• BIAFRA: The missing link

    14/Mar/2017 // 460 Viewers

     

    THE Biafran struggle is a legitimate one. This has been attested to by both foreign and Nigerian commentators. The attempt to muzzle it by force will only escalate the situation and even cause the Nigerian government more embarrassment. The people have a genuine right to determine who they want to associate and live together with as a nation. When you suppress justice, you only postpone the evil day.

    Nnamdi Kanu is today a hero to his people because the Federal government caused it to happen that way. He has become a hero of the cult-like status and there is nothing anyone can do to suppress the growing sentiment. I hope those in authority have wizened up.

    All over the world, people now want to determine how they are governed – Spain, UK and many other places. Dialogue under very peaceful and conducive atmosphere is what gives the desired result. So far, the case of Biafra should follow that option. The Igbo ethnic group inhabit all parts of Nigeria, In fact, there is a saying, that “if you arrive  in any town and do not find an Igbo man there, take your bag and run away”. Since they are found across Nigeria, I doubt if all of them will choose the option of a new Biafran nation, that is if a clear referendum is held on the issue. That again, is left for the federal government to decide.

    We have always known that a strong and united Nigeria, with one focus and goal, will be a great force in the comity of nations and an envy of other powers but, that is not enough to enforce an unworkable association. So far, in reality, it is becoming increasingly difficult to effect a one and united Nigerian nation. I believe we can only achieve this if the government subject the choice to a true referendum, involving the people. If the people are allowed to decide fairly, through their individual vote, they are bound to respect the outcome of the referendum. But this is not the focus of this piece.

    Although I empathise with the philosophies of the Biafran agitators, I have come to the conclusion that, they will not be able to achieve their goal of a Biafran nation if their mode of operations continue this way. I came to this conclusion after closely examining their methods, it is like history repeating itself. An analysis of the Biafran war of the sixties will help buttress the point that I am making here. The eastern region of 1960 covers the whole of present day South east and South south states except Delta and Edo.

    The Biafra war was a culmination of genocidal tendencies against the Igbos and people of the south by extreme elements in the northern part of Nigeria but the manner Odumegwu Ojukwu responded was not in tandem with other tribes of the south south. Although he had such people like Colonel Effiong in his team, the south south did not fully support the Biafrans in the war and this is because, Ojukwu did not carry out effective/meaningful consultations with his neighbours and fellow south south brothers. The Aburi documents revealed that, then Col. David Ejoor, a South south officer, told the body that: “we want to see our commander in chief”, at a time nobody knew where Aguiyi Ironsi, the assassinated head of state  was. That kind of person should have been courted properly to join the struggle, instead, they chose to go it alone, believing in their superior strength over their neighbours. Under that superior and arrogant stance that the Igbos have been accused of till today, they embarked on that expedition and the rest is  history.

    When the Biafrans invaded the then Mid west region, present day Edo and Delta states, the military governor of the state, then Col. David Ejoor, was forced to run away from Benin to Lagos to take refuge. The story then was that he rode on a bicycle from Benin to Lagos. You cannot force a people into a relationship that they do not desire. As a result of the Biafran actions, the South south turned their back on the Biafran cause  and helped the federal troops gain foothold on the Biafran territories through the creeks and hinterlands. If the Igbos and the minority South south tribes had been united in the Biafran course, the outcome of the civil war would have been different.

    The Igbos saw the South south minority tribes as inconsequential and as a people they can over ride and that was their greatest undoing. When the Igbos,  they  were surprised at the hostility shown to them by their fellow Igbo speaking Ikwerres of Port Harcourt city. Till date, Igbo abandoned properties have not been returned to their original owners like it happened elsewhere.

    For me that was where Biafra lost it in the sixties and they have started the same way again. A close look at the Biafra map  currently in circulation have states like Edo, Delta, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, part of Ondo and even Benue and Kogi as Biafra land. Biafrans want these people to be part of  them,yet no line of dialogue  has been initiated  with these states or their consent sought for. Everything been done is in the realm of   assumption.  No decision on how the proposed nation is to run and how the resources are to be managed. This is very wrong.

    If the Igbo nation refuses to properly carry along the minority South south in their fight for a Biafran nation, I am afraid their aspiration will certainly be a  mountain, too high to climb. To begin with, let us test this with an open referendum.

    Mr.  Sunny Ikhioya.  www. southsouthecho.com Twitter: @SunnyIkhioya

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  • Who governs Nigeria?, By Dr Reuben Abati

    15/Apr/2016 // 526 Viewers

     

    During the Jonathan administration, an outspoken opposition spokesperson had argued that Nigeria was on auto-pilot, a phrase that was gleefully even if ignorantly echoed by an excitable opposition crowd. Deeper reflection should have made it clear even to the unthinking that there is no way any country can ever be on auto-pilot, for there are many levels of governance, all working together and cross-influencing each other to determine the structure of inputs and outcomes in society. To say that a country is on auto-pilot is to assume wrongly that the only centre of governance that exists is the official corridor, whereas governance is far more complex. The question should be asked, now as then: who is governing Nigeria? Who is running the country? Why do we blame government alone for our woes, whereas we share a collective responsibility, and some of the worst violators of the public space are not even in public office?

    The President of the country is easily the target of every criticism. This is perhaps understandable to the extent that what we have in Nigeria is the perfect equivalent of an Imperial Presidency. Whoever is President of Nigeria wields the powers of life and death, depending on how he uses those enormous powers attached to his office by the Constitution, convention and expectations. Nigeria’s President not only governs, he rules. The kind of President that emerges at any particular time can determine the fortunes of the country. It helps if the President is driven by a commitment to make a difference, but the challenge is that every President invariably becomes a prisoner.

    He has the loneliest job in the land, because he is soon taken hostage by officials and various interests, struggling to exercise aspects of Presidential power vicariously. And these officials do it right to the minutest detail: they are the ones who tell the President that he is best thing ever since the invention of toothpaste. They are the ones who will convince him as to every little detail of governance: who to meet, where to travel to, and who to suspect or suspend. The President exercises power, the officials and the partisans in the corridors exercise influence. But when things go wrong, it is the President that gets the blame. He is reminded that the buck stops at his desk.

    We should begin to worry about these dangerous officials in the system, particularly within the public service, the reckless mind readers who exploit the system for their own ends, and who walk free when the President gets all the blame. To govern properly, every government not only needs a good man at the top, but good officials who will serve the country. We are not there yet. The same civil servants who superintended over the omissions of the past 16 years are the ones still going up and down today, and it is why something has changed but nothing has changed. The reality is terrifying.

    The officials at the state levels are no different, from the governor down to the local government chairman and their staff. They hardly get as much criticism as the folks in Abuja, but they are busy every day governing Nigeria, and doing so very badly too. Local government chairmen and their officials do almost nothing. The governors also try to act as if they are Imperial Majesties. The emphasis on ceremony rather than actual performance is the bane of governance in Nigeria. Everyone seems to be obsessed with ceremony and privileges.

    A friend sent me a picture he took with the Mayor of London inside a train, in the midst of ordinary citizens and asked if that would ever happen in Nigeria. The Mayor had no bodyguards. He was on his own. In the Netherlands, the Prime Minister is a part-time lecturer in one of the local colleges. Nigerian pubic officials are often too busy to have time for normal life. Even if they want to live normally, the system also makes it impossible. We need people in government living normal lives. Leaders need not be afraid of the people they govern. They must identify with them. There is too much royalty in government circles in Nigeria. No matter how well-intentioned you may be, once you find yourself in their midst, you will soon start acting and sounding like one, because it is the only language that is spoken in those corridors.

    Elsewhere, ideas govern countries. People become leaders on the basis of ideas and they govern with ideas. That is why the average voter in Europe or North America knows that what he votes for is what he is likely to get. Clearly in the on-going Presidential nomination process in the United States, every voter knows the difference between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side and between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump on the Republican side. Such differences are often blurry in Nigeria: our politics is driven by partisan interests; a primordial desperation for power, not ideas. It is also why Nigerian politicians can belong to five different political parties and movements within a decade.

    Even when men of ideas show up in the political arena, they are quickly reminded that they are not politicians and do not understand politics. Gross anti-intellectualism is a major problem that Nigeria would have to address at some stage. Some of the administrations in the past who had brainy men and women of ideas in strategic positions ended up not using them. They were either frustrated, caged, co-opted or forced to adapt or shown the door. The question is often asked: why don’t such people walk away? The answer that is well known in official corridors is this: doing so may be a form of suicide. Once inside, you are not allowed to walk out on the Federal Government of Nigeria, and if you must, not on your own terms. So, governance fails even at that level of values: that other important element that governs progressive nations.

