30 Jul 2018

Stay Alive To See Your Future! (VIDEO)

 

Being alive is key to witnessing any form of future. Hence, Times African Network is encouraging citizens, especially Nigerians, to make good decisions that will secure their own future as well as that of the country. But as Nigerians we must learn to appreciate the deep meanings of mutual respect.

12 Jul 2018

G24 EMBASARA Leadership Summit: The Long-Awaited New Dawn, No More Business As Usual

”It is known that all over the state that our politicians and political leaders are the cause of our woes. They introduced several serious social ills into our society namely election violence with rigging, militancy, kidnapping and fraudulent mismanagement of our resources.” This was part of a speech delivered by Chairman of the G24 Embasara Foundation Summit, Chief Amba Ambaiowei, who attributed problems governance and development to the failure of the elected officer to follow laid down codes of conduct.

Yesterday, stake holders among Ijaw people, under the auspices of G24 Embasara Foundation, proved that good governance is possible. During a one-day summit held in Yenegoa the state capital of Bayelsa, the group offered a code of ethics, leadership and governance template which prospective political office holders needed to abide by. The warned that whoever would succeed Seriake Dickson, the current governor of the state, must abide by these ethics.
Former

State Commissioner of Environment, Barrister Iniruo Wills, made the presentation of the template which was entitled “Ijaw Nation Code of Ethics, Leadership and Governance.” The template states that the next Governor and other elected political officers in the state needed to declare their assets, imbibe a participatory governance, abide by freedom of Information and ensure proper audit of government account by impartial Ijaw leaders.

 

The forum’s Ijaw stakeholders comprised politicians, past office holders, youth group representatives, as well as elders under aegis of the Ijaw Elders Forum, including, of course, former member of the House of Representatives, Honorable Walmer Ogoroba, former governorship aspirant, Reuben Okoya, former Secretary to State Government, Dr. Gideon Ekeowe. Interestingly, all were unanimously agreed that the successor to Dickson and other elected officers must adhere to the code of ethics for good governance In the State.

Chief Amba Ambaiowei was a founding father of Bayelsa State. He indicted politicians in the state for fomenting instability in their bid to win elections. He said the problems of militancy, kidnaping, and other vices” are mainly the handiwork of digruntled politicians.
According to him these politicians “also mismanage our resources and live an ostentatious life style of alliance while abandoning development, thus attracting public hatred public hatred and rebuke. Our legislator fail to play the expected role of team work with their respective constituencies in evolving developmental objectives.”

Continuing the former ambassador stated that “Constituency project in spite of funds collected, are yet to be seen executed across the state to supplement the State government’s development agenda. The expected team work and cooperation between state and national legislators to attract both Federal Government and international developmental projects to Bayelsa state are yet to manifest.”

Ifieye Brebina, a pastor, agreed that both the summit’s message as well as its key focus were timely. Representing Ijaw Elders Forum and Ijaw Professional Association (IPA), he congratulated the conveners, pleading that politicians would indeed abide by the template for leadership as provided. Speaking, he said thusly: “there is the need to agree on principle in Bayelsa over the issue of governance, environmental justice, self-determination and many others. If we have a common position, we will be rest-assured that no matter the political position, we will be assured of good governance.”

With a global implication in leadership terms, the summit was a demonstration of and pointer to brighter futures for Bayelsa State and Ijaw peoples worldwide.

 

Image source: Ijaw Project: http://ijawproject.org/2018/07/g24-embasara-foundation-2018-summit-key-indices-to-visionary-leadership-and-sustainable-development-in-bayelsa-state/

18 May 2018

The Revolutionist As the True National Knight: Retelling Major Isaac Boro Fifty Years After

One common character trait of revolutionists is that they often place their beliefs and commitments above their very existence. That is why, until the Treaty of Paris of 3rd September 1783, General George Washington and other Leaders of the thirteen colonies who waged the Eight-Year long ‘War of Independence or ‘The American Revolution’ against King George III of England and the British Empire were regarded as rebels, with prizes on their heads. Typically, revolutionists are often regarded as villains by the establishment. In contrast, they are esteemed as heroes by those whom they stand for. But it is in very few cases in history, like the exceptional experience of Major Isaac Jasper “Adaka” Boro, who combines accolades and honors from both sides. This is premised on the fact that Major Boro, with so much fire in his bones, found it impossible to keep quiet in the face of the atrocious drift in post-independence Nigeria. First and solely on behalf of his Niger Delta and later in the  defense of the Green-White-White flag. So he is today, idolized and immortalized in the South-South of the country as a revolutionist of first grade, especially amongst the Ijaw ethnic nationality. Beyond that, within the annals of Nigerian history, the gallantry, heroism and life sacrifice in the search of unity of the country, at the most critical hour, remains indelible and casted on steel; making him the ultimate Cavalier.

So the date 9th May is no ordinary day for the people of the Niger Delta and unitarists in Nigeria in general. On that date, fifty years ago (1968), the sun came to stand still as gloom, darkness and despair blew across Federal troops as one of their most trusted and needed, Major Isaac Jasper Boro had mysteriously fallen in the theater of war. A budding hero of the war in the tough ‘Third Marine Commando’, he was fearless, audacious and visionary hence earning the nickname ‘Adaka’, which means Lion in Ijaw language. But he succumbed to the lone bullet of a mystery killer, likely, from friendly fire in Ogu town, around Okrika in present Rivers state. The true story of the plot, conspiracies, intrigues are still shrouded in the recesses of the wicked hearts of some evil men.

Fifty years gone, gives not just the Ijaw and people of the Niger Delta but all of Nigeria, a good opportunity to properly discuss, the intellectual and ideological foundations of the Isaac Boro Revolution and the worth of his heroism at death.

The story goes that Boro and his lieutenants were appalled by the political, social and economic order which prevailed in Nigeria in the dawn of the country’s independence and decided to embark on the first futile effort on self determination and secession. This was in early 1966; even before Biafra was conceived. But when later convinced that “to keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done” under certain conditions which sadly do not appear to have been still fulfilled, the Adaka the lion moved into the creeks of Nigeria’s coastal belt with unimaginable doggedly zeal, to earn for himself a place as a Nigerian wartime hero.

Though power had been wrested from colonialists on 1st October 1960, the fifty six years old forced marriage between very diverse and heterogeneous peoples in 1914 by Lord Lugard, had only produced a country where ethnic, religious and social divisions as well as internal suspicions and antagonism were rife and palpable. At independence, perhaps like most of post-colonial African states, leading political movements such as Northern Peoples Congress (NPC), Action Group (AG), National Council of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC) were ethnically entrenched or tended to follow religious proclivities. At another level, the scenarios in Nigeria even from the beginning typified George Orwellian ‘Animal Farm’ situation, where “some pigs were more equal than others”. Although the Willinks Commission Report on Minorities of 1957-1958, set up by the British, had clearly adumbrated the fact that “the fears of the minorities around the country, were well founded and that the case of the Ijaws who live in the swamps of the Niger Delta was peculiar”, dominant political interests by the larger ethnic groups did little to assuage such concerns. The Minorities, from the very beginning of the life of the new country, therefore, nursed feeling of being treated as second class citizens, indeed in biblical allegory of “hewers of wood and fishers of water”.

The case of the Niger Delta was peculiar. Commercial quantities of Crude Oil had been found all over the area, and first shipments had left Oloibiri in present Bayelsa State where Boro was actually born on 10th September 1938. The mega dollars which now come with oil boom had not started to register at the time, but the numbers began to make a modicum of impact in the Eastern regional and federally distributive pool. Alas, nothing came in to the areas producing that smelly substance which the aboriginal tribes of the Americas once called “the excreta of the gods”. From those early day, a loom of gĺoom and despair began to spread across the areas.

Isaac Boro was actually a trained teacher, who later migrated to have a secured career in the Nigerian Police Force. He later resigned to enroll at University of Nigeria, Nsukka to read Chemistry and was already on honours roll and set to graduate the following year. After failed attempts, he finally became President of the Student Union Government and embarked on some of the greatest welfare programmes, including Campus transportation, not seen before in that institution.

But he was a radical and very restless. He followed the unending political crises in Nigeria, ensuing from 1962 General Elections. He pained by the accusations and counters accusations of corruption, a very farmiliar cord amongst poloticians even toda. He bemoaned the violent and fratricidal instinct of the political class. The last straw that broke the Carmel’s back was the January 15, 1966 military coup and the gruesome killing of the Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, whom Boro regarded as a symbol of moral rectitude and moderation, along with Sir Ahmadu Bello, Chief Festus Okotie Eboh, Chief Samuel Akintola and many others. Boro questioned the legitimacy of such a violent change and needless show of disrespect for the 1960 and 1963 Constitutions which the Gen Aguiyi-Ironsi decided to set aside via the obnoxious Decree 1 of 17th January 1966. In his view this was the height of political intolerance and the trend towards imposition of unitary system of governance, a direct affront on the covenant of federalism agreed to by the founding fathers of the country. Major Boro was perfectly right! By 24th March 1966, while in incarceration, he heard of the almighty “Unification Decree” no 34 which abolish federalism.

So about five weeks after that military coup, i.e. on 23rd February 1966, Boro, who had spent ample time reading Franz Fanon, Ernesto Che Guevara and his associate Fidel Castro, declared the secession of the Niger Delta from the rest of the country, i.e. he proclaimed Niger Delta Republic! Typically, he recruited his army of young volunteers (Niger Delta Volunteer Force), mostly from his kith and kin from his home Kaiama, in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area, Bayelsa State and along with few close friends, decided to take on the Federal might and the largest army in Africa. His career, comfort, young family, including a young pregnant wife and even his own life were nothing compared to the common good and interest which he sought to pursue. Boro and his comrades in arms were determined, resolute and totally self abnegated. They envisioned a Niger Delta which will one day become the beacon of true human civilization and progress.

In his auto biography he entitled “The Twelve Day Revolution”, which lasted from February 23 to 6th March, 1966, he avowed his commitment to truth and justice. It was not only the first challenge to the lack of equity and fairness, but also a protest against political recklessness and unnecessary bloodletting in Nigeria. To Boro and his close associates, including Capt. Sam Owonaro (the only survivor of the ring leaders still alive), Captain Nottingham Dick, Capt. Boardman Nyanayo, Capt. George Amangala, etc, there was no possibility of failure. Despite the superiority and sophistication of the Nigerian Army and political establishment, they were sure of victory. Even in the face of possible death sentence before trial Judge Phiļ Ebosie of Portharcourt Assizes Court, they were unruffled and fully committed. They knew that if the death was not by the bullet from federal troops, they will have to face the hangman’s nozzle for treason. Not surprisingly, after their defeat and capture, those who were alive were initially sentenced to die

The Nigerian Civil War broke out shortly afterwards. By twist of destiny and irony of history, Major Boro accepted pardon in the hand of General Yakubu Gowon. Thereafter, he and his comrades-in-arms numbering about 150 young men decided to enlist in the Nigerian Army and due to their knowledge of the creeks of the Niger Delta, fought gallantly to liberate the most critical Oil and Gas belt of Nigeria. Adaka Boro liberated the very important export terminal town of Bonny, needed to nail a death-knell on the rebel efforts. His next move was to take on the liberation of Port Harcourt which he had already planned out. Sadly, this same Boro who took up arms to liberate his Niger Delta, ended up paying with his life and those of over a hundred of his men on behalf of Nigeria at the age of 30 years.

Fifty years down the lane is a good time to take stock. Its apt to evaluate how we have faired as a nation and how the Niger Delta has evolved. Yes. A lot has happened since then. From twelve states, we now have thirty-six states. But then, cries of marginalization, political intolerance, political violence, political exclusion and over centralization of political power in the centre are still loud and re-echoing. We know that election 2019 is at the corner and it represents a fresh watershed in the history of partisan policking in Nigeria. The season today is symptomatic of the mood during the days just before and after Nigeria’s independence, when each political, social and ethnic cluster had to canvass hard and convince all of its plans for the future of the country. Many questions trouble the minds of most Nigrrians. Like, who will be our Councilors, who will be our Local Government Chairmen, who will be our Assembly Members, Federal Representatives and Senators? Who will be the Governors, and for that matter our President? Will the status quo remain or alternative scenarios will surface at the different levels?

Fifty years after Major Boro’s death, do we have a mindset as a generation of political elite and leaders of men to ensure the building of a new Nigeria where truth, equity and justice truly reigns? The sing-song now is return to the original federalist dream of the great Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe- Zik of Africa, great Sir Ahmadu Bello,m- Sarduna of Sokoto and great Chief Obafemi Awolowo and the likes of Dr. Michael Okpara, Chief Tony Enahoro, Chief Harold Dappa-Biriye, etc. That is lets Restructure for a better nation. But are we prepared as patriots and civilized people whom we claim to be, to jaw-jaw and do away with the politics of sectionalism, sensationalism, atavism and division? After all other great and people nations are built by men of goodwill and Godly disposition; not by Angels.

Economically, Crude oil which was just beginning to bring in single digit figures in 1968 when Boro died in service, is now mega money spinner. According to Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), it has raked in over 96 trillion Naira to Nigeria since 1958. Gas which has continued to be flared in sacrilegious abundance has itself brought in over $11.8 billion in ten years of Liquefied Natural Gas exports (2004-2014) and about same amount in domestic gas sales. Today oil sells for $80 per barrel with a production level of 2.3 million barrels per day or about 65 billion Naira daily. Petrol-dollar has built Nigeria, built a brand new Federal Capital city and proceeds continue to keep Nigeria together, with monthly sharing of money. But the oil money itself is a metaphor of “resource curse” as we have abandoned agriculture, mining and other viable sectors. At another level, the Fiscal and Resource Allocation Regime remains contentious, a far departure from what was agreed at independence and were entrenched in the 1960/1963 Constitutions for which Boro died for.

At another level, oil bearing communities continue to cry of estrangement from the sector in terms of allocation of oil blocks and presence in the bureaucracy of the National Petroleum Company – Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its parastatals. The oil companies themselves tend to operate parasitically, preferring to keep their administrative and operational offices outside the Niger Delta, but fly in daily to carry out upstream activities in choppers and fly out at the close of work. No community impact, no downward integration, no local/community content and nor spread effect. The most devastating aspect is that the Niger Delta with a fragile ecosystem and biodiversity is today regarded as the most polluted territory in the world.

If Major Boro were alive today, he would have been about 80 years of age so possibly young and cerebral enough; and would have remained one of the moral consciences of Nigeria. He is likely to have been restless, uncompromising and fiercely incorruptible. He is therefore likely to have taken a good reflection and raised many questions, concerns and heartaches. The answer to these questions, many of which stare at our consciences is what we owe to many other fellow countrymen and women who at different times poured out every drop of blood in their bodies to water the Nigeria of today. Their spirits may be talking from the land of the dead and becking on us to leave enviable legacies for those beautiful ones still natal, or even yet unborn.

