• 'There is now a government within the government of President Buhari' - Saraki raises alarm

    27/Jun/2016 // 4790 Viewers

    Report by  Bidemi Okoya, Abuja


    PARIS, JUNE 27, 2016: (DGW) Nigeria's Senate President Dr. Bukola Saraki on Monday made a  statement on the  federal indictment which covered a wide range of issues especially on the ongoing  frosty relations between the Legislature and the Executive.

    Saraki lamented that the leadership of the Legislative arm of government is being persecuted unduly in spite of the hand of friendship extended to Executive since the inception of the Buhari administration.

    Saraki, the Senate President together with Ike Ekweremadu the Deputy Senate President was today arraigned before a Federal High Court in Abuja and thereafter granted bail  with stringent conditions.

    Below is the full text of the  statement made by Saraki on the Federal indictment sent to our Paris newsroom:

    “Today we the leaders of the Nigerian Senate reiterate our innocence against the charges filed by the Attorney General of the Federal Government of Nigeria at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court on the allegations of forgery of the Senate Standing Rules document.

    In our view, the charges filed by the Attorney General represent a violation of the principle of the Separation of Powers between the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch as enshrined in our Constitution. Furthermore, it is farcical to allege that a criminal act occurred during Senate procedural actions and the mere suggestion demonstrates a desperate overreach by the office of the Attorney General. These trumped up charges is only another phase in the relentless persecution of the leadership of the Senate

    This misguided action by the Attorney General begs the question, how does this promote the public interest and benefit the nation? At a time when the whole of government should be working together to meet Nigeria’s many challenges, we are once again distracted by the Executive Branch’s inability to move beyond a leadership election among Senate peers. It was not an election of Senate peers and Executive Branch participants.

    Over the past year the Senate has worked to foster good relations with the Executive Branch. It is in all of our collective interests to put aside divisions and get on with the nation’s business. We risk alienating and losing the support of the very people who have entrusted their national leaders to seek new and creative ways to promote a secure and prosperous Nigeria. As leaders and patriots, it is time to rise above partisanship and to move forward together.

    However, what has become clear is that there is now a government within the government of President Buhari who have seized the apparatus of Executive powers to pursue their nefarious agenda.

    This latest onslaught on the Legislature represents a clear and present danger to the democracy Nigerians fought hard to win and preserve. The suit filed on behalf of the Federal government suggests that perhaps some forces in the Federal Republic have not fully embraced the fact that the Senate’s rules and procedures govern how the legislative body adjudicates and resolves its own disputes.

    Let it be abundantly clear, both as a citizen and as a foremost Legislator, I will continue to rise above all the persecution and distraction that have been visited on me. In the words of Martin Luther King Junior, “the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at a time of challenge and controversy”.

    I will remain true and committed to the responsibilities that my citizenship and my office impose on me. Without doubt, the highest of those responsibilities is the steadfast refusal to surrender to the subversion of our democracy and the desecration of the Senate. This is a cross I am prepared to carry. If yielding to the nefarious agenda of a few individuals who are bent in undermining our democracy and destabilising the Federal government to satisfy their selfish interests is the alternative to losing my personal freedom, let the doors of jails be thrown open and I shall be a happy guest.” 


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  • UK jails Nigerian pastor nine years for stealing £4.1

    27/Jun/2016 // 879 Viewers

     'Pastor' Samuel Kayode 


    A Nigerian accountant and part-time pastor in the United Kingdom, Samuel Kayode, has been sentenced to nine years in prison for stealing £4.1million.

    Kayode was sentenced on Friday by Woolwich Crown Court in South London for defrauding Haberdashers’ Aske’s state schools in the UK.
     
    The part-time pastor, who earned £57, 000 per annum, was convicted after being found guilty of £150,000 theft and £3.95million fraud.

    Out of the £4.1million, only £800, 000 was recovered from him.

    Described as “dishonest” and “greedy”, the court heard how Kayode lavished the stolen money on four women, his wife, Grace; a second ‘wife’ in Nigeria, Olubunmi Halima; and two other women in the UK.

    British prosecutor, James Thacker, said he also bought luxury cars including a Mercedes, an Audi TT sports car and an Infiniti car with the money.

