Saturday, 20 April 2019

AMBODE VS TINUBU - Our Faults

It is a matter of public record that we Lagosians did not choose Babatunde Raji Fashola to run as governor of Lagos State. Granted that he exceeded our limited expectations. Then again, we did not choose Akinwunmi Ambode. Former governor Bola Tinubu did. Once elected, Ambode became our Governor not Tinubu's governor. It is most strange that grown men within and outside the media would choose to belittle Governor Ambode because of the perceived (or even proven) animus between him and his estranged sponsor. The insult and the joke is on us all. 
Those who choose to lionize Tinubu because of his detestable excesses cannot claim to be democrats. I bundle them up with the likes of Dr Ibrahim Gambari who shamelessly expresses his preference for strong men as opposed to Strong Institutions. # Why would adult men, old and articulate enough to be former heads of state, choose to lend their intellect to build up a personality and style only comparable to Idi Amin, Jean Bedel Bokassa and our own Sani Abacha? It is obvious that those who should have aided Lagosians and Nigerians in cutting Tinubu to size have rather taken the easy path of joining the winning formula. That is even if it entails a pact with the devil.
 Tinubu cannot by any stretch be bigger and more powerful than the rest of us, not with all the money in the coffers of Alpha Consultants. With these goings-on, my sympathy goes out to Gov Ambode, who is being messed up on our behalf. Even if his nomination among the APC party faithful was rigged, WE THE PEOPLE of Lagos State voted for him. We could have voted for the PDP candidate, unless Tinubu and Co are trying to prove that we did not and that they rigged him in. I do not believe that. Gov Ambode deserves to be respected and allowed ample opportunity to try his hand on a second term as Lagos Governor. If he loses a fair primary process, it would be a different matter. However there is this current song and dance that once Tinubu is upset with him, then his political trajectory must be treated as dead. This is obscene. # I am ashamed of this trend whereby intellectuals cave in to the machinations of the Tinubu political organization. 
Our newspapers and columnists are complicit. If we do not take back possession of our polity, perhaps twenty years from now we may still be scratching our heads wondering what happened. Whereas this federation remains as dysfunctional as ever, we cannot achieve any growth in progressive governance if Lagos is reduced to a mafia estate. God forbid that while we are at it, Tinubu were to die today, the same people who had never learnt true democratic principles, who went along with the current situation, would suddenly recover their mojo and behave like people let out of a dungeon. The system would probably implode with devastating consequences. Lagos is too "big" and important to be governed with FEAR of one man as the overriding organizing principle. If we continue along this path, why would we expect anything good out of Borno, Yobe, Zamfara or Osun for that matter? . There is a huge debt that Lagos and Lagosians owe the rest of Nigeria especially since we have not yet parted ways. # The select few who populate the editorial boards of our news media should rise to the occasion and do the needful. The sucking up to Tinubu just has to stop. # There is an unstated warning in all this. The PDP and other local opposition parties must be watching with keen interest.

THIS IS NOT FUNNY AT ALL # DANGOTE: THE TRAVAILS OF THE ONLY RICH MAN IN A VILLAGE -

Ik Muo, PhD; Department of Business Administration, OOU, Ago Iwoye
I always take delight in the words of our elders which convey pure wisdom and address issues that were yet to occur when they were coined. Our people say that the only rich man in any community is in trouble and indeed, VERY POOR. I was not there when our people manufactured this adage but having become an elder myself, I have imagined what would have led to this weighty proverb. The lone rich man is in trouble because he is so busy attending to numerous villagers that he is distracted from his business. The goodies he doles to his kinsmen also eat deep into his surpluses and because of these two consequences, his business suffers. He also attracts enmity, jealousy and conspiracy because he is unable to satisfy everybody or satisfy them as they would want while some would wonder: why not me. On the other hand, the community also suffers because everybody stops making efforts, while the community fails to develop its collective capabilities and resources because it can always rely on the bigman . More so, because the people believe that his resources are limitless, their expectations keep on leapfrogging and at a certain stage they even wonder why the bigman would not adopt a red-cross model and just help everybody without waiting to be begged. The community’s problems become worse if the bigman throws his weight about, develops an above the law mentality or suffers from Arik syndrome( Arik started acting with impunity because it held the aviation industry by the throat; though, not anymore!)
I don’t know how to say it but most often, my business involves minding other peoples’ businesses. I have scanned the media, in the recent past and I have come to the unequivocal conclusion that the above scenario reflects the fate of Alhaji Aliko Dangote-AAD;( the man, his foundation and his awesome, diverse business interests), who is currently Africa’s biggest big man and the second most influential black man in the world. If not because of my self-effacement tendencies, I would have challenged both rankings because the rankers never assessed my net-worth nor my powerful-ness which I believe will compete favourably with AAD. But since he is my friend, I will let him be because I don’t want to lose friends over such minor issues.
Back to the issue at stake, this is the current reality in Nigeria. The solution of every economic and even social issue of the day in Nigeria( community) depends on or awaits the attention of AAD( the only rich man). These include perennial petroleum scarcity and power insufficiency, food insecurity, frightening level of unemployment, conservation of foreign exchange and the weight of the Naira, low industrialization index, horrible road network, poor quality of education and the oil-dependent nature of the economy. So pervasive is his involvement in these issues that I wonder if Nigeria needs an economic management team.
AADs $4.5bn agricultural project spread over 5 states, the $800m dairy farm of 50000 cows and 500m litres of milk by 2019, the $20m tomato factory in Kano aimed at checkmating the Chinese and the agreement with OCP Group of Morocco on fertiliser production would create more than 250000 jobs, diversify the economy, alleviate poverty and reduce the nation’s import bill, make Nigeria the largest rice exporter in the world by 2021 enhance food security, address rural urban drift and crash the price of fertilizer sold to farmers.
AAD’s refinery and petrochemical complex ( largest in Africa) with 650,000 BPD capacity, will end fuel scarcity, create 235000 and yield $500m in taxes within 3 years. The Peugeot factory acquired in conjunction with some states and the truck assembly plant in association with Sino Truck, both for domestic use and export will also diversity the economy, create jobs and conserve forex. Nigeria has already attained self-sufficiency in cement production courtesy same Dangote,, who is also involved in the construction of Apapa Ports access roads and the 45kms Obajana-Kaba road, using his concrete model, which Fashola described as the way we should continue to build, going forward, in exchange for some tax remissions, which he also said is like credit advance to government. AAD Sugar Refinery, will generate 100000 jobs and ensure sugar self-sufficiency while he has just taken over the Kastina Songhai project abandoned 6 years ago. He has commitedN200bn for a unique university in Abuja, has donated a business school to the university in Kano and is funding an Education for Employment center in Abia state , demonstrating commitment to human capital development. He has commenced a $150m solar power project in Kano and built a N2bn integrated Dangote village for IDPs in Maiduguri. According to NEITI report, AAD contributed 56%(N16bn) of FGN tax from solid minerals for in 2013 and paid N5bn premium to insurers in 2016. In addition to operationally solving all the prroblems of Nigeria, he is also generating ideas as a member of the Nigerian Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council
I should not have bothered recounting all this because AAD has severally said so himself but I do not want to be accused of plagiarism. Check out his speeches at the Guardian 2015 Man of the Year award, Nigerian Economic Summit, Kastina Economic & Investment Summit, Nigerian-Kenya business summit, when the VP visited his refinery and at the corporate Council for Africa event. In all these, he declared his commitment to turning around and diversifying the economy, working hard to take the economy to the next level, building a refinery that is higher than the combined capacity of all refineries, a fertilizer capacity that is ten times more than what is available in Nigeria today, generate 12000MW, more than thrice what Nigeria currently generates and export refined oil rather than importing and creating Jobs elsewhere, list his refinery et al on the NSE and help NSE to outgrow Johannesburg Stock Exchange and how the rate of youth unemployment in Nigeria gives him sleepless Nights( a statement even our PMB has not made), assuring that Nigeria( and Africa) would soon become the world’s food basket. AAD has said and continues to say the right and heart-warming things. Unfortunately however, these are the kinds of statements that should emanate from Kemi Adeosun, Godwin Emefiele, Udo Udoma whoever is the chairman of the EMT, and in sane climes, from the president himself.
So, like the only rich man in the village, AAD has taken on all the responsibilities. Already other villagers are grumbling: Ogun State governor complains that Dangote trucks destroy the roads; Ndigbo say the only Dangote investments in ala-Igbo are deaths and traffic jam by his reckless drivers and his trucks; the FCT in 2016 rejected his Salah gifts; some people complain that he cornered an unfair share of our forex, enjoy great tax waivers, is becoming monopolistic and is muscling out other players, citing his spat with Otedola, Ibeto and BUA. Our only luck so far is that Dangote does not overtly throw his weight about. If he were to behave as some of his drivers….
The Federal Government, on the other hand is lying low and idling around as AAD undertakes its numerous responsibilities, being his greatest cheerleader and praying that AAD lives long to solve all our socio-economic problems( as PMB did on his 60th BD). Shamefully , rather than do SOMETHING about our pitiable petroleum situations, Ibe kachikwu publicly begged AAD to finish his refinery ahead of schedule because the Government promise to end fuel importation in2019 was based on the refinery! Just imagine that: The Government makes a promise to Nigerians and depends on AAD to fulfill the promise! Even Oxfam recently urged AAD and 4 others to use their wealth to end poverty in Nigeria.
The government, representing the Nigerian village, enjoys the positive externalities from the bigman, without thinking what if! What if AAD wobbles, or goes to bed and does not wake up early enough? What if a strategic shift occurs in the organization or if future Dangotarians are not as cool-headed and Nigeria-centric as AAD? The other day, AAD closed his $20m tomato factory and his Tanzanian $500m Cement factory, which cost $4m to power monthly. The health of the Nigerian stock market depends on whether the prices of AAD stocks are rising or falling. What has the Government done to create other AADs? Where are the other bigmen in Nigeria, including those whose kids party across the globe on a regular basis? Why can’t they stand up and be counted? What is the EMT doing if AAD addresses the challenges of unemployment, diversification, food security, forex conservation, power generation and road construction? Should we not outsource economic governance to him while the presidency manages politrics, revenue sharing and makes excuses for the foreign herdsmen. Or more charitably, why not send Osinbajo and the EMT on sabbatical to AAD. Furthermore, given the strategic importance of AAD to the fate and fortunes of Nigeria, shouldn’t the government purchase a key-man insurance cover on the man?
Meanwhile, I urgently need a Dangote sticker for my rickety car. Travelling from Lagos to the East has suddenly become herculean and I strongly believe that a Dangote sticker will clear the way for the son of man. As I was concluding this piece, I received the news that a townsman, Law Onyemelukwe of Lafenax Ltd was named the overall best customer of Dangote cement for 2017! So, I am vicariously among those enjoying the AAD Effect, at least I can brag: my townsman is AAD’s best customer! That may even get me through the police, customs, FRSC, Civil Defense and other unclassified checkpoints when next I travel along Lagos-Onitsha route. But I will also petition the Federal Character Commission to investigate the 2017 AAD awards: the names of the top prize winners ( Onyemelukwe, Okika and Ezenyili) did not reflect federal character!