Oga Major, the Lion, be sure that your patriotic flame glows within the hearts and souls of many Nigerians and will one day fully consume us all for collective good of this country.

The author, Igali, is a Diplomat, writer and a Fellow of the  Historical Society of Nigeria.

07 May 2018

Dickson’s Bayelsa State Failed to Invest, Industrialize

Investment and industrialization are twin concepts that are often interchangeably used in modern world economic system.
Industrialization is the process by which an economy is transformed from primarily agricultural to be one based on manufacturing of goods, where individual’s manual labour is often replaced by mechanized mass production and craftsmen are replaced by assembly lines while, in the economic sense, an investment is the purchase of goods that are not immediately consumed but are used in the future to create wealth.

In this circumstance, Bayelsa’s economic growth can be encouraged through the use of sound industrialization and investment policies at the business level. But at no point in recent times have calls for Bayelsa State to inquire into the nature and know causes of the wealth of nations through sound industrialization and investment policies been stronger than they have been lately.

Across the length and breadth of the world, Industrialization and investment are arguably the most talked about subjects among policymakers. So why have industrialization and investment processes in Bayelsa State failed to take-off in order to move the State to an enviable economic height.

Industrialization, Investment and water projects etc, in Yenagoa and its environments have been the campaign promises of the Restoration Administration-led by Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson with its acknowledged ability to bring prosperity, create jobs, employment opportunities with better incomes for all Bayelsans in 2012.
Yet, six years of the Restoration Administration, 2012-2018, Bayelsa State with its huge Oil and Gas deposits including its 13% Derivation Fund amounting to over #10bn monthly has no single industry nor investments for the youths and women to engage in the economic sector of the State.

In fact, the 13% Derivation Fund, Bayelsa receives monthly from the Federation Account is adequate to set up small-scale/agro-allied industries and investment opportunities to promote economic growth of the State; rather the State has remained stagnant without any industry of investments over the past six years.
Also, Bayelsa with its huge Oil and Gas deposits that accounted for more than 40% of Nigeria’s total oil revenue, yet this percentage that comes to Bayelsa has been grossly misused by its political leaders that lack entrepreneurial and investment initiatives.

As a result, Bayelsa’s industrialization and investment processes are likely to remain unattainable throughout the life span of the present administration which would come to an end by 14th February 2020. Besides, many Bayelsans thought the boom in 13% derivation would restore Bayelsa’s lack of industrialization and investment opportunities, but it failed to live up to the expectation of the people all these years.

Instead of effectively utilizing the 13% derivation fund to set up small-scale agro-allied industries and investment opportunities to stimulate the economic-sector of the State, the State under the Restoration Administration wastes the money on non-productive ventures such as visits to so-called Ijaw leaders in their various States, organized political rallies called mega rallies in support of this and that and even women prayer groups etc to the detriment of the State economy.
So also, Governor Dickson, who attended and fully participated in an Oil and Gas Summit, held in Houston Texas about two years ago in USA has neither attracted Industries nor Investors to establish industries and investments opportunities in Bayelsa to date.

Even, the Industrial Estate, an area of land developed as a site for factories and other industrial businesses located at Gbarain-Toru, a brainchild of the Restoration Administration is today moribund as no efforts are made to revamp and kick-start the project all this while.
States like Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, Cross-River just to mention a few for instance effectively use their 13% derivation fund to set up small-scale agro-allied industries, investment opportunities including solving short-term domestic and economic problems such as regular payment of salaries of civil servants and pensioners in their respective States; the reverse is the case with Bayelsa State.

Has Bayelsa leader heeded to advice from experts and pump the 13% derivation fund into productive ventures of the economy of the State, prosperity and economic well-being of the people could have been different today.

For how long will the State government forsake these organized groups dancing at political and mega rally activities and women prayers groups for stipends for a meaningful economic venture that will pilot the State to the Glory of All Lands remain a mirage.

According to Modern World System Theory, two systems exist side by side and are continuously in conflict with one another namely; Economic and Political Systems. While the Economy is the Sub-structure with its economic benefits derivable from the four factors of production known worldwide; politics is the super-structure that is superimposed on the economy for its continuity and existence.

Therefore Bayelsans must not depend on the super-structure which is politics for existence rather the people of the State must depend on the sub-structure otherwise called the economy for survival. The basic problem of how social order and human progress can be possible in a society is where individuals follow their own self-interest and not to rely on politics for survival, because individualism will lead to order and progress.

It is a well known fact that in order to make money; people produce things that other people are willing to buy and not surely from political platforms, mega rally dances and women group prayer sessions for a living.

Therefore what the Restoration government should do, if it really has the interest of the people it governs at heart in this trying period is to provide a sound economic policy that is geared toward setting-up small-scale agro-allied businesses, industries and investment opportunities that will engage the youths and women groups into productive ventures based on the concepts of economic liberty.

07 May 2018

Bayelsa Business Council (BBC): Another Conduct-Pipe Like BDIC in Bayelsa?

As Governor Dickson inaugurated another 22-Member Bayelsa Business Council (BBC) to formulate polices aimed at attracting local and foreign investors to the State and as well to shore up her revenue base; the question descending minds are asking is; when will the Restoration Administration tell Bayelsans the “Gain-Income, Increase-Capital and Safety of Principal” from the #10bn Bayelsa Development and Investment Corporation (BDIC) inaugurated in South Africa and London in May 2013?

It would be recalled that Governor Dickson inaugurated Bayelsa Development and Investment Corporation (BDIC) with an initial take-off grant of #10bn, which gesture according to him was to enable the State to diversify from Oil and Gas sector of the economy.

Disclosing this at the inaugural Board Retreat of BDIC, held in Yenagoa, Governor Dickson said this would assist the Corporation in performing its statutory functions, which include attracting local and foreign investors to the State, boosting its economic profile and providing an economic blue-print for the State.

Governor Dickson who in addition stressed the importance of the Board members of BDIC to participate in the present administration’s efforts to turn the economy of the State around added that it has become imperative for the State to diversify from Oil and Gas sector of the economy in view of the non-renewable natural resources and emerging global economic market trends.

On the issue of funding, Governor Dickson disclosed that, “BDIC will enjoy from now till the end of the current budget year a capital injection of between#5bn-#10bn from the government of Bayelsa State to enable BDIC performed effectively and described Bayelsa State as Nigeria’s best-kept secret and investment destination while opening an investment office in London.

According to the State Chief Executive, his administration’s strategic vision is to attract private sector within and outside the country to open businesses in the State in order to create job opportunities as well as create alternative sources of revenue for the State noted with delight that with the opening of the London Office, the State was making a bold statement to the World at large and the investing public, that it is ready for business and eager to promote an excellent bilateral realties with Britain and the Commonwealth at large and used the occasion to disclose that BDIC Office would also open an Education Desk to assist the large number of Bayelsa Students, who are presently on scholarship in various Institutions of Higher Learning in the UK.

In their separate remarks at the official opening ceremony of BDIC’s International Office in London, Governor Dickson said BDIC’s London Office is principally intended to compliment the efforts of Nigeria High Commission in the United Kingdom by promoting trade and investment potentials of Bayelsa State and Nigeria, while the Special Guest of Honour and Nigeria’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Dr. Dalhatu Tafida commended Bayelsa State Government for the bold initiative taking in opening an office in the UK., noted that Bayelsa State is one of the youngest and smallest States in Nigeria, yet one of the most enterprising in the country.

He further stated that the event marked the first time a State in Nigeria opened such an Office in the UK and pledged full support and assistance of the High Commission while the event was attended by members of the diplomatic community, business leaders including the Chairman of West-Minister Business Group, Mr. Lawrence Robertson and a high powered delegation from Bayelsa State made up of King Alfred Diete-Spiff, the First Military Governor of the Old Rivers State and Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass, Chief Timi Alaibe, former MD of the NDDC, Major Lancelot Ayanya, Chairman National Oil Spill and Response Agency, Barrister Kemela Okara Commissioner for Trade, Investment and Industry, Tam Alazigha Deputy Managing Director BDIC, Barrister Funkazi Koroye-Crooks, BDIC/London Office, Cyril Akika, Special Adviser to Bayelsa State Governor on Investment among others.

In a related development, Governor Dickson, 10th June 2017 inaugurated a-22member Bayelsa Business Council (BBC) to formulate policies aimed at attracting local and foreign investors to the State and as well to shore up her revenue base with members of the council as Chief Ephraim Faloughi–Chairman, Mr. Harcourt Adoke-Deputy-Chairman, Ambassador Godknows Igali-Vice-Chairman-Public Sector, Mr. Gesiye Asamowei-Vice Chairman Private Sector, Mr. Tam Alazigha-Secretary, Adikio Warmate-Assistant Secretary. Others are Ken Etete, Mrs. Ebi Fumudoh, Dr. Eruani, Professor Azaiki, Mr. Didi Ndiomu, Mr. Guy Murray Bruce, Mr. Elvis Donkemizuo, Mr. Samson Siasia, Mr. Joe Penewou, Chief Fumudoh, Chief Timi Alaibe, Mr. Denzel Kentebe, Mrs. Funkazi Koroye-Crooks, Ms Patience Abbah, King A.J Turner and Dr. Daru Owei.

While inaugurating the BBC at the Conference Room of the new Governor’s Office Yenagoa, Governor Dickson said the council has as part of its responsibilities the laying of a solid economic foundation and formulation of economic policy that will be private-driven.

He further said the mentality of total independence on the government has to change and the only way to achieve this is to formulate policy that will have direct impact on the people and the present administration carefully selected this set of leaders to lay foundation for a private sector driven development of the economy of the State.

In his words; “The State heavily relies on government and her resources and this mentality has to change. Our State is a land of opportunities; our State has potentials to grow its economy. “In order to change the age long mentality of our people and reposition the economy of the State and make it private sector-driven, we need our business leaders who have done well in their private businesses to come together to explore and exploit the abundance business opportunities in the State. “We need your inputs; your professional advice on how to change our story. We expect you to organize Bayelsa in such a way that her story will be told everywhere as a place that is investment-friendly; a place that is ready for investment and as a place that understand the rules of a private sector,” and assured the council of his administration’s support especially in the provision of an enabling environment to enable it function at optimal level.”

According to Governor Dickson, his administration has invested a lot in all the sectors of the economy, especially in security, education, health and capacity building to mention but a few, further stated that the administration has made a lot of investment in security such as that our State by all ratings has been adjudged as one of the most peaceful States in the region. If we create peaceful environment, the next thing is to see how businesses can be developed and grow. However, we can attract people from all sectors to come and live here and do business and called on the people in the region to embrace peace and work together for the economic development of the region.

According to him, the region is fast losing businesses while our businesses are closing down; other areas are smiling to the banks, therefore we need to work for peace and create peace in our State.

In an earlier speech, Commissioner for Trade, Investment and Industry Kemela Okara (ESQ) said the inauguration of the Council would attract investment to the State and encourage various entrepreneurs while in his remarks, Chairman of the Business Council Chief Ephraim Faloughi thanked the governor for giving them the opportunity to serve and reposition the economy of the State through private sector participation, further stated that Bayelsa has suffered over the years, however, with the present administration’s initiative of bringing together businessmen and women to rub minds on how to reposition the economy; the State will regain its glory. The initiatives according to him will assist the State’s new economic champions that will take over the economy of the State.

Accordingly, he said, we will tutor the younger ones; we pledge to share our personal experiences with younger generations to develop our economy; we need patience, dedication and perseverance as these are the keys to economic success,” end of quote:
As a matter of fact, it is easier said than done. The words of our political leaders; they said are now the words of knowledge and wisdom but to what extent these sweet talks and flowery speeches made by Governor Dickson in the past six years of the Restoration Administration concerning the economic growth and well-being of the State is yet to be felt by the people.

Besides, apart from the likes of Professor Steve Azaiki, an astute administrator and founding of Azaiki Public Library in Yenagoa, Chief Faloughi said to be a businessman operating in Lagos, Mr. Harcourt Adoke, Proprietor of Gas Factories in Port Harcourt and Yenagoa, Mr. Denzel Kentebe and Mr. Moses Siasia who are also known entrepreneurs; the rest are unknown in the business environment apart from being active participants in politics whose performance in the economic sector of the State have not positively impacted on the people, but continually engage in power-politics for self-upkeep and sustenance in the State.

Asides, in spite of this gathering of egg-heads at its inauguration in South Africa and London where powerful speeches and encomiums were showered on Stakeholders and State-actors, BDIC has neither attracted industries nor investors to establish industries in Bayelsa to create job opportunities for the teeming unemployed youths; rather BDIC turned out to be a political Jamboree, Paper Tiger and an economic retrogressive Investment Corporation to the peoples’ commonwealth since May 2013 to date.

In fact, BDIC has turned out to be one of the biggest economic wastes, political monster, conduit-pipe and a predator of the peoples’ commonwealth in Bayelsa.
Like the BDIC, let BBC never turn out to be another Barbarossiac and plutocratic cartel, aimed at conduit and siphon Bayelsa State funds to personal and family members’ pockets. Experience has shown that since the inauguration of BDIC, it has not attracted any single investor either local or foreign to the State and that in itself is an indication of a total failure either on the part of the government that established the BDIC or the leadership of BDIC, an investment Corporation that lacks clue, focus, credibility and sincerity or probably dead at inauguration.

As a matter of fact, since its inauguration in 2013, BDIC has neither brought economic welfare nor economy of abundance to the people of the State and as a result Economic Observers and Analysts see it as a total failure on its part to attract foreign investors to the State.
According to Economic Watchers, Governor Dickson, who also attended and fully participated in an Oil and Gas Summit held in Houston Texas about two years ago in USA has neither attracted Investors nor Industries to establish in Bayelsa to date.

No wonder, the State is littered with numerous abandoned projects, investment and job creation opportunities while government has not been able to give priority attention to all the investment and job creation opportunities as they are left to rot away in their various project sites cut across the length and breadth of the State thereby unable to create jobs for the teeming unemployed youths including women, rather engage them to dance at political platforms and reception grounds for crumbs in the State.

The driver of Bayelsa’s problem today is failure of leadership, poverty of leadership and leadership of poverty to holistically encourage, set-up and develop Industries, Investments and job creation opportunities to attract genuine investors both local and foreign to invest in order to turn around the economic fortunes of the State.

To state the obvious without any equivocation; it is extremely difficult for both local and foreign investors to come to invest in Bayelsa due to insecurity of their investments, criminal militancy; lack of investment by stakeholders who have been in power over the years, plutocratic activities of the ruling elites and other unwholesome practices of mandarin millionaires masquerading as political leaders in the State.
Even the few foreign construction firms that constructed few roads in the past were unable to effectively perform without either fully-armed Mobile Police Squads or Military boots on ground to guard and protect their interest otherwise their safety at job sites were unguaranteed.

