Monday, February 29, 2016

Patrice Lumumba: An Amazing Story

Malcolm X called him the most impressive black man ever to walk the African continent. Just six months after becoming the first prime minister of the newly independent Republic of the Congo (later called the Democratic Republic of the Congo), and two days before John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in January 1961, Patrice Lumumba was shot down by a firing squad. But Lumumba’s surprising path and sudden death serve as a powerful reminder that for political leaders in many parts of the world, true reform has only one major prerequisite: survival.
Few countries today are as troubled as the Congo, a land of 68 million nestled near the center of sub-Saharan Africa. Belgian invaders looted the country for almost a century, during perhaps the most brutal colonization in Africa. But Congo, rich in mineral resources like rubber, was once poised to be an African success story, thanks in no small part to the man his people called by one name: Lumumba.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

A Dying Nation, Its Travelling President And The Lying Party

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

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

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

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

State Of The Nigerian Economy

By Nebo Ike
When the decisions of the apex court on the 2015 election petitions, in which the ruling party (PDP) got badly wounded was announced, an air of succor came to the party when Govs Wike of Rivers State, Darius Ishiaku of Taraba State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, Admiral Murtala Nyako (rtd) of Adamawa State, Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State, and Senator David Mark of Benue South retained their seats.

*President Buhari with VP Osinbajo and
Finance Minister Mrs. Kemi Adeosun
Just about the same time its spokesperson Chief Olisa Metuh regained his constitutional freedom. Following simultaneously was PDP NEC meeting that saw Senator Alli Modi Sheriff as chairman, confirming the speculation that the party is bouncing high. However, the state of the economy worried PDP Think-Tank more than the allegation that its new national chairman was an imposition.

Legislation is one of the enabling environments for the rule of law, order, investment and good governance to flourish in any economy. There is no dearth of such laws in Nigeria. However, the economy does not look like one that benefit from those laws. Rather there is extreme poverty, hard times in the land and lack of commensurate growth showed by the economy. There is always scarcity of basic commodities needed by average citizens like kerosene, food items, communal facilities (Good network of road, Health and Education). Why do we have government from independence to 2016 that failed to deliver these basic infrastructures when government is a continuation of each previous one?

The situation on ground shows that no value is being added by successive government from 1973 when a Naira exchanged for more than a dollar, to now when almost N400.00 fetch only a dollar. It is clear that the productive sectors of any economy expand or contract its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The way successive governments have handled the economy gave rise to the present state where ghost workers syndrome has become a strangulating factor. Successful and buoyant economies are not a product of its GDP alone, but also as a result of legal protection of institutions and processes.

Extra Judicial Killings Of Igbo Youths By Nigerian Soldiers

By E O Eke
The lifeless and desecrated bodies of another batch of Igbo youth murdered by Nigerian soldiers on February 9, 2016 at National High School Aba, is another gruesome reminder of the brutality and high handedness with which the Buhari administration is addressing the non-violent protests by youths agitating for independent state of Biafra. When you view the recent massacre against the background that the victims were unarmed, were not violent and the crime was perpetrated by soldiers and police men from Northern  Nigeria, the significance and intention of the government becomes ominous. The use of disproportionate force and introduction of sectarian dimension raises serious concerns about the future of Nigeria

As the death toll of this unjustifiable pogrom rise, the silence of Igbo leaders is deafening. Why have Igbo leaders in position to reach out both to the government and protesters kept quiet? Is Nigeria is really a secular democracy? Has the governors, senators, members of the house of assembly and other elected politicians any real power to implement the will of the people and give hope to their wishes and aspirations? Are they aware of the Huge responsibility they carry on behalf of the people?

I am asking, how much more evil, bloodshed brutality and injustice do Nigerians want to see, before we act to stop this crime against humanity going in Igboland. The actions of the army is unconscionable. It is even more curious that the government withdrew soldiers fighting terrorists to murder non-violent protesters. The pictures of the atrocities are as nauseating as they are condemnable. They show the depravity of the minds behind them. It is difficult to imagine that the men responsible for these crimes have human conscience and what it takes to bear arms on behalf of a state.

