• The hope message Nigerians deserve from their leaders

    27/Apr/2016 // 423 Viewers

    By Femi Fabiyi

    Nigerians are one of the most religious people in the world. By noon on Fridays, Muslims all over the country close shops and offices, and head to the mosques for prayers. On Sundays, streets and shopping malls are deserted while Christians are glued to church programs, praying for Shelter, Prosperity, Grace, Wisdom, and Understanding. Every Nigerian spent part of their weekends listening to the teaching of endurance, perseverance, miracle, love and passion. On weekdays, however, Nigerians watch politicians mumbling their theatric messages, loaded with untested and undefined analytics. In some cases, theories are concocted;taunting the minds of the needy.
    In the past few weeks, various scripts have been flying around, illustrating the next path of recovery the country should tow. I had the opportunity to listen to a Nigerian senator lecturing its people about the successes of eminent personalities like Dangote, Alakija, Adenuga and a host of other successful Nigerians. Interestingly, he also extended his rhetoric to identifying successful Nigeria students in the USA Ivy League and British schools to Nigeria structure. Well, Nigeria leaders owe the people a well-thoughtful road map to resurrection, highlighting issues that are holding the country back and efforts that are being made to move the country forward.
    Critical on Nigerian’s menu lists are food, power, gas, water, health care, shelter, security, improved education systems and a responsible welfare programs. Small business owners in Nigeria face the most challenging business uncertainties in any evolving market. Government and small business employees have had their salaries hedged against unending debts. Big corporations are struggling to manage their recurrent budgets – a good chunk goes to power and security. Importer’s lifeline is at the mercy of the Custom’s controller.Graduates are walking the streets helplessly. Transporters are constantly on the edge;traffic conditions are unpredictable.Nigerian consumers are at the mercy of the $$ benchmark. In summary, the prognosis is weak for an economy with growth aspiration.
    The most single attribute of a good leader is its values. Great leadership is about heart and passion – how you treat people and how you want to be treated. Leaders fight intellectually and approach issues responsibly.True leaders express in character,the plight and burden of its people, and embark on mitigating actions to stop their hemorrhaging. They also share sincere and thoughtful vision of comfort and hope. 
    Nigerian’s efforts to a realistic rebuilding process should focus on a three-tier approach:
    First, Nigerians in general must be encouraged to embrace the culture of selfless servicing; community development and volunteering programs should be an integral part of the rebuilding process. Personal sacrifices - financial commitments and direct labor towards tertiary roads reconstruction, community drainage systems, security of lives and properties are key incentives to encouraging local and international investment in our communities for growth and development. Today, we have more Events and Worship centers in our communities than Medical and Innovative centers. We drive some of the most expensive cars on some very bad roads in our communities, resulting in Nigerians wasting billions of naira on repairs and maintenance (from personal experience, Nigerians prefer to spend their precious time and money in the repair shops than to make a lasting solution to their road hazards by joining hands and fixing their local roads). There are many internationally based agencies and millions of charity dollars that could be funneled towards community development, provided the initiatives to revamp our communities come from within. Habitat for humanity, H2O for Life, Health Alliance International, Mercy Ship, Salvation Army, and Red Cross are some of the African focused charity organizations that are awaiting our conscious action towards a joint developmental effort.
    The Nigeria corporate environment, particularly the oil and financial sectors that have benefited from the radical fiscal and structural changes Nigeria government have implemented since the emergence of third republic have demonstrated little appetite for organic-solution-driven-initiatives. Rather, the enormous insurance premiums, billions in naira from pension funds and the non-proprietary oil revenue are either redundantly sitting in the federal government treasury and bond markets or they are locked in other emerging market portfolios. Time and time again, history has shown that most thriving economies are built on macro-level corporate initiatives that focus on stable and efficient systems. Nigeria corporate institutions, especially the financial and oil sectors should be geared to working with government in ‘underwriting’ investment projects aligned to other key sectors of the economy, particularly manufacturing, power, small-scale businesses,farming, water and health care. This effort will not only unlock opportunities for the local people, but will put a halt to companies relocating to neighboring countries,attracts angel investors all around the world and begin an era of finding a lasting solution to the FOREX issue (Nigeria’s current GDP position need to change for better). There are millions of Nigerian professionals, in and outside Nigeria whose expertise includes identifying business opportunities, and marrying those opportunities with passive investors. Time is now for Nigeria leaders to focus on creating a platform where community leaders, corporate institutions, and Nigerian expertise abroad are encouraged to collaborate on growth and value-driven ideas.
    The most critical of these approaches is what direction the federal government chooses to steer its wheel. The key responsibilities of any government is to ensure it creates an enabling environment that supports fairness, law and order, entrepreneurship, creativity, efficiency, effectiveness and security of lives and properties. These qualities are lacking in Nigeria leaders, hence, they are unwilling to hold the bull by the horn. Some leaders or politicians, in their mono-focus attitude, have begun to challenge Nigerians to go back to farming.But what they have not done is to provide a government scheme of support system that will ensure such initiative is a viable business option for anyone who may be willing to take the risk. In the 1980s when India economy was depressed, their politicians made the same call, and its citizen responded to the challenge. The Indian government made a judgmental error on the importance of transportation, irrigation and storage facilities; thus resulting in almost 65% wastage of their harvested crops. Today, they have addressed some of the inefficiencies, and India is the second largest farm producers in the world.
    Nigeria leaders are ignoring basic economic principles of Competitive Advantage and Economic niche, but are fixated with the complex global economic concepts of equity and derivatives. Between 1998 and 2003, Argentina politicians took a risky bet in Wall Street aggressive equity market, and ignorantly hedged the country’s valuable assets to invest in some toxic portfolios. Things went horribly bad,and the presidency office changed batons multiple times in 5 years. In time, their leaders responded to the challenge by going back to the basics – revitalized economic sectors where they have competitive edge; agricultural and industrial sectors. Similarly, between 2005 and 2008, the big international investment bankers connived with some Greek politicians and conned the country into some very complex derivative deals where receivables and swaps were bogusly reported as earned income on their balance sheets as a measure to attract foreign investors. After series of hand-twisting with some powerful European country leaders and a near collapse economy, Greek leaders quickly come to terms with reality, apologized to its people and went back to reactivate their hospitality business – the foundation of Greek economy.
    The most vocal fiscal and structural economic strategy I have listened to from our able leaders is their intent to align our deficit trading imbalance from dollar to Chinese Yuan benchmark. Our leader’s permutation seems to ignore the consumption habit of Nigerians, and the current economic challenges China may be confronting. The stack truth is, Nigerians will continue to patronize western education system, remain attracted to consuming western culture, relied on western medicine and will continue to enjoy western hospitality services. This explains why dollar demand is not going away from Nigeria systems anytime soon.China on the other hand is facing an acute economy slowdown particularly from its steel and chemical industries. China’s steel market is reported to have lost about $2 billion in the first 2 months of this year and a potential loss of about 500,000 jobs in the next two years. To compound China’s economic misery, the West is cracking an anti-dumping international laws in steel and chemical industries, leaving China one key option – “explore Africa for opportunities to neutralize their current economic challenges”.
    Nigerians do not deserve fake leaders of hope, believing an economy built on shaky fundamentals, weak structural apparatus, and an open-ended deficit balance sheet will swing into prosperity by fiercely benchmarking Naira to Chinese Yuan. The survival of Nigeria economy lies in its leader’s ability to effectively and efficiently manage the country’s lush resources, to creating opportunities not just for the powerful few but for every hard-working Nigerian home and abroad.
    The government should demonstrate boldness by promoting financial discipline and drive growth based initiatives. They should engage and encourage Nigeria professionals abroad to invest their knowledge and expertise in the Nigeria systems, and not to indulge them in running for office to share the cake. If need be, they should borrow money to invest in the country’s dilapidating infrastructures particularly our highways and the power grids. They should find a lasting solution to gas issues and declare a state of emergency on the security apparatus. They need to promote a liberal socioeconomic agenda that will attract international investors in all sectors of the economy and not just oil and gas. The country cannot continue to watch its best professionals leaving its shores every year for greener pastures abroad, and allow its established professionals (the most needed resources for nation building) to continue to stay away from the rebuilding process due to lack of basic services.
    Nigeria have all the pieces to the puzzle, all that is needed is to put a round peg in a round hole and every other thing will fall in place.


