• Syria, Yemen, Libya — one factor unites these failed states, and it isn’t religion

    03/Dec/2015 // 259 Viewers

     

    Think now of a world in which the population under age 24 in Africa has increased by 500 million people, and the populations of Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, and Yemen have increased by over 100 million people. That is the UN’s projection for 2050. Add to this mix a combination of severe droughts, devastating floods, crop failures, and massive migrations that create collisions and heightened competition among ethnic and religious groups struggling for land, resources and incomes. Then think of how the governments of these regions could and would respond to such crises, and whether Europe and other safe havens could absorb even a tiny fraction of the resulting refugees.

    If such a world exists one day, the current crisis in Syria and the actions of IS terrorists may be multiplied many fold.

    World leaders in Paris should therefore focus on their opportunity to remove one of the key drivers of potential state breakdowns and terrorism in the future, by adopting vigorous measures to halt global warming.

    It is already too late for modest measures to address global warming. As the study of Syria’s drought shows, the weather pattern changes, depriving fragile regions of adequate rainfall, are already underway. Preventing further disasters will require more than just holding the line at today’s levels of carbon emissions in China, the United States and Europe. Africa’s current carbon footprint is tiny, as its population is so lacking in access to energy that each African produces less than one-seventh as much carbon dioxide as each Chinese. Yet by 2050, if Africa were to emit as much carbon per capita as China does today, Africa’s carbon emissions would be as much as China and the United States combined produce today.

    In other words, if Africa advances just to Chinese levels of fossil fuel consumption by 2050, then even if today’s major emitters manage to stop all of their own emissions growth, total global emissions will still grow by 40 percent by mid-century, blowing past the carbon budget required to keep total temperature rise within the two-degree limit recommended by the International Panel on Climate Change to avoid severe climate deterioration.

    To accommodate necessary growth in energy use in Africa — vital to making the countries of Africa more resilient and better able to provide jobs and security to their growing populations — the world must move quickly on two fronts. The major emitters must first find ways to quickly reduce their carbon output from today’s levels. And they must develop low-carbon pathways for economic growth so the rest of the world can develop without creating new structural threats for political crises.

    These goals can be met. If the United States, Europe and China all reduced their carbon emissions by 20 percent, other developing countries could increase their carbon emissions by almost one-third without an increase in world carbon output. That should be the goal for the next 10 years.

    Beyond that date, it is critical to find ways by which all countries can escape dependence on fossil fuels for their economies, and reduce global emissions while still promoting global economic growth.

    Terrorism thrives among weak and failed states, and among displaced people. If we are to reduce both in the future, we need to make sure that our climate does not further deteriorate. If we fail to prevent continued global warming, the rise in political temperature may far outstrip the warming of the weather outside.

    By Jack Goldstone

     

    This article ''Syria, Yemen, Libya — one factor unites these failed states, and it isn’t religion'' appeared first in Reuters.

     

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


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  • Minimum wage: Governors conspiracy against workers, presidency, By Godwin Etakibuebu

    03/Dec/2015 // 294 Viewers


    I AGREE totally with the school of thought which says that the Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, by its recent pronouncement of not being able to pay the minimum wage of N18, 000 to workers, has declared war against Nigerians [not only workers or labour unions] and as such Nigerians should arise in battle against these governors.

    I pray that the spirit of the founding fathers of this country, the spirit of our ancestors  should arise and battle these dealers parading themselves as leaders to a disgraceful end. I pray as well that God shall reveal to the Presidency enough wisdom to know the illegality of the NGF and be able to distance itself from them, by showing its solidarity with the Nigerian people.

    The NGF, a clearly identifiable illegal body, without any constitutional backing, met in the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa on Tuesday November 17, 2015, to conspire against theNigerian workforce and by extension, the Nigerian people.

    Their communique could have read like this: “That without recourse to the legality of the minimum wage as epitomised by the Act of Parliament which created it before it was signed into Law by a past President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, we hereby resolve to discard that piece of legislation.

    “That we shall present this resolution of ours, for the emasculation of the Nigerian workers, to the Federal Executive Council. That there is nothing the Nigerian workers can do about this, once we the Governors and the Federal Executive Council concretise this conspiracy. Even the National Assembly that made the law in the first place will not see any illegality in our action. We so resolved”.

    The governors based their inability to comply with the law [because the minimum wage remains a law of the Federal Republic]on the dwindling allocation coming from Abuja as result of falling oil price. They mentioned categorically that “they were comfortable paying the minimum wage when a barrel of crude oil sold for $126 and there was no way they could pay the same now that crude has nose-dived to $41”.

    What a shameless group of people, these governors. Even with the dwindling revenue from oil proceeds, some of the governors’ monthly security vote is more than enough to pay two or three states workforce salaries for months. Take, for example, Katsina State whose governor colluded with   his State’s House of Assembly in applying and collecting “bail-off fund” from the Federal Governmentunder the pretence that salaries of workers were not paid whereas his predecessor paid salaries up to May 2015 ending, before he took over as Governor.

    Their cry over the fall in monthly allocation, better known in some quarters as “sharing of the national cake”, presents these governors as economically bankrupt and thereby unfit to govern. It shows that most of them went into office to steal from the national purse. It shows that they lack ideas to create wealth and therefore are a liability to the nation. It is evident that they cannot take us to Eldorado. If they were to be reasonable like Adams Oshiomole of Edo State who has distanced himself from this minimum wage palaver, they should have known how to survive even if monthly allocation from Abuja is stopped.

    It is a simple lesson they should have learnt from Asiwaju Bola Tinubu who, when he was governor of Lagos State, suffered total blockade of monthly allocation in the hands of then President Olusegun Obasanjo for four years. Yet Bola Tinubu did not only pay salaries but continued with project execution for the good people of Lagos. That is the way to be a good leader and governor. Create your own wealth by looking inwardly because every state has something great that can put food on its table. That is the sense in “Resource Control”.

    A fact that needed to be quickly established about this NGF is the unconstitutionality of its existence. It is neither a creation of the Nigerian Constitution nor is it registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission [when I last checked]. Yet, NGF has continued its functionality of illegality without any legal challenge from any quarters, not even by the legion of brilliant lawyers in this country. We definitely miss Chief GaniFawehimi, a lawyer of lawyers, the only Nigerian “without corruptible inducement price”, in the words of former Military President, Ibrahim Babangida. He would have done the needed bydemystifying this obnoxious monster through the instrumentality of law by now.

    My major worry however isthe continuous recognition of the NGF by the Presidency. President Goodluck Jonathan did it to his own political peril. First was the betrayal of “a gentleman agreement” he had with the governors in removal of oil subsidy which he announced on January of 2012.

    The same governors that lured him to the sharing table of the oil subsidy removal denounced him and indeed invited the whole world to “come and hang a bad President” at the GaniFawehimi Freedom Square in Ojota area of Lagos. Jonathan did not learn his lessons as he continued his personal and official romance with the NGF until the Chairman of the Forum, ChibukeAmaechi, took him[Jonathan] to the cleaners – the rest is now history.