NIGERIANS UNITED BY FEAR: BECAUSE I AM INVOLVED. WHAT ABOUT YOU?

I do try to follow DANA MILBANK who writes in The Washington Post for an American audience. In the following article to mark the last 4th of July holiday, he summarizes the one thing that unites Americans across both the clear and nebulous ideological divides - FEAR! If we discount the half a million or so Nigerian citizens directly or remotely involved in the political processes, it would seem as if the vast majority are consumed by one palpable fear or the other. So as Milbank checks off the list for his fellow countrymen, we Nigerians would do well to recognize our own fears, come to terms with them, conquer them, failing which the amoral political class will continue to mislead the teeming masses hungry for proper leadership. Let's try our hands on this.
1) Fear of Impoverishment. It is amazing that even the rich have this fear, especially those who have no visible means of livelihood. Strangely enough some at the bottom rung of the economic ladder do not have this fear. They know for a fact that once they are healthy, they can always figure out a way to fit into whatever inequitable system that they meet on the ground. Check out Okrika Waterside, Oshodi Bus Stop, Onitsha Bridgehead, Daleko, ASPANDA, Molete, and all the various Kasuwa, Ogbete tinker workshops, Ikeja and environs. 
 2) Fear of Unmanageable Illhealth. As our people, who typically can't fly off to Mount Sinai Hospital or to London (like President Buhari), or to India, struggle to take care of their own welfare, there is this nagging fear that this will all come to nought with sickness. We all know about the failure to put in place a reliable and all encompassing National Health Scheme. A devastating or long-lasting illness is all that is needed to render any hardworking individual bankrupt. Meanwhile the sorry membership of the National Assembly is busy padding their pockets, with Sen Gemade and others explaining that without Constituency Projects, many communities will never experience the impact of governance. In that case, I wonder why we don't just collapse the budgetary process such that we now have one long list of constituency projects recently proven to be the magic wand. 
3) Fear of your neighbour. Nigerians generally live in peace with their hosts. However the fear is always there, and has been proven again and again, that the political class can set the hosts against settlers in their midst. Everyone has the capacity to engage in conspiracy. However, I fail to imagine say the much derided masses of the north sitting down to actually plan anything negative against their southern neighbours. They would normally be too busy coping with their poverty or working really hard (contrary to the standard stereotype, many, many do!) to support themselves and their families. Anyone in doubt should visit the farms and farming communities. 
4) Fear of the Future. This is a generic fear that assails all and sundry. Most deal with it with some planning and hard work while trusting in Providence. The theiving elements of the top fraction have a different kind of this fear. They fear that the system will experience CHANGE. Even if not of the violent kind, this will at best staunch the flow of ill-gotten wealth or at worse subject them a retribution of sorts. Yes, they are afraid that the party could be over! 
5) Fear of Political Domination Up north, the vast majority have for decades been basking under the comforting glow of the notion that, "We are northerners! We are Muslims! We won! We are on the winning side!" After that then what?? Many cannot understand how long it took General Theophilus Y Danjuma to put into words what he must have been feeling inside him long before the Zamani Lekwot debacle in Southern Kaduna. It took decades. A supressed ethnic minority group populated with upwardly mobile individuals cannot forever rest on the laurels of a civil war won half a century ago in circumstances that everyone is afraid or ashamed to explain to its youth. Hear Rt Rev Matthew Hassan Kukah, the Kaduna State born Catholic Bishop of Sokoto try his hands on this. General Gowon must be living in torture right now. Apart from his recommended prayers, we need good works. This should include telling the truth, no matter how it hurts. # One wonders if in the north, among the minorities, whether the presence of Southerners, especially Ndigbo, is regarded as a good thing. An asset? As this depletes further, it is only a few indigenous Christian clergy who have come out boldly to say, "Please do not abandon us." That cry has been heart-rending for many southerners, who through thick and thin had stayed put up north. # Down south, in the Niger Delta area, the ambivalence has been remarkable. They FEAR and COVET northern domination in the same breath. Why?. Because they fear (perhaps in small letters? Who knows?) their immediate next door neighbours with whom they have cohabited for centuries without external influence. They resent overbearing northern influence in their politics and economy and strangely enough send out subtle signals that they need say Igbo support to overcome them. Meanwhile the sign over the door says, "Keep off! Don't interfer!" Of course the north loves it and stokes the envy, disinformation and ambivalence. Postponing the day of reckoning. 
 6) Every Nigerian is afraid, and perhaps justifiably so, that his freedom of religious worship is being or will soon be extinguished. The recent statement published by the US State Department does not tell us anything new. Meanwhile the Christians and southerners in the Buhari administration are carrying on as if nothing is amiss. It is also possible that some group in the north is not only propping up the hoi-poloi with the story line that if Sharia and Islamic Law is not extended to the rest of Nigeria, by hook or by crook, then there could be a reversal whereby the practice of Islam would be constrained even on their home front. This is my sheer conjecture. In Nigeria, nothing is beyond these people. 
7) Fear of #Restructuring. No matter how much revenue/resources are expropriated from the Niger Delta for distribution up north, the visible impact on the lives of the generality of the citizens there is minimal at best. For example to get farm inputs at near market prices, with little or no cost to government is such a big deal, that these people hardly ask for anything else. Those that have thankfully taken on the technical lines dominated by southerners will only be grateful for steady electrical supply on which nobody can count along the length and breadth of Nigeria. Pray, in the last 36months, what has been the trend line for the development indices of Buhari's own Katsina State? What are the absolute figures. Meanwhile the story is told, spread as FEAR, that if we do #Restructure via devolution of power, #ResourceControl and proper #FiscalFederalism, that the poor masses, who have been largely ignored, will suffer! What a scam?We know for a fact that it is only the freeloaders who skim the cream off the top, that will suffer. Hence they strain to rope in the masses, who have valiantly taken care of themselves. This they do by heightening their fears, real or imagined. 
