Sunday, July 31, 2011

No To Single Tenure!

We say No! to single term for our executives! Politicians should not be the ones proposing constitutional amendments, it should be the people! 

Please copy and paste the images on your Facebook profiles! Let us send a clear message to President Goodluck Jonathan!

Saturday, July 30, 2011


When the respected American Ambassador John Campbell, postulated that Nigeria would fail, implode, scatter, break (take your pick) within fifteen years from the year 2005, many people maligned him! 

They said the evil drum he was beating would never sound over Nigeria!

He made his prediction when things were relatively peaceful!

For many faith-based Nigerians, it was a negative confession!

And they were correct in their assertions! 

It was negative, but was it something without a remote chance of coming to pass? 

Refusing to accept a thing does not deny the inevitability, if the conditions necessary for it coming to pass, are fulfilled!

You can confess that you would not get wet, but if you jump into a swimming pool, there is no way God in heaven will keep you dry!

We listened to the man prophesy the doomsday scenario, and the wiser ones only sighed in despair! 

As we look at our nation today, we see the necessary conditions coming together, fearfully crystallizing!

Something similar to the Boko Haram crisis; believe it, or not, was predicted long ago, by an eminent panel led by the former Commonwealth Secretary General, Dr. Shiridath Ramphal!

His panel was commissioned by general Obasanjo’s administration less than fifteen years ago, and they pointed out the potential flashpoints in our nation!

Those who are aware of that report will testify to the veracity of what I am saying!

One of the necessary conditions required for the fulfillment of this prophecy, is poverty!

And I know there is no poverty in Nigeria anymore! 

Or is there?

The existence of crippling, inhumane, iniquitous, poverty is a trigger for social uprising anywhere in the world!

How have we performed in poverty alleviation? 

We have given out a few tricycles (keke NAPEP) and we believe all is well!

Our quest to achieve the Millenium Development Goals, MDGs, have been more of developing millionaires from the over inflated,and shoddily executed contracts, given out to political cronies!

We have not even pricked poverty with a pin! 

Many people wake up in our land today, and do not know where they will get a meal from! 

Even those with jobs, are just a sack away, from dropping into poverty! 

There are no social security nets for the poor! 

Instead, politicians who have served for four years, are receiving life-time pensions fit for despots!

Poor people are dangerous because they  are dissatisfied! 

They are easily provoked! 

They are cheap to hire to cause trouble! 

They have nothing to loose! 

They believe it is better to die, than to continue in the hopelessness that is their present lot! 

Nigeria is very rich in poor people! 

If care is not taken, we may find that we are the richest nation on earth when it comes to poor people!

This is because we have managed to sustain, and increase, the poor in our midst, as our country has increased her revenue intake from oil! 

The number of poor people in our land, has increased illogically!

The nation’s wealth has not translated into individual wealth for all, just a few are rich!

Many of the ethnic-religious clashes that seem to spring up out of the slightest provocation; which sensible people with a future, and a hope would overlook: are usually sustained by poor people who use the opportunity to revenge against the rich, and loot!

The Niger Delta problem was poverty-driven! 

The crises in Jos, has elements of frustration over economic emasculation, fight over land, and poverty carefully woven into the fabric!

How many bank managers have you seen in Jos burning cars, or how many doctors are going around bombing houses in Maiduguri?

What would probably point to how precarious, and dire, our situation is, is that we are a mono product economy!


It is a blessing in other places, but for us, it is a curse! 

It is the single factor that is preparing the ground for our disintegration as a nation!

We do not refine it, but export crude!

That would not have been too bad, if we were not buying back refined products at a higher rate!

So the cards are not in our favour! 

All because we have abdicated our refineries, like every other sector of our economy, to strong cabals, and cartels!

We are careering along now, like a car with failed brakes down a steep slope! Many are giddy from the trip, unaware of the crash to come!

Oil price is good! We have been narcotized by it! 