    The court also heard how for seven years the convict looted the accounts of Haberdashers. He was said to be secretive, locking himself in his office to work late, “after arriving in a Mercedes, wearing £500 Gucci shoes and carrying a Louis Vuitton briefcase.”

    Thacker said the father of four from Ilford, East London, was too arrogant to admit his guilt even after he was caught red-handed in 2012.

    Kayode tried to blame the crime on his late wife and a junior colleague, saying that they conspired to tarnish his image by transferring the money to his account in revenge for his adultery.

    His crime was exposed when a school cleaner stumbled across some of Kayode’s documents. The cleaner was said to make an anonymous call to the schools’ Chief Finance Officer, Yvonne Smithers.

    The accounts manager started work at Haberdashers’ – which has links with the public schools of the same name – in 1997.

    According to the prosecutor, Kayode started using the BACS money transfer system (a system in the UK for making payments directly from one bank account to another)  in 2006, to put “tens of thousands at a time directly into a joint account held with wife Grace. He then spent up to £98,000 a month.”

    Apart from spending money on his wife’s health care until her death in 2013, Kayode also signed documents showing he was making investments with Halima, and renting flats in Kent for ‘partners’ Toyin Lawal and Yetunde Turtak.


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  • Horror! Housewife cuts off stepson’s private part

    27/Jun/2016 // 445 Viewers

     

    POLICE in Niger State are in­vestigating the circumstances that led to 22-year-old house­wife, Bara’atu Rabiu of Diakpe Village in Shiroro Local Gov­ernment Area for allegedly cut­ting off the private part of her one-month-old stepson.

    The victim simply called Bu­hari, was attacked over jealousy and rivalry the suspect her and his mother.

    A source said the victim’s mother got married to the boy’s father over seven years with­out bearing any child which made the family decided to get another wife for her hus­band leading to the marriage of Bara’atu , who eventually ex­tended the rivalry and hatred to the innocent child.

    At about 10pm last Thurs­day, Bara’atu allegedly sneaked into Bara’atu’s room and picked the one month old child to al­legedly commit the crime. The matter was reported to the po­lice while the boy was rushed a nearby clinic before been referred to general hospital Minna.

    Confirming the incident, the Police Public Relations officer PPRO Bala Elkana, said the child was receiving treatment at a hospital in Minna, while also confirming the arrest of Bara’atu for alleged attempted culpable homicide

    Meanwhile, Governor Abuba­kar Sani Bello and his wife Am­ina, have visited IBB Specialists Hospital where the boy was re­cuperating.


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  • FG team heads for Cameroon to identify arrested 'Chibok-girl-turned-suicide bomber'

    27/Mar/2016 // 236 Viewers

     

    PARIS, MARCH 27, 2016: (DGW) - The Federal Government is to send some members of the Chibok community to neighbouring Cameroon, to verify whether a female suicide bomber arrested on Friday, is one of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls.

    A Saturday statement by Mallam Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, confirmed the development.

    The statement said that already the Minister of Women Affairs, Hajiya Aisha Alhassan and Nigerian high commissioner in Cameroon had swung into action and were receiving a lot of cooperation from the Cameroonian authorities.

    “It has been confirmed that one of two girls is claiming to be among the girls stolen from Chibok on April 14, last year, although doubts have crept into the claim following new information from Cameroon that the two girls are aged about 10 years,'' it stated.

    According to the statement, one of the two is also believed to be heavily drugged and therefore not in full control of her senses.

    It said that the Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Cameroon, Amb. Hadiza Mustapha had confirmed that the arrested girls might be brought to the Cameroonian capital, Younde, by Monday, at which point the High Commission would seek permission to meet with them.

    The statement said that the Murtala Mohammed Foundation had offered to cooperate with federal government in sponsoring two parents from Chibok, who had been selected to embark on the trip to Cameroon.

    “The two are Yakubu Nkeki, Chairman of the Parents of the Abducted Girls from Chibok association, and Yana Galang, the group’s women leader.

    “The Nigerian High Commission will receive the two and will facilitate their access to the two girls once permission to meet and verify their identity is obtained from the Cameroonian authorities,'' the statement added.

    The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that about 250 Chibok schoolgirls were reported to have been abducted by members of the Boko Haram terror sect at the Chibok Government Secondary School in Borno about two years ago.

