By Godday Odidi
By Godday Odidi
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
Disclaimer: Views expressed in any piece we publish remain entirely the author's and do not reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch
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
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.
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
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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.
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 email@example.com.
There has been an influx of refugees and migrants across the Old World to western Europe partly from crisis-ridden regions of the Dark Continent. The ongoing crisis from war-torn Syria compounded the problem as Europe unavoidably has to open its doors to fleeing Syrians from the bloodshed that has engulfed the embattled country under President Assad. While the influx of refugees into Europe continues, concern is being expressed by many that Muslims refugees from Syria are a threat to Europe's Christian heritage, a position which is hotly contested by other dissenting voices on the continent.
Migrants from Africa are none other than the ones driven away from their homelands by bad governance. The exodus is still ongoing; they only seek to make it to Europe from sub-Saharan Africa across the fiery Sahara desert to the coast of north Africa before embarking on a dangerous journey across the Mediterranean. The overcrowded rickety boats on which they make the sea journey are often sub-standard and, therefore, incapable of withstanding the strong sea currents. Many lives have perished at sea and as of December 2014 over 3,419 migrants, this writer reliably gathered, did not make it to the shore according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) official records.
In Syria, the country has been fighting a civil war at a great human cost that has almost brought the country to its knees. The death toll in Syria after over 3 years, reports say, have risen to well over 210,060 with many more lives on the line thus forcing the Syrians to flee in droves. Europe has never witnessed such influx of migrants like she has seen for the past 3 calendar months thus compelling member states to voice their concern on how to cope with the refugees who have been forced out of their homelands. More worrisome is the suggestion of a quota system of relocation which appears an open invitation to thousands of economic migrants. This might spell out a great danger in the long run.
In a recent summit that was held in the EU diplomatic capital of Brussels, it was agreed that Special Reception Centres be set up for Migrants in Italy and Greece before the end of November this doubtless is an open invitation to million refugees on European shores in the years to come. This, however, is a gesture of goodwill by the continent's leaders. Be that as it may, the pros and cons of this ''magnanimity'' agitate the mind of this writer.
In the UNHCR General Provisions, Article 1 subsection 2 says a person who is in the danger of losing his life could seek protection outside the country of his nationality
'' As a result of events occurring before 1 January 1951 and owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or , owing to to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it''
Hence, the conditions for which refugees fleeing Syria appear in harmony with the contents of this clause. There is nothing wrong with extending hospitality to these displaced persons who have been forcibly ejected from their homeland resulting from the grave danger of losing their lives. Conversely, ISIS jihadists reportedly threatened to release a huge wave of migrants to cause chaos in Italy and the rest of Europe via hiding among refugees. Only a forth night ago ISIS jihadists from Syria raised and hoisted their flag in Germany to the consternation of everyone thereby bringing their reign of terror over our heads like the ancient sword of Damocles. One of the ISIS jihadists on the Mediterranean shores in Libya was reported to have pointed at the centre of Europe and declared ''by the grace of Allah we will conquer Rome'' This is very disheartening! It is a thousand pities such outlandish remark and threat could be breathed out against a country which has by words and deeds shown a rare display of magnanimity; in fact whose shores has been invaded by migrants from the coast of north Africa and war-torn Syria.
However grapevine sources say not one of these refugees from Syria has been allowed into any of the Arab gulf states. Thus where is their feeling of brotherhood and friendship? Or is it that the gulf states are too poor to be turned to? Frankly, I do not think so. Not one of these refugees has been allowed to seek refuge in the oil-rich Kingdom of Saudi Arabia but we see and hear the ISIS jihadists threatening to unleash terror on countries in Western Europe that have decided to accept refugees from this embattled region.
This is a problem that could be resolved. For starters, the war in Syria must be put a stop to forthwith. Inaction will only enhance the ongoing catastrophe in that country and these could spell more dangers to Europe considering the ISIS connection in the movement of migrants from that region and the coast of north Africa. A peaceful and stable Syria will halt the movement of refugees and put the activities of ISIS who hide among them in check.
Rogue states that back the Assad regime should be sanctioned and the UN must ensure that such sanctions are fully complied with and implemented by member states. This brings into focus the tacit support being given to Assad by the arrogant regime in Moscow under President Putin. The world must not be held to ransom by the diabolic whims and caprices of the Kremlin which has been arming the notorious Assad regime.