Tuesday, May 31, 2016

One Year Of ‘Change’: Buhari’s Top Sevens Failings So Far

By Saheed Animashaun
For my criticism to be fair let me cut Baba some slack. This is perhaps the worst possible time to be Nigeria’s President. Nigeria is an oil economy. As a mono-economy therefore, our economy is in normal circumstances bound to move in the direction of oil income. The nation’s income from crude oil sales is at an all time low. The demand for the dollar at the moment far outweighs the supply due to i) Fall in the proceeds from sales of crude which is our primary source of forex, ii) Our non-oil exports being quite too insignificant to fetch reasonable amount of forex iii) the fact that we import majority of the oil we consume thereby having to part with our scarce dollar reserves.
Also, change is a gradual process. One year is too small to rate an administration that took over from a party that had milked Nigeria dry for a good part of 16 years! Kwarapshun is our ONLY hindrance to development and Baba is ardently tackling it!
Enough of sounding like one of this administration’s many spokespersons! Enough of these excuses!
This administration don fall my hand in many areas. Below is a countdown from seven to one of the most disappointing aspects of the Buhari administration in my opinion!
CAVEAT: Whatever has happened after Buhari got elected doesn’t negate the fact that there was only one right choice between Buhari and GEJ. Nigeria was nose-diving into a seemingly bottomless chasm as a result of the ineptitude of the previous governments. May be with that government still in power, Nigeria would have been auctioned to China by now! Recent revelations have shown that it was that bad! The looting was unprecedented as it has been for several years though.
7. Many pending appointments –
The defence line that it takes time to find the right people is balderdash! You have been trying to be president for more than ten years! Until recently, many appointees of the previous government that were supposedly inept were still running the show in various Ministries, Departments, and Agencies of the Federal government! Till now, many appointments have still not been made. This has definitely affected administrative duties because these individuals already know they would definitely be replaced. They are only not sure of when!
6. The nefarious activities of “Fulani Herdsmen”
While I agree that there are some narratives to this imbroglio that are unknown to many and hardly publicized by the press, the seemingly innocuous posture of the C-in-C has been embarrassing. This dangerous phenomenon has the potential to deteriorate into a huge scale war if not nipped in the bud. I still find it hard to fathom out the reason little to no mention of it was made in the long democracy day speech of the President! This is a disaster waiting to happen that needs to be decisively tackled on a huge scale.

As We Await Buhari's Response To The 50 Nigerians Killed In Benue

By Perry Brimah, Dr.
The account of the massacre given by the governor of Benue state was harrowing. The raiders came in typical style and killed at will, men, women and children. They set fire to homes and farms, burning flesh, wood and brick alike. This time it was Governor Ortom's very own village. These terrorists do not discriminate one farming village from the other. The same way they raid and set farming villages ablaze in Borno is the same way they light them up and fill the paths with blood in Benue, Enugu and Ekiti.
*President Buhari 
Their enemy is clear: the farmers and their farms. A weeping governor Ortom narrated how they burned hectares of rice farms. It does not take a rocket scientist to get what's happening here or what was happening in Borno; with the insurgent and not political Boko Haram, that is.

Chief of Internal Security, Buratai Agrees They Are Boko Haram

Dare I say, to our relief the Nigerian 'chief of global security,' Lieutenant General T. Y. Buratai has finally admitted that these men ravaging the middle belt and south of Nigeria are the same 'ol Boko Haram. It took a lot of convincing for the man Buhari has put in charge of Nigeria's internal security to admit this feature of the spread of terror that we have long wailed about.

The target is the farmers. Dislodged from the Sambisa forest, these enemies of farmers have spread wide in the hinterland and gone deeper than before. They do not attack towns. They do not attack senators and governors. Their enemy is the farmer. Their need can only be the land.

Election 2016: Another Test For Ghanaians

By Felix Kwaku-Dua
There is no doubt the political temperature is gradually rising as the various political parties in the country are gearing up for the upcoming general election especially as we have some few months for Ghanaians to exercise their franchise to elect who they deem fit to rule this sovereign country.
Worldwide, Ghana is noted for being a peaceful country and the upcoming election is going to put Ghana to another test as it is another avenue for the good people of this country to prove or justify what they are noted for.

For election to be peaceful, most depends on electorates, staunch party sympathizers and other stakeholders.

But I think this leaves a lot of work on the political parties, traditional authorities, religious leaders, security agencies and other corporate organizations who can also in their small aid in preaching peace ahead of election 2016.

The aforementioned stakeholders must work assiduously by having discussions on issues of peace and political tolerance as we have some few months to go to the polls.

The king of the Asante kingdom, Otumfuor Osei Tutti II as part of his efforts to lower the political temperature ahead of the 2016 general elections, has decided to engage all the flag bearers of the various political parties for a golf match. This is a step in the right direction. It is the hope of the monarch that playing a game among themselves will send the right signal to their followers and also will make them see themselves as team players working for mother Ghana rather than rivals.

