Archive for May, 2012

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By Wole Soyinka

This is one gift horse which, contrary to traditional saying, must be inspected thoroughly in the mouth.

Primary from all of us must be a plea to the MKO Abiola family not to misconstrue the protests against the naming of the University of Lagos after their heroic patriarch. Issues must be separated and understood in their appropriate contexts.  The family will acknowledge that, among the loudest opposing voices to Jonathan’s gift horse, are those who have clamoured tirelessly that MKO Abiola, the Nigerian nation’s president-elect, be honoured nationally, and in a befitting manner.

Next is my confession to considerable shock that President Goodluck Jonathan did not even think it fit to consult or inform the administrators of the university, including Council and Senate, of his intention to re-name their university for any reason, however laudable. This arbitrariness, this act of disrespect, was a barely tolerated aberration of military governance. It is totally deplorable in what is supposed to be a civilian order.

After that comes the bad-mouthing of MKO Abiola and the Nigerian electorate by President Jonathan who referred to MKO as the “presumed winner” of a historic election. While applauding the president for finally taking the bull by the horn and rendering  honour unto whom honour is due, the particularities of this gesture have made it dubious, suspect, and tainted. You do not honour someone while detracting from his or her record of achievement.

MKO Abiola was not a presumed winner, but the President-elect of a nation, and thus universally acknowledged.

It is sad, very sad, that after his predecessor who, for eight full years of presidency, could not even bear to utter the name of a man who made his own incumbency possible, along comes someone who takes back with the left hand what the right has offered.  However, there is hope. Legalists have claimed that there is a legal flaw to the entire process. The university, solidly backed by other tertiary institutions nation-wide, should immediately proceed to the courts of law and demand a ‘stay of execution’. That should give President Jonathan time to re-consider and perhaps shift his focus to the nation’s capital for institutions begging for rituals of re-naming. After all, it is on record that the House of Assembly did once resolve that the Abuja stadium be named after the man already bestowed the unique title of  “Pillar of African Sports”. He deserved that, and a lot more. What he did not deserve is to be, albeit posthumously, the centre of a fully avoidable acrimony, one that has now resulted in the shutting down one of the institutions of learning to whose cause, the cause of learning, President-elect MKO Abiola also made unparalleled private contributions.

Let me end by stressing that my position remains the same as it was when the University of Ife was re-named Obafemi Awolowo University. I deplored it at the time, deplore it till today, have never come to terms with it, and still hope that some day in the not too distant future, that crime against the culture of institutional autonomy will be rectified. Let us not compound the aberrations of the past with provocations in an era that should propel us towards a belated new Age of Enlightenment.

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By Ogaga Ifowodo

Caught in a perfect “go-slow” traffic on the Third Mainland Bridge, two Lagos friends decide to let out steam through every Nigerian’s favourite pastime. “Hey, Raufu, have you heard? President Goodluck Jonathan is fighting a war against corruption.”

 

Ha! Ha! Ha!” bellows Raufu, thoroughly amused.

 

“Want to know what is even funnier?”

 

“What?” asks Raufu, who, as you might guess, is not only an angry man but also a hungry citizen, having to subsist on a dollar or N150 per day while said war-against-corruption president makes do with a paltry N235,000.

 

“According to his National Assembly liaison, Joy Emordi, Jonathan says he won’t spare any of the oil thieves that scammed the country to the tune of trillions of naira.”

 

“Well, obviously the president told his Attorney-General and Minister of Justice something else. No one will be prosecuted, the A-G said. Due process, you know. The Farouk Lawan probe panel had merely performed a ‘fact-finding’ mission. Further and necessary investigations will have to be conducted by ‘all relevant agencies of the government’ before charges can be filed.”

 

“But why does Jonathan insist that he is fighting a war against corruption? If so, he should begin the war against himself.”

 

“And start with his feeding allowance. Did you hear? He has cut it by N90 million. It is now down to only N857 million a year. I think we should ask him not to bother. His predecessor, Musa Yar’Adua, died in office of natural causes; we mustn’t let Jonathan die of starvation.”

 

Why does the president of a country paid the highest official salary need to be fed free of charge?  Those who may feed at public expense are the lowest income or no-income earners, the poorest of the poor. Which would mean about seventy percent of the population. The social and fiscal cost in health, petty crime and diminished production due to reduced quality of labour, justifies the expense, even if you don’t care for the moral point of it: no one should starve when there is enough for all. Of course the rich will always have choice fare but a full stomach for all irrespective of what fills it  —  caviar or cassava, grilled steak or guguru and groundnuts  —  is a moral obligation for any humane society.