    So, the current presidency should be warned to steer clear of illegality which the NGF stands for because they [the governors] shall fall before the Nigerian people in the battle over minimum wage.

    Does it mean that President Buhari has nothing to learn from his predecessor on the evil and danger of intimacy with the NGF? Or why on earth will he opened the door of the Presidential Villa Banquet for the NGF meeting, from where the declaration of war against Nigerian people was plotted by the governors? The presidency better be warned to stay clear of illegality which the NGF stands for because they [the governors] shall fall before the Nigerian people in this battle of minimum wage.

     

    Godwin Etakibuebu writes from Lagos, Nigeria.

     

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


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  • Minister as servant, to revive Nigeria, By Fr Igbaoyinbo

    03/Dec/2015 // 221 Viewers

     

    THE state of Nigeria today could be described as one in the process of rediscovery, re-vamping and actualising the Nigerian Dream, which is in harmony with the millennium development goals that all nations have been charged with at the beginning of this millennium. The level of development Nigeria should naturally have arrived at is truncated, leaving the majority of the well-meaning, honest, and hardworking Nigerians in various states of disillusionment. The consequence is a rising level of uncertainty in the majority of citizens who are struggling to survive in the face of serious deprivation. For, how do you explain the presence of so many inadequacies in a nation so richly blessed, that attempts to recount some of her natural and human endowment leave one in a state of ‘wow!’and ‘what a blessed nation.’

    In this light of working towards the progress of Nigeria, the role of the Federal Minister, as collaborator with the President and his Vice President, becomes very relevant. However, caution is called for, not to replace priorities that lead to the realisation of the Nigerian dream with mere and sometimes seemingly toothless ruminations. The vital issue now, ought to be, finding out the role the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, places on the Ministers; to work out whether the ministers are the best possible choices. In addition, each minister is also invited to ask him/herself vital questions as to what it means to be a Minister in Nigeria and whether he/she is able to successfully carry out the task incumbent on the holder of the office. The ‘soul searching’ reflection needs to begin with efforts at understanding what the word ‘Minister’ itself means from its origin, as well as trying to discover what it has progressively come to mean, to be referred to as a ‘Minister’ of whatever capacity or place. The federal minister is called to work in obedience to the Creator of the world, in dedicated service to the Federal Republic of Nigeria under the leadership of General Muhammadu Buhari, in total submission to the guidance of the official pronouncements of the legislative arms of government as directed by the Constitution, and in unflinching determination to take care of the needs of each and every Nigerian as presented in the demands of the common good. The watchword of a minister is service to fatherland for the realisation of the will of God for His people. In other words, the minister is one called to serve his people in the various aspects of life in the nation in order that lasting and fruitful progress may be brought about for the benefit of all fellow Nigerians, rich and poor, young and old, learned and illiterate, healthy and sick, alike.

    The next step in understanding the vital role of the Minister is a study of the Constitution of Nigeria. It stipulates, in its Seventh Schedule, the oath of Office that should be taken by the Federal Minister before assumption of office. Interestingly, the Vice President, Deputy Governor, Commissioner and Special Advisers take same oath of office as the Minister. In it the minister solemnly affirms/swears to be faithful, bear true allegiance to Nigeria; discharge the duties of office in accordance with the Constitution of Nigeria for the sake of the overall good of the nation and her people. It continues by promising not to allow personal interest influence official decisions, to courageously take decisions that accord with the common good as against those only in favour of sectional or individual good, and more. The ability to observe these obligations becomes a yardstick for evaluating a person’s readiness and qualification for ministerial duties.

    This implies that it is a sad thing and a misunderstanding of the word ‘minister’ when one sees and acts in such office as ‘lord and master’, arrogantly, dictatorially, self-seeking, and unapproachable to all one is called to serve. Above all, each Minister and all Nigerians need to realise that whoever becomes minister is called by God to cooperate with Him for the continuous creation and recreation of Nigeria and her people. This means, a minister is not only to be held accountable by the various arms of government and Nigerians in general, but most importantly by the Almighty Creator.
    Therefore, ministers are encouraged to strive determinedly to glorify the Creator of all the world, who has been very good and faithful to Nigeria and us all. They are to constantly remind themselves individually and collectively that they are ‘servants’ called to serve God, Allah, the Absolute Being, and their fatherland, our blessed nation.

    In the same light, all Nigerians need to commit themselves to the revival of our nation, by avoiding every temptation that wants to make one an obstacle and a distraction, to the fellow countrymen and women chosen to lead the way to greater height, by serving the nation on our behalf, as chief servants in the various ministries the nation deems necessary to classify as such. Instead, let us join hands together to make an honest and committed effort in the various offices, businesses, or jobs we do, to bring lasting and genuine progress that will bring to fruition the Nigerian Dream of becoming a true ‘Giant of Africa’ not only in size, growth in economy and other aspects of nationhood, but most importantly, to become a giant whose citizens are made ‘gigantic’ by experiencing and tasting what greatness means in the situation where nothing is lacking, and the basic necessities of life are within the reach of all. A nation where hunger, disease, homelessness, insecurity, unstable electricity, lack of educational opportunities, and other popular ills have become history, with equality of each citizen a pleasant reality.

    To facilitate this service role of federal ministers, therefore, l suggest that the next time the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is amended, the word ‘Minister’ should be replaced with ‘Servant’, so that it becomes ‘Servant to the proper development of Petroleum Resources’ , ‘Servant of Labour and Productivity’, ‘Servant of Health’, and so on.

     

     

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


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  • The real change

    03/Feb/2016 // 333 Viewers

    By Ademule David

    "Yaba, Ojuelegba; Yaba, Ojuelegba," the stern-looking bus conductor called out repeatedly at passersby, his potential passengers. "Yaba, Yaba. Ojuelegba. Ojuelegba. Enter with your N100 change oo; Ogbeni, this one no get change o. N1000, N500 no enter o," The conductor's throaty voice floated aimlessly in the air like a strand of wool.
     
    He was a young man in his early twenties, although he had three missing front teeth; and I wondered with what teeth he would eat kola nuts if he lived beyond sixty years. I also wondered why the demons on Lagos roads took pleasure in stealing the teeth of bus conductors, particularly. Are there bus conductors in Lagos with complete sets of teeth?
     
    "Ogbeni, shey you get change?" the bus conductor turned to me as I approached his motionless Danfo.
     
    "I get change," I answered, hopping into the bus. The scent of Indian hemp filled my nostrils; obviously it came from the tattered singlet of the bus conductor. Luckily, I occupied the only vacant seat left in the bus. It was close to the door, close to the clinging conductor. The passengers felt quite relieved because the driver would move now; for, driven by the urgue to make full profit, he had refused to move with a single empty seat.
     
