Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The National Assembly's War With The Central Bank Of Nigeria: An Example Of Thirty Six Flavours Of Stupidity!

As a mark of respect for this young man, I will not mention his name. He is much older now, but the event I want to recount, happened when he was seven. This my friend, who shall remain nameless, was in the habit of talking whenever he was eating. It is what many childing do. But for this young man, he was garrulous to the point of distraction! One day, he was eating a plate of the usual Sunday rice, and he was talking as usual. At some point in his meal, he raised an alarm that someone had eaten his only piece of meat! 

For him, that was an international crisis, on the same footing as the "Bay of Pigs" fiasco! We all looked at him in alarm! It was indeed a serious allegation! That was when his father saved the day! The fellow pointed out that he saw his son scooping his meat with some rice a few minutes before, as he was engaging in his favourite past time, talking! The young man had eaten his meat, without knowing it. 

He is now a young man in his late teens, so his secret shall remain secret, cross my heart!

As far fetched as it might seem, there is a true life parallel of that story unfolding in Nigeria right now! 

In the last dispensation of the Nigerian National Assembly,the new  Central Bank Act was passed into law. That act made the bank autonomous,independent, and self-sustaining! The easiest way to describe that law, is to say the National Assembly created a Frankenstein monster of it's own! 

Because laws are made in Nigeria, not for the good of the people, but for the good of a few individuals: no one properly vetted this law!

In many instances, powerful institutions pay lawmakers to pass laws that would favour them! 

What they have created, is an entity that is a law unto it's self! The Central Bank of Nigeria, does not need the permission of the National Assembly to do anything. It can determine it's budget, it can determine which bank chief to fire, it can change the rules of banking wily nilly!

The first sign of trouble, was the injection of funds by the Central Bank Governor, the erudite Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. The legislature said he had appropriated funds, without their approval! 

I do not know what they were smoking at the national assembly that day,because it was   pretty heavy stuff ! They did not bother to read an Act, whose ink was barely dry, an Act they had passed! It gives one cause to worry, do these people take time to read the "Ayes have it" and the "Nays do not have it" that they indulge in: or is it a comedy meant to hoodwink us into believing they are working?

The second spat came with Mallam Sanusi's succinctly delivered cut that the national assembly, were alone, consuming twenty five percent of the nation's budget!

They could not take this insult, so they called him to grill him, and were instead grilled! They exposed their inadequate inadequacies! and their lack of perception of the intricacies, and nuances of how governments are run!

It was now two to Sanusi, an nil to the national assembly! Then some members grumbled that thirty eight federal government institutions had shadowy budgets! Meaning that members of the national assembly did not know how much they spent every year, and so could not go there to pursue contracts! (At least that is my myopic thinking)

Abike Dabiri Erewa, a former journalist bemoaned this on television, and lamented that if the Freedom of Information Bill had been passed into law, that the national assembly could have used that law to prise open these secretive government institutions! 

Excuse me?

Who,if I might ask in my arrogant opinion, is supposed to pass the Freedom of Information Bill into law? 

The Catholic Women Organization? 

The National Association of Butchers? 

Or perhaps the Motorcycle Riders Association of Nigeria? 

I thought passing bills into law, was the work of the national assembly! (At this point I wish to issue a travel advisory! Anyone going to the national assembly should ensure that they are equipped with a gas mask! There are very serious levels of opiates, and other hallucinogens, wafting around the corridors of that facility!)

They refused to pass a bill into law after ten years of pussyfooting, because they know the passage of the law would permanently situate them in a glass house! 

And they have the temerity, and effrontery to complain? How disingenuous can one get? 

So the national assembly, has opened a new theater of war with the Central Bank Governor, they have said they would not appropriate funds for, and approve the budget of the Bank!

Can someone tell these people to wake up from their narcotic-induced somnambulism! It is trite law, that a law is unconstitutional, to the extent to which it contradicts the constitution! 

They ought to know that! They passed the law! The CBN Act, grants the Bank full autonomy, including the power of drawing up, and approving it's budget! The CBN horse, bolted from the stable a long time ago! Those seeking to rein it in at the national assembly, would only find an empty stable! 

It is another example of our lawmakers exhibiting the thirty six flavours of stupidity!

They showed it when they passed a vote of no confidence in a minister some years ago! How can you pass a vote of no confidence in a minister who is not the prime minister, in a government that is not parliamentary?

It is one of the first things they teach you in elementary Government in the secondary school! 

Or are we to assume the unthinkable......that no one there ......read government .........in school?

