As we all must have learnt from the unfortunate and nerve wracking events of 25 February in our political space,most of our political actors that are always ahead of the system aimed at checkmating them in their excesses,have as usual proven to be ahead of the system aimed at reigning them in.
Before proceeding further,to enable us concentrate on the basic implications of the complicated general elections whose outcome is casting a very dark shadow on our country, I would like to crave the indulgence of readers to permit me to leave out the granular details of the apparent contradictions embedded in the Electoral Act 2022 to experts on constitutional matters who are already bracing up for the legal fire works.
It needs to be pointed out that in a rather paradoxical manner ,as things currently appear, technology that was introduced to solve an existential challenge with the conduct of elections which borders on integrity of the ballots,arising from ballot snatching and hijacking of sensitive materials etc,has created a new type of crisis.
It may be recalled that when in 2015 technology was introduced into the electioneering process via the Smart Card Reader, SCR and Temporary Voters Card,TVC to mitigate ugly incidents of rigging and the peril of relying on incidents forms that were provided as the alternative in situations where the smart card system malfunctions,unscrupulous politicians decided to bypass the use of the SCR and TVC for conducting elections.
Instead they converted the incident forms which is supposed to be the backup into the main stream process. Thus the SCR which is supposed to be the first line of action,became the back up.
To fix that unanticipated challenge,INEC introduced a more sophisticated solution leveraging Artificial Intelligence,AI known as Bi-Modal Verification and Accreditation System,BVAS.
Before 2015, INEC under the leadership of Prof Atahiru Jega had introduced biometric registration and finger prints of voters. But it did not provide enough sage guards against voter frauds such as accreditation and over voting amongst others.
The BVAS was considered as an excellent solution that would help eliminate other identified issues associated with the SCR earlier highlighted.
Again,political actors have apparently perfected ingenious ways to compromise the BVAS by once again circumventing the rule that demands that it is the records of those that were accredited and voted as captured by the BVAS that should be the source of data for determining the number of voters that got accredited and voted in the respective 176,856 polling units set up by INEC across the country.
Put succinctly,data from BVAS is supposed to be the authentic raw material as it were for producing the results of the election.
As demanded by the reformed Electoral Act 2022,the back up for the use of BVAS in situations where it malfunctions,is the use of form EC8A which is complemental to the use of the BVAS.
But owing to the disingenuous nature of some politicians who always find their way around obstacles,as was the case with SCR,the complementary line of action which is Incident Form with regards to SCR and EC8A form which applies to BVAS,now has become the preferred source for collating results by both politicians and election authorities.
What that implies is that public funds in excess of three hundred billion naira (N300b) which is hard earned money expended by INEC on the 2023 elections might have gone down the drain simply because the elections umpire failed to achieve the objective for which the humongous sum was appropriated.
The assertion above derives from the fact that the BVAS which was touted as a panacea to the incidence of fraud encountered in the past voting processed , ranging from over voting,ballot stuffing and snatching,as well as hijacking of essential and sensitive materials such as result sheets with which fraudulent results are produced,has turned out to produce the opposite results. It is regrettable that BVAS which was supposed to be the cure to all the identified ills in the electioneering process,except vote buying has turned out to be an antithesis of election 2023.
That is because the prime thing that the chairman of INEC Prof Mahmoud Yakubu promised,was the commitment that the result of the polls would be transmitted electronically from the polling units into lNEC sever or data base real-time-online.
The undertaking from lNEC encouraged a lot of Nigerians, especially the youths and young at heart who were hitherto skeptical of the integrity of our elections.
As such,they got persuaded to register and vote based on their conviction that Prof Yakubu is bonded by his promise
to leverage technology and it did not look like Invitation To Treat in contract law, which it has turned out to be.
But after the election was called,in the early hours of 1st of March, without relying on data obtained by BVAS driven by technology as promised by the INEC chairman,disappointed and crest fallen Nigerians, would not have any other option than to deem the promise by the electoral empire as a trick.
It is worthy of note that,although voter accreditation was carried out with BVAS which captures the potential voter’s finger mark and facial recognition as a means of identification,unscrupulous politicians in concert with some compromised officials of the INEC have allegedly once again found ways to circumvent that technology.
