Thursday, March 31, 2016

Corruption In Kenya Is A Mere Pitfall Of National Consciousness

By Alexander Opicho
Kenya, in its capacity as a state and a government is now a victim of uncontrollable corruptions. The media of all type from both within and without has conclusively called Kenya as a country of mega corruption. The president so far has accepted that his country is a society of state thievery.
President Uhuru Kenyatta (pix: The Nation) 
This is great as acceptance is the only first critical point from which you start solving a problem. President Kenyatta is correctly diagnostic, Kenya as a political and state organization is currently under lethal threat of mega-theft of crown properties by state officers, a vice that is only self-pertuating through generations as a mere pitfall of national consciousness riding on the crest of self-idolatry of the tribes in love with the selves while putting on the dark blinkers even to a simple damn for the humanity in poverty that makes social geography of this country on the western shores of the Indian ocean.
What am I saying? I am saying that it is not the absolute duty of the state and government to fight corruption, but instead they are the people of Kenya that are bound to be wary and supposed to come out of sweet sentimentalities of tribal cocoonery and firmly say no to corruption and the corrupt leaders, especially the leaders as fellow tribesmen. It is so unfortunate that the people of Kenya expect a bourgeoisie state like the one in Kenya to fight corruption. It is impossible. History of politics is a repertoire of technical facts confirming a testament that bourgeoisie political organizations cannot fight corruption in the political class, instead the state is a basic tool which the economic bourgeoisie and the political bourgeoisie use as a tool of oppression for properly smashing the common person and the peasantry into a forlorn social station of the wretched of the earth.

Buhari, Tinubu And Anti-Kachikwu Hysteria

By Paul Onomuakpokpo  
Having crashed from the dizzy heights of the grand dreams of prosperity and equity of the All Progressives Congress (APC) government led by President Muhammadu Buhari, the citizens who are desperately in search of succour are faced with the danger of snatching whatever promises to ameliorate their plight. What is amply being demonstrated now is that the citizens’ straitened circumstances could blur their capacity to make a distinction between those who really love them and are genuinely committed to their well-being and those who would gleefully turn their blighted condition into a populist stunt to leverage their social and political capital.
*Tinubu and President Buhari
The citizens who have been left in the lurch by the APC government after winning the presidential election may agree with Bola Tinubu that what Minister of State for Petroleum Ibe Kachikwu owes Nigerians is a public apology and not smugly applauding himself from an Olympian height for how much he has deployed his ingenuity  to supply the citizens fuel amid highly discouraging odds.  Yet, the citizens must take cognisance of the need to avoid being corralled into a turf war that is not actually designed to benefit them. We do not need to probe how much love of the people Tinubu demonstrated while he was the governor of Lagos State. What we observe now from his position as a leader of the ruling party is enough for us. He was instrumental to the emergence of Buhari as president. It was apparently to avoid indicting himself that Tinubu would not like to blame Buhari for the failure of his government. For Tinubu cannot really say that he found in Buhari administrative genius that compelled him to recommend him to Nigerians as the best presidential material last year. In this regard, we are reminded of the attempts by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to divorce himself from the crises sired by the inability of  his successor Musa Yar’ Adua to govern effectively after being hobbled by an illness that he never recovered from.
To be sure, the nation’s fuel crisis is aggravated by the erratic supply of electricity. This is a sector managed by Babatunde  Fashola whom Tinubu imposed on Lagos State residents for eight years.  On account of Tinubu’s newfangled love for the well-being of the citizens, he should have  issued a statement bristling with rage at  Fashola’s abandonment of   his responsibility of providing the citizens improved electricity. Or does Tinubu not consider it revoltingly illogical for  Fashola to compel the citizens to pay more for electricity they are not provided? Which should come first, the provision of meters for the citizens or their paying more for electricity? Would the citizens not readily pay their bills if they were metered and they were convinced that they were paying for what they consumed?

Chibok Girls Not Missing –Fayose

Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, on Wednesday declared that no pupil was abducted by Boko Haram from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State.
Over 200 pupils of the school were reportedly abducted in 2014 by the terror group.

The governor said the report was politically motivated to influence public opinion against the Goodluck Jonathan administration ahead of the 2015 general elections.
Fayose spoke while declaring open a two-day workshop on “Political Aspirants Capacity Enhancement” organised by Women Arise for Change Initiative. It was organised for women from Ekiti, Osun and Ondo states.

He said, “Today, many opposition leaders are underground. I don’t think any of these girls is missing; it is a political strategy. Who is fooling who? If you wanted to use it to remove some people, you have succeeded already.
“I don’t know if there are missing girls but no indication has shown that. It is a political strategy, because I don’t think any girl is missing. If they are missing, let them find them.”
 