8) Fear for their Lives. Most Nigerians, probably all, are afraid that they could easily lose their lives right in their own homes. Then again they are afraid that when they go out they would not make it home again alive, worse when they have to travel long distance. They fear armed robbers, Boko-Haram, cattle herdsmen, (Fulani or not), the Nigeria Police, SARS, The Army of occupation, etc. It's FEAR all over the land. The usual technical term is FEAR of INSECURITY. One of the strangest developments is that until quite recently, the chairman of the Northern Elders Forum, Paul Unongo, has cried out that it is people from Amassoma Brass, Enugu and Abeokuta who are formenting the killings in Zamfara State, etc. Strange, isn't it? Perhaps we have come to the juncture where all honest individuals will unite over those FEARS that we hold dear (see above) and announce to Buhari that he has failed us. This has nothing to do with his handlers wanting to try their hands on the 2019 presidential election. They are on their own

RE: HADI SIRIKA AND THE RETURN OF NIGERIA AIRWAYS - Reuben Abati | Sahara Reporters

- NAME, LOGO, COLOUR SCHEME of the new Nigerian Airline revealed?
Very strangely writer Reuben Abati seems to have been completely sold on the rationality behind a new Nigerian government floated airlines just over a decade after two such were wound up. He has made no effort to play the Devil's Advocate, very necessary in these matters. We already know how brilliant Sirika's boss is, don't we?
For goodness sake what were Air Nigeria (a.k.a. Virgin Nigeria) and Arik Airlines if not national carriers? Nobody wants to remember that inconvenient fact of our recent aviation history. Job for the favourite boys in Our Party, Our Tribe and Our Family Members in this era of untramelled nepotism. It's Niger Delta Money, OPM after all. Bring it on. Let's blow it. If there was ever a meticulously planned criminal-enterprise-in-government, it this devilish plan to set up another government funded airline. When this stupid idea was floated earlier with all the emotions surrounding the Rio Olympics, I had named some four countries whose athletic teams arrived Rio de Janeiro via an airline that could not be termed National. The US was one of them. Can you beat that? .
Nigeria is the only country where without a final feasibility study in place, siting decisions etc, and political approval by the Legislature, A BOARD CHAIRMAN AND A PUTATIVE CEO ARE ANNOUNCED! Watch out for this. The government has enough work on its hands managing its unintentional stakes in Arik and Aero. That's enough for its plate.
Note that Reuben Abati could not resist highlighing the following ills of Nigerian aviation:
"The agony of the Nigerian air traveller is not something to be imagined: we all face a daily grind of disappointment from airlines that cancel flights at will and offer no explanation. When you complain, the airlines simply tell you that things are very hard. So, if things are hard, are they supposed to be so shabby? The other month, the door of an aircraft on the domestic route flew off as the plane landed."
I ask, So?
These are the very ills routinely associated with the former Nigerian Airways and others, Triax, IRS, Chanchangi, Oriental, Sosoliso, Kabo, Okada, Etc, etc. The problems he listed fall under the mandate of the very same Regulatory Agencies who allowed the old and will also allow the new "Nigeria Airways" management to get away with murder. New airline? Business as usual!
It would be appropriate to ask at this stage, apart from the financial free-for-all to be engendered by this stunt, whose big ego is being massaged by this hare-brained scheme.
Aircraft manufactures will gladly sell us new modern aircraft so long as we pay hard cash, OPM, and hope that we can fly them safely. On the business side, we are on our own. It is the very same people who cannot efficiently and profitably manage our petroleum refineries who will sit on the Board and run the Management of the newly funded "Nigeria Airways." Same people, same results. In case you've not noticed, these are NOT from Ethiopia.

RE: HAFSAT WELCOMES JUNE 12 AS DEMOCRACY DAY

In her reaction to Buhari’s recent announcement, Hafsat Abiola stated that May 29 was pulled out of thin air. Yes, it certainly meant nothing to the family of Chief MKO Abiola and the pro-democracy movement spawned by the unjust denial of his presidential mandate and his untimely unexplained demise. Meanwhile it meant something to the remnants of the Northern military political establishment who did a number of things in their narrow interest on that date. Murder, arson, mayhem and finally the creation of states to destabilize the existing geopolitical arrangement and undermine the entitled response from Ndigbo to the wanton massacre of its people culminating in their being pushed out of the Nigerian Federation.
It is instructive that Hafsat did not once mention the name of Gen Olusegun Obasanjo, who made it clear that he did not believe that any Yoruba man, other than himself, was worthy of any honour. Hence he adamantly refused to do what a failed and flailing President Buhari, struggling to recover some modicum of relevance, has just done. What a wasted opportunity. It is perhaps part of Divine Justice that OBJ is alive today to witness this occasion, much as we THE PEOPLE, receive such news with measured ambivalence. The message is good. However the Messenger is seriously flawed. The word Populism can hardly be shoehorned into the same sentence with Buhari. It's that hard.
One other thing though. The establishment and/or shifting of a national holiday of such monumental significance is beyond the scope of an EXECUTIVE ORDER. Hence I doubt that, despite the current euphoria, this one can stand. There should have been open-ended public debate about the significance of the June 12 OR New Democracy Day holiday. This should be used as a Teaching Opportunity for all, those in NADECO and opponents of Abiola alike. June 12 was never a Yoruba thing, despite all the efforts to cast it in that mould. Hearts and minds need to be changed such that ultimately a proclamation in both houses of the National Assembly will indicate to ALL NIGERIANS that here at last is something about which WE ALL AGREE. This will overwhelm the deep-seated realization that the honoring of Chief MKO Abiola goes against every bone in Buhari’s body, the very personal mindset and antipathy towards any leadership prospect not of Northern, Muslim and Fulani origin. But then it would be much more acceptable and lavishly celebrated, when we acknowledge the mindset of the incumbent overcome to get to this day. It's going to be difficult. However, the Buhari administration must strive to distance this development from the campaigns for the 2019 Elections. Otherwise it may backfire.