Hence results recorded in the EC8A form which is manipulatable as opposed to what is captured by BVAS were relied upon for collating the results of the election and why the recently held presidential and National Assembly elections are being disputed.
In a nutshell it is the reason the 25 February 2023 election outcome is being alleged to have been tainted and its integrity is being contested, just as it is also responsible for the life of Nigeria as a country hanging in the balance.
While the debate on whether the issue of winning 25% of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT,Abuja votes is also a precondition in addition to winning the highest number of votes cast nationwide and in at least 25% of the 36 states in our country before being declared a winner of the presidential contest is also raging,it is not as consequential and therefore not a major factor. That is basically because of the doctrine of substantial compliance with the act justified by the belief or reality that no election can be perfect.
In deed the 1993 contest between Chief Awolowo and Alhaji Shagari produced numbers that were not perfect,particularly with respect to 2/3rd majority of 19 states which the court concluded was 12 and 1/2 which was not perfect, but it met the reasonable compliance threshold.
In defense of the mandate that INEC has given him,the ruling APC’s candidate , Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu,now president-elect and his presidential campaign team have stated that there is no compulsion to transmit the election result electronically as expected by the opposition. They also push back on wining 25% of votes in the FCT being a requirement for the mandate to be complete for consummation.
Apparently,the much celebrated Electoral Act 2022 is that nebulous and clearly requires being revisited by the 10th when it is inaugurated.
In a twist which is to the chagrin of the parties alleging that the 25 February election was rigged in favor of the declared winner, senate president,Dr Ahmed Lawan under whose watch the electoral act was passed in 2022 has pushed back during a senate session,by stating that the Electoral Act 2023 being relied upon by those at odds with INEC’s verdict did not mandate electronic transmission of the results from the polling unit.
Rather,he made a case that it is a promise made by the chairman of INEC,Professor Mahmud Yakubu who is the elections umpire who had the discretion,but failed to keep his promise to send the results electronically to the server of the commission.
As such ,it is being argued that it is a moral rather than legal issue.
As Friedrich Nietzsche a German philosopher and cultural critic once wrote:
“All things are subject to interpretation. Whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power & not truth.”
So,some of the aggrieved political parties and their candidates have headed to the tribunals.
And in the light of the above development,the collective destiny of Nigerians has once again been handed over to the interpretative society which is the judiciary for determination.
Although courts have been known to have dethroned monarchs such as the emir of kano and Obong of Calabar ; state governors such as Celestine Omehia in Rivers state and Emeka lhiedioha of lmo state as well as Oserheimen Osunbor of Edo state: never has any court or tribunal upturned the election of a democratically elected president of Nigeria.
In the African continent,upturning a presidential election has only happened in Kenya and Malawi.
According to Africaportal.org a website focused on democracy and development in Africa:
“In Feb. 12, the Malawi High Court upheld its original decision to nullify the country’s May 2019 presidential election, and decreed that the poll must be rerun within 150 days. Malawi has thus become only the second African country, after Kenya in 2017, to have had a presidential election annulled by the courts. But although the High Court’s ruling is a promising sign of judicial independence in one of the world’s poorest countries, the experience of Kenya suggests that rerunning elections may not necessarily restore faith in fragile democracies.”
Strikingly, the website reported that:
“Malawi’s one-round presidential election was essentially a three-horse race, won by the incumbent Peter Mutharika with 38.6% of the vote. The result prompted widespread protests and a nine-month court case led by the opposition,which alleged that there had been massive irregularities, including the use of Tipp-Ex correction fluid to alter the results sheets.”
Does the Malawi situation not bear very close resemblance and look similar to what allegedly happened in Nigeria during the 25 February elections which as also a three horse race ?
With the level of disaffection and dissatisfaction of the opposing political parities about the outcome of the 25 February presidential and NASS elections in Nigeria, our courts are already receiving suits from the aggrieved who are seeking to overturn the presidential election.
Remarkably,about 89 senior advocates of Nigerian SAN, (which is unprecedented) ahave been engaged and arrayed by the two aggrieved political parties -PDP and LP against the ruling APC and its candidate that was declared the winner and currently the president-elect.