For instance, in the past one-year or so the State witnessed several assassination attempts on prominent citizens, several cases of kidnaps, cultism including kidnapping of a nursing mother of nine weeks old-baby and other robbery-related cases reported in the State capital Yenagoa and its environs.
Consequent upon the above, who are those foreign investors that would come and invest in Bayelsa, inebriated with such heinous crimes and criminalities? Besides, the worst violence and criminal militancy ever experienced in other parts of the country is what Bayelsa experienced.

Therefore, Bayelsa’s failure to escape from poverty after over six years of several billions of Naira including Federal Allocations, ecological funds, NDDC Intervention Funds, Bail-out Funds, Paris/London Club Refunds and others are squarely as a result of leadership failure, poverty of leadership and leadership of poverty.

For instance, how would one imagine in a small State like Bayelsa with a population of not more than three million people at most got between #16bnand #18bn monthly from February 2012 to September 2015 before the economic recession is unable to judiciously utilize these funds for the economic growth and development of the State.

Even, during the economic recession period that lasted from October 2016 to the 3rd quarter of 2017, Bayelsa received not less than #12bn monthly allocation and also got several billions of Naira from Paris/London Club Refunds for salaries arrears, yet only one and half months paid, so also in August against September 2017, Bayelsa received #12bn; yet salaries of workers, pensioners and others were not fully paid.

To state without rhetoric or embroideries, the major trouble with Bayelsa of today is that Dillingers, Barbarossas, and Freebooters who should be inhibiting maximum security prison yards are the ones occupying seats of power, residing in government offices across the length and breadth of all the local government areas masquerading as leaders in the State, hence no end to workers’ verification exercises, so also mandarin millionaires and office plunders and their likes are the best leaders occupying lucrative offices.

Also, crooks and quacks who in civilized crimes should be banished to the internal realm of collective disdain are canonized as political demigods, godfathers, heavy weights, political bulldozers and juggernauts and Saints in Bayelsa’s political amphitheaters.

As a result, Bayelsa is marooned aground in the sandbank of underdevelopment because these Dillingers, Barbarossas and Freebooters exchanged their primeval jungle playgrounds for citadel of power.

They have been in the helms of affairs since the return of democracy in 1999, shamelessly celebrating monumental failures, grotesque incompetence and the kind of visionless kleptomania unparalleled in the history of governance in Bayelsa State.

No wonder, Bayelsa State that recorded a total of #12.56bn as Internationally Generated Revenue (IGR) in 2017 and received the sum of #105.25bn from the Federation Account in the same year, yet her domestic debt owed by the Bayelsa State government under Governor Henry Seriake Dickson stands at #219.46bn according to a data obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Website, Tuesday 2nd April 2018.

28 Apr 2018

The Social Contract, Leadership and the the Journey Towards Infamy

Not only in developing countries, where human existence is still sort of primordial, but globally, men are wont to ask, what human society, as embodied in the state, holds for them. In other words, why does the state exist? And to what ends should its raison-d-etre serve?

So one of the most exciting foundational courses offered in most faculties of Humanities, Social and Legal Sciences, worldwide, is “Political Philosophy” or “History of Political Thought’. In some climes it is also offered as a General Studies course for all students. At postgraduate and doctoral levels, this becomes more pellucid, dwelling amply on the ethical foundations of the state and what values could rightly be placed on individual lives.

It is also relevant to state that virtually all leaders of religious traditions spent a good part of their teachings, using various metaphors and imageries to elucidate this matter of the state. More pointedly, thinkers upon the succeeding generations have followed the legends, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle to keep the tread of discourse on the question of the moral foundation of the State alive. During the 16th to 18th century Enlightenment Era, most men of knowledge, around European capitals of the time, joined to adumbrate on this matter. So from France’s line up of philosophers such as Rene Descartes, Voltaire, and Montesquieu to the Swissman, Jean-Jacque Rosseau and Germany’s duo of Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Hegel, what bothered the minds of the greatest of men was: why does the state exist and what does it hold for the individual? In England of the time, the stage was broader as scholars such as Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, David Hume, Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill and more recently, Bertrand Russell all sustained the relay of this conversation for hundreds of years.

The conclusion from all of these philosophers, with variants, was that there exists a kind of metaphysical or moral ‘Social Contract’ between men and fellow citizens on the one hand and between the individual and society or state on the other. By this, men, especially our original progenitors are presumed at a time in the dim past, to have chosen to opt out of a ‘state of nature’ similar to how animals live in the jungle to subject their individual wills into a ‘vole collective’ or an aggregation of the general will of all members of society. That is, having escaped the supposed brutishness of the animalist life of the forest, men are believed to have given to the state what appears to be godly powers to order their daily peaceful existence.

To this established norm, we are all born into and anything contrary is regarded as defiant and a derogation.

lndeed some philosophers such as Karl Marx, went the extreme to elevate the state almost to levels that prejudiced itself against established religious orders and orthodoxies. His thoughts ignited mass movements in the Russian axis leading to the success of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. By that, its leader, Vladimir Lenin and those who came after him embarked, to create a supra-national state of social contracts known as Soviet Union (USSR). Mao Zedong carried out a similar communist revolution in China in 1949. These states and their satellites around the world were defined by collective existence, collective actions, communism etc. As a matter of fact, they came with an atheist undertone, as the State became a kind of all-in-all, leaving very scant or no place for religion or spirituality.

It is apt to elucidate that in its simplest illustration, the Social Contract as it pertains to man and the state is reflected in the kind of involuntary symbiosis found in normal father and child relationship. Men therefore expect the state to protect them and pursue their maximum wellbeing. In extreme socialist and communist cases, the state was devolved with the authoritarian powers of thinking for and caring for the individuals, all through life. In same moral exegesis, Kings, Princes, noble leaders and the like are ordained and emplaced to pursue the ideas of collective happiness and wellbeing. So even African response to colonial rule, fuelling nationalist struggle for independence was founded on that same narrative of wanting to build ideal nation states.

If the state was created for such superlative and altruistic ideals, the question which pokes the minds, thoughts and consciences of most analysts, and commentators is : why do people who are entrusted with the sacred heritage of the “collective will” turn out, time after time, nation upon nation, to be its greatest enemies? Such people have made the narration of world history a lamentable tale of endless conflicts, cruelty, travesty, injustice and bloodshed! Yes. Some rulers have really been cruel, mean, wicked, and devilish. A few examples will suffice.

We all recall the historical and religious accounts of evil potentates, like Pharaoh of Egypt and King Herod of Judea, both of whom ordered the killing of all male children, simply to satisfy their selfish interests. Similarly, Caligula and Nero were two Roman Emperors during the first century AD. Their dynastic legacy produced stately forebears such as Julius Caesar, Mark Anthony and Augustus Caesar. Yet both of these two emperors are merely remembered in history for tyranny, sadism and reprobate lifestyles. Under Nero for instance, the City of Rome, then capital of the world, found itself engulfed in a mysterious fire in 64 AD which destroyed most of the city. This was linked to him.

Going further down, the French Revolution with the maxims: “equalite, egalitariate et fraternite”, inspired liberation in the Americas founded on Republican ethos. But back home in France this revolution also produced a man named Maximilien Robespierre. Though very successful as a revolutionary leader, he ended his life very sadly, swimming in the blood of thousands whom he guillotined! He enjoyed killing people at will on all trumped charges. Another named Prince Vlad the Impaler Wallacha (Central Europe), is now typified merely as Count Dracula, a venomous vampire for his cruel acts. As a ruler in central Europe he loved the disembowelment of human beings. Another is Ivan the Terrible; first ruler of Russia. He is historically known for burning thousands alive. If we hazard a deep into African, Asian and Inca or Aztec civilization of South – America, blood, blood and blood trail the rulership of many. And the Trans-Atlantic State which went on 400 years under the watch of Africa leaders of the time, where about 12-15 million people were forcefully enslaved, many dying during passage.

In our own 20th century, what about Adolf Hitler and his henchman, Adolf Eichmann, on whose heads rests the blood of millions, including about six million Jews who were incinerated in the holocaust. The accounts of what Italian dictator Benito Mussolini are still gory and repulsive. This has become a reference point for reprobate governance within Europe. What about the sad tales of over 20 million people who were killed in Josef Stalin’s twenty-nine years rule in Soviet Union. Also, can history so quickly forget Pol Pot of Cambodia under whose savagery millions of people disappeared similar to what Augusto Pinochet did in Chile? What about the unabashed excesses of Idi Amin of Uganda and Jean-Bedel Bokassa of Central African Republic and the genocide in Rwanda where over 800,000 people died.

Far and near, the world is still littered with terrible, bloodletting leaders and their cheerleaders. One thing is common to all these people, they forget that earthly existence and indeed the privilege of leadership is merely a pilgrimage and a fleecing effervescence. One day, when everyone is far gone, historians will write, quite coldly, chronicles of all their acts. At that time all their stories like Hitler’s biography ‘Mein Kamf’ will be of no value to launder their legacy. Interesting enough, even a contemporary Nigerian leader, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, recently bemoaned the fact that despite his lofty achievements in democratic consolidation, little or no credit at all is being given to him. More than that, he doubted if any will be interested in reading his biography, because of his military past. Maybe the revered General in his characteristic humility is a bit hard on himself. Deservedly, some rulers of men will be remembered for seeking peace, benevolence and goodness. Alas the memory of others known for inflicting pain, injustice and bloody trail will be accursed with infamy, ignominy, irreverence; and not the least sighing. They will only join the pantheon of “the infamous”

About the Author
Dr. Igali is a Diplomat, historian and award-winning author.

05 Apr 2018

Unity Must Take Precedence – 2

The other day I listened to Mr. Festus Keyamo on Sahara TV and I overheard him say, “Buhari is doing a good job-fighting corruption.” I said to myself, “this is not a follower of my mum’s uncle (Gani Fawehinmi) at all.” All over the south–Benue, Adamawa, Kogi, Taraba, Southern Kaduna, and Pleatue states–people are being killed, and all you could say is to start criticizing other activists who speaking truth to the brutish power of Buhari! Gani Fawehim will never support nepotism and the killing of innocent people by Buhari and his people.

Well, Nigeria is a failed state, as we have witnessed the fulfillment of every primary and secondary of such failed status. Can you imagine a country where wild animals like monkeys, snakes, and elephants are being accused by humans of stealing public funds? Under Buhari, I’d presume, even the devil himself is ashamed of this country. Can you imagine a country where a president’s tribemen kill innocent citizens as games and the president says or does nothing; can you imagine a country where just one section of the country controls every aspect of the economy; can you imagine where Christians are now seen as second-tire citizens and other Christian mandated to explain same as politically correct. In verse 6 of the book of Revelation Chapter 1, we read that “He has made us kings and priests,” but Nigerian Christians are leading from behind.

Unity must take precedence especially among the Southern Nigerians. Enough of seeking for excess money in the church. Too much love of money among our pastors must stop. How to take care of our poor Christian brothers and sisters must be our number one priority. By the way, what is the importance of CAN?

John Adams says: “I have examined all religions, and the result is that the Bible is the best book in the world. As the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and the blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him.”

“The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity, and humanity” by John Adams. It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor” by George Washington.

This country called Nigeria must be redirected on the Gospel of Jesus Christ if we want to succeed. Christians in many parts of Nigeria are oppressed and persecuted, suffering under governments they think that they are powerless to change anything; governments that hate their faith and silence their voices. The leaders we elect have great influence on our freedoms. They can choose to protect our right to worship and spread the gospel, or they can restrict those rights. This is one of the reasons we must have a Christian as the president of Nigeria come 2019. I want to implore all Nigerian Christians as citizens not to shy away or ignore from their primary responsibility which is the power of the vote, but you must all go and register before you can vote.

31 Mar 2018

Unity Must Take Precedence

If Fulanis, a single tribe in a heavily multicultural society, head 15 of Nigeria’s 17 security agencies, that means one geo-political zone in the country controls over 90 percent of all the political offices in the land. Does that portray an equitable or perfect representation of all Nigerians? I don’t think so! This Buhari of Nigeria is a divider. Buhari, in fact, is a true president of Northern Nigeria. This man is the chief of nepotism, and that means he is totally unqualified to be the President of the Nigeria of our dreams. Buhari is a misfit for for Office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Therefore, Buhari MUST GO NOW.

Nigerians must start planning Buhari’s exit immediately. We must start now by uniting together as ONE. If the good people of the north desire true federalism, they should join this move. If we refuse to embrace unity now, the South, especially, will be in far worse shape than this present quagmire that Buhari has got us into. And our children and the future generations will never forgive us!

A house that is divided against itself can never stand. That is why all southerners must see themselves as ‘one’. South-East can’t do it alone; let us be sincere with ourselves and this power paradox must change. A tree does not make a forest. We all need one each other. We must forget about the past and our differences. Well, our differences can be harnessed into strength. Now is the right time for us to come together as one. Taraba, Adamawa, Kwara, Plateau, Southern Kaduna and Kogi state must also join in this struggle for a better Nigeria.

When or if we are united and work hard, I have no doubt in my mind that we can defeat the monster called Buhari regime and his allies in 2019 Election.

One of the unsolved problems that baffle me in Nigeria’s economy is the decentralization of the Police. We must decentralize the Police. Every state must have their own National Guard (army) instead of this centralized charade that we currently have. This is how it is done in developed countries. I don’t see any reason it cannot be done in Nigeria, if we claim to be practicing democracy and not craziness. The system of government we’re currently practicing in Nigeria is like the one in USA. So I do not see why we cannot decentralize the Police and let each state have their own National Guard (army) and control their resources.

My fellow citizens of Nigeria, I have been watching and listening to YouTube videos and following other materials on social media; how the Fulanis have been killing innocent souls in their homeland. These barbaric behaviors which the Fulanis currently exhibit unrestrained can only be stopped when the Southern governors are ready to unite as one and fight back.

Let me remind you of a statement that was said by a Fulani man many years ago:

This New Nation called Nigeria, should be an estate of our great grandfather, ‘Uthman Dan Fodio and we must ruthlessly prevent a change of power. We use the minorities in the North as willing tools, and the South, as conquered territory and never allow them to rule over us, and never allow them to have control over their future. (Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sardauna of Sokoto in THE PARROT of October 12, 1960).

This is the plan of “President” Buhari as a Fulani man and his people have started to carry out the above statement. So, if the Southerners are still seeing themselves as different from one another, they’ll be making a big mistake. If the Igbos are seeing themselves differently from the Yorubas or the Yorubas sees themselves differently from the Igbos or Urhobo or Ishekiris and so on, the Fulanis will continue to kill the South and will finally take the entire Southerners as slaves. If you doubt it, wait and see what’s coming!