*Gov Fayose 
The governor also took a swipe at #BringBackOurGirls campaigners, saying some of them are using it to look for appointments.
He lamented that human rights groups had decided to keep quite since President Muhammadu Buhari came on board.
Fayose said, “I’m concerned about the activities of human rights groups. Today the government of the day is obeying court order of their choice, while human rights are not respected.
“We must talk about government providing cover for criminals. You are now using that person to harass innocent person. You will never have peace when you hide justice.”

He added, “Police came into town yesterday (Tuesday) to arrest political opponents. If you like, demonise me, I will demonise you. I don’t need the police and the SSS (Department of State Services) to walk in my state. It is when you are not popular that you walk with police.
“Any government that rises against me, that government will come down. I’m Peter the rock. By engaging me, you make me more popular and relevant and then court sympathy. I’m one person that is going places. That is why all these challenges are against me.”

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

My Life As A Sex-Trafficking Victim

Shandra Woworuntu arrived in the US hoping to start a new career in the hotel industry. Instead, she found she had been trafficked into a world of prostitution and sexual slavery, forced drug-taking and violence. It was months before she was able to turn the tables on her persecutors. Some readers may find her account of the ordeal upsetting.
HER STORY
I arrived in the United States in the first week of June, 2001. To me, America was a place of promise and opportunity. As I moved through immigration I felt excited to be in a new country, albeit one that felt strangely familiar from movies and TV.
In the arrivals hall I heard my name, and turned to see a man holding a sign with my picture. It wasn't a photo I cared for very much. The recruitment agency in Indonesia had dressed me up in a revealing tank top. But the man holding it smiled at me warmly. His name was Johnny, and I was expecting him to drive me to the hotel I would be working in.
The fact that this hotel was in Chicago, and I had arrived at JFK airport in New York nearly 800 miles away, shows how naive I was. I was 24 and had no idea what I was getting into.
After graduating with a degree in finance, I had worked for an international bank in Indonesia as an analyst and trader. But in 1998, Indonesia was hit by the Asian financial crisis, and the following year the country was thrown into political turmoil. I lost my job…
…I arrived at JFK with four other women and a man, and we were divided into two groups. Johnny took all my documents, including my passport, and led me to his car with two of the other women.
That was when things started to get strange.
A driver took us a short way, to Flushing in Queens, before he pulled into a car park and stopped the car. Johnny told the three of us to get out and get into a different car with a different driver. We did as we were told, and I watched through the window as the new driver gave Johnny some money. I thought, "Something here is not right," but I told myself not to worry, that it must be part of the way the hotel chain did business with the company they used to pick people up from the airport.
…But the new driver didn't take us very far either. He parked outside a diner, and again we had to get out of the car and get into another one, as money changed hands. Then a third driver took us to a house, and we were exchanged again.
The fourth driver had a gun. He forced us to get in his car and took us to a house in Brooklyn, then rapped on the door, calling "Mama-san! New girl!"
By this time I was freaking out, because I knew "Mama-san" meant the madam of a brothel. But by this time, because of the gun, there was no escape.
The door swung open and I saw a little girl, perhaps 12 or 13, lying on the ground screaming as a group of men took turns to kick her. Blood poured from her nose and she was howling, screaming in pain. One of the men grinned and started fooling around with a baseball bat in front of me, as if in warning.
And just a few hours after my arrival in the US, I was forced to have sex.
I was terrified, but something in my head clicked into place - some kind of survival instinct. I learned from witnessing that first act of violence to do what I was told…
…Then I looked at my escort and saw he was concealing a gun, and he was watching me. He made a gesture that told me not to try anything.
Later that day our group was split up and I was to see little of those two women again. I was taken away by car, not to Chicago, but to a place where my traffickers forced me to perform sex acts.
The traffickers were Indonesian, Taiwanese, Malaysian Chinese and American. Only two of them spoke English - mostly, they would just use body language, shoves, and crude words. One thing that especially confused and terrified me that night, and that continued to weigh on me in the weeks that followed, was that one of the men had a police badge. To this day I don't know if he was a real policeman.
They told me I owed them $30,000 and I would pay off the debt $100 at a time by serving men. Over the following weeks and months, I was taken up and down Interstate 95, to different brothels, apartment buildings, hotels and casinos on the East Coast. I was rarely two days in the same place, and I never knew where I was or where I was going.
These brothels were like normal houses on the outside and discos on the inside, with flashing lights and loud music. Cocaine, crystal meth and weed were laid out on the tables. The traffickers made me take drugs at gunpoint, and maybe it helped make it all bearable. Day and night, I just drank beer and whisky because that's all that was on offer. I had no idea that you could drink the tap water in America.
Twenty-four hours a day, we girls would sit around, completely naked, waiting for customers to come in. If no-one came then we might sleep a little, though never in a bed. But the quiet times were also when the traffickers themselves would rape us. So we had to stay alert. Nothing was predictable.