    A few seconds afterward, the yellow bus sneezed violently and the journey to Ojuelegba started. And, soon, the mild rush of the Saturday wind blew across the stuffy bus, into my ears, into my mouth. And my eyes brightened like the proverbial man who went deficating in the forest and found a bag of money on his way back. I was enjoying this splendid sensation when a chubby-looking man who sat beside the bus driver broke the silence.
     
    "My friend," said he smilingly, his gaze was fixed at the bus driver. "all those who stole our monies, monies meant for the purchase of arms to fight Boko Haram, will rot in jail." He flipped the newspaper on his laps. "Dansuki and co. will rot in jail. This is APC government; it is no longer business as usual."
     
    "Please, my brother, make them go jail now. Buhari go jail all of them." Another passenger cried from the back seat. "PDP thief thief don end. Change don come."
     
    "Abeg make we hear word jor," an angry woman roared. "Which kind yeye change don come? Shey Buhari government don rescue the Chibok girls ni abi shey Buhari don defeat Boko Haram ni? No change anywhere. Don't let anybody deceive you."
     
    "Madam, you're obviously among the ignorant, those whom we call the wailing wailers." The newspaper-wielding man in the front seat adjusted himself, turning back his huge head. "Can't you see the significant improvement in the power sector since Buhari assumed power? Didn't you hear stories of politicians returning stolen monies? Didn't you see how Buhari's body language has put everything in shape? You said the Chibok girls have not been rescued, I agree. But our gallant soldiers, under President Buhari, have regained all the territories captured by Boko Haram. If you can't see the fragrant wind of change, then you're frankly blind."
     
    "But oga, you don't have to insult this woman na. She just expressed her opinion now. If na ya wife nko? You this man sef." Another man replied, his Igbo accent was strong. Very strong.
     
    "Leave am alone, let am insult me na. The change his yeye APC has brought is to remove freedom of expression, to disgrace court orders. See Nnamdi Kanu. See Olisa Metuh. See people way Buhari is persecuting because he no get tolerance for opposition. Shame on your change. The only change your APC has bring is no freedom of speech and inconclusive elections. How many APC people does Jonathan arresting during his tenure?"
     
    "Metuh is a thief; let him clear his name. Kanu is a terrorist. Let him clear his name. Change is here, no room for complacency. Madam, open your eyes. If Jonathan refused to arrest anybody, it was because his hands are not clean. Imagine, can you say Jonathan knows nothing about Dansuki loot?" The man beside the driver was getting furious.
     
    "Oga, I don dey watch you since. No deceive us. No change anywhere. Buhari say him go give N5000 to unemployed youths, way the money? Buhari say him go make 1 naira equal to 1 dollar; now 1 dollar don climb go reach N300? Abi na the 50kobo reduction for the price of fuel you call change?" the Igbo-accented man laughed. "Abeg leave thrash for LAWMA."
     
    Everyone on the lurching bus rang out in wild laughter. The bus conductor laughed too - the door of his missing teeth revealing his blackened, serrated tongue. Does he sniff snuff too? God knows. He however quenched the thick tension in the air when he asked that every passenger should gather their fare.
     
    "Aja six nbo leyin, gbera. Aja nine nbo ni waju, gbera. Abeg, money line by line. Me I no hear Oyinbo o. No change o."
     
    We obliged and a few minutes afterwards the whole fare had found itself in the conductor's pockets. By now, I wished the argument would continue but I was disappointed. Everyone on the bus was quiet except, of course, for the horn of the bus which blarred at the slightest provocation. At last we arrived Yaba.
     
    "Yaba, Yaba. Maa nogerelanule! Gbera!"
    "Owa o. Yaba wa o." the chubby man in the front seat signaled. "Conductor, I want to collect change. You'll give me N100 change."
     
    "Oga, but I tell you say no change before you enter. Oniwahala leleyi o." The conductor dipped his left hand into his front pocket and brought out a crisp N100 note. "Take your change, Oga. Make you carry your wahala go."
     
    "Excuse me sir," a teenager who sat to my left called out to the alighting man. "Excuse me sir, excuse me sir. I heard you talking about change since morning and I have decided not to make any comment until now. There is no change anywhere. The real and only change is that which the bus conductor or vendor or trader gives you after making your payment and you put in your pockets."
     
    The alighting man stood dumbfounded, wishing he had never asked the bus conductor for his N100 change.
     
    Ademule David, a student of human society and crime writes from Lagos, Nigeria.
     
     
    Disclaimer: Views expressed in any article we publish remain entirely the author's and do not reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch


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  • Boko Haram and the defeat that never was

    03/Jan/2016 // 350 Viewers

    By Ryan Cummings

     

    PARIS, JANUARY 3, 2016: Nigeria’s president vowed that Boko Haram would be beaten by the end of 2015 .But terror group has continued to mount attacks, despite efforts of Nigerian military. Critics say corruption, lack of coordination among factors which have helped Boko Haram flourish.

    “And I assure you that we will defeat Boko Haram by the end of this year.” This was the pledge made by Nigerian President Muhammdu Buhari to his Beninese counterpart, Boni Yayi, during a gala dinner commemorating Benin’s independence during the summer of 2015.

    It was a promise that the Nigerian head of state would also reiterate to fellow Nigerians, who eagerly waited for him to make good on his promise and act with the decisiveness that Buhari had accused his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, of lacking. Yet as 2015 drew to a close, the specter of Boko Haram loomed as large as ever over Africa’s most populous state.

    Indeed, less than 48 hours after the Buhari regime announced that it had fulfilled its vow of defeating the group, at least 50 people were killed in a wave of violence in Nigeria’s insurgent-embattled Borno and Adamawa states. Those skeptical of Boko Haram’s defeat were vindicated, those residing within the terrorists’ deadly reach continue to live in fear.

    Nigeria’s information minister, however, downplayed the December 27 attacks and further reaffirmed that Boko Haram was on the precipice of being “wiped out.”

    Lai Mohammed claimed to local media that all insurgent-held territory had been reclaimed and that Boko Haram no longer possessed the operational capabilities to achieve its raison d’etre, the creation of a “dawlah” — or Islamic-state — in north-eastern Nigeria.

    The problem with Mohammed’s “impending demise” narrative is that it equated loss of territory with defeat. Prior to Boko Haram’s capture in July 2014 of Damboa, the first Nigerian town to fall to the extremist sect, its near decade-long insurgency had been characterized by traditional guerilla warfare. The group’s favoured modus operandi had been suicide bombings and hit-and-run raids, not the capture and control of territory.

    The acts of violence which the Nigerian government has derided as indicative of Boko Haram’s weaknesses are actually the very mechanisms which have made it one of the — if not the — deadliest terrorist organizations in the world.

    Apart from being face-saving exercises, accounts of Boko Haram’s imminent destruction may also be an attempt by the Buhari regime to misdirect attention from the myriad issues which have — and continue to — hamper its counter-insurgency strategy.

    The foremost of these is the failure of Nigeria and her Lake Chad neighbors to formulate a regionally coordinated response to the insurgency.