 

Which is why Jonathan must stop feeding on the people, literally, if he knows what corruption is. He must remove the grilled leg of a cow in his mouth before he can point to the bits of tripe between anyone’s teeth. And just what manner of food does the fisherman’s son eat these days? Not even an elephant and a tonne of oysters a day—should he, his family and many guests have extraordinary tastes and appetites—would cost a billion naira a year.  Is his garri or semovita made of gold-dust? Does his own cassava bread, the new staple food he launched recently, come with a diamond crust? I mean, he has to be eating the very gems of food! And while we are at it, what law of the land that can stand constitutional scrutiny—if we leave the moral question aside for a moment—says that the president or other high political office holders have to be fed at public expense? If the law exists, then fairness and equity demand that every citizen be entitled to a food allowance. After all, it is their money!

 

Among the many reasons why Jonathan cannot fool anyone with a purported war against corruption is his absolute lack of moral authority. Some might say it is rather a lack of political will, but surely will is useless without the moral grounds on which to exercise it. It is moral authority that gives muscle to political will. When a leader is above board, he can act boldly without fear of blackmail. Then he can say that there will be no sacred cows, since the most sacred cow, the head of state himself, has sharpened his sword on the moral whetstone. This is why Yar’Adua could not proceed against the Ogidigborigbo of Her Majesty’s prison in Wandsworth, James Ibori. Much of the loot that bought Yar’Adua and the PDP the presidency in 2007 came from Ibori’s stolen billions. It is why General Obasanjo, who also mouthed the “no sacred cow” and “zero tolerance” slogans, would disregard the evidence already compiled by Pius Okigbo and demand proof that General Babangida is living above his legitimate means from the ordinary citizens insisting on accountability.

 

But it is not only the immoral fleecing of the people by way of an astounding food budget that corrupts and compromises Jonathan. When finally he was cajoled into declaring his assets, we learned that in the short period that he stopped being a university lecturer and became deputy governor, governor and vice president, he had amassed a N295 million fortune! Well, five years hence and now chief keeper of the nation’s purse, how much more has his fortune grown? And how clever and revealing the words of his A-G telling the named culprits of the greatest corruption scandal of the Jonathan era that they need not worry about a knock on their door by the knuckles of justice! Because prosecution of the corrupt has so often been inept, sabotaged from within many believe, he is choosing to move slowly. “Experience has shown that whenever our law enforcement agencies are stampeded to arraign suspects, the end result is usually the discharge of such suspects by the courts ostensibly for want of evidence,” says the A-G. Very “humbly,” he urges us to “patiently wait for the outcome of the investigations and subsequent prosecutions that may flow” from the probe already conducted by the House of Representatives and “the ongoing probe” by the Senate. The A-G has mastered the playbook of his predecessor, Michael Aondoakaa. He knows that time flies. So there will be one investigation panel after another, followed by a panel to review the reports and make recommendations to the president for immediate implementation, then the wait for the government’s white paper on the accepted findings and recommendations (as a rule, the least important ones), etc. Soon enough, a new scandal or the blood wars of another (s)election process would top the agenda. No thief will have been charged, or if charged, the government would fight very hard for victory: dismissal of charges for want of diligent prosecution! I will eat a Jonathan-size bowler hat if by the end of this government any oil subsidy thief, individual or corporate, has been tried and convicted through the A-G’s “due process.”

 

What was it that The Economist, which could not tire of praising Jonathan’s courage in deciding to end “oil subsidies,” said in its 3 December 2011 issue about the war on corruption? That what is needed are “dragon slayers,” not the mere sacking of Farida Waziri as head of EFCC. Though, by conservative estimates, $4 billion to $8 billion is stolen from the coffers every year, “not a single politician is serving a prison sentence for corruption or embezzlement.” It remains to be seen, the magazine continued, “whether  Mr Jonathan really wants to fight graft or will merely switch people around to keep his critics guessing.”  Four months later, the same magazine notes the “feeble attempts to clean up Nigerian politics.” No, Messrs Economist, we are not guessing at all. On the contrary, we know that His Excellency, Dr (none of that mister business here, please) Goodluck Jonathan, never meant to clean up our politics. Or fight graft, whatever that means.  And we are reminded of it by A-G Adoke’s choice of passive and conditional diction: “subsequent prosecutions that may flow from the fuel subsidy probe.” May, not will.

