Thursday, 21 July 2016

The State and the Coupist


     
Should former military heads of states continue to collect salaries and other emoluments from the Nigeria state? If it is agreed that Military regimes are aberrations on the polity it follows that coupists should be outcasts, to say the least, within a democratic setting. For a coupist to be drawing salaries and emoluments from the state is a misnomer and a contradiction in terms. For the very states these military officers overthrew to now turn around and be pandering to their needs is turning logic on its head. It just doesn’t follow. A former coup leader, Major General Murtala Mohammed’s face adorns our currency, Major roads and streets in Nigeria are named after him and other s in his circle. Late Gen. Abacha still has a stadium in Kano, his hometown, named after him. This is even after cases of fraud have been established against him. Switzerland and other countries in the West are still repatriating Abacha’s stolen wealth back to Nigeria.
   Our current President, a coupist, is also a beneficiary of the Nigeria State largess as he was being paid salaries and emoluments by virtue of his being a former Head of State. His vehicles were being replaced every three years or so. Now, he has even been compensated for overthrowing the state by becoming our President through the ballot box. Street names and buildings bearing the names of these coupists should be changed forthwith. They don’t deserve our appreciation.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Herdsmen From Hell


      The treatment of the Fulani herdsmen with kid gloves should end henceforth. These Fulani guys have      their abode in the Northern part of the country but prefer to migrate down South with their herds of cattle in search of greener pastures. This would have been all well and go good if not for the fact that these herders are wont to clash with their hosts without any provocation whatsoever. Their hosts, especially the farmers, are the Fulanis frequent victims. The host is expected to keep mum when the Fulani cattle eat the farmers’ crops. If the farmers dare to complain they are promptly killed and the females raped or maimed. I think if the host is not the aggressor the guest should definitely not be.
  That the Federal Government is weighing in on the issue on the side of the Fulanis is rather unfortunate.  The F.G is proposing a National Grazing Reserve Council which would have the power to take away land from wherever, anytime they want and pay whatever they want as   compensation to the land owner.  The land when taken shall be assigned to the Fulani herdsmen who shall use the land for grazing purposes. If, as a landowner you object to this, you can go to the court but not before notifying and getting the consent of the AGF before you can sue. If the AGF declines consent to the suit you lose your land forever to the herdsmen. The Chairman of the National Grazing Reserve Council will be appointed by the President. 
  From the foregoing it can be seen that the aces are stacked against the land owners. The F.G is proposing the appropriation of lands from the Southerners but this time using the instrumentality of the law. This must and can not stand. Even though the proposed Bill has passed the first reading at the National Assembly it will be impracticable even if passed into law.
    Cow herding is just one of the different professions we have in Nigeria. We have the fishermen, the spare parts sellers, the farmers, the cloth weavers, etc, etc. why then is the issue of the Fulani herdsmen so important to the government as to deserve presenting a Bill on the issue. They are individuals doing their individual businesses to survive-just like the next guy.  The money they make is to their pockets so why the hue and cry?
   Countries that are known for exporting meat e.g. Australia, Argentina, and U.S etc. don’t move their cattle from one place to the other. They don’t take their cattle to the food but rather the food to the cattle. Water, hay, fodder, etc, are taken to the cattle in the pens and pastures. Science and technology has overtaken the need for cattle pastoralism. The F.G should introduce global best practice in cattle management to these Fulani herdsmen and spare us the constant headaches the activities of these herdsmen cause the nation. The government should tread cautiously on this issue so as not to create a monster they can’t control. A word is enough for the wise.

Contradictions

CONTRADICTIONS
  Nigeria is a nation of contradictions. We import what we have and export what we don’t have. We are the top petroleum producer on the African continent yet we import a sizeable amount of our fuel. Every second tones of gas are being burnt off because the infrastructure required for liquefying it is either nonexistent or grossly inadequate. The attendant effect is the very high cost of cooking has in the nation. Nigeria has more gas deposit than petroleum. It is therefore a wonder that we find it hard to buy cooking gas to cook our foods not to talk of powering our houses with gas powered electricity from the electric generating station.  Every thing the nation needs has been benevolently deposited on and in our land by the Almighty. We have no reason importing vegetable oil because the northern region could still reproduce the miracle of the groundnut pyramid of yore. Ditto  with palm oil down south.  Nigeria claims it does not have money but still manages to keep the political class’ nest well feathered. To say the Nigeria political class is sitting pretty is to say the least. Life pensions here and there for the Governors and their deputies. Choice land in the choicest part of the country all paid for by the hoi polloi. Pray, were the politicians forced by anyone to run for office? Why are they now posturing as if they have done us a favour by being elected into office? Contradictions!

