• Principle of Policies in Nigeria Politics

    01/July/2016 // 687 Viewers

     

    Lately, western economists have relied on predictive modeling and algorithm tools to set up socio economic agenda for short and long term state budgetary goals. Professionals of various government agencies in the western economies have used data mining and processing to uncover valuable treasures to promoting efficiency and effectiveness in service deliveries and resources management, tangent to the needs and wants of their respective citizens. 
    Often times, subsidy and deregulation – key fiscal economic tools are used interchangeably by consumers, analysts and government representatives. Supposedly, both tools are deployed into economic systems as incentive or mechanism to creating opportunities for growth and development or to rebalance acute wealth disparity among citizens of a society. They are also used as instruments to soften general economic hardship, and a phase to embolden nation’s confidence by structuring economic policies to attracting local and international investments, particularly in the more potent and risky; but growth oriented sectors of the economy. The vision and sincerity of politician’s direction on policy agenda, as part of a country’s socio economic problem solving are measured by the government agent’s ability to articulate the analytics and the project implementation process in a way an average citizen can relate with. While subsidy in most cases are cash hand-outs (common among politicians), deregulation is mostly geared towards a more efficient macro-economic initiatives that focuses on specifics; including market openness, creativity, opportunities, improved and competitive educational system, security, power, free and fair judicial system, transportation and a host of other services. 
    Critically, Nigeria government initiatives on policy issues are often driven by political motives rather than socio economic fundamentals. On the other hand, critics of Nigeria government policies mostly reacts on people’s emotions that often lack real substance.
    The poor crude oil market has continuously weaken Nigeria economy, stressing an urgency for out of box solutions to Nigeria precarious situation. Interestingly, Nigeria policy contents have profoundly ignored the most crucial economic metric “constructive analytics” that may express a sense of socio economic direction the government should pursue.
    The era of global economy has made instinctive economic remedy or trial by error resolution to a country’s policy issues obsolete. Many progressive developed and developing governments spends a reasonable share of their budgets on data management; processing and analyzing every available metrics as a guide to making rational decisions.
    Why is data management critical to Nigeria government policies and its revamping efforts?
    At this crunching time in Nigeria economic history, when resources are scarce and unemployment is alarming, a forward looking fiscal policies (particularly subsidy and deregulation) should be geared towards the following goals and objectives:
    -          Promotes efficient workflow process
    -          Ensure strategic goals that are consistent with country (and not) western culture
    -          Supports effective utilization of resources
    -          Improve expense management and
    -          Eliminate redundancy and inefficiencies.
    The removal of petrol subsidy and the Nigerian government deregulation efforts, touching on some critical sectors of the economy including telecommunication and power have aroused criticisms from various quarters. The follow up reaction from Nigerians, particularly from the activists and workers union, lacked a clear adjudication of where the gains from these initiatives should be apportioned.
    More important to Nigerians is a stable system that promotes business confidence, rewards hard work and ensure fairness to all. As a people, our activism, through the union leaders and concerned citizens should focus on engaging the government on the mix of policies that strikes a balance between a dynamic free market, and economic security that works for the masses through a process that ensure effective utilization of Nigeria natural and capital resources. We need to task the government on policy initiatives driven by specificity and macro-economic need that have the ability to unbundle resources yet untapped.
    Nigeria government today has zero knowledge of its true demographics and the needs of its people. I wonder how a serious government can proscribe a progressive agenda for people she does not know. No business initiative in today’s challenging environment, especially in a volatile market like Nigeria will be accorded any serious consideration without a well-defined market plan. Lack of demographic data in Nigeria economic system is a draw back to new investment money that has the opportunity to unlock Nigeria economy potentials. Rather than fighting Nigeria government for subsidy removal or the selling of government elephant businesses, we should be agitating for a resource reallocation process that focuses on economic growth and the development of our societies. Data analysis relating to Nigeria students abroad who may have chosen not to return home should give us an insight into the country’s eroding capital resources, and therefore a reason to allocate a portion of the removed subsidy or a piece of the politician’s basket of pecks into revamping the country’s education system. Analysis relating to our aging farmers, and their inability to transfer their farming business to their children should be a guide to our agricultural policy. Part of gains from subsidy removal should be reassigned into addressing consumer products adulteration and counterfeiting – conscious policy measure to address this issue should attract new money as it target the country’s Customs and Exercise incompetency and the country’s porous borders. Total collapse of the Nigeria manufacturing sector should reinforce the need for a prudent budgetary system. High cost of food has left an average Nigerian no extra savings for raining days, and single parenthood is becoming endemic in Nigeria society.  Outside of investment opportunities in oil and gas, telecommunication and banking, there are not many attractive sectors for investment ideas in Nigeria economy. This misfortune is not due to lack of real opportunities in Nigeria but because there are no sellable metrics to convince local and international investors of a trusting and viable market.
    Obama came into the White House at the pick of recession when unemployment was over 10%, gas price was all time high, America auto industry was in total disarray and the financial sector was agog with toxic investment portfolios. He responded with a combination of fiscal and monetary measures ranging from taxing the wealthy people to subsiding public services for lower income citizens, and of course the introduction of “quantitative easing”. Since oil subsidy was removed in Nigeria, life has become harder for an average citizen, and analysts seem to be clueless as to what direction the country is heading. Currency trading is unpredictable, foreign investors are on hedge and economic activity is stalled. The government, against all odds have maintained a nuisance Band-Aid approach to the economic hemorrhaging, and government critics remained steadfast to their hypercritic-out-of-date-antics which has little or no bearing to the economic reality of today.
    For almost a year, World Bank and other investment institutions have submitted a clear case, based on available economic data, that Nigeria government should devalue its currency in line with fair market value. The government ignored the fact, and waited until tens of millions of $ value stock portfolios were auctioned off Nigeria stock market and some foreign investments threatened to abandon Nigeria market before the government implemented a cosmetic and not very convincing FOREX regiment. The question again is whether the government decision to declare 41 products ineligible for a fair share in the current FOREX process is data driven or politically motivated?
    If Nigeria government lack adequate data analytics about its residents, it surely has zero clue about policy initiatives that can ensure possible collaboration between Nigeria professionals in diaspora and those residing in the country. The current world boxing heavy weight champion is Nigerian born; but he carries the British flag. Some of the world best doctors, medical practitioners, engineers, accountants, lawyers, economists and other professionals are Nigerians whose yearly GDP contribution are enormous in the USA, Britain, Canada and other western economies.
    Nigeria government effort on fighting corruption is fantastic, and the idea of recovering stolen money is even better, but the fact that there are no public disclosure concerning plans for the recovered money is worrisome. Nigeria economy needs liquidity now, to garner relief from the current unduly economic burden on millions of people who are hurting. Despite the country’s enormous human and natural resources, Nigeria is far away from attaining its economic potentials. As we continue to engage in political discourse as activists, concerned citizens or union members, we need to remain on track using facts and data to push for policy changes. Initiatives based on fundamentals and facts, as against emotions, creates enabling environment that is free and fair, ensuring that sincere and hard working men and women of this country are rewarded accordingly.
    Long live Nigeria.
    Femi Fabiyi is based in Connecticut, USA.