Are we on the cusp of a monumental political development that would change the narrative about presidential election contests and disputations or the challenge in court would just serve the purpose of deepening our jurisprudence in electoral matters,by so doing close the loopholes in the current electoral act,and set precedents and parameters for the future?
At least the Electoral Act 2022 had made a provision for anticipated litigations to be wrapped up before 29 May date set for the inauguration of the next president.
And from 1st March when the election was called in favor of the APC candidate to May 29 for the swearing-in-ceremony, there is a window of about three months within which the Supreme Court would seat over the matter and give judgment.
That is because one of the beauties in the Electoral Act 2022 is that it demands that the disputes between opposing candidates and parties to determine winners and losers must be concluded by the tribunals before the inauguration date for the president and governors.
That is why the span of time between the date of election and Inauguration day was stretched further than in the past.
According to Marc Elias, a democratic lawyer,former United States of America, USA president Mr Donald Trump and his allies filed 62 lawsuits in state and federal courts seeking to overturn election results in states the president lost in the 2020 presidential election won by president Joe Biden.
Ideally ,the court which is the temple of justice and the last bastion of democracy, because it is meant to be an impartial arbiter is also currently suffering from trust deficit from Nigerians.
That is as a result of recent judgements issued by the apex court which most Nigerians consider to be opaque and incomprehensible.
As such the judiciary,particularly the Supreme Court which was thought to be incorruptible has been receiving attacks from the civil society organizations and the public in general who are accusing judicial officers of being compromised.
Casting aspersions on the judiciary that is the interpretative society and third arm of government in a presidential governance system consisting of a tripod of Executive,Legislative and Judicial arms in a functional democracy is the lowest level possible that our country has sunken.
The opprobrium and vote of no confidence on the judiciary are engendered by a series of judgements from the courts which pundits aver are opaque and below par,therefore are being characterized as purchased judgements from magistrates courts,high courts to appeal courts and even to the highest level of Supreme Court.
In recent times, public odium on the judiciary has been so palpable that the spokesman of the Supreme Court Dr Festus Akande recently lashed out in a media statement warning its critics of consequences,if the fourth estate of the realm continues to question the legal and moral contents of the decisions of the highly exalted members of the temple of justice.
The recent outburst from the Supreme Court through its spokesman is an attitude that most Nigerians have interpreted as an attempt to gag not only the media,but the general public:
“It is so disheartening to learn that some individuals and groups of persons who ought to know better and even assume the revered positions of role models to a larger proportion of the citizens are now sadly, the very ones flagrantly displaying ignorance and infantilism in the course of defending the indefensible”.
If l were to be in a position to advise the Supreme Court and indeed the judiciary on how to shore up its sagging reputation,
l would recommend that it starts explaining its judgements instead of lampooning those who question them for lack of clarity.
That approach is in tune with the often quoted aphorism: “Justice must not only be done, but must also be seen to be done” which is a dictum laid down by Lord Hewart,the then Lord Chief Justice of England in the case of Rex v. Sussex Justices, .
Without the critical mass of Nigerians buying into Supreme Court judgements, which is tending towards being the case rather than the exception lately,only the former part of the referenced Lord Hewart’s admonition would have been adhered to while ignoring the later part “…but must be seen to be done”.
That is the crisis of confidence that is currently besetting the judiciary with the Supreme Court steadily,but unwittingly pushing itself into the vortex of skepticism that has aggregated it into the trust deficit synonymous with government and governance in our country.
It is in the context of the apparent and underlying absurdities in the judiciary that a very consequential presidential and NASS elections have been held.
With a controversial outcome, two of the eighteen political parties that contested are disagreeing with the verdict and they are seeking justice in the same courts that are receiving public bashing.
Is that not problematic?
It has also not helped matters that the INEC Chairman,has not deemed it fit to apprise Nigerians of the wisdom in his jettisoning of the provision of the Electoral Act 2022 which mandates him to transmit or transfer election results captured in the the BVAS into the IReV which is a portal for viewing result for the purpose of transparency.
Although a clause in the electoral act is being said to have given the election umpire the discretion of determining the method of transmission of the results,the chairman of INEC is on record to have made a personal commitment in multiple press conferences both in Nigeria and Chatham House, London, United Kingdom, Uk to transfer the data from BVAS straight into IReV real-time online for final collation of the result.