Not too long ago, the house of representatives suspended members they did not elect! In law, you cannot retrieve what you have not given out!

The court has pronounced their actions null and void, but they seem to enjoy humble pie!

The new year should be quite interesting, I want to see if the national assembly, would refuse to approve a budget it has no power of approving in the first place, or are we going to see another flavour of stupidity, the thirty seventh!

Whether we do,or not,



Thursday, December 23, 2010

Why Goodluck Jonathan Should Win The Next Election!

You are not wrong! I am truly advocating that a candidate I have vilified for attempting to run, should now win. Do not worry, I have not received my own $50,000.00! Neither have I suddenly achieved a Eureka moment, and I can safely confirm that I have not attained the state of conversion on the matter!

My volt face, on this issue, is as a result of a very simple,but logical, reason, we need to destroy the ruling People's Democratic Party,PDP!

However, we cannot do it ourselves, we need them to do it for us.

Jonathan running, and possibly winning the election, is the perfect catalyst! The PDP, is not a proper political party in the pure sense of the word. It does not have a monolithic command, and control, center, it is not driven by some overriding centrifugal manifesto,or mantra. Instead, what it is is a group of loose associations,under many different overlords who understand that there is safety in numbers, it is driven by one purpose alone, the capture and control of political,and economic, power in Nigeria, for the next sixty years!

The party's manifesto,is similar to what dummy corporations have as areas of business, something for anyone scrutinizing them to see, and be satisfied that they are legitimate! What the PDP stands for, is the prosperity of her members first! Nigeria, does not matter at all.

That is why when Umaru Yar'Adua became president, he came up with his seven point agenda, it later became eight, and now it is something else. It took him more than a year to decide on what he wanted to do, the manifesto of the party, was just something they drew up to facilitate their registration!

They have been in government for so long, because they have maintained a united front, the phalanx they have presented to other parties, has been solid, and impregnable!

They have been helped by the zoning of Nigeria's presidency, and other offices. It has been used as an instrument of maintaining the peace, and ensuring that everyone was "pissing outwards"

I apologize for this example I am about to make, but it is apt because birds of a feather,fly together. The PDP can be likened to five individuals who have agreed to take turns to gang-rape a hapless,helpless woman. As long as they keep to the terms of the agreement, there would always be four strong men to hold down the woman, while the fifth ravishes her!

The result of that, is that the woman cannot escape; but if some of them suddenly kick against the zoning arrangement, they may decide to let an arm,and a leg go, and the woman stands a chance of escaping! It is even possible, that all four "restrainers" let go at once, and you now have five men scrambling for the woman. In the hurly burly ,pell mell, and confusion , the woman might find herself free of the struggling,scrambling men, and escape!

Nigeria has been the poor woman, and the PDP, the rapists!

Jonathan bucking the agreed to arrangement, is the first man letting go! The disaffection engendered, I hope, should be sufficient to cause a cataclysmic implosion of the party.

I know Jonathan winning the election, would mean another four years of looting,and misgovernment, but if that is the price we have to pay, to deliver Nigeria, four years in the life of a nation, is insignificant. We have endured worse under Babangida, and Sani Abacha.

We have been told by a party of less than one million people, that they would determine our destiny of one hundred and fifty million others, for sixty years!

The PDP ruling Nigeria for that long, is unacceptable, and a hellish contemplation.

Because of that, I will choose the lesser evil, let Jonathan win the election, it is the vaccine we need to cure Nigeria of the deadly PDP virus!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Myth Of Vision 20 20 20 In The Face Human Capital Neglect!

Two days ago, I was running an errand for my wife, and I was at Julius Berger Junction, a key point of traffic convergence in the Abuja metropolis. It is significant because traffic from different locations from, and outside, the Federal Capital Territory of |Nigeria, converges there.

What I saw, made me sad. I could only bring out my camera, and take some photographs. I saw five women in wheelchairs, and three of them had children, two infants, and a toddler, they were not going anywhere, they were at work: they were begging

To see five women panhandling broke my heart, to see them with three children one of possible school age, lost my faith in those who currently pilot the affairs of Nigeria.

Apart from the evil of the boy not going to school, there is the danger of him being hit by a car!

But these women are not criminals, they are actually victims of two crimes, the neglect of the state.They are twice victims, they have been victims of polio, now they are being exploited for what the nation failed to protect them from!

From past experience, I know that a syndicate probably brought them them to beg, they were trafficked, now they are being exploited. They are not different from the Nigerian girls transported to Italy, and other nations including poor neighbours like Mali, where our girls are sexually exploited.