IS WORK PUNISHMENT FOR THE FALL OF ADAM?

[Being an address delivered to the Joint Meeting of the Catholic Men Organization of St Cyril's Parish, Okota, Lagos to mark Workers' Day.]
We dedicate this engagement in honour of St Joseph The Worker, the husband of Mary and the foster father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus, The Christ.
Joseph worked as hard as was required in his day to take care of his family. There has been no narrative in the Bible or in Church Tradition that our heavenly Father sent his angels to deliver a hamper or two chock full of food for the Holy Family. So much for any man, any person expecting an easy ride through life, after faithfully reciting the Pater Noster.
In addition, Joseph passed on his trade as a Carpenter to his divine son Jesus, who kept faithfully at it until he began his public ministry.
IN GENESIS, we encounter the primordial origins of work. Most Christians and perhaps some biblical scholars will trace the origin to the "expulsion" of our first parents Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden after the fall.
THE FALL
Genesis 3: 17 - 19
To Adam God said,
“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food from it
all the days of your life.
18It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 BY THE SWEAT OF YOUR BROW
YOU WILL EAT YOUR FOOD
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”
The tone of this part of the biblical narrative indicates a stern judgement from the Throne of God. This may explain the notion of many that work is all drudgery. We will easily recall some of the lamentations of Job:
Job 7: 4 "When will the morning come, . etc"
The question then arises. From whence came the socalled Western Christian/Protestant Work Ethic? With the dour reading of Work as part of Man's punishment on losing Divine Favour due to disobedience in the Garden of Eden, what then is the origin of the DIGNITY OF LABOUR? How did we evolve to now have such a much more sublime view of Man's really brief journey on earth. I suspect that this comes from an earlier passage in Genesis.
Gen 2: 15 "The LORD took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden TO WORK ON IT and take care of it."
Other translations have used the following renditions:
- to tend it and watch over it.
- to work it and keep it.
- to cultivate it and keep it.
- to dress it and to keep it.
- to work it and watch over it.
This passage where the concept of work is introduced preceeds the Fall of Adam. It may then seem that God always intended for Man to work. However I wouldn't know if these philosophers who expounded on the so called Dignity of Labour arrived at their conclusion via my route.
EVOLUTION OF WORK OVER THE MILLENIA
We depend on several sources for history in this regard. Apart from biblical narratives, which obviously has immense relevance for those of us of the Christian persuasion, we have the different myths and lores originating from various societies and cultures across the globe. Then we have geological and archeological determinations coupled with modern scientific analysis. To these you add oral and written/documented records. Some of these correlate rather accurately, while others don't. These studies/investigations continue unabated.
From the above, one thing that is certain is that Man has always worked. He was at various times a free ranging soul, hunting and gathering fearing only the elements, wild animals that may also be interested in hunting him and his family for food. It must definitely have been a harrowing experience. Echoes of Franz Fanon's "nasty brutal and short," coined to represent a much more recent era.
As Man settled into communities, strong men arose, perhaps naturally, in the Dark Ages, and pressed the average man into serfdom. Man was free alright, living in his own hovel, but very little of the fruits of his backbreaking labour, including his wife, was truly his own. In this feudal arrangement, the Overlord had power over everything including life and death. He could, with the snap of a finger, press the serfs into battle against his own enemies, against whom the serfs held no grudge.
We are all familiar with the records of the Slave Trade, especially here in Africa with ultimate destination being initially the Arab World but later the new continent of the Americas and the Caribbean. Hard unpaid work was the norm. This and other aspects put a knife to the very sinews that held African society together. This damage persists to this very day.
This obnoxious practice has been replicated in several societies around the world over the millenia, whether among the Euro-Asian communities in the era of Ghenhis Khan and Atilla the Hun, the primordial occupiers of the British Isles who built Stonehenge, the Chinese and the Japanese. Modern society has definitely put most of these practices where they truly belong, in the past.
People chafed under the most burdensome yokes but, with various degrees of constantly increasing pressure and success, stirred to rid themselves of them. It has never been the intention of Man to return to the Adamic condition existing before The Fall. Man only wanted to work for his own benefit and, as society evolved, also for the benefit of society at large. Many of you may have watched the movie BRAVEHEART. The mythical character William Wallace, is supposedly an amalgam of various real historical Scottish nationalists, who over time risked all to rid themselves of their English overlords. Bravehearts can be found in all societies up to and including the modern era. They just want to be left alone to work for themselves and their loved ones.
We must note that even in the Nigeria of today, the vast majority of our people want the opportunity and the environment to work. Chinua Achebe's character Unoka in his novel Things Fall Apart, is definitely an aberration. We embrace work, hard work so much that I hereby propose that Fathers' Day and Mothers' Day too should be celebrated in appreciation every week!
THE MODERN ERA: WORKERS' RIGHTS & LABOUR UNIONISM
With the benefit of hindsight, it would now seem inevitable that evolution towards a world increasingly governed by knowledge, science and scientific methods, with Literature and the arts serving as a backdrop, would gravitate towards more centralized production systems. Welcome to the Industrial Age! Most farmers and craftsmen would now leave their homes, farms and sheds to go work for somebody else or even an impersonal corporate entity. It didn't take long for the underpaid workers, toiling for long hours in often unsafe environments, to deduce that here indeed is the new serfdom! . Labour agitation was born, organized or not, the forebears two centuries ago of the modern Labour Movement. These movements have been severely impacted to a large extent by the many theories of Political Economy developed by many including Adam Smith, Fred Engel, Karl Marx. These define the many ISMs, Feudalism, Capitalism, Socialism and Communism. Fascism fits somewhere in this continuum.
On the Workers/Employment front of the struggle, the equilibrium has been fluid, shifting slowly but inexorably towards increased Labour involvement in decision making. The more openness required in corporate governance has made it increasingly difficult to hide money under the table whilst starving the Workers. In Trump’s America, the chosen route of the owners of Capital is now sheer bravado. As far back as forty years ago, Labour leaders or their chosen representatives have been sitting on the Boards of major US and European companies and routinely pore over the financial records. This makes for more transparency in Wages and other negotiations. The value ascribed to Man's work is gradually if reluctantly being recognized. However we should make no mistake about this. Nigeria is nowhere reflected in this trajectory. The policies of our various administrations over the years have essentially remained divide and rule. All effort is geared towards destabilizing the Labour unions while demanding or expecting little or no productivity from the workers. All this is illustrative of the Resource Curse plaguing Nigeria, since Nigerian workers in the public sector, are remunerated by income that they do NOT generate - Oil Money!
MAY 1, MAY DAY: CELEBRATION OF INTERNATIONAL WORKERS' DAY
The world cannot but have noticed the huge May Day Parades held routinely in several Socialist and Communist countries over the past seven decades. At these events the ruling party brass seeks to project an air of success in achieving an utopian classless society where everyone is a contented worker, with the party leadership mere co-travellers. They know that this is a farce just like we do. In addition, they know that we know. Listening to the earlier manifestation of Communist mythology, one would be hard pressed to believe that the Original May 1 Workers' Protest actually took place in, of all places, Chicago, Illinois in the USA. These were events and planned worker actions in the days before, on and after the Haymarket Square disruption by the police of a peaceful gathering by striking workers on May 1, 1886. The shooting and massacre that ensued attracted global outrage and in the ensuing struggle between the two major sides of the ideological divide, Europe, the Communist and Socialist world, including Russia and China, inherited the May Day Commemoration, now generally called the INTERNATIONAL WORKERS DAY. The various US administrations, Democrat and Republican alike, have chosen to downplay if not disparage its significance. So here we are celebrating another Workers' Day. Whichever way we look at these developments leading up till today, we must be grateful that God has granted us the intellect and the brawn necessary for subduing the earth as the Lord has commanded. Definitely WORK is good. That is my take