    *Femi Fabiyi wrote from  Connecticut, USA

    Email: femif826@gmail.com

     

    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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  • Rise up, bow and take your award for non-performance

    27/Dec/2015 // 208 Viewers

    By Babajide Alabi

     

    Sometimes last week I had this beautiful idea of making myself the judge for a man or woman or agency of the year in Nigeria. This idea did not just come out of the blues, I was only trying to follow the tradition that is worldwide. At the end of a year, personalities are named as people who had one way or the other influenced the world or their corner of the world. An example is Angela Merkel who is Time’s Person of the year 2015.

    A very good idea which has all the years been inspiring people to want to do noble things. The interesting thing about these awards is that “baddies” are never named. This has denied many underperforming personalities or agencies the opportunity of taking the centre stage for “recognition”. I am aware that some are named and shamed for one reason or the other during the year, but they should also take their places on the podium at the end of the year so they can have as much publicity as they deserve.

    I didn’t realise that my self-imposed mission would be tedious. I set about by pencilling down a few individuals I think deserved mentioning. From the former President Goodluck Jonathan, being named as the Hero of the 2015 General Elections to the enfant terrible Ayo Fayose, the new face of grassroots politics in the south west of Nigeria. Along the line, I abandoned the list as I discovered there was constant tinkering with the criteria for nominations.

    To save myself an unnecessary headache, I shifted my attention from individuals to agencies. And with a twist, I decided to search for underperforming agency or arm of government of the year 2015. Rarely do we scrutinise the activities of government bodies or agencies in Nigeria. To some members of the public, the executive is seen as the “government” without realising that there are actually three arms. This is understandable, though, as the executive arm is the most prominent over the Legislature and Judiciary.

    As a result of this public perception pf government, the legislative arm has therefore literally gone to bed. Therefore, the  2015 award for the Underperforming Agency/Arm of Government goes to the National Assembly of Nigeria.

    Since the inauguration of the present legislature, the members have strengthened Nigerians’ opinion that it is nothing more than a talk shop.

    There is something about the Upper Chamber, particularly that gives one an idea that it is not a place for serious business. I am definite I am not the only one who feels this way. The idea in the constitution is that the Senate is the highest legislative body of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, yet it comes across as not a tad different from states houses of assembly.

    This is not to say that the “junior” House of Representatives is any better or can be viewed as a ground for the “sharing” of intellectual ideas. No. You will be forgiven if you paint the two with the same brush. I have never been on the floors of both houses, but I do follow proceedings on the broadcast media, and by the contributions, there is not much to write home about.

    The vibrancy of the Legislative arm of government in any part of the world is determined by the quality of individuals that populate it. In some countries, the best of the political class are always guided towards the legislature. We can say this is not the case in our beloved country. Therefore, the result that is produced is less than what can move the nation forward.

    While the legislature is just an arm of the government, it is understandable that it is often referred to as the brain box. In here are bills designed to make governance easy expected to be discussed and passed into laws. In the principle of separation of power, the legislature should operate parallel to the other arms of government.

    The Nigerian assembly is interesting. It lacks all the qualities of a modern legislature. While, in other climes, there are “intellectual” arguments, in Nigeria, the law-makers are not in this league. Their arguments are usually rowdy and bother on either how to share available posts or improving their own welfare. We can recollect how the legislature was almost shut down at the start of its tenure a few months ago. No thanks to intrigues displayed by these lawmakers who obviously are more interested in their pockets and affiliations than national interests.

    There is a marked difference between the present day legislature and what was obtained in the Second Republic, which was operated under the Presidential style of government. In those days, the conduct of the lawmakers was very dignifying while their contributions were matured than what we have nowadays. I remember those days with nostalgia. My closest encounter as a teenager with the Legislature was mainly on the national television. I remember those days all news only came via the National Television Authority (NTA) before the advent of states and private television stations.

    The Legislative arm of the government in the Shehu Shagari-led government operated from the grounds of the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos. I remember a visit as a teenager where I got carried away with the illusion that I was close to a vital arm of government. I fell in love with the serene atmosphere around the place and the fact that I was close to the hall where political juggernauts meet to make laws for the country. In those days, the Senators and House of Representatives members were actually sponsoring bills and involved In the governance of the great country, Nigeria. The calibre of people in the National Assembly was quite impressive.

    After this encounter with the “grounds”, I was so sure a political career was on the table for me. It was a dream of a career that never came through. With the military intervention in 1984, all “affiliation” with politics came to an end. The pace at which the country travelled in the dictatorial “space of time” has been unprecedented in history.

    Many observers have argued that this long period of military intervention has actually been a curse rather than blessings on the country. They believe that this is what has contributed to the backwardness of the present political class. This is not far from the truth considering the fact that the present crop of politicians had no mentors or leaders to emulate. Those who were supposed to have learnt one or two tricks in politics were forced to look into another “trade” to survive.

    Please discount the experimental type of government that the evil genius, Ibrahim Babangida “threw” up in those days. His contraption of a civilian legislature under a military rule did no good to the polity at all. Rather, it bred a new set of desperate politicians with no ideology. It will be an understatement if IBB’s attempt at democracy is described as a disaster.

    The award of incompetence and non-performance for the present federal legislature is based on the proposed bill for the “gagging” of the Nigeria social media space by these legislators. I have tried as much as possible to balance the reasons as advanced by the honourable gentleman and his supporters. On every occasion, I concluded that the house has only allowed the reading of this bill not for anything else but out of nothing to do.

    Please let us rise and congratulate the federal legislative houses for the award of non-performer of the year 2015. They sure deserve it.

     

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


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  • Between Buhari and Jonathan

    27/Feb/2016 // 389 Viewers

    By Godday Odidi

    It is glaring that President Mohammadu Buhari has no political direction to pilot the affairs of Nigeria than throwing unnecessary blame games on former President Goodluck Jonathan who came into power by divine providence while the former came into power by Nigerians who felt change must come into existence. For the Nigeria’s economy to be nose-diving, indicates that the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the federal level only used the ‘Change Mantra’ to deceive Nigerians to vote massively and never fulfilled the magic leadership promised in 2015 general elections.
    The poverty rescue mission and leadership development being promised by President Buhari’s government only succeeded on the pages of newspapers and social media platforms while some social media writers of the ruling party went viral to describe former President Goodluck Jonathan as ‘Clueless leader and Ineffectual Buffoon’ that cannot take Nigeria to the promised land. While President Buhari’s leadership is being technically described as ‘Inconclusive government with mendacious propaganda.
    The reverse is now the case where the present government is impoverishing Nigerians with incompetent hands to handle the economy of the country. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ruled Nigeria for 16 consecutive years and promoted corruption and allowed few people to enrich their pockets. Either the APC or PDP has any political future for the Nigerian youth.