But history has taught us that everything is cyclical! 

When there is a boom, it is always followed by a bust! 

What the world tries to do; is to ensure that the boom is longer than the bust, and save for the bust, to ameliorate it's effects!

Did I just say, save?  

We do not have savings! Even my five year old daughter has a piggy bank!

When there was a boom, we did not save! We spent more, and our leaders stole the rest!

Nigeria is in debt, and it is spending more on recurrent expenditure, and little on infrastructure! 

When we spend on infrastructure, we always seem to acquire technologies that are thirty years obsolete! 

The Chinese are building the old wide gauge rail for us, but the same Chinese possess bullet train technology!

Between now and the year 2020, are nine uncertain years! 

Anything can happen in nine years! 

The world’s economy could go into a recession! 

There is a strong possibility!

With fears over America’s debt, and European nations failing to meet their obligations: there is no certainty that the price of oil will continue like the juggernaut that it has been!

What seems more likely: is that the price of oil will come down: quickly, and without notice! 

In addition, alternative sources of energy that could supplant oil, are been developed aggressively!

Many, who are smarter than me, would probably have jumped forward in time, and seen how this would imperil our government’s ability to meet her financial obligations!

The clincher for me, the next factor that points to a not so rosy future, is the new minimum wage! 

The government had agreed to pay, out of political expediency, without considering how money would be sourced for it!

If we estimate that government pays  “X” amount on salaries and wages now, and the new minimum wage is times three of the former one: it means that by next year, government shall be paying “X  times 3”  on emoluments, and wages! 

If we kick in the various promotions, and salary increases, due to the demand by labour, that the increase be prorata across the board; you will see that it is not going to be easy for governments at all levels!

We then need to ask a stupid question, will governments triple their ability to generate income by next year, or the year after?

What we are staring at, is a Greek style scenario! 

Governments at all levels, unable to meet their financial obligations! 

There will be more strikes; longer and painful ones! 

There will be more unrest, because more people will be without hope!

Imagine what will happen in states that are currently not viable? 

With zero internally generated revenue they only depend on monthly allocations from the federation account to survive now!

The crises will be cataclysmic!

All I have declared; is a logical portrayal of where we are heading, if we do not change now! 

But it is still possible to make the ambassador a liar!

If governments begins to focus on other non-oil sources of income, if we begin to develop people, and not buildings! 

If we make the rule of law supreme, so that people have confidence in the courts, and do not take the law into their own hands! 

If we strengthen our tax system!

However, if we refuse to do this, we may find that we would all be rushing to the John Campbell Prophetic Church of God, the new church the ambassador would be forced to start by us! 

This is because he would have passed the biblical test for true prophecy, one that comes to pass!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Goodluck's Gambit

The news is stale, that the president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, is presenting a bill to the national assembly to amend the constitution! He wants to replace the former tenure of executive office holders from the current possible two terms of four years, to a single finite term of six years, or whatever ! 

As is the fashion in Nigeria, there are two camps, the "Ayes" and the "Nays" Right now, the "Nays" seem to be winning the verbal war!

While I am an advocate of the single term presidency, I do not subscribe to the way it is being introduced! 

Those who oppose the amendment point to the myriad of problems, and the miasma of infrastructural rot, and deficit, plaguing the country! 

They would prefer that the president sends an amendment to tackle bad roads, corruption, epileptic (some would say, comatose) power industry, and the high cost of running the country's bureaucracy! 

As we currently stand,  a mere five percent of the total population, consumes ninety five percent of the nations wealth by way of recurrent expenditure to maintain political office holders!

Nigeria has been tottering on like a drunken blind man, on a narrow road between two deep ravines! and she does not know it!

We have been fortunate in muddling, and fumbling through the various crises we have encountered. 

We have failed to grow properly, refused to utilize our resources, and carried on as if oil would last forever! We are neither at par with other nations we gained independence with, and those who are less endowed are even ahead of us in the quality of life they give their citizens! 