Nigeria’s Professional Excuse Makers

By Moses Ochonu
Professional excuse makers are enablers of bad governance. We dealt with them during the last administration. We're dealing with them yet again in this one. Yesterday, I posted (on my facebook page) a simple inquiry about why President Buhari was going to the US to attend a nuclear non-proliferation summit when Nigeria has no civilian or military nuclear industry. The silly excuses started pouring in, muddying the reasonable ones.
*President Buhari 
Someone even said that as the most populous black nation, Nigeria should attend the summit. What blackness and population has to do with nuclear non-proliferation is not spelt out.

For several people, the fact that Nigeria was invited was enough, meaning that Buhari should attend every international meeting Nigeria is invited to regardless of its relevance to Nigeria's national interest. And by the way, it is Nigeria that was invited, not Buhari, which begs the question of why he had to go himself.

Other commenters speculated that he may be going to observe and learn about nuclear technology, since Nigeria plans to turn to nuclear technology for power generation in the future. Two retorts to that. First, the press release announcing the trip simply stated that he was attending the summit and did not mention why he is doing so, leaving Nigerians scratching their heads, wondering and speculating. This same chain of events occurred when the presidency announced that PMB was attending a charity event to raise funds for Syrian refugees. Without the release specifying what Nigeria had to gain from such an event and why the president was helping to raise funds for refugees from a distant war when our own refugees are reeling, Nigerians rightly concluded that the trip was a wasteful misplacement of priorities, a misguided product of xenophilia.

Second, even if Nigeria must attend to "study" proceedings, why not send the minister of science and technology or the top federal official with oversight of that sector?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Abacha Loot: Saved, Spent Or Stolen?

By Sonala Olumhense
Former Nigeria leader Olusegun Obasanjo has explained what became of the funds recovered from Nigeria’s best advertised kleptocrat, General Sani Abacha.
Calling the court of law and Nigerians who want to know what he did with the money he recovered, “stupid,” he dignified his critics with some wisdom last week.
“I don’t keep account,” he said.  “All Abacha loots were (sic) sent to Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and every bit of it was reported to Minister of Finance…If they want to know what happened to the money, they should call CBN governor or call the Minister of Finance!”
*Gen Sani Abacha
To begin with, here is a general timeline of the Abacha loot story:
·         May 29, 1999: Obasanjo takes office.
·         July 1999: Nigeria begins civil proceedings in London against Mohammed Abacha, Abubakar Bagudu and companies owned by them, in connection with a debt buy-back transaction in which they had made an illicit profit of about 500 million DEM. Freezing and disclosure orders having been obtained, $420 million in assets are identified and frozen, and Nigeria demonstrates to the courts that Mohammed Abacha had failed to disclose over $1.1m in assets in Switzerland and Luxembourg.
·         Mid-September 1999: Obasanjo hires Italian lawyer Enrico Monfini to pursue assets stolen by Sani Abacha and his family. Pursuit begins from a Nigeria police investigation which showed that between 1994 and 1998, Abacha and his sons had looted the CBN of about $2 billion and transferred the money abroad.
·         30 September 1999: Monfrini lodges with Switzerland a request for interim freezing orders. Granted within two weeks, this paves the way for the lodging of a formal request for mutual assistance by Nigeria on 20 December 1999. It is discovered that all of the bank accounts identified in the request have been closed, and their assets transferred to such places as Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, the UK and Jersey.
·         November 1999: Nigeria, deploying a parallel strategy with the Attorney General of Geneva of a criminal complaint for fraud, money laundering and participation in a criminal organisation, requests to be admitted in the proceedings as a party suing for damages. This is granted, leading to a blanket freezing order in which the names of the suspects, their aliases and their companies are sent to all Swiss banks.
·         Within days, many accounts with assets of over $700m, are frozen in Switzerland as banks report and dutifully monitor suspicious accounts, including the receiving and paying accounts.
·         On the basis of the criminal proceedings in Geneva, Nigeria lodges requests for mutual assistance with Luxembourg, UK, Liechtenstein and Jersey, and within months, an additional $1.3 billion are frozen in those jurisdictions.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Bastardising Democracy In Ghana: NDC Reign of Terror

By Fadi Dabbousi Samih
The Bureau of National Investigations, BNI, it seems, has become a tool for enslaving Ghanaians by instilling in them fear. So dreadful has the thought of falling into the hands of these undemocratic demagogues become that the only inference derivable from the lawlessness of the law enforcement agencies is that our nation has become a “Banana Republic”. Whatever that may mean, I would like to understand it in a more realistic term: that a hard unripe banana is shoved up the butt of every soul living under the ignominy of President John Dramani Mahama and his bunch of iniquitous palpable liars, every day.

As if we are not having enough problems grappling with the acute penury that has become the order of the day, it would seem as if members of government are trying to settle scores with the opposition where there are none. Vocal criminals like Mugabe Maasi and uncouth characters like Kokoon Anyidaho are on the loose making unguarded statements predicting the death of the most popular Ghanaian, Hon Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo, by June, and his subsequent absence from the ballot paper for elections 2016. This is one of the many crimes they continue to perpetrate with total impunity under the protection of the State machinery. However, when this opposition leader solicits the services of security professionals known worldwide in the business of guarding high profile VIPs, the confused security apparatuses of the befuddled NDC government kick into cowardly action to arrest and level all manner of charges against them.