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  • APC sets fire on the roof - Dele Momodu

    01/Oct/2016 // 889 Viewers

     

    Fellow Nigerians, let me quickly congratulate all of us on this special anniversary of our Independence before returning to the quote above. Against all odds, we stayed together as one indivisible country despite agitations here and there for the collapse of the current problematic union. We even fought a very bloody civil war which terminated the lives of millions of our brothers and sisters. Since then, we’ve continued to fumble and wobble along.

    In the middle of this celebratory mood, the ruling party APC is in a messy and not so merry situation despite winning the gubernatorial election in my home State of Edo just days ago. The reason is not too far-fetched. As a matter of fact, it is a self-inflicted injury. A political party that came to power with so much credibility and adulation last year is already becoming a house divided against itself by fighting on all fronts from within and outside its folds. I would have expected that useful lessons would have been learnt from our recent past. Alas!

    The prophecy of this war of attrition had been long foretold by those who saw this marriage of different political parties as an amalgamation of strange bedfellows. The election that ushered in the government of President Muhammadu Buhari travelled with so much hope and promise. This promise also carried within its underbelly the burden of heavy expectations. Many had hoped and expected that the APC was ready to hit the ground running from Day One and that President Buhari had a masterplan ready and handy. Nigerians actually expected instant magic. President Buhari was believed to possess talismanic powers to solve all problems and the capacity to sweep out the sins of Nigeria, especially the endemic corruption that has grown malignantly cancerous, within a twinkle of an eye. But so far, nothing of the sort has happened. Many Nigerians are already in a state of stupor trying to figure out what went wrong and what go right in the near future.

    Trouble started as soon as the government started. It was as if the government was conceived in perfidy and had to be delivered in strife. First, they started fighting over positions once it was time to share public offices. The National Assembly was the hotbed of rebellion and hullabaloo, the place where the falcon refused to hear the falconer. For whatever reason, the party picked on one of its bright stars, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, who had chosen to fulfil a lifetime ambition of becoming Nigeria’s President of The Senate by fire and by force. The party apparatchik would never agree to such heresy. This would cause so much rancour and put the ruling party in disarray. The ding dong affair between The Senate and the Federal executive would be a test of will and strength between the warring factions. Try as it may, the Senators overwhelmingly supported their leader and the seed of discord had been sown almost permanently.

    The Federal House of Representatives suffered its own version of the crisis but its Speaker appeared more amenable to control from the invisible but supernatural forces from outside its chambers. The party was thus able to keep the combustion from exploding while real fire burnt wildly in the nearby Senate chamber. It was in the midst of this that the Senate went through the screening exercise for Buhari’s cabinet nominees. The time it took to announce and release the list of Ministers was another case of hocus-pocus. Mercifully, the screening and ratification commenced and was dispensed with after some melodrama. But the ember of discord was still burning slowly and steadily away from public or prying eyes. After some unsavoury sessions at the Code of Conduct Tribunal and a few complicated legalese, members of the public lost interest and attention and concluded the case was possibly dead on arrival.

    As if this war was not bad enough, the economy took a nose dive and the Naira has continued to sink deeper and deeper in the abyss. There was a gale of arrests of allegedly corrupt people reminiscent of Buhari’s days as a military ruler. The enthusiastic supporters of the war against corruption would soon turn against the same government that seemed determined to restore sanity to our socio-political climate. Buhari and company had failed to study the psychology of homo sapiens. If Nigerians had lived and survived substantially on corruption, it should have occurred to Buhari and his team to replace something with something. A hungry man is an angry man. Enu ofifo kii dun yanyanmu, (an empty mouth can never make sufficient noise), according to a Yoruba adage. If as corruption collapsed like the walls of Jericho, food prices also crashed and prosperity beckoned, there would have been no problem. In fact, things got worse rather than change for the better. Nigerians are angry not because they hate Buhari or really miss PDP but life is just becoming unbearable while the politicians to live large in most cases.

    The government itself has not provided palliatives and even reneged on some of its campaign promises. The government has turned to preaching and heaped all the blames on its immediate predecessor who became the lamb of God programmed to carry away the sins of PDP in 16 years. Members of opposition protested vehemently against what they called a vengeful witch-hunt against their party, the PDP. The ruling party says PDP has put Nigeria in this mess and should pay dearly for it. No doubt but how do we move forward?

