Who will speak for the People?

Several years ago, the Creative Center for Leadership, were resource trainers for the United Nations University / International Leadership Academy’s extended Leadership program.  Before the end of their session, the Vice Rector of the University who was acting as the Director of the Academy in Jordan called for an appraisal of the trainers.  The students condemned in totally the style, depth and materials of the Center, when asked, mine was at variance.   I opined that we experience the British / Oxford Templeton College Team before crucifying the Americans, thanks to my Nigerian British style education and the Sheraton American Style trainings.   The class judged better when the two were compared.

Nigeria’s Masses cried during Late Yaradua’s time and Kerosine and Petrol were pegged to N50 and N65 per litre, the Nigeria Police stopped collecting toll fees on the road, the Military were struggling for United Nations Missions. Why was that, because somebody spoke for the down trodden and they were considered favourably.

We have reached a very disturbing cross road and yes there is need for the iron curtains to be pieced so Presidents and their Vice can be on the same page with the electorate/masses. 

How can you truly explain the reason why Fulanis who were known for grazing their cattle peacefully out of sight, now are everywhere as petty traders, tailors, motor bike riders et al, you ask them why, they tell you Cattle Robbers have stolen their cows and refused them peace in the bush.  What has the Government done to return them to their status quo?  Ask me.  Then who are the cattle owners that the National Assembly is always talking of Graze Land or Ranch bill for?  It is definitely not the poor fulani’s who now do not even have the cows to breed.    From the President, who we know has cows in his asset declaration to the likes of the Governors of Ekiti and Kwara, and their likes, are the graze land seekers (not the masses) this is maybe to further galvanise more lands to a few in every nuke and crannies of Nigeria?   When the poor fulanis were grazing we did not have sophisticated weapons and burning of villages, there was symbiotic coexistence with farmers allowing cattle rearers on lands needing manure.  So where did all this violence come from and why now?  Even the fulanis in the bush suffer kidnappings and destruction of lives and properties by these people causing havoc in our land.

The African / Nigerian Press is so muzzled that if you go counter the rulership you are made a black sheep.  And because they are first a business and want to have a green bank accounts and not red;  The Governors and leaders now have praise singers and not a true representation of the realities on ground.

Buhari’s getting a Christian Vice, was because he listened to suggestions.  His suspension of the NIA Chief and SGF was because he listened to the out cry of his people.  The Chibok Girls, Boko Haram and many others are all because he listened.  But how can he hear correctly, when he is surrounded by a very thick iron curtain of the AGIP machinery of power brokers that only have their interest in front and not the electorate?

Shehu Sani suffered his persecutions and is still, they have looked for all ways possible to ground him, including suspension from Kaduna chapter of the party to no avail.

El-Zakhy Zaky, is one person I have known from my days in ABU Zaria to be a forthright person, who government monies can’t buy.  The politicians go to him to canvass from votes, which his supporters give them.  How do I know, all politicians do and I have also benefitted from such vote support, without which no politician can have a comfortable win, unless rigged.  This man has followers in villages unexpected and he cares for the followers more than the elected governors.  If you remember, when the child marrying Governor of Zamfara brought in Sharia during the Obasanjo’s tenure, El-Zahky Zaky was about an only voice that said, it wont succeed. He was criticized for being anti-Islamic.  In his defence, he mentioned the insincerity of the promoters and their using it for political intent and not true religion.  Was he proved right?  You tell me.  The same Zamfara officials were known in Abuja as the highest users of hotels and restaurants.  They bring ladies in droves, shagalinku restaurant (and the like) will be fully booked at breakfast, lunch and dinner times, when the Zamfara harems come to eat.  Zaria’s religious peaceful stay cannot be without the synergy of such religious leaders and the Traditional Houses in the city and the environ.

Bishop Oyedepo – who mentioned the need to defend yourself against any provocation by any group, is not unfamiliar with the antiques of persons using religion, tribe or regions to foment trouble. His Ministry was started in Kaduna and he has a very large followership in Kaduna and the North.  Some of his places of worship suffered bombings like the one in Bauchi, North East.

Apostle Johnson Suleman – Who re echoed the defend yourselves song and was termed provocation.   He became a target when he warned El-Rufai of the Preaching License, he wanted to enforce in kaduna State.  His trouble increased when the DSS was barred from arresting him by the Governor of Ekiti and Eminent Christian Leaders Escorted him to Abuja.  Getting to discredit his ministry and calling came as an aftermath.