Our government spends millions of naira in noisome exculpation of her inability to prevent the girls from going to Italy. So my question is, what is preventing them from protecting vulnerable groups like these women and their children here, and now, at home? 

I know for certain, that for those women to be brazenly there, someone in government has been paid off, to look the other way: corruption! And you would never believe how much money we are talking about here!The women exploit the generosity, and the piety of Nigerians to dispossess them of their money!

One of the women is out of the picture, but the others, and some
of the children, are in the frame.
I give money to people in need, but not to an assembly line of slaves! In doing so, I would be encouraging their principal to continue his evil business!

In the same vein, I find I must refer to a man I saw fleetingly in Ibadan a few months ago, my knowledge of Ibadan geography is poor, so you would forgive me if I cannot tell exactly what part of town I saw him in, sometimes I loose my way around the city and I have to keep driving until I get to a place I am familiar with.

This fellow was elderly, at least his physical appearance seemed to suggest it. From what he was wearing, and where he was sitting, it was clear that he was suffering from some very serious psychotic problems. He was camped in the median, and he seemed not to have a care in the world, apart from the  sun that was disturbing him. It was clear from his appearance, that he had been like this a long time.

The poor man sits beside two posters, one advertising a room
denied him by the government, the other of a politician who
has probably promised to develop the state. Yet he sits neglected.
The question I asked myself was, what were the social services in Ibadan doing? What were they earning their salaries for, was it to attend fancy courses abroad, and speak high-falutin phrases on the prognosis of dementia, or to just take care of people?

The two incidents I have referred to are clear indicators of where our priorities are as a nation, we do not care for our people. People in government believe that development indices are their poorly constructed roads, overinflated contracts to build airports, and all the other brick and mortar stuff. They do not see the development of our people,our greatest resource, as true development.

I have just read today that people in three of the  BRIC nations, India,China, and Brazil, are upbeat on their outlook for next year, they are so, because there are sustained efforts to develop human capital in these nations!

These are the same nations we are aspiring to become like, and possibly surpass by the year twenty twenty, we call it Vision 20 20 20. The vision is in the pipeline, and I suspect it would only remain there, a pipe dream! Intentions alone do not develop nations, practical steps that touch the lives of citizens do.  


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Statesman versus Politician

Sometimes, one might know what something is, even recognize it when he sees it, but not be able to define it. I had that problem problem a while ago when I tried to define a politician! After much thought, I concluded that a politician was someone who used the vehicle of politics to achieve personal political advancement, and ,or gain, at whatever cost! 

The operative term here is,  personal political advancement or gain, at whatever cost ! His intention from the beginning, is "I, me, and myself! It remains constant, and unwavering, no matter what compromises have to be made along the way!

So you could find a politician today being a member of the labour party, and the next he is with the conservatives, and the next, he is with the greens!

A statesman on the other hand, is someone who uses the vehicle of politics for the advancement of the nation, he does so no matter the personal cost to his person, or political fortune!

The difference between the two, is just the end, they use the same means of politics, and that is where there similarities end.

When a nation has a lot of politicians, like we currently suffer in Nigeria, the nation seems to be in a flux without real motion! It becomes like a group of children playing in the sandbox, at the end of the day, there would be no real progress, just a lot of hot air,noise,hair pulling, sweat, playacting,finger pointing, pantomime, dirty clothes, and a few bruises!

We are constantly bombarded by a series of comedic jockeying for power, not for the people, but for personal aggrandizement! 

To us outsiders in the process of politics looking in, we know that if half the effort we see on show, were devoted to truly repairing this great nation, we would truly become a world power! So we agonize at the false steps and missed opportunities. We ache when we see our political leaders daily extending the borders of stupidity, and redefining silliness! How we ache for statesmen!

No true statesman would stand aside, and watch people suffer when he/she can do something about it. The suffering around him would keep him awake at night, he would see it in every face, and read it in every pothole!

To an average politician in Nigeria, suffering, is like lullaby to him. He feeds off the suffering of others. He loves the sense of power. It is as if, the knowledge that the people would never be as comfortable as he is, gives him comfort. 

Or how do you explain a situation where less than seven hundred individuals out of one hundred and fifty million, consume twenty five percent of our national budget!

And they can go to bed at night, and refuse to pass laws that would curb corruption, and promote good governance!
The money is not spent on making better laws, no, it is spent on luxuries like the latest cars from Germany, and Japan. The same cars that their greed has prevented the country from manufacturing!

If one looks at Africa today, the landscape is surfeit with politicians! There is only one statesman, and he is in retirement, we need more people like Nelson Mandela!