    Although it originated as a grassroots Nigerian organization, Boko Haram’s ambitions and operations have become transnational as it increasingly exported its insurgency across the border to Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

    While these countries agreed to form a joint anti-Boko Haram task force in 2014, rumors of strained diplomatic tensions, disagreements over the direction of operations and a lack of financing have all seen the unit miss several deployment deadlines.

    Despite an intensification in anti-terrorism initiatives by the Nigerian military, the failure by neighboring countries to respond in kind has afforded Boko Haram space in which to regroup, recruit and re-energize its armed uprising against the Nigerian state.

    Alleged maladministration within the Nigerian military is another issue diluting the efficacy of the country’s counter-terrorism response. In June 2015, Amnesty International released a damning report detailing alleged war crimes committed by the Nigerian military in its counter-insurgency initiatives. These included arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, torture and the extrajudicial killings of thousands of Boko Haram suspects, according to the Amnesty report.

    Although both the Nigerian presidency and military leadership promised to investigate these claims, it remains unclear as to whether an steps have been made toward the inquiry.

    If the clams are true, then such actions may see the army not only lose the hearts and minds of local communities, which are essential to any successful counter-insurgency cooperation, but also aid Boko Haram in its radicalization and recruitment process.

    The arrest of a former National Security Adviser has also highlighted how corruption has allegedly influenced Nigeria’s response to Boko Haram. Sambo Dasuki has been charged with embezzling military funds earmarked for the fight against Boko Haram at a time when Nigerian soldiers complained about lack of ammunition, fuel and even food while deployed in the field of battle. Dasuki has denied the corruption charges. He remains in custody.

    Although the arrest of Dasuki and others demonstrates Buhari’s commitment to fighting alleged corruption, its systemic presence in Nigeria suggests that possible malfeasance within the defense sector is unlikely to be remedied overnight. Transparency International, which monitors corruption round the world, reported in 2014 that Nigeria scored only 27 out of 100 on the corruption perception index. Buhari has made fighting Nigeria’s official corruption a key part of his presidency since he came to power in 2015.

    A final consideration is the impact that Boko Haram’s pledge of allegiance to Islamic State in March has had on the African group’s longevity. While the Nigerian government denounced the oath of fidelity as being nothing more than superficial propaganda, the fact is we know little about the ISIS model for expansion — and even less about Boko Haram’s inner-workings — to know definitively the implications of the pledge.

    What we do know is that Boko Haram has become the largest ISIS affiliate anywhere and has increased its jihadist credentials within an area of sub-Saharan Africa where the prevailing social, political and economic climate is seen as conducive to radicalization.

    The inconvenient truth is that Nigeria has not defeated Boko Haram but simply reversed the gains that the terror group has scored against it. While territory has been recaptured from rebel hands, innocent lives have, and continue, to be taken by it.

    No victory can be declared in this war until the day that the Nigerian government can secure both land and human life from Boko Haram’s deadly reach. Despite claims to the contrary, it is a day which will now have to be ushered in with the dawn of a new year.

     

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  • BACK TO THE LAND: What we should have done decades ago with our oil money

    03/Mar/2016 // 328 Viewers

    By Akintokunbo Adejumo

    “With the downturn in the global prices of oil, we now have to prospect our solid minerals. We have to return to agriculture. Mining and agriculture are our hopes now. We will welcome investments in these areas. We will appreciate an in-flow of   more resources and expertise to help us achieve our objective of economic diversification.” President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria speaking to Council of Saudi Arabia’s Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
    Indeed, Nigeria has no other choice than to “massively” invest in agriculture and solid minerals so as to address the current oil downturns facing the nation. I emphasised “massively”, because that means a considerable amount of money, which we do not have now, considering that other economic areas have to be funded. However, a great proportion of our income from other sources, e.g. solid mineral and other non-oil income, including the little we currently get from agricultural export, customs tariffs, taxes, external trade, etc., could be utilised if we can plug the loopholes of corrupt practices that have been draining the country’s blood away for decades. And yes, indeed, we need foreign investment in these two areas, agriculture and solid minerals, for success to be achieved and recorded within the shortest possible time.
    The agricultural sector in Nigeria is the segment most critical to the achievement of the elusive goal of a diversified economy. If a fully integrated approach is adopted across the value chain of various agricultural commodities for which the nation possesses comparative advantage, Nigeria would rapidly emerge from its current state of dependence on a single source of revenue -oil. It is therefore of the utmost importance to encourage all sections of governments, federal, state, local, executive and legislature to design strategies to accommodate small farmers who account for over 90 per cent of output and activities in the sector, and who have been ignored and neglected during decades of mismanagement and visionless and bad governance.
    They (World Bank, IMF, FAO, European Union, etc.) have been advising successive Nigerian governments since we found oil in the 50's that the oil money should be heavily invested in Agriculture. Our governments, military and civilian alike, never heeded these advices, from Gowon to Jonathan, including even General Buhari’s short military intervention. Now, the reality has sunk in, almost too late. If Nigeria had invested in agriculture in the 1960's, we would have now been spending at 200 times less than what we will now be investing. And believe me, Nigeria would have been number one producer of cocoa, oil palm, rubber, cassava, mangoes, plantain, bananas, groundnut, sorghum, millet, maize, teak, animal skins etc., and self-reliant on food production.  Imagine the effect now. The country would by now be the most industrialized in the whole of Africa, mainly based on agricultural raw materials, and swell our exports to countries that need these products.
    So when people start blaming foreign countries and IMF, World Bank, etc. for our woes, I can tell you these foreigners have been advising (even if we accuse them of selfish interests) our leaders for decades to reverse the reliance on oil and invest in other areas such as agriculture, solids minerals and medium scale industries. It is the raw materials from agriculture that will be used in small industries to eventually service larger industries. Look at how many agricultural research centres are located in the city of Ibadan alone; what have been their contributions, uses and benefit to Nigeria’s agricultural, economic and technological development? The professors and research scientists there are just servicing their pockets due to many reasons, including government’s ignorance and apathy, lack of funding, no motivation and the general corruption malaise that crept up on us.
    Yet, remember that the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo remained a lone voice in the wilderness. His efforts in the South West of Nigeria, from Independence to  the late 1960’s, when it comes to agriculture and industrialisation, still remain a feat which no other leader, in any part of Nigeria, including the South West, can emulate or rival till today. 
    We are a visionless nation or a nation cursed with a bunch of clueless, greedy, selfish, brainless and corrupt leaders. Since the discovery of the black gold, rather than be a blessing, we've reversed it to be a curse, instead of investing and revolutionising our mainstay Agriculture, we abandoned it and became importers of virtually everything.
    I remember the fraudulent “wheat revolution” during the Shagari era that continued far into the Babangida era. Billions of dollars and naira were fraudulent spent on non-existent wheat farms in the northern part of the country; and the same with the rice revolution in several parts of the country; the Operation Feed the Nation, (I was one of thousands of Nigerian undergraduates in those days who took part in it) which, as we would have it, suddenly metamorphosed into Obasanjo Farms Nigeria Limited (so they say) and of course, we know of the cassava bread of the immediate past administration. Many people, in and out of government today, became immediate billionaires, nourished on our money. Ex-leaders became great and very rich farmers, funded by ill-gotten wealth. 
    Ironically, with these farmer-turned ex-leaders, agriculture was never on their agenda, vision and priority during their tenure; during the height of their powers; during the time when they had billions of naira and dollars to play with; but the moment they left office, agriculture became a passion for them. There was a need to invest their loot in something, and agriculture became attractive to them. The only positive being that they created some employment!  There is something very wrong with their brains. 
    For having the present administration aiming high to resuscitate Agriculture, Nigerians should be optimistic that the Groundnut Pyramid of Kano, the Cocoa Heaps of the South-West, and the Palm Oil Rivers of the South-East will resurface AGAIN. We must go back to the land; it is the source of everything a human being exists on. Even the wealth they are looting is derived from the land/soil.
    Agricultural diversification can take many forms, but the need to identify opportunities and an extra source of income has become increasingly apparent. What are the critical issues linking diversification into agriculture and international trade? Are they competitive, or even antagonistic, concepts in the broader context of food security and agricultural development? Are they complementary and synergistic and, if so, how? Or are they two ships passing in the night which have little if any linkage? There is no doubt that there is conventional wisdom regarding divergence from oil to agriculture as a desirable strategy for national and economic development. 
    What are the effects on production, consumption and trade as well as the implications for price and income variability and overall economic performance? There are two supposed advantages of a policy of diversification - expanded sources of income/revenue and employment. In a world of economy-wide reforms, including trade liberalization, deregulation and privatization, is diversification from oil to agriculture a relevant policy objective? I conclude that such diversification as a policy goal is very relevant and will eventually save Nigeria and Nigerians. 
    Nigeria’s unworkable and non-working agricultural policy must be revisited and overhauled. I will take the liberty of refering to the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN)’s summary of Nigeria’s agricultural policy, the first of which was in 1988, and was expected to remain valid for about fifteen years, that is, up to year 2000:
    “The Agricultural Policy
    Nigeria's agricultural policy is the synthesis of the framework and action plans of Government designed to achieve overall agricultural growth and development. The policy aims at the attainment of self-sustaining growth in all the sub-sectors of agriculture and the structural transformation necessary for the overall socio-economic development of the country as well as the improvement in the quality of life of Nigerians.
    The Broad Policy objectives Include:-
    ⦁    Attainment of self-sufficiency in basic food commodities With particular reference to those which consume considerable shares of Nigeria's foreign exchange and for which the country has comparative advantage in local production;
    ⦁    Increase in production of agricultural raw materials to meet the growth of an expanding industrial sector;
    ⦁    Increase in production and processing of exportable Commodities with a view to increasing their foreign exchange earning capacity and further diversifying the country's export base and sources of foreign exchange earnings;
    ⦁    Modernization of agricultural production, processing, Storage and distribution through the infusion of improved technologies and management so that agriculture can be more responsive to the demands of other sectors of that Nigerian economy;
    ⦁    Creation of more agricultural and rural employment Opportunities to increase the income of farmers and rural dwellers and to productively absorb an increasing labour force in the nation;
    ⦁    Protection and improvement of agricultural land resources and preservation of the environment for sustainable agricultural production;
    ⦁    Establishment of appropriate institutions and creation of administrative organs to facilitate the integrated development and realization of the country's agricultural potentials.