    Partisan interests are major factors in the governance process. These seem to be the dominant factor in Nigeria, but again, they are irresponsibly deployed. The crowd of political parties, religious groups, traditional rulers, ethnic and community associations, professional associations, pastors, priests, traditional rulers, imams and alfas, shamanists, native doctors, soothsayers and traditional healers: they all govern. They wield enormous influence. But they have never helped Nigeria and they are not helping. All the people in public offices have strong links to all these other governors of Nigeria, but what kind of morality do they discuss? Those with partisan interests, including even promoters of Non-Governmental groups (NGOs) all have one interest at heart: power and relevance.

    The same priests who saw grand visions for the PDP and its members over a 16-year period are still in business seeing visions and making predictions. Those who claim to be so powerful they can make the lame walk and the blind see have not deemed it necessary to step forward to help the NNPC turn water into petrol. If any of these miracle-delivering pastors can just turn the Lagos Lagoon alone into a river of petrol, all Nigerians will become believers, but that won’t happen because they are committed to a different version of the gospel. As for the political parties: they are all in disarray.

    The private sector also governs Nigeria. But what is the quality of governance in the corporate sector? The Nigerian corporate elite are arrogant. They claim that they create jobs so the country may prosper, but they are, in reality, a rent-seeking class. They survive on government patronage, access to the Villa and its satellites, and claims of indispensability. But without government, most private sector organisations will be in distress. The withdrawal of public funds into a Treasury Single Account is a case in point. And with President Muhammadu Buhari not readily available to the eye-service wing of the Nigerian private sector, former sycophants in the corridors are clandestinely resorting to sabotage and blackmail. A responsible private sector has a duty in society: to build society, not to donate money to politicians during elections and seek patronage thereafter. And if it must co-operate with government, it must be for much nobler reasons in the public interest.

    The military are still governing Nigeria too. They may be in the background, but their exit 16 years ago, has not quite translated into a loss of influence or presence. In the early years of their de-centering, many of them chose to join politics and replace their uniforms with traditional attires. Their original argument is that if other professionals can join politics, then a soldier should not be excluded. They failed to add that the military class in politics in Africa has shown a tendency to exercise proprietorial rights and powers, which delimit the democratic project. In Nigeria such powers and rights have been exercised consistently and mostly by, happily for us, a gerontocratic class, whose impact, I believe, will be determined by the effluxion of time.

    And it is like this: the President that emerged in 1999 was a soldier: the received opinion was that only such a strong man could stabilise the country. His successor was the brother of another old soldier; he and his Deputy were personally chosen by the departing President. He died in office, but for his Deputy to succeed him, it helped a lot that he was also a favorite of the General who chose his own successors. When this protégé fell out with the General, in retrospect now, a miscalculation, the General turned Godfather swore to remove him from office. And it happened. In 2015, another former soldier and strong man had to be brought back to office and power. When anything goes wrong, a class of old Generals is the one who steps forward to protect and guide the country. The only saving grace is that they do not yet have a successor–class of similarly influential men with military pedigree. But when their time passes, would there be equally strong civilians who can act as protectors of the nation?

    The media governs too. But the media in Nigeria today is heavily politicised, compromised and a victim of internal censorship occasioned by hubris. Can the media still save Nigeria? It is in the same pit as the Nigerian voter, foreign interests, the legislature and the judiciary. But when there is positive change at all of these centres of power and influence, only then will there be change, movement and motion, and a new Nigeria.

    Dr Reuben Abati was Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Goodluck Jonathan.

    Disclaimer: Views expressed in any piece we publish remain entirely the author's and do not reflect our editorial policy. DailyGlobeWatch shall, therefore , not be held responsible for any of its contents or any part thereof.


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  • Goodluck Jonathan was an exceptional president, Femi Aribisala

    15/Dec/2015 // 575 Viewers

     