There are neither reasons no justification for this massacre. It is even more disturbing that this is coming after we heard that President Muhammadu Buhari withdrew soldiers fighting Boko Haram and told them to go and deal with non-violent protesters in Igboland. It is happening as the president releases Boko Haram terrorists and Fulani herdsmen terrorising the country unchallenged.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Multiculturalism And The Igbo Identity

By Dan Amor
I would have loved to title our column this week, 'Buhari And The Igbo Question', but in order not to reduce this very important issue to mere verbalism by those who read banal political expediency into all serious issues, I plead that we settle for the above title.
*President Buhari 
 Multiculturalism has been the subject of cover stories of most international magazines including Time and Newsweek, as well as numerous articles in newspapers and magazines across the world. It has sparked heated jeremiads by leading American columnists such as George Will, Dinesh D'Sousa, and Roger Kimball. It moved William F. Buckley to rail against Stanley Fish and Catherine Stimpson  on "Firing Line.

It is arguably the most hotly debated topic in the civilised world today – and justly so. For whether one speaks of tensions between Hasidim and African-Americans in Crown Heights, or violent mass protests against Moscow in ethnic republics such as Armenia, or outright war between Serbs and Croats in Yugoslavia, it is clear that the clash of cultures is a worldwide problem, deeply felt, passionately expressed, always on the verge of violent explosion. Problems of this magnitude inevitably frame the discussion of multiculturalism and cultural diversity even among leading intellectuals across the world. Yet, it is unfortunate that, in Nigeria, the vexed issues of racism, nationalism and cultural identity are downplayed by our commentators and analysts because some think that they and their tribes are not directly affected.

Few commentators could have predicted that one of the issues that dominated academic and popular discourse in the final decade of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first century 
– concomitant with the fall of apartheid in South Africa, communism in Russia, and the subsequent dissolution of the Soviet Union – would be the matter of cultural pluralism in our secondary school and university curricula and its relation to the "Nigerian" national identity. Repeated experience and routine violations of the rights of minorities and the Igbo nation in Nigeria attest to the urgency of the scattered, and often confused, debates over what is variously known as cultural diversity, cultural pluralism, or multiculturalism. 

The greatest threat to the string that binds us together as a nation of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds and its social intercourse is not nationalistic cultural passions but our collective failure to discuss our differences and the arrogant manifestation of messianic impudence by our rulers who think that they possess the sole authority to dictate what should be talked about and what not to discuss in our country. Increasing incidents of violence are associated with ethnic differences in very many places in the world: Koreans and African-Americans in Flatbush, Brooklyn; Zulus and Xhosas in South Africa; Poles and Gypsies in Poland; the Tutsis and Hutu in Rwanda; the Hausa/Fulani and Igbo in Nigeria; and, of course, the fate of the Jews in Ethiopia and in the old Soviet Union.

Nigeria: A Government In Denial

By Ikechukwu Amaechi
My daughter’s nanny, Mama Ike, came to work recently with a mischievous smirk on her face. I couldn’t figure out what the matter was but it was apparent she was excited about something. Then, she blurted out.

“Oga,” she quipped, “Is it true that the president had run away?”
 “Which president?” I asked her, flummoxed.

“Our president, (Muhammadu) Buhari,” she riposted matter-of-factly.
“No,” I told her. “It is not true. “He is on a five-day vacation.”

I didn’t convince her as she held tenaciously to her piece of information, literally accusing Buhari of going on AWOL.

“Oga, are you sure? They said the man had run away ooo! In fact, the story in my neighborhood this morning was that the man had run away. Some boys living in our area said they had never seen or heard of this kind of thing before. That the president of a country would run away from office.”

I told her that it was not true but the incredulous look on her puckered face told me without any scintilla of doubt that she was not swayed by my explanation.

Of course, the president did not run away. It is unthinkable that such could happen.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Nkrumah’s Overthrow Regrettable

By ASP James Annan
The first President of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, was unconstitutionally ousted from office through a military and police coup d’état on February 24, 1966. This year marks exactly 50years since the Convention People’s Party (CPP) government was overthrown.
Dr. Kwame Nkrumah
According to declassified documents from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 1999, the then US government had been trying to influence some people to overthrow President Nkrumah since 1964.