    Features of the Policy
    The main features of the policy include the evolution of strategies that will ensure self-sufficiency and the improvement of the level of technical and economic efficiency in food production. This is to be achieved through the introduction and adoption of improved seeds and seed stock, husbandry and appropriate machinery and equipment. Efficient utilization of resources, encouragement of ecological specialization and recognition of the roles and potentials of small scale farmers as the major production of food in the country, Reduction, in risks and uncertainties were to be achieved through the introduction of the agricultural insurance scheme to reduce natural hazards factor militating against agricultural production and security of credit outlay through indemnity of sustained losses. A nationwide, unified and all-inclusive extension delivery system under the Agricultural development Programme (ADP) was put in place in a joint Federal and State Government collaborative effort. Agro -allied industries were actively promoted. Other incentives such as rural infrastructure, rural banking, primary he21th care, cottage industries etc. were provided, to encourage agricultural and rural development and attract youth, including school leavers, to go back to the land. The agricultural policy is supported by sub-policies that facilitate the growth of the sector”.

    (http://www.arcnigeria.org/index.php/explore/the-council/our-vision/152-arcn/about/71-agricultural-policies )

    A very well-articulated, focused and committed document, produced by the best brains in Nigeria at the time, but which remains just what it was – a strategy; implementable but unimplemented due to the “Nigerian factor” of materialistic, self-seeking, dishonest, indolent bunch of military rulers, politicians and civil servants.
    Please go over the seven broad policy objectives above, and fathom out which of them have been, or are being put into practice now, full-heartedly or are working to the best interest of the nation. Where are the fertilisers, the mechanised farms, irrigation projects (the unproductive River Basin Authorities, where many staff have made their fortunes doing nothing), the tractors, the low interest agricultural loans, the improved seeds, the hybrid animals, the rural roads, the rural electricity, the agricultural extension workers, the research institutes results, etc.?

    In their paper, “Economic Diversification in Nigeria: Any Role for Solid Mineral Development?”, Olumide .S. Ayodele, Sabastine Akongwale, Udefuna Patrick Nnadozie, (Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, Vol 4, No 6, 2013) posited that “the Nigerian economy has mostly depended on proceeds from the sale of crude oil, at the expense of other sectors such as solid minerals and agriculture that hitherto, contributed significantly to the economy of Nigeria and showed that the solid mineral sector in Nigeria has the potential to contribute immensely to the economy of Nigeria”. Specifically, the paper reveals that the development of the solid mineral sector could help to combat poverty in Nigeria via job creation; especially, given its forward linkage with other sectors of the economy. Most importantly, it could help alleviate some of the problems associated with “enclave” nature of the Nigerian economy that has for too long being vulnerable to fluctuations in global oil prices. To realize these potentials, the paper highlights the need for a strengthening of Nigeria’s existing solid mineral development policy. It also points out the need for the government to create an enabling environment for the private sector to take the lead in the sector.

    “Nigeria is at a point in her history, when unless she becomes creative, the economy will collapse completely because it has depended too long on oil and we know what has happened to it at the international market. The other alternative for the country is agriculture and we have all it takes for agriculture to thrive: good soil, vast land and people, who are willing to take any available opportunity to put food on the table and also make money”. This was a speech delivered recently by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adeshina.