The Emir of Zaria, who mentioned a political variance in favour of a crowned title holder (the former Governor).  Demolition inside the city was to spite the Emir; Zaria and Kaduna Traditional Houses started seeing the unseen, including locking of a traditional ruler for weeks in prison custody.

While Kebbi is working with Lagos, the Central Bank and Bank of Industries amongst others to further Agricultural synergy, Zamfara is stigmatizing the people with curse instead of vaccinating and treating them against deadly diseases in the state.

I reside in a state where you hear men saying, marrying one wife is like being single.  A gardener was added N5000.00 to his salary, to my surprise he added a wife, I asked why and how will he maintain them, in a chorus, i was told God will feed all who He gave mouths to.    Cases abound of parents who do not know where their children sleep, eat or play and are not disturbed about that.  They end up as political thugs, so the learned politicians are not bothered because their children are learning abroad and will hope the children of these masses serve their children like the parent did the fathers.

Boko Haram has not finished, it was started by politicians, Cattle rustlings is yet to be stopped, villages being ravaged and so many innocent blood lettings still abound.  From the Zamfara axis to the Ile –Ife and the East every case shows an unbalance that Nigerian politicians are not ready for the truth.

In all cases people who speak or stood against some persons are placed on a pedestal of disgrace, after warning them in some cases.

The Sultan and Emir of Kano did us proud in Kaduna, because some body needs to tell them.  Kaduna is the Power Seat of the North, Kaduna is home for all we accept, but the Gbagis that have suffered displacements from Zaria, Kaduna, Minna and Abuja deserve a better treatment for the kits and kins than what they are experiencing in the name of someone is in charge.  

During the KADINVEST, i see the peaceful loving nature of this people, it wont happen in terrain like we are seeing in Kaduna.  Kaduna for the exigencies of Politics is under the purview of the Emir of Zaria, who is the Traditional head of the State Traditional houses.   The Government invited the Emir of Kano without the presence of any Traditional Ruler from Kaduna.  The Sultan was invited, he stands as a Islamic Religious Leader and their was no thought of inviting a Christian Leader to also be in attendance.  Am sure the likes of Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah, who is the present Bishop of Sokoto would have been a good accompaniment of the Sultan (they have severally), Kukah is from Kaduna State El-Rufai was not ready for what the Bishop would have mentioned maybe.

So for many silenced mouths, in and out of prisons for saying what some politicians do not want to hear, the Emir of Kano and his likes should not stay quiet. 

Now is not the time to use the usual old antiques to silence people, our politicians should be more responsive and responsible to the electorate.  As electorates, we need to disturb the National Assembly to remove certain privileges leading to abuses and give the electorate the power to recall their elected officers, when they see them not responsible enough.  That will keep our leaders on their toes to the needful for the enhancement of their constituents.

Let the speakers keep speaking and the silent ones should join speaking.  I long to see the State Assemblies stop singing the Governors sing songs and start acting like Honourable.  I long to see the State Houses call their Governors to order in especially the case of Local Government Elections, so people can feel the Government more and have easy access to the officials.

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Africa: How Nigeria is losing on Global relevance–courtesy ATQ

Africa: How Nigeria is losing on Global relevance

March 3, 2017Sunday OnenLeave a comment

Princeton N. Lyman, the former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria and South Africa

How Nigeria is losing Global relevance

Princeton N. Lyman, the former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria and South Africa, delivered a very poignant speech on the panel titled “The Nigerian State and U.S. Strategic Interests” at the Achebe Colloquium at Brown University.

Lyman suggests that rather than continually emphasize Nigeria’s strategic importance, it would behoove us to consider elements that might eventually lead to Nigeria’s irrelevance on the international stage.

Transcript Of Speech Taken Directly From a Video

Thank you very much Prof. Keller and thanks to the organizers of this conference. It is such a privilege to be here in a conference in honor of Prof. Achebe, an inspiration and teacher to all of us.

I have a long connection to Nigeria. Not only was I Ambassador there, I have travelled to and from Nigeria for a number of years and have a deep and abiding vital emotional attachment to the Nigerian people, their magnificence, their courage, artistic brilliance, their irony, sense of
humor in the face of challenges etc.