    By Femi Aribisala
    I WALKED into the east wing of The Palms shopping center in Lekki, Lagos (popularly known as Shoprite); solely to be buttoned-holed by a person making an attempt to promote me a Honda Civic parked contained in the corridor. His gross sales pitch was that it was the primary completely assembled Honda in Nigeria; constructed utterly to Nigerian specs. For instance, in contrast to the classical Honda, the Nigeria mannequin has a excessive clearance, being aware of the potholes in Nigerian roads.
    President Goodluck Jonathan speaks throughout his go to to the Nigerian Inventory Change (NSE) in Lagos, on March 12, 2015. President Jonathan visited the Nigerian Inventory Change (NSE) on March 12, and launched a brand new on-line cellular platform, X-Gen, designed to extend native funding. The platform is targetted at growing the variety of native buyers within the nation and to allow about 30 tens of millions home buyers have entry to the market. AFP PHOTO
    I had no intention of shopping for a brand new automotive, least of all a Honda Accord.  However, I couldn’t fail to recognise that what he was touting is likely one of the many achievements of the Jonathan administration. Regardless of the Buhari administration’s day by day vilification of Jonathan, the achievements of his authorities proceed to talk for themselves.
    Jonathan put in place a coverage that offered zero import-obligation for utterly knocked down automobiles; whereas discouraging the importation of already assembled automobiles; previous or model new, by the imposition of heavy import-duties. This propelled automotive producers to arrange meeting-crops in Nigeria that present jobs for craftsmen, technicians, technologists, engineers, and different professionals throughout the worth chain. The federal government additionally made it a coverage to patronize regionally-made and assembled automobiles.
    The result is that native automotive-meeting is again in Nigeria; actually risen from the lifeless. Huge auto giants, together with Peugeot, Nissan, Volkswagen, Kia, Hyundai and apparently Honda, now both assemble, or totally manufacture, their automobiles, SUVs, vans and buses at numerous places in Nigeria.  As well as, Nigeria now has an indigenous automotive-manufacturing firm, Innoson, which isn’t solely promoting regionally however already dabbling in exports.
    Limits of  denigration
    Nowadays, probably the most discernible coverage of the brand new APC authorities is to assault all the things Jonathan.  Nevertheless, propaganda can solely masks the reality within the brief-time period.  It can’t destroy the reality within the medium to lengthy-time period.  It doesn’t matter what APC traducers say, the very fact stays that Goodluck Jonathan was an exceptional president by Nigerian requirements.
    Now’s the time to re-affirm this and to ask a extra dispassionate reappraisal of the details, away from the lies and fabrications of the election marketing campaign.  It could actually not be argued right now that anybody defending Jonathan is a PDP contractor; a favorite line of defence of Buharimaniacs.  Neither can Jonathan defenders be accused any longer of wanting to switch Reuben Abati because the president’s spokesman. “You are able to do nothing towards the reality however for the reality.”  It doesn’t matter what the APC continues to broadcast concerning the Jonathan administration, the reality can’t be silenced.
    Fashola’s gaffe: After six months of stasis, Buhari lastly unfurled his ministers in probably the most anti-climatic trend.  These lengthy-awaited saints and angels turned out to be principally Santa Claus.
    Babatunde Fashola, former governor of Lagos State, is now the minister of Energy, Works and Housing.  At his maiden information convention, tagged grandiloquently: “Setting the Agenda for Delivering Change,” the identical Fashola who spent the election marketing campaign operating down the Jonathan administration shocked his viewers by revealing that, quite than embark on new street development tasks in 2016, he would solely endeavour to construct on Jonathan’s achievements.
    Wittingly or unwittingly, Fashola gave the mislead APC propaganda that Jonathan’s years have been wasted years?  If Jonathan was as incompetent because the APC would have us consider, why might the social gathering not launch its personal superior nationwide street-constructing plan, as Buhari had promised within the heady days of the 2015 election marketing campaign?  Why depend on allegedly sub-commonplace PDP foundations?
    Equally, moderately than jettison Jonathan’s energy-sector reforms that APC derided volubly in the course of the marketing campaign, Fashola revealed that the federal government might be persevering with with them. Jonathan accomplished 10 energy-crops in Nigeria inside three years; the primary and highest of such document by any Nigerian president dwelling or lifeless. The APC had accused Jonathan of awarding the facility tasks to PDP cronies and financiers who’re incompetent and poor.  However relatively than revoke these contracts, Fashola preached continuity.  He additionally admitted that Jonathan‘s transformation within the energy sector is above 50%, and that his job can be to construct on this achievement.
     Jonathan’s transformation  agenda
    Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, additionally had the identical evaluation of Jonathan’s achievements with regard to rail transportation.  He pledged to finish all ongoing rail-restoration tasks across the nation began by Jonathan; in addition to prolong them to all elements of the nation.
    Jonathan inaugurated the Lagos-Kano rail line and the Port Harcourt-Enugu mass transit practice.  He additionally launched into the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line.  Moreover, Jonathan’s tasks embrace the Abuja-Kaduna quick practice line; the 322km Lagos-Benin Metropolis line, 500km Benin-Abakiliki line, 673km Benin-Obudu Cattle Ranch line, 615km Lagos-Abuja excessive velocity line, 520km Zaria-Birnin- Koni line, 533km Ega nyi-Otukpo and the Ega nyi-Abuja line.
    Because of Jonathan, 5 million Nigerians at the moment are carried by rail, relative to the a million earlier than he got here.  An estimated seven hundred,000 passengers are projected to experience the Abuja Mild Rail (ALR) each day.  Solely just lately, KPMG listed Nigeria’s excessive velocity rail undertaking proposed by the Jonathan administration as one of many international prime one hundred world-class infrastructures.  The rail is predicted to attach Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Warri, Bauchi, Abuja and Port Harcourt; at a price of $thirteen billion.
    For his half, Audu Ogbeh, the brand new Minister of Agriculture and Rural Improvement, didn’t even fake to have an various to Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda.  Talking on the launching of the Anchor Debtors Programme in Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State, Ogbe recommended Jonathan’s achievements in agriculture, whereas additionally praising his ministerial predecessor for the improvements he launched.
    Because of Jonathan, agriculture now accounts for 22 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP, greater than oil and fuel which solely account for 15.9 per cent.  Beneath Jonathan, Nigeria recorded a greater than 50 per cent discount in meals imports; from an import invoice of N1.four trillion to lower than N700 billion.  With the innovation of dry season rice-farming, Nigeria reached 60% self-sufficiency in rice manufacturing and have become, in line with the Meals and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the most important producer of cassava on the earth.
    Anti-corruption  hypocrisy
    Somewhat than hit the bottom operating, the in-coming Buhari administration has spent the final six months on a marketing campaign towards Jonathan and his males, as whether it is nonetheless looking for Nigerian votes.  This marketing campaign has turn out to be an alternative to coverage, resulting in the conclusion that the APC by no means actually anticipated to win the election and subsequently doesn’t know what to do now it has been declared the winner.  What the celebration did through the election marketing campaign was current pie-in-the-sky insurance policies that have been by no means meant to be carried out however have been primarily designed to reap votes.
    This accounts for the federal government’s present embarrassment with its personal social gathering manifesto and the denial of its marketing campaign guarantees.  It has even led to APC legislators being constrained to vote towards their very own coverage; the cost of N5000 month-to-month to the 25 million poorest Nigerians.  In six months, the a lot-touted change of the APC has turned out to be counterfeit.  What we have now as an alternative is a continuing barrage of media trials pertaining to the alleged corruption of the Jonathan administration.
    This anti-corruption campaign is clearly not addressed at curbing corruption.  Its main goal is to kill and bury the PDP.  Not even probably the most ardent supporters of Jonathan would insist that there was not rampant corruption underneath the PDP.  What’s unacceptable is the current authorities’s pretence that corruption in Nigeria is restricted to the PDP when, as a matter of reality, the APC is simply as corrupt, if not much more due to its blatant hypocrisy.
    The federal government’s anti-corruption campaign is already with out legitimacy as a result of it’s unashamedly partial and selective.  Allegations made towards APC workplace-holders are procedurally ignored by the federal government’s anti-corruption watchdogs.  A number of the APC chieftains accused of corruption have even been rewarded with main ministerial portfolios.  Others have been nominated as APC candidates in governorship elections.
    PDP members are labelled corrupt till they declare for the APC; then they mechanically grow to be saints.  We are supposed to consider that whereas the PDP used authorities funds to purchase favours and votes in the course of the election marketing campaign, APC managed to spend massively to dislodge the PDP from energy with out doing the identical.  The reality of the matter is that corruption shouldn’t be the unique protect of any celebration or individuals.  Corruption is endemic to the Nigerian political system.
    Selective maligning of the members of the previous authorities won’t rid Nigeria of corruption.  Neither will allegations of corruption hurriedly put collectively for the sake of public consumption, that are then thrown out by the courts.  Corruption needs to be addressed systemically and structurally.  However thus far, there’s little proof that the federal government’s anti-corruption intentions transcend the witch-searching of the Jonathan administration.
    Jonathan’s  legacies
    To the extent that the current administration might be stated to have any insurance policies after six months in workplace, they’re all legacies of the Jonathan administration.  The TSA is from Jonathan.  The flip-round upkeep of our refineries is from Jonathan.  The re-equipping of our army is from Jonathan.  The development in electrical energy is a Jonathan legacy.  However, the key insurance policies enunciated within the APC election manifesto stay primarily pipe-goals.
    Regardless of APC propaganda, Jonathan’s males maintain matching on.  Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, Jonathan’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Improvement  is now President of the Africa Improvement Financial institution (AfDB).  Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Jonathan’s Minister of Finance, and Coordinating Minister of the Financial system, is now a Senior Adviser at Lazzard; a prestigious 167 yr-previous international funding agency.  Arunma Otteh, Jonathan’s Director-Basic of the Securities and Change Commission (SEC), is now a Vice-President of the World Financial institution.
    To paraphrase Marc Antony of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: “The evil that males do lives after them; the great is oft interrèd with their bones. So let it’s with Jonathan. The noble APC hath informed you Jonathan was clueless. If it have been so, it was a grievous fault, and grievously hath Jonathan answered it.”

     

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  • The Igbo Question: A response to JIbrin Ibrahim, By Chidi Anslem Odinkalu

    15/Dec/2015 // 545 Viewers

     

     

    PARIS, DECEMBER 15, 2015: IDENTITY politics in Nigeria is very much alive, well and thriving. It’s an elite preoccupation. Dr. Jibrin Ibrahim is one of Nigeria’s most astute and reputable political scientists.

    He is a very able thought leader, civic activist and intellectual and an unlikely convert to the visceral world of Nigeria’s rent politics of identities and “tribes”. That is why his recent article on the “Igbo Question” merits attention and deserves a response.

    In the article, Dr. Ibrahim organises his argument around the assertion that “the Igbo elite has a strong empirical basis to read Nigerian political history as one of failure and frustration for them.” In support of this, he asserts that “after the civil war, there was a co-ordinated policy of pauperising the Igbo middle class” and “this was followed by routing the Igbos from the commanding heights of the economy”.

    According to Dr. Ibrahim, the “Igbo elite…. refused to change their narrative about the Nigerian state and today the initiative is out of their hands.” He does not necessarily say what this constant narrative is or when it began. However, the article laments that “the biggest failure of the Igbo elite is the incapacity to play the political game” and, switching from analysis to clairvoyance, concludes that “teaming up with Goodluck Jonathan produced petty rewards for a few but it rolled back the schedule for an Igbo Presidency.”

    Some people will read the article as somewhat favourable even if patronisingly so, to the “Igbo”. The declared goal of Dr. Ibrahim’s column is “Deepening Democracy”. Far from deepening democracy, however, the article stunts it. From a long-standing advocate of inclusive civics, this article corrodes coexistence and disappoints on many fronts.

    There are many flaws with both the methodology and argumentation in the article. Let me begin with the methodology. Clearly, ethnicism remains an effective organisational tool of Nigerian politics and many would argue that it is the province of political scientists to observe and analyse it. How this is done, however, matters.

    The historic methodological flaw of ethnicism is to racialise the politics of opinions and association and then homogenise them based on genes or tribal identity. That is manifestly unsustainable. Whoever the Igbo are, they are not a horde of undifferentiated morons. They’re capable of and have always had a political difference. In a democracy, tribes don’t vote; citizens do. To imprison political analysis in the mindset of homogenised tribalization, therefore, is to deny the possibility of an evolved civic capability in Nigeria generally and in the Igbo in particular.

    A related point is the convenient adaptability of deployments to which tribe and ethnicity are put in such analysis, with the effect of denying the considerable progress that Nigerians have made towards mutual co-existence. Take the case of former Kano State Governor,   Sabo Bakin Zuwo. Governor Bakin Zuwo  was Nupe.