AN INVADER STRIKES PEACE DEAL WITH HIS VICTIMS. . WHAT KIND OF PEACE IS THAT?

A peace deal, or truce implies that a major disagreement, with a potential for degenerating into a breakdown of law and order is on. We know for a fact that peace has long fled these shores, and we are not talking about the Boko-Haram infestation. For a government that refuses to intervene on behalf of the abused, traumatized and displaced farmers, to now choose to broker peace is a clear indication that it is on the side of the invading cattle herdsmen. The FG Police looks the other way regarding the invasion of farming communities, burning and pillaging and finally murder. By ignoring the epicentre of the armed herdsmen attack, while choosing to pretend to play the honest broker role in other parts of the South, the Buhari administration is striving diabolically to normalize criminal behaviour by its protected and chosen ones. It has already achieved the first part, when the press rolled over to NOW describe what is going on as the Farmer - Herdsmen clash. From day one, this has been a lie from the pit of hell. Whatever happened to the words invasion, pillage, arson, rape, murder, ethnic cleansing, genocide, etc that better describe what we are up against. In that much abused headline, note that the word Farmer comes first. What an affront? In addition the words "armed, AK47" never appear in the headlines. Can we also blame the Fulani press for this? No! It is the fault of the sheepish Southern and Lagos press bending over backwards to self-censor and appear politically correct while the nation burns. These are things for which we cannot blame President Buhari. # Meanwhile it is really amazing that membership and leadership of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders, who are technically on the Police Most Wanted List in Benue, Nasarrawa and Taraba States, should be holding peace meeting in Enugu and addressing the press. The same Inspector General of Police who is averse to obeying a direct order by the president, answering a summon by the Senate, will in all likelihood come running when the head of Miyetti Allah becons. That's the abysmally low point Nigeria has now sunk.
Killings: Miyetti Allah, farmers strike peace deal in Enugu - Daily Post Nigeria 

PAYMENT OF UNEARNED WAGES, PENSIONS AND GRATUITIES TO NIGERIAN LABOUR IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR

I had briefly addressed this issue in the press a couple of years ago as NEPA/PHCN was being wound up. To mark May Day, a writer has (once again) brought up the disconnect between Labour Productivity, Emoluments and Career Advancement in government Ministries, Departments and Agencies. He dwelt with the typical call by Labour, especially in the runup to the annual May Day Celebration for pay parity between workers and managers in Government Parastatals and their counterparts in the private sector. It is clear that everyone works lackadaisically in one Parastatal or Agency while shamelessly expecting production surpluses from other sources to support his/her profligate pay scale and lifestyle.
Just a week ago I rescued an article written in 2014 by a now retired Permanent Secretary, Dr Tunji Olaopa who, as his 5th Birthday gift, sought to answer for his distinguished audience the question of whether or not the NIGERIAN CIVIL SERVICE IS (indeed) IRREFORMABLE. Dr Olaopa is a man of many words, but simple as I am, I was still able to deduce the one truth, one takeaway, that the Nigerian Labour Movement does not want to hear. The Civil Service is bloated, a dumping ground for those who would not otherwise fit into any demanding work environment, is highly permissive, dwells on ethnicity and nepotism and can hardly stick to even the watery rules that time and again it develops, in the name of reforms. Dr Olaopa should know. He was a brilliant career civil servant. From my reading of him on other matters, (including, you better believe this, Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka and most shockingly my Prof Ayodele Awojobi), he has a firm grasp of facts and is not afraid to say his mind. I just wonder how he was able to navigate the treacherous waters of the Federal Civil Service till he retired a couple of years ago.
I now recall my analysis almost four years ago of how the Federal Government essentially sold all our Crown Jewels in order to pay unearned retirement to NEPA/PHCN staff who after four decades couldn't leave enough value in the company to settle even their own entitlements(?). No one till today has given a thought to the millions of poor shareholders, WE THE PEOPLE. It was like a case of selling valuable family land because an ofeke, a never-do-well, who could never hold down a job, wants to marry the most beautiful girl in the village. Crazy you would say. But that was exactly what we ended up doing.
Let me rehash the points I made then. A thousand workers with their complicit managers run (into the ground) an engineering operation with an asset base of say N100b. The annual turnover which for the sector, (I refer to the popular HBS Case Study - Ten Unidentified Industries), should be several multiples of the total assets, hovers (Nigerian style) around N60b. Meanwhile the wage bill is stuck at about N55b and together with inputs, maintenance and other expenses adds another N60b to the annual expenditure ie expenses. To save us from depression here, we shall not delve into the deliberate leakages, thievery and designed-in inability to keep Receivables and Bad Debts to a respectable minimum. This ensures that NEPA/PHCN could NEVER pay its bills for Natural Gas, Fuel Oil, Turbine components, lubricants, Transport & Logistics, etc, etc. Note that Cadbury, Guinness, Nestlé, Friesland-WAMCO, Dangote could never be run that way. They would fold up on, short order. . Forget capital expenditure for system expansion and upgrades. .
To send forth Ajaero and his friends, what did the government do? It raided the coffers of NNPC and collected such vast sums that weren't already stolen and PAID OFF NEPA/PHCN staff. Ask any Nnewi, Enugu-Agidi or Amichi business mogul if he had ever borrowed money from a competing neighbour or the Town Union in order to settle an errant and unproductive apprentice. Tufiakwa! That is never done. Please my people, find out. That was exactly what the government did and it was praised for it's financial wizardry. I recall that from the sidelines I had recommended that the shares of NEPA should be floated and each retired/sacked staff should be entitled to a pension and gratuity comprising a minimum of 60% NEPA shares. . How could we have been so daft?
I was not done. I had insinuated, (kind of prophesied), that at the rate we are going, the day that NNPC staff are to be settled, we may have to auction say ten major oil fields. Do not say that I didn’t warn us! That day (of reckoning) is coming. Where was I? Yes, we were discussing the ruinous impact of hare-brained labour/wage policies in Nigeria.