Apparently, Dr. Nkrumah was seen as an ally of the then Soviet Union and Eastern Europe during the ‘Cold War’. But the pan-Africanist leader declared his stance and made the famous statement, “We neither face East nor West; we face forward”.

On February 21, 1966, President Nkrumah left Ghana for Hanoi, the Democratic Republic of North Vietnam, at the invitation of President Ho Chi Minh to resolve the Vietnam War. Ghana was left under the control of a three-man Presidential Commission.

Consequently, the CIA backed-coup in Ghana was carried out at the dawn of February 24, 1966, while Nkrumah was still on peace mission in Asia.

Among the key figures who staged the revolution were Col. E.K. Kotoka, Major A.A. Afrifa, and the then Inspector-General of Police, Mr. J.W.K. Harley.

The famous coup-makers cited Nkrumah’s Preventive Detection Act, corruption, dictatorial practices, oppression, and the deteriorating economy of Ghana as the principal reasons for the uprising.

Nigerian Economy: Has Buhari Lost Grip?

By Bola Bolawole 
The advice by Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, that President Muhammadu Buhari summon an emergency meeting on the economy appears on the surface innocuous but deep down, it is fully loaded and ominous.
On a visit to the Dr. Josef Goebbels of the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Soyinka called for an emergency conference on the economy to which people outside government circles will also be invited, such as consumers, producers, Labour unions, experts on the economy, University egg-heads, among others.
Note Soyinka’s exact words: “I think we really need an emergency economic conference, a rescue operation bringing as many heads as possible together to plot the way forward.” We must also note that the Nobel Laureate, being not just a man of letters but also one with an internationally-acclaimed mastery of the English Language, gingerly and delectably picks his words. He means the words that he uses; no idle or wasteful word is allowed.
So, look at the words he chose to employ in just that sentence: “I think we really need…” meaning that it was a carefully thought-out process that brought out his advice; he was not whimsical about it. He did not just wake up from the wrong side of his bed to begin to rant; the advice was his considered opinion.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Opposition Youths Protest Against Mugabe's Birthday Bash

*Robert Mugabe, with wife and children, cut his 92nd birthday
cake during a  'surprise' Birthday party for him by his staff 
A group of youths belonging to Zimbabwe's opposition have protested against plans to hold another birthday party for President Robert Mugabe in Masvingo this weekend.
Mugabe's staff held a 'surprise' 92nd birthday party for the president on Monday in Harare, complete with an elaborate cake, the official Chronicle newspaper reported.
A photograph posted to Twitter by Morgan Tsvangirai ally, Chalton Hwende, showed a small group of youths holding posters demonstrating along a major street in Masvingo. One of the posters read, "We want jobs not bash" in a reference to the birthday party, due to be held on Saturday in the drought-stricken province.
Said @hwende: "MDC-T Youths today [Tuesday] in Masvingo demonstrated against the hosting of a $800 000 (R12 million) Mugabe birthday party."
Movement for Democratic Change spokesperson, Obert Gutu, said he had heard that members of the party's youth assembly had staged a demonstration in Masvingo but he was unable to give further details.
He hinted that there would be more "activity" in the next few days.
Mugabe's first birthday party was actually not a surprise at all, the Chronicle reported the president as saying. "Every year, I now know that once I strike another birthday, this event is bound to follow," he said.
Footage of the party showed Mugabe and his wife Grace seated on a pink sofa while his staff sang several verses of Happy Birthday. 

Why Nigeria Needs A Reboot

By Jeff Okoroafor
Is the country better off today as it was eight, nine months ago when a well respected, self-disciplined and fearless man in the name of Muhammadu Buhari, walked into the Aso Villa and vowed to work tirelessly for his people? There’s definitely no justifiable or modest way to respond to this question without looking at facts and figures – unemployment rate and economic growth rate.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), unemployment rate in the first quarter of last year, 2015, jumped to 7.5 percent, compared to 6.4 percent reached in the fourth quarter of 2014. Third quarter of same year, 2015, pegged it at 9.90 percent from 8.20 percent in the second quarter of same year. Today, according to Trading Economics, unemployment rate has risen to approximately 26.0 percent. On the economic growth rate, the NBS report of 2015 indicated that the real growth rate of the monetary value of all goods and services produced in the country during the period of 2015 slowed to 2.4 percent Y-o-Y, down from 4.0 percent in Q1, 2015 and 6.5 percent in Q2, 2014. Presently, the percentage growth rate of our economy is 2.8 percent or approximately 3.0 percent. Based on these criteria, it is safe to state confidently, that the country is not better off today as it was eight, nine months ago when Buhari took over.