The idea of fighting terrorism has been brought upon innocent people worried about the death threats cast at them while the real terrorists are lavishing in largess at the expense of the tax payer. While innocent people are in jail ailing without a sign of concern from the authorities, actual terrorists are free, moving about under official protection allegedly impregnating young Ghanaian ladies, and that begs the question. Captain Koda, the head of Nana Akufo-Addo’s security detail is said to be ill in the BNI cells, yet in addition to the physical and mental abuse, he is being denied the basic medical attention as enshrined in the constitution of this great country. Even war criminals are entitled to such care, much more an innocent person just performing his job.

Buhari, President Of Criminals?

By Uche Ezechukwu
My people, the Igbo, claim that no mat­ter how well a mad man had been ad­judged cured of his mental ill­ness, he must, from time to time, wink and mutter to himself. While meditating on, and read­ing the many comments on the latest verbal flagellation of Nige­rians by – who else – their presi­dent, I started thinking that this proverb can be creatively applied to the case of Nigeria’s current helmsman and his regular talk-down on Nigeria.
*President Buhari 
I remember vividly in 1984 or so, when the gifted musical ac­tivist, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, re­leased that song, in which he described as ‘animal talk’, the tendency of the Buhari adminis­tration to routinely castigate and write off Nigerians, at every drop of the hat. The indefatigable Fela, like most other Nigerians at that time, were angry that Buhari had ruled all Nigerians as lacking in discipline, and had gone ahead herding them in the queues, with horsewhips, like herds of cattle. If Nigerians had been pained, they had mostly borne their pain with equanimity, as not many people had the courage – or fool­hardiness – to complain openly, as Fela had done.

For Buhari in those days, that horrendous indiscipline, against which he inaugurated the elabo­rate ‘War Against Indiscipline’ (WAI) was so pervasive that it even included saying anything that caused embarrassment – even it was true – to those in authority. Nduka Irabor and Tunde Thompson, The Guardian journalists that got imprisoned for doing their job, will forever, remain the living icons of the intolerance of the era of General Buhari’s first coming.

While Buhari prosecuted his quixotic battles against indis­cipline in 1984 and 1985, there were many people, in and outside Nigeria that had pooh-poohed the whole exercise as hypocriti­cal, arguing that the take-over of an elected government with the force of arms was, perhaps, the gravest form of indiscipline. Even if Nigerians had reluctantly ignored that fact, it was diffi­cult to excuse the fact that his ADC’s father was allowed to pass through the Customs gridlock at the Lagos airport, which was as narrow as the ‘eye of a needle’ with 53 suitcases of ‘whatever’, unsearched, when the coun­try’s entry points were under a vice-like lock, as the nation was embarking on the issuance of new currency notes. After that 53-suitcase saga, Buhari’s WAI campaign became less worthy than the paper on which it was scripted.

No matter how much Muham­madu Buhari has tried since his return to seek power under the democratic dispensation to prove that he has metamor­phosed into a born-again demo­crat, the vestiges of his past dis­dain for the people, has stuck out like a sore thumb. President Buhari has hardly stopped looking down on everybody else, in the typical manner of the military that had been inherited from colonial masters, on the people as mere subjects – idle civilians. He still sees himself as a koboko-wielding soldier, looking down on the rest of us, idle civilians, and wishing to ‘double’ all of us with a frog-jump.

Even though he is doing his honest and transparent best to bring succour to the nation eco­nomically by trying to convince foreigners to come and invest in our country, Buhari has proved to be the worst enemy of that possibility, because as Nigeria’s best and number one salesper­son, he has always presented his country and his people as those that should not be touched with a ten metre pole. Because Nigerians are corrupt, robbers, fraud­sters, cutthroats and other manners of criminals, with which foreign prisons are inundated, why would anybody bring his money and business here, only to be pillaged and out-foxed? After all, they were warned by – who else – their president himself!

President Buhari, You Are Still The Petroleum Minister

By Ogundana Michael Rotimi

Dear President Buhari,
I am addressing you not as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, but as the Minister of Petroleum Resources, a post to which you appointed yourself on the November 11, 2015.
*President Buhari 
You seem to have forgotten that you are the Minister of Petroleum Resources and may have completely relinquished your responsibilities to the Minister of State of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu.
You seem to have neglected the fact that you are directly answerable to Nigerians as the Minister of Petroleum Resources, and owe it to Nigerians to make the product readily available and affordable.
As a reminder of what you already know - fuel scarcity has fully gripped major cities in the country and is contributing negatively to an economy that is still struggling to pick its stand.
Pathetic as it may be, your Ministry has failed Nigerians over its inability to end the lingering fuel shortage, as this unabated scarcity of the product has contributed to the high cost of goods and services.
The Honourable Minister of Petroleum Sir, you are on your way to set the record for the longest reign of fuel scarcity in the history of the Republic under your watch. Since you have been sworn in, it has been from one scarcity to another.
Although, one cannot belittle or underestimate the efforts of the junior Minister of Petroleum Resources who also happens to be the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, in revamping the sector. But Sir, your unnecessary and unwarranted silence and carefree attitude before every short statement is issued on the lingering scarcity is worrisome. It suggests that you may have forgotten or may have become unconscious of the fact that you head the Ministry that is currently failing to make available and affordable the product that is key to the economy and the everyday activities of the people.