    There are important issues to tackle and it seems the Federal Government has not been able to overcome the many challenges confronting it. The economy has been its greatest albatross as well as the cold but volatile wars between its gladiators. The tussle for power started so early. Nigerian politicians do not joke with power. They start jostling for power from the end of the election. Nothing should pass them by. And those who manage to grab power often forget those who brought them to power. In fact, they usually have a mortal fear of the kingmakers and try to keep the distance from them. Afobaje loba koko nge lori, (the King wastes no time in beheading the kingmaker). The reason is simple. No one wants to be reminded of his past or be held to ransom by those who helped him climb the ladder. Such is life.

    There is no doubt that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was in the forefront of those who midwived this government in cash and in kind. But despite his humongous efforts, the relationship between Asiwaju and this government has been that of cat and mouse. It did not start today. It actually started being frosty long before the election. First, Asiwaju wanted to be the Vice President but Buhari was said to have excused himself on account of Muslim/Muslim ticket and skilfully settled for one of his close associates, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, a technocrat and Pastor of The Redeemed Christian Church of God. Next, Tinubu was interested in who becomes Senate President and Speaker of The House of Representatives. Somehow, this also became elusive. It is not clear till this day if the President was actually interested in any preferred candidates. But it was certain that some subterranean forces were stylishly blocking Tinubu from having too much clout and stranglehold on the party. While I do not think he can have his way always, I believe he should be carried along. His vast knowledge of politics and governance would be very useful at this critical moment.

    Tinubu has remained a loyal party chieftain brushing off every act of provocation, according to impeccable sources. But the hawks of power are worried because of the suspicion that he is still nursing a presidential ambition. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is also believed to be eyeing the presidential seat. He and Tinubu are being systematically side-lined and checkmated. Matters are beginning to get to a cataclysmic climax with the recent decision to block a Tinubu-backed Governorship aspirant in Ondo State. In another ugly twist, the recent face-off between Tinubu and the national chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun who enjoyed Tinubu’s encouragement to emerge chairman of the party has raised more questions than answers.

    As someone noted “why are they all hell bent on humiliating Tinubu after all his support for Buhari and their party, the APC?” I have no idea but I know that there is fire on the mountain. After reading a Press Release from Tinubu’s media office, it was obvious Tinubu has had enough of this surreptitious victimisation. He and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar are obviously angry about developments and I won’t be surprised if they join forces again and dismantle both APC and PDP to forge a new alliance. The two are experienced and formidable enough to even run as President and Vice President respectively. The theory is that with the growing unpopularity of the Buhari government anything can happen. I don’t know but if you don’t try you can’t know what’s impossible or not.

    It seems APC has already touched the tiger by the tail and should seriously watch out for possible backlash. My honest advice to President Buhari, as always, is not to listen to those goading him on and telling him he can win all battles. I will borrow him a Yoruba proverb: “bi adete ko le fun wara, o le danu!” (if the leper cannot milk the cow, he can spill the ready milk!). President Buhari should remember the conspiracy that ruined PDP and eventually catapulted President Goodluck Jonathan out of power. If we don’t know where we are going, we should remember where we are coming from.  


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  • Is there still any right thinking Nigerian obsessed with APC,PDP and other Kangaroo political parties? - Tony Ejiofor

    02/Dec/2016 // 287 Viewers

     

    I hear cries of hunger and hopelessness from Nigeria everyday caused by these Kangaroo political parties and their Kangaroo elected Public officials from the federal through the States to the Local Government Development Areas.

    I hear of graduates of Universities and colleges whose counterparts in Europe and America are celebrated Middle and Upper Middle Class jobless and not better than beggers on the streets.

    I hear that the people count only for votes after which they are forgotten by the very kangaroo political elite they had trusted with their votes for good and better lives.

    I hear that Oil rich Nigeria in this 21st century has broken electricity infrastructure and 99% of the population live in pitch darkness and these Kangaroo political parties and their elected officials are busy scrambling under pretentious promises for the little that is left of Nigeria.

    I imagine that brooms and umbrellas are not ranked among great property in human wealth barometer.

    Their use as symbols by these Kangaroo political parties signify misery and exploitation of the vulnerable 99% of Nigeria's estimated 180 million population .

    What I think should concern NIGERIANS now are not demeaning symbols of Brooms and China made umbrellas but breaking the yoke of Kangaroo politicians and governments around their necks,wrists and ankles.
    They are bullied and denied God given freedom of speech in their own country by their own people.

    I begin to wonder what sort of joy electing a President,Governor,Legislator and a councilman elucidates today among 99% archived NIGERIANS.

    There is visibly nothing to rejoice about the Nigerian political class and their Kangaroo governments.

    History acknowledges that today's prosperous nations of Europe, Greater Asia and America once were caged by Kangaroo leaderships but it took the people's resolve to say ENOUGH to set themselves free and reach their dreams.

    University education is not cheap anywhere in the world. I can hypothetically figure out that Nigeria has more University educated citizens than most countries in Europe.

    I sit up every night in far away America where utilities of life like water and electricity are taking for granted everyday and wonder what still makes the caged in Nigeria hallucinate in inexplicable euphoria on the Kangaroo Political parties and leadership that keep them PAUPERIZED and HUNGRY in a country richly blessed with natural resources.

    It is a weird mindset that in Psychiatry will be explained as Dementia.


    Tony Ejoifor wrote from Cleveland, Ohio, USA


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  • Edo Decides 2016: The day the broom failed

    02/Sep/2016 // 1319 Viewers

     

    It is a common knowledge that name in the life of man has a great importance and significance - and maybe shapes the existence of man on earth. 

    Some traditions believe that name-giving is divine and any attempt to fail in giving a befitting name to a child has fatal consequences. 