Political Greediness



The issue of salary for life and life pension for political office holders is fast generating discourse in the political space. For example, a retired General  gets his full salary for life upon retirement, governors either collects full salary or a portion of same or pension as long as they live. In a situation where a retired General ,for example, becomes a state Governor .At the end of his Governorship he still goes home each month with his full General’s salary and pension from his gubernatorial stunt. All paid for by the Nigeria hapless tax payer.
    It comes as a huge shock when the Nigeria Senate came up with a proposal to include the Senate leadership in the swindle called life political office holders. Do not forget that while in office the state caters for all these characters needs, nay, wanted. From the littlest pin to their first class air travels. From cradle to the grave, these political jobbers’ lavish lifestyles are borne by the bent backs of the citizenry. This is as selfish as it is immoral. The perks of office must be reduced to the barest minimum in order to deter charlatans and self serving people from seeking political office in the first place. Political office is very ‘juicy’ in Nigeria, the reason many will kill to attain office. Without the glamour and the lucre of office, political assassinations and brigandage would be reduced to a minimum as many would simply reason it is not worth the trouble. Alas, with the present resignation of the citizenry to their fate the political class will yet continue to have a free day many seasons hence.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Shame of the Senate

       In a civilised clime the sight of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, going to the Code of Conduct Tribunal from 10am to 6pm each day for his trial will be a misnomer.  You certainly can't be an accused and at the same time hold a political office as high as the Senate President.  A number three man should not be seen in this dock not once not to talk of everyday.  It cuts an unsightly spectacle. It demean the office to say the least.  But this afterall is Nigeria.  Where everything goes.  Where no one ever takes responsibility for any wrong doing, least of all resigning.  A country where the substantive Minister is left alone while the junior Minister is daily pilloried.  A country where blame is not apportioned judiciously.
       You daily see people fighting each other on petrol queues instead of rightly situating the cause and the blame where it should: the feet of the authorities.  In Nigeria the buck never stop at anyone table but is rather passed along in a curious game of ' tag, you are it'. 

Truly a Most Docile People

      Nigerians are truly the most docile people to lead.  We are always blasé and resigned to fate when action is sorely needed.  We resort to 'prayers'  when the situation warrants 'work'. Karl Marx must have had Nigeria 8n mind when he gave the  classical definition of religion as being the opium of the masses. It surely dulls one's faculty when issues concerning political misgovernance comes to the fore.
  Talk about the scarce petrol and some would tell you it is not the fault of President Buhari.  You will rather be told it is the fault of the State governor who is not managing the situation well.  Tell them about the increase in the price of virtually everything and you would be told it is the fault of ex President Jonathan and his party, the PDP, who (mis) ruled the country for  16 years.  They conveniently forget that it is on the back of correcting the so called misrule that got the current administration into power.  The ruling party and it's supporters should please tell us what we don't know. Alleviate people's suffering or get out of government.  The time for campaign is long gone. The government is not elected to whine and complain but to make life better for the common  man.  You either shape in or shape out.  Even if things get better tomorrow the increase in prices of commodities and services would not come back to the initial prices.  In Nigeria nothing ever comes down except the rain.  Even the rain is having to hard time coming down nowadays.
  Any attempt to demonstrate disapproval of the status quo is met by the administration supporters as an opposition to the government. With this state of affairs half the populace is seemingly cowed and rendered ineffective by the other half. For the fuel crisis to linger for so long and not a single demonstration to jolt power to action is nothing short of a miracle.  A miracle that can happen only in Nigeria. 

A Tale of Two Citizens

    Our law enforcement agencies should be up and doing regarding the fuel  crisis.  The fact is that some filling stations have the product but are simply not selling to the  public.  The product is being reserved for friends,  relations, and the VIPs.  This,  in my opinion,  is very wrong.  No petrol dealer who has fuel has the legal or moral right to refuse to sell same to the public. Petrol is an essential commodity and as such it is an economic sabotage to hoard it. It is either a filling station has fuel or hasn't. The public has a right to the fuel in your station.
    Nowadays it is common to espy a station selling to 5 or 6 vehicles only to be told after branching in that the station is not selling. Even though you can see these people buying the attendants and managers insists the fuel is not for the public. That is the sorry pass Nigerians find themselves.  The relevant agencies should be alive to their duties by arresting this ugly situation.  There should be no two tier citizenry.  While one tier citizens rough out the night and day on the queue, for the other tier it is come easy go easy. This must be stopped. 