Kachikwu As Scapegoat Of Tinubu's Frustration

By Uche Ezechukwu
The mantra of ‘change’, mouthed by the All Progressive Congress (APC) during the electoral campaigns was so appealing at the time to Nigerians, such that when they ushered Muhammadu Buhari into office by voting out Goodluck Jonathan, hope became the most abundant commodity in Nigeria. When APC promised that they were going to recreate for Nigerians a heaven on earth, they were believed and trusted, especially as that ‘change promise’ was being steered by a man that was reputed to be a man of truth. 
*Bola Tinubu and President Buhari 
For a country that places little premium on competence and proven track record, not much thought was extended on Buhari’s ability to understand, not to talk of being able to confront the complex demands of modern-day issues. Even those who had queried his intellectual capacity to face up to those modern-day challenges were shouted down. Nigerians wanted their man; they got him. Ten months into President Muhammadu Buhari’s APC administration, it has become obvious, even to the APC bosses themselves, that talk is cheap, and that as the saying goes here in Nigeria, ‘khaki no be leather’. 

One does not have to be ‘a wailer’ to see and accept that nothing is working in today’s Nigeria or that the government is at sea over where next to turn. In the beginning, every bend on the road was blamed on the outgone administration of President Jonathan as well as on the 16-year reign of the PDP, which in any case, was made up of most of today’s top-hats in the APC. The over-lapping messages of the campaign period had continued to work for the APC during the early months of the administration, but it could definitely not last forever. Propaganda, though effective on the short run, has a very quick expiry date. The APC’s campaign excuses and the blaming game days have also elapsed…perhaps permanently.

For instance, there was no way the Buhari administration could continue to blame Goodluck Jonathan for the president’s inability to pick ministers for six whole months; nor could the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) be blamed for having anything to do with the fact that when PMB eventually did pick his ministers, they were mostly lack-lustre and lacking in pedigree, accounting for the fact that the cabinet does not have one single person whose voice commands authority in the field of economic management. Many have wondered if the problem with the embarrassingly low quality of Buhari’s team is the lack of the ability, ab initio, of the president to distinguish copper from gold.

Yet, there are many other informed observers who believe, like an article of faith, that the problem with the inertia of the current cabinet members who have definitely not performed, might not be in their personal lack of capacity, but rather, in the absence of a definite roadmap, as it is widely alleged that no minister can as much as sharpen a pencil without the president’s say-so. Which should not be a surprise, as, after all, over 90 per cent of them were picked not on their individual merit as proven performers, but rather because they were cronies of either Buhari or Ahmed Tinubu, the ‘owner’ of the other half of the party that brought the votes and the cash.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Are Nigeria's Problems Impossible To Solve?

By  Perry Brimah
It will soon hit the one-year anniversary of the new "change" Buhari government. And while there is plenty to rejoice over and much to thank God for escaping from; it appears that as Nigeria takes two steps forwards it also takes two steps backwards. This is quite commendable, don't get it wrong. Zero advancement is a good deal better than where the nation is coming from. Nigeria used to be in reverse (-). The nation was even speeding in reverse. So zero acceleration calls for celebration.
It is also important to mention that considering the challenges inherited due to where we were and the state of the global economy, zero is further commendable. But the question is: can we every do better and actually solve our problems faster than they are created to advance beyond this status?

Corruption And Padding Tins
As Nigeria addressed corruption, arresting tons of suspects from the old gang, so also did the nation face one of the largest scandals in budgeting history. Borrowing the President's words, "all my life I have never heard of budget padding before." Nigeria's budget was ridiculously padded. Government officials hid largesses that were not only humongous but also wicked. The Presidency's offices got larger allocations than the entire collective schools of the country; it's clinic got larger lots than all public hospitals combined. Ministers put projects like a single borehole at the cost of building a thousand. It was corruption at its finest.

Over a month later, no one has been arrested for this corruption, a few were simply moved to other departments, one or two were fired and implicated ministers and other officials are still in office. Unlike neighboring Ghana where corrupt Ministers are immediately sacked, Nigeria embraced its continued corruption. In fact, the new budget that just got passed still had most of the padding in it. The Senate reportedly just allowed it pass in the desperate need to move the nation forward at the risk of contractors of the government officials helping them swallow millions of dollars hidden in the padded allocations. The borehole is still to be built by the Minister of Works and Housing at $750,000. A world record!