    President Buhari came to power with many political promises and only denied some of the promises recently as mere media propaganda from desperate writers in Nigeria. None of these promises made had been technically fulfilled as a result of many propagandists in his government. Those that praised Buhari as the best President ever elected in Nigeria are now crying for economic revolution in the country.
    With the present economic situation shows that this government never prepared for national leadership with errors and omissions in the 2016 budget submitted to the National Assembly. This government has technically failed to fight Boko Haram insurgence to stand still in the last eight months while human beings mean nothing for these criminal elements. It is now difficult for a common man on the street to eat three square meal per day in this government.
    The eating ratio now 0:1:0, 1:0:0, 0:0:1 while in Jonathan’s government, the eating ratio was manageable. Nigeria has depended solely on mono-economy which has adverse effect on the present government that fails to assemble economic experts to proffer solutions to the dwindling economy.
    Moreover, all the foreign trips embarked recently by President Buhari, has not yielded any positive result than breeding hardship to many Nigerians in the country. In as much as we criticized former President Goodluck Jonathan, he had a robust leadership structure where economic experts were employed to proffer solutions to the economy but political propagandists have taken over Buhari’s government to the debris for selfish interests.
    Even in Jonathan’s government, electricity was partially guaranteed but Buhari’s government, there is short of power supply.unemployment,scarcity of food items, increasing in dollar against naira, leadership inefficiency, security challenges in the North East and just mention but a few. This present government promised to tackle all these problems if elected and many Nigerians were overwhelmed to queue behind a man many called’ Messiah’ against former President Goodluck Jonathan.Presdent Buhari’s aides keep defending his foreign trips which had not yielded any economic change than breeding penury among Nigerians. 

    One issue that many social writers failed to address is that President Buhari never promised Nigerians at his inaugural speech any significant agenda to follow than ‘I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody’. To my own definition, President Buhari simply means, he has no political agenda for the country. Those that run the past government with venomous write ups are now burying their heads in shame.
    The commonsense advocate, Senator Ben Bruce must be commended for his political advocacy on the present Buhari’s government 9 months of this administration; no achievement could be traced than inflicting hardship on the people in spite of the unflinching support being demonstrated by Nigerians at the 2015 elections.
    Former President Goodluck Joanthan took a right decision to accept defeat and allowed democracy to prevail. No doubt about the past government, cesspool of corruption and security challenges was well-pronounced. There is need for the Minister of Finance and CBN governor to honorably resign and allow competent hands to handle the economy right away.
    Finally, if President Buhari continues with this kind of leadership to Nigerians, for sure, 2019 is no longer met for the APC than looking forward for another viable political party to save Nigerians from this poverty leadership.
    Godday Odidi
    Social Media Analyst
     Disclaimer: Views express in any piece we publish remain entirely the author's and do not reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch


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  • A dying nation, Its travelling President and the lying party

    27/Feb/2016 // 345 Viewers

     

    In the run up to the 2015 presidential election, leaders and members of APC were very vocal in condemning the then president of the country, President Goodluck Jonathan, for every step he took. This even included attending churches on Sunday, Jonathan's religion's holy day of obligation. It was Babatunde Raji Fashola, the then governor of Lagos State and now Honourable Minister of Power, Works and Housing, that succinctly captured the mind of the All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders and supporters then when at the sixth Bola Tinubu Colloquium in Lagos some time in March 2014, he charged at his listeners by asking them if they wanted “someone who spends most of his time in church or mosque, or the man who is ready to spend his time on the job.” That was when life was very sweet as an opposition party especially with the tolerance level of Goodluck Jonathan. At least, Goodluck was spending his time in the country even if, in the hyperbolic words of Fashola, he was spending “most” of it in church.

    However, fast forward to today, we have the same Fashola who is currently serving as a minister under president Muhammadu Buhari who would remain Nigeria's most travelled president for a long time in our history. So far, since his inauguration into office on May 29, 2015, President Buhari has traversed 24 countries of the world within a short period of 9 months.

    Considering our scarce resources, this is too frequent, too costly and is a disturbing development as the nation is in its worst economic quagmire since independence. Never in the history of our nation even when we thought we faced economic recession and hyper-inflation has our exchange rate run on auto-devaluation as it is now. The prices of food stuff and basic items are climbing higher and out of the reach of the common man. The purchasing power of the citizens has been badly eroded while people are not only not getting employed, those who are employed are losing their jobs in droves.

    The economy is at a standstill! No gainful economic activity going on anywhere. Infrastructural development that characterised Goodluck Jonathan's administration has since been brought to a halt; our revived agricultural sector is now in a speedy reverse course. While harmless and armless youths protesting peacefully within their constitutional rights are regularly mowed down by mindless security agencies in Zaria, Aba, Onitsha etc, the supreme court has come under several severe attacks from the ruling party as the Honourable Justices of the apex court have resisted the “body language” charm and refused to do the bidding of the party in some of the judgements given by the court recently. Kidnapping has not only returned but assumed a more dangerous and fearful dimension, and the security agents seem overwhelmed.

    Power supply has become more epileptic than ever even as the DISCO's have hiked their tariff by about 40% and they still expect Nigerians to pay for darkness supplied in the midst of gross financial powerlessness. There is general disenchantment in the land as the Buhari administration has sufficiently demonstrated a total lack of idea on how to run our economy to attain its full potentials at this time. This fact is further strengthened by the shambolic and embarrassing preparation of a simple budget that

    is a normal ritual of governments all over the world. Nigerians believe that the budget was fraught with fraud and an indication of the hypocrisy of the current government's anti-corruption stance. Having suffered so much, the Buhari budget is widely believed to be the “most stolen”, “most missing”, “most padded”, “most denied”, “most investigated”, “most withdrawn” and “most re-presented” budget, yet, there is no outrage in the land over that garbage. If PDP had made that “mistake” during its time, of course, the country would have been on an uncontrollable conflagration, set on by APC.

    Despite the rapid descent of the country into catastrophic and unbelievable state of socio-political and economic anomie within a very short period, President Buhari carries on as if nothing is wrong. There is no sense of urgency or even needed level of concern for the state of the nation. Buhari keeps globe-trotting as if the solutions to the nation's woes lie abroad. The sophistry peddled by the administration's spin doctors, as it was during the presidential campaigns, that the president's frequent travels has already yielded much fruits for the country is only a lullaby-like tale told to children in order to put them to sleep and prevent their usual late night tantrums. Obviously, the complaints of Nigerians about the worrying situation of things in the country would no doubt have been sounding like tantrums to the ears of government.

    Given Fashola's lamentations about former president Jonathan's frequent presence in church, one would have expected this same man and his likes to caution the president about his needless travels, sit back at home, consult with his cabinet and concerned Nigerians on how we can all move this country forward rather than junketing all over the world in search of foreign solutions to local problems.