When you read the statement of Sir Ahmadu Bello, you will notice that the man didn’t say West or East or South-South, he said South which means a Fulani man sees the Igbos, Yoruba’s, Ishekiris, Urobos and other tribes in the south as one. The man also mentioned the minorities in the North and I believe he was referring to the northern Christians as willing tools.

We heard that Boko Haram abducted school girls and returned them after 2 billion USD was paid as ransom.  Now ask yourself: how many Christians would like come out to vote Buhari out knowing that the ransom paid to the extremist would be used to get more guns and cutlasses, which would be used during the election. Tell me please because I’m dying to get means of understanding this president?

Governor Fayose is the only governor that is performing his primary responsibility as a governor in my own view with respect to Lagos state governor. The number one primary responsibility of a government is to protect the life and property and the man is doing it for his state. Ondo state governor is the most useless governor I have ever seen in my life. What has the man done for Ondo state since he became the governor? I heard the man said Mimiko has done all the works in Ondo state and I said to myself, what type of human being is this. I can name numerous projects that can be done for the development of Ondo state and how we can implement them.

 

To be continued…

Unity Must Take Precedence – Part 2

14 Jan 2018

Why Is Nobody Believing Our President Trump Again?

President Trump has lied so much in this life, so much that even he does not believe himself; he does not believe what he himself says at all. Imagine for a man who is America’s President, struggling to convince us that there are actually shithole countries in this world? That is unbelievable.  Now the entire charade of sincere and hypocritical choruses is all about what: Trump called African countries and Haiti “shithole” countries? Please, give us a break!

What sorts of proofs does any idiot require before they open their eyes to the reality of Trump’s statements? Is it that Trump, due to his history of lies, is no longer qualified or competent to state factually correct statements? Oh, no, sorry Donald Trump: you have mortally exhausted your “lying” quota on earth. I guess that is heaven’s way of punishing the President, so that whatever truth he now utters must be persecuted! What a height at inglorious sense of entitlements!

Take what many Nigerians themselves have determined to be a “sithole” Nigeria for example. The country is currently being ravaged by marauding Muslim herdsman from the north part of the big-for-nothing country, butchering pregnant women, slaughtering little children, beating Boko Haram to the game of barbarity. Does that not qualify as shithole?

In Nigerian, most state governments are unable to pay workers’ salaries for months. These workers are dying on the streets. Many are committing suicide. Now, on this suicide note, did you know that Nigerians used to be ranked “happiest people on earth?” But if “happiest people on earth” are now turning to the suicide noose, does that not constitute shithole?

Perhaps, we need a pocket dictionary to remind us of the definition of “shithole.” No, let’s google it: what is “shithole”? Perhaps that would help our American politically-correct protesters. Trump did not put or recommend that word to the dictionary writers. It is a reality-defining word. Just as America is shithole to a country like Sweden, many other countries are shitholes in the image of America.

You should have noticed that not one person or news outlook has come forward to disprove Trump’s remarks; they have only come forward to show the offensiveness of Trump’s truths.

Be reminded that Trump did not just become a racist president overnight, or by the statement that he recently uttered. Racist America needed a racist President. And Trump is the answer. Trump has never been afraid to show his truest colorful racism. Whether on the campaign rostrum or on a bus tour, Trump sold to us who he actually is: an atypical politician. Commendable is his absolute sincerity in racism.

Trump is the only Christian President to name things the way they are, like Adam! You may still be wondering how we have descended so low to dis-believe an Honorable President Trump, America’s finest and most refined, white supremacist, racist, bigot. It is not fair.

 

 

31 Dec 2017

I Have a Vision

One day I was sitting in my office. I began to think about the numerous problems of the entity called Nigeria. I said to myself: did GOD curse Nigeria, so that the country and her leaders cannot make a headway? Or are the problems in this “great” country man-made problem? In my ponderings, the answer that I arrived at was that Nigeria’s problems are man-made, and have nothing to do with coming from God.
Nigeria got political independence from Great Britain in 1960, and since then, it has been a step forward and three steps backward, a very saddening situation. I want to know which way Nigeria is heading. Many years after independence the country still finds it difficult to make a headway. How long shall we be patient? By the way, we are already in the promise land so let’s save Nigeria so that the country [Nigeria] won’t die.

Which way Nigeria? Which way to go? Inefficiency and indiscipline are ruining the country while corruption is jostling and thriving everywhere. Inflation is rising so highly. Please let’s save Nigeria! We made mistakes during the oil boom not knowing that would become signposts for our national doom. In a country where a few persons have everything while the vast majority have nothing: tell me which way Nigeria?

Overdrive ambitiousness is pushing many to become billionaires through taking of a wrong direction! Everyone wants to be billionaire, and we all want to live in big mansions. While there is nothing wrong in becoming a billionaire, we must set our priorities right. One thing Nigerians must learn to accept is that not everyone will be rich. But we all need to be comfortable in life. We cannot continue to be voting the same set of unproductive or counterproductive, outrageous and extortionate, psychopath, exploiters and unconscionable liars in power.

Nigerians themselves must change from selling their voting rights for a bag of rice and genetically modified chicken change to our unproductive politicians. Remember, selling your votes will not take Nigeria anywhere, but will certainly destroy the country. We need people with vision, passion, good programs or agendas, and who are also ready to serve the country.

Nigeria has potentials to be great. But we must change our path for good. We must start right now to rebuild ourselves and to make our country Nigeria great. Let’s form a new God-leading political parties that will bring the good change that we have been hoping for. Real change will only come when we start showing love for our country Nigeria and for our own selves. Every Nigerian must be ready to put Nigeria first and not see political office as a money-making factory.

I must confess here that I really love the passion, love and zeal of Senator Ben Bruce for Nigeria. He is a man of integrity and I strongly believe that he is the type of leader we need in Nigeria. Only if Nigerians could put sentiments aside and go for a man like him. And support him if he would be interested in running for the presidency in 2019. I really don’t know him in person but I just believe he is a right person to lead Nigeria in 2019. I personally will give him my 100 percent support, if he would be ready in 2019.

God bless you and God bless Nigeria.

To be Continued…

Shile Akinrinmade writes from Atlanta Georgia, USA

25 Sep 2017

Sukuk: A Global Economic Model

On 5 March 2009, the Vatican’s official newspaper L’Osservatore Romano reported that banks should look at the rules of Islamic finance to restore confidence amongst their clients at a time of global economic crisis. Author Loretta Napoleoni and income strategist, Claudia Segre, said that “The ethical principles on which Islamic finance is based may bring banks closer to their clients and to the true spirit which should mark every financial service.” They suggested “Western banks could use tools such as the Islamic bonds, known as sukuk, as collateral”. Historically, Catholic Church forbade usury but began to relax its ban on all interest in the 16th century.

The growth in Sukuks’ popularity can be traced back to the global financial crisis in 2008. A Sukuk is a Shariah-compliant bond. Whereas Western bonds offer to pay bondholders a rate of interest over a set period of time, Sukuks offer a fixed rate of profit. Islamic finance’s emphasis on equity and investment in the real economy provides “a stable and productive banking sector” as noted in World Economic Forum report of May 2017. “Rather than providing a lucrative financial alternative to investing in the real economy, Islamic banking complements and strengthens the latter. It ensures that financial capital does not lead to artificially bloated asset prices. Instead, it is made to work in the real economy, on real projects.”

Saxony-Anhalt became the first state government in Germany and Europe to issue a sub-sovereign bond under Islamic principles. In 2004 the Sachsen-Anhalt Government issued sovereign Sukuk worth €100 million which were listed in Luxembourg and backed by Ministry of Finance buildings. The issuance by Saxony-Anhalt attracted strong demand and was fully subscribed, with 60% of the issue going to investors in Bahrain and the UAE and the remaining 40% to investors in Europe, particularly those in France and Germany.

In 2006, US Texas-based energy firm East Cameron issued a $165.67 million sukuk through a Cayman Islands vehicle. GE Capital, the finance arm of General Electric, tapped the market in 2009 with a $500 million sukuk domiciled in Bermuda to fund a lease-based aviation deal.

In December 2007, Paris Europlace established the Islamic Finance Commission. Since then, the French financial markets regulator, the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), has issued two positions allowing Shariah-compliant investment funds and sukuk listings. As such, the Bourse de Paris (Paris stock exchange) has created a sukuk segment and four tax regulations have been published that confirm a parity of tax treatment with conventional financial products.

In July 2010, the French government made certain amendments to its laws in order to facilitate sukuk issuances. The amendments removed double stamp duty, the payment of a capital gains tax on property and streamlined the regulations governing estate agents. In June 2011, France witnessed the introduction of the first Islamic deposit scheme operated via the Islamic window of an existing conventional bank.

The United Kingdom was the first country outside the Islamic world to issue sovereign Sukuk set up according to Al-Ijara structure as reported by Financial Times of June 25, 2014. By issuing sovereign Sukuk the United Kingdom Government has demonstrated that it is possible to create a successful base for Islamic finance outside the Islamic world.

On 9 July 2014, Luxembourg Parliament voted a law aimed at allowing the issuance of the first Luxembourg sovereign Sukuk in response to the recent surge in investor demand from Shariah-compliant instruments. The law authorized a sale and buy-back transaction of real estate assets to a Special Purpose Vehicle (“SPV”) owned by the Luxembourg state for the purpose of issuing sovereign Sukuk with a value of EUR 200 million.

Luxembourg later became the first jurisdiction in the Eurozone to securitize three government properties, that is, the two towers of the Gate of Europe in Kirchberg and the Gutenberg building in Strassen, to back Sukuk worth EUR 200 million. Luxembourg sovereign Sukuk are set up according to the Al-Ijara structure, the most common structure for sovereign Sukuk with rental payments on property providing income for the investors.

In 2015, Hong Kong Government successfully sold its second Islamic sukuk bond to raise US$1 billion in its latest effort to promote Islamic finance in the city. It issued its first issuance consisting of a 5-year $1 billion Al-Ijara sukuk in September 2014 offering a profit rate of 2.005%. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority, which handled the issue on behalf of the government, received US$2 billion in orders from 49 global institutional investors including central banks and sovereign funds among others. The orders were double its US$1 billion issue size.

South Africa as one of the deepest and most traded emerging markets first announced it would look to issue a sukuk in late 2011, as it sought to diversify its funding sources and tap into the wealth of the Arab world. But the launch was set back in part because of delays in the identification of the asset that would back the bond.

In 2014, South Africa joined Hong Kong and the UK to become the third non-Muslim country to sell government debt that adheres to Islamic law. The $500m sale was more than four times subscribed, with an order book of $2.2bn according to the SA Treasury, indicating that appetite for emerging market Islamic bonds matches that of developed world issuance.

A recent report by credit rating agency Moody’s claimed 2014 had been a landmark year for sovereign sukuk, with sales in London, Hong Kong and South Africa indicating a significant change in the potential size, depth and liquidity of the market.

In 2016, US investment bank JPMorgan include sukuk bonds in its emerging markets indices for the first time in the year, widening the appeal of Islamic instruments among global debt investors. Islamic finance assets grew by 10% to reach $2 trillion in 2015. Islamic banking represented 73% of that figure, followed by sukuk bond which represented 17%, said the initial findings of ICD Thomson Reuters Islamic Finance Development Indicator (IFDI 2016).

In 2017, Kenyan Capital Markets Authority (CMA) lauded Government efforts to deepen Islamic Finance in Kenya, following the Presidential assent of the Finance Act 2017 confirming Kenya’s commitment to positioning itself as a regional Islamic Finance hub. Finance Minister Henry Rotich outlined the steps as part of the country’s 2017/2018 budget aiming to level the playing field between Islamic and interest-based transactions. The primary objective is to prepare the groundwork for a sovereign sukuk but also equally to attract corporate sukuk from the region.

Undoubtedly, Islamic banking is one of the fastest growing financial sectors today. According to Thomson Reuters’ projections, Islamic finance assets are projected to grow to $3.2 trillion by 2020, with Islamic banking reaching $2.6 trillion. With so much damage caused by highly complex and risky financial structures untethered to assets, it is hardly surprising that more and more investors are attracted to Islamic finance’s emphasis on real assets and greater certainty.

No wonder Giovanni Maria Vian, L’Osservatore Romano newspaper’s editor, justified the theological foundation of Sukuk regarding global finance that “the great religions – Islam and Christianity – have always had a common attention to the human dimension of the economy.” Obviously, the Federal Government of Nigeria roads to 7-year N100 billion Sukuk bond offers an avenue for a competitive alternative to the conventional banking system and a path towards sustainable economic recovery.

 

 

 

 

27 Apr 2017

Resurrecting En-Slaved Voices (Video)

Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast of the Semantics, a large language ocean. A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia. It is a paradisematic country, in which roasted parts of sentences fly into your mouth.

The Big Oxmox advised her not to do so, because there were thousands of bad Commas, wild Question Marks and devious Semikoli, but the Little Blind Text didn’t listen. She packed her seven versalia, put her initial into the belt and made herself on the way.

A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia. It is a paradise matic country, in which roasted parts of sentences fly into your mouth. Even the all-powerful Pointing has no control about the blind texts it is an almost unorthographic life One day however a small line of blind text by the name of Lorem Ipsum decided to leave for the far World of Grammar. The Big Oxmox advised her not to do so, because there were thousands of bad Commas, wild Question Marks and devious Semikoli, but the Little Blind Text didn’t listen. She packed her seven versalia, put her initial into the belt and made herself on the way. When she reached the first hills of the Italic Mountains, she had a last view back on the skyline of her hometown Bookmarksgrove, the headline of Alphabet Village and the subline of her own road.

10 Apr 2017

Nigeria’s Followership Problem

We’ve had many essays that addressed leadership problems in Nigeria. Many columnists have posited that the only way out of the quagmire Nigeria’s in is to push for leaders that have ideas and that can make things happen. Where most of these arguments fail is that they do not make it clear that as important as it is to have good leaders, it is even more important to have good followers.

Nigeria’s leadership problem may predate its followership problem but the effects of both problems are equally devastating. The problem of followership has always been there but nowhere is it more pronounced than now.

In the past, there were radical voices amidst the followers that challenged government’s actions and spoke relentless truth to authority. We had Gani Fawehinmi. We had Tai Solarin. There’s Fela, Soyinka. We had Chima Ubani. We had radical voices that led the student movement against unfavorable government policies.

But this generation has the biggest case of bad followership. The few voices that used to speak have either been bought over, silenced or have joined government and are not worse than those they once spoke against. There’s Femi Falana who has become a voice that rails selectively.