    This also applies to the bible, upon baptism a person's name is changed for good and on several occasions in the bible, names were changed either to fit the responsibility the person is assigned or the circumstances surrounding the purpose of the name change.  So it is with other religion on earth.  

    Those with traditional inclination also agree to the importance of name-giving and the royal family is not exempted as the Oba gets a new name prior to his ascension to the throne.  The socio-cultural and sentimental attachment to name cannot be over emphasized in the journey of man on earth. 

    Let me narrow my narration to logos, symbols or slogans that represent the image of companies, associations, political parties, schools etc. No wonder logos or symbols  are patented and there are experts in this area that suggest to corporate bodies how their logos should look like so that it can reflect the   Interest, purpose and what they represent. 

    For example, anybody that sees the five interlocking rings knows that it represents sports or Olympic Games, so it is with coca-cola, Adidas and many more even without names, people easily identify the product, company, group or association.  

    The registered political parties in Nigeria have their identifications and they jealously guide and respect symbols that reflect their personality.  The All Progressives Congress has the "broom" as their identity and wherever they go, they brandish their brooms as a sign of allegiance. 

    The People's Democratic Party has "umbrella" as their symbol and identity,  and when asked,  they can at all times explain the emergence of the umbrella as their identity and what it means.  And so it is with all other political parties. 

    But what prompted this write-up was borne out of the picture I saw on one social media.  The APC candidate, Mr. Godwin Obaseki and other members of his party or supporters were seriously drenched as a result of the downpour of rain. And what came to my mind was why did any of his supporters fail to help him with an umbrella, because such gesture is common to personalities of his kind.
     
    On second thoughts I concluded that it will be an egregious error if an umbrella is put over his head because by inference it will amount to representing the PDP.  But, the question is; why did the party not take the broom symbol into consideration when they agreed to use it as their identity and symbol?  Knowing full well that campaigns are done publicly and even during the raining season. 

    This brings to mind the need to have the presence of mind in taking some decisions so that in the long run it will not have any adverse consequences. 

    Mr. Godwin Obaseki allowed himself to be drenched  all in an attempt  to show to the people that he is "down to earth" by feigning "holier than thou" attitude. 

    Nevertheless, those with discerning minds knows that the reason behind his action was to completely avoid the use of umbrella that represents his opponent from the PDP irrespective of the fact that those on board with him were oblivious of his ulterior motive  - and they suffered  for pride sake. 
     
    Iredia Osakue, JP , Founder, Edo State Patriots, Italy Chapter,  a political analyst and public commentator on national and global issues  wrote from Benin City, Nigeria.


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  • Oshiomhole 's Insensitivity To Workers And His Dance Of Mockery.

    03/Aug/2016 // 762 Viewers

     

    Does Edo state actually have a functioning government?  This question could be answered in a manifold. But for the purpose of this write-up, let me narrow it to the present happenings in the state under the watch of the Emperor. 

    The salaries of workers for more than eight months are unpaid and there is no hope in sight, yet the governor has the effrontery to be all and about dancing "surugede" during campaigns in an attempt to paint a good picture of the present situation in the state or perhaps undaunted with the sufferings of the workers who go out everyday to perform their duties in the hope that at the end of the month, they will have reasons to be happy and provide for their families. Common sense demands that  the priority of any government is to cater for the welfare of workers, pensioners and the well-being of the people, but what we see in Edo state is the height of callousness, indifference and utter abandonment. 

    The big question is: Where are we going as a people? One would have expected that the money  lavished on  propaganda and calumny of calumny for the emergence of  the chairman of the Economic Team, Godwin Obaseki to emerge as the governor of the state would have helped offset payments of some months of workers salary. That cannot be because they will surely say that the state's penny is not involved in the campaign.  Only time will tell! 

    Chairman Economic Team my foot! What has he been able to do with his "wealth of experience" as his apologists' claim? He has only succeeded in plunging the state into a total mess and collapse. If the state cannot guarantee the prompt payment of salaries of the existing workers, what is the fate of the jobless and students who strive everyday to study in the hope of being absorbed into work-force and inject their experience into the development of the state? The present situation is preposterous and alarming!  I want you to agree with me that the state needs a "Saviour"

    Nevertheless, it is obvious that he cannot pay owing to the fact that the bulk of the state's IGR is in the hands of his political pals and "godsons." No wonder they are growing fatter and the workers who constitute the bulk of voters are growing thinner by the day. What a paradox!

    Sometime ago, the Comrade Governor tongue lashed a widow, " to go and die"  because she sold her wares on the prohibited area.   The woman was despised and relegated simply because she was a "petty trader."  Oh dignity of labour, where art thou? It took the intervention of the good people of the state before the former labour activist  apologised  but not without pointing fingers to the opposition. When will the governor be contrite and come out clean to sincerely admit his fault?  

    Just today, local government workers and others came out, out of frustration to remind the governor through protest since he has refused to listen to their passionate plea, for their salary arrears. In the course of the manifestation a worker slumped and died. The probable cause of death, I believe, will be attributed to hunger when the autopsy is conducted. Verily! Verily!! I tell you, his salaries will not be paid to the family and even if it is done, it will take the grace of God. 

    As usual, instead of dealing with the fact in issue, all arrows of accusation about the workers protect will be pointed at Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.  They will even say that he wrote the placards, some will say that they started the movement from his house and many will say, I heard them discussing it in a hide out and POI was there. 

    I believe by now, no one can be misled because the truth is there and evident: the state is stagnated, salaries unpaid, workers dying with  every passing day, yet the same government preaches "continuity."   The sufferings and plight Of the people have reached  an alarming crescendo and it is time to make a true change.  A change that will endure the test of time and bring succor to the people. 

    On this note, vote for Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu for a better Edo state. 