    That would place his origins somewhere in present Niger State. But he was elected first as a Senator and then as Governor by the people of Kano. Yet, to most in Southern Nigeria, he was “Hausa” or just “Northerner”. Similarly, Kogi and Kwara states are part of the historic Northern Nigeria. So, persons from these states would be “Northerners”   but, if they are of Yoruba stock, then many would rather prefer to exclude them from “the North” by referring to them as “Yorubas” because the Yoruba are supposedly not of  the North even if millions of them are in it.

    However, when it comes to “flexing” (to use a contemporary Nigerian slang)  with demographic politics, the Yoruba of Kogi and Kwara are conveniently counted as “We North…” . By the way, Kaduna Nzeogwu was from the Mid-West (and until 1963 of the Western Region) but it was convenient in the narrative of the 1966 coup to re-create him exclusively as “Igbo”.

    Dr. Ibrahim’s article didn’t just indulge in staple homogenisations, and mutability of Nigerian ethnic politics, it also conflated race and geopolitics in its analysis. Its focus was probably on the South-East of Nigeria, but his framing was Igbo. Just as the North and Hausa or South-West and Yoruba are not the same thing,  Igbo and the South East aren’t the same.  One is a geopolitical invention; the other is an immutable racial identity. One can be reinvented; the other can’t. As with all things incapable of being changed, generalisations about tribe and race risk and invite credible accusations of bigotry.

    In reality, though, the underlying generalisation that is evident from the article arguably reflects its author’s personal views about “the Igbo”. If that is so, then this is quite troubling because it could suggest his cupboards of tribalisation in Nigeria are in gross arrears of his professed ideals.

    This leads to a more substantive problem with the article: its banalisation of politics and its commitment to the Bantustanisation of Nigeria. Dr. Ibrahim’s article speaks about the “political game” and, somewhat  hubristically, determines losers (and, therefore, winners). But, surely the question must be what winning means in Nigeria’s politics.

    In an earlier article, Dr. Ibrahim had recently written about Barewa College, the legendary High School in Katsina State that appears to hold a patent on producing Presidents and powerful people in Nigerian politics. But what have these people accomplished for Barewa, for their people or for Nigeria? All the Presidents he pointed to are from “the North”.

    But what have the peoples of this region had to show for their political musical chairs? Despite this lock on power, all the three zones and 19 States  of Northern Nigeria put together have less Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, than the six states of South-South Nigeria; the seven states of North West Nigeria (a zone that is a net importer of human resources from other parts and with nearly 30% of Nigeria’s population) together have just a little over half of the IGR of the five states of South East Nigeria which is a net exporter of  human resources to the rest of Nigeria. How can that be progress and what does that mean for politics and our notions of winning and losing?

    Speaking about the political game and how it has been banalised, the Niger Delta produced President Jonathan for five years and three months and yet the East-West Road which leads to his village remains, for the most part, a crater. The road to President Obasanjo’s house in Otta (the Abeokuta-Lagos Express Way) was, similarly, one of the worst in Nigeria under his Presidency. In this Nigerian political game, the people seem to be the football that the elites use for their kickabouts.

    I can honestly understand a claim that any people have lost out in the political game if Dr. Ibrahim or anyone could point to any verifiable legacies left by the supposed tribes of winners except the supposed Brownie Points that come from producing elites with an equal opportunity commitment to the pauperisation of all of the country. The most far reaching of such legacies have come from people who didn’t exercise federal power: Ahmadu Bello, Obafemi Awolowo and Michael Okpara.

    Nigeria deserves to be freed from the tragic consciousness in which enlightened people think that politics is about capturing power with no real benefits to the human beings who make power worth exercising. If we cannot elevate the tone of our politics or its analysis, we can, at least, decide not to continue to trivialise it.

     

    Chidi Anselm Odinkalu, a human rights lawyer, writes  from Lagos, Nigeria.

     

    Disclaimer: Views expressed in any article we publish remain entirely the author's and do not reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch


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  • How Much Is The Life Of A Nigerian Worth?

    15/Feb/2016 // 208 Viewers

    By Olawole Olakunle Moronfoluwa

    His Excellency,
    Gen. Muhammadu Buhari,
    President And Grand Commander Of The Armed Forces,
    Federal Republic Of Nigeria
    Dear Sir,
    How Much Is The Life Of A Nigerian Worth?

    If only I have had the privilege of procuring the Lapis Lazuli, I wouldn’t have hesitated in handling it out to you sir, even though I’ve only met you once, My heart melted like ice in a sunny island, I instantly froze with absolute permittivity of free space, I was overtaken by an atmosphere of terrorist attack I stood with awe and I was unable to use any of my professional prowess as you address the crowd while emphasizing on the drastic change that enveloped the Soviet Union. You are an astute man with apt attention to detail, whose presence is enough to produce a qualitythatpleases or attracts; a delightfulcharacteristic: A mischievousgrinis amongtheone of your many charms.
    Sir, since your assumption of Office as President and GCFR of this great country, your schedule has clambered with high alacrity that is duly expected of a commander-in-chief even with the mess the past administration left for you to clean up considering you never worked as a cleaner, you have traveled far and wide trying enormously to rebrand our international Image, make foreign investors troop into our shores, recover stolen or looted funds, and Place Nigeria where she belongs to amongst the league of nation. In you Nigerians see the messiah who is ready to “turn our water to wine”.
    Mr. President, as much as I pray tirelessly every morning for the success of your administration, I realized that it is eminent that I no longer pray alone but begin to take actions that would affect the changes you promised; hence I write to remind you of some crucial things that the tide of your schedule might have washed ashore.
    Sir, Please be reminded that it is a waste of time to be well respected outside our home whereas our home is in utter chaos mentally! Sir, I wish to reiterate that the mentality of the citizens of a particular country determines the pattern of growth of that country; hence the vigorous media work you did to win the 2015 general elections needs to be channeled into re-branding the mentality of the average Nigerian as that is the basis of change. The Past administrations has succeeded knowingly or unknowingly to mentally brand the average Nigerian as a Corrupt, Nonchalant, Self-centered, Uneducated, sycophantic, hooligans and all what not accrued to the highest level of negativity. Your call for change must put on the mantle of re-orientating the common Nigeria on the Value of life and the concept of human dignity as related to a man’s life.

    Mr. President if I may ask “HOW MUCH IS THE LIFE OF A NIGERIAN WORTH?”
    Sir, it would amaze you to know that an average Nigerian does not value Life, the various sector of the country is nonchalantly administered, a livid example is the Nigerian military vested with the power to protect and defend our territories against insurgency and war but whose leadership betrayed the trust of the Nigerian populace by diverting funds meant to fight insurgencies for personal use to the detriment of thousands of Nigerians who died mischievously because of some people’s mental disorder.
    Mr. President, the entire country is being administered with the wrong mentality the Police force is nothing to write home about, I personally had my hatred for the Nigerian police since my first encounter with them in 2003. An average Nigerian police does not place any value whatsoever on the life of the citizens this has led to thousands of lives and properties being lost by the citizens, some policemen go to their duty post every morning with the sole aim of doing business and making money for themselves and thereby leading to loss of life and property as a result of not placing any value on life.
    The Medical parastatals whose duties are to treat Nigerians by preventing death and any other casualties would never attend to you if your money is not complete thereby placing more value on money as regards to the human life. The Nigerian doctors go on incessant strike being aware that there are patients who need medical attention and such doctors would still retain their license.

    Mr. President let me be straight, as it is crystal clear like the biblical MENE MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN , that all the sectors of the country is badly administered with the mentality that places no value on life whatsoever the education sector is one of a kind at such; Education is the best legacy a nation can give to her citizens especially the youths. This is because the development of any nation or community depends largely on the quality of education of such a nation. It is generally believed that the basis for any true development must commence with the development of human resources, but reverse is the case as our educational setup is one of the worst administered all over the world. Students are just being siphoned without getting value for their tuition and thousands of ungradable graduated are deployed into labour market.
    Mr. President I wish to share my ideology with you sir that man’s dignity is embedded in his right to life, intrinsic in nature, accrued to man from birth to death, and that man’s dignity is an inalienable right to life. Subsequently the environment, culture and the law should be harnessed to protect such dignity as that is the essence of the existence of the law. That the Family is the homebred of genuine freedom, thus, the family should be protected by law as a unit of the society, a subset of a set duly protected by law.
    That where there is explicit and natural respect for the human person and the family, the environment would experience development in different realms which includes physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional growth.
    In bringing these ideas to life, “You have to dare to look reality in the face and take a whack at some of the long-standing privileges, “so long-standing in fact that they seem to have become normal, unquestionable.” And that’s the most daunting thing of all, because it requires a struggle with the person in the mirror.