Some would dare to call it good luck, but saner people would point out that luck can change! 

The cracks we have been carefully covering with mud, are now wider, and deeper! We now have an insurgency of our own making, we are back in debt, the world's economy is slowing down, there is no nest egg for us to fall back on, and government has just increased it's recurrent expenditure by increasing the minimum wage!

Is this the game changer for Goodluck? He already has opened our own Pandora's box with the minimum wage increase. For the first time, governors are asking for true federalism, and a review of the revenue sharing formula in favour of the states! 

Jonathan in bringing this amendment, is like a groom on his wedding day, when confronted with the fact that his bride to be is stranded at the airport minutes to the wedding, in addition to the caterers refusing to prepare the food for the reception, and his wedding rings being lost in transit: is only concerned with the fact that there are cobwebs in the church where he intends to solemnize the ceremony!

The Americans have a saying, "if it ain't broken, don't fix it! 

Why would one man believe that what Nigeria needs now, is the diversion of another constitutional amendment?

If Jonathan seeks the good of Nigeria, he should send the Justice Uwais Panel's report on electoral reform, in it's original form, to the national assembly!

Or, let him include in this bill, that the president, governors, and their families would pay for the food they consume while in the executive mansion, like the American president does! 

In addition, he should include in the bill, that the members of the national assembly from now on would serve pro bono without remuneration of any form!

I can bet my last kobo that the acrimony, and the do,or die, that is now the norm with our elections will end!    

The problem with Nigerian politicians, is that they think too highly of themselves! They equate election to office with omniscience: they believe that they have a divine right to tinker with our lives, as they please, without consulting us!

There has not been any murmuring concerning the tenure of politicians, no one has started a campaign, collecting petitions to the effect!

The refrain on the streets is fix the power problem, fix the roads, fix health, fix schools, fix corruption, fix Nigeria! 

I wonder why, oh why, does he want to leave the real issues that affect us, and go paint the clouds pink? Or like we say in Nigeria "build us a house on water!

Jonathan's house is on fire, and all he can do is kill the cockroaches, and rats fleeing the fire?

By extending the largess to the members of the national assembly, he has effectively bribed them, and tied their hands! 

Some of us would like to change our lawmakers sooner, than later! 

His desire to ensure continuity is misplaced! Jonathan sees continuity as stemming from individuals occupying the same political office for donkey's years! 

In truth, continuity is the byproduct of strong institutions that cannot be influenced by individuals with evil intentions, no matter how strong they are!

It is because we have not had this continuity, that Jonathan can bring a bill like this before the national assembly! He would only succeed in weakening the frail, and fragile forms on ground 

This his interpretation of continuity was what informed his reappointing his old ministers to to their old portfolios! 

It was a gross error of judgement if you ask me! 

He only allowed those who were thieves among them to go back to the elaborate schemes they had set up to fleece Nigeria: now he wants to do the same for the national assembly! 

President Jonathan was elected on a wave of goodwill, he however believes that it is because his name is Goodluck: he is about to find out if that wave is still far out at sea, or whether it is already crashing on the shore!

Beware Jonathan! Beware of the rocks!


Sunday, July 24, 2011


We all love easy solutions! At least I do! 

That is what is driving the various money making innovations in the marketplace today! 

A faster way to do it, a cheaper way, all new innovations promise a better future! 

What holds the promise for a better future for Nigeria? 

The ready-made answer from politicians, is sacrifice! 
They tell us we need to do more, for less!

The worker on the other hand, believes it is more for less: more money for less labour! 

The inteligentsia, who are outsiders to power, would quip corruption: they believe the eradication of which would give Nigeria a better future!

A careful appraisal of our nation points to one single factor as being the way to our future prosperity: the rule of law!

We are a people ever looking for ways to get something out of nothing, while not discharging what is our legitimate responsibility! 