    The rallying cry of the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria must now be “BACK TO THE LAND”. In my town, it is completely normal to keep chickens in your backyard, and have a vegetable patch at the backyard. I frequently see a pair of goats wandering up the road even in cities as urbanised as Ibadan, Benin, Port Harcourt, Kano and Lagos. We have had Operation Feed the Nation (OFN) before, now let’s have the “Back to the Land Movement”, this time as a large scale, government-funded and motivated Agrarian Revolution, led by sincere, knowledgeable and skilled people from all sectors of Nigeria and the common thread for a call for people to take up smallholding and to grow food from the land on a small-scale basis, whether for themselves or for others.
    BACK TO THE LAND!!!!

     

    *Akintokunbo Adejumo wrote from London, United Kingdom

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


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  • Buhari and the Chinese homily

    03/Mar/2016 // 233 Viewers

    By Yakubu Mohammed


    A POPULAR Chinese homily became handy for an inspired President Muhammadu Buhari in the Holy Land. After what looked like due consultations with the Almighty during his lesser hajj in Makkah and Madina early this week as he concluded his visit to Saudi Arabia and Qatar, President Buhari summoned enough courage to dump, as The Punch put it, the N5,000 job seeker’s allowance. Ahead of the 2015 presidential election, the President’s party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, had promised to pay unemployed youths an allowance of N5, 000 each, every month.

    “This largess, N5, 000 for the unemployed, I have got a slightly different priority. I would rather do the infrastructure, the school and correct them and empower agriculture, mining so that every able bodied person can go and get work instead of giving N5, 000 to those who do not work,” declared the President. The Chinese proverb which has become very popular in this part of the world is so apt here. “If you give a man fish,” so goes the saying, “you feed him for one day. But if you teach the man how to fish, you feed him for life.” President Buhari, having taken the Chinese proverb to heart, prefers to teach the jobless, the able-bodied unemployed Nigerian youths how to fish, how to farm, how to mine solid minerals and how to take their destiny in their own hands instead of depending on some dubious hand outs and welfare largess that may not even reach them.

    But in taking this right and commendable decision, the President must have ruffled not a few feathers and he should, as a consequence, be prepared in the weeks ahead to take the flaks from his critics whose numbers must be rising daily. For them, this is clearly a policy somersault. Feeding school children during school hours and paying N5, 000 to the poor and the jobless numbering 25 million was a major plank of the APC manifesto.

    The erudite professor of law and respected cleric, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has laboured on numerous occasions to demonstrate that this populist scheme was doable and therefore realisable. For those of us who appeared terrified by the sheer logistics of the exercise, the vice-president’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, said not to worry, they had everything wrapped up. At the drop of a pin Akande was prepared, any time of the day or night, to reel out the mechanism for the implementation of the welfare package. He said the President’s policy was in six phases: Teach Nigeria, youth empowerment programme, conditional cash transfer, under which extremely indigent Nigerians would be given N5, 000 monthly, school feeding programme like the one Governor Nasir El Rufai of Kaduna State has already launched, free education for science and technology, engineering and mathematics students in tertiary institutions as well as credit scheme for the poor to start their own businesses.

    Before the pronouncement from Saudi, work on identifying the beneficiaries had gone far and, indeed, Akande says the 2016 has made ample provision for the scheme. Other officials of government, including minister of youths, have given assurance on behalf of the government that there was no going back on the programme. At the initial stage of the Treasury Single Account, TSA, controversy, Lai Mohammed, minister of Information, as a way of telling us the numerous advantages of the TSA, said proceeds from the TSA would be used to fund the indigent citizens’ welfare programme. All those assurances were geared towards keeping hope alive.

    I know for sure that the President‘s pronouncement which apparently signifies a reversal of policy, is bound to throw APC programme into confusion leaving many chieftains of the party scratching their heads for explanation. Those whose task it is to explain government’s programme, I am sure, would be hard put explaining this twist in the tale. Already I can see Akande, the Vice-President’s spokesman, the same Akande who has been so eloquent in explaining away the mechanism for implementing the package, now struggling to explain what President Buhari meant and what he did not mean, when he said there would be some change in the priority of government as far the largess of N5, 000 monthly allowance was concerned. Akande, almost swearing on oath, now says loudly even for the deaf to hear, that there was never a promise by the President to pay N5, 000 to unemployed graduates or job seekers. Since he did not make the promise, logically, the Saudi pronouncement cannot be a policy somersault and the President, it follows, should not be accused of not keeping faith with Nigerians, majority of whom form the dregs of the society.

    Akande: “The President never promised to pay unemployed graduates N5, 000, the President never made that promise and the government never made that claim that it would pay N5, 000 to unemployed graduates. The programme for unemployed graduates is the direct creation of half a million teaching jobs so that they will be trained to teach and they will be deployed to teach, while they are looking for their career paths or jobs. That still stands!” Hmmmm. So the good news is that nothing has actually changed?

    Truth be told, the party’s programme and the party’s promise to tackle the issue of poverty is unassailable. But the resources for implementing the programme must be available and only the needy must enjoy the scheme. Other parties, other governments before this have had all kinds of programmes to alleviate poverty or wipe it from existence. But at the end of the day, what happened? Poverty was like a snake scorched. They did not alleviate it. They did not kill it. They not only increased the pangs and the monstrosity of poverty, they also ended up enriching those who were already privileged and well to do. The schemes became avenues for corruption. The middle men, invariably party men and women or crooked government officials who were entrusted with the task of disbursing the largess, diverted it to their pockets or used it to enrich their cronies and other party faithful.

    Other countries that have successfully implemented welfare programmes for the poor had the resources and the men and women of proven integrity and competence to run the programme. The abuse of the scheme did not come from those entrusted with the scheme but the beneficiaries who, assured of their daily bread, did not bother to go out and look for a more respectable means of survival. Take the American welfare system, for example. It was established in the 1930s during the Great Depression. The Federal Government responded to the overwhelming number of families and individuals who had no means of surviving the pangs of poverty by creating a welfare programme like the APC conceived, to give succour to those who were desperately in need. It was like charity for those who had little or no income at all. But unlike what we practise here, they did not dole out cash to the cashless or the needy.

    If you read John Johnson’s very inspiring autobiography, Succeeding Against the Odds, you would understand what it meant to be on the dole in those days. He reports that in those years (between 1934 and 1936) welfare came not in monthly checks but in monthly visits by government trucks. On the first day of the month, the big government trucks would roar into their neighbourhood dropping essential commodities like salt, pork, beans, peas and other such items that were of use but out of reach of the poor.

    Some of the recipients of the government hand out, like the Johnson family, were not particularly proud of their station in life and covered the fact that those trucks were meant for them. Welfare for those who were determined became a means of getting out of poverty for good, not depending on alms taking and sticking to low life and the humiliation that it entailed.

    The honourable way out of this welfare conundrum, therefore, is to create jobs and provide a more conducive environment for people to earn decent living. It is demeaning to be on the dole or social welfare or whatever elegant name we seek to give to this institutional begging or charity. As M.K.O Abiola of blessed memory was fond of saying: “The hand that gives is always on top of the hand that receives.”