A politician thinks of only himself, here and now, a statesman thinks of the nation, now, and how to give it a better future!

From the actors on our political stage today, the script seems to be pointing to bleak, and dire future!

And that is one we cannot afford!


Wherever You Are,Stand Up!

I shall depart from my regular political theme, and encourage someone today. I want you to know that you are special, and very important. You may not have a shiny nameplate on your office door, it is even possible that you do not have an office, and there is the probable scenario that you might actually be unemployed: it does not matter at all because you are alive; and you are very important.

Refuse to validate yourself by the opinion of others! They do not matter, you do! They might even be professionally responsible for assessing you, it still does not matter, they are not where you are, or who you are, and once you know you have tried your best, that is all that matters.

What you need to do is stand up on the inside, suck it up, grit your teeth,you matter, you are important.

There are too many people who have a low self-esteem simply because someone said something about their height, the colour of their hair,or lack of it, all these do not count for anything, what matters is what you think of yourself, and I want you to think big, think positive, and think good, because you are all of these qualities, and more.

So, as the year comes to an end, you might feel that you have not achieved your goal of sitting on top of the global money list, relax, you still have the whole of next year to do that!

Wherever you are right now, stand up! 

The Future Is Now

When you listen to politicians making their usual fantastic promises, they convey the impression, that we need to make sacrifices today, for us to have a better future!

This is what we regularly hear from political leaders in Nigeria. 

Sacrifice! Sacrifice!! Sacrifice!!!

They use the word as if they are the God of Israel who demands a sacrifice for every transaction! While we know that God honours his own side of the bargain by blessing his people, our leaders are the only ones who seem to be enjoying the blessings!

They are roundly overweight, drive the best cars, and have the pick of the girls, houses, and other perks their position affords them!

The other day I was around the Apo legislators quarters, a fantastic piece of real estate that houses Nigeria's federal lawmakers! I was sad! I was not sad because of the overstated opulence,or the latest cars driving in,and out: I was sad because of what I saw by their gates. I saw an army of children selling all manner of items to people stopped by the traffic lights.

I could see that it was not the best situation for these children to be in, but because some of them depended on whatever minuscule profit they could make from this dangerous, venture to feed their families, and pay their way through school, I realized that they were more the victims here, than offenders!

Once in a while, the officials from the local government would come to "confiscate" their wares for illegal street trading, and impose fines higher than the value of the seized goods. Ultimately, the goods were forefeited to these officials, and you can imagine who gains in this transaction.

While unfeeling,uncaring, and unseeing politicians, grow fat today, our children,due to anti-people policies  face a future without hope.

I have contended over and over again, that it does not take much to change the lot of Nigerians! We do not need to apply for some special IMF loan, what we need is already in our coffers! What we now require, is the political will to get off our fat behinds, to make it happen!

The common man on the street does not care who becomes president, all he wants, is to know that the best that can be done for him, is being done sincerely by the people who are in charge!

We will not have another today, just tomorrows! The problem is that the way we treat our people today, would define what they become tomorrow!

And right now, it does not amount to much!


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Made in Nigeria

As a person known to be highly critical of how Nigeria is run,one constant question posed to me is,what can we do to solve this problem.

Yes Julius Umogbai,you have told us the problems,do you have any solutions yourself? I was helped by a friend's suggestion. Why not do a piece on made in Nigeria goods.


Someone is about to stop reading. If we all agree to take the steps enumerated here, we would be contributing to the survival of this our dear country,in our own small way.

I want us to view the world like a game of Monopoly,the financial board game. In Monopoly,everyone cannot win,only one person becomes the overall winner.

In addition to this,every time you give your opponent money,you become poorer,while he gets richer. The game eventually ends when one person cannot afford to pay his bills.He is said to be bankrupt, another way of putting it is that his liabilities are more than his assets.

Goods,and services, are the real world's equivalent of the  Fleet,and Oxford streets,houses,and hotels that we buy in the board game, Monopoly.

In the real world, the players are nations,and they do not play to loose. They protect,and promote, themselves through taxes,tariffs,waivers,policies, and other instruments designed to cause their country's goods,and services to be attractive to others,while discouraging imports. 

For many years now, the rest of the world has been begging China to export less, and import more! It has not worked! China seems to be gobbling up the world in one big game of Monopoly!

So where do you feature in all this? There is a war ,for the soul of the money in your pocket! Every nation on earth wants your money,but you do not have enough to go round!

Each time a consumer,meaning you,buys a product,or purchases a service, he is putting money in the pocket of the company that produced it.