There is no doubt that Nigerians deserve to know what made Prof Yakubu change his mind!
As the major advocate for the use of technology in conducting elections with which he had successfully and creditably delivered governorship elections in Delta Edo,Anambra and Osun states,plus the fact that the same rule is clearly spelt out in INEC elections guidelines,it beggars belief that the electoral umpire would flout his own rule and remain mum instead of a least trying to justify his action.
What has gone amiss,Nigerians are literally dying to know.
As the conventional wisdom goes: silence is golden.
But Prof Yakubu’s silence on this occasion can not be golden. That is because only he, can redeem himself .
Not Mr Festus Okoye-the commissioner in charge of voter education or the Chief Press Secretary, CPS to INEC,Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi,who have only started speaking nearly two weeks after the polls were conducted.
The anxiety is underscored by the fact that by continuing to demur, Prof Yakubu is raising the tempo of agitation and heating up the polity which is not good for Nigerians or even in the best interest of the ruling APC and its presidential standard bearer, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu,who has assumed the status of president-elect.
I can wager a bet that the ex governor of Lagos state,APC leader and political power broker would not like to kick off his leadership of our cherished country while it is enmeshed in the chaotic atmosphere that the disputed election process has engendered as we are all actually caught up in a gale of election controversy and bubble.
So,the silence-of-the-grave posture that the INEC boss has assumed is hurting rather than helping Nigeria and Nigerians.
Critical nations in the global community were here to monitor the elections and they departed our shores with unfulfilled expectations after witnessing embarrassingly high level of malpractices in the course of the election exercise.
They comprise of the powerful delegations representing the International Republican lnstitute, lRl,and National Democratic Institute,NDI which are influential think-tanks from the USA, top members of the European Union,EU and the African Union,AU members including a handful of ex-presidents of South Africa, Ghana , kenya, Malawi and Liberia amongst others that were on ground in Nigeria to monitor the exercise.
But they left our shores highly disappointed in the outcome which they have adjudged as not fair, free and transparent,therefore not a reflection of the wish of Nigerians.
As such,our country is already suffering a deficit of confidence from an array of critical stakeholders from strategic nations around Africa and the Western world that could have automatically become brand ambassadors for Nigeria if things had not gone awry.
Indeed, were the conduct of the 25 February elections to have been fair, free,transparent and credible as president Buhari had vowed it would be,and Prof Yakubu had reiterated,Nigeria could have had all the earlier listed Very Important Personalities,VIPs from Africa and the Western world as champions of Nigerian cause,or Nigerian brand evangelists as well as Nigerian cause advocates in their respective home countries.
That could have been one of the major gains from 2023 elections for the greater good of Nigeria as the dignitaries would have held aloft our beloved country as a beacon of hope for democracy in Africa.
That is what happened in South Africa when apartheid ended and the late leadership icon,Nelson Mandela in 1994 became the president of that country that was highly racially divided, but out of which arose a new country with the unification of black and white into a country that is currently fondly referred to as a rainbow coalition.
On the contrary there has been an avalanche of negative comments on Nigeria by strategic and highly influential international media organizations-The Time, Economist magazines and the Guardian newspaper of London as well as New York times amongst other French and German media organizations.
As earlier stated,our country had also missed a similar opportunity in 1993.
That was when South Africa’s gain was Nigeria’s loss as our country which appeared poised for a national rebirth when the 12 June 1993 general elections held to enable us transit from a military rule into a multi party democracy was annulled by then military head of state, General lbrahim Babangida and hell was literally let loose causing our country to suffer a global backlash.
As one of the election 2023 observers from the US,Ambassador Mark Greene on behalf of the International Republican Institute, IRI and National Democratic Institute, NDl( American Think Tanks) surmised , the 25 February election which failed to meet the expectations of Nigerians is indeed a missed opportunity.
It was a window for our country to have witnessed a new beginning by electing leaders that we all would have believed have the undiluted mandate of the people,if INEC had not derailed in its duty of helping make Nigeria a stronger democracy by being transparent in the process of producing the presidential result. That could have conferred complete credibility on the process,so that the winner would have a legitimate mandate and Nigeria would take its place as the true leader of Africa with all its pride and ramifications.