Moreover, we have looked closely and cannot see anything in Jonathan’s demeanour that speaks of a fire-breathing dragon out to chase corruption to its hiding holes. “When you know that there is a 99 percent chance you would be caught when you steal and 100 percent chance that you would go to jail, you won’t steal,” said Jonathan’s minister of National Planning, Shamsudeen Usman, before the oil subsidy sleaze. Nigeria’s jails are full of convicts, just no politician, contract-monger or oil subsidy scammer among them. Jonathan as the corruption dragon slayer? Ha! Ha! Ha!

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Obasanjo|amebo|burningpot

Nigeria marks her 13th year of straight democratic governance without interference. So far, it has been an eventful period for everyone, not only by virtue of being the longest stretch of uninterrupted democratic governance we have ever had since we achieved independence in 1960, but by what we all have learnt in terms of the potentials of the country to rise above her challenges and find a way forward.

I want to congratulate all Nigerians for their investments and patience in reaching this important milestone, there is no doubt that there is a lot of room for improvement and progress to be made on so many fronts even as we ponder over another 13 years.

Discourses on governance and security presupposes a desire, by those holding the discussion, to review and/or continue to understand the evolving nature of the “state”, which provides the framework for “governance” and “security’. It also enables its citizens to have a better grip on how they can achieve their purpose and their goals both individually and collectively. It could also be inferred that discourses like this can and should throw up new ideas and also boost the commitment of the elected or selected representatives of the citizens, in conducting the affairs of the state such that majority of the citizens at any given time would benefit the most.

Historically it is evident that all social and economic phenomena are constantly evolving in nature and that new realities always give opportunity for-a revision of established norms or traditions. Thus History and time ensure that nothing remains constant; everything, even inanimate objects, will eventually yield to something, either better or worse than the last. We as human beings and citizens have a responsibility to constantly review the phenomena that direct our existence on earth and our path in our communities. We also have a responsibility to review the ideas and philosophies, derived over many years of observation and interaction and which keep us going forth in our communities.

Although we may be in danger of repeating what has been said before or established, there is also the likelihood that it could be said in another way that might hit home harder. It is also likely that someone will take away something significant and that this will eventually make a difference somewhere someday. This for me is one of the strongest methods of passing ideas, lessons and thoughts from one generation to another generation, from peer to peer, from the learned to the learners, from group to group and indeed, from one individual to another.

I am comfortable knowing that I am not restrained by the title (Governance and Security) and should be able to pass something tangible to those who have the interest of societal progress.

“Governance” and “security” are all essential elements of the “state” to enable it function effectively and deliver on its obligations. It also enables interactive engagement between the state, its citizens, and the institutions of governance for the sole purpose of driving and directing human activity, purposely and meaningfully, to a desired end normally positive, but for which a negative end could also result.

It therefore follows that “governance” and “security”, which could be regarded as part of the processes and services of the State, are not necessarily on their own! They exist or are in place to ensure that the State is able to conduct or fulfill its primary purpose effectively and or with less vulnerability.

In terms of legitimizing the State, it could be argued that, they essentially crystallize the legitimacy that have been given or ceded to it by its citizens, individually and collectively to the state. States therefore derive their power and legitimacy from their citizens.

The concept of legitimacy usually is understood as the popular acceptance and recognition, by the public, of the authority of a governing regime, whereby authority has political power through consent and mutual understandings, not necessarily coercion. Drawing from here, political scientists have noted about three types of political legitimacy as follows;

I. Traditional legitimacy is derived from societal custom and habit that emphasizes the history of the authority of tradition. Traditionalists understand this form of rule as historically accepted, hence its continuity, because it is the way society has always been.

Therefore, the institutions of traditional government usually are historically continuous, as in monarchy and tribal chiefs.

II. Charismatic legitimacy derives from the ideas and personal charisma of the leader, a man or woman whose authoritative persona charms and psychologically dominates the people of the society to agreement with the government’s regime and rule. A charismatic government usually features weak political and administrative institutions, because they derive authority from the persona of The Leader, and usually disappear without him or her in power. Yet, a government derived from charismatic legitimacy might continue if the charismatic leader has a charismatic successor.

III. Rational-legal legitimacy derives from a system of institutional procedure, wherein government institutions establish and enforce law and order in the public interest. Therefore, it is through public trust that the government will abide the law that confers rational-legal legitimacy.

Following, I should add quickly that, “governance and security” are not the exclusive preserve of “states” or their administrative representations. Indeed “governance” and or “security” are also deployed by other institutions that are not governmental in nature. They could be deployed by organizations and other such institutions. In this instance, they can be seen in the context of corporate administration of decisions or ideas or even project implementation and other forms of administration.