    Iredia Osakue, JP is  a Turin-based political analyst, social critic and public commentator on national and global issues.


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  • Ondo State Election and the Politics of Vote Buying - Akintokunbo A. Adejumo

    03/Dec/2016 // 369 Viewers

     

    The Nigerian political mindset and landscape are changing, the problem is whether it is for the better or for worse. This is evident in the recently concluded Ondo State gubernatorial elections. But please, do not let us be lulled or deluded into thinking all was well a hundred, or even eighty percent with that election. Far from it!

    But first, we must commend the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for seemingly getting it right this time and doing a very good job considering the intimidating circumstance and the outgoing Ondo State Governor Olusegun Mimiko for his maturity in congratulating the victor and all the candidates for displaying rare sportsmanship in the history of Nigeria elections.

    Prior to the election, at each of the parties’ Primaries, we saw some desperation on the parts of the contestants; do-or-die politics; nasty name-callings and abuses; money-politics, and of course, the usual Nigerian political pastime and speculation of fanning embers of disunity within the parties.

    It would serve the observers well to come out and tell us the election was free and fair (I seriously doubt this is any Nigerian election, as of now), peaceful (yes, apparently, I did not hear of thuggery, ballot snatching, intimidation, beatings, cutlass, and gun attacks, etc.) and smooth (all seemed to go well)

    But we all know the hindering that the PDP candidate went through before he eventually got the ticket to contest, just mere days before the elections. This, let’s be fair, must have greatly impacted on the performance of his party and the final results he got, as he had barely any time to campaign like the rest of his co-contestants. And what or who do we blame? First, his party, which was riven apart by the two factions with incessant court appearances and unintelligible and varying court orders. Secondly, the justice system of this country, which has once again proven its incompetence, bias and corruption.

    Not a pretty sight or thought!

    But my concern, despite all the above virtues of a peaceful, so-called, or doubtful free and fair election, is the money politics. The rampant and open buying and selling of votes by agents of the parties, with the main offenders being the PDP that currently controls the state and the APC that is in power at the federal level. Rumour abound that even the winning candidate’s party was “spreading” so much money around to buy votes, it was mind-boggling. With this, I cannot but show my disappointment and disenchantment with Barrister Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, (alias Aketi) the governor-elect, and his political party, the APC, assuming (and of course he will do a disavowal, if asked) that he knew what was going on – the blatant and open buying of votes.

    Incidentally, the noted, respected, and debonair Barrister was at my church in Ibadan, two Sundays before the election as the Distinguished Guest of Honour (and he deserves this honour a hundred percent) of the Church’s Harvest Thanksgiving Service. He made every attempt to attend, and though he came a bit late, the congregation used the opportunity to pray for his success at the polls. In fact, our Venerable Reverend was of the belief that Aketi has already won the election. I prayed for him too and believe he would win.

    Now, for me, and for many other sincere and discerning Nigerians, we should not see this election as a victory for democracy alone; we should learn lessons from it, and improve on it. Again, I will not subscribe to the general trance that the election was not flawed. It was! The suspicion that money was used to buy votes (allegedly, but we all know this was true) has besmirched the result of the elections in my mind and eyes. I cannot accept that the election was not flawed with vote-buying accusations and rumours flying about.

    Financing politics is a good investment in Nigeria. Once a godfather elects his protégée, return is guaranteed. Corruption in financing politics in the country permeates every level of the government and takes many forms. It is no wonder then that political parties are among the three most corrupt institutions, according to governance surveys in Nigeria. However, the problem has not yet received deserved attention.

    Take money out Nigerian politics (before your slam me, yes, I know, even the United States elections consume a lot of money, but we all know there is a difference in the way election funds are used, regulated, and accounted for in that country) and what you have are great, conscientious, sincere, honest, and good leaders at all cadres or levels of government and the society emerging at every election, which will be truly free and fair. It is then that Nigerians will truly enjoy what we like to term as “dividends of democracy”.

    In a society, such as ours, submersed and immobilised by greed, selfishness, deceit, deception, fraud and corruption, this venture of regulating and accounting for election funding might sound very optimistic and impossible, but as with everything, all it takes is a little bit of altruism and sincerity of purpose from our leaders and of course, awareness, watchfulness, speaking-out, resistance and protection by the general public and society, .

    The poverty, ignorance and dispirit in the land are so considerable, and have constituted a formidable barrier to any positive thinking and action from all sections of the society, as well as a daunting barrier to good leadership and good governance.

    With such an environment, lies in wait unscrupulous and evil opportunists and political jobbers who emerge, crawling out of the woodwork, virtually unchallenged at every electoral exercise, brandishing wads of money and pretending to love their people, by spending money they have stolen from the people in the first place. In Ekiti State, a new term for this emerged – stomach infrastructure.

    The result is the scuppering of the ideals of democracy, political evolvement, and good governance. When this happens, of course, as we are now seeing, feeling, and experiencing, it is bad news, very bad news for the people/masses – the people, the society, the country suffers.

    Any reward given to a person for voting in a particular way or for not voting can be called vote buying. Vote buying is a corrupt election practice. A vote buying bribe is that having a monetary value. The practice of vote buying is banned in most democratic countries. Vote buying is a threat to the conduct of fair elections. Vote buying is an offence when a person knowingly or wilfully gives false information or conspires with another individual for the purpose of encouraging his false registration to vote or illegal voting, or pays or offers to pay or accepts payment either for registration to vote or for voting.

    Vote buying is an electoral fraud, it is an electoral malpractice, electoral corruption and election manipulation, or vote rigging and is illegal interference with the process of an election.

    Since 1999’s new democratic dispensation in Nigeria (I will leave out 1979 for now), we have had a political campaign finance system that is corrupt and increasingly controlled by stolen money and godfathers, and I fear very much that, in fact, government of the people, by the people, and for the people is really not being practiced in Nigeria.