    The argument that he is in talks with some oil producing countries to see how they could help increase the value of oil in the international market by scaling down on output is akin to pouring water in a basket for the purpose of storage. If we are able to get Saudi Arabia to reduce output will a country like Iran not take advantage of that and flood the market with their own oil especially as they have a lot to unleash on the market having been shut out from the international market for a long time as a result of US sanctions until recently. This is more so especially when one considers that Iran would be very happy to do the exact opposite of what Saudi Arabia does even if it is just to spite the Saudis owing to the frosty relations between the two countries. In addition, the pro-Shiite Iranians expressed very strong diplomatic reservations over the recent killings of Shiite Muslims in Zaria by a band of military men led by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai. This might just be an opportunity for a pay back by them.

    It is also instructive to note that a majority of our oil patrons have either found new buyers or have embraced alternative sources of energy. So, whichever way one looks at it, embarking on extensive and expensive diplomatic shuttles majorly for this purpose is not only illogical, it is also antithetic to common sense and beats the imagination of even elementary economists. Little wonder then our president seems to be the only president among the oil producing countries who think the best way to shore up the price of oil worldwide is by diplomatic shuttles. No other president worldwide is travelling for this purpose.

    Our nation is dying, the president is travelling and his party is parrying the truth about the situation of things and the true outcome of the president's frequent travels. Let the president return, sit back and spend quality time at home and stop working like a distant learning student!

    Written by Jude Ndukwe
    jrndukwe@yahoo.co.uk
    @stjudendukwe

     

    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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  • Russia's Ruling Regime Must Modernize or Face Collapse

    27/Jan/2016 // 425 Viewers

     

    By Nikolai Petrov

    In 2014-2015, Russia's domestic policy was pushed abroad — first toward Ukraine, then toward Syria. In 2016 the Russian authorities will have to shift their focus away from shaping the world order and toward putting their own house in order. Otherwise, they will not survive.

    Over the last two years, President Vladimir Putin has confirmed his legitimacy through the use of extraordinary measures — war and the mobilization of public opinion. But that type of legitimacy desensitizes a society that requires ever more frequent and grandiose "feats" to evoke a comparable response. Russia's dealings with Crimea, Novorossiya, Syria and Turkey being the most recent government actions to a rouse public response.

    Ordinarily, officials gain electoral legitimacy simply by winning in fair elections. But a national leader like Putin needs a larger, more commanding mandate. That sort of orchestrated legitimacy is incompatible with competitive elections. That is why the Kremlin has been eliminating the direct election of mayors and has made regional governor elections a foregone conclusion. As well as trying to kill the public's interest in elections, the Kremlin prohibited the democratic opposition from participating in elections in 2015 — the authorities feared not that the opposition would win too many votes, but that its participation would lead to legitimate criticism of the ruling regime.

    Electoral legitimacy grows from the bottom up, while "forced legitimacy" is imposed from the top down. Those diametrically opposed models are set to collide in 2016.

    The internal balance between the ruling elite has changed significantly over the last two years. Russia's foreign wars have greatly increased the influence of the siloviki —a word that refers to "strongmen" officials with roots in law enforcement — and the military-industrial complex. But the collapse of Russia's raw materials economic model, Western sanctions and the resultant reevaluation of assets has also caused a major shift in the balance of power among the ruling elite.

    Most importantly, shrinking government coffers have prompted more intense infighting among the ruling clans as each vies for their place in the sun. The problem is that the current system is based on ever-expanding revenues that provide enough for all. There is no functioning mechanism for resolving conflicting interests and redistributing property and incomes among contending groups. Each new situation requires an executive decision, which increases the frequency of conflict among the elite spilling over into the public eye — such as the sharp confrontation last spring between the leadership of the Federal Security Service and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who heads his own siloviki force. Such clashes strain the system at the seams.

    The main goal of these struggles is access to the crisis-stricken budget and the chance to curry favor with senior leaders. Therefore, parliamentary elections in September will be held against a backdrop of increased competition among the elite.

    The Russian political system is archaic. It was created during a historical period when rulers were awash in petrodollars and there was simply no apparent need for democratic institutions, checks and balances, independent judiciary, strong parliament, federalism, local government and so forth. Without easy money, the ruling regime will not survive without modernization.

    Formal institutions such as elections, the courts and so on were already weak, but over the past two years, the accepted rulebook governing their operation —previously strictly observed — also has been tossed aside. The same trend can be seen in Russian business. Consider, for example, the sudden arrest of Kremlin-loyal oligarch Vladimir Yevtushenkov. Neither have the regional elite been spared — the authorities arrested two regional governors last year alone, and the list of those affected includes the siloviki. Old rules and "understandings" have ceased operating and no one has announced new rules to replace them.

    Against this backdrop, Russia will hold early elections in September for the State Duma and almost half of all regional parliaments.

    The previous parliamentary elections in December 2011 sparked mass political protests and the situation has only deteriorated since then. Governors are finding it increasingly difficult to secure the election results they need. Money is running low and the Kremlin more often resorts to various "sticks" rather than "carrots" when managing regional elections. Citizens feel the decline in living standards, and the Russian people now have the memory of the protests in 2011-2012. The only thing making life easier for the authorities is their successful dismantling of the system for the independent monitoring of elections.

    The authorities plan to implement a strategy for the September elections that was tried in the 2014-15 regional elections. That tactic is best summed up as "manipulation rather than falsification." When, for example, leaders were afraid to risk a resurgence of political protests in connection with gubernatorial elections in the Irkutsk region in 2015, the Kremlin weighed the relative costs of possible mass protests against the election of a Kremlin-loyal but communist governor — and chose the latter. It was the first time since gubernatorial elections were reinstated that an incumbent governor failed to win re-election.

    The Duma elections this September will be held according to a new scheme: half of the seats will go to the parties, and the other half will be parceled out among individual candidates — as was done in Russia prior to 2007. However — one of the examples of the manipulation — the Kremlin has cannily delineated misshapen electoral districts that lump independent and protest-minded residents of major cities alongside Kremlin-loyal and conformist rural residents. This will make it all the more difficult for progressive candidates to secure Duma seats.

    Preparations for the Duma elections are already underway, and the conflicts that occasionally flare-up between regional governors and pro-Kremlin United Russia party and the All-Russia People's Front movement suggests that the elite are busily horse-trading. This will reach its climax in May when United Russia holds its so-called "primaries."

    The Duma to be elected this September will look very different from the present Duma. This time, deputies will be much more independent than before — even in cases where the incumbent is re-elected. These deputies will profess loyalty not only to the Kremlin, but also to the regional elites, business groups and voters. It will prove far more difficult for President Putin to maintain a hard-fisted legitimacy over such a parliament — if it is possible at all.

    The changes that this year will inevitably usher in have already begun, but it is still too early to predict their scale or consequences. As of today, it appears the authorities intend to emulate the Chinese — that is, to normalize relations with the West on the foreign front and liberalize some aspects of economic policy while keeping or even tightening the screws on the political scene. However, there is no use taking the Kremlin's plans too seriously because there are too many variables beyond its control that could come into play, and Russia's political system is far too unstable to predict how all of this will end.

     

     *Nikolai Petrov is a professor of political science at the Higher School of Economics.

     

    The post headlined  'Russia's Ruling Regime Must Modernize or face Collapse' appeared first in The  Moscow Times


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  • Politics, science and my generation

    27/Jul/2016 // 199 Viewers

     

    POLITICS, SCIENCE AND MY GENERATION

    Ideally, politics should be about making the world a better place via ideologies. More than any generation, this is when the sovereignty of every nation is supposedly recognized and respected. My generation is full of national and international political organizations to address all possible internal and external conflicts for quick but lasting resolutions.

