• Why we oppose another Nigerian-Biafran War

    23/Nov/2015 // 1732 Viewers

    The Nigerian Civil War, 1967 – 1970, was an ethnic and political conflict caused by the attempted secession of the South-eastern provinces of Nigeria as the self-proclaimed republic of Biafra. The war became notorious for the starvation in some of the besieged war-bound regions, and the consequent claims of genocide made by the largely Igbo people of those regions.

    Causes of the Conflict

    The conflict was the result of serious tensions, both ethnic and religious, between the different peoples of Nigeria. Like most modern African nations, Nigeria was an artificial construct, put together by agreement between European powers, paying little regard to historical African boundaries or population groups. The Nigeria which received independence from Britain in 1960 had a population of 60 million people of nearly 300 differing ethnic and tribal groups.

    Of the ethnic groups that made up Nigeria, the largest were the largely Muslim Hausa in the north, the Yoruba in the half-Christian, half-Muslim south-west, and the Igbo in the predominantly Christian south-east. At independence a conservative political alliance had been made between the leading Hausa and Igbo political parties, which ruled Nigeria from 1960 to 1966. This alliance excluded the western Yoruba people. The well-educated Igbo people were considered by many to be the main beneficiaries of this alliance, taking most of the top jobs and leading business opportunities in the Nigerian federation.

    The Yoruba westerners had supported a left-leaning, reformist party, the Action Group, which was antipathic to the conservative northern muslim bloc. A "palace coup" by conservative elements in the west, led to the formation of a more conservative Yoruba party, the NNDP, prepared to go into alliance with the Hausa northerners. This new political alliance excluded the Igbo-dominated East from power, and threatened to roll back the gains of the Igbo elite.

    The elections of 1965 saw the Nigerian National Alliance of the Muslim north and the conservative elements in the west, face off against the United Progressive Grand Alliance of the Christian east and the progressive elements among the westerners. The Alliance of North and West won a crushing victory under Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, amid claims of widespread electoral fraud.

    Military Coup

    The claims of fraud led to a military coup by left-leaning Igbo officers. General Ironsi became head of state. Some months later, a counter coup by northern officers placed General Yakubu Gowon into power. Ethnic tensions increased, with massacres of Christian Igbos living in the Muslim north.

    The discovery of large quantities of oil in the south-east of the country had led to the prospect of the south-east becoming self-sufficient and increasingly prosperous. However the exclusion of easterners from power made many fear that the oil revenues would be used to benefit areas in the north and west rather than their own.

    All these factors led to a growing pressure in the Igbo east for secession.

    Break away
    The military governor of the Igbo-dominated south-east, Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu, citing the northern massacres and electoral fraud, proclaimed with southern parliament the secession of the south-eastern region from Nigeria as the Republic of Biafra, an independent nation. Although there was much sympathy in Europe and elsewhere, only four countries recognized the new republic.

    Civil War
    The Nigerian government immediately launched a "police action", using the armed forces to retake the secessionist territory.

    At first Nigerian progress was slow, and failures of its larger army to invade the territory of the new republic led to a growth in worldwide support for Biafra. Biafran troops crossed the Niger River, entered the mid-western region, and launched attacks close to Lagos, the then Nigerian capital.

    However reorganisation of the Nigerian forces, and the effects of a naval, land and air blockade of Biafra led to a change in the balance of forces. Biafran forces were pushed back into their core territory, and the capital of Biafra, the city of Enugu was captured by Nigerian forces. The Biafrans continued to resist in their core Igbo heartlands, which were soon surrounded by Nigerian forces.

    The Swedish eccentric, Count Carl Gustav von Rosen also led a miniCOIN brigade in action, his BAF (Biafran Air Force) consisted of three Swedes and two Biafrans.

    Stalemate

    From 1968 onward, the war fell into a lengthy stalemate, with Nigerian forces unable to make significant advances into the remaining areas of Biafran control. The blockade of the surrounded Biafrans led to a humanitarian and propaganda disaster when it emerged that there was widespread civilian hunger and starvation in the besieged Igbo areas. An overused tactic of the Nigerian forces had been the sabotage of farmland, and this was now beginning to affect the Biafran population. Images of starving Biafran children went around the world. The Biafran government claimed that Nigeria was using hunger and genocide to win the war, and sought aid from the outside world.

    Many volunteer bodies organised blockade-breaking relief flights into Biafra, carrying food, medicines, and sometimes (it was claimed) weapons. Nigeria also claimed that the Biafran government was hiring foreign mercenaries to extend and lengthen the war.

    Aftermath

    Despite the foreign aid, and the political harm done to Nigeria, the area controlled by the Biafran government grew smaller and smaller. A final surrender of Biafran forces took place in 1970 when Ojukwu fled to the republic of Côte d’Ivoire, leaving his deputy Philip Effiong to handle the details of the surrender. To the surprise of many in the outside world, the threatened reprisals and massacres did not occur, and genuine attempts were made at reconciliation.

    The war cost Nigeria a great deal in terms of lives, money and its image in the world. It has been estimated that up to a million people may have died due to the conflict, hunger and disease. Reconstruction, helped by the oil money, was swift; however, the old ethnic and religious tensions often remained. Military Government continued in power in Nigeria for many years, and people in the oil-producing areas claimed they were being denied a fair share of oil revenues. Laws were passed mandating that political parties could not be ethnically or tribally based; however, it has been hard to make this work in practice. Would these mistakes that cost us so much men and materials be allowed to repeat itself?