And I hope that we keep that in mind when I say some things that I think are counter to what we normally say about Nigeria. And I say that with all due respect to Eric Silla who is doing a magnificent work at State Department and to our good friend from the legislature, because I have a feeling that we both Nigerians and Americans may be doing Nigeria and Nigerians no favor by stressing Nigeria’s strategic importance.

I know all the arguments: it is a major oil producer, it is the most populous country in Africa, it has made major contributions to Africa in peacekeeping, and of course negatively if Nigeria were to fall apart the ripple effects would be tremendous, etc.. But I wonder if all this emphasis on Nigeria’s importance creates a tendency of inflate Nigeria’s opinion of its own invulnerability.

Among much of the elite today, I have the feeling that there is a belief that Nigeria is too big to fail, too important to be ignored, and that Nigerians can go on ignoring some of the most fundamental challenges they have many of which we have talked about: disgraceful lack of infrastructure, the growing problems of unemployment, the failure to deal with the underlying problems in the Niger-Delta, the failure to consolidate democracy and somehow feel will remain important to everybody because of all those reasons that are strategically important.
And I am not sure that that is helpful.

Let me sort of deconstruct those elements of Nigeria’s importance, and ask whether they are as relevant as they have been.

We often hear that one in five Africans is a Nigerian. What does it mean? Do we ever say one in five Asians is a Chinese? Chinese power comes not just for the fact that it has a lot of people but it has harnessed the entrepreneurial talent and economic capacity and all the other talents of China to make her a major economic force and political force.

What does it mean that one in five Africans is Nigeria? It does not mean anything to a Namibian or a South African. It is a kind of conceit. What makes it important is what is happening to the people of Nigerian. Are their talents being tapped? Are they becoming an economic force? Is all that potential being used?

And the answer is “Not really.”

And oil, yes, Nigeria is a major oil producer, but Brazil is now launching a 10-year program that is going to make it one of the major oil producers in the world. And every other country in Africa is now beginning to produce oil.

And Angola is rivalling Nigeria in oil production, and the United States has just discovered a huge gas reserve which is going to replace some of our dependence on imported energy.
So if you look ahead ten years, is Nigeria really going to be that relevant as a major oil producer, or just another of another of the many oil producers while the world moves on to alternative sources of energy and other sources of supply.

And what about its influence, its contributions to the continent? As our representative from the parliament talked about, there is a great history of those contributions. But that is history.
Is Nigeria really playing a major role today in the crisis in Niger on its border, or in Guinea, or in Darfur, or after many many promises making any contributions to Somalia?

The answer is no, Nigeria is today NOT making a major impact, on its region, or on the African Union or on the big problems of Africa that it was making before.

What about its economic influence?

Well, as we have talked about earlier, there is a de-industrialization going on in Nigeria a lack of infrastructure, a lack of power means that with imported goods under globalization, Nigerian factories are closing, more and more people are becoming unemployed. and Nigeria is becoming a kind of society that imports and exports and lives off the oil, which does not make it a significant economic entity.

Now, of course, on the negative side, the collapse of Nigeria would be enormous, but is that a point to make Nigeria strategically important?

Years ago, I worked for an Assistant Secretary of State who had the longest tenure in that job in the 1980s and I remember in one meeting a minister from a country not very friendly to the United States came in and was berating the Assistant Secretary on all the evils of the United States and all its dire plots and in things in Africa and was going on and on and finally the Assistant Secretary cut him off and said: “You know, the biggest danger for your relationship with the United States is not our opposition but that we will find you irrelevant.”

The point is that Nigeria can become much less relevant to the United States. We have already seen evidence of it. When President Obama went to Ghana and not to Nigeria, he was sending a message, that Ghana symbolized more of the significant trends, issues and importance that one wants to put on Africa than Nigeria.

And when I was asked by journalists why President Obama did not go to Nigeria, I said “what would he gain from going? Would Nigeria be a good model for democracy, would it be a model for good governance, would he obtain new commitments on Darfur or Somalia or strengthen the African Union or in Niger or elsewhere?”

No he would not, so he did not go.

And when Secretary Clinton did go, indeed but she also went to Angola and who would have thought years ago that Angola would be the most stable country in the Gulf of Guinea and establish a binational commission in Angola.