There’s former NLC President and Former Edo state Governor, Adams Oshiomole who joined politics, became Governor and became a thorn in the flesh of his people. A man who once rejected the Federal Government’s ‘no work, no pay’ rule turned around to do same to his people.

There’s former Ekiti Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi who was an active voice in the NGO world and who pushed for democratic ideals before joining government, but when he ventured in, he became a different man.

And there’s Osun state governor, Rauf Aregbesola, a man who was part of the civil society, who fought alongside the people right until he became Governor, but what became of him? He became that person that fought the people he fought alongside and sent policemen after his former comrades.

But I digress….

Nigeria’s followership problem has never been more pronounced than it is today. Citizens have become accomplices in the destruction of the nation. Rather than monitor the activities of leaders, followers coin excuses to defend leaders’ actions, excuses that paid spokespersons have difficulty coming up with.

It is really simple. Nigeria has leadership problems but it has even bigger followership problems. Until the problem of followership is solved, irresponsible leaders will continue to be on the rise. Until citizens stop seeing challenging government as lack of patriotism, the country will not move forward. So, as important as it is to call for responsible leaders, it is imperative that we emphasize that responsible and responsive followers are a must for any nation to progress.

Save

16 Aug 2016

Corruption Between Nigerians And The People Of Lot

Josephine Agwu is a cleaner who works at the Murtala Muhammed airport in Lagos. At sighting a cash of $12,000 within the airport, all that comes to her mind was, “this is not mine, I must return it to the authority.” She did exactly what her mind told her and what followed her action was absurd and appalling.
“Was she destined to be poor in life?”. “If she doesn’t need it, can’t she give it to a relative who is in need?”. “Eeyah! Had it been I was the one who saw the money, alele!”.
These are echoes from some Nigerians following Josephine’s decision to return such a huge amount of money. That was sometimes ago and things are not as hard as it is now in the country.
The economy is bitten harder day by day but that doesn’t stop another person who shares a similar thought with Josephine to take the path of honour. That person was Mohammed Ogbanago. Ogbanago works with a popular commercial bank in Lagos as a security guard attached to the bank’s entrance and recently the sum of $10,000 got lost from a customer in the bank but on sighting the money, he returned it to the authority. Again, there was a cacophony of condemnation from those who saw his action as continuous sanction of poverty by the man.
In a recent interview he granted a Nigerian newspaper which I read online, Ogbanago said he did the action to convince many Nigerians and the world over that not every Nigerian is “fantastically corrupt” as erroneously opined by former British PM, David Cameron.
Indeed Nigerians are specially made people who are hardworking and the most happiest people on earth. We are people who turn every situation to anything you can think of, be it joke or satire. In fact, the late music icon, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti captured it well when he described Nigerians as people who enjoys suffering and smiling.
Before now, Nigerians hardly take other person’s property because their own is ever enough for them to savour. The fear of God was there and people’s conscience were still intact and working perfectly. Then you can display your wares outside without having to stay there while buyers only take their needs and drop their moneys as well. There was a high level of trust. Everything was working in Nigeria including the “powerful” power sector.
Things later changed with corruption becoming the norm in the society. Kidnapping, cultism and ritual killings then followed while rape, adultery, fornication and lack of respect for the elderly coupled with a new generation of Nigerians who believe in cutting corners to reach the El Dorado.
The internet age further dealt a big blow to our morality with the emergence of “yahoo boys” and “e-dating” which has led to many becoming victim of rape and assault in the hands of their predators. It also cemented the activities of advanced free fraudsters also known as 419.
So in the Nigeria of today, for you to be morally upright and tries to preach it while also practicing it, then you must be ready to bear the brunt from every Tom, Dick and Harry. You will be chastised and call all sort of names. Hence being upright in Nigeria most especially if you want to come up with an anti corruption toga, your skin has to be thick.
The case of Nigeria is closely related to the people of Prophet Lot who was described in the Bible as well as the Quran as a pious leader. His people were so corrupt that they were obsessed with anyone who tries to preach morality and a corrupt free society. They were the foremost of mankind who practiced homosexuality. They even tried to rape the guests of the prophet hence indicating the height of their moral decadence.
The people of Lot were so obsessed with anything good that they vowed to drive away anyone who tries to uphold justice, equity and fairness among them. Their end was disastrous and the rest is history till today.
For Nigerians, we have surpassed the feat achieved by the people of Lot as we are totally obsessed with every form of policy or reform that will bring about sanity into our ever decayed system. Or how do we explain the scenario whereby someone found a missing money or valuables and decided to return it since his or her conscience will prick him or her but our response to such person(s) will be to rain curses on them, saying they can never make it again in life.
We have lost our morality and it is even difficult to be just and fair or even speak the truth knowing fully well that doing such may lead to the end of the road. The girls have no shame again. The boys are ready made rogues while their parents have no moral justification to even tailor their lives to live a life full of dedication to humanity through handwork and above all the fear of God.
Most parents even buy certificates for their children and also steal public funds in their name –  even the unborn children have existing accounts dedicated to them. Corruption is now part of our life and that’s why it is now a burden to many Nigerians since the start of the Buhari government. The government have been blocking their illegal routes and also seizing their properties which were gotten from fraudulent means.
For the first time in Nigeria’s history, a sitting Governor’s account is frozen having been found liable to have gotten the money in the account from fraudulent means. The number three citizen in the country is also on trial while revelations are already unfolding about the number four citizen following allegations that he “padded” the country’s 2016 budget.
One thing that baffles me about some Nigerians on the ongoing battle against corruption is the fact that some of them are saying that the government should “bring back corruption” stating that the present state of the economy is as a result of the president’s fight against corruption. They had posited that when he did not start the anti graft war, the economy was better for it. And just like the people of Lot,  those Nigerians want the status quo to remain so that they can reap from where they have not sow.
In salvaging situations like these, the basis will have to come to the rescue. The basis here implies the home, educational and religious institutions. These three institutions have crucial roles to play in reshaping Nigeria. It is a nexus of solution that must be explored for us to return to the tabula rasa.
25 Jul 2016

The Psychology of Settling

When you study the history of electioneering in Nigeria since 2003, you will discover that there is a recurring trend. That trend is called “settling”.

In the Nigerian Presidential election of 2003, Gani Fawehinmi was one of the Presidential aspirants. He was a man who people loved and who had a great record when it came to standing for what’s right. Yet when the results were announced, he had just 0.41% of the total votes compared to PDP’s Olusegun Obasanjo who won 61.94% of the votes to win a reelection.

In the 2007 election, Pat Utomi looked like he had something upstairs. He contested at a point in our national history when Nigerians were saying they were tired of politicians and needed technocrats and people who had the know-how when it came to the workings of a democracy. Pat Utomi should have been a shoo in going by this national body language. But he was only able to get 0.14% of the votes compared to PDP’s Umar Musa Yar’Adua who won 69.82% of the total votes to emerge President.

In 2011, there was a nationwide delusion. Nuhu Ribadu, the face of anti-corruption then stood no chance against PDP’s Goodluck Jonathan.

In 2015, while some Nigerians were torn between choosing the PDP or APC, others agreed that Kowa Party’s Remi Sonaiya would represent a shift from the old order of recycling and mergers to a new order of competence and accountability. But again, Remi Sonaiya of Kowa was able to get 38, 076 votes compared to APC’s Buhari’s 15, 424, 921 votes.

What I am trying to show is that we have made settling an habit. We always know who can get the job done, who can be a new face compared to the old ones we have been seeing since 1960, but somehow we always manage to convince ourselves that those people won’t stand a chance. Before long it spreads, we start hearing: “Dat man for change dis kontri o, but he no fit win. If to say he dey APC.” Or “Dat woman sabi o, you no hear how she dey answer questions? But she no fit win. If to say she dey PDP now.” And like that, we convince ourselves and those around us that those better alternatives don’t stand a chance. And true to our predictions, those better alternatives go on to lose, resoundingly.

Now there is a psychological warfare at play here and it has been on for sometime now. It’s the same psychology that politicians used to win elections in time past. It’s the same psychology behind: “Whether we vote or not, dey don sabi who go win.” And so we sit at home and refuse to vote and with our refusal to vote elect men undeserving of that position.

But 2015 was an eye-opener. Misguided as the activities of the 2015 elections are shaping up to be, there are still lessons to be learnt from it. In 2015, the same politicians who had been waging this psychological war on us tried to awaken public consciousness by drawing attention to that war. There were jingles asking people to vote. There were adverts disabusing people’s minds of that notion of “whether we vote or not, dey don sabi who go win.”

The effect was startling. People voted and stood by their votes at a time when the nation was so on edge that some were running to neighboring African countries to escape the post electoral violence they were certain would occur. People slept at polling boots. People used torchlights to count votes. All over the country, voters defied the “normal”, defied the sun, went without food and helped usher in what they were certain was a new era.

Now, that psychological warfare is a two-faced war. We may have won one when we flung out the “Whether we vote or not, dey don know who go win” anthem, but the other side of that war is yet to be won. Until we fight and win that war, we will never truly have who we want in power. We will keep on settling.

Instead of giving up on who we think can get the job done because they are not running on the platform of a popular party, how about we support them because we know they are capable. How is it that we are trying to break free of the PDP and APC stranglehold and yet we still wish our preferred candidates ran on the platforms of those parties? How is it that we want to go to Canaan but we keep pining for the things of Egypt?

The reason why politicians who run on the platforms of these known parties win is because their political platforms manage to convince the people that the “battle” is between just two parties and that a vote for any other party asides those two is a vote wasted. From then on, the people begin to feel trapped between the devil and the deep blue sea. They begin to feel that they have to choose between two devils and must choose the lesser devil.

But that is psychological warfare at play. To fight and win this second phase of the war, electorates must vote who they think is best no matter the odds stacked against him/her. You will find out that millions of people feel the same way about the person. Politicians win because people vote for them. Without people, they are not better than the ordinary man on the street.

This second phase of psychological warfare will not be shouted from campaign podiums or ring from campaign jingles; it is the ruling class’ (regardless of party) weapon of mass disillusionment. The only way to win this war is to unlearn the lies we have been told about how “The woman no fit win. If to say she dey APC.” or “The man sabi o, but he no dey PDP.” We must stay true to ourselves. We must ditch the herd mentality of “Na PDP my grand papa and grand mama dey vote for tete.” Or “Na APC my fiance dey support o” and just be true to ourselves. The better alternatives can only become better choices when we give them a fighting chance in our heads. The moment we write them off as doomed-to-fail in our heads, we will only be playing into the hands of the psychological warlords bent on preying on our gullibility.

When those of us who know refuse to settle for lesser devils, our thoughts, our actions will spill over and affect the psyche of those on the streets. Did PDP not share money in 2015? Did that stop anything? Forget the “no power can stop an idea whose time has come” thing; the “idea” that won in 2015 has been around since 2003, why didn’t it fly before 2015? It’s because before 2015, the people were still held captive by the manipulations of the “whether we vote or not, dey don sabi who go win” psychological war. A victory over that psychological manipulation ushered in a totally radical way of viewing things and influenced the actions of the electorates in 2015.

That second phase must be won too to allow for the emergence of a new order separate from the familiar faces that have been around our political space since 1960. It is a victory that must be won in our minds first before spilling over to influence our actions and that of those around us.

18 Jul 2016

Dissecting The 2013 Egypt Coup and Turkey Failed Coup

Friday in the Muslim world is a very sacrosanct day that affords the faithful opportunity to congregate and share thoughts.

As for the Friday 15th of July, 2016 it was indeed a dark one as some elements within the Turkish military forces planned to topple the democratically elected government in the country.

The reality was that the coup hit a brick wall courtesy of the masses resolve to move massively against the military forces who had announced a takeover of government on that faithful day. The fall out from the failed coup was massive as well with over 200 people reportedly killed while about 1,500 sustained injuries following confrontations between the forces and the defending masses.

On the other hand, there is currently a massive purge of military officials who have been involved in the purported usurpation of power while about 6,000 arrests have been made.

The judiciary is also not left out of the purge as over 2,000 judges have been removed apparently in a bid to institute a reform process in the judiciary which will block a reoccurrence of such senseless act against a democratically elected President in the country.

This is because Turkey does not have capital punishment laws against acts of treason by individuals against the state. That the constitution will be reviewed is certain when viewed from the outcome of this ugly incident.

Recall that the president some few days to the attempted coup through the judiciary gave more powers to the military apparently to secure the nation’s territory from wanton act of terrorism that had engulfed the country in recent past.

Let me stop there for now as my intention ab-initio was to dissect the reasons behind the successful Egypt coup of 2013 whereby the first Democratic government in the country led by Mohammed Morsi was toppled and why the Turkey’s version few days ago was unsuccessful even though the two Muslim countries share similar religious sentiment.

Mohammed Morsi was democratically elected in  Egypt following the 2011 Arab Spring protest which saw the end of Egypt’s maximum ruler, Hosni Mubarak. Due to Morsi’s Pro Islamic tendencies, he was tagged as a threat to western secularism and democracy.

He was removed by General Abdulfatah Al Sisi after massive protests from the masses who were sceptical about Morsi’s posture which they believe was tilting towards a more religious Egypt. Thus, the masses rejected a government they had elected through the ballot just because of some uncertain sinister motive.

Once again the masses had their way and for me there are more angle go that. The believe that a new bloc that will challenge western hegemony had emerged hence their grip of the Middle East and by extension the Muslim world will slip away in no time is a factor to note. The west supported the military regime to topple the first democracy in Egypt a system they had always preached and even financed across the globe. It thus means that democracy is good for the people when it favours the west and it is bad when there are tendencies it won’t satisfy their selfish interest.

The social media as usual played a vital role in mobilising the masses against Morsi. While its use during the “Anti-Morsi” campaign was successful same could not be said of the failed coup in Turkey as it was a story of a different stroke for a different folk.

So what has changed between 2013 that Egypt’s Morsi was toppled and 2016 that Turkey’s Recep Erdogan was unable to be toppled?

A lot has changed. The Turkish are now more conscious of their freedom than being a stooge to some foreign conspiracies and this could be viewed from the Egypt scenario as nothing has changed since the unpopular government of Al Sisi took over. There have been growing insecurity and human right abuses with many opposition politicians and journalists now behind bars.

As for Turkey, the government of Erdogan had been accused of the aforementioned challenges in Egypt as well and had been tagged as having Pro Islamic tendencies like Morsi thereby bringing to disrepute Turkey’s secular leanings as championed by the father of modern Turkey, Kemal Atatürk. But the fact that the masses wanted him is an indication that the mandate of the people cannot be compromised.