    Be that as it may, anything that will heighten this tension should be avoided by the immediate and unconditional release of Nnamdi Kanu who has never detonated a single bomb to press home the demand of the generality of the Igbo nation. 

     

    Chuba Nweke Okadigbo , a professor in international relations writes from Zurich, Switzerland.

     

    The views expressed in this piece  are entirely the author's and do not represent the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch


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  • Killing Lagos softly

    24/Dec/2015 // 213 Viewers

    By Jide Osuntokun

    Some weeks ago I was in Lagos for an urgent business and I was shocked by the totally degraded environment of the city. This was at the height of a Saharan dust blowing across the whole of West Africa but it appeared more serious in Lagos because it was compounded by the smog hanging over the city. This smog was created by the exhaust from articulated trucks and petrol tankers evacuating petrol from the ports. The horrendous traffic snarl on the roads did not help. Vehicles remained on one spot for hours spewing carbon monoxide into the air. Added to this is the heavy human traffic in the town.

    These people have to be fed hence God knows how many pots were on open fire heating up the putrid air in the city and adding to the warming the city of 20milllion operating without the technological know how that would have been available to a city of this size in  a more civilized environment. While this was going on, many cities in China were faced with the same problem and city dwellers were shown covering their mouths and noses with protective gears. Of course in our own city of Lagos, people were breathing in this unsafe air totally oblivious of its consequences. There was no warning from government agencies and only God knows how many people suffering from respiratory diseases would have died.

    I can understand the bad smog in China with its 1.3billion people and its cities like Beijing and Shanghai of millions of people. But we should not be faced in Lagos with this kind of a killer of a smog I witnessed. This is the time when the federal government should insist that all vehicles plying the roads in our country must have catalytic converters to handle vehicular gas emission to at least purify the exhaust spewing out of the trucks, trailers and automobiles. The population movement to Lagos may have reached a tipping point when a solution would have to be found. Why can’t other ports be developed to diversify the ocean trade of Nigeria so that we do not put all our eggs in one basket? Between Lagos and Calabar are several ports crying to be developed to relieve Lagos of the unbearable and killing burden it is bearing. We must not ride a willing horse to death.

    It is unfortunate that all the plans to revive the railways in the past were clever plots to loot the national treasury, including as we are now told, loans taken from China which were deliberately diverted to other use to benefit the money-picking hands of political big-wigs in the recently defeated government of Goodluck Jonathan. If the railways were usable, the thousands of tankers and trucks on our roads and at the ports of Lagos would not have been necessary because heavy haulage in all civilized countries is done by rail. Imagine if we did not have the trucks and tankers on Lagos roads and ports, the place would have been saner.

    Those of us who grew up in Lagos remember how lovely Apapa  reservation area was in the old days being the other high-brow area apart from Ikoyi. This was before Victoria Island and, of course, Lekki. I know an in-law of mine who after working for many years in Saudi Arabia returned home and bought a property in Apapa. He is now regretting it because he is cut off  from all friends and relatives because no one in his correct sense will embark on a journey to visit anybody in Apapa no matter how much love one has for  such a relation. The vehicular madness in Lagos has made Apapa a no-go area. In December, most of Lagos roads are clogged with vehicles ostensibly those shopping for Christmas and the new year.

    The unloveable situation in Lagos is compounded by high rate of crime. The urchins known as area boys and those hawking all kinds of goods on the roads ranging from Asian junks to life chickens and other food stuffs use whatever they are hawking as a camouflage for robbery when it is dark after six o’clock in the evening. This has further reduced life in Lagos to hell on earth. The unavailability of electricity most of the time has led to everybody turning himself to power generating bodies. Virtually everybody generates his or her own power creating a nuisance in terms of noise and carbon emission.

    On top of this comes the religious houses of  some Christian and Muslim sects who compete with each other on who can make the loudest noise by the volume of their loud speakers. As soon as the Muslims finish their evening prayers, some Christian sects will drum through out the night and hand over to the Muslims who will wake  everybody up for their morning prayers.  Some of the Lagos people live in Ogun State but work in Lagos and even some who live in the outskirts of Lagos wake up as early as 4 a.m to hit the roads so that they can get to their offices at 8 a.m. The same people will not reach their homes until 11 p.m. It is a miracle that people do not go berserk and  kill others. The hardship in Lagos leads to  infidelity on  the part of husband and wife and lack of care and proper up bringing of children.

    Why does anybody subject himself or herself to this hell on earth? The answer is that there is no alternative. All the jobs are in Lagos. Rather than be jobless, up country people come to Lagos to die. I remember attending a conference of world cities when I was living in Germany. I proudly announced that I was from Lagos and that the city had over 10 million people. The mayor of Karlsruhe, a beautiful German city in the south of the country before I finished my introduction told me no African country can handle a city of that magnitude. I did not agree then but I now agree. The multitude of people in Lagos on the margin of society will help themselves and the Lagos government by returning home to their states where they will live a better life. When conditions for life in Lagos becomes impossible, the Lagos government supported by the federal government may do something drastic and dramatic before people kill Lagos .