For this purpose, I shall dwell on the perspective that serves the needs and aspirations of sovereign nation-states.

The State
Although definitions of the state are not sacrosanct, many sociologists, political scientists as well as historians and economists address this from a wide variety of perspectives. Although for the purpose of this address, I shall adopt the definition of offered by the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary of Current English. My reason being that, most people who are interested in checking the meaning of “state” are more likely to look into a dictionary first, before they look for other materials with perhaps more complex definitions and amplifications. I wish therefore to connect with that simple definition. The Oxford dictionary defines “state” as a country with organized political community controlled by a government”.

As I said earlier, this definition is by no means exhaustive. Other political scientists and sociologists have offered differing perspectives depending on the characteristics that they have elected to associate with the state. Some variables, however, in the determination of the physical nature of the state, have remained constant.

A state generally consists of a territory with boundary, a people or a community of citizens, a set of laws, principles or guides, written or unwritten, which could be referred to as the “constitution”, and a government. The capacity of the state to engage into relations with other “equal” states or foreign relations then makes the state sovereign by political definition. Sovereign states are therefore states that have the capacity to engage and or manage relations on behalf of its citizens, including war, with other states. It is not dependent or subject to any other power of the state or otherwise. An abuse of the sovereign is usually taken to be a declaration, of sorts, of war.

Governance Going back to the dictionary meaning, the operative word for me in this definition is “controlled”. You will probably agree that replacing the word “controlled” with “governed” and the definition may not entirely lose its meaning, at least in this context. The connection with government is further clarified if you agree that the “state” and by extension, the desires of the state needs to be “powered” or “governed” or “auctioned” by government institutions for it to achieve its primary purpose.

Governance can therefore be seen as the process of administering government ideas, programmes and policies deliberately to either create the conducive environment for citizens to interact, or the process by which legislations are developed and enacted to guide the actions of either the government on its own, or the citizens individually, corporately and or collectively. The judiciary’s actions are also part of governance as they seek to interpret and correct anomalies in government and corporate procedures and engagements.

Government without “governance is, therefore, not possible. It is an absurdity. Governance or acts of the state’s machinery to provide and fend for its citizens then becomes a very important means for the state to undertake its mission and realize its vision and duties and responsibility to the citizens.

Fundamentally governance involves interactions and engagements; interaction and engagements involve perception and understanding and the will to act, while perception, engagement and the will to act involve a whole lot of values, principles and determination that affect successful and or failure of delivery. At the end, the executive, the legislature, the judiciary, the press, finance institutions, the regulatory bodies, the police and all other such institutions of government become the medium for which governance is applied on the state.

I have tried to place this perspective to show that, at any given time, “governance” is being conducted to administer, manage, influence and execute the functions of the state through their representatives in government.

Security (and the State)

The abiding quest for security for the individual and community citizens including corporate citizens is a long lasting one and will last for as long as humans and their communities persist. In the past, it used to be argued that the stability of a country in terms of physical security is a necessary pre-condition for economic development within the context of inter-state rivalry and competition. It was further argued that the state legitimizes itself further in the eyes of its citizens when it provides the necessary conditions that guarantee its own survival and then the survival of its citizens individually and collectively.

Historically, “security” tended to be “state-centric”. This implied that the focus of all security activity was to ensure the survival and sustainability of the “sovereign state” before anything else. The implication of this was that, a disproportionate and high percentage of national resources used to be dedicated to the procurement of military hardware and maintenance of large military forces in the hope of promoting physical security. These were achieved at the expense of quality of living for the citizens.

With the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s however, the dominant focus on states with its “mutually assured destruction” and military security briefly enabled a broader concept of security to emerge. The exponential rise in the spread and consolidation of democratisation and international human rights norms opened a space in which both ‘development’ and concepts of ‘security’ could be reconsidered.

Seeking to influence the outcome of the UN’s 1995 World Summit on Social Development in Copenhagen, Dr. Mahbub ul Haq first drew global attention to the concept of human security in the United Nations Development Programme’s 1994 Human Development Report. The UNDP’s 1994 Human Development Report’s definition of human security argues that the scope of global security should be expanded to include threats in seven areas: economic, food, health, environmental, personal, community, and political security. These are citizen-centred.

These redefinitions and re-scoping of the term “ security” then gave impetus to many extensions, including a review of state policies and government approach to matters of “security and indeed governance. It deepened programmes for the benefit of the citizens, and this in my opinion, is where the clear lessons for Nigeria should stem from or be projected from.