The West should note this as more people are getting acquainted with their ploy day by day. Though they have distanced themselves from the sponsors of the coup in Turkey, the role they played in the toppling of the Morsi government leave many in doubt as to their resolve against Erdogan who shares similar sentiment with the latter.

The same social media that was used to rally support against Morsi was employed by Erdogan to reclaim his mandate from the invading marauders who had come in the form of military forces. The masses took to their feet having been mobilised by President Erdogan who urged them to picket the streets and airports to defend their mandate.  No doubt the president is popular among them even after he had been accused of plans to destroy Turkey’s secular posture.

Turkish cleric and businessman, Fethulah Gulen was accused by the Turkish government of influencing the coup attempt following successive plots aimed at pitching his followers against the government of Erdogan while latest document obtained by Arab TV channel Al Jazeera showed names of 80 top government officials who would have taken power had it been the coup was successful.

For posterity sake those behind the coup attempt be it local or foreign should learn to respect the people’s mandate which is the core principle of democracy. The Turkish government has called for the extradition of Gulen who had been on exile in the US. Such a decision should be respected by the US if after investigation the man is found to be guilty.

Other leaders from across the world should learn from Turkey’s Erdogan because had it been he is not popular among the masses, he would have been left alone to carry his cross. Such popularity however do not come from an impoverished masses, it comes from an empowered ones.

 

15 Jul 2016

Ending The Cycle of Madness: Reexamining The Third Option

I voted President Buhari in the last election. But no, it wasn’t because I thought he could change anything; I have never seen him as anything but a living and breathing disaster. I voted for him because I overrated the ability of Nigerians to think and reason correctly.

My thought was that if President Buhari failed (as I knew he would), Nigerians would sit, think, and consider a “third option”. That was what birthed my THIRD OPTION crusade. I wrote then that the problems of this country are systemic and will never be solved by mere electoral gimmicks and reforms, but by a revolutionary third force.

As at that time, PDP had ruled. A Yoruba man had been President. A southerner had been President. My thought was that if a northerner and a product of the merger became President and failed too like the ones who came before him, Nigerians would see that Nigeria’s problems surpass an APC, PDP, North, South thing and unite to birth a third option that will painstakingly erode the old order, end this current shitstem that glorifies looters and celebrates lawless leaders and establish a new order where illegality and the madness that characterised the old shitstem can no longer thrive. But I was wrong.

We don’t think. It is said that when a man is pushed to the wall, he will turn back and fight. Not Nigerians. We will bang our head against that wall and keep bleeding instead of turning back to fight. We don’t think. Baba Fela was right to have described us all as zombies. We have handed over our brains to political and religious leaders.

Look, Nigeria has bigger problems than Buhari, APC, PDP or the north. We are suffering from systemic failures resulting from a system that harbours countless social contradictions. You don’t patch up systemic failures this pronounced; you either rise to end the system or continue in the four-year electoral delusion, hoping things would change only to discover that they won’t.

Come 2019, President Buhari will either be reelected or somebody else will become President. We will restart the cycle of hope and right before our eyes see it dashed like before. We will come on Facebook and our blogs and write beautiful grammar about how we have been let down and how we have to wait till 2023. We will console ourselves with: “Your voters card is your power. If he fails, we will remove him too.” But we lie.

How many failures do we have to witness before we become old and grey and leave a horrible country for our children? It is delusional to think that any real power lies in that voters card. The real power lies in our ability to think and take unpopular steps.

Our search for sanity in the midst of these chaos will yield no fruit until this shitstem is torn down. Until then, we will continue to elect the same folks under different party names. Party names will change. Slogans will change. Emblems will change. Portfolios will change. But what will remain constant is the suffering and groaning of the ordinary people.

The children of the ordinary people will continue to get crumbs and continue to be offered 23, 000 naira jobs for 2 years while the children of the illegal beneficiaries of this shitstem will continue to get backdoor appointments to CBN, FIRS, etc. Ordinary people have no future under this shitstem. Their only hope for a better life lies in the struggle for a new system where merit, equality, freedom are more than mere words on paper.

We must end this cycle of madness. It has gone on for too long. Some people have been singing “e go better” since 1960. E never better o. Some people have been voting since 1960, chanting slogans, “HOPE xxx”, “TRANSFORMATION XYZ”, “CHANGE ABC”. But nothing has changed. Nothing has been transformed. When will we wake up to see the insanity that we have embraced for far too long? When are we going to open our eyes to see the hopelessness of our hope? There is no future for ordinary people under this shitstem; their only shot at a better tomorrow is to end this shitstem.

As long as this shitstem lives, the dreams of ordinary people will remain buried. The death of this shitstem is the only force capable of rolling away the stone from the mouth of the tombstone where their dreams and aspirations lie buried. This cycle of madness has gone on for long enough; the time to end it is now.

29 Jun 2016

Redefining Mo Ibrahim’s Prize For African Leaders

The Mo Ibrahim’s prize for achievement in African leadership was announced few weeks ago and for the umpteenth time there was no clear cut winner for the coveted prize among past African leaders.

After reading the news, I remembered a discussion with a colleague at work recently on the personality of Mo himself and how best he could channel his God-given wealth to develop his home of descent – Sudan.

My colleague had argued that instead of Mo investing so much as high as 5 million dollars on African leaders, it would not be out of place if he directly spend or invest it in Sudan or some countries battling with economic challenges within the continent.

Since I was a novice about what he is saying I had to keep quiet but was quick to marshal out my point as well and told him I have heard so much about him and that he was at the anti-corruption conference held in London of recent alongside Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari among others.

So, who is Mo Ibrahim?

After the announcement that there was no winner in this year’s edition of the award, I was further challenged to do some googling about his personality and his rationale for setting up the African Leadership Achievement Prize.

There I found out that Mo is a Sudanese-British Billionaire with investment majorly in telecommunication and one of the most powerful persons in the United Kingdom.

The foundation he set up has been in the fore-front of sponsoring the African Leadership Prize which is geared towards celebrating leaders from the continent who had contributed immensely to the growth of their country.

From my research, one of the objectives of the prize is to ensure that Africa continues to benefit from the experience and expertise of exceptional leaders when they leave national office, by enabling them to continue in other public roles on the continent.

Aside the 5 million dollars prize, it is expected that such Leader will earn 200,000 dollars monthly for the rest of his or her life.

That’s breathtaking you will say? Well, it was borne out of the free will of the donor which aims at encouraging African Leaders to invest vigorously in the countries they govern while also ensuring that such legacies are sustainable.

That the monetary value of the Ibrahim’s Prize is higher than the coveted Nobel Prize for Peace is also an indication that Mo meant well for Leaders from his continent of origin.

Since the Prize commenced in 2007, it has been won by four African Leaders, the last being former President of Namibia, Mr Hifikepunye Pohamba, .

In 2007, President Joaquim Chissano from Mozambique won the inaugural Prize while South African Leader, Nelson Mandela was an honorary awardee for that year. The award was not given to any Leader in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 and of late, 2015.

Will it elude past African leaders in 2016 as well? Only time will tell.

So what’s my concern about someone’s else intention to reward African leaders for their achievements? The answer is not farfetched.

Most of these leaders are rich already while some of them will get life pensions and allowances after leaving the office. Why I am not saying leaders who have contributed immensely to the development of their countries should not be celebrated, what the sponsors of the Ibrahim’s Prize need to do is to look at sectors in which such huge amount of money can be invested.

Sectors like Science and Technology, Universal Health Coverage, Water Supply, Electricity, Education, Agriculture and Research among others can be prioritized, thus taking the continent out of the quagmire facing it in terms of funding these sectors.

Some specialized higher institutions on the continent have been established for the purpose of research in Medicine, Agriculture and Science and Technology. Such institutions are lacking adequate funds and they need grants to further consolidate on the mandate of establishing them.

Mo Ibrahim need to review his mandate on the 5 million dollars African Leadership Prize by channeling it to the development of countries and institutions on the continent rather than her leaders.

Africa need more philanthropists like the Sudanese-British billionaire at the moment in order to take her rightful place among the comity of nations.

Ours is a continent that is rich with abundant resources and talents which will take up the world in the near future. Suffice it to say that most innovations and inventions we see in America and the West today were developed by African brains.

14 Jun 2016

Hijab, CAN and Religious Tolerance in Nigeria (2)

Obviously, the position of CAN which premised education as a sole property of missionaries requires rigorous review. The colonial authorities used education as a tool in administration towards integrating their culture and religious belief to respective countries they colonize. Yet the education and civilization promoted by the colonial masters were largely inherited from Islamic Civilization and Muslim Scholarship.

Sir John Glubb in A Short History of the Arab Peoples, 1969 stated that ‘the indebtedness of Western Christendom to Arab civilization was systematically played down, if not completely denied. A tradition  was built up, by censorship and propaganda, that the Muslim imperialists had been mere barbarians and that the rebirth of learning in the West derived directly from Roman and Greek sources alone, without any Arab intervention’.

Furthermore, UNESCO and the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL) in 2015 marked the 1000th anniversary since the appearance of the remarkable seven volume treatise on optics – Kitab al-Manazir – written by Arab scientist Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) who was a pioneering scientific thinker that made important contributions to the understanding of vision, optics and light. He was described as the father of modern Optics, Ophthalmology, Experimental Physics and Scientific Method and the first Theoretical Physicist.

Ian P. Howard argued in a 1996 Perception article that Alhazen should be credited with many discoveries and theories which were previously attributed to Western Europeans writing centuries later and influenced medieval European scientists and philosophers such as Roger Bacon, Robert Grosseteste, Witelo, Leonardo Di Vinci and Christian Huygens. But Alhazen’s book came into its own later, when it attracted the attention of mathematicians like Kepler, Descartes, and Huygens, thanks in part to Friedrich Risner’s edition published in Basel in 1572.

Again, the Arab Muslim physician, Abulcasis, has equally been described by many notable scholars as the father of modern surgery who first describe ectopic pregnancy and haemophilia among others and pioneered the preparation of medicines by sublimation and distillation. In 14th century, the French surgeon Guy de Chauliac quoted his book – al-Tasrif – over 200 times. Pietro Argallata also described Abū al-Qāsim as “without doubt the chief of all surgeons.”

Surprisingly, it took the turn of the millennium before World Health Organization (WHO) could acknowledge the pioneer work of Persian physician Rhazes (860-932) who gave the systematic description of measles, and its distinction from smallpox and chickenpox and published –The Book of Smallpox and Measles. The Bulletin of WHO, May 1970 read thus “His writings on smallpox and measles show originality and accuracy, and his essay on infectious diseases was the first scientific treatise on the subject.” It is thus befitting to ask: how would the world have been today without “algorithm”, “algebra” and “alkali” as the legacy of Muslim polymaths unto the West?

No wonder HRH Prince Charles of Wales, the eldest child and heir apparent of Queen Elizabeth II, said in 1993 “If there is much misunderstanding in the West about the nature of Islam, there is also much ignorance about the debt our own culture and civilization owe to the Islamic world. It is a failure, which stems, I think, from the straight-jacket of history, which we have inherited. The medieval Islamic world, from central Asia to the shores of the Atlantic, was a world where scholars and men of learning flourished. But because we have tended to see Islam as the enemy of the West, as an alien culture, society, and system of belief, we have tended to ignore or erase its great relevance to our own history”

Moreover, the pre-colonial scholarships of Muslim Ulamah in Yorubaland also lend credence to this assertion coupled with their promotion of societal stability via mutual tolerance. Long before Missionary adventure in 1841, Islam has been in Yorubaland for well over two hundred years where the first and only literacy was Arabic as widely noted by Emeritus Prof. Ade-Ajayi. According to Prof. Isaac Ogunbiyi, the origin of the word ‘Yoruba’ has been traced to Arabic writers such as Ahmad Baba (1627 in his mi’raj al-su’ud) and Muhammed Bello (1837 in his infaq al-maysur) both of whom were reported among the earliest to name the people in Oyo ‘yariba’, ‘yaruba’, ‘yarba’ at a time when they were still referring to themselves by their diverse ethnic identities.

It is on this basis of freedom of religion that Barack Obama stated at Cairo University in 2009 that “Moreover, freedom in America is indivisible from the freedom to practice one’s religion. That is why there is a mosque in every state in our union, and over 1,200 mosques within our borders. That’s why the United States government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab and to punish those who would deny it.”

Reinforcing this assertion, Michelle Obama paid a visit to Mulberry School for Girls in Tower Hamlets, United Kingdom in 2015 to inspire hundreds of young people where majority of teenage students cover their heads with hijab. Speaking to the crowd of hijab-clad girls, Mrs. Obama said, “When I look out at all these young women, I see myself. In so many ways your story is my story. I’m here because of you. Because girls like you inspire and impress me, every day.’ She couldn’t have chosen a more fantastically multicultural school – only a handful of hijab-free heads in the entire place – or a more impressive one, against the odds. More than 70 per cent of the students are on free school meals, but four-fifths go on to university.

Obviously, we live in one world as reiterated by Kofi Annan.  We need to understand and respect each other, live peacefully together and live up to the best of our respective traditions.  That is not as easy as we might like it to be.  But that is all the more reason to try harder, with all our tools and all our will.

It is time to unlearn intolerance and accept hijab as a divinely endowed honours worn by blessed Eve wife of Adam, Sarah wife of Abraham, Mary mother of Jesus and Khadijah wife of Prophet Muhammad (may Allah be pleased with them all) as a symbol of purity and humility.

Read Part 1

13 Jun 2016

Hijab, CAN and Religious Tolerance in Nigeria (1)

On September 11, 2003, two teachers at the Franklin Science Academy in Muskogee, Oklahoma, were discussing the terrorist attacks that had occurred exactly two years earlier, when they spotted a sixth grader, Nashala Hearn, wearing a Muslim headscarf. The school’s dress code prohibited students from wearing “hats, caps, bandanas, plastic caps, or hoods on jackets inside the building.” One of the teachers sent Nashala to the principal, who warned and later suspended the eleven-year-old when she continued to wear the scarf.

The school attorney said, “You treat religious items the same as you would any other item, no better or worse. Our dress code prohibits headgear, period.” The school was willing to articulate the Establishment Clause argument against its initial antagonist, the Rutherford Institute, a Christian civil liberties foundation that assisted the Hearns in filing their complaint in a federal court. When the US Justice Department intervened by filing additional briefs against the school in the spring of 2004, however, the school quickly caved in.

Under a settlement agreement, the school agreed to change the dress code so as to include an accommodation, or exception, for religious headgear (hijab). The school also paid an undisclosed sum of monetary damages to the Hearn family. In response, Assistant Attorney General Alexander Acosta issued a public statement that “This settlement reaffirms the principle that public schools cannot require students to check their faith at the schoolhouse door.”