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Muses on the Ese Oruru's Saga

      It is funny how the police operates sometimes  concerning the VIPs in our midst.  A case in hand is the  current case of Ese Oruru.  She was  abducted last August 2015 at the tender age of 13 years. She was abducted from Yenagoa, Bayelsa to Kano in Kano state. She purportedly changed her religion from Christianity to Islam. The last time I checked she was an underage ( at least in Bayelsa where she was abducted).  Yunusa , her abductor,  claimed he had married her and she had converted to Islam.  The constitution and the Child Rights Act however are explicit on the age of consent for girls which is pegged at 18 years even though these laws have (in the main) not been domesticated in the  North. This is because as a former Governor of Zamfara state and a Senator Mal. Ahmad Sani  Yerima said; once a girl has breast, public hair, and is menstruating she is marriageable e.  It is instructive to note the said senator married a 13 year old girl from Egypt.
     Sharia law  requires the parents' consent for a marriage to be valid.  With this knowledge it is therefore surprising that the Emir of Kano, Mallam Muhammad Sanusi ll, allowed the child to be kept under his roof in the palace for so long.  Agreed that he halfheartedly called for the girl to be released way back in September 2015 what he should however have done is see to it that his directive is followed to the letter and conclusively . After all, he is the leader of the Emirate and if his body language had shown seriousness I doubt if any of his subjects will defy his directive. He could have even gone further by handing over the said Yunusa to the security agencies.  Afterall, Yunusa had committed a crime by kidnapping and abducting Ese Oruru from her family back in Bayelsa state to Kano  state.  A leader is expected, at all times, to be above board and be seen upholding the law.  However, the buck lies ultimately with the police and the state security both which were aware of the case from day one.  They obviously knew a  crime had been committed yet they were powerless to bring the culprit to justice and also get the  hill released.  The  Inspector General of Police (IGP) was quoted as saying :
 "The Emir decided that he was going to mediate. But, because of his trip to Mecca with the president. That was what caused the delay. But now that he is back, we are going to sort it out as quickly as possible.” The IGP Solomon Arase further asserted that the release of Ese was dependent on the intervention of the Emir.
    Pray, is the civil authority now subjected to the whims and caprice of the traditional rulers?
This is definitely not good enough. In saner climes he wouldn't have resigned or booted out of the force for pandering to power and not upholding the law to which he was sworn.
  It was cheering news however, that the girl is finally on the way back to her family in Bayelsa. Thanks to  the #freeesenow movement on social media  and  the mainstream media.  This movement in no small way brought the plight of little Ese to the national, nay, international frontburner.
    I sure hope a lot of lessons have been learnt going forward. The family of Ese should be well   compensated by the  state for the unnecessary stress and trauma it was put through by the conspiracy of silence and the dilly dally of the security operatives. Punishment must of necessity be meted out to Yunusa for the kidnapping and abduction of Ese according to the extant law of the land.  This will serve as a deterrent for others who might also in  want to toe this ignoble path in future.  