Of the seven areas listed by the UNDP Report, Nigerians today are more concerned and agitated by the aspect that relates more with personal security. The UNDP summarizes that personal security aims to protect people from physical violence and death by violence, whether from the state or external states, from violent individuals and sub-state actors, from domestic abuse, or from predatory adults. For many people, the greatest source of anxiety is crime, particularly violent crime.

Until very recently, the greatest source of anxiety in terms of personal security is violent crime.

Today, bombing of targets in occupied public buildings or in the open areas where people congregate has become the greatest anxiety of personal security for almost all Nigerians and non-Nigerians living in Nigeria. It is already giving us a very bad image and it is adversely affecting investment in Nigeria. But personal insecurity is fed, invariably by political, economic, food and community security issues. In other words, personal insecurity fed by other security issues may be direct or indirect consequences of governance. Governance and security go hand-in-hand. The welfare and well being of the people starting with their personal security is the sole purpose and duty of government.

The effectiveness or performance of government may be measured by the level of security enjoyed by the people. It must be clearly stated that every citizen has obligation and duty to contribute to the collective security of the community or the society. It is the main civic duty of every citizen and it enhances relationship and interaction within the society. Inadequate security of any sort and particularly widespread personal insecurity erodes from the authority and standing of the government and diminishes unity within the society.

Being a presentation by Olusegun Obasanjo in a lecture on Governance, Ethics and Morality, delivered in Jigawa State

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Vanguard|amebo|burningpot

 

It is being treated like the last year. But it is actually the very first.  For a four-year tenure, President Goodluck Jonathan’s first year as an elected leader is witnessing the do-or-die politics of a re-election year – at least by Nigerian standards.  There are many issues that have generally sprung up in the last one year but they all sink into the bottom of a pot:  Succession! But some may disagree.

Need we enumerate?  Firstly, when it was yet early days in the jostle (hustle) for the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and it appeared that Jonathan may clinch the ticket (in spite of zoning), some politicians alluded to the possibility of Jonathan inheriting a poisoned polity should he win the presidential election – the environment is already sufficiently poisoned with the atmosphere of insecurity.

Unfortunately, however, whether as good intentioned as he claimed it was, or, perhaps he had another agenda, President Jonathan’s timing of the public presentation of a proposal about a single tenure of five years for office holders in the executive only served to hyper-activate the antenna of politicians who were waiting in the wings to take over from him in 2015.  For them, it was bad enough that zoning was junked momentarily; worse, the beneficiary was beginning to push for tenure elongation.  What to do? Make life unbearable for him.

Should they be blamed?  The jury is still out.  Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, made a prognostication of this long before the PDP primaries and the presidential elections of last year.  He did not say where the problem would emanate from but in his words, “they would not let him rule the country”.  He did not mention who the “they” were, nor who the “they” would be. Read Akinyemi’s interview.

However, putting in context the fierce contest for presidential power last year and interfacing that with the crises that have bedeviled the Nigerian nation in the last one year, a section of the political elites in Nigeria may have unwittingly embarked on an expedition of bridge-burning.

The most critical issue confronting Nigeria today is insecurity.  The wanton destruction of lives and properties occasioned by the activities of insurgents especially in the northern part of the country, while a section of that selfsame the leadership watches, creates the impression that Nigeria as a nation can as well go to hell.

The egregious, yet inexplicable nature of what is happening in the North is that its economy is being wiped out, businesses are being closed down, lives are being needlessly lost, and maximum fear and pain being inflicted on a hapless people. In all of these, some of the leaders’ unwritten demand is 2015 or nothing.

Therefore, Nigeria must burn. Yet considered: Two foreigners have been killed; police stations, Police Headquarters and the United Nations’ House in Abuja were bombed; churches have been bombed, Christians, Muslims and pagans killed; military officers and policemen also killed in the process.  No matter the religious connotation of the insurgency, politics has interfered.  Even if those involved would not accept, that is the truth.  Whereas the indoctrination into the sphere of suicide bombings can be rigourous, painstaking and complex, the poverty in Nigeria makes it easy for those who have nothing to lose not to even bother about losing all in the first place.

Let it not be lost on Nigerians at all, the PDP is not Nigeria and Nigeria is not PDP. But the implications of a shambolic PDP, with its preponderant spread in the firmament, makes it easy for Nigeria to catch cold any time PDP sneezes.  That is why President Jonathan’s party appears to have hauled Nigerians into the one-chance commutter bus with the attendant rape and despoilation that has been witnessed in the last one year.