     

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


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  • Anioma not part of Biafra

    03/Mar/2016 // 623 Viewers

    By Ben Etaghene

    This elastic agitation for the illusion called Biafara is rapidly snowballing into a painful anathema. But must this grow unguardedly or a final stop should be put to it? We fought a civil war which was decisively concluded with an agreement of “no victor, no vanquished”. That was universally acclaimed as magnanimous at the time.  Nigerians of both “divide” then easily came together and assumed the worst was over.

    Inspite of the early forgiving at home, outside the shores of this country, there were pockets of agitators for Biafra for commercial and selfish reasons. I  recall in 1972 at the Suddeutsche Zeiting (South Germany Newspaper) my boss, Herrn Helmut Hess told me that the editor wanted to see me. In his office were some Nigerian Biafrans who were there to solicit for money to prosecute the war. I made it explicitly clear to them that the war had ended and the prevalence of peace in Nigeria then, which put paid to their request. Even as late as 1974 in Europe there were still pockets of Biafra sympathisers who played on the ignorance of “merciful” society foiled by Nigeria’s weak publicity outreach. This definitely allows for constant revisit to this so-called republic, perhaps buoyed by the poor governance that allows for cases of marginalisation, claims any section of Nigeria, in fairness can make.

    The continuity of this selective primordial sentiment still prevails among a section of many South eastern Nigerians particularly youths most of whom were born after the civil war, majority of them not grounded with the issues involved in the uprising except emotions and the love of adventure. In one of their recent map, Biafra covered the whole of Anioma, Ukwuani Isoko even extending to some enclaves in Urhoboland. This is an unripe imagination. Hence the prompt reaction of one Chief Tuesday Onoge, an Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) member and the recent clarification by the Delta State governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa for the status quo must be noted.

    This is what many prominent Igbo leaders had not done though few had spoken out against this dream which died some 46years ago. What is missing in the current flag bearing outing for resurrection of a different homeland is the deep philosophical approach the originator of the dream, late Odumegwu Ojukwu, Ikemba Nnewi invoked. What we are now seeing is an ephemeral periphery of the idea of a strong man who equally saw the end of his ambition and who made a timely retreat. None among those shouting now has half the charisma and oratory power of Ojukwu to whip up emotions and evoke followership for a course. The originator of dream saw the novalike movement of the Biafra project before all of them. And we are in a different era and time where this romanticism with adventure will fade away but for the socio-economic disturbances.

    The irony of the whole episode is traceable to government’s inaction. The Oromo people in Ethiopia had this same recurring secessionist demand. But with some strange wisdom they found their answer in the redrafting of a constitution which stipulated that any section of the country wishing to go away can get the right to do so in their national assembly with just a simple majority vote. That put paid to the Oromo demand for their own country. Our Chief Ben Nwabueze (SAN) was a party to the drafting of the new Ethiopian constitution. I had severally demanded for a clause of this type to be inserted into our constitution.

    Late Chief Anthony Enahoro, the second man to move the motion for Nigeria’s independence from the United Kingdom in 1960, as his last major contribution also said same thing in his submission for a 19-state Nigeria. Since then the Federal Government of Nigeria under Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan organised two national conferences without any attempt to find a final solution to this perenimal agitation. The National Assembly since 1999 till now has variously told the nation of the inadequacies in the nation’s constitution without any action to rectify them.

    This same approach has equally been beamed on the need to diversify the economy to remove focus from the monolithic source of revenue which is crude oil without any practical move. But now with the price of oil hovering between S24 and S25 per a barrel, from over S100 a year ago, it needs a pragmatic approach, same thing the nation should have done about this simmering sentimentality about Biafra. Why must this agitation become a regular issue to disturb the nation’s political clime. The United States of America fought a civil war. For 100years, the south were not allowed to rule that nation until ex-President Jimmy Carter emerged in 1976. Nobody ever raised his or her head to take their nation to that era again not to talk of expanding the land mass of their agitation. That in Nigeria, 46years after a new constant horizon of rebellion theatre unfolds shows that an action is needed to stop it once and for all. This is why the position of the Delta State governor,Dr. Okowa comes for commendation.

    In a timely message to dispel claims of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPDB) that “Anioma Nation in Delta State belongs to Biafra Republic,” he equally decried the move to scrap Maritime University, Ekerekoko, Warri South West, LGA. With this the governor has delivered a serious burden of leadership.  Okowa also stated that despite the corollary or similarity in language does not make them same because of the contiguous geography. He said, “Biafran agitation, we have criticised it. Anioma land as it is said, from here, was part of Bendel State; it was part of Midwest Region. We were never part of the South East and obviously we cannot be said to be part of them. We may speak the same language, but we were never part of the South East. We were part of the Midwest; we were part of Bendel. We are now Delta State and we are Deltans.” It cannot be more emphatic than this.

     

    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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  • Biafra not Nigeria's problem

    03/Nov/2015 // 278 Viewers

    Biafra  is not one of the problems besetting Nigeria. Those unable to appreciate this fact may require a dose of creative thinking. Nigeria's stubborn thorn in the flesh is its adamant repudiation of the self-evident concept of the changelessness of change, upon which sits a crippling unwillingness to engage that same constancy of change. There are two random but famous declarations – one little remembered today, the other something of a mantra – that neatly wrap up the national antiparty to inexorable change and its management.

    On January 15, 1970, there was a ceremony at Dodan Barracks, Lagos, the then seat of political power. Biafran acting Head of State, General Philip Effiong, Colonel David Ogunewe, Colonel Patrick Anwunah, Colonel Patrick Amadi and Police Commissioner Patrick Okeke had gone to submit Biafra's document of surrender, which officially marked the end of the civil war. “The so-called rising sun of Biafra has set forever,” declared Head of State General Yakubu Gowon, on that occasion. In the leaps and dips of Nigeria's turbulence, it is common to hear politicians of varying persuasions declaring, as a way of “helping” to stabilise the listing ship of state, that “Nigeria's unity is not negotiable.”

    Between Gowon's presumption of Biafra's finality, which rode on the crest of triumphalism and was hailed as prescient by many, including Gowon's biographer Professor Isawa Elaigwu, and the incessantly voiced exclusion of terms on Nigeria's oneness, lies the country's problematic. General Gowon is alive and bouncing. Were he to honestly comment on his 45-year old declaration today, he would readily admit to not having thoroughly considered all sides of everything. For it is clearly outside the bounds of political authority to decree the irreversible amputation of human predilection and proclivity. The current hoopla around Biafra lends credence to the assertion.

    Now, there is something baffling in the oft-repeated statement on Nigeria's unity not being negotiable. The statement does not mean that Nigeria's unity is a fait accompli. It simply insists on a spiteful denunciation of any thought of mapping out a sustainable road on which the assumed or anticipated national unity must travel, free from iniquity and cataclysms; a method for mastering the imperatives of national unity which is, anywhere in the world, a particularly daunting proposition. It is because Nigeria has kept its back obdurately turned to change that even the littlest molehill on its uncharted road invariably becomes a precipitous mountain.