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Demystifying Oil

The fixation with the Petroleum Industry by our leaders is simply mind-boggling to say the least.  The fact that a mono-economy has been shown to be a less than desirable state of affairs is immaterial to these set of people.  These leaders cannot be bothered that Petroleum has constituted more of a curse than a blessing to the nation. They still go  about as if our very being as a nation depend on the  black gold when the reverse is clearly the case.  I dare say without any fear of contradiction that without crude oil, Nigeria would have been a better country and a proud member of the world economic committee. We would be ranked up there with the world economic giants.
   With the avowed promise of President Buhari during the 2015 electioneering campaign, of improving the economic lot of Nigeria citizens,  one would have thought he would be proactive per the "oil conundrum." The first false step President Buhari took on assumption of power  is making himself the Petroleum Minister. This act, to all intents and purposes, shows that he is very much an "oil man." One would have thought he would have made himself the Minister of Agriculture to underscore the importance of the sector to his administration. The fact that billions of naira was budgeted to look for oil in the Chad basin is another pointer to the fact that crude oil still remain central to this administration policy thrust.
  At present President Buhari is in Saudi Arabia and later will be in Qatar on a week long meeting with the sole agenda of arresting the oil price free fall in the international market. This is coming at a time when the President's attention is sorely required at home considering the  current mauling of the naira by the dollar. N370 to the dollar for an importing country like Nigeria is enough reason for the President Buhari to stay put in Nigeria for now. Most developed nations like Japan, South Korea etc lack any sizeable mineral resources yet are wealthy through the conversion of imported raw materials into finished products. Rather than relying on crude oil Nigeria will do well to  invest massively in the agro-allied industry.  We have a huge comparative advantage in agriculture and common sense dictates this is the way to go. For our teeming unemployed youth the agriculture sector offers a veritable employment opportunities.  Figuratively speaking, what Buhari is looking for in Sokoto is right there in his sokoto pocket.
The fixation with the Petroleum Industry by our leaders is simply mind-boggling to say the least.  The fact that a mono-economy has been shown to be a less than desirable state of affairs is immaterial to %these set of people.  These leaders cannot be bothered that Petroleum has constituted more of a curse than a blessing to the nation. They still go  about as if our very being as a nation depend on the  black gold when the reverse is clearly the case.  I dare say without any fear of contradiction that without crude oil, Nigeria would have been a better country and a proud member of the world economic committee. We would be ranked up there with the world economic giants.
   With the avowed promise of President Buhari during the 2015 electioneering campaign, of improving the economic lot of Nigeria citizens,  one would have thought he would be proactive per the "oil conundrum." The first false step President Buhari took on assumption of power  is making himself the Petroleum Minister. This act, to all intents and purposes, shows that he is very much an "oil man." One would have thought he would have made himself the Minister of Agriculture to underscore the importance of the sector to his administration. The fact that billions of naira was budgeted to look for oil in the Chad basin is another pointer to the fact that crude oil still remain central to this administration policy thrust.
  At present President Buhari is in Saudi Arabia and later will be in Qatar on a week long meeting with the sole agenda of arresting the oil price free fall in the international market. This is coming at a time when the President's attention is sorely required at home considering the  current mauling of the naira by the dollar. N370 to the dollar for an importing country like Nigeria is enough reason for the President Buhari to stay put in Nigeria for now. Most developed nations like Japan, South Korea etc lack any sizeable mineral resources yet are wealthy through the conversion of imported raw materials into finished products. Rather than relying on crude oil Nigeria will do well to  invest massively in the agro-allied industry.  We have a huge comparative advantage in agriculture and common sense dictates this is the way to go. For our teeming unemployed youth the agriculture sector offers a veritable employment opportunities.  Figuratively speaking, what Buhari is looking for in Sokoto is right there in his sokoto pocket.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Wanted :A Visionary Leader

     It is a pity That Nigerians are still living on past glories. A nation that is a mono economy, whose main export is commanding a low price in the international market can I'll afford to live the way we are right now. People are going about as if it is business as usual. Looking round, one can see no sign of the sad turn of the economy in the everyday lives of our functionaries The National Assembly is carrying on as if all is well. At the last count oil per barrel is less than $ 30. Our naira is in a free fall at more than N300 to the dollar. It's southwards journey continues unabated. With this reality nonetheless , the Nass is planning on buy posh foreign made cars with money from the national coffers. With Nigeria's foreign reserve at a meager $29bn the planned purchases is one the nation can ill afford. Comparing this amount with close to $3bn James Cameron's film 'Avatar' grossed worldwide will give a scale of what the nation can make in other sectors when we really put our back to it.
 Opportunities however abound within the nation. Wither the groundnut pyramids, the textile industry, the real sector of the economy? Nigeria has no foundry industry to boast of. Since when was something invented in the country? The environment where excellence can breed is lacking. With a teeming population Nigeria should be coasting economically. However, this sorry pass we have gotten ourselves into was of our own making. Our so called leaders have failed us woefully. They've been superlatively lacking in vision and foresight. What you sow that you'll reap. This is an eternal truism. As a new oil producing nation Gen. Gowan, the then Head of State was said to have said money is not Nigeria's problem but how to spend it. What an unfortunate utterance as as at then a lot of towns and villages were still without roads, electricity, potable water, modern rail system etc, etc. This present parlous condition we find ourselves had been set in motion a long time ago. Where nations like the Emiratis where looking forward to a time when oil will lose it's shine, Nigeria was busy eating it's future. Those countries have diversified their economy to the extent that when you talk of those nations you don't think of oil but tourism, financial services and other allied activities.
  The earlier Nigeria invests in agriculture the better for everyone. I humbly believed that without the curse of oil Nigeria would have ranked high in the comity of nations. Where did the groundnut pyramids go, our cocoa, coffee. Our palmtrees? With our teeming population and our land and climate there is no reason why we should be feeding Africa, nay, the world.