So the handwriting may already be on the wall, and that is a sad commentary.
Because what it means is that Nigeria’s most important strategic importance in the end could be that it has failed.

And that is a sad, sad conclusion. It does not have to happen, but I think that we ought to stop talking about what a great country it is, and how terribly important it is to us and talk about what it would take for Nigeria to be that important and great.

And that takes an enormous amount of commitment. And you don’t need saints,
you don’t need leaders like Nelson Mandela in every state, because you are not going to get them.

I served in South Korea in the middle of the 1960s and it was time when South Korea was poor and considered hopeless, but it was becoming to turn around, later to become to every person’s amazement then the eleventh largest economy in the world. And I remember the economist in my mission saying, you know it did not bother him that the leading elites in the government of South Korea were taking 15 – 20 percent off the top of every project, as long as every project was a good one, and that was the difference.

The leadership at the time was determined to solve the fundamental economic issues of South Korea economy and turn its economy around.

It has not happened in Nigeria today.

You don’t need saints. It needs leaders who say “You know we could be becoming irrelevant, and we got to do something about it.”

Source: weeklypostng.org

Democratic Mistakes–The falls of Titans.

The rise of any kingdom is much more easier than the stabilization and fall.  The medical death of an animal might still have biologically living organs or tissues that can be harvested for transplant or research.  Painfully popular Presidencies have been lost to the headiness of the candidates and the less openness of the advisory team executing the campaigns.  I have seen two in recent times, The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Nigeria and the Democrats in the United States.

In Nigeria, parties are along Power cabal lines than philosophical.  So the emergence of the Peoples Democratic Party was by the power brokers that needed a way to keep the Military from interference and solve the issue of the Chief Abiola, June 12 saga.  So the ease of access by Rtd Gen. Obasanjo in 1999 had the least of resistance.  The honey moon continued amidst the usual back stabbings and betrayals that is so eminent in Africa’s politics.   President Obasanjo’s handing over to Yaradua was not without it’s internal bickering, but Obasanjo had the cabal retired Military either silent or on his side.  Having ruled the nation for a long time their relevance is still yet to wane.

The death of Yaradua brought in Goodluck Jonathan, who seemed to always be a deputy that takes over from his Principal after some issue or the other.  Whether it was by default or manipulated, time and maybe his memoirs might tell us.  But that Zoology Professor, showed some un-readiness for the seat and rumours of his mistresses and wife being the Black Popes were not uncommon.    Jonathan’s greatest error was not being in direct touch with the people on the ground.   He was covered by the Aso realm that reality was taken far from his reach.  That might remind you of Abacha and the Mallams syndrome.  For example, a bomb explored in the North East with International Red Cross and USAID agencies reaching out to see how they can help, while the then President and Commander in Chief of Nigeria was watching a Command football performance, with serving Presidents from some African Countries and celebrities in another Southern state of Akwa Ibom.   The only time Goodluck saw it fit to visit the North East was during the ending days of the campaign, another grievous mistake.

Goodluck had issues with a number of his people, party persons and he just wont bulge? Obasanjo had to make public some letters sent to the President, causing quiet some unease for all, especially those close to the two. 

The selection of candidates to compete was not what any will call transparent as persons were not willing to face the wrath of the incumbent or be seen as not politically correct.  So having Goodluck and Buhari, was not so different than the Abiola vs Tofa elections though tougher.

Jonathan, left the hands that fed him and raised his electoral machinery of person wanting a bite of the National cake.  So the colossal funds raised, stolen and shared for campaigns only ended in peoples Farms, Toilet Soak a ways and water tanks, but not the electorates.   Campaign projects, done to showcase a sense presence in communities, were only heard in the news and not realities on ground.  Did Jonathan foresee his failing in the elections?  No, because that was actually his very first true elections, others were mere give aways. 

Could he have done it differently?  Yes, the ending game he employed in the North East would have been employed a year earlier, before the heating up of the campaigns.  He had a good followership in the Middle Belt, South South and South East.  He would have done much better in the other regions like the North Central, North West, North East and South West.  Though the elections was along party lines, but all knew that tribe, region and religion played their roles.  He would have been wise to get a deputy that was accepted by the North and not one that was rumoured to be from the south south and unable to recite the Quran.