Politics
President Buhari admitted today that he had failed as far as politics goes. He confessed that he failed with the Kogi polls, the Bayelsa polls and the Rivers polls. That's all the polls there have been since he entered office. The Kogi polls had the ruling party fielding a dying candidate simply to grab the spot. It also witnessed a never before-heard-of gymnastics of replacing a governorship candidate mid-race with another person all together. I am sure the Tribunal is going to knock that one out; but so far it has been a sham. Kogi State lacks a deputy governor and you cannot blame Faleke for that.

In do or die politics, Bayelsa State witnessed the APC embracing the same corrupt men from the PDP; fighting an impossible battle and refusing to accept that they can never win the State, most especially when all they offer the people is the same 'ol corruption as alternative with no thought of giving the people a chance with someone of decency.

Rivers was one of the most shameful political episodes in recent global politics. Dozens died including serving Youth corps members and soldiers. What a shame. For unexplainable reasons, the results are yet to be released. So one way or the other, these people died in perfect vain!

Soldiers were sent to Rivers, but what their orders were is in question. This is because there is a pristine video that shows an alleged above-the-law APC candidate brazenly storm an INEC office and openly demand a refund of the bribe money he paid . While the candidate vandalized the office, the police and soldiers stationed simply watched! What orders Buratai gave them is in question. Was it the type of orders given to officers who took part in EkitiGate? If these officers were dispatched to uphold justice and maintain peace, then they would have immediately arrested the alleged APC candidate who was terrorizing the center. What happened to Chief of Army Staff Buratai that he and his men are the trigger-eager defenders of Nigeria's democracy? As Buhari said, it is a failure.

Nigeria: All Of A Sudden Nothing Is Working!

By Remi Oyeyemi

I have just finished reading the piece by Mr. Tunde Fagbenle with the above title. I could not resist writing this rejoinder because I found his view in the piece not just interesting but also annoying. I found it very interesting that he has come out to admit what the followers and the “water carriers” of President Muhammadu Buhari have been saying behind the doors because of shame and regret while they go from door to door defending series of indefensible in the public. 

I found it interesting that Mr. Fagbenle is balking at his ilk’s false propagation of Buhari’s sainthood “so soon.” They called him the “messiah” and the “savior” of Nigeria. It is interesting that Mr. Fageble is not willing to wait until at least one year anniversary of the tragic day when President Buhari’s second coming took off. It is interesting that he believed that he could take some of us for a ride – that he is just seeing the light - when this is not the case. He knows it, and those who have been reading his contributions know it too.
 
Mr. Fagbenle is a man of letters. He is by every means a tutored man. I do not know much about him except through his writings. His writings without any doubt convey a mind that is gifted with intellect, circumspection, and insight. He understands that two plus two must equal four in simple arithmetic. He also knows that when two plus two is not equal to four, then jibiti or 419 is involved. So, to come out with the article under reference that he is surprised by the incompetence and the concomitant collapse being manifested by President Buhari is an insult to those who have been reading him.
 
The truth is that Mr. Fagbenle is part of the group who sold the idea of Buhari as President hook, line, and sinker when in fact they knew he has not the intellectual wherewithal to captain the ship of Nigeria. They dressed him in deceptive drapes of adequacy, insisting that he is “the man for the job.” They knew that his trajectory did not justify the confidence with which he was being invested. They were aware that then candidate Buhari would not be able to do the job. When Mr. Fagbenle and his fellow travelers were supporting Buhari, they knew what they were doing, but they had different calculations. So far the calculations have not worked out.  
 
It is weird that someone of Mr. Fagbenle’s erudition, intellect and circumspection could not figure out that someone such as Buhari who could not produce his certificate for the West African Examination Council (WAEC) would be able to correct all the anomalies in Nigeria and save the country. It is weird that Mr. Fagebenle who is not young by any means could pretend not to know the history of Buhari during his first coming. If he did, it is weird that Mr. Fagbenle could ignore all the facts available and helped advance the falsehood of Buhari’s sainthood.