If that company is Nigerian,our economy gets a financial blood transfusion,a job is either created ,or supported. On the other hand, if it was imported,you are exporting a job out of Nigeria, to the country of origin.

In today's "locally globalized" economy, a company does not need to be physically on ground, to make a profit.The stakes are so high, that there is very little margin for error.

A government must get it's policies right from the get go! Yo make a mistake, and your citizens pay the price in unemployment, and a lower quality of life!

In economics, the expression, Cetris paribus, which means, all things being equal,is used to express the availability of the best of conditions. I have lived more than a generation in Nigeria, and what I have seen till now, is that everything is unequal in Nigeria! 

In our own case, Cetris is very much not paribus, at all!

The business person in Nigeria operates in an environment designed to put him/her at a serious disadvantage! He/she is not playing by the rules the rest of the world plays by, all the reasonable, and unreasonable, odds, are stacked against him/her!

I have been in business for more than fourteen years now, and I have seen a few of these disadvantaging situations!

Is it the policy inconsistency of government! With each new government not minding the policies that have gone before, which are not necessarily bad, sometimes, a government policy is designed to target a single individual. It could be to favour such a person, or in the infamous case of Ibeto Cement in Nigeria, to prevent him from doing business. 

In Ibeto's case, he was prevented from importing cement to protect Nigeria's richest man who had just acquired most of the government owned cement factories in a sweet heart deal called privatization!

Then there is the access to cheap credit, or should I just leave it at credit? Businesses that have long periods of gestation, hardly ever secure any finance! The banks are only willing to fund buying, and selling activities, or contracts with quick turn around periods.

One should not blame the banks, they know that in our hostile environment, it is truly a risk to not worth taking! In addition, you have the mad multiple tax regimes. Every tier of government coming like Shylock to cut it's own pound of flesh! The problem is not that businesses do not want to pay tax, it is that too many inane taxes are imposed on them!

Part of the problems also plaguing our businesses is a serious infrastructural deficit. By this I mean infrastructure that ought to be in place, that is not there.This is coupled with the decay of the little that is available!

I know this is not a great public relations piece for Nigeria, but it is the stark reality on ground! 

Need I talk about administrative bottlenecks, and institutional corruption, that add a very heavy cost to operations. 

Businesses have been known to go under simply because the equipment they imported, were not released to them by the customs, and excise department. The reason, the right bribe was not paid.

And then you have the problem of some businesses having to provide all the infrastructure, they need to operate, roads, water, security, electricity, and other nightmarish requirements that are taken for granted in other places!

So imagine the business owner, who has struggled to manufacture a commodity, at great cost, under these harrowing horrendous conditions: imagine him/her  having to compete with cheaply produced imported products? The winner in this particular high-stakes game of Monopoly, is obvious! 

The imported goods will win all the time! Their operating environment gives them wings,like the Red Bull advert says! Ours? Concrete shoes!

That is why sane people were aghast at the latest policy of removing textiles,vehicles, cassava, furniture, and toothpicks, from the import prohibition list.

What did they offer as their reason? That these goods were being imported into neighbouring countries, where they were paying duties to those countries, and were subsequently smuggled into Nigeria! 

So,our solution was to allow these goods to be imported directly into Nigeria, so that government, not the people, can make a few more bucks!

Foolish people,like us, would have assumed that we would go the route of policing our borders properly, but that is actually impossible! The men of the Nigerian Customs service, actually work for themselves! They are more like private business men, who are on government salaries! 

I believe a proper institutional reform would have been more ideal, instead of the silly simplistic sticking tape solution. 

This solution, is a sure way of destroying our moribund productive "incapacity" in the affected industries! It is like cutting off your head, because the headache is too much for you to bear! 

I still do not get it. The irony of the whole situation we have created for ourselves, is that government just gave some money to the textile sector, as a way of bailing them out. 

Seventy billion naira, if you divide this by one hundred and fifty two, you would know the value in dollars.

In addition, the week after the new import policy was announced, the country's vice president, Namadi Sambo, was shown on television, commissioning a reopened textile factory, the United Nigeria Textile Limited in Kaduna, Northern Nigeria!

He touted it, as all politicians do when they are looking at a camera, as a sign of government's commitment to rejuvenating the sector! 

My word! It would have been better for the fellow to actually present them with a death certificate at the event!

So you have heard it, if we want Nigeria to grow, we need to buy made in Nigeria goods. They may not be perfect, but as we persevere, and correct them, they would improve. 