What Does Museveni’s Victory Mean For Uganda?

Yoweri Museveni was re-elected for another five years in Uganda’s recent elections, extending his 30-year mandate in the East African country.
The elections and results were not without controversy. At least one opposition supporter died in the run-up to voting on Thursday, while leading opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) candidate Kizza Besigye was arrested four times in eight days.
Kenyan Journalist, Linus Kaikai, Interviews Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, 
On NTVKenya, Nairobi, (May 1, 2011)

The international community has provided a spectrum of responses to the elections, with the U.S. and EU criticizing the vote while Russia and Uganda’s neighbors Kenya and Burundi hailed the re-election of the 71-year-old president. While parliamentary results are not yet finalized, Museveni’s National Resistance Movement (NRM) looks set to retain its dominance in the legislature: The ruling party held 259 of 385 seats prior to the 2016 election, compared to the FDC’s 36.

Yoweri Museveni: African Political Thug Or Democratic Realist?

*President Museveni

By Alexander Opicho
Observing the 2016 general elections in Uganda brings to the surface a strong controversy between political science and governance as social practices. The contest that was between Museveni and the two veteran opposition politicians, Kizza Besigye and Mbabazi has been concluded with violence and strong possibilities of future violence, in spite of the fact that it has left Museven as the winner to his now seventh term as the president of Uganda or his 31st year as the president of Uganda.

This has happened on the backdrop of age-long heavy poverty, abuse of human rights, joblessness and despair, tormenting fear, squalorism, shameful diseases like leprosy, punctured education system, palpable police brutality and hostility, corruption, brotherism, oppression of the press and rights to freedom of the speech as well as irritating culture of political falstaffity by President Museven as the day to day experience of the people of Uganda. What I mean is observing politics in Uganda will lead you to nothing else but to a conclusion that democracy is a beautiful paralysis of human hope beyond any diagnosis known to mankind today and tomorrow.

To be concise Museveni might have won the presidential elections or maybe he has not won, that is not the problem; the issue is how Museveni monkey-wrenched the entire electoral process by using police and military brutality to destroy all the fairness in the election process. Those that watched or saw Museveni using military power to terrorize and humiliate his key opponent Dr Kizza Besigye will be activated mentally to remember the former military dictators that extremely employed armies in police uniforms to mayhem the unarmed civilians, I mean to remember the likes of San Abacha of Nigeria, Arap Moi of Kenya and Idi Amin Dada of Uganda.

A Word For President Buhari

By Abiodun Komolafe
FOR those who care to know, I am a passionate supporter of the Muhammadu Buhari cause and that position is not about to change! As a matter of fact, my preference in the March 28, 2015 Presidential Election through which Buhari eventually became Nigeria’s first opposition candidate ever to defeat an incumbent president, was a product of my convictions and until I have sufficient reasons to change course, my preference remains on course. Be that as it may, surprise will be the appropriate word should I fail to make the list of the  ‘Cult of Wailing Wailers’ as a result of this piece which I believe is in the overall interest of my country.
Whichever way the pendulum swings, the good news is that, within a very short time in office, Buhari has, to a great extent, succeeded in rescuing Nigeria from the jaws of a predatory elite and a band of merit-devalued interlopers who have for close to two decades deprived Nigeria of her gold and silver. However, this is not to say that I envy the president, not even with the scourge of impunity that has turned Nigeria into a morass of incensed screeches where priorities are misplaced with unimaginable perfidy and, responsibilities, shifted with unrivaled pomposity.
Like the Biblical ten plagues, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, passed through our land and all we could feel were pinches of hypocrisy and pains of stagnation. Its bunch of yo-yos insulted our collective intelligence with unimaginable artificiality and its crop of educated-but-politically-incompetent hands, “celestially” endowed to take care of the downtrodden, only used their “celestial weapons” to mortgage our commonwealth. And, as if the gods were angry, meanness replaced magnificence; and, in place conviction, we had deception.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

