African / Nigerian Elections and Post Electoral Remedies!

 

The best beggars of votes when elected to serve turn to become near political tyrants, thieves of public funds and slave masters of the same people they vowed to serve.

In most elections, now that coups are not popular, the citizenry is left with the garbage till the next elections, when money and the power of incumbency could be used to steal the peoples mandate at all cost to keep the status.

Democracies are guided by constitutions. I need to know, what are the constitutional guides to recalling a President, Governor, and Member of the House of Assembly by the electorate when they are in office?

We need to stop some nonsenses that makes elected officers become demi gods and demagogues while in office.

Can any educate us on the needed process, please?

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.

Ondo Elections 2016 –Now that APC has been declared winner.

The elections was relatively peaceful, gratitude to the Almighty and all that contributed to make it so.

Now is time for synergy to get the state forward and not at a stand still or backwards. I hope the Jimohs, Okes et al will join hands off party lines and see Ondo forward.

For the New Governor Elect, it is time to return to Owo and say Thank you.  It should extend to the Akungba – Ikare Axis and the whole of Ondo North. 

Owo is a Junction town and the busiest link the North and Middle Belt (Benin). 

I am kindly requesting for

1. Increased Security, especially between Owo and the Akure, we have been robbed thrice on that stretch.   At a time people started using the Ekiti link with Oshun, long but safer at that time.  Luxurious Buses were the major targets at night.

2. The link roads to

a -Sabon Gida Ora and Benin axis;

b – Road from Ibillo junction to Kabba, a very commercial road, especially with the Cement Factory in Kogi, the Dangote’s should join in making the road better.

c. – The Owo Akungba – Okene Link roads (security and pot hole repairs.

d. – Akure – Ilesha road – road repairs and maintenance

e. Start thinking of dualising Owo-Akure-Ondo-Owo-Okitipupa/Igbokoda roads and start even if on small scale a Lagos – Okitipupa/Igbokoda Water transport (luxury/business class).

should see some visitations.  Yes they may be Federal roads, as a member of the Centre Party, Fashola should be able to make it priority or you work on them and get refund.

3. The Issue of Kidnappings must stop or see a drastic reduction, even if it means upsetting some cabals.

4. Build a big Trailer park in Owo for decongesting of roads especially as there will increase of traffic with road repairs.

5. Start campaigning for the Ajaokuta rail line to Pass through Ondo to Lagos.  Ondo needs a direct Lagos – Abuja Link to unlock the state from the relegation by the western states.

6. Start looking at Diaspora, Abuja, Lagos, Ibadan and Kaduna/Kano for inputs to the state.  Ondo has a large cache of Highly placed resources that can be of benefit to the state in Oil and Gas, Cocoa, Timber, Cassava, Medicine, Water, ICT and name it.  The Kupolatis and Aruwajoyes, Famutimi et al are Egbons that must be used to get the Bitumen, Oil and Gas resources on your top front burner now the PIB is being pursued.

7. Tourism has suffered so much set back due to lack of care.  Religious Tourism was not cared for in the days of Obadare, now Ogun State has captured the Mountain of Fire, Redeem, Living Faiths et al.  The Government should see how the Sun Shine state can shine again with the Idanre’s and Oke Marias et al.

8. As a corper, I made sure I used only products from Oluwa Glass factory in my apartment, they sufficed, PPP with the Chinese if need be but lets start producing Glasswares.

9. Ondo should visit Ghana and see how they have silently started producing European Quality Chocolates, export product.  They avoided Nigeria, because we could still the market.   Get the Boyede’s and Ile Oluji start producing affordable Coco Products for Nigeria and Export again.

10. The Farmers of your area do not have a regulated market to sell their products at premium price, get the lebanese and gambaris give good deals, by getting a commodity board to give these farmers a reason to increase the production and get premium pricing for their goods. And you can do what your eastern counterpart is doing exporting vegetable to abroad.  The Farmers need better pricing.

11. The North East is being reconstructed, Ondo Furniture, wood workers can be enabled through your Government to be a major source for wood products for school, hospitals, churches, homes and establishments furniture and wood needs.

It is my prayer that the progress of Ondo State will be a continum.

God bless the people of the Sun Shine State and he blesses the State to truly shine.