Meanwhile, the challenges of governance are on their own enormous without any insurgency – the battle to stay in office in the face of litigation against electoral victory, the curse of the godfather, the pull-and-shove of party loyalists, the fierce competition to become a cabinet member, the expectations of the electorate are just a few of the challenges which normally confront newly elected public office holders at the state and federal levels.

Yet, the political elites in both the North and South of Nigeria behave as if a single tenure of four years or twin tenures of eight years would never lapse – ask former President Olusegun Obasanjo.  For those who say President Jonathan has not done anything, they deliberately choose to forget that there is nothing you can possibly do in an atmosphere of insecurity.

Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State understood this quite well and, therefore, invited Obasanjo and Alhaji Maitama Sule to Dutse to address the issues of GOVERNANCE AND SECURITY.

Far from the usual Democracy Day ritual of waxing pontifical via articles, the following pages present the workings of minds that are at once fed up with and desperately in search of a way out of these times.

Akinyemi’s views on how to get out of the poverty trap make good sense; Obasanjo’s piece on governance and security are profound; Maitama Sule’s position on the selfishness of a section of Nigeria’s leaders captures the present mood of do-or-die politics; Rev. Uma Ukpai’s stance that the insurgency may have its usefulness is instructive; Dele Sobowale’s review of the Nigerian economy in the last one year is revealing.

The directive principle of political agitation which seeks  to foist insecurity on the polity loses sight of the potential danger: Should Jonathan be hounded out of office on the terms of the North, those seeking to benefit should imagine the spectre of insurgency that would kick off again from the South /South.  That is where Nigeria’s oil wealth is. The danger?  More locusts, being incubated now, would be unleashed.

C. Vanguard–By Jide Ajani

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Vanguard|amebo|burningpot

The morning of 29th May, 1999 was like the first day in a new recreated Nigeria after 29 years military tyranny.

Drumming, singing, dancing and jubilation filled the Eagle Square, Abuja as Nigerians awaited the handover of

power from a  military regime to a new legitimately elected democratic government under the leadership of  

President Olusegun Obasanjo that morning.

It was same in all the 36 federating states of Africa’s most populous country – celebrating a future full of

hopes for improved wellbeing of everyone.

The inaugural speech of President Obasanjo even re-enforced this faith the more, as Nigerians at the Eagles

Square and millions more who  werewatching  live on TV or listening  over the radio allowed tears of joy to drip

freely when they thought of the past and what the new “messiah” was promising.

“Nigeria is wonderfully endowed by the Almighty with human and other resources” Obasanjo reminded all.

“ It does no credit either to us or the entire black race if we fail in managing our resources for quick

improvement in the quality of life of our people.

“Instead of progress and development, which we  are entitled to expect from those who governed us, we experienced

in  the last decade and a half,  particularly in the last regime but one, persistent deterioration in the quality

of our governance, leading  to instability and the weakening of all public institutions ”, he said

“Good men  were shunned and kept away from government while those who should be  kept away were drawn near.

Relations between men and women who had  been friends for many decades, and between communities that had lived  

together in peace for many generations became very bitter because of  the actions or inactions of government.

“The citizens developed distrust in government, and because promises made for the improvement  of the conditions

of the people were not kept, all statements by  government were met with cynicism”, he pointed out.

“Government officials became progressively indifferent to propriety of  conduct and showed little commitment to

promoting the general welfare  of the people and the public good.

“ Government and all its agencies  became thoroughly corrupt and reckless. Members of the public had to  bribe

their way through in ministries and parastatals to get  attention and one government agency had to bribe another

government  agency to obtain the release of their statutory allocation of funds.

“The impact of official corruption is so rampant and has earned  Nigeria a very bad image at home and abroad.

Besides, it has distorted and retrogressed development”.

Of course, he promised to reverse all, in a rare oration that pulled down the wary stand of pessimists.

Looking back these 13 years of democracy, those past leaders  that Obasanjo so disparaged, would be completely

right if they asked for an unreserved apology from  Obasanjo, who left Nigerians arguably, worse than he met them

.Virtually everything Obasanjo said has remained the same, and has even gone worse in some instances.

The tragedy of 13 years of Nigerian democracy is even more vexing when looked through Nigeria’s earning for this

duration.

According to analysts, the country has  grossed in  far more income between 1999 and 2010 than the prior 35 years

before 1999. It has been estimated that  Nigeria’s GDP had jumped  from  $90 billion  in 1998 to about $350

billion in 2009 alone, about 300% and on an absolute value.