We do this, while holding on to, and demanding vociferously, our entitlements! 

It is a truism, that one cannot reap where one has not sowed! 

To do so, would be stealing!

Sadly, we seem to have become a community of people who assiduously endeavor to get, without first fulfilling the precondition for getting: which is giving! 

What I have been struggling to say, in many words, is that we have become a nation of law-breakers, or as they say on the streets: thieves!

Fidelity, is the lifeblood of any living, and thriving organism: be it biological, or social! 

Once a part in a living organism does not discharge it's responsibility to the rest of the system, there is a disease for the rest of the system, and consequently death!

In like manner, if a striker, or a defender, in a football team, does not play his position faithfully, the rest of the team would suffer, and might even be defeated!

So you see, our major problem is a gross disobedience of the laws we have made to help our society run on an even keel! 

We have jettisoned the rules of civil engagement, and now make our own rules as we go along!

When elected leaders, who swore an oath to the constitution, fail to govern with honesty, and integrity: they are robbing the people of the leadership they were voted to provide! 

When ordinary citizens do not pay their taxes, or drive against oncoming traffic, or litter: it is all robbery! 

The reason why advanced societies work so well, is that by and large, the fear of the consequences of breaking a law, makes people comply with those laws! 
This, subsequently, promotes harmony, and growth in the system! 

We are suffering from an epidemic of social, and criminal misbehavior! This is  a direct traceable result of our not enforcing rules that are meant to regulate us all, and promote good governance! 

We do not need another Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, or any other high-sounding smart alec agency to fight crimes! 

The rules in our statutes, and the police are enough! 

Why we are suffering, is as a result of the consequence of no consequence: when bad behavior, does not result in the swift sanction it merits! 

Until we begin to do this, we would continue to be a nation of thieves, and lawless people! 

And we all know that there is no honour among thieves!

When next you feel like cutting corners, ask yourself if you are a thief, or not: such self examination would eventually lead to a more honourable society: and that should be the goal of every Nigerian!


Monday, July 18, 2011


Last week Friday, a family of three, a man, his wife, and infant of less than one year, were going back home from a vigil. 

The time was three am, and they ran into a military checkpoint! To their dismay, they discovered that many people were ordered by the soldiers to lie on the ground! Some of those on spread out on the ground were worshippers from a white garment church also going home from  a vigil! 

The young family were also told to come out of their vehicle! The man pleaded with the soldiers that he should be allowed to leave his car behind, and take his wife, and young child home, they refused his plea! 

They were out there in the cold till five am when a superior officer came, and rebuked the soldiers for detaining the couple with an infant! 

I will tell you where this happened later in the story!

When I visited Bayels state for the first time some years ago, it was at the height of the militant insurgency in the region!

I must confess that I was truly petrified! 

Every move I made was with trepidation! This was because everywhere I went, I saw military checkpoints, backed up by machine gun posts, manned by fierce looking soldiers, behind sandbags! It just did not seem right!

It looked unreal, for Nigeria! It seemed like one was in another country, and another country it was then! The Joint Task Force, the JTF, were in control, and their jackboots, were planted firmly on the jugular of the whole terrain!

Their influence was felt everywhere! It was so bad that speedboats had to make a stop at every location where there was a JTF checkpoint on shore to settle, a silly euphemism for bribe!

For those who were back in the halcyon innocence experienced by the rest of Nigeria, the numerous calls by leaders of the region for the removal of the JTF seemed like a call from an ungrateful problem child!

The amnesty in the region has changed the scene, for now; and time has healed many wounds! But sadly, new wounds are being inflicted elsewhere daily! Imagine how the couple who were delayed with their infant, would feel right now!

In a part of the country where we least expected, on a people that felt secure in by their being far removed from the hurly burly conflagration of the Niger Delta; the JTF, now reigns supreme!And they are now viewed by the people of Maiduguri, as "an army of occupation"!