    We cannot allow that to continue to happen. When scrutinised critically, those who were buying the votes did so in their pursuit for such power and wealth that would come their way once they enter government. This is the only logical conclusion; what else? And why do they want to enter government? To loot the treasury.
    Let’s be truthful and admit it: this is a political system in which a handful of opportunists and special interests will determine who gets elected or who does not get elected. That is not what democracy is supposed to be about.

    Getting unwanted, looted and free money out of politics is vital, if we truly want a democratic country that will be beneficial to “all of us, and not some of them” but much more needs to be done to sustain our democracy.  Notably, we must ensure that all Nigerians are guaranteed an effective right to vote, and their votes MUST count. A nation in which all people, regardless of their income, can participate in the political process, can run for office without begging for gifts from some political godfathers.
    We need to get money out of politics and restore our democracy to combat a corrupted political system controlled by rich crooks, thugs and special interests, whose only interests are themselves and what they will gain from the system.

    There is no doubt that money politics and vote buying have serious threats to democratic governance in Nigeria. To combat this resonating threat, electoral and other institutional reforms should be effective, and this can only be done by our elected officials, if they are sincere enough. Anti-corruption, intelligence, and law enforcement agencies as well as electoral authorities need to work together with banks and other financial institutions to monitor the movement of cash before and during elections. 

    It is also essential that we change and imbibe a culture of democratic citizenship that begins with an electorate ready to insist on credible and transparent elections. Voters, and in this case, the poor suffering Nigerian masses, should be useful adequately to engage and transplant moral oppositions to vote buying.
    Tell the Truth always!!!

    Akintokunbo A Adejumo wrote from London, United Kingdom.


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  • *5 Ways to Deal with Online Trolls*

    04/Apr/2016 // 216 Viewers

     

    The internet has its limitations despite all its advantages, one of which are the presence of online trolls whose responsibility is to target others by posting abusive, threatening, rude and hateful messages. They are simply out to ridicule others  and they can be very frustrating.

    It's therefore, becomes ever more important to deal with because they will not go away. Jovago.com, Africa's No 1 hotel <http://www.jovago.com/> booking portal shares several tips on how to deal with them.

    [image: Internet-Troll]

    *Ignore them  *

    This is perhaps the smartest way to deal with online troll; ignore them. If you ignore them, they will not have the opportunity of achieving their desires which is to make you feel bad. So, do not give them that
    satisfaction.

    *Expose or block them*

    Online trolls thrive on bullying others. You will think they have got
    nothing else doing but to close-mark other people like a defender does to a striker. You tweet or post pictures on Instagram, they respond with rude remarks. At this point, you do not need to ignore them, you can expose them to your followers. If you like, you can block them!

    *Fight back with facts*

    Online trolls are good at one thing, they rarely make mistakes. They can go to any length to embarrass you especially when you do not get your facts right. But if you do, they can only do as much.

    [image: troll-FI-940x500px]

    *You may stop  show-off online*

    The trend online is for Nigerian celebrities to show off their latest cars, house, shoe closet, money and designer bag. You have a right to show off these things but there are people online that question why you are displaying your wealth online.  If you do not want pesky trolls on your  case, maybe you should stop the online extravagance.  For example, online trolls took popular blogger, Linda Ikeji to the cleaners for posting a look-alike Hermes bag. The online troll went as far to proof that the bag is counterfeit. Ikeji had to pull the picture on Instagram.

    *Employ humor*

    There have been circumstances whereby some people deleted their social
    media account because to excessive taunting by online trolls. The trolls
    will be happy kicking you off social media. However, if you take it lightly and respond with humor, the troll will may move on to others. But if you respond the same, you have opened the floodgate to trolling!

     

    Ogunfowoke Adeniyi
    *Travel/Technology Writer*

    *Mobile:* *+2348090747241*   *Skype:* *Sleeksavvy*


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  • Edo Decides 2016: POI's Perseverance - The People's Dividend.

    04/Jul/2016 // 680 Viewers

     

    *Edo Decides 2016:  POI's Perseverance - The People's Dividend. 

    A journey of a thousand miles, they say, begins with a single step. It is noteworthy to quickly point that my angle in this piece is to dwell on "step." The steps taken in an adventure determines the result and any attempt to teeter could be fatal. In the life of man, some choose to take bold steps, while some weak steps. The latter is perhaps because of uncertainty, fear of the strange and the unknown. 

    In every sphere of life, fear plays the devil and oftentimes leaves a catastrophic imprint that takes a lifetime to forget, either by commission or omission.

    Therefore, surmounting the psychological barrier of fear is an inevitable responsibility that must be addressed. 

    Unfortunately, the small minds find it very difficult to address or square up with fear. These class of people even fear their shadows. To allay themselves of fear, they embark on a sinful journey. They become paranoid and agitated. They  throw caution into the air and commit abominable blunders. As they sink in a quicksand, they try to drag other innocent ones along with them.  This is the evil of fear! 

    As Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu plans to flags off his campaign, the lily-livered  Comrade has not slept nor rest.  He has been running from pillar to post devising ignoble plans to thwart the event because fear is at play. 

    In spite of the machinations  of the twisted mind, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu has remained steadfast, fearless and committed.  His interest and burning desire to truly serve his people have over time never waned but  rather energized and encouraged with the challenges.  This is when fear is defeated!

    To his teeming fans, well-wishers, and friends, the time has come  to say no to oppression, repression, and intimidation; the time to say no to maladministration has come; the time to call it a day with mismanagement has come; the time to say good riddance to bad rubbish is now. 

    The time to talk about the future is now and with Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu is SURE.