     

    *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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  • Buhari & the impending death of the Naira

    24/Feb/2016 // 199 Viewers

     

    By Rotimi Fasan

    THE Naira, Nigeria’s national currency, has been very much in the news in the last couple of weeks. The naira is seriously ill and the prognosis from the ‘experts’, many of them full of bile and ill-will, is indeed dire. They have written the naira’s obituary and are already summoning the burial party of undertakers that would complete the final task of their death wish- ensure the untimely death of the currency.

    Many of these latter-day mourners have for long made terrible forecasts of the state of the Nigerian economy, if only to prove that its present managers are incompetent fools. But their crocodile tears for the naira are some of the many they have shed for just about anything and everything they claim is wrong in the country today.

    Nothing would or could make them happy unless they can see the ship of state flounder under its present captains. And so they go about with their self-fulfilling prophesies of the death of the naira as a consequence of Mohammadu Buhari’s ignorance of basic economic principles.

    The argument about the imminent death of the naira, who and what is responsible for it, is never made clear. It could in fact change as often and get as confusing as the changing colours of a chameleon’s skin. After lamenting the gradual death of the naira and the supposed incompetent management of the economy (they don’t bother to explain how) that has brought it about, they proceed to proffer devaluation as the immediate solution to the dwindling strength of the naira.

    They urge that an already comatose patient be pummelled even further in order to revive it. And even though the Buhari administration has not been known for the kind of profligate splurging on expensive foreign goods and services that has contributed to the depletion of our foreign reserves, the government is nevertheless blamed, voodoo-fashion, for all that ails the economy in general and the naira in particular.

    What these critics try to conceal with their sob tales about the falling power of the naira is their pain that their days of unaccountable squandering on everything foreign will no longer be easy if not well-nigh over.

    They would now have to carry the heavy price of their appetite for foreign things or else make do with what is available at home. O yes, the picture is not a black or white one as it might sound from the foregoing, but the point is simple enough for the majority who don’t have the means to sustain a lust for foreign products to understand. If anyone deserves the blame for the present poor health of the naira it should be those who took no heed for the future health of the Nigerian economy by opening every loophole for every politician that strayed into the corridors of power to exploit for personal gains.

    This category of Nigerians preceded President Buhari into Aso Rock Villa at least by some six years. The blame for those who wrecked our economy and brought the naira down to its knees belong elsewhere than with Buhari who has made the priorities of his administration clear to Nigerians. To ignore his words in this regard is to expect from him what he has not promised.

    Buhari does not think that the solution to our import-dependent economy is a weak naira. Nor does he think succour would come from continued reliance on crude oil. Considering the overt reliance of our economy on foreign products, he has decided to look inwards by encouraging the growth of the local economy. In line with our modest technological and scientific achievements, or our disdain for home-made products and services, Buhari has chosen to concentrate his attention on stimulating the local economy by giving support to agriculture and solid minerals. Let us face it, outside of our insatiable and misplaced desire for foreign products and worth not, ours is still a largely agrarian economy.

    That may not sound fashionable in this age of cutting edge innovations in information and communication technology, medicine and engineering. The point may sound so retrogressive in this age of scientific triumphalism. But it is the truth.

    Wealthy Nigerians may boast ownership of the 2016 models of the best armoured-plated automobiles in the world, they may import everything required to complete the construction of their high end mansions from Dubai, Italy and South Africa, and fly first class on foreign airlines where they are not the proud owners of their own jets.

    They may wear the latest fashion items from the best designers around the world, eat the latest processed foods from Europe and the United States of America- they may have at the push of a smartphone keypad any of these foreign products of which they have no knowledge of how they are produced. But the vast majority of Nigerians are only concerned about where their next meal would come from.

    At least, a nation that cannot or is unwilling to produce any of the imported things it consumes should be able to produce its own food. A well-fed people can have the presence of mind to think well and straight enough to tackle other problems that could lead to the kind of humanitarian disasters that have turned many parts of Africa into the most blighted portions of our planet.

    It is these modest but important tasks to meet such domestic goals as food sufficiency and affordable clothing and housing, that the Buhari administration has set for itself. It does not pretend it can turn around our economy from ‘Third world to first world’ overnight.

    But neither would it encourage wanton importation of foreign goods even those like tooth picks we can conveniently produce ourselves. He is saying those craving foreign products should find their own means to fund their private and perverted desires. Let them not pretend that devaluation is the only way out for us all. Or worse yet, blame him for the condition of the naira.

    The late Tai Solarin often warned that Nigerians should be prepared to give up their love for foreign products if the country must rise. Until Nigerians demonstrate their readiness to pay the price of greatness, he did not think we would ever amount to anything. Until Indians were ready to wear their own locally-produced clothes, Nehru ensured no clothing material was imported into the country. No great nation attained that status by dependence on foreign things. This is the lesson Nigerians must learn.

    In the years before the fall of the iron curtain, Russians were proud users of Russian-made cars.

    The Chinese were not left out either. Their cultural revolution ensured that they stayed away from everything foreign in order to guarantee their present rise to world prominence.

     

    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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  • What's is the value of a woman?

    24/Mar/2016 // 180 Viewers

    By Emma Tobin


    I remember a friend saying that gay rights is the issue of our generation and, while I agreed at the time, I can't help but feel that he was not entirely correct.

