil sector such as the agric sector will not only spur growth, it will also create wealth, create jobs and ensure food security in Nigeria. As forex crisis continue, importation becomes more difficult; this opens opportunities for local production of items. Nigeria has all she needs to survive, including human capital; we must see the opportunities in this period and take advantage of it for Nigeria’s advancement.

Olawale Rotimi Opeyemi is a developmental journalist, news article consultant for Making Finance Work for Africa and global convener of Nigeria Investment Cloud. He can be reached through olawalerotty@gmail.com or +2348105508224

Olawale Rotimi B.A, M.A Ilorin, DELF Paris. T: @RotimiLawale “You don’t struggle to grow, grow the grass and the sheep will come, nurture it and they will never. Increase in quality not in quantity”

 

The Conviction Of Bala James Ngilari And Its Lesson, By Okoi Obono-Obla

The conviction and sentence to five years imprisonment of a former Governor of Adamawa State, Bala James Ngilari by an Adamawa State High Court for his contravention of the Adamawa State Procurement Law in the award of a N167.8 million contract for the supply of 25 units of Toyota Camry 2.8 to a contractor known only to him is heart-warming and exhilarating.

The transaction was only known to the governor as no other government official knows about the transaction.

The Court rightly found Bala Ngilari guilty of 17 charges levelled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for awarding contracts without following due process.

The conviction came at the right time when some sceptics have impetuously and hurriedly dismissed the anti-corruption agenda of the present administration as a bluster.

In this war there is no sacred cow. There is no retreat, no surrender! The war must be won!

This conviction undoubtedly is a pointer to the fact that the war against corruption is on course. This conviction is surely timely and indeed a lesson to politically exposed persons in government that there is a day of reckoning after public office.  There is no longer any place to hide.

The trial of the case was fast tracked and lasted for roughly five months. This is unprecedented in the history of criminal trials in a country, where the justice system is scandalously slow and laborious.

The Economic and Financial Crimes arraigned Ngilari on September 21, 2016 for violation of procurement laws in the award of contract of N167.8million to El-Yadi Motors Limited for supply of 25 units of operational vehicles (Toyota Corolla) but by 6th March, 2017 judgment had been delivered.

I highly commend Honourable Justice Nathan Musa for showing such a high sense of commitment, industry, professionalism and diligence.

The Adamawa’s case is a manifestation that if the judicial arm of government is dedicated and up and doing, criminal matters against political exposed persons can still be expeditiously and speedily heard and determined.

Judges should be firm and adopt no-nonsense approach to adjudication. Judges must be masters of their courts and always exercise their discretion judiciously and judicially in refusing applications for frivolous adjournments from defence counsel. Judges should equally not tolerate prosecutors that are slop shoddy and not diligent, prosecutors should be professional and conscientious in carrying out their prosecutorial duties.

With the coming into force of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 and its objective of ensuring speedy hearing and determination of criminal cases, we should not again be saddled with delays in the determination of cases in our courts if Judges do the needful.
OKOI OBONO-OBLA