John Oyegun’s And APC’s Goofs

By Sunny Ikhioya

A PARTY that rode to power through the popular sentiments of the people now crying sabotage, what an irony. Maybe Femi Aribisala was too hasty in his comment of Tuesday February 2016 when he said: “When the incredible issue of a missing/counterfeited 2016 budget arose some weeks ago, I was expecting to hear from APC that Goodluck Jonathan was to blame. Surprisingly, that did not happen. Instead, blame was traded between the Presidency and the National Assembly.”
*Tinubu, Buhari and Oyegun
That same day, this is what Chief John Odigie Oyegun, APC national Chairman said to the press: “APC members were not concerned about the positions. We are concerned about the internal sabotage that is going on in a lot of the PDP filled positions which are critical to our national growth and development”. 

This was captioned under the headline; “Head of Parastatals Sacked Due to Sabotage by PDP Positions – Oyegun”, Vanguard of 16th February’ 2016. 

The members of the APC are still afflicted by the ‘I know it all syndrome’, so they have refused to come down from their high horses to assess where things have gone wrong. They are averse to criticisms and that has blighted their ability to see things the way they are supposed to be. The contradictions in the party was foretold right from the onset, all that was needed is a leader that can properly blend these competing interests towards a common goal. The president has not been able to do much in that area. Unfortunately, John Oyegun who is an acclaimed seasoned administrator is doing much worse. “Conscience is an open wound”, according to Uthman dan Fodio, “only the truth can heal it”.

For as long as Oyegun and his APC hawks continue to shy away from the truth and continue to defend the indefensible, we will continue to witness such blunders like the 2016 budget. We must not confuse the rot in the Civil Service with that of the PDP. We have said it before that, there will be no genuine change in this country if it does not address the the rot in the Civil Service and other government agencies. President Muhammadu Buhari wasted six months placing people he deemed fit into strategic positions and when he thought everything had been done perfectly, he announced his ministerial cabinet. 

Our Soyinka Has Gone Wrong Again

*Wole Soyinka and Lai Mohammed

By Chuks Iloegbunam
The first time Wole Soyin­ka misdirected himself, it had to do with his “cautious endorsement” of Muhammadu Buhari’s presi­dential candidacy. He offered a platter of reasons for the stunning faux pas, of course. But, post-election, his out of sync reading of Nigerian politics has been pa­tently exposed.

To recap, it happened that in the run-up to the presidential ballot, Professor Soyinka, long time combatant on the side of the oppressed, announced that the best thing that could happen to Nigeria was a President Buhari. His rationalization:

“It is point­lessly, and dangerously provoca­tive to present General Buhari as something that he probably was not. It is however just as purblind to insist that he has not demon­strably striven to become what he most glaringly was not, to insist that he has not been chastened by intervening experience and – most critically – by a vastly trans­formed environment – both the localized and the global.”

Aware that his about-face would set teeth on edge, Soyinka took the pains to further explain his Road-to-Damascus conver­sion. He had become a Buhari flag-waver, having “studied him from a distance, questioned those who have closely interacted with him, including his former run­ning-mate, Pastor Bakare, and dissected his key utterances past and current.” He underpinned his implausible argument with his location in Buhari of “a plausible transformation that comes close to that of another ex-military dictator, Mathieu Kerekou of the Benin Republic.” 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Abduction And Forced Marriage Of 13 Year-Old Girl: Impunity Stretched Beyond Comprehension!