The Herdsmen Conundrum: Before We Witness Reprisals

By Fred Nwaozor
The popular warning for men to ‘make hay while the sun shines’ would only be considered reasonable and rational when there’s still hay left in the bushes and every arena where it is usually found. Of course, you can only be conscientised to grab something on time when the stuff in question is still available.
Over the years, several communities across the federation had been subjected to untold hardship and seeming perpetual torture by Fulani herdsmen. I can’t forget in a hurry that virtually all the states in Nigeria, particularly those in the Southern region, have tasted a bit of this conundrum at one time or another. The aforesaid set of farmers, rather than concentrating on grazing towards breeding their livestock, end up constituting nuisance in their various host communities, in the name of ‘revenge’ or what have you.
This domineering and nonchalant idiosyncrasy of these armed herdsmen who parade themselves with unspeakable ammunition was arguably overlooked by the government and other concerned authorities, not until they recently unleashed an astonishing terror on the people of Nimbo Community in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State; an attack that left in its trail tears and blood. In the crisis, which occurred on Monday, April 25, 2016, scores were found dead, countless persons maimed, about a hundred residents injured, several houses and churches razed, thereby rendering over 2,000 dwellers homeless.
The incident might have come and gone, it is imperative to acknowledge that the peril it inflicted on the living victims is unarguably an experience they will all live to recall. Each time I recollect that a certain community in Enugu State sometime in the history of this country woke one morning only to be brutally taken unawares by a group of total strangers, I invariably take solace in the ‘notion’ that it could be a mere dream.
Obviously, the deed has already been done. Instead of indulging in retrogressive discourse or debate, the most logical and viable thing to do at this point is to concentrate on the way forward. In a situation like this, having taken a formidable step towards checking recurrence, the next most reasonable action to take is to harmonise the atmosphere or the ties binding the affected persons or groups.

Who Voted For Muhammadu Buhari?

By Ikechukwu Amaechi
Voting on March 28, 2015 for the then presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Muhammadu Buhari, was almost a badge of honour.

At polling booths, voters proudly flaunted their thump-printed ballot papers to prove that they were worthy ambassadors of the “change movement”.
Today, perhaps, the real measure of how much things have changed is that many people no longer readily own up to being part of the historic movement that led to the sacking of a sitting Nigerian president.
Nobody admits voting for change any more. In fact, to accuse anyone of voting for Buhari has become an offence that people don’t take kindly. How could I have voted for Buhari, God forbid, is the most popular refrain in town today. And you wonder who did.
Well, I did. I am one of those who voted for the Daura-born General last year. I have said so here, severally.
I thought that former President Goodluck Jonathan had no capacity to continue to rule this country. He was not in control of his government and another four years with him in the saddle was, for me, unimaginable. And I still believe so.
I also thought Buhari would make a better president not necessarily because he possessed the intellectual capacity to govern. No.
But I reasoned that unlike Jonathan, he had the requisite character and integrity to be in charge of his government and if he was, what he only needed to do was to gather people with the capacity to drive a 21st century economy in dire need of a shot in the arm.
Sadly, knowing what I know now and having observed happenings in the polity in the last one year, I no longer believe so.
If the election was to be conducted today with Jonathan and Buhari as the frontline presidential candidates as was the situation last year, I would rather not go near any polling booth because, for me, the difference between the two is the same between six and half a dozen.
Jonathan as president was clueless as charged. Buhari is not proving to be any different.
Today, May 29, 2016, is exactly one year since he was sworn in as president and commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Expectations were quite high when he took his oath of office, vowing to give Nigerians a new lease of life. But, 365 days down the road, Nigerians are aghast.

Fayose Vs. The Caliphate’s MACBAN And Their Fake Constitution

By Chinweizu

Gov. Ayodele Fayose has emerged as the Champion of the Nigerian people. He is the knight in shining armor who has ridden forth to challenge the organized crime syndicate that goes by the name MACBAN: the criminal organization that has been making human sacrifices to the Caliphate’s Cattle.

The MACBAN crime syndicate recently boasted that

Three weeks later, their bluff was called when

A battle royal is about to begin. Every Nigerian has to choose a side: The Caliphate’s or Fayose’s.
Every lackey of the Caliphate can be expected to line up behind MACBAN.

But every Nigerian who is concerned about the safety of his farm, home, people or person; and who wants protection from the marauding Fulani herdsmen and Fulani Militia, now knows what to do about that menace: rally behind Faoyse and demand that the governor of your state should act like Gov. Fayose and ban all cattle movement in your state and back it by state legislation. You should hold rallies, pass resolutions, publish petitions calling on your state Gov. to do like Fayose. Let the voices of the people ring out loud and clear throughout the land. Fayose is our hero. Our national leader. The leader of our movement to resist the Caliphate and its criminal MACBAN ritual of human sacrifice!