    More than ever, we are equipped to do well for humanity through the proper use of the available advancement in science, technology and information, constituting knowledge than our predecessors. Yet my generation is still full of suppression, oppression and aggression. Ironically, my generation is one in which democratic nations spend huge sums of money on sophisticated military weapons of all kinds than even non-democratic ones. Just to the benefit of few people on the planet, some countries in some continents have become war and/or exploitable zones forever. It is a recipe for revulsion, of which terrorism and militancy are examples.

    As complex and myriad as the causes of insecurity are, the machinations of the leading political powers across the globe are the key contributing factors. In my generation, there is a widening gap between leaders and followers. Leaders in this instance include elected political officials, members of their family, their business associates and followers with links to government officials. Due to this gap which has become wider than normal, younger persons who hold the shorter end of the bargain, have become morally bereft so they have cave under pressure to meet up with their peers among the leading class. These young persons who are of my generation and constitute about 60 percent of the world population are the terrorists, militants and agents of crimes in our societies. Although a reality, this development is disheartening.

    Mine is a scientific generation. The era in which humanity is extracting and distilling the real knowledge buried in the universe. We are exploring space. We are using technology to shrink distance and contract time. We are overcoming the diseases that killed our ancestors prematurely. This is the generation filled with all kinds of social media platforms, sports and entertainments activities for relaxation after hard day's work.

    Yet it is also the generation with many deliberately declared lethal and incurable diseases. We are in a generation where organisms are created in laboratories and are released into the environment to decimate others all in the name of tackling overpopulation, for money making and to sustain dependence of the under developed and developing countries on the more scientifically advanced and developed countries. Other people's geographical water bodies and arable lands are the waste dumping sites for illegal business men who trade in toxic wastes, thus, endangering the lives of humans, plants and animals in such areas.

    This is the generation where interference with the brain and the entire human body is possible using specifically designed chemicals and machines. Yet despite our imaging machines, we know literally nothing about the content of the mind as in what that man walking around on the street would do next. Neuroscience and neurology are not just in their infancy, even the best they can offer in their matured state will only be the interpretation of scanned or mapped images. It will be an uncorroborated stretching of imagination born of naïve realism and unwarranted trust of power of science to conclude that the scanned or mapped images represent the real contents of human mind as in what a person is thinking and willing to do. Even those under study specifically for this purpose have never had the content of their minds revealed. If the content of the mind of the human being under study for that very purpose cannot even be revealed by all our imaging machines, how much more that of the one not under study.

    The mind of a man at rest or in action remains an enigma. Nothing, absolutely nothing could be revealed about it except in its outcomes in actions constituting events. And those gathered in actions constituting events are culled from group studies. In other words, the pattern of how groups respond under various conditions as elicited via the power of statistics is essentially applied to the individual. But statistics, as remarked, is a like a bikini. It reveals the obvious whilst concealing the vital in most cases. Outwardly, the man is smiling to everyone around. But he inwardly knew he is going to kill himself and as many as possible. No imaging machines could reveal that in advance.

    This is simply the case because science can never search and know the content of the human mind, not even with some kind of doubt. Therefore, the security guards, surveillance cameras and drones are truly as helpless in protecting the crowd against the man called a terrorist, herdsman or militant who is bent on detonating a bomb or massacre innocent lives.

    It is worthy to note that the very notable ammunition and explosive weapons employed and deployed by the enemies of peace in my generation were possible only through science. Sure, knowledge is preferable to ignorance. Nevertheless, it is time science accounts for the knowledge it puts in public domain given that there is a difference between ignorance and irrationality. Ignorance is lack of information while irrationality is intentional misuse of information.

    Omaga E. Daniel is the Executive Director, Beyond Boundaries Legacy Leadership Initiative.


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  • Chibok Girls Never Existed After All

    27/Nov/2015 // 3848 Viewers

     

    In the run-up to 2015 general elections  part of the campaign promises of the All Progressives' Congress was a double assurance that should they have our votes  and be voted into power the  abducted girls in the dead of the night  from a school dormitory at Chibok will be rescued and reunited with their families. This sounded encouraging and thus drew the attention of Nigerians and the international community. 

    The then federal government under former President Jonathan was seen as  none other than a clueless regime that must be jettisoned at all costs and  this was followed by  growing impatience as the nation waited anxiously for May 29 to send the administration packing and as luck would have it this was achieved by instrumentality of the ballot box in the general elections that took place on March 28 this year.

    'Chibok girls' as they are fondly called was used to score cheap political points and so much noise was made. The former President everyone would recall had his reservations when the news of the 'abductees' first hit the nation's airwaves. It soon made news headlines and was widely reported by the world press and former President Jonathan was given two options either he produces the girls which his 'cluelessness' has occasioned or  immediately relinquishes his hold on power. 

    Several demonstrations by Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora commenced to pressurize President Jonathan to produce the abductees. I too was enraged in no small measure against the  seeming inaction of the former administration under President Jonathan considering the agonizing pains the parents were passing through over the sudden loss of their children to  the devil-may-care jihadist insurgents.

    The All Progressives' Congress held tenaciously to this Chibok story and had everyone taken in that gave them that magnetic pull. As luck would have it, the elections were held which, reports say, was won by a landslide. Buhari assumed the reins of power on May 29, 2015, and nearly six calendar months on nothing has been said about the Chibok girls or the efforts in place to rescue them from their abductors and the story is gradually disappearing like a fading star in the firmament.

    The babel of  voices that trailed the abduction of the girls have suddenly become extinct and the parent's like receding hills have thinned out. Ah... this brings so many things to the mind of this author. Could we have been fooled with the Chibok story  by a cast of neophyte actors to solicit for votes  all in a bid to hijack power? Did they really deserve our votes?  Life appears to be going increasingly uphill in Nigeria since they took over power about six months ago amid pleas for patience by the Nigerian regime in Abuja and this leaves me astounded in no small measure.

    What about what looked like sponsored protests at the period under sad review? Who were the people whose services were retained? How much were they paid for this massive fraud, hypocrisy, and a wide range of elaborate deceptions? 

    This writer can infer that lies, deceit were designed on whose back they rode to power in that nothing has been heard about the parents nor the relatives of the purported abductees. Buhari who capitalized on the Chibok story to attract our sympathy and  votes has suddenly gone  as quiet as he could be. This is very disheartening!

    Now the question is: Were there ever abductees from a secondary grammar school dormitory at Chibok? Why has the fiery noise eventually thinned out? Were the Chibok girls mere non-existent spooks and phantoms, a mere hallucinatory, delusional fantasy designed to bamboozle the generality of Nigerians in a criminal bid to solicit for votes?  We, alas,  have a burning desire to know!

     

    Iyoha John Darlington, a scholar, social activist, public commentator on national and global issues writes from Turin, Italy.

     

     

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

     

    Got news stories, opinions, and articles to share? 

    Send to editor@dailyglobewatch.com

     


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  • Rotimi Amaechi - to become a minister in Buhari's cabinet?