*The Victim - Ese Rita Oruru
1. On 12 August, 2015, 13 years old Ms Ese Rita Oruru did not return home 
2. Efforts made by the parents to locate Ese led to one Mohammed (aka Daidi) who informed the mother that one Mr. Yinusa (alias Yellow) had taken the said Miss Ese Rita Oruru to Kano with an intention to convert her into Islam, recruit her into an Islamic fanatical Group and marry her.
3. Acting on the above information, Mrs. Rose Oruru approached one Dan Kano, who not only confirmed the story but also promised to take her to Kano to recover her daughter.
4. Notwithstanding the above promise made, the said Dan Kano rescinded on his promise and rather sent one Rabiu to accompany Mrs. Rose Oruru to Kano.
5. On the 14th of August, 2015 the journey to Kano was embarked on, arriving after midnight. The said Rabiu took Mrs. Rose Oruru to the chief of a village called Tufa in Kura Local Government Area of Kano State on the 15th of August, 2015.
6. After relaying the purpose of their visit, the said chief was furious with Rabiu for bringing Mrs. Rose Oruru to Kano and told them that the said Miss Ese Rita Oruru has been converted to Islam and renamed “Aisha”, married and that the child was no longer her child. He also informed them that Miss Ese Rita Oruru was in the custody of the Emir of Kano Sanusi Lamido Sanusi at the Palace.
7. Moving forward, Mrs. Rose Oruru in the company of Rabiu approached the Emir of Kano’s Palace but met a stiff opposition by several youth, they were pushed out of the Palace.

US On Uganda's Presidential Elections

Press Statement
*Museveni and Obama
The United States commends the Ugandan people for participating actively and peacefully in the February 18 elections. While the vote occurred without major unrest, we must acknowledge numerous reports of irregularities and official conduct that are deeply inconsistent with international standards and expectations for any democratic process.

Delays in the delivery of voting materials, reports of pre-checked ballots and vote buying, ongoing blockage of social media sites, and excessive use of force by the police, collectively undermine the integrity of the electoral process. The Ugandan people deserved better. We are also concerned by the continued house arrest of opposition presidential candidate Kizza Besigye. We call for his immediate release and the restoration of access to all social media sites.

We encourage those who wish to contest the election results to do so peacefully and in accordance with Uganda’s laws and judicial process, and urge the Ugandan government to respect the rights and freedoms of its people and refrain from interference in those processes.
Mark C. Toner
Washington, DC
February 20, 2016

The Demise Of Naira: Foundation Built On Shifting Sand

By Emeka Chiakwelu
“… Likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”-Matthew 7:27
By now we all know the story of naira, the value is collapsing and its malleability threaten the dwindling Nigeria’s economy. To be candid, there is no need to beat around the bush; the whole truth is that the future of naira as a principally medium of exchange is very bleak, if not in doubt.
The implication is not that Nigeria’s reserve bank will abandon naira as an operating currency and come up with another currency with a new nomenclature and different denominations. Not in affirmative, the mechanics of operation of a prevailing currency is its acceptability. As the participating marketers in a base monetary market losses interest in a given currency, then its function as an instrument for business transaction will be dramatically diminished. This episode will open door to the introduction of foreign currencies in a local transactions.
In this case, international currencies specifically dollars and pounds will displaced local naira in trading, commercialization and transaction on consumer market level. This scenario has already started happening with naira. Nigerians are now more interested in dollars than in naira. Even using dollar as an indicator to measure and deduce the price and value of a commodity in the supposedly naira dominated sphere. This implies that dollars and pounds are acting as a’ gold reserve’ for naira.

The Niger Delta Cauldron

By Julius Oweh
The recent bombing of crude oil and gas pipelines in some communities in Warri South West local council of Delta State has once again raised the ugly spectre of militancy and the threat it poses to the economy. Coming at time when the price of crude oil is nose-diving and the resultant dwindling revenue, those responsible for the pipeline bombings are the very enemies of the nation.
(pix: Vanguard)
No matter the degree of grievances and given the generous amnesty programme of the federal government, these criminals must be sanctioned according to the relevant laws of the nation. And this was the theme worked on by the presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina while appealing to the community leaders to tell the government the whereabouts of such people and that it was no use shielding them.

This is how Adesina couched his appeal: "Ijaw communities need not fear. What they can rather do is to hand over culprits hiding in their midst to the authorities. If they have identified those who blew up pipelines, and who are taking refuge in their communities, as good citizens, they should hand them over to the law enforcement agents." This is the civilized and best approach to the matter and it subtracts very much from patriotism for some people using jaundiced reasons to justify the blowing up of the pipelines, the economic lifeline of the nation.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Boko Haram Is About Human Lives, Not Territories