    About 51 of the affected schoolgirls were also reported to have escaped from their abductors, who were transporting them to unknown destinations.

    NAN.


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  • President Buhari's Easter message to Christians

    27/Mar/2016 // 303 Viewers

     

    PARIS, MARCH 27, 2016: (DGW) -  PRESIDENT  Muhammadu Buhari while felicitating with Christians in Nigeria on this year's  Easter celebrations urge Christians to emulate the teachings of Jesus Christ to  his disciples - 'love one another as I have loved you'.

    Said the president in his Easter message, “it will serve our dear nation very well if we all imbibe this essential message of Jesus Christ and truly learn to love  our countrymen and women as we love ourselves.

    “Indeed, we will surely make faster progress towards the achievement of the peaceful, united, strong, progressive and prosperous country we all desire if, as a nation, we eschew all divisive, parochial, ethnic and religious sentiments and rivalries, and begin to live more harmoniously with our compatriots, as Jesus Christ and the founders of the world’s other great religions enjoined mankind.

    “Our unfortunate notoriety in recent years as a country where the blood of men, women and children are wantonly and callously shed in frequent orgies of criminal, political, ethnic and religious violence has become very embarrassing and utterly unacceptable.”

    On peace and security, the president asked for support from all Nigerians and  expressed a firm resolve to pursue peace and security throughout Nigeria by putting an end to crises and conflicts which,  he said,  are  capable of tearing us apart as a nation.

    His words, “Our armed forces, police and other security agencies are being progressively reformed, repositioned and empowered to win the war against terrorism and make mass killings, abductions and other criminal atrocities things of the past in our beloved country.

    “Let us all also play our parts as patriotic citizens and do all that we can to ensure that we make Nigeria a safer, more peaceful and happier place for its people and others.

    “Faith, belief and the fulfilment of expectations are also key themes of the Easter celebration. I urge you all therefore, to continue to have faith in the future greatness of our country and to believe that the CHANGE my administration promised will surely come to fruition.

    “That CHANGE, which we all yearn for, will certainly occur more rapidly if we all place the love of our country above selfish personal and group interests.

    “The National Assembly has just passed the 2016 budget. I assure all Nigerians that we will do our utmost best to ensure that the budget, the first since my election as President, is efficiently and successfully implemented towards achieving our objective of faster economic growth and development.

    “I thank the vast majority of Nigerians for their patience and understanding in the first ten months of this administration.

    “As we go forward, I assure you all that we are working very hard to overcome the challenges we encountered on assumption of office.

    “We are moving on with an unshaken resolve and determination to deliver on the mandate you gave us on March 28, last year.

    “I wish you all very happy Easter celebrations.”


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  • FUEL CRISIS: Bola Tinubu reacts, makes U-turn, lambastes Buhari's petroleum minister

    27/Mar/2016 // 474 Viewers

     

    PARIS, MARCH 27, 2016: (DGW) - NIGERIA'S ruling party National Leader Bola Ahmed Tinubu has severely criticized the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Dr Ike Kachiuku for his statement over the ongoing fuel crisis in the country.

    In a ten-paragraph statement, Tinubu lampooned the minister over his outlandish remarks which he said did not sit down well with the Nigerian people.

    Below is the full text of the statement by the National Leader of Nigeria's ruling party:

    “1.The art of governance is difficult and complex, especially during trying times. The steep reduction in global oil prices from over 100 dollars per barrel to roughly 40 presents a hard challenge. We can no longer afford past practices. Nigeria now requires creative reform, materially changing the substance of national economic policy as well as the objectives of that policy and how the policy is presented to the people. Therein lies the essence of progressive democratic governance.

    “2.The Buhari administration represents the last best hope we have to install such governance in Nigeria and avert the catastrophe that would have befallen us had the prior government remained in place. Had the nation continued with the spendthrift corruption and vagabond economic policies of that administration, we would have soon experienced such a collision with the harsh consequences of that government’s malign ways that our very institutions of government may have been distorted beyond fixture and repair.
     