Buhari’s Speech: A Nut Bereft Of Kernel

By Chuks Iloegbunam
Two things leap disa­greeably out of Presi­dent Muhammadu Buhari’s first-year-in-office anniversary speech of May 29, 2016. In the broadcast’s 2624 words, not once did he mention the words Fulani herdsmen, let alone address the real and pre­sent danger they constitute to Nigeria’s continued existence as one political entity. Was this unfortunate omission because he is himself of the Fulani eth­nic group? Or was it because he considers a final stop to have been put to the herdsmen’s mur­derous rampaging throughout the country? Or is it because the destructive army is a law unto itself, above censure and sanc­tion?
*President Buhari
And this: “We are fully aware that those vested interests who have held Nigeria back for so long will not give up without a fight. They will sow divisions, sponsor vile press criticisms at home and abroad, incite the public in an effort to create chaos rather than relinquish the vice-like grip they have held on Nigeria.” In rendering the above two sentences in the present continuous tense, wasn’t Presi­dent Buhari suggesting his gov­ernment’s lack of total control, much in the manner of a mon­arch unable to hold his goblet?

Sidelining the connotative meaning of these sentences as down to clumsiness by presi­dential speechwriters, and also not minding the grammati­cal mistakes in the speech, a fundamental worry is evident. Consider this: “They will sow divisions, sponsor vile press crit­icisms at home and abroad, in­cite the public in an effort to cre­ate chaos…” If you interpreted this official attribution of trea­sonous quality to a robust media as the first decisive step to the systematic emasculation of pub­lic opinion, your apprehension would sit on a solid foundation. Is it not often said that truth – read an unfettered media – is in­variably the first casualty in any dispensation’s charted course to a repressive bastion? Suddenly, a government that rode straight to power on the wings of the re­lentless and remorseless media battering and badgering of the Jonathan administration is talk­ing about a “vile press”!

The “vile press” must, of course, have no future in this democratic march, must not fea­ture in the dynamics of change. So, let’s take a more detailed look at the President’s broadcast, em­ploying the instrument of con­tent analysis. “By age, instinct and experience, my preference is to look forward, to prepare for the challenges that lie ahead and rededicate the administration to the task of fixing Nigeria,” said Buhari. Yet, about half the speech was on the past, rather than an expatiating on the “tri­umph”, “consolidation”, and “achievements!” he vaunted. He moaned about Boko Haram’s devastations. He moaned about the collapse in oil prices. He moaned about decayed infra­structures. He moaned about the preceding government that did not live up to expectation. You would expect the elaborate exercise in threnody to be fol­lowed by his administration’s rectifying “achievements!” That turned out to be a fatuous dream.

Nigeria: Ants And A Cube Of Sugar

By Ray Ekpu  
The story is not one of an earthquake proportion but it seems to cause some excitement in high and low places. And what is the story? That former President Goodluck Jonathan is on exile in the Ivory Coast. He has countered the story sharply and angrily. “I am not on exile. I have no cause to go on exile. It is a wicked and malicious report. I was Vice President for two years and President for six years. I did everything I could and I served my country very well. This is what they keep saying any time I am outside the country. I was in Ecuador. They said I was on exile. This is my second time in Cote d’ Ivoire and I am rounding up my visit. It is a wicked attempt to link me with the renewed Niger Delta crisis.”
*Ray Ekpu (pix:vanguard)
Let’s connect the dots. There is a crisis in the Niger Delta. Pipelines are being broken by militants who seem to have issues with the President Buhari administration. Jonathan is from Bayelsa, a major theatre of this crisis. Some of Jonathan’s former executives have been pulled in by the EFCC on allegations of corruption: Badeh, Diezani Allison-Madueke, Sambo Dasuki, Femi Fani-Kayode, etc. Could it be that the militants think the government is trying to get their man? Does the government think these militants are sponsored by Jonathan to destabilise the government or to prevent the government from getting him if indeed they think he has some explaining to do about how he ran the country?
Jonathan has given himself a brilliant self-assessment. The report card issued by him on him reads A plus. That is reflected in his statement: “I served my country very well.” But does the EFCC think so? The Nation newspaper quotes an unnamed EFCC source as saying that although “Jonathan has been implicated in all transactions under its investigation the ex-President was not yet its target.” The “yet” in that sentence is very important, isn’t it?
The truth of the matter is that going by what has been revealed in court so far Jonathan must have made some questionable approvals. But no corruption has been directly traced to him so far. If Jonathan is “implicated in all transactions” so far investigated as the EFCC claims why is he not yet its target? Is it hoping to get more worms crawling out of the can? Or is it waiting for orders from “oga at the top?” or is it gauging the temperature of the Niger Delta or of the country to be able to determine whether or not to go for the big fish?
Let me give you a parable. In 1983, Dele Giwa was the editor of the Sunday Concord and I the Chairman of the Editorial Board of the Concord group of newspapers. Dele was arrested by Sunday Adewusi’s policemen for publishing “classified government information.” I was arrested for an article titled Sodom and Gomorrah in which I alerted the public about the tactics of corrupt people: whenever there was fraud they would set the place on fire to obliterate the evidence. There was a huge fraud at the Nigerian External Telecommunications and I warned the government to keep watch lest the arsonists destroy the documents. The place was set on fire the day after my article was published. One person died in the incident. I was charged with murder, the press dubbed it “murder by pen.”
Dele and I were detained at Ikoyi Prison. Chief Moshood Abiola, the proprietor of Concord was a member of the National Party of Nigeria, NPN. He had stormed out of the party when he was schemed out of the presidential race. So the relationship between Abiola and the government was mortuary-cold. Our arrest and detention were seen by Abiola as an attempt to get at him. When he came to visit us at Ikoyi prison he gave us the parable of the ant and a cube of sugar. He said that the reason ants are only able to nibble at a cube of sugar is that they can’t carry it away. They would like to swallow the entire cube of sugar but since they can’t they just nibble at it. He told us he is the real target, the cube of sugar. Before he left the prison he pushed a wad of naira notes into the hands of the warder and told him “please give them whatever they want.” When Abiola left, the warder asked us what we wanted. We both said “cognac.” He brought it at three times the market cost. Cognac is a luxury drink. In prison it is a super luxury drink.