    As a woman, I fight everyday to be respected and treated as an equal. In my middle class American family, I am not a second class citizen but in the larger world it's extremely apparent that I am. I was so naive about women's issues growing up. I went to an all-girls school, have two sisters, and a plethora of opportunities so I didn't realize how segregated and sexist the world is until I moved to Morocco.

    In Morocco, I cannot be out past nine alone, I am catcalled, stared at and followed on my way to and from work. My body is just an object to be stared at and commented on without regard for who I am or even that I am a human being. It doesn't matter to men what I or other women wear. I can be in a hijab and still be harassed because it's not a male responsibility to treat me with respect, it's a female responsibility not to tempt those men.

    Catcalling is not an issue limited to Morocco. All over the world women are subjected to catcalling everyday irrespective of what they wear, how old they are, or their socioeconomic background. In a study of 630 women done by the Centre for Equity and Inclusion in India, 95% reported that they were restricted in public places as a result of male harassment. A survey by The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women found that 99.3% of Egyptian women have experienced some form of sexual harassment, both physical and verbal.

    I came to Morocco to learn about women in Muslim societies and to try and be involved with some form of women's empowerment. I knew it would be hard to be a woman here and that, in a lot of ways, I wouldn't be respected because of my gender. What I didn't expect was to stare into the face of a man who told me he wasn't going to send his 6 and 8 year old daughters to school but that he would send his sons to school if he had them. In other words, his girls were, in his opinion, not worth the investment.

    What this man and so many ignore is that, through education, women are less likely to get married and have children at a young age and, thus, less likely to die in childbirth, are better caretakers of the children they have, and are better suited to find work that will support their families. Women with an education basically lift entire families out of poverty.

    In this very same village, Akrich, there was a tragic accident that took the life of a local man. His wife is illiterate which makes it nigh impossible for her to find a job to support her three children. It's a tragic situation, but not an uncommon one. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said “by acquiring literacy, women become more economically self-reliant and more actively engaged in their country's social, political and cultural life. All evidence shows that investment in literacy for women yields high development dividends.”

    Akrich isn't an exception. This ingrained sexism and cultural expectations for women run rampant across most of the world. The hardest part about the way women are treated is that it's hard not to feel helpless. How am I supposed to change the way people have been thinking since the beginning of time? How can I convince both men and women that we need to change our ideas about what women's role is and what women can do? How do we adapt whole cultures and religious interpretations to see how archaic their treatment of 49.6% of the population is?

    Spiralling into questions and self doubt only further the problem. International Women's Day was on March 8th. However, every day girls and women are married at a young age, raped, catcalled, forced to leave school, or demeaned because of their gender. Both men and women need to continue the conversation about gender equality and empowerment before it is pushed aside by other more pressing matters. The UN has declared that it will attempt to reach gender equality by 2030, and with such a tight deadline we must continue to create equality so we can reach this goal within the next 14 years.

     

    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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  • Putting Matters Straight In Edo State.

    24/Nov/2015 // 817 Viewers

                                                                 Hon Matthew Iduoriyekemwen


    The election time bomb in Edo state is ticking. If not for the fact that nature cannot be tampered  some people would have adjusted time for the election bomb to detonate as quickly as possible, so as to know who survives. But we must all wait! The unspeakable pain, mental and physical stress occasioned by maladministration and crass political experience has caused a devastating stagnation in the state. But, this time, the pendulum must swing positively - and in favour of the citizens.

    The happenings in the state are  not alien and the interest of the people is also evident. The people want a government that is working and a leader that is not inept and unruly. Over time the state has experienced unquantified turbulence and it is time to put a final stop. This stop is now! As we all know, the "ballot is stronger than the bullet." The franchise of all Nigerians as provided by the constitution is explicitly the arbiter - and every Edo indigene must jealously protect it.

    Under the umbrella of PDP, somebody of moral standing in the person of Rt. Hon. Matthew Iduoriyekemwen has agreed to "Joshua" the people of Edo state to the long expected political prominence and enjoy the inherent benefits.

    As they say " a trial will convince you." Hon. Matthew is ready and willing to rejuvenate the society, sanitize the political structure and build an effective framework that will endure the test of time.

    If this is his desire, it will be an egregious mistake if the people fail to give him the push that will thus catapult him to the level where his voice can be heard and adhered to. Let us all bear in mind that a new song by a willing heart is about to permeate the silence of despair in Edo state - and this can only be achieved through the people's unflinching support to this indefatigable man, Hon. Matthew Iduoriyekemwen.

    From the primaries, all the way to the election proper let Hon Matthew Iduoriyekemwen take the lead for the actualization of the people's dream - a better Edo state.

     

    Iredia Osakue, a political analyst, public commentator on current affairs writes from Turin, Italy

     


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  • Nigeria’s political challenges and Canadian example

    24/Nov/2015 // 236 Viewers

    THE generally peaceful conduct of the March 28, 2015 Nigerian presidential election and the acceptance of defeat by the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) strongly signaled that Nigeria may have turned a new page, politically. Other indicators of a new turn for Africa’s largest democratic country and economy are the following firsts in the country’s annals: the widespread innovative use of technology for the process – the use of card readers; the overthrow of the ruling PDP by the General Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) through the ballot box after 16 years of dominance; the election of four none indigenes of a state (Lagos State) as members of the Federal House of Representatives; and the above-average performance of the National Electoral Commission in ways that suggest considerable independence of the electoral umpire. The relative voter apathy did not becloud the overall plaudits that the current political process has earned locally and internationally. So, too, did the reports of violence leading to death in sections of the country and the localised electoral malpractice not detract from the respectable scorecard of the electoral commission.