    “3.In this effort, there may be no economic matter more difficult to unravel and more sensitive to the purse of the average person than the current fuel scarcity. Even here I am confident of progress because I know the commitment of the president to resolving this matter. I make no attempt to hide it. I am an avid and partisan supporter of this government and of the progressive policies of the party, the APC, upon which this government is based.
     
    “4. With that I do reserve the right and the duty as a Nigerian to voice my opinion when I believe a member of this government has strayed from the progressive calling required of this administration. I do this because my greater devotion and love are for this nation and its people. Party and politics fall secondary.
     
    “5.Much public ire has been drawn to the statement made by minister of state Ibe kachikwu that he was not trained as a magician and that basically Nigerians should count themselves fortunate that the NNPC under his stewardship has been able to bring in the amount of petrol fuel it is currently doing.
     
    “6.Perhaps the statement by Kachikwu was made in a moment of unguarded frustration or was an awkward attempt at a joke. Whatever the motive, it was untimely and off-putting. The remark did not sit well with the Nigerian people; they were as right to feel insulted as the Minister was wrong to have said such a thing.   The fuel shortage is severely biting for the average person. They are forced to remain in lines far too long, for too much time, to pay too much money for too little fuel. This is no joking matter. Livelihoods and people’s welfare are at stake. With so much on the line, Kachikwu’s flippancy was out-of-line. He was basically telling Nigerians that they should be lucky that they are getting the inadequate supply they now suffer and that they should just be quiet and endure the shortage for several weeks more.
     
    “7.Kachikwu’s intervention was unhelpful. It panicked and disappointed the public as to the duration of the crisis. It insulted the people by its tonality. He spoke with the imperious nature of a 
     
    member of the elitist government the people voted out last year and not the progressive one they voted in.   Kachikwu must be reminded that he was not coerced to take this job. He accepted the job and its responsibilities knowingly. He also must remember that he does not own NNPC. This also is not a private company that owes nothing to the public except the duty of fair dealing. He is a public servant. The seat he sits upon is owned by Nigerians not by him. The company he runs is owned by Nigerians not by him. They are his boss. He is not theirs. Power is vested in the people. He is a mere custodian or agent of their will. In talking to us in such a manner, he committed an act of insubordination. If he had talked so cavalierly to his boss in the private sector, he would have been reprimanded or worse. If wise, the man should refrain from such interjections in the future.
     
    “8.As his ultimate bosses, the people have a right to demand the requisite performance and respect from him.   He should apologize for treating them so lightly in this instance.  His portfolio being a strategically important one, he needs to reestablish the correct relationship with the public. They no longer feel he is working for their optimal benefit as their servant. Instead, he seems to be standing above them, telling them to take it or leave it. For his policies and stint in office to be successful and a help to this government, he must have the support and belief of the people at this tough time. He must talk to them in a way that they believe he seeks their best interest and understands the hardship weighing upon them. He must ask them to work with him and perhaps to endure a bit longer but with the knowledge that he is working to resolve this matter as fast as he can and as permanently as possible. That he is dedicated to the position that once these current lines are gone that never again shall they reappear as long as he has any influence in the matter. To do this, requires no magic nor training in that strange craft. It requires empathy, compassion and the willpower to forge a better Nigeria. These must be the common trademarks of those serving in a progressive government for these attributes are integral parts of the spirit and ideals upon which the APC was founded. Upon such notions was this administration voted into office by the Nigerian people in the operation of their sovereign will to seek a national leadership that would pursue their interests to the utmost and give them every fair chance to live in a better Nigeria.
     
     
    “9.Even though times are hard we must all realize that they would   be even harder and much darker would be the immediate horizon had we allowed the venal, kleptocracy of the PDP to continue to lord over the land solely for their selfish benefit and not for the common good.
     
    “10. I am confident that President Buhari and this government can resolve the issues that press us. From establishing full security and safety to staking a claim to true economic prosperity and fairness, this government shall salvage our national pride and purpose. “Let all of us, in and out, of government never forget this. If we adhere to this remembrance, we shall see that magic will not be needed to bring the progress we seek.