A few years ago, "made in Taiwan" was the expression for describing substandard goods in Nigeria! The picture is radically different today! The Taiwanese have become adept at manufacturing world class goods, and we can get there, if only we buy "Made in Nigeria"


(If you are reading this as a note on Facebook, you can access the rest of the blog at www.standupnigeria.blogspot.com)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

How To End Corruption In Nigeria

The other day, I was watching a programme on a Nigerian television station, the name of the programme is the "Eagle". It is sponsored by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, the official anti corruption agency. I work as a media consultant to a few organizations, so I have a rough idea of how much such an episode costs. And in Nigeria, that is a lot of money.

It was quite interesting to watch them trumpet their achievements; they secured the conviction of a young man, who had taken a jerry can to siphon petroleum products from a pipeline! Commendable!

They also showed two scruffy, barely literate, miscreants; their crime was to an attempt to shake down a local government official. They had gone to the official claiming that they were agents of the EFCC, and had demanded a bribe of Two million naira, the equivalent of $13,000.00!

These do not even scratch the whale in the room, that corruption has become Nigerian by birth!. We have the Siemens, and Halliburton, lists detailing the creme de la creme of Nigeria, collecting various amounts in millions from these companies as bribes! The list is a veritable who is who in Nigeria. At least four former heads of state are on the list. No action, worthy of note, has been taken to prosecute the exalted individuals!

And what was the EFCC's solution, like Don Quixiote, they have left the Nigerians,resident in the country,who are within reach,but deemed untouchable, and gone after the one person they can never convict, America's former Vice President, Dick Chaney! If the almighty America has not been able to charge Dick Chaney for corruption, why does the robustly inefficient, and imaginatively clueless,  EFCC think it can succeed! It is all a smoke screen, and bluster! They want us to believe they are working! Someone should tell the EFCC, that charity still begins at home! They should stop patronizing us, and do the right thing!

I have state in one of my previous articles on this platform, that corruption is a class war! It is a war between those who have taken the resources of the state captive, by devious means, and the rest of us! 

Nigeria will not solve the problem of corruption through the legal means! I believe that we cannot legislate corruption out of existence. It is so well entrenched,that we require out of the box solutions.Do we need a solution similar to the French Revolution model, or a Robin Hood kind of solution?

Do we need to physically drag people with unaccounted wealth to the streets, to account for them?Maybe!

It sounds like an endorsement of mob action. It might just be the only way! The people we are talking about, are in government, and they are rich and powerful.They control the courts, they own the police. They will befuddle any administrative contraption  set up to deal with them. If we say let us declare an amnesty for corrupt people, offering them immunity from trial if they return stolen monies,we would be getting very little of our money back! In asking them to end corruption,we are asking them to commit class suicide! 

We are asking them to end "the old boy" network that has made them rich!

Government cannot do it! It is not in their interest, it should be a citizen's initiative! A vigilante solution? Maybe! If we do not, we will never see the end of corruption in Nigeria. We need to strike fear in every corrupt individual, we need to make them afraid to walk the streets freely!

I have arrived at this solution,because the current solutions do not work! And the cancer is spreading, and morphing into new forms of malignancy!


Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Tallest Tales Ever Told Anywhere On Earth, And In Heaven, And Under The Earth Too!

I do not know why all these people are complaining about Nigeria! It is a perfect country! Everything works well in this country! We have uninterrupted electricity across the country, we have excellent express ways to rival the autobahns in Germany.

There is no polio in Nigeria, and pregnant women do not die of complications anymore, I can not remember entering any house without potable water! Nigeria is now better than the United States of America. Things are so good,that Americans are asking us to start a Nigerian visa lottery programme.

Our hospitals are now excellent! Barack Obama, and the King of Saudi Arabia, both came for medical check up last week.

Our workers enjoy the best minimum wage in the world, and our factories are producing above installed capacity!

Our high speed bullet trains are the best in the world! They move people from Lagos to Maiduguri, a distance of one thousand two hundred kilometers in three hours! The Indians, and the Chinese have sent their engineers to understudy our system! Our schools are the best in the world, the European Union has just sent the sixth batch this year, of experts from Europe, to understudy the Nigerian model!

Our graduates are the best in the world, our secondary school students,are competing with final year university undergraduates in England, and they are doing better than them! 

Oh! you should see our schools, and the support infrastructure. We have airconditioned classrooms, each student has a laptop, an Ipad, and a desktop! We no longer use conventional books, all our students now use e books!

American children have been secretly coming to school in Nigeria! They are claiming Nigerian parentage now! 