    Sadly, the same familiar politicians who had faced various corruption charges in Nigeria’s recent history have materialised to control key organs of the country.

    A high point of the emerging pessimism was the poor public reception of General Buhari’s ministerial list and the shoddy melodrama that defined their screening at the country’s Senate presided over by Bukola Saraki, who is on trial for a 13-count charge on alleged false declaration of assets. In a country where everyday people have developed an uncanny ability to crack jokes out of grievous disasters, the ministerial screening has been publicly derided by some as a “dramatic show” with “star attractions.” Others saw it in the light of a Biblical allusion to the sinner in the Bible whom Jesus Christ simply told to go and sin no more, to the astonishment of his traducers. And so while Nigerians, many of them young people who showed unusual active interest in the last election, were hoping for a reflection of youth in the cabinet, and that the nominees would face tough questions during the screening exercise, familiar faces in the political landscape were simply asked to “take a bow and go.”
    Furthermore, the embarrassing state of the country’s political process is amplified by comparing it to the events that unfolded last week in Canada. Justin Trudeau, 43, was sworn-in as the new Prime Minister of Canada two weeks after election, complete with his new cabinet. In Nigeria’s case, it took four months for the President to come up with a ministerial list, and while they were being assigned portfolios, a different set of old “suspects” were being named as Chairmen and Deputy Chairmen of key Committees at Nigeria’s Senate. A cursory review of the resumes of these fellows reveals that most of them are suspected architects of Nigeria’s woes dating back to the years of military dictatorship presided over by Generals Ibrahim Babangida and Sani Abacha.

    Taken together, the ministerial list and the list of chairpersons and deputy chairpersons of the various Senate committees highlight the depth of Nigeria’s political challenges and the need for Nigeria’s youthful generation to truly seek change beyond their exertions on social media. The political developments in Canada have the potential of becoming a comparative foil for Nigerians. With the increasing interest of younger Nigerians in Canada as a favourite destination for educational and professional advancement, Justin Trudeau and his refreshing diverse cabinet may become an inspiring model – imperfect as it is with the absence of at least one Black Canadian, in recognition of the contributions of Blacks in Canadian history and their being the third-largest visible minority group in Canada.

     

    Besides the historic gender parity in ministerial appointments, there are other remarkable aspects of the new 30-member cabinet constituted by the youthful Trudeau as so succinctly captured by Joan Bryden for The Canadian Press: “Fully 18 of the newly minted ministers are rookies who won election for the first time last month…The cabinet includes two aboriginal ministers, two disabled ministers, one openly gay minister, a refugee from Afghanistan and four Sikhs — one of whom was once wrongly accused of terrorism, tortured and detained without trial for almost two years in India.”

    With the ongoing recycling of yesterday’s analogue-age men to run crucial affairs of state, real change may just remain a mirage. It doesn’t matter if the politicians are photographed with an I-pad during campaigns or burnished with monies looted from state treasury. Fortunately, technology continues to offer hope for the possibility of the “Cheetah generation” overcoming the “Hippo generation,” to borrow the felicitous expression of the Ghanaian economist George Ayittey. With the growing application of biometrics and e-governance, the twin monsters of corruption and poor leadership which are choking Nigeria’s development will definitely suffer severe concussions. Two developments easily justify my argument: The last elections in Nigeria which showed desperate politicians preferring the old and more vulnerable manual voting system to the card readers, and the recent front-page report by a leading Nigeria newspaper that Nigerian politicians were trying to evade the Bank Verification Number (BVN), a biometric identification system that the Central Bank has launched to curtail illegal banking transactions in the country,  underscore the potential of technology as Nigeria’s saviour.

    Perhaps the announcement on Wednesday, November 11 of the portfolios assigned to the new ministers may significantly rekindle hope in the possibilities of some action in leadership at least at the executive level. President Buhari, almost half way into his first year in office, must go beyond his anti-corruption rhetoric to the much-needed urgent action. The example of Justin Trudeau and the Liberal party in Canada shines forth for him and his allies in APC to follow. Time is slipping away, Mr. President, and the veteran politicians are regrouping to resist change.
     

     Otiono writes from Ottawa, Canada.


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  • Nigeria: Emerging one-party rule puts a stranglehold on our democracy, By Iyoha John Darlington

    24/Oct/2015 // 868 Viewers

    Nigeria had a general election and candidates contested under the platform of different political parties, that is to say, Nigeria practises multi-party system and in a multi-party democracy like such she practises a government is formed by candidates drawn from different political parties. Under this setting, regimentation is guarded against.
    Nigeria is a country made up of over 80%  politically illiterate voters and, therefore, ignorant of the dangers inherent in a one-party rule that is gradually rearing its ugly head on the ascending order of magnitude resulting from the activities of egocentric loners with an over-inflated sense of self-worth. As you can see the present Nigerian regime in Abuja has tacitly launched a covert operation against  the main opposition and Nigeria's ruling party partisans are seen in wild jubilation without knowing what this would amount to in the long run. 
     