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  • Dangote gives N400m to disadvantaged Lagos women

    27/May/2016 // 440 Viewers

     

    To cushion the effect of the current economic downturn, the Dangote Foundation on Thursday commenced the disbursement of N400 million micro grant to 40, 000 indigent women in all the local government areas of Lagos State.
    The disbursement held at the Conference Hall of Lagos House, Ikeja, is a continuation of grassroots poverty alleviation strategy of the Foundation set up by the renowned business mogul, Aliko Dangote, in 1993.
    The empowerment programme which is meant to complement the efforts of the government at all levels is targeted at the disadvantaged and vulnerable women and youths with a one-off N10, 000.00 cash transfer to boost household income generation.
    Dangote, the Chairman of the Foundation, had expressed concern over widespread poverty among the people especially the youths and the women at the grassroots and promised that his organisation would institute a scheme that would help in addressing the menace.
    Already, 256,500 women in states such Kano, Jigawa, Kogi, Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe have benefited from the scheme that is expected to move round all the 774 local government areas across the nation.
    However, for the first time since the programme started, the beneficiaries in Lagos are also to be given hand held mobile devices through Airtel telecommunication, while disbursement would be via electronic payments.
    The programme, according to Dangote, is to cover at least 1000 women in each of the 774 local government areas in a bid to assist the Federal Government in the onerous task of poverty reduction by equipping the vulnerable women with some money to help them start a trade to improve family life. However, the number of beneficiaries in Lagos has been doubled in each local government area in order to reach out to a larger population of women.
    “We have chosen to partner with state governments to support women because in Nigeria, as in other developing countries, they bear the burden of poverty. And it is through their economic activities from the home, the market place or the farmlands that they keep the family, the community going meeting basic needs.

    “Our research at Dangote Foundation shows that just a little push can help establish, sustain or grow several types of economic activities by our women. We believe these small grants will improve the women’s businesses and the wellbeing of their families and communities.
    “This is one of the goals of Dangote Foundation’s Community Development Services”, he stated.
    Dangote urged Nigerian government to invest in agriculture as a potent weapon against poverty, saying agriculture has capacity to engage more Nigerians and give the nation much sought after foreign earnings much more than oil.
    In his remark, Lagos State governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, thanked Dangote for the gesture, saying it’s a form of appreciation of what God has done for him in life.
    “Alhaji Dangote’s decision to share his wealth with the people is an indication of his love for the people and should be emulated. He has decided to support our programme of regeneration in Lagos State, we are grateful to Dangote Foundation”, the governor said.
    “This empowerment programme will cover all deserving in the 20 LG and 37 development areas in the state. We will ensure that nobody is denied this grant not minding the political or religious leaning. We will continue to give the required environment to make business thrive in Lagos,” he noted.
    The governor then appealed to all the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the seed grant.
    Welcoming the guests earlier, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA), Mrs. Lola Akande, described the disbursement as histrionic in the state and perfectly in line with the policy thrust of the state government to eradicate poverty and running an all-inclusive government.


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  • Breaking: Niger Delta unveils currency!

    27/May/2016 // 27149 Viewers

     

    PARIS, MAY 27, 2016: (DGW) Militancy in the oil-rich Niger Delta has taken a new turn as militants have vowed to break away from the federation of Nigeria. The  separatist feelings and aspirations which resulted in the ongoing bombing of oil and gas facilities in the region have eventually found expression in unveiling its 'national' currency.

    Militants have been carry out attacks on oil and gas facilities of multinational oil corporations in the region the very latest being Chevron facility at its Escravos terminal on Thursday.

    Niger Delta Avengers which have claimed responsibility for the attacks have vowed to stop at nothing until a sovereign state of the Niger Delta is actualized. A source who spoke to our reporter on condition of anonymity says much has been done to the region's ecosystem resulting from the operations of oil companies in the region and that every hue and cry raised so far to draw the government's attention to their predicament has fallen on deaf ears.

    Hence the action to secede from Nigeria became absolutely necessary to save communities in the neglected region from gradual extinction.


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  • Breaking: Reason behind Tompolo's 'persecution' revealed

    27/May/2016 // 2249 Viewers

     

    PARIS, May 27, 2016: (DGW) - THE truth behind the ''persecution'' of the  Niger Delta ex-militant leader , Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias ''Tompolo'' has eventually been uncovered.

    Tompolo in a suit has been  declared wanted by the EFCC for a multi-billion naira charging fraud.