A doctor friend of mine once said that people should pray when they go to see the doctor thus " Lord deliver me from cures that are worse than the ailment" The import of this statement is that a solution could create a worse problem than the one it seeks to solve!

The good people of Maiduguri, probably hailed the JTF as messiahs when they moved into their town some weeks ago to confront Boko Haram fighters! 

That view seems to have changed within days! Quickly! 

They now understand what their distant, then ungrateful, kinsmen in the Niger Delta region felt! That the loss of lives, and liberties, and the the disproportionate use of force, does not seem to be worth whatever the final outcome would be!

Welcome to the new Nigeria !

It is a fact in the public domain, that terrorists, and guerilla fighters, do not adopt conventional methods! 

They prefer skirmishes, and biting at the ankle tactics! They neither stand and fight, nor give any quarters! 

The Americans had to learn this the hard way, at the cost of thousands of lives!

I even read a fellows comment on Facebook, that Nigeria had enough Mig, and Alpha Jets, (those museum pieces) to bomb the "bastards" to bits! 

Obviuosly, this fellow has never been to Maiduguri before!

I have! 

It is a big place, and it is sparsely populated, and there is no particular enclave called Boko Haramville! 

Every part of Maiduguri is actually Nigeria, and all those feeling the horsewhips, and the bullets, are my brothers, and your sisters!

Conventional forces are a good show of force, they look good on television, but are as effective as a pistol against a man on the moon!

What the conventional forces are doing in Maiduguri, is taking a page from the typical conventional forces play book: profiling! If he looks like Boko Haram, and dresses like one, he must be one, or intending to become one! A measure of religious profiling has sullied the already muddied waters!

The black oval patch on the forehead, a result of praying to Allah five times a day, a sign of religious discipline, and piety; is now the official mark of identifying Boko Haram followers!

How we arrived at this conundrum, really leaves me stumped! That very mark, is what you are likely to find on sixty percent of all adult males in Maiduguri! 

Because they are devout Moslems! People spend years acquiring that badge of honour!

A friend of mine wrote somewhere in a post concerning this issue, the whole of the WB Yeats poem, Things Fall Apart, "Turning and turning in the widening gyre, 
the falcon cannot hear the falconer, 
Things Fall Apart, the centre cannot hold,
 mere anarchy is loosed upon the world!

That is what Maiduguri depicts now! Things have fallen apart, the centre is not holding, and anarchy is walking the streets in authority!

I have said it before in the past, that guns, and bullets will not resolve this issue! 

Mere words will not be enough to "deradicalise" (to use the official line the government is putting out) the Boko Haram adherents, not even money! The converted, and pacified, militants in the Niger Delta accepted money, and gave up their guns, that would not work here! 

If the government tries to buy it's way out of this problem, it would discover the limitation of money!

Only schools, and hospitals:development, would solve this problem!

We are discovering the inherent limitations of our unitary federalism, and the problems inherent! We are also discovering that we are actually spreading, and deepening, democracy; not of good governance: but of suffering!

To my fellow Nigerians in Maiduguri, I feel your pain! My wish is that we would jettison this destructive solution, and look for ways to win the hearts, and minds of the populace in Maiduguri! They are not the enemy, they may look like them, dress like them, and even smell like them: they are still not the enemy! 

When we win their hearts, and minds, they are the ones who would expel Boko Haram gladly! 

Right now, the JTF is doing Boko Haram a great service in public relations, and recruitment! 

This is the last thing we need, more anarchy loosed upon the world!

(Ah yes! The young couple? They were on their way home to Mpape, one of the suburbs of Abuja, less than ten kilometres from the presidential villa! If this could happen in Abuja, think of the horror in Maiduguri)


Saturday, July 9, 2011


There is a belief among those who believe in vampires, that a silver bullet, or a stake to the heart, would kill a vampire! 

That is the origin of the silver bullet solution!

Nigeria now finds herself wrestling with a vampire of gargantuan proportions! 