    It is natural for political parties to seek power.  As one of the ruling party supporters, I root for my party  to win as many elections as possible. But I hope I am objective enough to recognise the incontrovertible fact  that Nigeria  would be  ill-served by the concentration of political power in one party’s hands, regardless of which party holds it. 
     
    Nigeria's founding fathers doubtless awoke themselves to this danger and took steps to avert it by opting for a divided government  via multi-party democracy immediately after independence we had a functional, albeit regionally based multi-party system.The major political parties in the republic had emerged in the late 1940s and early 1950s as regional parties whose main aim was to control power in regions. The Northern people’s Congress (NPC), Action Group and NCNC became the dominant parties in the North, West, East and Midwest respectively. Hence, we saw a government in place that  was administered by men over men that enabled the government to control the governed, and in the next place obliged it to control itself. 
     
    Nigeria's founding fathers were great and bright intellects who brilliantly sought to limit the danger of one-party factionalism by establishing  and fashioning out a political system with numerous checks and balances among parties that form the government and secondly among the organs of government namely the Legislature, Executive and the Judiciary. Be that as it may, we discover that  even with obstacles in place, political leaders frequently run amok when power is concentrated in the hands of one party. 
     
    Today Africa's biggest democracy  is repleted with examples. The complete All Progressives' Congress federal dominance which is also being increasingly replicated in the states is not healthy for our democracy all things considered. For a government that is supposedly involved in a fratricidal anti-graft war, a democratic one-party rule can not  account for the vast changes in our country, and once more, will bring about or lead  to massive cronyism and corruption thereby making the present anti-corruption campaign a contradiction in terms.
     
    Throughout history, we have at various times experienced or heard about the consequences of unchecked, one-party dominance. In the USA, for instance, from 2001-2007, Republicans controlled both Houses of Congress and the White House. At the height of its power, following the 2004 elections, Republicans had a 55-seat Senate majority and a 232-seat House majority. Some party leaders got carried away and pursued policies that grew their own power at the expense of American taxpayers. Their unlimited power led to runaway spending, an explosion in obscenely wasteful and parochial earmarks, a lack of transparency, and  all in all  corruption. We see a similar scenario unfolding in Nigeria if adequate precaution is not taken.
     
    The beauty of every democratic system is that it should be self-correcting otherwise the problem that corrections would  mete out by an understandably outraged electorate could push the pendulum too far in the opposite direction.Nigerians will not be cowed into silence when things spirally go wrong in the hands of tin-gods who are bent on subjecting everyone to their diabolic whims and caprices via the seeming emergence of one-party rule in Nigeria. Today, Wike Nyesom was sacked by the Rivers State Election Tribunal that sat in Abuja alleging electoral irregularities. Wike is gone and gone for good  and Peterside of the All Progressives Congress  will be riding to power by the  instrumentality of federal might. That is the deal on the ground - take it or leave it! 
     
    Over the past five months, the All Progressives monopoly has expanded the federal government by historic proportions. After campaigning on a promise to end the PDP tenure  witnessed on May 29, 2015, the present  Nigerian regime in Abuja instead of settling down to business  has only embarked on   policies that reward rampant irresponsible behavior and hate campaign which is unarguably heating up the polity. It must be borne in mind that unchecked power pushes parties to excess regardless of which party is in power. It is an inherent part of both human nature and the nature of government. 
     
    The danger for our country is that with complete one-party dominance, much damage will be done before the next electoral self-correction. We call for and prefer a balance in Abuja and the states. Nigerians must understand this language even if it has to be spoken in Greek that too much concentration  of power via one-party rule is a serious danger to the people.
     
    Iyoha John Darlington, a political analyst, opinion leader and public commentator on national and global issues writes from Turin, Italy.
     
    Email: jamestmichael2003@yahoo.com


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  • Fallout for Europe may be greater if Britain stays in the EU

    25/Dec/2015 // 214 Viewers

    By John Lloyd

     

    The United Kingdom is trying to get itself out of the clutches of what it believes will be a uniting Europe. Prime Minister David Cameron promised a referendum to the British people by 2017 on whether or not they wished to remain a member of the European Union. He may give them one as early as next year.

    Britain has been a member of the European Union and its predecessor organization since 1972.

    The negotiations on this, now fully joined after months of a phony war, are highly technical — lawyers’ and diplomats’ work. But at root, this is a move with very large implications, as much for the other members as for the UK.

    The British government’s approach has been to declare that the issue needs a negotiation. If in talks with his fellow European heads of government, Cameron can obtain a series of changes that loosen the UK-EU relationship, he would recommend, and campaign for, a “Yes” to remaining a member in the coming referendum.

    It’s clear he wants to stay in. Business people, the Conservatives’ most loyal allies, are largely in favor, as are other main parties — the press (probably), the unions, the upper ranks of the civil service, the universities and, not the lightest weight on the scales, the United States of America. But he has a large number of people in his party, and a few in his cabinet, who would prefer to get out.

    So, it seems, do millions of Brits: Polls presently show that opinion is more or less evenly balanced. Cameron needs to show that he has convinced the EU to change so that continued membership will appear to be a lighter weight to bear, with fewer affronts to national sovereignty than in the past.