    Meanwhile, the Coordinator of Urhobo Youth Employment Action Initiative, UYEAI, Mr Francis Onokposa while condemning the Niger Delta Avengers over the current crisis in the region warned the armed group to leave the region.

    While speaking to journalists on Thursday in Effurun, Delta State over a report on the crisis by a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Delta State, Mr. Jesutega Onokpasa  faulted and disagreed with latter’s position on the current Niger Delta crisis.

    His words:“Nobody is ganging up against anyone. I am sure my brother as a senior counsel would agree with me that no one is above the law.

    ''Tompolo should respect the law by presenting himself before the judge if indeed he is innocent.” 

    Speaking further he said “My brother should not forget how Tompolo and his cohorts castigated him for campaigning for APC against Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the last election.”

    “All hands must be on deck to assist President Buhari to succeed or this country may be no more'', he concluded.


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  • To Find Progress in Nigeria, Think Local

    27/May/2016 // 264 Viewers

    In the photo, Lagos governor Akinwunmi Ambode raises victory signs after casting his vote on April 11, 2015.


    On May 29, it will be one year since Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari took office. His electoral triumph and no-nonsense style sparked high hopes in a country fatigued by chronic corruption, poor infrastructure, the Boko Haram insurgency, and the incompetence of his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan. But it hasn’t been an easy year for Africa’s largest economy, which has been stunned by the drop in the price of oil — the main source of government revenue and nearly the sole source of foreign exchange. So what has Buhari accomplished?

    The evidence is contradictory. On one hand, for instance, a vast anti-corruption campaign is under way — in a country that badly needs it. Buhari reinvigorated the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the country’s lead anti-corruption agency, with aggressive new leadership. Every week brings news of prominent figures being questioned; the sums reportedly in play can reach billions of dollars. But the targeting feels haphazard, the methods are unclear, and running well-handled prosecutions in the country’s creaky justice system is a challenge.

    Buhari also appointed new leadership at the all-important state oil company, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Investigations have shown that billions of dollars in revenue due for the public treasury have vanished inside the NNPC in recent years. Now the company is making a commendable effort at transparency, publishing accounts for the first time in years. But the oil sector is still in trouble. There is almost no working refining capacity, so gasoline is imported under a creaky license and subsidy regime that breeds chronic fuel shortages. Meanwhile, militants are sabotaging oil production facilities in the Niger Delta. Just cleaning house won’t be enough.

    On the positive side, Boko Haram seems to be at bay, but for most Nigerians — except those in the war-affected northeast — it’s not even a major issue. The real problem is the country’s mounting economic crisis. Foreign exchange is scarce and rationed by the government at nearly twice the value that the national currency, the naira, fetches on the black market. Inflation is rising, and the economy contracted in the first quarter of 2016. Daily life is tough, and not just for the poor. Middle-class Nigerians spend vast amounts of time fighting bureaucratic hassles and looking for fuel for their cars and their at-home generators, since the electricity utilities rarely supply power.

    *President Buhari has struggled to deliver reform during his first year in power. Time to look to the states.

    Against this ziggurat of problems, all of which have both proximate causes and underlying ones that have festered for decades, the Buhari government has appeared at some times inert or incompetent, at others, purposeful and aggressive. There’s evidence to back every narrative, and Nigerian social media, where an ever-growing share of the population thrashes out its impressions, contains them all.

    Nigerians have every right to expect decisive leadership from their chief executive. But the presidency shouldn’t be viewed as the only potential source of change. Nigeria is a federal republic, with 36 socially and economically diverse states. This creates room for experimentation: What the federal government can’t get done, perhaps the states can.

    Devolution of power is somewhat shallower in Nigeria than in some other federations, such as the United States. Still, the states have real authority, and having a reformist state government instead of an old-school, corrupt one makes a real difference to the business environment, the provision of public services, and ordinary people’s lives. Moreover, with populations between 2 and 20 million, Nigeria’s states are better-sized for reform than the national behemoth. And the lack of any real ideological differences between Buhari’s All Progressives Congress, which controls 22 states, and the opposition People’s Democratic Party, which has 13, makes a favorable environment for emulating reforms that deliver. (There is one third-party governor, in Anambra State).