Monday, May 30, 2016

President Buhari's Federal Excuses Council (FEC)

By Reno Omokri

On January 22, 2016, I tweeted a joke which went viral. I had said that at meetings of the Federal Executive Council, the minister of information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, would address members and say 'turn to your neighbour and say, neighbour have you blamed Jonathan today'!
Yes, it was a joke, but like most good jokes, it had and still has a basis in reality!

The President and his ministers appear ill prepared for office and the evidence of this is their inability to take responsibility for the situation of things in Nigeria.

Was it not John Burroughs who said "a man can fail many times, but he isn't a failure until he begins to blame somebody else"?

Those words should be embossed on a plaque and placed in a very prominent location at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa.

Seeing this admonition weekly may help members of the Federal Executive Council take responsibility and stop acting the victim.

For example, Nigerians were shocked when the minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said in December of 2015 that the Jonathan administration, which had left office six months ago, was responsible for the biting fuel scarcity the nation was and still is grappling with.

That statement by Mr. Lai Mohammed is a classic case of psychological projection (a psychological disorder characterized by a patient defending himself against his own unpleasant realities by denying the existence of the reality while at the same time blaming another for it).

And it gets worse. It is bad enough that this administration refuses to take responsibility for its own failures, it also wants to take credit for the success of others.

In a treatise bothering on megalomania, the publicity and communications team of President Buhari's office claimed the implementation of the Treasury Single Account (AKA TSA) as the major achievement of the first 365 days of the Buhari administration.

But for a government that prides itself on anti-corruption, that statement, fraudulent as it is, is dishonest and 'fantastically corrupt'!

First of all, the Treasury Single Account WAS NOT an idea of the Buhari administration and secondly the present government DID NOT initiate its implementation.

The TSA was conceived by the Jonathan administration and there was to be a staggered implementation because from an expert point of view, it was thought that if all Federal Government funds were suddenly pulled out of the commercial banking sector in one fell swoop, the shock on that sector would be so immense that it would trigger job losses and perhaps bank failures. It was thought that a gradual implementation would allow banks recover such that the baby would not be thrown out with the bath water.

How To Defeat Boko Haram

By Philip Hammond
I was delighted to visit Nigeria again, the second time in under a year, to meet with President Buhari and attend the second Regional Security Summit. Combating violent extremism is a global chal­lenge, which has affected many of our countries in Europe, just as you are tackling it here in Nigeria. That is why I welcomed President Buhari’s call to hold this important summit.
The UK and Nigeria have a strong and long-standing relationship. President Buhari’s recent visit to the UK for London’s Anti-Corruption Summit underlines the importance of our partner­ship. The UK stands shoulder to shoulder with Ni­geria as it tackles corruption, something President Buhari himself has said has become a ‘way of life’.
During my visit, I was struck by how much progress had been made on President Buhari’s manifesto since I was last here for the President’s inauguration. In particular, significant improve­ments in security stood out.
Over the last 12 months, action by Nigeria and its neighbours, with the support of friends in the international community, has greatly diminished Boko Haram. We have reduced their strength and the territory they control. I congratulate President Buhari and other leaders in the region on this prog­ress.