It is this constitutional position of law that underlines the judgment delivered by Justice Jide Falola of the state High Court in Osun State on Friday June 3, 2016 in favour of a case instituted by Osun State Muslim Community against the state government on the right of female Muslim students in public schools in the state to use hijab on their school uniforms. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), its chairman and others later joined voluntarily as respondents.

In his judgment, Justice Falola traced the history of religion and observed that religion was introduced to the case when CAN and others joined the suit, noting that he decided to deliver the judgment after all plea to settle the matter amicably has proved futile. Premising his judgment on Section 38 of the Nigeria Constitution and Article 8 of the 2004 policy published by the state Ministry of Education, Justice Falola held that female Muslim students were not exempted from the freedom of religion, conscience and thought.

The judgment re-echoed the position of Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General, addressed to the Department of Public Information (DPI) seminar on “Confronting Islamophobia: Education for Tolerance and Understanding” in New York, 2004 where he identified unlearning intolerance in part as a matter of legal protection. The right to freedom of religion – and to be free from discrimination based on religion – is long enshrined in international law, from the UN Charter to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other instruments. Such standards have been incorporated into the laws of many countries.

Tolerance is respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world’s cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human. It is fostered by knowledge, openness, communication, and freedom of thought, conscience and belief. Tolerance is harmony in difference. It is not only a moral duty, it is also a political and legal requirement. Tolerance, the virtue that makes peace possible, contributes to the replacement of the culture of war by a culture of peace as enshrined in Article 1.1 of the Declaration on Principles of Tolerance, proclaimed and signed by the Member States of UNESCO on 16 November 1995.

Article 26 (2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the international community in 1948, states that “Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.”

It is on the basis of using education as a tool in promoting tolerance that prompted Vernon Hills High School in USA to stage “Walk a Mile in Her Hijab” event in 2015 designed to allow Christians and other non-Muslim female students the opportunity to wear hijab and gain a better understanding of the Muslim faith. In the same vein, Dr Larycia Hawkins, a Christian and a Wheaton College Political Science Professor, posted photos of herself on Facebook and Twitter wearing a hijab to show solidarity with Muslim women in America and inviting other women to join her.

Saheela Ibraheem, a native of Ede in Osun State with her full-grown hijab was accepted to Harvard College at age ahead of her time. At 16, she was named to a list of “The World’s 50 Smartest Teenagers,” which got the attention of the White House. She was invited to Washington D.C. in early March 2015 where she introduced the president and first lady at a reception to kick off Black History Month. Acknowledging her exceptional nature, Obama said, “We are so proud of your accomplishments and all that lies ahead of you, and you reflect our history. Young people like this inspire our future.” At no point in her career has she been denied wearing hijab.

..to be continued

12 Jun 2016

Like Every Other Month, This June Shall Pass

It is the middle of the year and also the last month in the second quarter of 2016. Thus, the month provides us with the opportunity to reviewing our achievements so far in the ongoing year in order to know where we are when compared to where we are coming from since the start of the year.

At the global level, the US Presidential election is gaining momentum.

It is believed that against all odds the battle is going to be between Democratic Party Candidate and wife of former US President, Hillary Clinton and Business Man turned Politician, Donald Trump who will be representing the Republican Party at the election billed for November.

In Nigeria, the fight against corruption is taking new dimension by the day while the government has also dealt a big blow on Boko Haram just like the world is dealing with ISIS.

However,  this month has seen a new dimension to agitations  by pressure groups in the country with the emergence of a new militant group in the oil rich Niger Delta – the Niger Delta Avengers. The group has blown up many oil installations of late and has threatened to bring down the government should it fails to grant their request, chief of which is the sole control of resources in the region by the Niger-Deltans and a call for secession.

The month of June is historic to many Nigerians due to the colossal “June 12” election. This day was widely adjudged the day Nigerians experienced the most free and fair election which was devoid of ethnic bias, religious bigotry and above all electoral violence.

After the election, Social Democratic Party (SDP) standard bearer, Chief MKO Abiola was declared the president-elect amid pomp and pageantry. But as fate will have it, the election was nullified by the military dictator, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida.

This event in June shaped the lives of many Nigerians home and abroad who fought for the actualisation of MKO’s mandate and the return to Democracy in Nigeria.

While many believed in the Democratic system as a better alternative to military rule,  others have remained apathetic to the system since the election was nullified. They don’t even come out to vote anymore.

The same person who nullified the election, General Babangida was earlier reported to have died in Germany this June where he went for treatment. That has however been dispelled as the “Maradona” is back “in da hood” hale and hearty.

Many mystery about June you will say?  Hold on, do you recall the role played by former military leader,  General Sani Abacha in the MKO Abiola mandate? Well, he too died in June. That was 8th of June in 1998. The excitement which followed his demise is another story for the historians.

Why did I choose the title of my piece in the first place?  Why the hullabaloo about June passing away like others? Well it was borne out of the recent deaths of the great boxing icon,  Muhammad Ali, Nigeria’s finest , Stephen Keshi and Former Technical Director, Shuaibu Amodu.

These sport icons passed away within 10 days in June.  Again why June?

Well the Yoruba’s will say “naso then dey ask person o” apologies for the pidgin English I employed there.

Yes, it is in June and just like every other month, people die but the reality is that those that died are colossus who have change the tide of time and there legacies have been imprinted on the marble of life.

We cannot but talk about them because they are celebrities.

While the world mourn Muhammad Ali “the greatest”, Nigerians received the death of its finest football star and later manager of the National football team,  Stephen Keshi. It was painful because he just lost his wife six months ago. Apparently there is a “strong connection” between the two which the former find so hard to come to term with.

And just on Saturday the 11th of June,  I was just reading some tweets and saw “Omo Gbajabiamila” twitted it that Shuaibu Amodu is dead. I had to post it on my Facebook timeline as well but with a question mark and in no seconds people trooped to comment on the comment box.

Some said no it was Keshi you mean to type,  some said yes he’s dead.

Then, I got the information from the Nigerian football federation twitter handle @thenff which confirmed Amodu’s demise.

As usual many commented with the hashtag  #RIPAmodu,  “oh this is sad”, “what is really happening, may God save us all”, “only in June, we lost two heroes?” etc. The most interesting part was the fact that Nigerians used the opportunity to throw jabs at Amaju Pinnick and Chris Giwa who have been at loggerhead over who controls the glass house – headquarters of Nigeria’s football federation in Abuja.

It is good that we are mourning the dead and praying for the repose of their souls while also extending some hands of fellowship to their family members.

While we are also contemplating on immortalising them, we must all know that the sequential demise of the two Nigerian football icons must not be misinterpreted to querying God as to why? He knows how he does His will. The keyword should be how to live a life full of goodness with numerous impact in the lives of others.

18 May 2016

Before We Cast The First Stone On A Kidnapper

The Nigerian Senate has been shrouded in controversies of late which has resorted to Nigerians believing that nothing good can come out of the hallowed chamber.

From the purported purchase of SUV jeeps at an over-bloated price, to the proposed amendment, and hitherto stoppage of the CCT, CCB and ACJ Acts, and to the handling of the “padded” and “unpadded” budget with the Executive, Nigerians are arguably not happy with the 8th Senate.

However, members of the 8th Senate have remained resolute against all odds and are prepared to bringing the dividends of good governance to the doorsteps of the masses. This, in itself, is a plus, and kudos to them for managing and concluding the 2016 budget brouhaha with the Executive in a matured manner.

The 8th Senate, notwithstanding the criticism against her, has also added another feather to its “very big cap”, with the recent promulgation of a death penalty for people involved in kidnapping which has taken a new dimension in Nigeria.

More worrisome is the fact that kidnappers no longer have criteria for choosing their victims, so far as they can identify any person working in an organisation – whether the individual is a full fledged staff or contract staff, the deal is done for them.

There are also instances whereby children connived with their mates to perfect this evil and barbaric act by kidnapping their parents to get ransom from them. In short, no one is immune from the onslaught of kidnappers.

That the Nigerian Senate had passed a law to put to death people involving in kidnapping is highly welcome, but the big question is how come that the phenomenon gained more grounds over the years? What had been the measures put in place by the Nigerian government to address this cankerworm?

Going down memory lane, kidnapping became popular through the activities of some aggrieved youths in the Niger Delta who felt that the region had been neglected for years by the government. They argued that Nigeria made a large chunk of her fortunes from the region through oil exploration without no cause to develop the region.

This metamorphosed into the kidnapping of oil expatriates and notable people who were sometimes used to get ransom and also score political points.

Having said that, it took the government many years before coming to terms with their mandates which later culminated to the establishment of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as well as the Ministry of Niger Delta and the introduction of Amnesty programmes.

But before these were put in place a lot of damages had been done while its resultant effects were the replication of kidnapping in other parts of the country.

Soon many Nigerian youths started kidnapping wealthy individuals and people who are related to business tycoons, politicians; there are even instances whereby the kidnappers kidnap religious leaders, children, market women et al, and often times they kill their victims when ransoms demanded are not met.

To cut the story short, we cannot continue like this as no one is spared of their activities, and that is why the 8th Senate should be applauded for criminalizing kidnapping and promulgating death penalty for people caught in the act, even though capital punishment is fading away in the international community.

Before we began to commit to death kidnappers in the country, there is the need to take a holistic view of the factors responsible for this menace.

No doubt everyone will agree with me that unemployment is one of the major factors responsible for kidnapping, and, if not nipped in the bud, it will continuously affect the development of Nigeria.

The youths are the most affected individuals that are unemployed in the country and when you look at kidnapping vividly, they constituted the majority of those involved in the act though they may have adults sponsors.

The irony in this is that their sponsors will prefer to use them in such acts than to provide gainful employment for them since kidnapping has become an avenue to make big money.

What the government need to do to stop kidnapping is to take the youths out of this predicament by providing employment for them. This no doubt will bring most of the perpetrators out of the quagmire in which they have found themselves.

Also, the economic environment need serious surgical operation in order to encourage the youths to take up entrepreneurship. Giving out soft loans with little or no interest to them should be one of the ways in which the government can engage the youths from towing the path of disaster through their involvement in kidnapping.

The government must also work with religious institutions to help address the challenges facing the youths. Here the religious bodies will play the role of admonishing them, while the government ensure that they do the needful by providing a level playing field for youths to get employed.

For me, if the unemployment rate is reduced to the barest minimum, kidnapping and other vices in our society will be a thing of the past. Then anyone involved in kidnapping and other similar vices can now face the full wrath of the law.

06 May 2016

The Struggle between National Interest and Ethnicised Politics

In Nigeria, at convocation of every national discourse, at every agitation of causes for national growth and development, ethnicised politics is always a default virus. It corrupts the reasoning of the citizenry; it diverts attention from core issues of national interest to mundanities and banalities; it changes the supposed narrative of pan-Nigeria conversation to one where practitioners of ethnicised politics are more interested in the “Fulani” of the herdsmen than the killings, and as an antithesis, one where accused ethnic affiliates sweat profusely in defence of their ethnicity more than condemning the criminality. The triumph of ethnicity over security in the last conversation that trailed the murderous activities of herdsmen, in Nigeria, is unfortunate. (more…)

03 May 2016

#PANAMAPAPERS: A WAKE UP CALL

We campaign and walk the streets, we carry placards in the scorching sun chanting “we want an end to inequality” The truth is our forefathers were victims of inequality, we are victims of inequality, and if care is not taken, generations to come will be victims, but why? Because we have never been equal to elites! (more…)

01 May 2016

The Laxity of a State

The recent I don’t care attitude of governments at all levels in Nigeria drew my attention to an incident that occurred when growing up.

News had it then that a cabinet member of a state had lost his family members to a car crash due to bad condition of roads within the state.

That was about 20 years ago. (more…)

29 Apr 2016

A Review of Dambisa Moyo’s Dead Aid, by Semiu A. Akanmu

Aid, “a sum total of both concessional loans and grants”, from donors – mainly Western, to African countries has “hampered, stifled and retarded Africa’s development” is the thesis of Dambisa’s Dead Aid.  It is a tightly-argued book, combative, deep, factual, and above all, problem-solving.

Dead Aid – a 187-page, 2-part, and 10-chapter book – is an army on its own in the ranks of anti-aid dependency model for African development. It attacks the moralist and the liberal developmental narrative of Africa’s needs of aid to fight its plague of diseases, build its social and physical infrastructure, and alleviate the poverty of its people. Contrary to that, Dambisa argues, aid kills economic growth, stifles African entrepreneurship, promotes corruption, encourages coup and leadership despondency, and plagues African countries to more socioeconomic crisis.

“Sub-Saharan Africa remains the poorest region in the world with an average per capita income of roughly $1 a day…  Life expectancy has stagnated, adult literacy has plummeted, diseases ranging from bilharzia to cholera are on the rise, the income inequality is worrisome, political instability is raging”, she laments, and asks rhetorically, “Why is it that Africa, alone among the continents of the world seems to be locked into cycle of dysfunction? Why is it that out of all continents of the world, Africa seems unable to convincingly get its foot on the economic ladder?”  “The answer has its roots in aid,” she posits.

Dead Aid draws on a historical background to explain the rationale behind the constitution of aid development, and what would later translate to three organisations: The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (known as World Bank), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Trade Organisation. It explains that, even though the concept helped in reconstructing Europe after the World War II, same cannot be said of Africa because: (a) no institutional framework, (b) no transparency and accountability, (c) no exit plan for aid injection, and more pathetic (d) not really meant for African development.

Dambisa listed the supporting proofs (Marshall plan, IDA graduates, with conditionalities, and a micro-macro paradox) of aid proponents, and dismantled each with potent empirical evidences and logical counter-explanation. She enumerated how “culture of dependency” naturally kills creativity, its casual effect on corruption because freebies are normally recklessly spent, and civil war. She lamented the civil society’s commodification of poverty to ensure tap of grants continues flowing, the inflationary effect of aid, among others.

What stand Dead Aid out are its alternative provisions. It strongly suggests viable and result-oriented routes that can be taken instead of the aid-dependency developmental model. It elicited capital market, foreign direct investment (FDI), trade, micro-financing and lending, remittances, and savings – with respective systematic planning and application. It, however, does not suggest an instantaneous shutoff of aid door. Rather, a planned phasing-out timeline is suggested so that African countries can explore and implement other dependable options. Likewise, it supports humanitarian aid which is occasionally meant as relief in times of natural disaster and epidemic.

What remains a debatable hypothesis, in the absence of empirical evidences, is whether aid moderates/correlates economic retrogression or causes it. Dambisa, knowing the strength of such assertions, tactically avoids it. However, she made veiled attribution of that when she writes “…where private capital trumps aid every time is on the question of governance”, “Good governance trumps all”, and  “…in a world of good governance, which will naturally emerge in the absence of the glut of aid…” What the above portends is that, good governance causes economic development, and it naturally exists in the absence of aid. We can rewrite it, as a pseudo-conceptual model, that: Aid (antecedent) leads to bad governance (mediator), then leads to economic retrogression.