    Therefore, be encouraged with his SIMPLE AGENDA. It is a GUIDE to Edo state of our dream.

    Iredia Osakue JP, a Turin-based scholar, political analyst and public commentator on current affairs. 


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  • Top 4 Social media scams to avoid

    04/May/2016 // 257 Viewers

     

    Social media rules the world. It is the new tech addiction that many young people cannot do without as they spend hours viewing, reading and posting content via the internet. This underscores the importance of social media in today's world. As the use of social media rises, there are others out there who are using it to swindle and scam unsuspecting users. In order not to fall for these scams, Jovago.com, Africa's No.1 hotel  booking portal reveals some of these scams.  

    Fake customer service account

    Brands and corporate organizations are now on social media as such, it has become possible to resolve complaints and get a quick response to questions on social media. Some of these accounts representing corporate institutions are verified while others are not. Hence, the possibility of chatting with a parody customer service handle is high. If you are getting an unsatisfactory response, you should  contact their official helpline.

    Comments on popular posts or articles

    A particular post or article may generate sizeable comments. And among the comments, you will notice some links directing you to other websites. These links lure you to websites that are either unsafe or offering scandalous services so it is better to ignore such links.

    scam

     

    False online discounts

    The false discounts are too fantastic to be true. It is not surprising because it is coming from a parody customer service account. They are not legitimate and you can lose your personal information if you fall for it because you will be asked to fill out forms that require your personal information.

    Online surveys and polls

    The rule of thumb is ‘if you do not trust the website, do not visit it’. One of the easiest ways to have your  personal information stolen is via online survey and polls. Most fraudulent hackers often tweet or post a dangerous link urging users to complete forms for a survey. You can fill the forms but do not give out information like credit card details.

    Avoid live streaming videos

    This is another way of scamming people on social media as more media companies start streaming their shows and movies online. But these links they share on social media lead to fake websites which only ask for data of visitors.

     
     
    Ogunfowoke Adeniyi
    Travel/Technology Writer
     
    Mobile: +2348090747241   Skype: Sleeksavvy


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  • Buhari doesn’t have the capacity to fix Nigeria

    05/Feb/2017 // 769 Viewers

     

    “The last 20 months have not witnessed any significant changes in the national economy. Contrary to expectations, we have so far been subjected to a steady deterioration in the general standard of living; and intolerable suffering by ordinary Nigerians have risen higher, scarcity of commodities has increased…. Unemployment has stretched to critical dimensions.”

    The above quote was an excerpt from the inaugural broadcast as military president of then Major General Ibrahim Babangida, justifying the August 27, 1985 coup that ousted his then friend and comrade-in-arms, Major General Muhammadu Buhari. Over the years, Buhari had disputed the real reason for his overthrow, attributing it to his investigation and indictment of some top military officers involved in import licence fraud. Whoever was the purveyor of truth between Buhari and Babangida is not the subject of this article. For the purpose of this piece, what is important was Babangida’s analysis of the person of Buhari, and the administration he ran for 20 months. I will lift some excerpts from Babangida’s scorecard of Buhari’s first coming some 32 years ago and place these within the context of today’s realities, starting from the opening quote above.

    By a stroke of interesting coincidence, it’s been 20 months since Buhari was sworn in as president, after leading a coalition of opposition politicians in the All Progressives Congress (APC) to defeat the then ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan. At the inception of the Buhari administration, expectations were indeed really high just as there were celebrations when Buhari sacked the Shehu Shagari administration on December 31, 1983. Twenty months on, however, have there been any significant changes in the national economy? Of course, but for the worse! The unemployment situation is more than critical; companies that have not closed down are finding it difficult to pay salaries, as most states and local governments. The deterioration in the standard of living of the people is horrendous – inflation is close to 20%, power outages have never been this intolerable, workers have difficulty paying their house rents, millions are living in hunger and deprivation. With the unendurable exchange rate regime, it would be little surprise if Nigerians were soon forced to deal with scarcity of commodities, or queue for essential ones, as happened during Buhari’s first coming in 1984.

    “Regrettably, it turned out that Major General Muhammadu Buhari was too rigid and uncompromising in his attitudes to issues of national significance. Efforts to make him understand that a diverse polity like Nigeria required recognition and appreciation of differences in both cultural and individual perceptions only served to aggravate these attitudes.”

    Despite the 30-year gap, Buhari in his second coming appeared to have planted his governance principles on the template of his first. If those principles failed the nation woefully in 1984, they are even far less likely to work in today’s much-changed world. The economy has gone down south not so much because of the oil price crash long predicted since the last quarter of 2014, important though that was, but more crucially because of the Buhari administration’s monetary and fiscal policy choices. And when those choices failed to bring desired results, the administration kept charging in one direction like a blind bull, ignoring the suggestions of well-meaning individuals and regarding every criticism as enemy action. Indeed, in its management of the economy, the administration has been an insufferable bully focused on driving on a one-dimensional track, believing it has answers to all the problems (even as the situation worsens) while dismissing suggestions from Nigerians who know better. The administration’s unbearable arrogance is also reflected in other areas outside of the economy.

    It is there in the insularity in appointments, and glaring imbalances therein that do not reflect the nation’s ethnic and religious diversities, and violate all constitutional safeguards. It is there in the seeming soft handling of the rampaging Fulani herdsmen compared to the tough stance against the Niger Delta militants and IPBO campaigners. It is there in the pervasive perception that the anti-graft battle has been no more than a persecution of the leaders of the PDP. It is also there in the strong-arm tactics the DSS has resorted to in making arrests of a political nature as against the polite invitation, which democratic norms demand, and which the security agency has mastered since the nation’s return to civil rule. For every complaint and criticism, the administration has dug in its teeth into the very wrong it was accused of perpetrating.