Nigeria has still not learnt it’s lessons, as the incumbent might be facing the same forces that brought him in, bring in another person to power come 2019, unless Nigerians start seeing a people oriented change.   If you ask me, what Nigeria needs is not another mega – party, we need to start politics along Ideological divides, let us have issue driven political parties and not cabal -ization of power brokers.

Hilary Clinton, took the world by storm, when she came out for the Senate seat, she was everywhere and with everyone.  From Abuja, we received her emails engaging the electorates with their concerns and her intentions to address those concerns.  Her entre was glorious, but she made the mistake of not following up to develop her success for greater success.

Like Goodluck, Hillary had the good will of the incumbency to her favour, but what we did not see very glaring was the engagement of her Husband.  If you will recall, Obama was almost doing the same mistake, not engaging Bill Clinton during his campaigns, till the very end when the race was very tough, it was reported that Bill Clinton was on the Phone for a very long time call the many he could.  The report alone encouraged a lot of Bill Clinton sympathisers to vote Obama.  During Elections you need every resource.   We saw Bill Clinton sparingly and issues upon issues being raised were swept under the carpet.  Issue like the Pro – Lifers; LGBT; Evangelicals; Unemployment issues and Immigrants; Militant Islamism and American Policies.  These are issues that are so sensitive in America and should have been given a more careful treatment than was.

Why writing now?  Gambia has moved to the Opposition, Ghana is on the verge of another Elections, what should we expect?  It is my prayers that we will have a free and fair elections.  While wishing the best person for Ghana to win, It is my hope also that such a person will address the issues of Unemployment and Corruption that we hear cries of in Ghana.  This is an important economy that needs to be in the right for the benefit of the sub region and Africa as a whole.  God bless the people of Africa with leaders that are Africans at heart.  Happy elections Ghana.

Violence begat violence?

A still small voice keeps telling me that vengeance is the Lord’s He will repay.  The sincere heart pains, grief and emotional pangs caused the myriad of innocent persons round the world should be a cause of concern for action and not just words.  But where do we start from?  It is more annoying for so many lay persons like me, when you see the same persons steering the wheels of conflict in regions, sitting on well decorated round tables with tea, coffee and snacks arguing heartlessly, where as the people they have engineered against each other are in pools of blood if not already in mass graves.  The sorry state of the gullible masses used, is the agitators will always have their families far away from the trouble’s spots and then come to use other peoples’ sons, daughters, mothers and fathers for a cause only the agitators are the true benefactors.

I stand to be corrected, the true culprits behind most genocides and crisis are always never called to book.  Oscar Arias, once told my class that the manufacturers, merchants and users of weapons of violence should all be held accountable for the atrocities, because if the warring parties are not armed the likelihood that the violence will escalate beyond proportions is not there.  True or false, is left for you to reason, but if you visit police station cells or prisons and see criminals worshipping God, you might end up more confused, as in, if these are the same persons convicted of their crimes. The the sponsors are surprisingly persons in very high societal palaces connected through several remote channels that even the best of conflict resolvers might be playing round their evil planned schemes.  You may get me wrong, forgive me, the opinion is personal, but most of battles are fought with the real merchants of war, selling the wares to both sides.  It is time to look at remote causes of crisis and see how nations can proactively halt or manage uneasy calm/peace transmuting to violence.  May we never resort to violence, leaving the laws of Kama to be in effect.

We all have issues, with ourselves, siblings, parent, spouses, families, neighbourhood and colleagues, but violence / ill actions should be a never mentioned thing.  In Nigeria, there is saying that, even the tongue and teeth, sometimes fight, but must stay and work together to survive.  As the year  comes to another close, may we see peace springing with the tides all around the world. 

May families displaced, migrating, in Camps or Homes / Shelters, be able to at least feel the current of Christmas with Santa Claus bringing gifts and tides of Peace. 

Common-sense or Pocket Sense–Nigeria’s v economy!

Senator Ben Bruce has become the Nigeria’s Common Sense Politician, good some are talking realities that seem to be appreciated by the common man, whose best economy is the stomach or pocket.

This is a small thought feeder for any serious thinker.  Am sure you already know most of what one will state, let is then act as a reminder of the should have, for not just Nigeria, but for the most developing nations.

I will ask some questions and look for answers from any or all that have inclusions as our way forward.

Welcome to Common Sense or Pocket Sense – Nigeria’s v economy.