    Sir, in saying all this it is expedient that you look into this matter with vociferous alacrity as change they say begin from within, as the president of the federation, though the task is challenging but i trust that you have the virtue to brace yourself up for this task while utilising every iota of resources within your disposal to define to every Nigerian the how priceless a Nigerian life is.Your continuous charge to the people would not only help make Nigeria a better place live and help ease your anti-corruption war.
    Finally Sir, as much as I wish to write on, let me put a stop to my Voyage by aligning you with my early morning ritual which is to ask myself this simple question, “How much is the life of a Nigerian worth”! This question prepares my heart for my day-to-day interaction with people and my relationship with the environment. Sir, I hope you find it important to always ask yourself that question and you influence the entire Nigerian populace to do the same.

    I strongly hope that with a renowned mentality and a clear understanding of how Priceless a Nigerian life is, Nigerians and Nigeria would change for better.

    Sir, to you and every military man whose valentine would be spent protecting our borders and ensuring that there is peace in Nigeria, I say happy Valentine with Love from a grateful heart.
     Utmost Regards.
    Olawole Olakunle Moronfoluwa
    07011328513
    Kunlefreedom@gmail.com
     
     
    Disclaimer: Views expressed in any piece we publish remain entirely the author's and do not reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch


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  • Of Buharists, Jonathanians and a Simple Analysis of Political Immaturity

    15/Feb/2016 // 251 Viewers

     

    By Akintokunbo A. Adejumo

    "We are products of our past, but we don't have to be prisoners of it." Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
    It is appalling to know that Nigerians are now polarised into two main caucuses, which is not even anywhere near political, but rather individualism, and most times bordering on ethnic lines and religious affiliation - the Buharists and the Jonathanians - as if these are the most important situation and life-changing experience we need now.
    The Buharists, if I may try to define it, are those who the supporters of ex-President Jonathan derogatorily refer to, as those who insist that President Muhammadu Buhari is a god, or at least, a demi-god, and can do no wrong in his singular pursuit of a corruption free and better life for his fellow Nigerians. Buharists are those who believe in the singularity and sincerity of purpose of President Buhari to set Nigeria on a different course from what the country has been subjected to during sixteen years of ignoble and disastrous PDP rule.
    The Jonathanians, again if I may hazard a definition, are those willing to swear by God that ex-President Goodluck Jonathan was the best president Nigerians ever had, and should never have been voted out to allow a Northern ex-dictator into power to continue to perpetrate witch-hunting and lies against sixteen years of PDP rule in Nigeria. They do not believe Buhari has a moral claim in trying to clean the country of the pathogenic and endemic corruption that has ravaged the country. They further believe that Buhari is a fraud and is only fighting a Northern cause
    The two terms are simply an exhibition and proof of our political immaturity as a people. 
    For sixteen years of PDP rule since 1999, who has ever heard of such inanity being spewed on the streets? Were there ever Obasanjonists, or Yar ‘Aduanians? Even during the six year reign of Mr Jonathan himself, there was never anything so hearable - I never heard anybody being called a Jonathanian between 2010 and 2015. This was probably as a result of the fact that the ruling party then were the absolute rulers, and never for once thought they would be removed from power. In fact, they were so entrenched and invincible that they themselves were reminding their fellow Nigerians that they were going to rule for sixty years; nine hundred and forty years short of Hitler’s one thousand year Third Reich.
    During that short-lived sixteen years, the opposition in all the elections that took place in Nigeria, except 2015, were at best, noise-makers, and at worst, as clueless as the ruling party, PDP. They had no plans, no vision, and no focus, except to grab power, and then continue to do like the incumbent party was doing. Of course, they failed. The current president never had a chance, despite appearing thrice in two different political parties.  There was no Buharist then of note, or wait a minute, I know a very few supporters of Buhari then – the current Ogun State governor, Mr Ibikunle Amosun, who was in the same ANPP with Buhari; a couple of my Igbo (yes, Igbo from South East Nigeria) friends in the UK who have been die-hard Buhari supporters since 2007; and ah, of course, the current Minister for Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu, who was  the Oyo State flagbearer for Buhari’s CPC at the 2011 Elections; and now I remember one of my first cousins who lives in Abuja and has always been what you can call a Buharist – and that’s about it, at least as far as I know. Even me, I was not convinced of Mr Buhari’s possible success in winning an election in Nigeria, though I have always held him in the highest esteem mainly because of his anti-corruption antecedents, honesty, sincerity, patriotic and stoic stand. 
    Was there ever a Ribaduist, that is, a person who followed Nuhu Ribadu of the ACN in the 2011 Elections? None that I can think of, or can you? Who else again from all the other charlatans and clowns who call themselves political parties? The AD, Labour, ANPP, SDP, etc. some of who never even had Presidential candidates in those elections and prefer to mortgage their conscience and ideals with the bigger parties? 
    So here we are in 2016, and the social media of Nigerians are full of Jonathanians and Buharists, and to most of them, that is what politics and democracy in Nigeria is all about. The so-called Jonathanians are bitter and vicious because their “hero” lost an election, the first time such has ever occurred in Nigeria – for an incumbent, who planned an election to concede defeat. It is unheard of, and a lot of them cannot only bear it, but they also refuse to come to terms with that political disaster. To them, they refuse to accept that Mr Jonathan has had his chance, blew it, and can never ever come back to rule Nigeria again. My advice to them is to start looking for a more credible hero who will be able to uproot Mr Buhari from Aso Rock in 2019. 2015 is gone, together with Mr Jonathan. There is a lot of work to be done to really move Nigeria forward, if that has ever been their real intention, and not what they had perpetrated on the good people of Nigeria in the last sixteen years of their grip on the treasury and political terrain of the country.
    And now to the so-called Buharists (some people even think I am one), life in the fast lane of Aso Rock in Abuja is very short. They must be mindful of the fact that Mr Buhari is surrounded by some men of questionable characters and integrity, much like Mr Jonathan indeed was, but the only saving grace or hope, is that Mr Buhari is a man of his own, a man of integrity and a man known to be devoid of greed and selfishness. There must not be hero-worshipping of Mr Buhari.  A recent example is the botched budget; a very bad publicity, show of shame and incompetence, if not outright irresponsibility and corruption, and it must be vigorously criticised by all, not minding which side of the fence you are, for the sake of Nigeria. They also need to keep reminding Mr Buhari that he does not have a lot of time on his hands. Four years will soon be over, in fact, less than two years now, before the hounds of the opposition parties will soon be barking and besieging him and hurling missiles from every corner of the world. It ain’t gonna be a pretty sight.
    To those of us who erroneously pride ourselves in being politically-savvy, we have been made to look like charlatans. In the 2011 Elections, we made so much issue of voting for the individual and not the party. Why? Another political immaturity, guided by a lack of defined and delineated political ideology imposed on us by crude, vicious and uneducated politicians who were there to take advantage of the ignorant masses, and then loot the common wealth. I was a guilty, ignorant villain then; I voted for Jonathan and not the PDP, I liked to assure myself then, all to my mortification and cost. In the 2015 Election, some people said the same: we voted for Buhari and not the APC. I hope we will not again be disappointed.
    Even when we deviate a little from the stupidity, we resort to calling each other “APC apologists” or “PDP die-hards”, phrases which should not even be heard in sane political and democratic environments, because in such environments, people have the right of association and affiliation to a political party or the other, and should therefore be respected, not killed or pilloried for that. That is what politics and democracy are all about. But trust my people; there is no room or tolerance for opposition politics or diverse opinion or ideas. Hence, once again, a confirmation of our political immaturity, even after sixteen years.
    So what lessons do we learn from this? The lesson a man learns from any issue is dependent on his experience or mistake. Nigerians have neither learnt from experience or their mistakes, and so perhaps, adaptation or aspiration to a more politically-beneficial environment and a fair and just society may be of a tall order. As Charles Darwin said, “False facts are highly injurious to the progress of science, for they often endure long; but false views, if supported by some evidence, do little harm, for everyone takes a salutary pleasure in proving their falseness; and when this is done, one path towards error is closed and the road to truth is often at the same time opened.” 
    Nigeria is not about Jonathan or Buhari. It is about Nigeria. It is our responsibility, and would be beneficial to all of us to get the right people into power, and the wrong people out of power. We have gotten rid of Mr Jonathan in 2015; we can get rid of Mr Buhari in 2019 if he failed us. We have all the power in the universe to do this, but only if we are sincere with ourselves, devoid of ethnic, religious and personal bigotry. I do not believe in Buharists or Jonathanians and I personally take umbrage when I am referred to as a Buharist or APC apologist. 
    Whichever of these two camps you belong to, why isn’t there anything like "Nigerianians"? For me, it is about Nigeria, and I have the right to swing to the camp I think is better or best for my survival as a Nigerian and for Nigeria in general.
    Whoever those political “experts” who came up with these two labels are – Buharist and Jonathanian – into our political lexicon should have their heads examined.
    Let the Truth be told always and those who want to hear it hear it and accept it.