A NATION IN DIRE NEED OF A CENTRAL DATA BASE

Are we any closer to meeting this need?
A database, according to Wikipedia, is an organized collection of data. And a centralized database is a database located and maintained in one location, unlike a distributed database.
Since Nigeria’s independence in 1960, we have not been able to conduct a reliable and acceptable census and as a result of this, it has not been easy to have a central database that is accurate and comprehensive that can allow us as a nation to plan for the present and future.
In his book Building a Nation, Dennis C. Osadebay stressed that “There had always been doubts as to ascertain the population of the country. There had always been doubts as to the real population of Nigeria, even in the colonial days”.
To buttress what Osadebay pointed out in that book published in 1978, a certain chairman of Nigeria Population Census (NPC) once said, “No census has been credible in Nigeria since 1816. Even the one conducted in 2006 is not credible. I have the records and evidence produced by scholars and professors of repute. This is not my report. If the current laws are not amended, the planned 2016 census will not succeed.”
After making the above statement, the presidency through the office of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) issued a query to Festus Odimegwu, the said NPC chairman, and eventually booted him out. But beyond the query and he eventual sack of the NPC boss, one had expected the Federal Government to ask for the records that Odimegwu was referring to and work towards a solution so as to give Nigerians a credible census come 2016.
By merely looking at the year of Nigeria’s censuses so far (1952, 1963, 1991, 2006), one would easily decipher that there has not been a consistent frequency pattern or continuity in the way the country has conducted its censuses. Just calculate the gap between 1952 and 1963, 1963 and 1991, and between 1991 and 2006, and the picture becomes clearer. Internationally, a census is usually conducted within intervals of ten years.
However, beyond the population census issue, Nigeria needs a central database that will contain the necessary information about Nigerians and Nigeria, not multiple collections by many agencies for unknown or even untenable purposes.
Currently, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) is working at installing a comprehensive data for the country through its National Identification Number (NIN) project. The country has also witnessed data capturing by different agencies like Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) through the telecommunication companies, and so on. It also appears the NPC is preparing for the 2016 census just as the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) is also giving the impression of a government agency at work. Yet none of these agencies (in the same country) can refer to one another to get single accurate information.
A typical example is the controversial Police Central Motor Registry (BCMR) which is unnecessary and untenable compared with data capturing that FRSC has also introduced. Citing legal backing in Section 3 (2-6) of Road Traffic Act, Cap 548, the police explained that the digital BCMR would operate on smart card and portable hand-held receiver – a device attaching vehicle owner’s unique traits and personal data to their vehicles for proper identification and protection. But the police authorities have failed to convince the public about the edge the new system would have over the database being built by the FRSC virtually for the same purpose.
Therefore, to build a reliable integrated database in Nigeria, all government agencies and parastatals that deal with collection of one data or the other must work together to complement one another and not to compete with one another. The Federal Ministry of Health, for instance, should be able to give the accurate records of the birth and death rate in the country by collaborating with the Ministries of Health in the 36 states of the federation. The ministry must also have the accurate number and location of all the hospitals and health centres (public and private) across the nation in addition to the number of doctors and other health workers in the country.
In the same vein, the Federal Ministry of Education should also provide detailed information regarding the education system in the country, e.g., number and location of schools, number of pupils, teachers, etc.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry must also follow suit by giving the accurate number of Nigerians in diaspora and their base country. Nigeria Immigration Service, on its part, should also have the correct records of all the aliens and refugees (legal and illegal) in the country, while Nigeria Customs should also have the complete records of the entire vehicles and other goods (legal and illegal) that are entering Nigerian shores.
Nigeria Directorate of Employment (NDE) must also have the accurate records of unemployed people across the country, just as other federal ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) are expected to have accurate records in their various domains. The above mentioned agencies like NCC, NBS, NIMC, etc must work together or some of them be merged (as recommended by the Oronsaye Committee) for the common good of Nigeria.
Ultimately, the Federal Ministry of Interior, which should necessarily have the ultimate repository of all data about Nigerians and Nigeria, must work closely with all the agencies that have to do with collection of data for proper integration and coordination. The ministry must also support and encourage NPC to conduct a credible and reliable census without sentiment come 2016 and make sure there is continuity and consistency every ten years. It is also the duty of the ministry to work with NPC, INEC and other agencies to upgrade their data by always deleting the names of the dead and registering the names of new-borns or those that are just attaining 18 years of age as stipulated by the Acts establishing each of agency.
One of the advantages of the centralized database is the ability to access all the information in one location, which will help the Nigeria Police and other security agencies to effectively fight crime because it will be easy to locate anyone that commits a crime if such a person’s data have been captured by one agency or the other. A centralized database will also help to reduce the burden of different levies on Nigerian masses by different agencies, because instead of an agency to embark on data capture, such an agency can easily refer to the Federal Ministry of Interior to get the needed information either on population, number of vehicles, schools, workers, retirees, birth rate, death rate, etc.
Lastly, a centralized database will help the three tiers of government to know what social amenities are lacking in different communities of Nigeria and how to provide them.
At 55, Nigeria should be aspiring to join the comity of developed and organized nations, and one way to achieve this is by having a centralized database so that we can plan today to have a better future.
John Tosin Ajiboye, BusinessDay, January 26, 2015.