Far From The Madding Cows

By Lekan Alabi   
On Thursday, May 19, 2016, it was 20 years when my article (satire) of the above title was published in major Nigerian newspapers – for ease of reference, the Sunday Times issue of May 19, 1996. I wrote the satire in the heady days of Nigeria’s military dictator, the late General Sani Abacha, whose regime tortured Nigerians most, and the motivation for the article was the ravaging Mad Cow Disease Bovine Spongriform Encephalopathy (BSE) of that time. In the article, I wrote, inter alia, “Oftentimes, during the long treks in search of food, our cows act as ‘mediators’ between their dagger-wielding owners and landowners / farmers when they get mad at each other over grazing rights. Roles reversal you will say”.
Could anyone ever imagine cows ‘mediating’ between their owners and landowners/farmers over grazing rights in Nigeria? But that was my statement even though on allegory, 20 years ago. Today, Nigeria is in the precipice of cows mediating between their owners and landowners/farmers, if great care and diplomacy, are not urgently taken.
The raging national controversy over the speculated Federal Government’s proposed N940 million grazing reserves for Fulani herdsmen especially in Southern Nigeria, and attendant protests against the plan, coupled with the reported atrocities of herdsmen across the land, spurred my reach for my said article. One of the aims of the recall is to draw public / government attention again to what I said in 1996. It is not a joking matter, as they say.
I wish to lend my voice to the ongoing reasoned calls/advice that negotiations, rather than government fiat/sentiments, are the better options in the pros and cons for ranches, grazing rights, path ways, etc to avoid an unnecessary chaos, bloodletting and what have you. As a saying goes, sense and sensibilities are quite often embedded in jokes/banters.
Following is my 1996 article (excerpts). Please ponder on it.
“What lessons can human beings learn from animals?” I asked. How naïve I was! Scientists have since proved that animal share basic instincts with man. They also feel, communicate and react. Nigerian herdsmen have authenticated this scientific theory on animal communication, as they (herdsmen) talk to, and receive responses from their cows and goats.
“Recently, I overhead some Nigerian cows discussing the raving malady afflicting their British counterparts, the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), otherwise called the mad cow disease. The submission of our local breed was that British cows, having been part of the revolution on the “Animal Farm”, had become over-pampered along with their fellow co-plotters such as dogs, cats, horses, pigs, birds, etc.
“Our cows are of the opinion that since animals in foreign lands are treated like gods, live in palaces, fly first class, ride in limousines, attend balls, inherit fortunes and get state burials, madness cannot but creep in.

Nigeria: Tomorrow Is Dying!

By Ayodele Adio
Northern elders and the elite class have been quite vocal in the last couple of years, giving a louder voice to national issues, particularly that which affects their region. However, the sad reality is that they have focused on issues that  massage the ego of the elite class and deepen the pockets of a selected few turning a blind eye on the more threatening issues eating up the region.

President Buhari and VP Osinbajo
The dominant lexicon, Revenue allocation, as to who gets a better share from the national purse seems to take a sizable share of their mind thereby ignoring the bigger elephant in the room. If increase in allocation translates to better distribution of wealth across the social strata and an improved living standard of the average northerner, then they stand on holy ground but the evidence proves otherwise. The lack of regional purpose, poorly articulated vision, an incoherent strategy and a continuous mismanagement of resources is the cradle upon which the parlous situation of today’s north was bred.

The huge textile industries in Kano and Kaduna that employed thousands of young northerners gradually slid into extinction without any of our leaders attempting to thrown in a rescue rope. There is no doubt that the north is home to the richest man in Africa and a couple of other billionaires, what  logical explanation could one then give to the widespread poverty of the larger populace rather than the earlier assertion on the north’s focus on building strong individuals at the expense of stronger communities.

 It is this widening gap between the rich and poor that has gradually metamorphosed to the insecurity we are experiencing today. How could we not have known that economic repression breeds strife and contempt. The north is today making the headline for all the wrong things. The challenges in the north and its opportunities  are tied to a single yet critical word, Education. It is the level of awareness of a people, their skills and cerebral sophistication that determine the kind of community they build. There is a strong relationship between education and economic prosperity. When Egypt became the centre for global education, she consequently became an economic world power.

This trend extended to Greece, Rome, Britain and today the United States where seven of the top ten universities in the world are resident. The north accounts for the highest rate of illiteracy in the country, way below the national average and worst ratios  for girl child education in the country. The national demographic and health survey puts the illiteracy rate for women at 21% in the north west compare to a national rate of 50%, the 10 states with the highest number of girls out of secondary school are also found in the north.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Nigeria: One Year Of Disillusionment