Yet on Human Development Index, Nigeria remains among the most impoverished  nations on earth, with an estimated

79 million of its 150 million  populace living below the poverty level.

The North Western part of Nigeria, according to recent UNESCO rating, has the lowest literary   level in the

world.

Nigeria spent not less that $16 billion (N2.5 trillion)  to improve on the 3,500 Mw of power that civil rule

inherited from autocratic military rule.  It is doubtful if Nigeria produces Imw  above that figure today.

Yes, some roads, boreholes, hospitals and some schools may have been built, but on the aggregate that  falls

extremely far  from expectation.

The story of Nigeria in the past 13 years is the story of corruption finding a cosy, ripe breeding ground. Never

in the history of Nigeria had civil servants, politicians and even men and women in uniform stolen so brazenly.

With a judicial system that is a caricature of itself, all the billions spent on creating laws and institutions

that should fight corruption, lay waste.

Since the Nigerian civil war, Nigeria has never been on the brink of collapse and disintegration like now.

After all these earnings, we have won fewer laurels in sports than for the same period under military rule.

Our image abroad has gotten worse as Nigerians make the bulk of thieves and drug criminals in foreign prisons.

There is hardly anything to cheer in the past 13 years of our democracy.

It has been the story of looted hopes by Nigerian leaders at all tiers of government, as Nigeria totters on the

brink of disintegration.

C. Vanguard–
Stories by Chioma Gabriel, Taye Obateru, Luka Biniyat, John Bulus, John Bosco Agbakwuru, Ayo Onikoyi

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By Felix Ayanruoh

The Nigerian Electricity Power Regulatory Commission(NERC) proposal to increase electricity tariffs from June 1, 2012 has generated hostile reception from stakeholders and consumer advocacy groups. For some, it is a move to further impoverish the indigent in our society. With the combined effect of the fuel subsidy probe, oil subsidy removal and continued power shortages, Nigerians are right to once again be anxious about electricity tariff increase.

NERC has argued that about fifty Private Independent Power Projects have been licensed to produce about 20,000 megawatts of power in the near future and that – if these plants are not cost-effective – the ultimate investors will not invest as expected.

Inasmuch as Nigerians have the right to ask the hard questions, we must not remain oblivious to the underlying reasons behind the increases. The debate and discussions on this issue should be devoid of emotions and legalese.Presently, electricity is sold to consumers below the short-run and long-run marginal cost of production; and even the most rudimentary understanding of basic economics and common sense dictates that this is not a sustainable business model.Quite simply, the reform process will be a failure if potential investors cannot get fair return of their investment, as no investor will be willing to invest in the sector.
 
In addition to its economic impact, under-pricing electricity precipitates the wasteful usage of electricity and critically impairs the operating revenues of utilities companies, forcing them to reduce efficiencies and capital investment, forego essential maintenance and to seek government subsidies. The unwillingness of governments to raise tariffs in line with costs due to the political pressure has lead to power reform failures in many economies of the world. It should be noted however, that recent tariff increases in most developing countries have been granted on a haphazard basis to overcome immediate difficulties, rather than to ensure their long-term financial equilibrium. It is my belief that the present increase is intended to ensure long-term financial balance.
 
Government is faced with the dichotomous dilemma of formulating a tariff structure to incentivize power generation and distribution, on the one hand; and social engineering of the market through subsidies for the benefit of the economically disadvantaged, on the other.

The crucial question that stakeholders and consumer advocates should be asking therefore is who exactly is a “low-income” consumer? This is a difficult question, but experiential answers may be found in the Brazilian model which offers important lessons on the impact of energy reform on the electricity consumption levels of the poor urban and rural households.
 
Retaining a degree of subsidy to improve access to electricity service for the poor is justified, in part because of the lack of social welfare infrastructure for distributing income support to the poor. The issue therefore is electricity subsidies or cross subsidies and not tariff increase per se. A cost-effective tariff system is critical to the success of power sector reform; as such, NERC’s proposed tariff increase deserves a chance to succeed.
 
 
Felix Ayanruoh is a US energy attorney licensed in the state of New York State and District of Columbia.

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By Prince Charles Dickson

 

Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes. Peter Drucker

 

It’s almost stale that a Nigerian died after the Champions league final match in which Chelsea downed FC Bayern in Munich, or that in the course of the entire Championship about 9 deaths were recorded, Nigerians who otherwise have never been to the airport, never graced any of these stadiums and were not known by these clubs.

 
However that is the power of football or soccer in Nigeria. Fans get hypertensive, shout themselves hoarse, and beat their wives and kids. Not just because of soccer but a model of organization put in place by a leadership that knows what it wants.