FOR THE RECORD: NIGERIA IN GENOCIDE STUDIES

One of the joys of discovering some new knowledge is that sense of liberation, of knowing that which has in fact set him free.
Renaissance man, Dr Jimanze Ego-Alowes insightful new book “Nigeria, the unreported genocide against the Igbo” has torn to shreds the shroud that covered the inner recess of the temple and all that were hidden are now known.
As the Biafran conundrum rages, ancient and new animosities against the Igbo are catalogued, Ego-Alowes with a stroke of genius exposed the best kept secret act of annihilation against the Igbo – not in the battle field, but through a systematic and programmed eco-cultural violence, with a devastating un-abating consequence in a manner that establishes genocide.
Article II and III of the 1948 Convention on the prevention and punishment of Genocide defines Genocide as any act “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part”.
Further, the article describes in accordance with criminal jurisprudence the two elements, mental and physical/actual that must exist in establishing genocide.
Ego-Alowes in a sharp, delicate precision of a forensic examiner, established motives, acts and intendment of genocide against the genocidaires, whom he referred to as the 2GMOs.
Two ex-battle field commanders united in their hatred against the Igbo, who later became Nigeria’s post war leaders devised a most corrosive post war policy of annihilation against the Igbo through economic stripping by excising the oil rich areas of Igbo land from core Igbo states and infusing a retrogressive cultural virus, fundamentally opposed to their values with the intention of institutionalising chaos in Igbo land for their ultimate destruction. The result of this virus – the Traditional rulership as planted in Igboland through the junta's Commission for Local Government unification is self evident in Igbo land, in the disruptions, blood feuds and chaos as a result of Ezeship tussles.
While it can be argued by certain unbelievers of this revelation that the writers conclusion of wilful intent to commit genocide by the 2GMOs is conjectural, however, there is unequivocal certainty that the acts of the 2GMOs brought about systematic and effective destruction of the people belonging to the Igbo ethnic tribe.
Well, the international criminal justice system is not such a nice guy that is very patient and forgiving if you plead ignorance, if it was so Milosovic and Charles Taylor wouldn’t be sitting in their cold lonely cubicles in some anonymous addresses somewhere in Europe rather they would have been holding court in some Hilltop mansions with full complement including a presidential library.
Beyond bringing to public knowledge this genocidal act against the Igbos by the 2GMOs (as referred by the writer), this book serves as an advocacy for Igbo to liberate themselves from the retrogressive idea of monarchism just as they rejected its equally un-illustrious predecessors – the warrant Chieftaincies.
The writer of this book is neither an anarchist nor alarmist, as a historian and economist he sees the contradiction and limiting nature of traditional rulership in Igboland. He is well minded of the fact that when the colonials invented their monarchies in Igbo land through the warrant chieftaincies, the Igbo distrusted, disdained and dismissed it, why should they then now accept new bronze gods to be created for them through one junta report. For a people whose republican spirit flourished its entrepreneurial exploits, why should they burden themselves with the encumbrance of a village prefect? If others know this and kept quiet, Dr Jimanze Ego-Alowes chose not to be quiet.
Or how can one explain how a people with long history of republicanism became subjects and hostages to single individuals in the name of “their Royal Highness”. It is an irreconcilable paradox that while progressive societies in Europe, China etc., have thrown aboard the iron cloak of monarchism inspired by the egalitarianism and success of the United States of America, the Igbo born natural republicans are shackling themselves with it.
For Jimanze, the Igbo must rediscover their republicanism and recalibrate the concept of “OHA”, the organisational structure that knit them together and provide the context in which they flourish and thrive.
No doubt this book is a vicious body punch to the traditional rulership institution in Igboland and will certainly jolt all those whose imaginary “Ancient kingdoms” are at risk of crashing, but for the discerning it defines the future of the Igbo. If Igbo ever wish to compete in this 21st century, certainly they must raise their own cry of down with the king! History will be kind to the author of this book for giving life to this idea.
Besides Dr Jimanze Ego-Alowes’ radical advocacy to throw over board the vestigial of warrant chieftaincy in the form of traditional rulership in Igbo land being a destructive contaminant planted for genocidal intents by the 2GMOs, he also provided a debatable construction of the Igbo patriarch whom he variously referred to as ESHI/EHI/ERI.
This book is a must-read and challenge to lawyers, historians, cultural activists and in fact persons interested in the advancement of the Igbo society. Barrister Jude Nnamdi Nwakanma. nwakanma is an Owerri based attorney.
are you a book reader? have you read our Nigeria: the unreported genocide...? let's please have your review. god bless.

EVEN IF THE US NO LONGER RULES THE WORLD

Is it now the Russian century? . No.
Russia's rise from post-Soviet chaos into a leading world power in the past two decades. " - Sergey Lavrov
The Kremlin's top diplomat blamed recent tensions on the "categorical reluctance of the United States and its western allies to agree that the 500-year-long period of western domination in world affairs is coming to an end,"
Lavrov is getting his history and arithmetic wrong. Fifty years before the 1917 Russian Bolshevik Revolution, (say 1867 and earlier), the Russian empire of Tzar Nicholas and his forebears were part and parcel of the socalled Western world, albeit voluntarily. Russia contributed to Western Civilization and freely accessed equipment (like railways) and ideas, music from the common pool. All the princes and princesses dutifully obtained their formal education in places like Vienna, Paris and London. Hence I don't understand where he got this notion of 500years of western dominance.
The Bolsheviks following the thesis of Karl Marx, Hegel(?), Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin and others rose against modern capitalism wherever it may be found, including Russia. We already know who won that battle of ideas by the time the Berlin Wall fell. From Gobachev all the way down to the absolute despot Vladimir Putin, it's been all downhill. Nobody talks again about world communism which even China spells with a small c. World hegemony in an era of democratization of nuclear power is now dependent almost solely on economic clout. Russia is not even in the game. Lavrov and his boss Putin should just save us all that saber rattling. We have enough of that already from Kim Jung Un of North Korea. But for the fact that the world is fully aware of the cost of a stupid mistake, one could easily say that we are not impressed!

THAT FIRE AT THE OJOTA REFUSE DUMP -MARCH 2018

There is this recent report about a fire outbreak at the Ojota Refuse Dumpsite located within a shouting distance of the seat of the Government of Lagos State. Records will show that this is not the first time such an event had occurred. The major difference this time around is the magnitude of the loss suffered by the operators of the dump and their neighbours, LAGBUS, which runs the bus based Lagos Mass Transit. So many vehicles were burnt in the runaway inferno.
According to Sahara Reporters, "The fire which started at about 4 pm on Wednesday evening was allegedly caused by A FLARE ON THE DUMPSITE which quickly spiralled out of control."
I believe that the managers at this and any other dumpsites are fully aware of the fact that an organic dumpsite is a sitting time bomb. Unless properly capped with layers of impervious imported soil, with safety release vents, the whole place reeks of methane and other noxious gases. It is in the nature of things for Spontaneous Ignition to occur, what with lightning and other events. Then again, the huge and hot exhaust pipes on the operational vehicles, which should have heat dissipators like in refineries and gas processing complexes, must have been left without necessary safety modifications. We are talking industrial safety here. The rules don't change simply because we are dealing with a refuse dump.
The Lagos State Government and indeed LAWMA fully understand the nature of the beast that they are up against. In the past year or so, they have been boasting about their foray into renewable and alternative gas energy resources with their ability to harvest landfill gas for electricity generation. How then could they have continued to run the dumpsite without any indication that they have benefitted from knowledge in their possession? I hate to presume to teach somebody who obviously already knows.
In the final analysis, the DPR, despite it serial failures and bad reputation, should be able to help in planning to prevent further occurrence. The issues involved are right up its alley.
My recommendation is that the Ojota Dumpsite be closed as soon as possible. At least three new and bigger ones will have to be developed in different directions of the compass. The necessary Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) must include imput from the Geological Surveys (if it still exist) in order to reduce if not eliminate the contamination of ground waters by dumpsite leachings. 