    27/Oct/2015 // 1432 Viewers

    Rumour, yes! Let me presume it is one on the grapevine, though it sounds too strange to be true that Rotimi Amaechi who was once depicted by General Muhammadu Buhari sometime in 2011 as the most corrupt state Governor in Nigeria has suddenly become stainless to be nominated, cleared and  absorbed into his cabinet of ''efficient'' ministers. Ah, I am beginning to call this man's avowed integrity in question and more so his anti-graft war!

    Nigeria is a country that breeds, parades intellects and great minds. No one, no tribe, no ethnic group is more Nigerian than the other but sad to say today that the reverse is the case and to what do we owe this if I may ask? It is none other than, greed, ambition, impunity and personal aggrandisement being recklessly  exhibited by a cabal that has metamorphosed into a political dynasty holding us hostage and further  subjecting the generality of Nigerians to their diabolic whims and caprices.

    This, doubtless, makes Nigerians tired, irritable and see themselves jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. The question that agitates this writer is: 

    Where is the change Nigerians voted en masse for about five calendar months ago? 

    The change of which we urgently stand in need is nowhere in sight, in fact, it is nowhere on the horizon with the crop of men that make up the Abuja regime. If one may use a Biblical phrase as a satire on the ongoing obviously sad situation what we see under the existing circumstances is a new wine into old bottles and we, of course, know what the Holy Writ forewarns; ''the new one will burst the bottles and be spilled and the bottles shall perish''. 

    I often find myself standing mouth agape with incredulity watching the Buhari I used to know throwing caution to the winds by transgressing the bounds of decency. Ay, this has shocked and horrified so many Nigerians with a shred of decency that a government under the leadership of a supposedly perfect martinet in military discipline which is fighting a corruption war to regenerate Nigeria is often seen dining and winning with vermin and recidivists that have plunged us into  abysmal depths. Frankly, it is very disheartening! 

    If President Buhari is genuinely out to cleanse the Augean stables, there is every need to quickly employ positive values, demonstrate honesty, reinvent himself and backtrack on his ongoing vacuous magnanimity. 

    We all lauded the President and resolved to rally around him when he embarked on a campaign to root out corruption from Nigeria, like the Shakespearean Brutus in the play titled Julius Ceasar after he  slew his fast friend, Caesar, the Roman Army General, he told the Plebeians that though he loved Caesar, but he loved the city-state of Rome more.

    We saw Buhari toeing this line and thus stood firm in our conviction having drawn inferences from his antecedents that he loves Nigeria more which made him do all that he did some 30 years ago probably to revitalize the decadent paralysis at the time. 

    All in all, in the run up to 2015 presidential election, he did tell us there would be no sacred cow when voted to power. This was heartwarming and left us with no option but to pitch tents with him in anticipation of the much-desired change. On that historic day of destiny and power, our lips bore only one name, and  by the instrumentality of the ballot this change was effected devoid of bloodshed but what one sees on the ground today is better imagined than real which leaves a scar of distress on one's heart!

    Iyoha John Darlington is a scholar based in Turin, Italy's northern uplands.

    Email: jamestmichael2003@yahoo.com


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  • Cross River Inglorious Fall From Glory to Grass

    27/Oct/2016 // 316 Viewers

     

    By Inyali Peter
    According to John Maxwell, "Everything rises and falls on leadership". The reputation and image of any state or society is directly proportional to the quality of leadership of that society. A society with a responsible, responsive and proactive leadership, is likely to create a better reputation than the one with parochial, irresponsible and irresponsive leadership.

    The choice of the caption, "Cross River Inglorious Fall From Glory to Grass" is not intended at taking an aim at anybody particularly but to make us have mental pabulum on where we're coming from as a state, where we are today and probably where we are heading to (that's if we're heading somewhere at all). It is carefully crafted to at least attempt to compare our glory days to the current state of our dear state which can best be described as an inglorious fall from glory to grass.
    Since the return of uninterrupted democracy in Nigeria in 1999, Cross River state has produced some of the best governors in terms of appearance, oratory prowess, performance, and innovations. The first democratically elected Governor of the state in the current democratic dispensation, Mr. Donald Duke, in his tenure won several distinguish awards for his proactive and responsive approach to leadership. In fact, as the youngest governor in his time, Duke was highly respected amongst his contemporaries that he was saddled with the leadership of the South South Governors Forum. Because of his outstanding leadership qualities, he moved from a zonal chairman to the national chairman of Nigeria's Governors forum.

    Despite assuming office at a tender age of 37, Duke was able to transform the state to arguably a paradise destination in Nigeria in terms of its serene, ever green and clean environment which made it a haven for tourists within and outside the country.

    When he came on board, Duke initially introduced agriculture to be the mainstay of the state's economy. The cultivation of pineapple, cashew, castor and the revamping of the oil palm industry was to contribute to the fields of agriculture to boost all round development of the state. But along the line, perhaps for the obvious reason of the huge financial outlay that may accrue to this initiative, Duke diversified wholly into development of the tourism sector and giving teeth to development in environment, information and communication technology, investment drive among others. Through his work Calabar was seen as the "cleanest city in Nigeria,’’ and even won a laurel in national reckoning for this posturing.

    It was during Duke’s days that the state boasted of such facilities as Obudu Ranch Resort that apart from serving as Nigeria’s Camp David [according to the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua] hosted many athletes of international repute in the then famous International Mountain Race. The event grew under Duke and the next administration to one of the most lucrative mountain running competitions in the world.

    To attract tourist to the state, Duke opened the world class Tinapa resort. The state became an industrial hub as the Tinapa resort gained acceptance both locally and internationally. By the time he was rounding up his tenure, businesses of several kinds were booming in the resort.

    Also, Donald invested substantially in the education sector. It was during his time that the famous Polytechnic Calabar metamorphosed into the fast growing Cross River University of Technology, CRUTECH. The secondary education was revitalized as the state education monitoring team ensured students and teachers were serious with academics. It was during this time that prep (An evening class session where students go for compulsory reading) was imposed on all secondary schools operating in the state. State quiz and debate competitions were also introduced to encourage competitiveness among schools and students.

    The three technical colleges established by former Governor Clement Ebri were properly funded. In fact, some of the best electricians and skilled craftsmen we have today in the state are products of the schools. At the primary level, parents and guidance were encouraged to send their children to school through the government Primary School free education scheme.

    He (Duke), however, got his share of criticism as he was accused of being too elitist in some of his projects. Some of the things he established were said be beyond the reach of an average Cross Riverian who needed government most. Questions like how the facilities could generate the financial outlay to sustain themselves given that the economy of the state is majorly dependant on allocation from the federal coffers pooped up at the time.

    When the immediate past governor, Senator Liyel Imoke came on board on the 29th of May 2007, throughout his eight years tenure, he showed little or no serious interest in Tourism as the former. The Tinapa Resort, Obudu Ranch Resort amongst others became comatose as such having no direct impact on the state's economy under him.

    His administration witnessed a drastic change from Duke's concentration in developing the urban to rural areas. Imoke administration constructed the highest number roads which cut across every political ward in the state in the history of Cross River state. Although, almost all the roads have experienced very short lifespan, he was applauded at the time for his commitment in developing the rural areas.

    Apart from that, the administration prioritized the development of the primary healthcare sector in the state. Functional health centre in almost every village in the state were established. I see why he was regarded by his admirers as a symbol of rural development!

    In agriculture, his administration granted loans and grants to farmers. He attracted investors to invest hugely in the sector. For instance, Wilmer's palm investment is one of the largest palm estate in Africa. He also brought the Songhai farms. He revived the state cocoa estate which was contributing about 30% to the growth of the state Gross Domestic Product, GDP.