This year’s Champions League tournament was marked by two significant points. One, Chelsea defeating Barcelona, and two, eventually going ahead to win it. Many fans would argue the defeat by Chelsea had a bearing on a certain Pep Guardiola making his mind up to call it time at Barcelona FC.

So what about the former Barcelona FC gaffe that concerns us as Nigerians or Edwin Clark, I will tell us in these few lines .

For Pep and Barcelona, an era is over and it is time for a new one to begin. The praise heaped upon Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola has often been so effusive that in September 2010, perhaps in an attempt to defuse the adulation, he joked: “Maybe it’s true. Maybe when I piss, I do piss perfume.”It was a Catalan take on the old Chuck Norris line: When Chuck Norris does a pushup; he’s actually just pushing down earth.

In some ways, that’s what Guardiola did at Barcelona after taking over in 2008. It’s not just the fact that he won 14 trophies in four seasons—among them three Spanish titles, two Spanish Cups, two Champions League crowns and two World Club Cups, in what was arguably the most dominant quadrennium of any manager in the history of soccer.

What really made Guardiola stand out was the successful implementation of a playing philosophy that bordered on utopia. It combined seemingly antithetical qualities: skill and creativity on the one hand, tactical order on the other.

Yet, Guardiola with the season having ended in Spain and crowning it with the Spanish Cup has walked away. “There is only one reason: time,” he said. “Four years are an eternity. I’m drained. I don’t like to say it, but I no longer have the energy to guide this team. I need to get away because, as I often tell my players, life isn’t just soccer and BlackBerries.”
 

People who knew him as a player (including his team mates) would attest to the fact that Pep Guardiola’s best attributes was his ability to use his intelligence and then having the vision to execute what he imagined. It is that football intelligence; however, that makes him a great coach.
 

Putting the above in perspective, Nigerian leaders and occupants of Aso Rock have inspired nothing, in the last twenty years one can hardly point to a leader within the political terrain that has provided leadership, direction or focus. It is almost a fiat to conclude that even in the last four years; there is no Nigerian leader that can be attributed with even a ‘near success’ status.

 
No one that can be regarded as great, lots of flashes, no substance…While Pep has left with the ovation at its loudest. The likes of Edwin Clark are talking up Jonathan’s right to 2015, after stuttering for a year. The North is strategizing to get the power back…the South East is huffing and puffing.

In what I see as old age at display, he propounded the clarkism theory…  “President Goodluck Jonathan will contest the 2015 presidential election as was the case with former presidents that ran for second term in office” he said. In other words, if Shagari, Obasanjo, and others continued ‘ruling’ despite failing, Jonathan has failed and therefore should be given a second chance to completely fail or miraculously succeed–That is what 2015 is all about.

For the occupants of Aso Rock, no one seems to have the recipe for success, Nigerians on the other hand are unable to express rage at the insensitive policies and constant somersaults by the talkshops at the helm of affairs…and we cope with leadership and managers that have failed at every attempt at managing both man and resources.

For Pep, his biggest achievement has to be that “tiny fellow”–to quote Rio Ferdinand–from Rosario, Argentina, Lionel Messi. Guardiola is more than just a manager. He is more than the trophies and the tactical knowledge. It is the principles that really stick out, the difference between a good coach and a great coach.

What is Jonathan made of, other than possessing no shoes, in one year what has he really done, for the Clarks and governors both North and East, what is all these noise of 2015…When more Nigerians are dropping dead as of today.

Beyond Jonathan, his ilk in the ruling party, and the limited options that the opposition provides, what have they brought to the ordinary Nigerians, what drive do they come with? Who is the Guardiola amongst the current crop, who knows when to quit. Each one comes with plenty of promise but offers very little and still clings on to the table edge in Aso Rock.

Do we have today, leaders with any testimony of some sort other than power mongers, any pinch of brilliance in decisions taken so far or rather a crop of leaders still experimenting with all sorts of governance chemicals yet unable to get it right? Past occupants of Aso Rock have not done any better, no trophy, it has been a blind groove, no Messi, Xavi or Iniesta…

It’s not just about 22 men chasing a round leather object but the impact one man has had on that system, and how it affects millions. Sadly a man that has achieved so much says he lacks the energy to push on, and here in contrast a leadership with so little to show is thinking ahead of more years in power. As we toast to Pep Guardiola, we watch, wait, pray and hope that as spectators, the occupant of Aso Rock with his team may give us something to cheer–Time will tell.