PART 1 OF 3 THE GENOCIDE ON THE MAMBILLA, THE FULANI PERSPECTIVE

Without ever setting foot there, I know enough about the geography, topography, water resources, the people, the agricultural and tourist potentials of the Mambilla Plateau, in Taraba State. One word that easily comes to mind is "idyllic". Having spent a year in Jos, Plateau State, I could just imagine life on the Mambilla. I wish I had the opportunity to visit that paradise say thirty years ago when I was much stronger and in a position to take a robust 4 wheel drive up those dangerously winding curves on the upward climb to Gembu. The Mambilla came to my mind again when the Federal Government indicated renewed interest in the hitherto abandoned giant Mambilla Hydroelectric Power Project. Having understudied the US Freeport Inc's Copper/Gold mine and processing development project in the mountains of Irian Jaya, Papua New Guinea, this was one project in which I would have loved to lose myself. Doing stuff! # It is on record that the leading Nigerian dam designer, Dr Josephat Okoye, of Water and Dam Services, who cut his teeth at Irian Jaya, is/was(?) the Lead Consultant at Mambilla as the Federal Government sorts out its love/hate relationship with the original designers, HydroQuebec of Canada. As a no nonsense professional he had a well reported spat with one of President Goodluck Jonathan's junior ministers in the power portfolio. The lady was so silly and ill-advised. # So much for the Mambilla Plateau and all its potentials. As it is, I may never be able to go there even as an old man tourist. What with the goings on up there, the bloodletting, insecurity, suspicion, etc. Earlier reports, also with video footages, accused the Federal Government of President Buhari of not just the usual looking-the-other-way, but of actually reinforcing the Fulani cattle pastoralists with armaments and men of the Nigerian Army and Air Force. I am yet to see a firm and well documented denial by the government. # And now the Fulani Perspective of these SAME events. We leave readers and viewers of these videos to draw their own conclusions. In the fog of war, that's what this is certainly, we may never get the whole truth since truth is usually the first casualty. I must state that I have found this new report to be rather "too smooth" kind of a job. I then wonder if the see-no-evil Buhari administration had a hand in producing it, IN THE FACILITIES OF THE NTA? Meanwhile many commentators, including this writer, had decried the ceaseless brutal murder of fellow Nigerians. These sentiments don't change or disappear simply because the victims are Fulani. Then again, I wonder how and why the Presidency, with all the intelligence resources at its disposal, did nothing to protect Buhari's own people the Fulani up on the plateau. Failing to do so does not by any imagination gain him any points. It is despicable. # One thing is clear here. The government has lost it. Completely. The security situation, even if the Buhari administration is proven not be complicit, has gone completely out of control. We do not trust the government to protect us, not in Uzo-Uwani, not in Chibok, not in Ogun State, not in Falae's Ondo State and of course not in Agatuland and Okpokwu LGA of Benue State. A state or condolence visit by our president cannot in anyway address this failure. In a more civilized clime, this calls for an impeachment or resignation of the government. But then this is Nigeria. Many have asked over and over again, "What is one human life worth?" President Buhari, please answer us. $

THAT LAGOS - KANO MoU FOR ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP AND INVESTMENT

Some commentator wrote recently:
"East - West handshake appears threatened with West - North MoU."
Under normal circumstances, should that development raise an eyebrow? No, it shouldn't. However these are not normal times. Coming on the heels of a much belated meeting of minds between the administrations of 16 southern states toward working towards their common interests, this move, which appears to have the bold imprimatur of Buhari (with the inexplicable support of Vice President Osinbajo), seems to be designed for the sole purpose of scuttling southern solidarity. Whereas bilateral relationship between states does not have to be a zero sum game, the timing and other coincidences are eerie. Lagos and Kano have always been there. Why now?
This writer once lamented the inability or perhaps more appropriately unwillingness of various Federal Government administrations, led by northerners, to arrange to secure oil and gas pipelines to Kano as a way of ensuring the availability of electricity generated in captive clusters within Kano's vast Industrial Estates. But no, nothing was done until the majority of manufacturers in textiles, confectionery, piping, etc had folded up.
The truth of the matter is that Kano has nothing to offer to Lagos that the latter cannot buy on the open market. On the other hand it will take a lot of planning, (which Lagos fortunately doesn't lack) and years before Lagos, a powerful mega-state will overtake say the cumulative impact of Ndigbo, other Nigerians and foreign elements on the economic fortunes of Kano. An otherwise open relationship between states in a peaceful(?) federation has unfortunately appeared here as a conspiracy. That's an indication of how low this pseudo-nation has sunk. Can we blame the skeptics? Hardly.
The on-again, off-again Lagos to Kano standard gauge rail line which is once again being offered up to the public with a price tag of $2billion and counting, appears to be another Ajaokuta-esque escapade. It should however be of interest to the many-times-deceived populace especially citizens living and doing business on both sides of the route. If on the other hand Kano has extraordinary interest in this important rail infrastructure project, it should fund it perhaps with the support of its neighbours and international finance institutions like the World Bank, AfDB and the Kuwait Bank for International Development. It is obscene to continue to expropriate funds rightfully belonging to the Niger Deltans for that parochial purpose. We have not yet fully explained the Katsina Refinery to anyone. And then this.
In the past year Dr Jide Oluwajuyitan writing perhaps on behalf of unnamed principals in the Lagos and South-West political axis demanded a Special Status for Lagos. Many writers including this one accused Oluwajuyitan of being too clever by a half, implying that Lagos, leading the South-West, should simply insist on Fiscal Federalism within a Restructured Nigeria. I had added that within the right framework, Lagos does not need Nigeria Delta derived oil revenue.
It was in this new environment that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode started making the recent political noises about devolution culminating in the two meeting of governors of Southern states. The so called "Handshake Across the Niger" meeting at Enugu must be seen for what it is, a necessary Public Relations jaunt to sensitize the people that the southern governors and elite are truly serious about collaborating. It does not take a soothsayer to deduce that the Northern Establishment, which is permanently averse to any rapprochement between the South-East and the Niger Deltans on the one hand, and between the South-East and the South-West on the other, will WANT to do anything possible to upend that scenario. Is that what this Lagos-Kano MoU thing is all about? If it is, will the schemers own up? No, they will not. Whatever is the case, the jury is still out on this matter. However, only the paranoid survive! The rest get eaten.
Why would Lagos State Governor Ambode fall for this? What can Kano offer Lagos? I see unbearable pressure emanating from Aso Rock to destabilize the South-East and South-South and undermine their potential collaboration with Lagos, the acknowledged engine house of the Nigerian economy. Based on established precedents I would not be surprised if Lagos seeks to expand its already expressed desire to collaborate with Kwarra, Kebbi and Niger States in agriculture and Agro Processing. Far off Kano seems to be a long shot. This is in addition its understandable collaboration for common services with Ogun and other neighboring states, a matter of proximity. One then wonders what this new move is all about. A gamble? Will it profit Lagos and the rest of the South-West? Only time will tell. #

It's been a year. LET'S DO SOME MORE RUSSIA ANALYSIS.

I still believe that Russia remains a poor country, essentially 3rd World in development orientation. It imports food and exports basic commodities exposing it to vulnerabilities. Apart from vodka and caviar, it makes almost nothing that anyone wants. Arms don't count here. Its relatively large population compared to a few other advanced economies keeps looking forward to a better life which institutionalized incompetence and corruption have made impossible. # Going forward say two decades, I wonder what the endgame of Putin's nuclear brinkmanship is all about. In the most unlikely event that the United States will implode or becomes completely dysfunctional, I wonder what makes the Russians imagine that the Chinese and Indians will simply sit back while Putin & Co pick up the pieces. A cursory glance at the GDP listings show Russia taking a position behind Korea and more than a dozen others including India, Brazil not to mention China. # The question remains what all this waste of resources in advanced weaponry is all about. China wants and needs a stable US system and economy on which its own economic trajectory depends. The iconoclast Putin wants to upset all that. China may react and Russia will not like that. A chinese economic blockade or sanction of Moscow will probably be worse than anything that President Obama has thrown at them. So Putin better watch out. I don't see Russia still having the ability to defend its several thousand kilometer long border with China if push comes to shove. # This comment has nothing to do with the righteousness of US posturing and Foreign Policy under various administrations culminating in the "Russian" plant in the White House. The discernible aims of Vladimir Putin make absolutely no sense whatsoever in this current world. The man seems to have more in common with Kim Jong Un than he can ever imagine. Or perhaps he knows that already. The rest of the advanced world needs to urgently call him to order. His ego is a danger to everyone. # Putin touts new nuclear weapons, claims can't be intercepted