By Robert Obioha
President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) will, on Sunday, mark his one year in office. Expectedly, the occasion will give the president an opportunity to reflect on how he has governed Nigerians in the past one year. These are some of the questions that Buhari should address his mind to: Are Nigerians now better off than they were before the inception of the change government? Is the economy now better managed than previously?
Has power supply improved more than before? Are Nigerians more secure now than before? Are Nigerians more united than before? Has one naira exchanged to one US dollar as promised. Has the government paid its promised N5000 stipend to unemployed Nigerians?
*President Buhari 
Has the government created the jobs it promised in its one year in office? Has the government defeated the Boko Haram sect and rescued the Chibok girls as boasted? Has the government fought corruption to a standstill? I think that most Nigerians will not answer these questions in the affirmative.
Under the change regime, the economy is on its knees begging to be resuscitated. The naira has been badly battered and bruised that it recently exchanged for N360 to the dollar at parallel market. The Tiger Head brand of battery I used to buy at N50 a pair before change came has climbed to N60, N70, N80, N100 and N120 in the one year of change administration.
This analogy will give you an idea of what has happened to the price of rice, yam, garri, beans, meat and tomato in the past one year. Pure water that sells for N5 a sachet before, now sells for N10. We are indeed in a period of economic recession. The inflation rate has hit all time high at 13.7%. Unemployment is also at its peak of 12.1% yet the government is foot-dragging on recruitment of 500,000 teachers and 10,000 policemen it promised Nigerians. The worst of change to Nigerians is the unofficial removal of petrol subsidy and hiking of fuel pump price to N145 from N86.5 without providing palliatives.
Yet, many Nigerians are buying the commodity at between N150 and N165 in Lagos. It is sold higher prices in other parts of the country outside Lagos and Abuja. This is what APC government called deregulation of the petroleum sector yet the commodity is still scarce.
Upon all the pains inflicted on Nigerians by the change government, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, rubbed additional salt to the injury when he said that the government hiked the fuel price simply because Nigeria is broke.
The minister should better tell that to the marines for Nigerians are not dumb to swallow that disingenuous piece of propaganda line, hook and sinker. The minister should understand that Nigerians are wiser now than before. The cheap propaganda dished to Nigerians prior to the 2015 general polls is a hard sale now.
Nigerians now take his Nigeria is broke” slip with a pinch of salt. What the economic scenario has shown is that Buhari has no handle on the economy. His economic team, if any, is sleeping and snoring while the economy is fumbling and wobbling and would soon grind to a disastrous halt if nothing urgently is done to salvage it.
Tying the naira to Chinese Yuan cannot save it. It is like jumping from frying pan to fire. No foreigner, whether European or Asian, will develop this country for us. The earlier this government realizes it the better for it and Nigerians. The government should think out of the box.

APC Lied To Get To Power And Fantastically Lying To Sustain Power

By Nwamkpa Modestus
No doubt, this is a very tough and challenging period for many Nigerians. The past one year under this APC led government in Nigeria has been dotted with lamentations, gnashing of teeth, full of disappointments, unimaginable hardship, dashing of hopes and complete reversal of promises. Certainly, the present despicable and lamentable situation in the country was the least thing Nigerians particularly those brainwashed 15 million Voters who voted for President Buhari bargained for. Even though I can raise my head high and say that I was not among those bunch of ignoramus voters who were deceived into believing that  President Muhammadu Buhari has the capacity to turn stone into bread as I never fell for those white lies that the party gushed out to Nigerians. 
However, much as I had expressed skepticism and have continued to be skeptical as to the party’s genuine capacity to lead the country to a safer shore but what actually baffled and keep surprising me is the level at which the party is struggling desperately to use the same lies or peddling of falsehood they used to get to power to also remain in power. Or could this be the reason why there is this maxim that one needs another lie to sustain one lie?
Perhaps, unknown to them that there is this popular saying that ‘you can deceive some people some of the times but you obviously cannot deceive all the people all the times’. When in 2014/2015 the APC members and leaders were aggressively seeking to supplant former President Goodluck Jonathan and his party- the PDP accusing the former President and PDP members of being clueless, incompetent, weak and corrupt among other spurious accusations, very few discerning and informed minds knew then that APC as a  party and its leaders were playing on the intelligence and psych of some vulnerable Nigerians. They promised to make light to shine across the country, water to run on dried taps, three millions of jobs to be provided yearly, 25 million unemployed Youths to receive five thousand naira stipends yearly, NYSC members to have their alowee increased, one dollar to equal to one naira, Chibok girls to be rescued within six months including the automatic stoppage of Boko Haram madness within six months.
They also mesmerized us with the sweet promises that pump price of fuel would be reduced to N40 per litre, that Nigerian school Children would start enjoying one free meal every school day, that workers and pensioners would receive their pay on or before 25th of every Month and above all, that the cankerworm called Corruption would be fought to a standstill among other promises.
General Muhammadu Buhari who later got ‘baptized’ by charging to President Buhari was so much repackaged to the point that the dummy was sold to Nigerians that the Daura born former Army general was the only clean and incorruptible Nigerian existing. They told us he was the ‘Messiah’ to come and the only one that has the panacea to our economic cum political travails in this country. We were told that even as a former military head of state, he had no other house anywhere in the world except the moderate bungalow in his village. They said Buhari has the magic wand to exterminate corruption in Nigeria. Funny enough, we were meant to believe that the only reason why there is huge unemployment, epileptic power supply, continued abduction none release of Chibok girls, hardship and other crimes was because Buhari was not the President. In all, they said Nigeria only needs a specie of a man in the image and likeness of Buhari and things would start working again. Surprisingly, some people believed this cart while there were few discerning minds like yours sincerely who took the entire gambit with a pinch of salt and dismissed the whole lies as balderdash.
Now, the Chicken has come home to roast. The breeze has blown and Nigerians have seen the Buttocks of a foul. One year is gone and yet there is nothing to show that we are heading to the world of Eldorado. On the contrary, Nigerians are getting the direct opposite of all that were promised. Instead of employing 3 million Youths as promised, there has been millions of job lost. Instead of improving on the five thousand mega watts of electricity that the previous administration of Jonathan left it, there has been a decline in electricity generation that it now hovers around I,450 mega watts of electricity with its attendant blackout across the country even when there is a hike of about 45% of electricity tariff. Instead of buying fuel at least at N86.50 that the last administration bequeathed with the availability of the product, we are now faced with an astronomical increase of N145 per litre and scarcity of the products. Instead of enjoying a downward slope Change in the prices of food stuffs and transportation, Nigerians are faced with an upward arbitrary change in the prices of food Stuffs and transportation. Instead of finding life easier and reassuring, hardship, hunger and penury are today common realities in the country under APC led federal government.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Nigeria: A Year Of Unmet Expectations?