    Why is Nigeria incapable of learning from history? When Biafra came in 1967, it was way ahead of its time. Since January 15, 1970, the world's political map has continued to be redrawn. Emperor Haile Selassie would have started, and branded any dream in which Eritrea was mentioned a nightmare. Eritrea gained international recognition as an independent state in 1993. South Sudan was only a fictional construct in 1970; it became an independent nation in 2011. Bangladesh was non-existent in 1970; it declared its independence from Pakistan a year later. The Soviet Union dissolved into 12 independent states in 1991. By 1992 Yugoslavia had fractured into about seven independent countries. On January 1, 1993, Czechoslovakia split into Czech and Slovak Republics. Scotland held an Independence referendum early this year that failed. There is a powerful Catalan movement pushing secession from Spain. Separatist tendencies are not on the wane in Cabinda.
    What to bear in mind is that most of the secessions or agitations for secession in the world are along ethnic lines. For an ethnically composite country like Nigeria, the way to avoid potential split props is not by precluding discussion on contentious issues, and it is not by expeditionary repression of peaceful dissent. After all, dissent is not and should never be construed as a crime in a democracy. A country of disparate peoples can only be held together in peace and harmony by the glues of visionary leadership indexed on tried and tested political structures of equity, fairness, justice, innovation and practicality. This cannot be said of Nigeria.

    Look at neighbouring Ghana, which, like Nigeria, is multi-ethnic. Who ever heard of secessionist agitation in that country? Here is a point made in a June 28, 2012 Memorandum submitted to the House of Representatives Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution by the Ohanaeze Ndigbo: “In our socio-political and economic intercourse all groups (big or small) must be allowed free-play and equitable access to our country's resources and strategic political command posts, including particularly the presidency. Sustained imbalance in sharing responsibilities and the 'national cake' could conceivably induce in those units aggrieved a rethink of the value to them of our much vaunted national unity.”

    One possible way of checking skepticism on Nigerian unity is the implementation of the report of last year's National Conference. Unfortunately, chameleons, who throughout their dubious political careers had hoisted the National Conference placard, turned up on the eve of the last presidential ballot to execrate the idea.

    Chuks Iloegbunam

     


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  • Till we change there will be no change

    03/Nov/2015 // 205 Viewers

    So last week, I shared with us that story about how a young dumb boy made a sacrifice for the sake of his brother. I think it would be fair to give a quick summary for those that missed the story, as today’s admonition is a continuation or rather an interpretation of that story.

    The story was about a lad whose brother pilfered other people’s items, and how he was nearly mobbed to death by those who thought he was the thief, unknown to them, he was protecting his brother. It is a story of sacrificial love, and in the next few paragraphs, I would share with us, a few reasons why we may be far from the desired change.

    Not many of us would claim ignorance of the new term “body language” used to describe the change mantra of Mr. Buhari, the Nigerian president, and how many argue that it has been responsible for any visible improvement one can notice since the advent of the APC led government.

    However the truth remains that there is still a body of stench, an odoriferous smell in the attitude of the everyday Nigerian, who is not willing to make any sacrifice.

    We are all in the mob mentality mood, we all desire the change but not willing to change, we want others to change but we are not changing. There’s been a change of government but the civil servant is not changing, between a take home pay, that cannot take him home, and a living wage that practically kills him by all intent and purpose.

    So, to him, it’s not corruption, but “his god” blessing him, in the face of hardship.

    How many times have I asked how it feels, when a policeman says to you; “How are you, can I see your papers, I advice you tidy your papers, have a blessed day”. Strange, oh, very strange because this year alone despite the best of efforts by the Police High Command, almost half a dozen persons have been killed just for refusing to part with as little as N20.

    Parents have a twisted picture of sacrifice, when they pay for their kids to get placement ion secondary schools, and yet we want to see change. While the quality of medicare available continues to drop, it is really sad when people tell you, except you know someone, even if you can afford it, you would not get any attention from our numerous teaching and specialist hospitals, which by the way are specials in nothing.

    Mr. Buhari may have the best of intentions, but he sure has his job well cut out, when he is surrounded by a host of ungodly saints that are unwillingly to change, except for a change of chameleonic nature. Take the National Assembly, it has barely sat for 15 days, and been on recess for 12 weeks, and has gulped several millions of tax payers, no bill passed yet.

    Amaechi with his moral baggage, Saraki with his own moral luggage, both men dividing Nigerians equally in a case of who is more corrupt, and who is not corrupt, and we want change, we want sacrifices made, but no one is willing to be that sacrifice.

    We fight each other on the premise of our faith, we see a list and debate on the number of Igbos, number of Muslims, number of women, but hardly worry about those that are capable of delivering. It is a no sacrifice, except it suits us.

    Every Nigerian is sharp, believing that nothing goes for nothing, you need to know someone that knows someone or else no admission into that school, an unemployed is asked to pay to get a job. Government fleece its own, and the citizens in turn fleece government the bazaar of corruption is mutual.
    So, a neighborhood cries there is no electricity, but ask them to produce bills, of when last they paid, Lord Lugard would have been a teenager, and same applies to the power company that would send bills for electricity not provided.

    We have millionaires everywhere even in our depressive and repressive economy because they are wealthy by acquisition, and not production. Every young person not only wants a job, but equally to be rich; the mindset is dangerously corruptly embellished. For example a young man pays to be a custom officer with the intent that it's an investment that would be recouped.

    I would end this treaty on sacrifice by sharing Shiv Khera, a renowned author and management trainer experience's in Singapore.

    “Six years ago in Singapore I gave a taxi driver a business card to take me to a particular address.  At the last point he circled round the building. His meter read $11, but he took only $10.

    I said Henry, your meter reads 11$ how come you are taking only 10.

    He said Sir, I am a taxi driver, I am supposed to be bringing you straight to the destination. Since I did not know the last spot, I had to circle around the building. Had I brought you straight here, the meter would have read $10.

    Why should you be paying for my ignorance?
    He said sir, legally, I can claim 11$ but honestly and ethically I am entitled to only 10.

    In my opinion he probably did not go to school beyond the 8th grade, but to me he was a professional, and equally reflected the larger Singaporean spirit. To me his behavior reflected pride in performance and character.

    In Nigeria, we have Taxi drivers that have returned millions, but the truth is that like many honest Nigerians, rather than the norm, they remain exceptions, ordinarily the change mantra of the current administration should echo beyond campaign gimmicks, but sadly it may all well be just a hullabaloo with no one willing to make the sacrifice.

    Are we ready to make personal sacrifices for the general good, do we see that Mr. Buhari needs help, or we are just on a wish plane—Only time would tell.

    Written by Prince Charles Dickson.

     


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