Even though the question of what measures “bad governance” is open-ended, one is tempted to agree with the hypothesised linkage between aid, bad governance, and economic retrogression. In all African countries, South Africa and Botswana are most economically viable, according to Dambisa, and they took a non-aid-dependency developmental model.

Citation(s): Moyo, Dambisa. Dead aid : why aid is not working and how there is a better way for Africa. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009, 188 p.

26 Apr 2016

Senate’s suspension of CCB, CCT & ACJ Acts amendment: How far can the masses go?

News filtered in during the course of plenary at the Nigerian senate chamber last week that the ongoing amendment to the code of conduct bureau and tribunal act as well as the administration of criminal justice act had been suspended.

To some Nigerians it is a welcome development after the pressure was mounted on members of the red chamber to drop the amendment at this period. (more…)

23 Apr 2016

Hustling for Survival 

Here are two boys. No! They are men, young men; local artisanal fishermen on fishing expedition. They are hardworking Nigerians, not criminals, in disagreement to the demeaning declaration by the President of their Nation. Photographed at the Lagoon Front Resort, located at the tail end of the ‘University of Lagos’ Campus, Akoka, Lagos, Nigeria. To them, street bandits are less human, and arms’ begging is not an option to consider to making ends meet.

(more…)

22 Apr 2016

A ki je meji po, l’aba Alade: Re-understanding Yoruba Philosophical Thought on Scarcity and Resource Allocation

Eunice, Precious and Taofeeq are friends whose certain challenges in life endeavours –what my other spiritual friends will call trials –propelled the need to re-understand “A ki je meji po, l’aba Alade” Yoruba philosophical thought. Eunice and Precious’ cases are similar, though with different causative factors. Taofeeq’s was quite different. But all are unified at a point where lessons on scarcity and resources allocation are indispensable.

Eunice is a slim lady, elegant, intelligent and with an impeccable command of English language. Many would like to attribute her communication prowess to her field of study: Eunice is a graduate of Mass Communication with Second Class Upper Division grade. I disagree because I have seen a graduate of English language who could not write complainant statement in pure English language without giving a substantial part to Pidgin. I believe Eunice is just a language nerd. Eunice would be 40 years old this year. To her, because she is still single, she is facing trial. May be from certain spiritual principalities! Precious’ body structure is the opposite of Eunice’s. She is a typical example of what is called, in street lingo, “Orobo to cute”. She manages to balance between being plump and sporty. Precious will be having her PhD in Human Development in few months. Similar to Eunice, Precious will be 43 years old in May, this year. She is also single. From my close interaction with both ladies, their morals – cultural and Christian faith-driven –are worthwhile, and their credibility is not in doubt.

Taofeeq, being a guy, probably wouldn’t be enlisting late marriage (or being single) as trial. He is married, though, and the marriage is blessed with kids. He controls a small enterprise of 20 – 25 employees. At an age of 36 years, the confectionery company he laboured to build from scratch, staring from years of baking apprenticeship, now fetches him an annual net profit of Five Million Naira. His fixed assets –building, machines and bakery equipment –value at Ten Million Naira. Taofeeq is a secondary school leaver. He could not afford a university education when he ought to, and this necessitated his exploration of other means of livelihood. To him, his inability to get a degree when his mates did is a trial, on which he still groans.

In all my respective discussions with these three persons –Eunice, Precious, and Taofeeq –I had ensured we re-engaged and re-understood “A ki je meji po, l’aba Alade” Yoruba philosophical thought on scarcity and resource allocation, in view of demystifying the spiritual attachment they have given to their scarcity-induced experiences. These are experiences they all do not want to take responsibilities, or accept fate, for their resources’ allocation preferences.

Eunice, a Nigerian, in the midst of blacks, has always been dreaming of marrying a White guy. When the dream of leaving the shores of Nigeria, at least to afford her the opportunity of meeting Oyinbo, becomes bleaker, she resolved to “manage” a black guy, but one that is lanky, tall, and preferably with “six packs” abs. Eunice has now resorted to fate; she is ready to go for “anything husband”, in as much she will be loved. But at 40, her chances of marrying a single guy are almost non-existent. She is not yet in term with polygamy, nor has she agreed to marry a widower or divorcee, who, most likely, would have had children from previous relationship. She never prayed for step-children. In all, Eunice has achieved being a dream pursuer.

Precious had advances from men expressing their love and intentions of marriage immediately she completed her first degree. She turned all offers down. She was afraid of dream killers. She wanted to be a scholar, an academic, and a human development expert of international repute. She believed marriage, especially with men of superiority complex, would defeat her dream.  As she is now rounding up her PhD, with fair number of academic journals and conference proceedings to her resume, and with a teaching job in a university, Precious is living up to her dream, but she still alleges that inability to marry till now is a trial caused by certain principalities.

Taofeeq wouldn’t want to appraise the progress he has made from another perspective: one that compares his financial status and standard of living with that of his mates who got their degrees when they ought to. Taofeeq was learning bread baking, while his mates were learning binomials. His mates are either employed, or unemployed. In Nigeria, few of his age mates could match his financial strength through legitimate earnings. Still, Taofeeq is bothered of being one that has no degree appellation to flaunt.

To the Eunice, Precious and Taofeeq: A ki je meji po, l’aba Alade. You cannot eat your cake and still have it. Aba Alade (Alade’s village) is a metaphor for a livelihood with limited resources. If our lesson in elementary Economics is still valid, the insatiability of human wants and the limitations of resources (material and immaterial) will always be responsible for scarcity. This will require systematic allocation of your resources. You probably will not be able to have it two ways. You will have to set your scale of preference; you will have to choose what your forgone alternative will be. You must be happy with your decision. You must not place responsibility of innocent principalities.

A ki je meji po, l’aba Alade is a Yoruba philosophical thought on scarcity and resource allocation that echoes the indispensability of these human and social (economic) principles. It tells you to choose one, you may not have both!

16 Apr 2016

“It is up to you”: My First Lesson on Plurality in Malaysia

From certain distant observers, Malaysia is an Islamic country, most likely, the nationals speak Arabic, and Sharee’a (Islamic) law is the national legal mechanism. No matter how ludicrous this assertion might sound to those in the knowledge of the actual identity of Malaysia, it should not be surprising.  It cannot be unusual when there are Nigerians naming Australia as a member country of West Africa. It can be that appalling!

Even though I was fairly informed of the national identity of Malaysia, and its socio-political characterization, I was extremely surprised to learn that, despite being of Muslims majority (70%, arguably), with handy portion of their legal instrumentality reflecting Islamic laws, Malaysians at their individual levels are pluralistic, tolerant of individual freedom of choice, even when they disagree. “It is up to you” is very close to an average Malaysian’s cheek; he or she throws it at you to simultaneously express respect to your choice, and disagreement or disinterest with/in that choice. “It is up to you to make your choice.” “It is up to you, since it is your life.”

This trait of an individualistic society is in steep contradiction with the Malaysian national collectivist culture which is perpetuated by the political class and generally obtainable in modern Asian countries. However, Malaysians, at their interpersonal relationship level, proudly exercise this tolerance to plural society and endorse libertarianism. As a citizen of a country of God-appointed litigators and moral policemen, Malaysians’ tolerant disposition to ideals they equally find strange and obnoxious was my first lesson.

I encountered “it is up to you” in many of my interactions with Malaysians –from classrooms, to group discussion, to shopping malls, to groceries’ stores. In all, Malaysians’ disposition to homosexuals, or people that are publicly exhibiting effeminate features (for supposed males), and masculine features (for supposed females), is the most reinforcing of Malaysians’ unmistakable maturity to deal with plurality.

To be very clear, and for the purpose of emphasis, Malaysians’ majority are Muslims, Malaysia is a close-open society, depending on your angle of appraisal, and homosexuality is a crime. Yet, Malaysians will not act with brazen impunity of dispensing justice on behalf of the state; Malaysians will not assault and harass people that are inclined to homosexuality. In fact, my close knowledge of homosexuals, their dressing style, outward appearances, and concrete understanding of their existential livelihood came from Malaysia.

I have had few encounters with this people, though distant, but till now, I could not still wrap myself around the actual fact and truth supporting their wish for anatomical shift. I have been subtly wooed by one of them, I have been served food in a restaurant by one of them, I have taken ferry with one of them sitting nearby, and most unbelievable, I have prayed in mosque with one of them. One of this people a typical Nigeria religionist so much abhor and ready to kill on behalf of his God is a mosque administrative assistant for people praying to their own God in Malaysia. I have since been wondering if Nigerians’ Allah/Jehovah is different from Malaysians’. If this is not, certainly Nigerians’ Islam/Christianity is different from Malaysians’, and/or Nigerian Muslims and Christians are different from their Malaysian counterparts. You cannot claim to read the same scripture, worship the same God and have different disposition to the same phenomenon, especially when such is argued to be scriptural or theological. A particular intervening variable must be missing out.

 

And I know. I know that Nigeria citizenry is one with battered psychology –evident in cheerleading of its treasury looters but reprimand its petty thieves. I know that as Nigerians provide alternatives to public amenities like electricity and water, they are also tempted to provide justice. But there is a need to specifically engage certain section of the Nigerian populace who dispense jungle justice or rationalises such national madness based on religious leaning and theological precepts.

It should dawn on us why we should quickly fix the Nigerians’ religionists’ demon; we should infuse “it is up to you” into their mental being for us to be safe from their theist terrorism.

09 Mar 2016

Show Me Your Pineapple

The pineapple is quite intriguing, an appetising and nutrient-loaded fruit. In every way, the pineapple is unique – from its rugged pine skin to its ‘crown’ and its delicious ‘flesh’. Food experts call it the most nutritious fruit in the world. It is described as “… a composite of many flowers whose individual fruitlets fuse together around a central core. Each fruitlet can be identified by an “eye,” the rough spiny marking on the pineapple’s surface.” It has “a scaly green, brown or yellow skin and a regal crown of spiny, blue-green leaves and fibrous yellow flesh…”
(more…)

19 Feb 2016

Watch How Nigeria’s Buhari Militarizes Civilian Populace

Emerging trends from Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, have started worrying investors about the possible resumption of full-fledged violence in the country due to Buhari’s authorization of undemocratic trends among the military towards civilian population.  It will be recalled that previous administrations, beginning from the late Ya’radua and continuing into Jonathan, had made frantic efforts to salvage the society from the rungs of violence. (more…)

15 Feb 2016

Culture and African Development: Recasting the Dice of Africa’s Future

Africa, the Dark Continent of Conrad, has for long been a victim of civilization. The legacies of colonization have sharply brought down her much cherished culture. Culture is the totality of man.

Many scholars have concluded that colonization brought nothing to Africa than slavery and loose of consciousness.  Walter Rodney expresses this in his book How European Underdeveloped Africa.  He listed many instances to include the economy and political life in Africa.

With a sharp contradiction, Albert sees Europe in Africa as a privilege for Africa to develop.  Africans could have developed better than where she currently is today. He blamed African leaders as the problem of development. Both scholars are right in their explanations and perspectives to the coins of colonization.

But I will like the Africans themselves to answer this question: What is the secret of Chinese development? Why have the Africans failed to develop? Walter-Rodney_How

The colonizers were religiously motivated to deliver the African countries from their leaders. This was one of the reasons for colonialism. Till today, the richest groups of people in Africa are the religious leaders. They use the church money on their names and families to build universities that their one-thousandths members cannot afford. The largest private universities in Africa are located in Nigeria. These universities are owned by Muslims and Christian leaders. These universities hardly give scholarship to their poor members who lived by hunger to pay tithes and offering. The colonizers gave out scholarships up till now to Africans while these leaders want to build heaven on earth with the gain of their worshiping centers. The irony is that while the Africans with scholarship will prefer to stay back rather than coming down to be polluted by the system of underdevelopment, the African religious leaders have successfully created their own religion that the poor Africans will worship through them.

Development is embedded in culture. African traditional leaders are nobody in the face of development. They are the neglected institutions. Colonial masters at first made use of the traditional leaders to purify the culture of the Africans.  These African leaders misused these opportunities and increased the yoke on the shoulders of their people. Yokes of physical slavery, extortion and power exaggerations brought a re-think of African traditional institution.

Ekeh (1975) felt that Africa’s ‘common men’ politicians planned to take over the sacred seat. They fought and did so through, and with, propaganda. The traditional institution lost the seats of powers to new African elites who found themselves and terribly in the shoes of traditional leaders. The traditional African culture had suddenly become a mere form of  cover picture of lion and lioness of a nursery kid. African traditional institutions were corrupt, fought for the sovereignty enjoyed by them before colonization. They refused to believe that democracy simply means lay down the sovereignty for general purposes.

African [leaders] elite tenure of African development is the second colonization. Here, Rodney was right that colonization was evil. But Rodney will be wrong to associate this to the white folks. Africans at this stage took ransom of other Africans. Sudan resolved to pre-colonial concept feudalism. South Sudan became the slaves for the north Sudan. In Nigeria, corruption brought unforeseen segregation. There are the poor, those who worked as slaves in different government and private parastatals, and the rich who also work in these places. The rich have access to the resources of the nation.  They steal and assist their foreign partners-in-crime to accelerated stinking wealthiness.   They made laws to chain the poor; they are always justified by the judicial arms of government. Rodney refuses to see the underdevelopment of Africa from the irresponsible leadership posture and lack of meaningful vision on the part of African rulers and people. Obama made it clear in his visit to Ghana in 2014 that African will only be developed by the Africans. It is a waste of time and resources to conclude that Europeans alone underdeveloped Africa.

African culture refused to develop Africa because of this development-mute of African leaders’ positions. China was a colony of the British but managed to emerge a developed country, her language and products, law are China-centered. Africa development is being hampered by Africans.

11 Feb 2016

Metering Black Lives: Making MarShawn McCarrel Matter

When, actually if, McCarrel had voluntarily arrived the steps of Ohio Statehouse it did not occur to his activist colleagues and critics that that was his last outing in public and private.  According to posts on McCarrel’s Facebook page it appeared that some “demons” were upping their game in attacking the Black Lives Matter struggle organizer, and he, McCarrel, just not coincidentally, happens to be in the fore of their assault.  So how does taking out this promising young black African American male, an addition to the statistics on young black male murder or murdered in the United States of America cripple the fight against justice?  Exactly what kinds of threat does McCarrel constitute, if any, to his murder or murderers?

(more…)

09 Sep 2015

What make a brand success?

The European languages are members of the same family. Their separate existence is a myth. The languages only differ in their grammar, their pronunciation and their.