By Bolaji Tunji
In two days time, precisely May 29, the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration of President Mohammadu Buhari would be a year old in office. Being the tradition in this clime, it’s a time to take stock, to find out how the administration has fared in the last one year. Has the administration been able to meet the hopes and expectation of Nigerians who denied the Peoples Democratic Party that continued hold on power and placed their hopes on the APC and General Buhari.
*President Buhari 
That Nigerians had a lot riding on this administration was not in doubt and they had justifiable reason for that. APC had promised them what they felt they were not getting from the PDP government. A new life, a new Nigeria where fuel prices would be about N40 a litre. Where the mass of the unemployed and the aged would be paid a certain amount of money every month and  school children fed at least once a day. It was an administration that fed on the hope and the desire of the people with a promise to ensure that the hopes and aspirations were met. And the Buhari administration made history, unseating a sitting government. President Buhari’s victory at the polls marked him as a dogged, consistent fighter.
He had contested for the highest office in the land on three different occasions before victory eventually came. That in itself is historical. I can’t recall any serious Nigerian politician being that dogged. His tenacity endeared him to many Nigerians, his victory was thus assured especially when Nigerians had grown disenchanted with the PDP government . His victory also signaled the end of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) dominance of the political landscape. Recall that the party had boasted, in its heydays that it would rule Nigeria for 60 years. It could only rule for 16 years, losing to the progressive elements which in itself is equally historical.
Incumbents, with so much at stake, hardly lose election while the conservative elements have always aligned to hold the mantle of leadership of this country. It was under this epoch that President Buhari became the president, a feat that had proved impossible until a merger of his Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) with the Action Congress of Nigeria and a faction of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) spearheaded by the Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha. The rest is history, as it is usually said.

Beyond Children’s Parades And Promises

By Yinka Adeosun
Children Day, first proclaimed by the World Conference for the Wellbeing of Children in 1925 and then established universally in 1954, is celebrated each year to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children’s welfare. International Children’s Day has also been set aside by the United Nations to celebrate and honour children across the world every May 27. (Today is one of such remarkable days). 
It is recognised and celebrated on various days in many countries around the world. The day was created as part of efforts of the UN to protect children from dangerous situations in the society and as well to give every child the opportunity to acquire formal education. Significantly, it was set aside to highlight the dignity of children and their need for love, care and respect, and to also instill in them a sense of patriotism and national pride.
(Regrettably), the Nigerian child is an endangered species. She or he usually bears the impact of poverty, family problems, peer pressure, failed educational system, social and religious conflicts as well as violence and terrorism. At an early age, some children are given in marriage, thereby exposing them to sexually transmitted diseases and infections, many have been conscripted into foot soldiers, are victims of sexual slavery and all sorts of emotional torture.
Child abuse, child trafficking, child battery and exploitation are common realities in our society. It is sad that despite the information age, some cultures and practices in our country still make children vulnerable, disadvantaged and prone to abuse. Under-aged marriage is the norm in the North and child labour is not peculiar to the South alone.
Many of our children grow with bitterness for their country. Having watched the insincerity of the government to the plight of the child in comparison to the news of child bravery in other climes, many would prefer to stay away and fulfill their potentials in a clime that encourages them to do so. The tale of the Chibok girls, the kidnap of students of Barbington Macaulay Junior Seminary in Lagos and the plight of Ese Oruru are miniature compared to the many cases of child abuse and neglect in the Nigerian society.