     

    Akintokunbo A Adejumo writes from London, United Kingdom.

     

    Disclaimer: Views expressed in any piece we publish remain entirely the author's and do not reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch

     

     

     


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  • Buhari’s rapidly vanishing mystique

    15/Feb/2016 // 199 Viewers

    By Ochereome Nnanna

     

    EVERY administration enjoys its share of honeymoon after assuming power. The allure of newness and expectations are high during this period, and the people are willing to overlook and excuse little blunders here and there. But months down the line, one or two major things happen, and the honeymoon is over. When former President Goodluck Jonathan took over in 2011, his trajectory from Deputy Governor to Governor and from Vice President to President was a major talking point during his honeymoon. His being the first ethnic Minority Nigerian to recieve the overwhelming vote of the electorate, even when ranged against powerful Northern opponents was something people found inspiring. But the moment he attempted to remove the petroleum subsidy starting from January 1, 2012, the romance quickly vanished.

    Unfortunately, Jonathan backed off from completely removing the subsidy, with the resultant effect that Nigeria went on to spend over two more trillion Naira on fuel subsidies; an amount that could have turned around the massive infrastructure deficit of the country if properly invested.

    President Muhammadu Buhari came on the crest of what some romantically termed: “Change Revolution”. It was the first time a sitting president seeking a second term was voted out in Nigeria and he left without making any fuss. In Africa, it was the second time it ever happned, following the noble example of former Senegalese President, Abdoulaye Wade, who conceded victory to his former Minister, Macky Sall, on Monday 26th March 2012. Even if the election that brought Buhari in was not that copasetic (what with millions of under-age voters and non-use of the card reader in the Muslim North, his main political base), the transitional process was second to none. This was obviously why many newspapers awarded both the former and incumbent presidents their joint Man-of-the Year 2015.

    On assumption of power, Buhari’s media magicians, notably Femi Adesina (alias Kulikuli) and Garba Shehu, stoked his mystique with fairytale characterisations: “the New Sheriff in Town”, who accomplished great feats of change through his “Body Language”, feats which were fondly attributed to “The Buhari Effect”. You will recall that as soon as Buhari was announced winner of the presidential election, the Naira, which was going for 228 against the US Dollar, appreciated by seven percent to 211. His supporters boasted that if he could achieve this without lifting a finger, then his campaign promise to make the Naira equal to the Dollar would be accomplished before long. But today, the story is different. At the last check, the Naira exchanged for the Dollar at 313: 1, with many proffering the bleak prognosis that we might be headed eventually for 500:1 or an outright devaluation (which Buhari’s Western backers have asked him to do).

    In June 2015 the comatose refineries suddenly restarted refining petroleum products without the regime spending a kobo. Today, Kaduna and Port Harcourt refineris remain shut and will not resume production till end of this month.

    While “the Buhari Effect” held sway, there was a noticeable improvement in power supply, even when the new leader had not made a policy pronouncement on which way his cat was going to jump. Some even claimed they now had between 18 to 24 hours of power supply a day. They forgot that this was the cool and rainy season when, traditionally, the hydrothermal plants were full with water which results to more available megawatts for the national grid. What do we have now? The power supply has nosedived, though the administration has reported that we have crossed the 5,000 megawatts threshold “for the first time”. The Power Distribution Companies (DISCOs) which bought over the assets of erstwhile state monopoly, Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), on February 1, 2016, made good their threat to raise electricity tariff by 46 percent. Nigeria’s Organised Labour, which had been in hibernation since Comrade Adams Oshiomhole stepped down as Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President, also made good their threat to picket their offices nationwide.

    That is the most poignant sure sign that the honeymoon is over. This honeymoon usually stops when concrete governance starts. However, the power tariff hike is a small thing compared to the great damage to the Buhari administration’s image which the 2016 budget saga is beginning to turn up. The insanity of the 2016 budget is twofold. On the one hand is the massive amount of corruption (paddings, duplications) which are being unearthed at the House of Representatives and the Senate. The second is Federal Government’s inability to discover these crooked intents to steal our public funds right under the nose of an anti-corruption president, which reeks of gross incompetence from the Budget Office and the Federal Ministry of Finance to the Presidency.

    Not only that, an aide of the President, Senator Etta Enang, has been accused of being behind the tampering with the budget which President Buhari presented before the National Assembly. The confusion and corruption surrounding the budget is so much that one of the Ministers, Prof. Isaac Adewole, who is in charge of the Health Ministry, openly disowned his ministry’s budget when he was supposed to defend it before the Legislature. He said “rats” (which are also known as “budget mafia”) had doctored it. Frustrated, the Chairmen of the Appropriation Committees of the House and Senate, announced that the February 25 date for the passage of the budget had been postponed indefinitely.

    The President has promised to punish the civil servants who were responsible for sabotaging the budget and using it to paint his administration in corrupt colours. We wait to see.Buhari’s Budgetgate exposes an irony. Remember, during the four-month delay in naming his cabinet, Buhari betrayed his confidence on bureaucrats and disdain for ministers. He told France 24, a television station and I quote:

    “No. It is what we know – and which we learned from the Western system. The civil service provides the continuity, the technocrat. And in any case, they are those that do most of the work. The ministers are there, I think, to make a lot of noise…. But the work is being done by the technocrats. They are there; they have to provide continuity, dig into the records and then guide us who are just coming in”.

    Buhari was heavily criticised (I lent my voice to it here) for making it seem like ministers are unimportant. Is it not an irony that the same civil servants on whom Buhari depends for “guidance” are now the ones corrupting his first budget with a view to stealing public funds? Buhari’s trusted civil servants who orchestrated the disgrace of former Health Minister, Professor Adenike Grange (she has since cleared her name in court) are the ones who want to scam us once again through this Budgetgate.

    Nine months into his regime, our President, who is permanently on foreign tours, no longer possesses the body language to deter civil trusted servants from attempting to loot the treasury. They are no longer deterred by the exploits of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) which is grabbing people, detaining them, arraigning them and sealing up their properties.

    In fact, it has come to a point where Buhari will criticise the Judiciary and the Chief Justice of Nigeria and the Nigerian Bar Association will answer back. Boko Haram, which had been ‘“technically defeated” resumes invasions of communities and a rash of suicide bombings. It has become obvious, even to Buhari’s ardent supporters that governance is not a fairytale; it is not a daydream. You must do the work and do it well. In this our democracy, whatever you sow, you will reap.

     

    Disclaimer: Views expressed in any piece we published remain entirely the author's and do not reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch

     


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  • Random Thoughts: Fighting Corruption with Corruption