How Buhari Can Put Nigerian Economy Back On Track

By Magnus Onyibe
It is human nature to choose the least option of resistance when faced with tough decisions.
That perhaps explains why government’s reaction to the current foreign exchange, fx, squeeze, arising from recent drastic drop in international oil price – from which Nigeria earns approximately 90% of fx – is to ban allocation of fx for purchase of some items considered not essential.
*President Buhari 
The barring of 41 items such as tooth picks and candle wax from official allocation of fx is justified by the fact that such items could be sourced locally, especially since they are simple items requiring no extra ordinary skills or technology to produce.
However, owing to government’s policy of not being self-reliant, instead preferring to source basic items from abroad, looking inwards was considered tedious when it could be more easily imported.
That laidback attitude of Nigerians towards local production is the reason the policy of import substitution introduced in Nigeria in the days of oil boom was not pursued with the vigor it deserves. The shoddy implementation of the policy institutionalized Nigeria’s penchant for foreign made goods and services, signaling the dearth of locally produced goods and services for local consumption.
Nothing demonstrates Nigeria’s penchant for foreign made goods better than the (in)famous container armada-ships laden with imported containers of assortment of goods into Nigeria, resulting in congestions in the sea ports in early 1980s under ex president , Shehu Shagari’s watch (1979-83).
In a recent article titled “In This Same Country”, Reuben Abati, the former chairman of Guardian newspaper’s editorial board, irrepressible columnist and ex-presidential spokesman, captured the mood of Nigeria and Nigerians during the so called good old days, which some people, out of nostalgia, fondly refer to as the golden age.
Abati’s article which was an eulogy of Nigeria’s heydays as a towering economic colossus, also contained reminisces of Nigeria of yore in comparison to now, and laments that the new generation – youths born less than 35 years ago – would never believe that Nigeria was ever so glorious.
Hear Abati “The angst of this young generation is made worse when they are told that Nigeria was not always like this. In their late 20s to thirties, these children have only known Nigeria where fuel scarcity is a fact of daily life, and part of the mechanism of survival is to know how to draw fuel with your mouth, or negotiate black market purchase of fuel, while lugging jerry cans, either at the fuel station or a road side corner where you cannot be sure of the quality of fuel.These children have only known a country where the roads are bad, services are sub-standard, people are mean, criminality is rife, and electricity is available once in a blue moon”.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Lessons From The Rivers State Rerun Election

By Moses E. Ochonu

INEC has declared the recent Rivers State rerun election inconclusive. How many inconclusive elections have we had under the new INEC chairman? How about all of them? I am not sure you can do your job so shoddily as many times as this rookie has and still get to keep said job, but he is new so I guess he deserves to make his mistakes and learn from them.
*President Buhari and Rotimi Amaechi
The conduct of the election aside, how did we get to a point where elections become wars of egos?
By the way, why did Rotimi Amaechi, a federal minister who was not running in the Rivers re-run election, relocate the perks, might, and intimidating aura of his office to his home state for an entire week for the election? Why the inflammatory, reckless statements designed to provoke, undermine, and challenge the authority of his successor? 
Why the personal abuse of Wike (“Wike can’t speak English”)? Why the thuggish behavior on the part of a federal minister (“I will flood Port Harcourt with soldiers”)? And why the bizarre boast about controlling the army, a boast so embarrassing the army had to issue a statement to refute it? What about the puerile demand for Wike’s resignation, among other comments unbecoming of a minister of the federal republic?
Quite frankly, Amaechi reflects terribly on President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB).
As for Nyesome Wike, well, Wike is Wike, a street politician given to gutter-sniping and uncouth outbursts. But he is governor and Amaechi should respect and accept that. Amaechi is already well compensated for helping to finance Buhari's campaign. Two of his political children have been appointed MDs of NIMASA and NDDC respectively, in addition to his own appointment as minister of transportation. In politics as in life, you cannot have it all.
It is political greed to insist on upending Wike by installing your stooges in the state assembly and as Rivers State's legislative contingent in the national assembly. It's a petty, narcissistic pursuit that is about personal ego and nothing more.
No wonder, even his former chief of staff, Tony Okocha, an APC candidate who lost to his PDP opponent, has railed against Amaechi's negative, counterproductive role in the election. He is right.
All politics is local, and if voters feel that someone is leveraging the power derived from an external source to force a particular political outcome locally, they often resist by voting in the other direction. 

Nigeria: Farewell To Fuel Scarcity

By Chuks Iloegbunam

Through the ages, peo­ples, including those currently occupying the space known today as Nigeria, who are faced with seri­ous challenges, naturally devise ways of mastering them. Yet, Ni­geria continues to groan under the weight of multifarious prob­lems that are, in truth, not intrac­table. Of course, there are prob­lems and there are those of them that are unquestionably knotty, including the task of building am­ity and unity between disparate peoples lumped together by the invasion of trans-Atlantic greed. When, in such a setting, it seems like the signs of enduring con­cord are in the offing, local greed – the insidious variety planted and nurtured by the trans-Atlan­tic original – rises and wipes away every vestige of hope. That is un­derstandable.
When, however, the problem has to do with fuel shortages, or the acute shortages of other goods and services, there is a fundamental reason why things permanently bad – to the cha­grin, utter pain and peril of Nige­rian peoples. Take the perennial shortages of petroleum products – gas, kerosene and petrol – in the country. These items are not scarce because they are not obtainable. They are invariably scarce because those employed to guarantee their availability have, through time, either shirked their responsibility or failed to under­stand what that responsibility entails.