    Hardest for Cameron — but perhaps most important to his public — would be to change a founding principle of the European Union, that everyone must be treated equally everywhere. This is especially dear to those countries, mainly former communist-bloc states like Poland, Romania, Czech Republic and others, whose workers come to Britain in large numbers because of its relatively low unemployment.

    He has put up four areas in which change must come, to placate the grumpy British lion. There must be an explicit recognition that the euro is not the only European currency. Red tape must be cut. The UK must be excused from the clause that commits EU members to “an ever closer union.” And immigrants to the UK from other EU member states won’t get work — or out-of-work — benefits for four years.

    In talks earlier this week in Brussels — the first nitty-gritty gathering on the issue, where fellow heads of government actually focused on the UK’s pesky demands — Cameron did quite well. Everyone said they wanted to keep Britain in, were prepared to compromise and would have some ideas by February, when the leaders meet again.

    So he might get what he wants, a result that he could, with not too much spin, present to his colleagues and to the electorate as a substantial shift. The vote — there’s a lot of “don’t knows” in the present polling — may go for staying in. Yet if it does, the consequences would be more momentous for the EU than if Britain voted to leave.

    For it would mean that the UK — the union’s second- biggest economy, a nuclear power, U.N. Security Council member, major military power — would be in Europe only conditionally. Britain would enjoy the economic benefits, but remain unambiguously attached to its own parliament and laws, scorning any efforts to form a European state.

    As such, it would constitute a pole of attraction for other states if the euro does not recover momentum; if Greece returns to crisis; if another state joins Greece in the critical ward; if migrant flows build up once more.

    In a post on the website of the International Financing Review, the former Italian diplomat and commentator Antonio Armellini argues that the British demand can only be accommodated by creating an explicitly divided Europe. Britain, and others who don’t want to join the euro, would “share the basic principles of democratic representation, market economy and fundamental rights,” while those in the eurozone proceed to a closer unity. The euro’s survival, he writes, “is inextricably linked to the ability of its members to agree on an appropriate form of supranational economic governance, on which all the other arrangements for members and non-members will ultimately depend.”

    It’s an idea whose time, many more than Armellini believe, has come. But the challenge it poses to those who, in the eurozone, are presumed by Armellini to want ever closer union is enormous. It would mean European ministers of economy, of internal affairs, of defense and much more laying down the law and practice for the European Union, overriding the governments of the national capitals.

    Like the last round in a high-stakes poker game, it would call those who remain playing to show their hands, and to judge who is bluffing. It would show which countries, and which political parties and leaderships, are willing to jump into the unknown, abandon what real power they have and commit themselves, and their electorates, to the building of a new nation.

    The British have owned up. They have implicitly admitted that they are cautious, pragmatic and insular. They like their own political arrangements best, whether or not they like their politicians. If the other European leaders find a way of keeping the UK in, and the referendum vote goes for remaining a (semi-detached) member, the EU would have to live with a very large cuckoo in its uneasy nest. Much more, its member states’ leaders would finally have to put to their people the prospect of being governed by those they regard as foreigners. Nothing technical about this: It would be the time when an enormous political transformation would have to be embarked upon – or shirked.

     

    The post 'Fallout for Europe may be greater if Britain stays in the EU' appeared first in Reuters


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  • The Nigerian Dream

    25/Jan/2016 // 245 Viewers

    By Prince Charles Dickson

     

    Richard V. Reeves writing for 'The Brookings Essay' talks about saving Horatio Alger, Equality, Opportunity, and the American Dream. The first few paragraphs got me thinking...

    On a warm spring evening in Washington, D.C., a fleet of limousines and town cars delivered hundreds of guests, bedecked in black tie and long gowns, to a gala celebration of the American Dream: the annual awards night for the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans.

    Twelve new members (11 men, one woman) were honored for having risen from childhood poverty to positions as captains of commerce or celebrated public servants. Colin Powell, a 1991 award recipient, was among those in the audience. The new members’ speeches were brief, striking a balance between pride and humility, and all hewing to the rags-to-riches theme: “Who would have thought that I, from a farm in Minnesota/small town in Kansas/Little Rock, raised in an orphanage/with no indoor plumbing/working multiple jobs at 16, would end up running a $6 billion firm/a U.S. ambassador/employing 10,000 people. Only in America!”

    The climax of the evening came with the arrival on stage of more than 100 students from poor and troubled backgrounds to whom the Society had awarded college scholarships, an annual rite that over the years has distributed more than $100 million to deserving young people. Tom Selleck read to the 2014 scholars an inspirational passage of poetry from Carol Sapin Gold (“The person who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing and is nothing…”) and the Tenors sang “Forever Young” as a giant American flag was slowly unfurled from the ceiling. The ceremony had the feel of an act of worship and thanksgiving before the altar of the society's namesake. It was a genuinely moving experience, even for me—and I’m a Brit.

    Vivid stories of those who overcome the obstacles of poverty to achieve success are all the more impressive because they are so much the exceptions to the rule. Contrary to the Horatio Alger myth, social mobility rates in the United States are lower than in most of Europe. There are forces at work in America now—forces related not just to income and wealth but also to family structure and education—that put the country at risk of creating an ossified, self-perpetuating class structure, with disastrous implications for opportunity and, by extension, for the very idea of America.