By Ahmad Salkida
NIGERIA has been known to place a deplorable value on the lives of her citizens. It seems to run in the veins of successive administrations. And none has been more disturbing than the inclination to celebrate the much hyped technical defeat of Boko Haram over the continual massacre of defenceless citizens in the war-ravaged Northeast region of Nigeria as well as in camps holding numerous distressed Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
Add caption
Yes, ‘Boko Haram or the ‘Islamic’ State West Africa Provence (ISWAP) as they preferred to be called, may no longer lash out and hold territories as it used to, but this should not be held up as a victory by Nigerian officials who proudly celebrate their “technical defeat” of the group. The group still operates and kills at will in these areas. Is it the priority of government to protect deserted territories from being reoccupied by Boko Haram or, end further massacres and sufferings visited on civilian populations in the region? If the two are one and the same, then, Nigeria and the rest of the West African countries confronted with the Boko Haram conundrum are years from celebrating any victory.
Apparently, Boko Haram’s priority is not to spare the lives of the people in the communities they overrun in the Lake Chad area. They have come to realise the hard way that, it is rather implausible to enforce their model of the Sharia on the kaffirs, which is how they view the larger Nigerian society. Why, then, are government officials focusing on the diminished expanse of territories under the group’s control as an indication of a war won and settled?

Friday, February 19, 2016

Restructure NERC Now!

...Speaking For Power System Engineers In The Nigerian Power Sector
By Idowu Oyebanjo
Power System Engineers have always maintained that the gains of the privatisation process cannot be felt except if conscious effort is made to involve qualified Power Systems experts to lead the course. The most recent addition to this urgent call or advice to a nation in darkness is the one from Engineer Otis Anyaeji, the current president and council chairman of the Nigerian Society of Engineers on why and how the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) should be restructured. 
*Fashola, Minister of Power 
Engineer Otis Anyaeji, in his interview with Tajudeen Suleiman in this month's TELL Magazine on why and how the government should restructure NERC has this to say:

"They just have to appoint an Engineer as Chairman, an Engineer each to regulate generation, transmission, system operation, distribution and marketing. That is to say, five of the commissioners must be Engineers while the other two can come from support services"

I cannot express it better!

One should praise the courage and devotion towards the revamping of the electricity industry in Nigeria by Lawyers and Economists who tried their best in the last ten years as Commissioners of NERC. However, they should have known that Law is in no way relevant to the management of electricity business especially one that is in the kind of chaos the NESI is. Advanced economies whose models are copied hook, line and sinker, have had stable electricity for decades before toying with Lawyers and Economists to manage electricity business. When did we lose our collective senses?

Only Power System Engineers who know their onions can save NESI, of course with a few lawyers and economists just for mere guidance. Power System is a unique field. The greatest damage done was to put Lawyers and Economists as Commissioners in numbers greater than Power Engineers, because, try as you may, you will move in circles. There will be no electricity. It is a career that some have spent their years to pursue, how easily can it then be replaced by those who pursued a different career running away from the almighty equations of physics and mathematics back in the days. 

How Not to Defend Buhari

By Moses E. Ochonu

There is a roving, seemingly ubiquitous army of Nigerians who have appointed themselves defenders of President Buhari. Unfortunately, by employing offensive and ineffective logics and tactics, these fanatical supporters of the president are doing more reputational harm than good to their hero, and turning away compatriots who would otherwise be willing to give the president a fair hearing on the mounting disappointments with his administration.
Yesterday, I saw an update on my Facebook timeline with the following words: “if Jonathan had won, the dollar would be exchanging for N1000.” This was apparently advanced to counter the criticism of the naira’s current free fall under the confused monetary policy of this administration.
Where does one begin on this fanatically blind, impulsive defence of Buhari? First of all, that statement begins from a premise of absence, which is a no-no in logic. Jonathan did not win, so we do not and cannot know what would have happened to the naira had he won. That belongs in the realm of known unknowns, to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld.
Historians call this counterfactual logic or argument. And, by the way, since when did Jonathan become the baseline of comparison for the author(s) of this Facebook update?
Second, it is a defence that slyly attempts to divert our attention away from the current Forex reality, which is that under Buhari the naira has lost about 40 percent of its value against the dollar in the parallel market. We can debate the extent to which this is the fault of the fiscal and monetary policies of the president, but that is a separate conversation.
Third, the defence is premised on a negative — that is, the fact that the dollar does NOT (yet) exchange for N1000, instead of on the fact that it DOES exchange for N360, which is about N150 more than it exchanged under Jonathan. In this warped reasoning, we should only start complaining about Buhari’s monetary policies when the dollar begins to exchange for more than N1000!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Was Lai Mohammed The Man For The Job?