    When Buhari took office, so did some 20 new governors. As in the past, some states are proving better run than others. The difference now is that the collapse of oil revenue makes it urgent for the states to find new ways to support themselves. In 2014, according to fiscal watchdog BudgIT, federal transfers accounted for 75 percent of total state revenues. Almost all that money came from oil revenue allocated — “shared,” in Nigerian parlance — from the federal account. Now, this source of funds has shriveled. Boosting their own resources (known as IGR, or internally generated revenue) is crucial for the states to keep services running. But it is also the key to future policy autonomy and the ability to progress no matter what happens (or doesn’t) in Abuja, the national capital.

    There is room to grow. A BudgIT analysis of monthly revenue for the first half of 2015 found only one state (Lagos) where IGR made up more than 50 percent of revenue. In a cluster of states, it accounted for 20-25 percent of revenue; in the poorest ones, especially in the north, it was as low as 5-10 percent. In part, the level of development of the local economy helps explain the variation. But another reason is that Nigeria is disastrously under-taxed: according to widely cited estimates, tax collection is only 7 percent of GDP, most of it from the oil sector. The real economy is far more diversified than its revenue base suggests. According to a Nigerian banking institute, at least $11 billion in non-oil-based taxes escape the government each year.

    In the past year, the two states where new governors have taken the most aggressive policy steps are Kaduna, a big, relatively poor state in the north that has been highly dependent on federal transfers, and Lagos, the commercial hub, which has the healthiest state economy and lowest reliance on Abuja. Combined with more tentative efforts in other states, this suggests that leadership and political will, not the underlying condition of the local economy, are the crucial factors for progress in governance.

    In Kaduna, a former industrial powerhouse that has fallen on hard times, the hard-charging new governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has launched a volley of reforms: a biometric census of civil servants, an electronic land registry, removing middlemen from subsidy distribution, eliminating school application fees, starting free meals in primary schools, and more. He has instituted a Treasury Single Account (TSA), combining all the state’s revenue streams into one place, so that various agencies are not tempted by waste or graft. El-Rufai has also reduced the number of state ministries, appointed a relatively young, technocratic team, and has brought in the respected former head of the national tax agency to advise on state tax reform. And while data is kept close in most states, Kaduna is partnering with BudgIT to set up an open-budget electronic platform.

    The governor of Lagos, Akinwunmi Ambode, had the advantage of a much stronger foundation. Tax collection grew twentyfold from 1999 to 2015 under previous governors. Revenue management was opaque, however. To address this, Ambode also instituted a TSA, in September 2015. According to the state finance commissioner, merging the accounts has already saved the state 6 billion naira ($30 million at the official rate); restructuring the state’s debt portfolio has also saved money. A loan scheme for new small businesses began this year; the governor has promised to complete a long-delayed light-rail line, and secured federal support and cleared right-of-way issues for another. On May 25, four days before his own first-year anniversary, Ambode signed an agreement with a private consortium to build a massive and much-needed new highway and bridge across the Lagos lagoon, boasting that it would require no federal funds.

    Some other states are also taking steps to improve governance and grow revenue. In Ogun State, next to Lagos, second-term governor Ibikunle Amosun has overseen a substantial rise of internal revenue, including a 49 percent jump in 2015, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. These results follow a campaign to widen the tax net, with improved enforcement and more competent staff. In Anambra State in the east, internal income grew by nearly 30 percent in 2015; there, the government is replacing often-corrupt collectors with a network of point-of-sale devices.

    On the whole, however, more states are in trouble than are finding their way out of it. In 2015, only 11 states grew their tax intake, while the others saw mild to disastrous declines. According to BudgIT, in the first half of 2015, 19 of 36 states were unable to meet recurrent expenditures (such as paying salaries). In July 2015, 27 states sought a federal bailout; there are now controversies about whether some of those funds were mismanaged.

    Nigeria’s states cannot afford to wait for the federal government to turn the ship around. Emerging from oil dependency requires policy innovation at both the federal and state levels. Better information would help, too. Most state governments are poor at public communications, and the quality of journalism drops off precipitously as you get further from Lagos and Abuja. Lack of scrutiny, in turn, breeds complacency. But when Buhari comes up for reelection in 2019, most governors will too — and any improvements in Nigerians’ lives will have come as much from their performance as from his.



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