    “While the government recognizes the bitterness created by the irresponsible excesses of the politicians, we consider it unfortunate that methods of such nature as to cause more bitterness were applied to deal with past misdeeds. We must never allow ourselves to lose our sense of natural justice. …. The guilty should be punished only as a lesson for the future.”

    As it was in the second republic when the politicians behaved mostly irresponsibly, so it has been since the return to the present civil democratic rule in May 1999. The rascally mismanagement of public funds under Jonathan was particularly disturbing. The Buhari administration has in the last 20 months, however, devoted a disproportionate amount of energy pursuing vengeance rather than justice, natural or legal. Just as in his first coming when some deposed state governors were convicted and jailed for 100 years, and those the military tribunals had no evidence to convict were detained sine die under Decree 2, Buhari in his second coming has fallen back on a similar template, hounding his opponents, and getting his pound of flesh for past wrongs, in the guise of anti-graft war. The only politicians with corruption allegations against them have been those in the former ruling PDP.

    The observance of due process, in bringing those allegedly corrupt politicians to justice, has more often than not been in the breach. The government has for instance ignored repeated court orders to release, on bail, former NSA Sambo Dasuki. Shiite leader Ibrahim El-Zakzaki has been detained for months despite a high court order for his release. Some PDP politicians released on bail were rearrested and slammed with some other charges. Yet there have been no attempts to investigate corruption allegations against politicians in the ruling APC. And SGF Babachir Lawal, indicted by the Senate for fraudulent contract awards, was dismissively cleared of any wrongdoing. The administration’s blind pursuit of justice, no vengeance, its uneven-handedness, its cavalier disregard for judicial process, and its manifest persecution of political opponents have deepened, rather than heal, the bitterness in the polity; widened, rather than mend, the nation’s fault lines.

    “The Nigerian public has been made to believe that the slow pace of action of the federal government … was due to the enormity of the problems left by the last civilian administration. Although it is true a lot of problems were left behind by the last civilian government, the real reason, however, for the very slow pace of action was due to the lack of unanimity of purpose among (members of) the ruling body; subsequently the business of governance has gradually been subjected to ill-motivated power play considerations.”

    The above excerpt was not from Babangida’s inaugural broadcast but from the coup speech of then Major General Joshua Dogonyaro, announcing the termination of the Buhari military regime on August 27, 1985. As in his first coming in 1984, Buhari today has been slow, very slow, in decision-making and implementation. On inauguration May 29, 2015 it took more than six months for the president to constitute his cabinet.

    Almost two years on, envoys have not been deployed to represent the country abroad, and critical government agencies have no boards. Whenever the administration was accused of being unduly slow, Buhari was wont to put the blame on his immediate predecessor. Indeed for more than one year, Buhari’s singsong was either that the Jonathan administration, or 16 years of PDP, destroyed Nigeria. Like a broken record, Buhari and his aides repeatedly bandied Jonathan, or the PDP, as an excuse for the administration’s slow inaction or policy failure, even when around the president were erstwhile strongmen of that party. It was of course obvious that there was “the lack of unanimity of purpose” in the ruling party and that “ill-motivated power play considerations” impacted negatively on the business of governance.

    Remember the politics surrounding the election of the National Assembly principal officers and how the presidency and APC became upset with the emergence of Bukola Saraki as Senate president and Yakubu Dogara as House speaker. Remember how Saraki’s arraignment for false declaration of assets at the Code of Conduct Tribunal was believed to be the fallout of his election as senate president in spite of the party’s support for another candidate. Remember how senators made an unseemly spectacle of themselves by following Saraki to the courtroom and abandoning their parliamentary duties in the process.

    Remember the different political underhand tactics to minimize the reach and influence of APC leader Bola Tinubu and cut him down to size. There were at different times “ill-motivated power play considerations” involving presidency officials and party executives against the senate leadership, presidency officials and party executives against Tinubu, the senate leadership against Tinubu, some governors and ministers against Tinubu, and some ministers against some other ministers.

    “… the initial objectives and programmes of action, which were meant to have been implemented since the ascension to power of the Buhari administration, have been betrayed and discarded.”

    Place the above concluding excerpts, also from Dogonyaro’s coup speech, against the implementation, or lack of it, of APC’s campaign promises. Azuka Onwuka, writing in Punch, adumbrated the party’s unimplemented presidential campaign promises thus: entrenchment of true federalism with a national conference to restructure Nigeria along the lines of devolution of power, fiscal federalism, state police, etc.; exchange rate parity between naira and dollar; scrapping of the Office of First Lady; reduction in the presidential fleet from over 10 aircraft to one; drastic reduction in presidential foreign trips; and fighting corruption without fear or favour, among others. A few of these promises have been implemented without being implemented, and others discarded.

    On the strength of his performance in office in the last 20 months, there is no question that Buhari is very weak on the economy, and does not have the capacity to fix Nigeria. His failure is our collective failure to critically evaluate the abilities of candidates for elective offices based on their background, achievements, knowledge, and emotional intelligence. We all, politicians and electorate alike, were blinded by the failings of the Jonathan administration to have accepted just anybody to occupy that office.

    That was the only reason why a Buhari could have been elected president, despite his provincialism; his failure to broaden his social and political network; his refusal, since he was sacked as military leader, to acquire fresh knowledge and develop himself intellectually; and his politics of intolerance and exclusion for the 12-year period he contested and failed to win the presidential election. To what may end up our eternal regret, we allowed the APC to con us with an old tasteless wine in new bottle as Buhari, dressed in borrowed robes of ‘Change’, rode to power on the train of party promises he neither believed in, nor had any intention of implementing. “History repeats itself”, wrote Karl Mark in an essay originally published in a German monthly magazine Die Revolution (1852), “the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.”

    This article first appeared on THISDAY


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