It is the creation of three individuals, Ali Modu Sherrif, former governor of Borno, Danjuma Goje, former governor of Gombe, and Mallam Isa Yuguda, the current governor of Bauchi state! 

These individuals, seeking to distract the people from their failure to govern properly, used the Boko Haram group, as a kind of quasi narcotic to lull the people into calm submission!

In so doing, stilling any opposition that might arise from the privation suffered from the development vacuum, and deficit, their "misgovernance" had created!

They sought to legitimise their right to govern without being accountable to the people who had elected them: instead, they transformed themselves into agents of God! 

They clothed themselves in the garbs of the anointed servant of God, one who could not be questioned!

The whole fraud collapsed, when the very vehicle of their deceit, who were sincere in their own aspiration,Boko Haram, began to question these three individuals! 

That is the source of the vampire that now reigns supreme in Borno, Gombe, and Bauchi state!

There has been strident calls for an amnesty programme modelled after that used for the Niger Delta militants: it might work, but there is also the strong possibility of failure! 

Boko Haram is not composed of economic militants, they seek an Islamic hegemony across Northern Nigeria governed by the law of God: Sharia!

Eventually, I suspect, this would be extended to the rest of the country!

And, like they say, there lies the problem! Even the North that they seek this rule over, is not religiously monolithic! There are Christians, and animists, in large numbers today, indigenous to the region! 

So what is the solution? The solution is as simple as flicking a switch, but it would be difficult for our politicians to execute! 

It is the denial of a support catchment population for the group to operate! 

The history of the Americans in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, shows that as long as the local populace are in support of insurgents, there is nothing anyone can do to root them out! 

One way of rooting out the Boko Haram scourge, is to give the people a reason not to want them: sincere development, which is actually the original meaning of governance! 

For decades, successive governments have managed to go through the pantomime of development, without really doing anything! 

More money is voted, and spent, as security vote every year, and the security situation keeps worsening! The news on the street today, is that the Nigerian Police force is broke! 

As our annual budgets have risen to trillions, so has the poverty level in the land increased! 

There has not been a corresponding rise in the prosperity, or condition of our people! 

If government wants to get rid of Boko Haram in one year, then they need to bring real, sincere, measurable, and visible, development to the people!

When this is done, it does not matter whether the Boko Haramites are foreign nationals, or citizens: the local populace would reject, evict, and expose them!

This is because no one likes to jeopardise the good thing he has going!

Right now, all talk of amnesty, is tantamount to addressing the symptoms, and leaving the real cause of the disease alone! 

The government succeeded in addressing the issue of the militants in the Niger Delta region, by rewarding those who engaged in brigandage, without touching on the issues responsible for their acts! The region is still the way it was during the militancy, and new groups are springing up to take the place of those who have been rewarded! They have seen that it is a lucrative vocation, with the promise of millions of naira! 

Boko Haram, is a different kettle of fish! 

A religious dimension has been added, the only way the government can win this war, is to preach the gospel of development, and offer the people another god, one different from the Boko Haram's, that forbids western civilization! 

Let the government show the people the marvels, and benefits of western civilization: hospitals that cure diseases,schools that actually teach, roads that do not kill, drinking water that does not contain animal dung, and electricity that promotes productivity: in one year, Boko Haram would become the devil in the new Garden of Eden, and this time, no one would accept it's offering!

The Current Situation On Ground!

Looking for water in a dry river bed

This is a community's water source!

A School? Yes! A school! 

Drinking water!

Yes! Drinking water!
This is a class room!

Drinking Water!

The lengths, or is it depths,
our people have to go for water!

In addition, we need to enforce the secularity of our federation! Politicians should not be allowed to use state funds to support religious organizations!

Government should not been involved in religious affairs in any form: the two do not mix, and are in fact antithetical!

That is the only way we can prevent another violent religious group from holding us to ransom tomorrow!