There are no beggars on our streets, and our streets are cleaner than the streets of Dubai!
Our ports are models of efficiency,everyday, we export finished goods to China, the Chinese are complaining, and begging us to control the dumping of Nigerian made products in their country! They have just summoned our ambassador to China for the third time this month!

Our government is the model of the rule of law, we run a zero deficit budget,we have no external,or internal debt,our foreign reserve is one hundred quintillion dollars! We are now lending to the European Union, the United States, China, Russia,the United Kingdom,the world Bank, the International Monetary Fund! The naira is an international currency! It exchanges at ten kobo to the dollar! I hear even the United States president now saves his money in Nigeria!

And we have reinvented democracy for the world. We hold elections without acrimony. Once votes are cast,the results are released within two minutes for the whole world!

Our legislators, now serve in the parliament pro bono, they receive no remuneration! They see it as an honour to make laws for the great country called Nigeria.

Our president is the model of efficiency. He no longer has time to play around on Facebook, he is planning how Nigeria would consolidate this new found 
greatness, we are now building a colony on the moon for Nigerians. 

 Our space programme has astronauts from all over the world coming to understudy us.
The Obasanjo space centre, just agreed to collaborate with NASA to build the ship that would take mankind to the edge of the universe! NASA won a keenly competed bid which included the European,and Russian space programmes!

Nigeria is the nearest thing to heaven! Life expectancy is now one hundred years for men, and women! People are now retiring from their country,to come and settle in Nigeria! 

(I wrote all the above in ten minutes, you can tell they are the tallest tales ever told on the internet!)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Can A Nation Destroy Herself? Cote D'Ivoire On My mind!

We have a proverb in Nigeria,that it is in the daytime,while it is light,that you look for a black goat. This is because black goats usually blend in with the darkness.

Some years ago, I was a consultant for the World Bank's mission for one month. I was to do some work that would involve travelling from Lagos,Nigeria, to Abidjan, in Cote D'Ivoire. (It does not mean I am one specially intelligent person,the World Bank,for some queer reason,calls every contractor that works for it,a consultant. It felt good then, but these days I know better than to call myself one)

The trip enabled me to spend one week in CoteD'Ivoire, I remember visiting Bassam,Bonoua,Aboiso, Abidjan, and  other major cities.

Despite the trip being a World Bank affair, we could not visit the Northern part of the country then. That was because of the conflict over Alassane Ouattara's, ban from contesting the country's presidency. 

In Africa,your family could live in a place for three hundred years,and still be regarded as settlers! We never let go of atavistic tags,no matter how ridiculous,and silly they might be. 

Because we have refused to  let go of the past, we are unable to enter the present, let alone the future. We have become like an insect entombed in amber!

We find this at play in many parts of Africa. Some people,in this century, are still regarded as outcasts, or settlers!

They cannot  marry indigenes, they go to a different stream, they buy from a different market. Kenya has it's Luo tribes, and Nigerians in Eastern Nigeria, have the Osu caste.

It is similar to the caste system in India. In Ouattara's own case,he hails from the Northern part of the country,and that had never been an issue. he had worked with the IMF, and the Francophone Central Bank,all appointments that one's country usually has a hand in making possible. 

It was when he sought to become president,that somebody now remembered that he was not from Cote D'Ivoire. They claimed he was from their neighbour from the North,Burkina Fasso! At one point it was claimed that only one parent was from the country,so the mischief makers rushed a law through parliament disqualifying him. The law stated that for one to be president,both parents must be born in Cote D'Ivoire.

The act led to a protracted,and vicious, civil war, and a constant state of war in the country!

Everywhere we went then we saw tanks on the streets, and soldiers in full battle gear!

Our ability to obfuscate the truth, is legendary.   At one point,the country was divided into two,the North on one side,and the South on the other.

It has taken more than ten years of continued injustice,to get to this point:the elections. 

This was supposed to be the anodyne for the crisis,but it looks like this is the final crisis that may lead to the partitioning of our beloved Didier Drogba's country!

The first sign of trouble was when a member of the president's party,in full glare of the world's media,tore the election reports about to be read by the election umpire. The results showed that the opposition candidate,Alassan Ouatara had won the elections. 

Undeterred,the electoral body, went ahead to declare the winner. 

We all rejoiced, but it was a fleeting joy.

The constitutional court, voided the elections in all the major area where Ouatara was strong,this was what finally gave Gbagbo victory.

And there is anger in the land; even foreign heads of governments,have have recognized the election of Alassane Ouatara; Laurant Gbagbo, the incumbent, has been intransigent!

The not so funny part of the whole imbroglio, is the fact that they have both sworn themselves in as president!

Un pays, deux presidants!