Commercial Bike (Acaba/Okada) Registration–Bauchi State Nigeria in Mind.

On a trip so many years ago to Ghana by road, the Commercial Bikers in Cotonou and Lome amazed us.  They filed orderly along lanes meant just for them and all had visible numbers readable from far on the front and back of their aprons.   They were so organised, that you wonder, if they had high cases of casualties like we do.  Coming home to Nigeria, the emergence of Okada, Acaba or Commercial Bikes was as a result of the down turning of the economy; increase in the population sizes of our towns and cities with the corresponding vehicular traffic issues and Unemployment. 

With so many states banning out rightly the use of motorcycles, with no sustainable alternative(s), is enough for Bauchi State Government to be applauded for the decision to register motorcycle riders in the state.  Suffice to say that every Government have their reasons for decisions taken, but the fact remains that, these class of people are only there because of the service need they provide for.

In Nigeria, Acaba/Okada (motorbike) is associated, (not exhaustive though), with armed robbers, militants, terrorists, kidnappers, bag snatchers, assassins, ritualists, Orthopaedic Hospital and Mortuary service providers  marketers/promoters.

Why is it so? Amongst reasons are:-

1. Most riders are not trained, they learn on the trade.

2. Poverty, it is a very fast way of getting little change to keep body, soul and family together.

3. Joblessness, some riders are graduates with Diplomas, Degrees.  There was a case of a Masters Degree graduate in Abuja, before the El-Rufai ban on riders.

4. Lack of sufficient affordable transport, they act as bridges/gap fillers

5. Lack of accessible roads, they are able to reach un-motorable nukes, corners and crannies.

6. High Traffic Jams / Go slows, they have ability to manoeuvre in-between vehicles reducing the time wastages due to traffic challenges.

7. It is fun and airy, having the breeze blow on your face and skin.

The list can go on and on.   Unfortunately, it has become the most risky form of transportation.

In Bauchi, where people blatantly refused to wear crash helmets and seat belts, any measure to increase the safety of the commuters and citizenry is a noble deed.  Yes the riders are full of complaints, but it is necessary and of more benefit to them if properly executed.  Everyday you will meet a handful of riders, who do not even know the roads, they depend on you to show them, they keep telling you, if care to ask, that they are from neighbouring states.  So anybody from anywhere, (Militant, terrorist, robbers), can carry a motorbike and commercially work/carry out a negative activity, disappear and leave the true service providers to carry the brunt of the crime committed.  So registration is truly needful.

What will we need to do to make the registration, more meaningful and of benefit to the riders and their passengers?

a. Riders Test and Certification – Mental, Physical, Medical, Eye tests and Knowledge of the terrain (Locality)

b. Road Worthiness of Vehicle, not only license plate

c. Basic First Aid Training

d. Security Back ground check

e. Separation of the town into different areas with responsible coordinating heads, reporting to their town/city or state coordinators.

f. Usage of Reflective readable numbers on bikes (Petrol Tanks), showcasing Bike Commercial registration number.

g. Usage of Reflective Readable Riders Registration Number on Aprons (front and Back).  The riders are not necessarily the owners of the Bikes.  Their registration entitles them to have license as a commercial rider.

h. The Uniform / Apron should be non-transferable, as in the case of license/ID card.

i. Ownership change of Commercial vehicles, should be documented with the necessary authorities, before it is enforced, this will reduce the snatching of bikes.

j. Black listed riders, should have their Apron/Uniform seized for the duration of the black listing.

k. Remove multi taxation – form a one channel ticketing/taxation, Local Government & State Inland Revenue people should have a weekly/monthly scheme.

l. Create a weekly/monthly fora for training, retraining, networking and feedback.

m. Have a 3 digit toll free line for Passenger Complaint, emergency or eventuality report.

n. Institute/Support a compulsory basic Health Insurance through National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to cover the rider and his passenger.

o. Create a benefit/reward system where riders through their association/cooperative can finance bike purchase or other projects to increase their channels of revenue generation.

Knowing that Nigeria is not starved of ideas, it is the execution and maintenance that suffers, I rest my case, with a prayer, that the Government will get credible agencies/people to do the needful.  If well implemented, the riders will be presenting themselves for registration and payments of dues, as they know what they are getting from it and later work on making it sustainable and theirs.

May God bless the people of Nigeria.