    In education, he renovated primary and secondary schools in every single village in the state. He also established the world class Institute of Management Technology, Ugep. In fact, many people till date rate him in terms of his people's oriented projects as the state best governor ever.
    His government enjoyed positive remarks in ensuring relative peace more than the Duke's dispensation. In fact, the state was regarded nationally as the most peaceful in Nigeria.

    Despite the achievements of the past administrations which comunated into building a solid and favourable reputation for our dear state, both governors ran a government with about fourteen to nineteen cabinet members. Two of them put together had less than fifty Special Advisers, Senior Special Assistants, Special Assistants and Personal Assistants.

    As Imoke administration faded way into the thin air on the 29th of May 2015, Senator Ben Ayade, emerged as the new kid in the blog to take Cross River state to the promised land. Such was expected from Ayade being that he is the first Professor and the oldest man to become governor (any of his ages still put him as the oldest) when he assumed office. Clement Ebri became governor at 39, Duke at 37 while Imoke assumed office at 40.

    Cross Riverians had expected that Ayade would either take the state further or maintained the level he met the it. But very unfortunately and highly disappointing, the hopes and aspirations of such people is gradually fading away. Eighteen months (18) down the line nothing is really showing that those who insisted that it was either him or nobody were right.

    While the past administrations had clear policy plan in Agriculture, Tourism, Education and Health development, the Ayade administration has not shown a clear cut plans for these very relevant sectors of our economy. His administration is now known by the governor's oratory prowess which can be best described as unbridle lips doling out voodoo promises than any tangible achievement.

    In Agriculture, rather than building on the existing structure to expand the horizon, the governor has destroyed almost everything he inherited from the sector. The Songhai farms is now comatose. Nothing is happening there. The state has or is about to lose the five years world bank commercial agriculture development project at the expiration of the current contract later this year for failure of the governor to approve the list of successful candidates early enough for training which would have given the state opportunity for renewal. Even the state agriculture loans for women and youths has long died a murderous death caused by this administration.
    The cocoa estate which was contributing hugely to the state economy has been politicized. By the end of this year, cocoa farmers would have lost two farming seasons to the disagreement between the government and host communities on allocation of the estate to farmers. While farmers have insisted that real cocoa farmers should be allotted the blocs, the government is bent on floating the place with Calabar based politicians. This development has led aggrieved youths of the host communities to form a militant group called "Etung Avengers" which they have used to chase everybody away from the estate.

    In education, the government has left the state tertiary institutions as orphans. The state only owned university recently lost accreditation of two major courses (Architecture and Wood Product Engineering) as a result of failure of the government to fund the university properly to prepare for accreditation. Several months now, the government has sat on the statutory monthly subvention of the institution. All projects going on in the institution has been placed on hold due to paucity of funds. This development recently led the Council of Traditional Rulers to demanding the privatization of the institution. What a shame!

    The Institute of Management Technology, Ugep is now moribund. Lecturers are owed over eight months salaries. The hopes of the students is hanging in the balance as lecturers are leaving on daily basis. The Highbury University that had agreement to run the institution for the state has terminated the contract due to government inability to keep to the terms of the agreement. The dream and aspirstions of the founding fathers of the institution has been dashed.

    The West Africa Examination Council has held on to the results of candidates from the state as result of backlog of debts which the governor has not shown any serious interest to address. Our three technical colleges have become shadows of it itself. Instead of working on reviving them, Ayade said he has signed MOU to establish new once which is still flying in the air. In the primary education, pupils can no longer sit for common entrance as a result of the failure of government to organize the examination.

    The state tourism potentials has succumbed to insecurity. A state once regarded as the most peaceful barely seventeen months ago is now topping the chart in insecurity in the country according to police report. Corpses are now litter everywhere in the street of Calabar. Kidnapping, cultism and broad day robbery has become the new oder in Calabar. The state is now known for killings and robbery than the great tourism potentials that brought it to limelight.

    To make matter worst, Ayade has reduced governance to a huge joke and comedy as indicated in the appointments of retinue of political office holders and aides in both the state, senatorial district and local government levels. He recently unleashed terror on the state crunched economy with the appointment of 1,106 which when added with the existing 800 would take his tally to 1,906. The categories include Personal Assistants, Special Assistants, Senior Special Assistants, Special Advisers and commissioners. He ridiculously appointed people to some boards and agencies that has no legislative backings. For instance, Maize, Banana and Cassava Development Agencies.

    Apart from duplication of offices, he also appointed embers and chairmen to some nonexisting commissions. For instance, board of Cross River state Seaport Authority, Portside Authority, Wharf Etc. All these commissions are not seen anywhere near the state. The state House Assembly which is obligated to question this is a rubber stamp to the governor.

    With Nigeria economy in recession, one would have expected the governor to runn a lean cabinet to cut down cost of governance to reflect the state economic reality like his contemporaries in other states. How a state which receives one of the lowest allocations from the federal government and has witnessed a drop in the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) from N1.2 billion to about N800 million monthly recently harbour a cabinet lager than that of even the federal government is amazingly comical.

    This is a state which sits third in terms of debt profile of states in Nigeria. According to research by Web Management Office, Lagos still tops the charts with the debt rate of about $1.17 billion Dollars, Kaduna with $234 million Dollars and Cross River in third place with $142 million Dollars.

    With the debt of $142 million Dollars and a huge task of paying civil servants salaries and allowances there is no argument that instead of increasing the nineteen SAs appointed by Imoke administration to 1,106 and thirteen Commissioners to 29, he should run a lean government to reduce the cost of governance in the state.
    This is how much Cross River, which has a capital that pride itself as the nation's paradise has fallen from glory to grass. 

    While other states like Ebonyi, Lagos, Kaduna, Adamawa, Abia, Anambra to mention but a few are moving from glory to glory, Ayade has taken us back to Sodom and Gomora; we have returned to dark days where everything bad is associated with. We are surviving in the land where evil hold sway.
    The eighteen months of Ayade has been nothing more than an icing on the cake of bad leadership. To say the least, the Biafra tales as chronicled in Chinue Achebe literature "There Was a Country" can be reframed to say, there was state before Ayade came on board.

    Ayade should urgently return to the drawing board and come out with plans that can revamp the education, agriculture, tourism and health sectors. Development and improvement of our economy should be giving more attention than building political empire. He should as a matter of necessity, cancel his appointment bonanza; people should only be appointed into government to serve a purpose of growing our economy.

    His projects and program should at every time reflect the reality of our state financial position. We should not only have governor but there should be government in place. Cross Riverians should feel the impact of his digitalization like he promised. The time for this administration to work her talk is now. There should be less promises, more action.


    Inyali Peter is based in Calabar. He can be reached viainyalipeter@gmail.com.