    Many countries support the idea of meritocracy, but only in America is equality of opportunity a virtual national religion, reconciling individual liberty—the freedom to get ahead and “make something of yourself”—with societal equality. It is a philosophy of egalitarian individualism. The measure of American equality is not the income gap between the poor and the rich, but the chance to trade places.

    In his second inaugural address in 2013, Barack Obama declared: “We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American; she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.”

    President Obama was not saying that every little girl does have that chance, but that she should.

    I read the above paragraphs with so much on my mind, I have got some two wonderful boys, and like many of my readers, we have kids, and the best we have done is pat them on the back and whisper to them how they are the ‘leaders of tomorrow’, indeed leaders of tomorrow, but with which dream?

    Many of us are struggling to see that these kids get any form of foreign education. The vogue in most schools now is either American or British Curriculum, some schools even go as far as Canadian curriculum. Our lads are going as near as Benin Republic, while others as far as Cyprus, and Hungary.

    Is the Dasuki-gate the Nigerian dream, and the cry of witch hunting by witches the dream we have of our nation. Lately we have cried more from the lack of dollars than the value of our Naira.

    We are more concerned about ethnic issues as we battle Biafra, and put more energy in discussing the “Islamization, Secularism and Christianity” of not just the Nigerian state, but it’s political structure, than we have bothered on what the Nigerian dream is, or should be.

    So much has been said of the Nigerian myth, but what do we stand for, as a people, do we provide equal opportunity or are we still a long way of remedying the malaise of federal character and quota system. In the last decade many have got jobs not because they were capable, or had potentials, but because they were politically correct, or geographically right.

    We have lamented about what the Nigerian project is, we have cried about our problems of structure and systems, but truth is, apart from the little things like football, we are yet to zero in on what binds us a people. The moral claim that each individual has the right to succeed is implicit in the "American creed" the Declaration of Independence, when it proclaims, “All men are created equal.” Is there any moral claim in the Nigerian constitution which still battles to give definition to what an ‘indigene’ is, or the National Anthem, that many cannot even recite any longer.

    Our youth dream of the big life, big houses, big cars, the easy life, bling-bling; what they see on the TV, and around them. They are not ready to work, and really you do not blame them, as they are living witnesses to the mess of our political class…We bicker over everything and nothing, and the question remains, when are we ready to define Nigeria, when are we ready to wake to our collective dream of equity, justice and fairness—Only time will tell

     

    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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  • Edo Decides 2016: Pastor Ize-Iyamu Stands Out As A Colossus

    25/Jan/2016 // 500 Viewers

    By Iredia Osakue

    As momentum gathers in preparation for the primary election, political parties and stakeholders are about, wooing and finding soft places to land. But the electorates are grappling with a suspense of the political parties as they scheme for their choice of candidates that in their conviction, can beat them all. This cliffhanger has been on and it is ,of course, a political, tactics devised by politicians to see who are the choice candidates of their opponents.

    Irrespective of this hide and seek game, the people are concerned and weary about the imposition of a candidate by the incumbent on the citizens, this in their own opinion is unacceptable and uncalled for, especially in this present political system. It is no news to all and sundry that getting to the position of leadership on the back of a supposed godfather makes such leader a puppet with an unspeakable loyalty to his "daddy." Apportioning loyalty to an individual instead of the state in every sense is capricious and ultra vires. History has taught us that, such a leader ends up a stooge, reckless and unresponsive and indifferent to the needs of the people. To this end, it will not be out of place to denounce this perceived cankerworm that will eventually rubbish our struggle for a vibrant and viable state.

    The fragmentation presently experienced in the ruling party over who succeeds the incumbent will adversely affect the state if the citizens fail to nip this ignoble act in the bud. It is not abnormal or rather flies in the face of fact and common sense for an incumbent to have a choice candidate that he can vouch for, but the bad side of it  if he deliberately imposes his "anointed" candidate by way of deceit or coercion on the people all in a calculated attempt to extend his political relevance.

    If you ask me, the only panacea to this unholy plan is for the people to continue in their peaceful verbal and nonverbal reactions, so that the present power that be, can come to the understanding that the people can no longer be hoodwinked by their gimmicks and secret plot that has hitherto stalled the progress of the state.

    Nevertheless, a public opinion poll indicates that the electorate is posed to react decisively against any seen act defined as "godfatherism." Gone are the days when the selection of a party flag bearer remains the prerogative of the incumbent. The government in power can only be seen as preparing a platform for a successor who can cover their "mess" and worse still subject the state further into socio-economic and political doldrums.

    To have a political victory in the state, it is pertinent to allow our minds play the game rather than subverting the wish of the people all in the name of money.

    The only platform that is willing to go all out to satisfy the interest of the people and act in accordance with the acceptable norms is that of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu. He has distinguished himself as a shrewd and God-fearing politician with a class second to none. It is not an exaggeration to define this humble Edo man as the matchmaker in  the political field.

    In addition to the above, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu stands out as the right choice fit to take over the helm of affairs in Edo state - and I am very sure you will all agree with me that his antecedents and pedigree has groomed him for the challenges ahead.

    Therefore, as he maintains his walk on the rocky and undulated political terrain of the state to the government house as the next occupant, let it remain our collective responsibility to queue behind this indefatigable man.

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

     

    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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