    15/Jan/2016 // 233 Viewers

    By Akintokunbo A Adejumo
     

    I have been musing over the conundrum above for a very long time, even before this new dispensation of the sincere and stern President Buhari, and I can’t get it off my mind,  the possibility, that is. 
    Corruption is defined nowadays simply as “The abuse of entrusted power for private gain”. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not a subscriber to puritanism or absolute inviolability. Corruption is part of humankind and can never be completely eradicated from the face of the earth as longs as human beings inhabit this planet. In individuals, there is always a whiff of one kind of corruption or the other around us. Nobody is truly and totally immune. What I always hope and strive for is reduction of corruption in our society to a manageable level and then a zero-tolerance attitude to it so that it does not rear its hydra-headed ugly aspect again to reduce us to the immobilised state we are right now, and so enable us to develop and progress as a people and as a united nation. We need a holistic and altruistic approach to fighting corruption and reducing it to a manageable level, which will not hinder our development as a people, a nation or a country as it has evidently been doing for the past 5 decades.
    Corruption is something you cannot just wake up and eradicate so long as the world still exists. In many countries including the zero-tolerant China, the mighty United States, and most developed Western countries that we see today with bubbling, well-conceived, well-planned, well-implemented  and vibrant economies with high standards of living, corruption has not been crushed; it is only being checked and well-managed. We must be reminded that if these countries had not recognised, sorted out and applied effective and efficient corruption management policies and laws, their standards of living and economic powers and vibrancy would have been much devalued. 
    Nigeria’s new President, Muhammadu Buhari, vowed to fight corruption, but it’s too soon to tell if his efforts will be enough. Some Nigerians, mostly from the opposition camp, even doubt the man’s sincerity. Some also cast aspersion on his government’s sincerity because of the ilk of (allegedly corrupt) party bigwigs and political appointees he has found himself surrounded with and appointed into office, ranging from ministers to backroom staff. 
    According to Alexis Okeowo, in her article of 14 October 2015, “Can Nigeria’s New Government Overcome Its Old Corruption?”, “Buhari chose party loyalists—like the spokesman of his All Progressives Congress, Lai Muhammed—as well as politicians such as former Lagos Governor Babatunde Fashola, who has been accused of misusing state funds. (He denies all of the accusations.)……. And Buhari himself was partly elected on the strength of an alliance with veteran kingmaker and southwestern politician Bola Tinubu, who was charged with the illegal operation of sixteen foreign bank accounts while he was the governor of Lagos but never convicted”.
    “This is a reminder that, although Nigerians elected Buhari on a platform of change, Buhari’s victory was planned by many people who used to be part of the previous government,” said Max Siollun, a Nigerian military historian and political analyst, and concluded that. “To some extent, the ‘change’ was a rebranding exercise.”
    If (theoretically) the majority of the people in government are corrupt, officials will surely be able to keep themselves safe legally. How can a nation or a disciplined and sincere, honest person (e.g. our new elected President) fight it and succeed? Or is it a Sisyphean task – an unceasingly recurring and fruitless labour? Can a country actually save itself without a coup d'état or a bloody revolution? Has this happened before?

    I believe corruption is not a problem that can be fought by "a country" or by a government (alone), but rather by "a people". All that the “country” can do is to provide people with reasonably good and basic standard of living (water, food, electricity and good roads) and good, efficient healthcare, fairness, equality and justice (or a just and fair society where nobody is above the law), decent housing, employment and job creation, even, standardised, universal and free education. That will give everyone a common ground to build upon, and common goals, common worldviews, all that makes people feel that they are all part of the same community. That's what erases the social borders, pulls down caste systems and brings up "civism" (the feeling that everyone is a citizen from a same "city", in the Greek sense).

    All these might seem insurmountable to achieve, especially now that there is a considerable downturn in the economy of the country; however, based on the profligacy and corruption that had pervaded Nigeria for decades, and the resulting illegal flight of our commonwealth to private, selfish, materialistic pockets and foreign banks, one will see that we have unforgivably erred in this country, as from the day oil was discovered in Nigeria, again, several decades ago, all the above could have been achieved in the first two decades after Independence, and continuing on from Great Britain in 1960, if not for poor, visionless, corrupt, unsympathetic leadership and selfish, ignorant, hypocritical and complacent followers, who believed everything about their own welfare and progress should and could be left in the hands of these politician and military riffraff.

    The least corrupt countries are those in which riches is better, evenly distributed and everyone can get a good education and good healthcare if wanted. When education and healthcare become a privilege and the rich are very few while the poor are too many, corruption grows like weed, breaking up social structures as it goes up and spreads around. The same applies to availability and access to good health care, employment, housing and many other social benefits that are expected of a decent society or a responsible and decent government to provide its people.

    Corruption can only be fought when everyone is actually equal before the law. When the son of a rich man kills a poor worker while driving at 110 km/h in an inner city road like in Lagos and Abuja and the justice system lets him go, without even the police arresting him, society sees the message: the rich are above the law. When a poor man is held in prison for years without formal accusation, just for being on the wrong place at the wrong time there is another one: you must get rich before you are given any rights. These two messages short-circuit into one: you must get rich as quick as you can, and no matter what. Since most people can't get rich, they'll try the next best thing: cut corners at every opportunity, as in precisely what is going on in Nigeria, where the justice system has a notorious abjection for jailing the rich, while it easily puts the ordinary poor citizens behind bars.

    It is impossible to fight fire with fire; that's only a saying. You can't fight flooding with water and you can't fight corruption with corruption. Perhaps you can tolerate a little corruption while you fight bigger corruption (I am not convinced though) but you can't actively use corruption as that.

    "Corruption" is not something material that can be isolated and controlled that easily. In that respect, it is harder to control than either fire or water. In theory, large ice blocks could be used to divert a flood or to dam it; it is impractical, but it is at least physically possible (the ice would melt eventually, but you would be able to buy time). In theory, controlled fire could be used to clear a boundary around a larger area that is under firestorm, and then cool the ashes with water and hope that no sparks fly over and spread the fire further. It is however impractical, unsafe and for the most part ineffective, but at least it is a conceivable strategy. But how could you corrupt people and institutions with the intention of fighting corruption? Sounds like spreading diseases with the goal of increasing public health.

    I suppose that all countries face this problem eventually. Assuming that the government  wants people’s cooperation with the change:

    ⦁    Make the new regime fair to ALL people; no scared cows, no vindictiveness or revenge or witch-hunting.
    ⦁    Explain the new regime to ALL the people; educate them, let there be full truthful information dissemination, no propaganda.
    ⦁    Change the rules – change the way things are done, get rid of civil servants and other public officials resistant to change.
    ⦁    Forgive all past sins with the understanding that they are not to be repeated (this is very tough on my sentiments, because I believe, like the Bible says, sinners must not go unpunished)

    If taking bribes has traditionally, as it has now become in Nigeria, been a large part of income, expect to increase pay, or introduce generous allowances, to compensate for the loss of bribes and kickbacks. The government should also be prepared to clearly explain the ways in which corruption damages society. People react with less hostility to changes they can plan for and they struggle less against regime change that doesn't destroy them.

    Oh ... and the government should put its foot down to crush any resistance immediately. It is far easier to ease up on compliant people than it will ever be to put your foot down a little at a time.

    But there are some views that you can fight corruption with corruption, but only as a means to an end. But it won't work long run. Other people will see the hypocrisy. A responsible and sincere government requires all citizens to be ethical and willing to eliminate, or at least combat and reduce, corruption. It is a sort of consensus morality. It cannot tolerate exceptions. 

    If you think the income inequality comparisons are toxic, wait until people get a whiff of corruption. The comparisons and envy will be off the scale.

    But generally, fighting corruption with corruption doesn't work.  One may temporarily get some good results but it winds up undermining whatever ideals one believes one is fighting for. Then the negative consequences begin to multiply.

    In theory, it doesn't make sense, but there could be a way. If you think that corruption is where you use money to make things happen that shouldn't, it could be argued that you could carry on accepting corruption payments, but not actually fulfilling your part of the deal. That way you are using corruption against corruption to get the right outcome.

    Nigeria is a country where things are only done when people pay an extra cost for things to be done faster. Maybe they want their goods cleared for export or import in less than a few weeks, or maybe they want a planning permission arranged against the local interest. In this corrupt society, people are forced to pay these extra costs, and the cycle carries on. Using corruption to kill corruption, the charges would continue, but the officials would not speed up the process or make decisions against the local interest.

    The people who made the payments would get upset, but in time they would learn that there is no advantage to paying a bribe, and the level of service would remain the same. The problem is that you can't stop corruption from the official side, only from the supply side. If people stop believing that corruption works, they will stop using it as a tool. Education and Re-orientation of our people is needed here, but will take decades. Or maybe not!

    Guess it depends on if you believe the end justify the means.

    But please, dear reader, what do you think - can we use corruption to fight corruption?

     

     Akintokunbo A Adejumo writes from London, the United Kingdom

     

    Views expressed in any article we publish remain entirely the author's and do not reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch
     

     

     


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  • Nigeria "Jagajaga:" An Unending syndrome.

    15/Mar/2016 // 394 Viewers

    By Iredia Osakue JP

    PARIS, MARCH 15, 2016: (DGW) - When Eedris Abdulkarem sang "Nigeria Jagajaga..." the erstwhile President of Nigeria, Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo rejected the song and never danced to it. He loathed the song because it portrayed the country in a bad light. As a leader, he saw it as a misrepresentation of the country he was governing. This could mean more to a leader than the people who dance to the melodious song. Be that as it may, "Jagajaga " can be loosely translated in English to mean; something that is in disorder, ruins or scattered. Synonyms of the above words can go on and on and the sad thing is that none of the words is palatable to the ears - it evokes pity and sorrow. 