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  • Another Look At President Buhari’s Wish List To The West By Oke Epia

    27/Sep/2015 // 126 Viewers

    There is no gainsaying the point that General Muhammadu Buhari’s ascension
    to the presidency on May 29 this year brought some delight and dignity to
    the perception of Nigeria in the international community. I have said this
    much previously in this column and concluded that Buhari’s honeymoon with
    the West ought to be quickly maximized for national benefits. I had
    counselled on the need to make hay while the sun shines otherwise the
    euphoria of the new rapprochement would melt away resulting in eventual
    disappointment.
    Now I have cause to warn again at the risk of sounding alarmist and tagged
    a wailing wailer (apologies to presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, who
    coined that phrase to describe the political opposition) that the
    President’s foreign forays are yielding less and less returns. For
    example, in spite of recent gains by the military, boko haram remains
    intractable as the Chibok girls remain in captivity suggesting that
    Nigeria is not getting the kind of cooperation promised by friends abroad.
    It is true that diplomatic engagements sometimes require time and patience
    to yield results but the evident fact is that Nigeria is nibbling at the
    huge international goodwill gained at the turn of a successful political
    transition from a ruling party to the opposition. I premise this
    submission on the embarrassing lack of policy direction bedevilling the
    Buhari administration four clear months into its life span.
    But before I expatiate further, let me commend the president for the
    diplomatic initiative of hosting Heads of States of West Africa over the
    political crisis in Burkina Faso. By showing leadership and in a swift
    manner too, the president brought Nigeria pride and reinforced that
    long-held foreign policy inclination of making Africa a centre-piece of
    the country’s external engagements. His recent diplomatic shuttles to
    Cameroun, Niger and Chad are no doubt relevant especially towards
    addressing the cross-border menace of boko haram terrorism and enhancing
    regional security. The president’s intervention in rallying ECOWAS leaders
    to seek solutions to the constitutional breach in Burkina Faso where
    presidential guards overthrew the government is therefore a worthy
    consolidation of his sub-regional engagements in the last three months or
    so.
    However, while there is yet the urgent need to articulate a clear foreign
    policy framework for the administration. This is what is expected of every
    government and the fact that this is lacking four months into the life of
    the government is something that has worried even admirers of President
    Buhari. No country commands sustained respect and serious attention
    without a clear-cut foreign policy agenda with which it engages the rest
    of the world. And it is a known dictum in international relations that a
    country’s foreign policy agenda is a reflection of its domestic goals and
    aspirations. Thus if the Buhari administration has yet to articulate a
    clear domestic vision and mission then it cannot advance a foreign policy
    agenda. Forget the antics of publicists who are forced to rationalize this
    unfortunate situation on the assumption that things are shaping up in the
    country in mere response to President Buhari’s body language. The
    narrative is that improved electricity supply, resumption of production at
    the hitherto moribund petroleum refineries, and the sudden reawakening of
    anti-corruption agencies among other tangibles and intangibles of the
    administration so far are attributable to the aura of the president. But
    the truth is that no country can grow its economy in a sustained and
    systematic manner based on the body language of its leader. It is even
    absurd to assume that diplomacy and foreign relations can be undertaken on
    such opaque mystique.
    It is therefore no surprise that the President still bandies about a wish
    list as trump card in his foreign visits. Recall that British Foreign
    Secretary, Philip Hammond had extolled the successful transition that
    brought President Buhari to office and invited him to bring a wish list
    before Western powers to help bring Nigeria up to higher plains. The
    Nigerian leader promptly accepted the invitation and has since made
    several trips to the West in pursuance of this wish list- which remains as
    twisted as the lack of a coherent foreign policy. He visited Germany in
    June on the invitation of Chancellor Angela Merkel to participate on the
    sidelines of the G7 Summit where he held bilateral consultations. He was
    guest of President Barack Obama of the United States of America on a state
    visit that was hyped to high heavens. He recently just returned from
    France on the invitation of President Francois Hollande to further
    prosecute the actualization of his wish list. Presidential publicist,
    Mallam Garba Shehu had said the three-day visit to France focused on
    security around the Lake Chad basin area especially with respect to Boko
    Haram. He also spoke vaguely about the pursuit of foreign investments and
    strengthening Nigeria-France bilateral relationship. Notably, Mr. Shehu
    said further that his principal would prevail on his host to get his
    colleagues in the G7 to actualize the wish list with respect to assisting
    Nigeria with intelligence and military hardware to battle boko haram, help
    in the reconstruction of the ravaged North-east part of the country, and
    the battle against corruption. This is pretty much the wish list of
    President Buhari. But a wish list is not enough. It is expected that a
    leader canvassing support from foreign friends must tell in clear and
    measurable terms how he intends to tinker with the economy; explain
    indigenous initiatives to tackle insecurity; advance intentions to
    strengthen the political and electoral process; as well as commit in words
    and deeds to entrench respect for human rights, promote justice and fair
    play in a multi-ethnic system like Nigeria’s. Much doubt exist that
    President Buhari is doing these or truly committed to doing them.
    It is noteworthy that the President’s delegation in nearly all of his
    overseas trips tells much of a lack of clear objectives sought to be
    achieved. Granted that Permanent Secretaries in charge of relevant
    ministries made up for the lack of ministers that should ordinarily
    accompany the president on foreign visits, the inclusion of certain
    individuals on the official delegation was further evidence of a lack of
    clear focus. For instance, the inclusion of Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, the Edo
    State governor on the president’s state visit to the US in July was of
    anything but a nuisance value added. What Nigerians can remember about
    Oshiomhole’s role in the trip was his controversial claim that a State
    Department official had told the Nigerian delegation that a minister in
    the Goodluck Jonathan administration stole $6billion of public fund. When
    challenged by the US to provide proof of his embarrassing claim, he balked
    thereby taking away a good slice of the seriousness with which Uncle Sam
    had held the Buhari team. Nigerians also recall the controversial comment
    of President Buhari himself during one of his outing during the visit. He
    has complained of how the Leahy law of the United States was impeding the
    military onslaught against boko haram. The president’s position which
    attracted a rather vitriolic response from Senator Patrick Leahy, the
    initiator of the legislation in question, was later clarified by a
    presidential statement. But some damage had already been done to reduce
    whatever gains the US visit could have achieved in terms of confidence
    building on boko haram.
    As you read this, President Buhari is back in the US to participate at the
    70th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) during which
    period he would be engaging several bilateral and multilateral
    opportunities to promote Nigeria’s interests. This includes talks with UN
    Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Prime Minister David Cameron of
    Britain, Chancellor Merkel of Germany, President Vladmir Putin of Russia,
    Prime Minister Narenda Modi of India and President Xi Jinping of China,
    former U.S President, Bill Clinton, Mr. Bill Gates of the Bill and Melinda
    Gates Foundation, former British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown who is the
    UN Special Envoy on Global Education and one of the main drivers of the
    Safe Schools Initiative, among others. Also on the president’s schedule
    are meetings of the African Union’s Peace and Security Council, a
    High-Level Roundtable on South-South Cooperation organised by President Xi
    Jinping of China and the UN, and another on an updated global health
    strategy for women and children. Clearly, the UNGA meeting opportunities
    provide yet another auspicious platform to pursue the actualization of
    President’s Buhari’s wish list. But this opportunity is constrained ab
    initio by a lack of clear foreign policy objectives. It is further
    impaired by some marginal decline in the domestic fortunes of the country
    with special emphasis on the economy which has suffered sustained
    uncertainty and lack of direction since this government assumed office.
    This point was succinctly amplified by Prof. Akin Oyebode, a distinguished
    academic of international law and jurisprudence in a recent television
    interview when he stated that “we cannot talk of a foreign policy of the
    President Buhari administration when there is yet no clear domestic
    policy.” Until the president fulfils this basic requirement, his wish list
    remains what it is- a wish list waiting for the genie in the bottle.


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