The Parable Of The Mad Man (2)

Click HERE To Read Part 1
By Dan Amor
As we were saying, can a sane person allow him­self to be driven by some spurious emotion to run stark-naked into a crowded market for whatever reason? The moral implication of the story is obvi­ous. It shows that it is the soci­ety that creates its madmen that also treats its madmen shabbily as though they were not human beings. If, indeed, we are at first comfortable with the way the first madman who opens the story is ill-treated, by the time the story closes, and we are fa­miliar with the fate of Nwibe, we certainly can no longer be complacent about the treatment of the madman. What is more, we are awed by the realization that Nwibe’s troubles have only begun by the time the story ends. The alternate implication is that Nwibe might in the end become truly mad. This situa­tion certainly urges us to the be­lief that the madman who opens the story might have become a madman through an experience similar to that of Nwibe. This is a devastating indictment of so­ciety. 
*Nnamdi Kanu 
This indictment is addressed not only to the stone-aged so­ciety ridden with superstitions and taboos such as Nwibe’s, but also the modern society because Nwibe’s village is in the end only a microcosm of the larger human society. The extreme vulnerability of the individual within the society is the major concern of Achebe in this epic. Man is revealed to be ultimately alone and alienated in society which is supposed to exist for his advantage but which ironi­cally seems to exist to destroy him. Despite the solicitude of relatives, the existential tragedy of Nwibe is his loneliness in the face of a horrendous natural ca­lamity.

Consistent with the system of ironies in this story, water which is a universal symbol of life becomes the source of human tragedy. It is the local stream which invites Nwibe to cleanse and purify himself from dirt that has also invited the madman to quench his thirst and rejuvenate his tired body. Yet these invitations lead inevitably to a tragic collision. Similarly ironic is the fact that the road, which is the universal symbol of life and irrepressible human quest for knowledge, is also that which has tragically crossed the paths of Nwibe and the madman. The irony fur­ther extends to the name of the protagonist himself- “Nwibe”, which translates from Igbo into “a child of the community”.

Such a child is supposed to be loved, respected and helped along by all to achieve his life’s goals. The opposite is ironically the case with the Nwibe of this story. The community as dem­onstrated in the upper class of society- the Ozo title holders and the medicine men- prides itself in its realism, good sense and wisdom. However, when these claims are put to test, the society is not only found want­ing, but is discovered to be in­capable of distinguishing ap­pearance from reality. Hence, the community rather than be­coming the making, is the ruin of this Nwibe.

Tomato Scarcity As Metaphor

By Reuben Abati
One of the major news items in circulation has been the scarcity of tomato. Incidentally, Nigeria is (was) the 14th largest producer of tomato in the world and the second largest producer in Africa, after Egypt, but our country hardly produces enough to meet the local demand of about 2.3 million tonnes, and lacks the capacity to ensure an effective storage or value chain processing of what is produced. Out of the 1.8 million tonnes that the country produces annually, 900, 000 tonnes are left to rot and waste. Meanwhile, tomato-processing companies in the country operate below capacity and many of them have had to shut down.
The CEO of Erisco Foods, Lagos, Eric Umeofia laments that tomato processing companies lack access to foreign exchange to enable them buy heat-resistant seedlings and other tools that would help ensure the country’s sufficiency in local production of tomato paste. Similarly, Dangote Tomato Factory recently suspended operations due to the scarcity of tomatoes and the assault on its tomato farms by a tomato leaves destroying moth, known as “tuta absoluta” – a South American native, also known as the Tomato Ebola, because of its Ebola-like characteristics.
Other reasons have been advanced for the scarcity of tomatoes in our markets: the fuel crisis which has driven up costs making it difficult and expensive for Northern tomato farmers to bring tomatoes to the South, insurgency in the North East which has resulted in the closure of many tomato farms in that region, thus cutting off national output, the recent ethnic crisis in Mile 2, during which Hausa-Fulani traders and other marketers engaged in a murderous brawl, climate-change induced drought and heat wave in the Northern-tomato producing states of Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Plateau, Kano and Gombe. In the best of seasons, Nigeria spends $1.5 billion annually on the importation of tomato products. The cost in this regard, seems certain to rise.
Already, the effect of this tomato blight is being felt in households. Whereas a few months ago, a basket of tomato was about N5, 000, it is now about N40, 000 per basket. Housewives are protesting bitterly about how a piece of tomato vegetable has jumped up by about 650%, such that three pieces now go for as much as N500. Tomato in Nigeria today is thus more expensive than a litre of petrol! I have it on good authority, that in those face-me-I-face-you quarters where the poor live, it has in fact become risky to leave a tin of tomato paste carelessly or fresh tomatoes lying around: they would most certainly be stolen, and there have been reports of soup pots suddenly vanishing should the owner take a minute from the communal kitchen to use the loo. Many are resorting to desperate measures to sort out a growing epidemic of empty stomachs and empty pockets. Unless this matter is addressed seriously and urgently, the social crisis may be far too costly in both the short and the long run: hungry people could become sick and angry, hungry citizens could become thieves and a nuisance, they could also become angry voters and a rebellious populace.

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