Ouatara has been patient for so long, and I doubt if he would yield any ground now.

 As usual, a spineless Africa Union has dispatched Thabo Mbeki, I suspect he would come up with another African solution.  

The original one we have seen many times, share the position. Make Gbagbo President, and Ouatara Prime Minister. 

Does that sound familiar? Of course it should, it was the solution in Zimbabwe, they used it in Kenya, and I bet the template is already out in Cote D'Ivoire!

Why do Africans think it is proper to appease the bully,and deny the just? 

What then is the purpose of an election? Should the African Union not be insisting on the enforcement of the people's mandate, instead of looking for the peace of a crocodile's pool?

Every time we behave like this, we tell the rest of the world that we are not ready yet,to join the civilized world!

(If you are reading this on Faceboo, you can read more at www.standupnigeria.blogspot.com)

A Tale Of Two Nigerias

In Brazil, somewhere in the Amazon basin, two mighty rivers pour into one channel. It is a natural phenomenon for one obvious reason, the two rivers do not mix until they reach the sea. They are distinct because the Rio Negro, a tributary of the Amazon is dark in colour,while the Amazon, is brown.

They are in the same channel,but that is all they have in common. In Nigeria today, there is a tale of two Nigerias. We have the affluent Nigeria of the political class: and we also have the Nigeria of the poor,pauperized,and pitiful, masses. 

They both go to the same markets with different wallets, drive on the same roads in different cars, and sometimes live in the same neighbourhood, one in a rodent infested trap, the other in a palatial mansion.

If you cut the two of them they bleed the same, they speak the same language, and come from the same stock: but their lots in life, are different. 

As different as day is from night!

The political class are less than one percent of the population,but consume ninety percent of our resources!

The masses,are left to manage the ten percent that is left.

They promise the dividends of democracy, but it looks like they are the only ones receiving the warrants.

They urge us to sacrifice, but they seem to be the altar, and the god, receiving our sacrifices!

The politicians prosper at the expense of the people they are called to serve. 

They are like pipes that are always wet,but deliver no water! They are wombs that carry the pregnancy,but end up consuming the foetus!

These people are the the vilest of the vile, the thrive on the most repugnant of all  human vices; greed! 

They are evil!

The promise sight,but only deliver darkness, they vow to deliver comfort, but  leave us naked! 

We have become the "cocoyam", while they are the "goats", to borrow from Ola Rotimi's book,The God's Are Not To Blame!  And they have been eating us at their own pleasure!

If you do not have money in Nigeria today, you are not human! You do not have any rights, and you should not have any expectations, because they would end up as mere illusions.

The rich leaders oppress the poor, and the poor receive suffering as their lot in life.

When a governor travels by road, he sometimes has an entourage of over twenty cars! And each car could have up to three people,and these people are paid allowances for massaging his ego. They bamboozle the poor with their horsewhip wielding security operatives,and never feel the pulse of the people they claim to serve. They are the worst kind of despotic colonial, the indigenous one.

They know they system,and work it to their advantage to the detriment of the people! 

The story is told of the former Benue state governor; apparently, one of his wives lived on a street that was not tarred. 

So the fellow decided to do something about it; he tarred the road up to a few meters after his wife's house, and left the rest the way it was! 

So every night,he gets to drive to his missus on a tarred road, and when he leaves, he goes back the way he came!

If that is not evil, then nothing more,  would be! 

But we deserve everything we are getting from them! We want it like an elixir,we need it like a tonic! We cannot do without it. We have become conditioned to suffering, and can no longer imagine life without it; so we postpone our rest and comfort, to the day we get to heaven. We believe that over the River Jordan, bye and bye, there would our sorrows finally end! That is a correct interpretation of scripture, but a wrong mantra to live live by. 

Why do we complain in our offices, when every other person is promoted,and we are not? We know we passed the exam, we do not have any disciplinary issues preventing us,but an error is responsible. so we protest, and shout injustice!

But when the same thing is done to us in the larger society by our leaders,we accept it as our lot from God!

We are waiting for others,who will never come, to come and fight our battles for us! The messiah will never come! We are the messiah,and until we are ready to lay down our lives for what we believe in,our situation will not change.

Power does not change hands peacefully, when tyrants are involved! You do not negotiate,or appeal, to a bully,you stand up to him,and fight for your right! Get up Nigeria! Stand Up! Your day is about to dawn, will it dawn in freedom, or will you go to bed again, a slave in your own land!

Let us all register, and vote them out of office!


(If you are reading this on Facebook,you can read more at www.standupnigeria.blogspot.com)