This disgraceful situation criti­cally questions the nature of the essence of Nigerian peoples. It indicts Nigeria. Despite being the biggest oil nation in Africa, it remains the only one on the continent in which the discord­ant woes of fuel scarcity are regularly emitted. It is shameful that the mournful riff of lack of fuel, and the sorry sight of end­less queues at gas stations are Nigerians trademarks. Non-oil producing countries, including those in the Sahel region, hardly ever experience fuel shortages. But it is the lamentable lot of Ni­geria. Countries engaged in wars or afflicted by other tribulations manage somehow to meet their fuel demands. But not Nigeria, a country said to be benefitting from “relative” peace.

The reasons behind this blight are all too obvious. Corruption is one of them, as are ineptitude and negligence. So, the peoples suffer. The peoples suffer because of the long queues in the blistering heat of everyday. The peoples suffer because of the contrived delays by those operating the distribu­tion channels and the fuel sta­tions. The peoples suffer because artificial scarcities hike pump prices, which automatically im­pact negatively on prices and the availability of other goods and services. Without fuel there can­not be locomotion. Without this essential product, there cannot be power in homes and hospitals and factories; without fuel, what remain are jaded peoples.

Rivers’ Crisis As Rite Of Passage

By Paul Onomuakpokpo  

What probably was the vestigial remnant of the hope that politicians in these climes would change for the better has been rudely ruptured by their quest for power in Rivers State. They have once again demonstrated their readiness for the ruthless elimination of any obstacle in their way. 



What ought to be a peaceful election to fill some vacant positions in the National and state Assembly has been besmeared with blood and tears. Scores have been killed and maimed. Hundreds have been rendered homeless.  And like the sword of Damocles, a pall of worse violence hangs over the heads of the citizens. But it is not only the residents of the state who have been traumatised by the grisly events.  For in contemplating them, hope has given way to despondency over the possibility of stabilising the nation’s democracy and making it benefit the citizenry.
But for the crisis in Rivers, we would still have held on tenaciously to the hope that we were transiting to a better political era, despite the plethora of the shenanigans of our politicians.  We would have hoped that our politicians would realise soon that the citizens gave them the opportunity to serve them. We would have hoped that our contemporary  politicians, through good governance, would make amends for their godfathers who have been rightly excoriated for frittering away the  opportunities to deliver transformational leadership . We would have thought that they would realise that if they were really keen on serving the citizens, they would not kill them first before bringing them succour.
Now that we have been jarred into reality by the bloodbath, we come to terms with the stark fact that we cannot have the power to solve our problems when we cannot resolve how to choose those who would provide the answers we need. No wonder that over the years, the warped  political system has not been able to throw up those men and women who would fix our decrepit national infrastructure and disentangle electricity, for instance, from its comatose course, and make it fast-track national  development  and improve the citizens’ lot.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Nigeria: Rivers Of Blood

By Chuks Iloegbunam

“When you use soldiers to kill, just to win a rerun election, just know that you will need the same soldiers to protect you while in of­fice. Or else, INEC will conduct a bye-election to fill your seat.” Sena­tor Shehu Sani.
*Gov Wike Nyesomof Rivers State
Looking at the weekend’s charade generally referred to as rerun elections in Riv­ers State, the profundity of Senator Sani’s statement strikes with the force of brutal truism. How come that a broad segment of Nige­rian politicians carry on with the mentality of creatures who possibly feed through their anal cavities? The imagistic representation out of Rivers State is a vast canvass of mindless violence by the two domi­nant political parties in contention. What was the objective of all the wantonness – a State Assembly to make laws for the living, or a fune­real conclave for cemeteries?

The following front-page story in the Sunday Sun of March 20, 2016, is entitled Rivers of Blood: Election Rerun Turns Deadly: “NO fewer than 10 persons, including one Immigration officer, were killed in yesterday’s Rivers State. Also, two National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members working as ad ­hoc staff were abducted at Abual Odua. But they were later rescued at 5 pm, by a team of mobile police­men.

“Meanwhile, heavy shooting marred voting in Abalama Town, in Asari-Toru Local Area. It was during the sporadic shootings that a bullet hit the Immigration officer.

Sunday Sun gathered that some thugs had stormed the RAC centre and shot sporadically, after a disa­greement between supporters of two major political parties.

“Also, four persons were feared dead in Ogoni, in Rivers South-East, following late arrival of voting materials, which created tension in the senatorial district.

“Also, a soldier allegedly killed a young man who came out to cast his vote at Rumuokwuta area of Port Harcourt. In Nonwa, Tai Lo­cal Government Area, a voter, simply identified as Tombari, was shot dead by some hoodlums who stormed the area. The victim was said to be on queue, waiting to cast his vote before he was shot dead. Another person was also feared killed in Eleme, while two persons were reportedly killed in Abual/Odua and Ahoada West Local Gov­ernment Areas, respectively.

“Meanwhile, security men ar­rested over 32 persons for various offences. Of the number, 18 were arrested for being in possession of military uniforms and electoral ma­terials.”

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