    A country that is depicted in this manner simply means that the governmental structure is weak and gone adrift. Also, citizens who form the nucleus of the country's structure are left to flounder in the ocean of despondency. Many never knew that Eedris saw tomorrow like the legendary Nostradamus. He spoke the truth then and the truth still remains to this day. Today, Nigerians are confronted with plethora of obstacles and unending problems occasioned by lack of preparedness to govern. The ruling party took charge of governance haphazardly apparently because they were not sure of victory. It took time and time before the government was formed and in the circumstance, the country was stagnated politically and eventually metamorphosed into economic catastrophe. The scar of maladministration and maladroit implementation of programs is evident on the faces of Nigerians as they go about their daily activities with apprehension, fear of the unknown and suspense. 

    This sheer omission or commission has adversely affected the country and nothing seems to be going the proper direction as expected. Worse still, the head is indifferent to the plight of the citizens as they are left to wane day after day in strength, spirit and motivation. The salient question is, when will the people enjoy the promises made before the APC government assumed office or was it a mere political jargon calculated to hoodwink the electorate? 

    The emergence of APC government has derailed the future of the country into dark abyss and if this is the change the people clamoured for, then it is better to seek help from hell. 

    Taking Edo state as a case study because of the economic woes and untold hardship which fits the present political lapse and socio-economic situation in the country is abundantly clear that the government of the day in Edo state borrowed from the apron of a man whose intention is to bring Nigeria to a standstill or more like a runner on the treadmill. 

    To this end, there must be a change and not just a mere change, but a change that truly defines positive change and Edo state must be the trail-blazer as the gubernatorial election is just around the corner. 

    Arise Edo state and take your place!

     

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

     

    Disclaimer: Views expressed in any piece we publish remain entirely the author's and do not reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch


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  • Court asked to ''arrest'' Zeenat Zakzakay already kidnapped by Buratai for over 90 days

    15/Mar/2016 // 350 Viewers

     

    In what appears to be a bout of confused insanity, an Abuja federal court
    received an application for the “arrest” of Zeenat Zakzaky for alleged
    “incitement.” Zeenat Zakzaky, the wife of Islamic movement leader Sheikh
    Ibraheem Zakzaky, has however like her husband been kidnapped by the
    Nigerian security service since December 13th 2015 during the Zaria
    massacre and held without charge at an unknown location.
    
    Zeenat had been shot twice and beaten while she watched her three sons
    being killed in cold blood and her husband receiving 6 shots, before being
    abducted, according to her daughter, Suhaila, an eye witness, and has been
    held incommunicado since then by the Nigerian State.
    
    Vanguard published on march 13th that the court received suit number
    FHC/ABJ/CJ/189/2016, dated March 10, 2016, by a certain plaintiff, Danbaba
    Gyang, who is also the Secretary General of Lawyers Alliance for the
    Defence of Democracy in Nigeria and who in the suit is also asking the
    court to declare the Iranian Ambassador in Nigeria, Saeed Koozechi, a
    security threat to the country and persona non grata.
    
    NewsRescue published a viral article on the situation of Zakzaky’s wife on
    March 8th, “CONFINEMENT: Nigerian Mother Completing Third Month In
    Detention Without Charge.” This article ruffled the Chief of Army Staff who
    it is believed sponsored Danbaba Gyang to file the insane and meaningless
    suit on March 10th. It is a shock that the federal court can receive a suit
    that requests the arrest of a citizen already in custody.
    
    Major General Adeniyi Oyebade told reporters Monday that Ibraheem Zakzaky
    and his wife have been taken into custody after raids on at least three
    locations. VOA, December 15, 2015
    
    Where Nigeria’s Attorney General Abubakar Malami is in all this is also in
    question as Mrs Zeenat Zakzaky remains held for a full three months without
    charge, and denied her constitutional right to bail and legal, medical and
    family access.
    
    Danbaba Gyang must also be arrested and interrogated on how he ‘heard’ the
    alleged ‘inciting’ statements purported to have been made by Mrs Zakzaky
    while she was being shot by the Nigerian army and being abducted to her
    current unknown detainment location. Is he a member of the Secret service
    or army that was a witness to this and he is acting undercover filing a
    civil suit?
    
    A pro rights activist, Elbinawi writes:
    
    Re: Court asked to order the arrest of El-Zakzaky’s wife
    
    My attention was drawn to a news item in the Vanguard Newspaper of
    13/03/2016with the above heading. The report stated:”A federal high court
    sitting in Abuja has been asked to order the immediate arrest and
    prosecution of Mrs. Zeenat El-Zakzaky, wife of the leader Shi’ite movement
    in Nigeria, Ibrahim El-Zakyzaky. In suit number FHC/ABJ/CJ/189/2016, dated
    March 10, 2016, Mrs. El-Zakzaky was said to have made inciting statement
    after the killing of the members of the Movement and the arrest of her
    husband.”
    
    The plaintiff in the suit which is also the front of the Nigerian
    government here is one Danbaba Gyang is also asking the court to declare
    the Iranian Ambassador in Nigeria, Saeed Koozechi, a security threat to the
    country.
    
    Another sponsored agenda by the Nigerian government to give legitimacy to
    the brutal slaughter of 1000+ defenseless & unarmed #Shia_Muslims in Zaria,
    the destruction of the iconic Zaria #Husseiniyya and the destruction of the
    residence of the Nigerian Islamic scholar His Eminence Sheikh Ibraheem
    #Zakzaky.
    
    The recent #UN panel season that was held in Geneva, Switzerland, on the
    #Zaria_Massacre and the gross violations of the fundamental human rights of
    Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife has drawn world’s attention to the
    brutal Zaria massacre and this has forced the masterminds and perpetrators
    of the massacre to open another front in a court of law to seek legitimacy.
    
    The suit claimed that “Mrs. El-Zakzaky was said to have made inciting
    statement after the killing of the members of the Movement and the arrest
    of her husband.” The question to ask here is that when did she made that
    statement after the arrest of her husband since they were brutally abducted
    on the same time? She has since then being held incommunicado with her
    husband by the Nigerian government, then how can she make inciting
    statement while in detention?
    
    It is important to note that the Nigerian government has so far used three
    (3) fronts in its campaign against the Islamic Movement of Nigeria ( #IMN )
    and #Iran since the return of the Nigerian President Buhari from his
    foreign trips to #Saudi_Arabia and #Qatar. The first was by a faceless
    group led by a “Christian cleric” to the Iranian Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria.
    The second was in Lagos by another faceless group that tried to equate the
    peaceful IMN with the most deadliest terrorist group in the whole world
    (#BokoHaram). And this law suit is the third front.
    
    It is also important to note that all the leaders of this sponsored groups
    are Nigerian Christians, that was not by accident but by design to give
    their campaign which is sectarian in nature a “national outlook”. The IMN
    is the only Islamic organization in Nigeria that invites Christians to its
    programs and activities, and this move to make Nigerians believe that
    Nigerian Christians are in the forefront of opposition and hostility
    towards IMN will definitely fail as IMN considered all Christians as our
    brothers and sisters in humanity.
    
    It is also important to note that during the brutal Zaria massacre, the
    Nigerian Army killed three (3) sons of Mrs. Zeenat El-Zakzaky infront of
    her, shot her husband six (6) times and shot her twice. So which “inciting
    statement” will such a mother make that witnessed the brutal killings of
    her three (3) sons in the most inhuman manner? If we can remember in 2014,
    three (3) other sons of Mr. Zeenat El-Zakzaky were tortured to death by the
    Nigerian Army.
    
    And the call by the suit to “declare the Iranian Ambassador in Nigeria,
    Saeed Koozechi, a security threat to the country” is part of the
    Saudi-sponsored Wahhabi agenda that the present Nigerian government is busy
    executing. A hunting dog of the House of Saud should be seen active by
    unfoundedly accusing Iran to please the Saudi savages who are his masters.
    
    Finally, those who brutally killed 1000+ defenseless Nigerians in Zaria and
    buried them in mass graves should understand that history has never been on
    the side of wicked and brutal oppressors. No matter how long it takes, one
    day the full revelation of the Zaria massacre will be made to the world and
    the whole world will condemn what is undoubtedly a war crime.
    
    #FreeZakzaky
    #GodProtectZakzaky
    Harun Elbinawi


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