*Lai Mohammed
By Ochereome Nnanna
In 1996, when the first phase of the Liberian civil war was ending, one of the warlords, Brigadier General Yormie Johnson (who personally killed former dictator, the late President Samuel Doe) wrote a pamphlet where he recorded his random musings about the war and his philosophical attitudes to some issues connected thereto. He titled the book: The Gun That Liberates Should Not Rule.
His argument is that a liberator’s role is to remove the problem and then give way to those who have the capacity to correct it. If the gun that liberates mounts the throne, it will turn the liberator into a dictator. While most of the warlords who drove away Doe from power (such as Charles Taylor) jostled for leadership, Johnson simply came to Lagos to cool his heels, perhaps, his own way of walking his talk. His postulations were later proved right, because Charles Taylor went on to become an even deadlier dictator than Doe and today, answers for his crimes at the Hague.
However, there are those who would fiercely disagree with Johnson’s argument. They would ask: What is the point of putting your hide on the line to drive away the perceived source of a nation’s problems if you cannot pick the courage to show you can do better? The tendency of most people who participate in getting rid of an entrenched ruling class is to entertain the feeling of legitmate entitlement to be part of the government that replaces it. Let’s face it: The 2015 presidential election was historic. The removal of a ruling party from power through the polls rather than through the gun barrel was hitherto seen as an impossibility in our political cosmos. But it happened.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed was the voice of the then opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), which performed the feat of dethroning the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). You and I know that during elections, the truth is usually forced on a compulsory leave by all contestants. What remain are cleverly dressed-up falshood, hyperboles, false promises, false statistics, angelic characterisation of mere mortals and their dressing up in borrowed robes, diversion of attention from things that matter and the playing up of inanities to fool the gullible voter; in short, PROPAGANDA and its sly accoutrements.

Budget 2016: Zero Brianed Concoction

 By Magnus Onyibe
To save face, it is the case that something or somebody must be blamed whenever something goes awry with a project or policy in a public or corporate sector organization. That explains why, Zero Based Budgeting, ZBB, which is the latest policy innovation of government aimed at arresting corruption in the public sector, is the ‘fall guy’ of budget 2016, as it were.
*President Buhari presents the 2016 Appropriation to the National Assembly 
To douse the tension raised by the unsavory discoveries in the proposed 2016 appropriation bill, the Budget and National planning minister, Udoma Udo Udoma, has opted like a good lieutenant to shield President Muhammadu Buhari from the darts being thrown at him as a result of the unfolding budget fiasco.
With ZBB being held up as the culprit, Minister Udoma is absolved from blame; President Buhari is protected and the civil servants are covered, but the citizens are suffering untold hardships as the budget which calls for greater scrutiny, is now bogged down at the National Assembly, NASS, much longer than the initial February deadline.
Legislators who are reneging on their earlier pledge of speedy passage of the 2016 appropriation bill before the end of February are justified in their decision. This is because the chaff has to be sieved from the seed of the highly bastardized budget to allow the long suffering Nigerian masses enjoy optimum benefits of the resources of the country whose potentials have remained in pendency.
Assuming the complexity of ZBB truly is the cause of the disaster that has befallen budget 2016, is ZBB also responsible for the shoddy, if not shady manner in which the budget was sneaked out of NASS for amendment ostensibly by the presidential adviser on National Assembly, Senator Ita Enang? How about the discovery by the committee on judiciary that the provision for Investment and Securities Tribunal, IST, in the 2016 budget is exactly a replication of the 2015 document? Is what happened to the IST budget not evidence of the continuity of the erstwhile envelope pushing budget system said to have been replaced in the 2016 budget with ZBB which compels creating a budget from ground zero?
Aside the discovery of about N10bn as fictitious provision for a strange budget head in Education Ministry, legislators have also rejected the same ministry’s budget as being completely different from what Mr President presented to the parliament.

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