But lNEC appear to have ineptly bungled it by allegedly not adhering to the Electoral Act 2022 requirements to the last details and failing to keep to its own guildlines to rely on data from BVAS transmitted to its own server real-time-online.
And the disappointing outcome should not have been the case because the election process was believed to have been going well until INEC reneged on its promise of uploading the results online real time into its servers in the headquarters based on its written guidelines that had been advertised across all the media platforms.
The assertion above is validated by the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA under its new helmsman,Mr Yakubu Maikyau who had set up a working group to monitor the 25 February presidential and National Assembly elections.
NBA’s interim report was that 64.6 percent voted of Nigerians felt somewhat satisfied with the elections and 27 percent were excellently impressed and 8.2 percent adjudging the election as poor or very poor. Presumably,the interim report was issued before the collation of the results.
In my view, that was a fair assessment as it reflected the true feelings of Nigerians while the process was ongoing on Saturday 25 February until Sunday the 26th when the balloting process was over and INEC failed to upload the results from the polling units into the server as it had promised.
That is when the initial good feelings of Nigerians about the exercise went south after it became apparent that the results were not transmitted to INEC sever/database through the BVAS used for accreditation as stipulated in the electoral umpire’s guildline and as demanded by the electoral act 2022 and which Prof Yakubu promised severally.
The bottom line is that the conduct of the highly controversial election 2023 was not really the problem,but the counting of the votes during which the result is believed to have been rigged.
The alleged ignoble role of INEC fits into the statement attributed to Mr Joseph Stalin, a former Soviet Union dictator that famously said:
“The people who cast the votes decide nothing; the people who count the votes decide everything”
If indeed INEC did not rely on data from BVAS for arriving at the final result as being alleged, the election umpire would have indeed made “the people who cast the votes decide nothing”as Stalin had noted?
In any case ,it is within the purview and ambit of the law to determine if the allegation of the votes of Nigerians not counting is true or false and l believe the election tribunal would work assiduously towards achieving that objective.
As if in convergence with the wise crack: “when it rains ,it pours”, the forthcoming elections at the subnational polls that got postponed from 11 March to 18 March,is susceptible to stirring up another controversy that may force another postponement.
The view above is underscored by the fact that a high court in Abuja has ruled that TVC which INEC has replaced with PVC should be used in the next election.
That would be further mudding the waters if it is sustained.
Although,INEC has challenged the court ruling and has promised to vacate the judgement, it remains a snag that has the potential to become another blight on our already mortally damaged 2023 elections.
Given how disappointed Nigerians are based on the belief that BVAS was side tracked and all the former fraudulent practices that were thought to have been eliminated by BVAS were on full display with impunity during the 25 February polling exercise, trust has been broken in the willingness and ability of INEC to be impartial.
So, chances are that violence may be manifest in the conduct of the 18 March gubernatorial and state legislators elections.
If mayhem happens on the Election Day and lives are lost, we know whose door steps to lay the blames.
Clearly,we need better and stronger safeguards for our fragile democracy.
And the nebulous legislation which Electoral Act 2022 has turned out to be,needs to be given a second look by the incoming 10th NASS to ensure that there are no more loopholes in the act that may be exploited in a manner that it could cast a slur on the election process in our beloved country.
That is because the reforms in the current Electoral Act 2022 that are supposed to make the process less fractious are obviously not as efficacious.
Hence the legislation which was thought to have raised higher the quality and standards of political office contestations in our country, is turning out to do the exact opposite.
Obviously, the 10th NASS has its job cut out for it.
May God bless Nigeria with wise leaders.
Magnus onyibe,an entrepreneur, public policy analyst ,author,development strategist,alumnus of Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy,Tufts University, Massachusetts,USA and a former commissioner in Delta state government, sent this piece from lagos.
To continue with this conversation, please visit www.magnum.ng
As Nigerians head to the polls, they will be taking part in one of the most highly anticipated Presidential races the country has ever seen. Comprised of a population of around 220 million people, what happens in Nigeria, inevitably, has a ripple effect felt far beyond its borders. However, with over half of young Nigerians under the age of 24 being unemployed, insecurity, endemic corruption, a nationwide cash shortage that is wreaking havoc at banks and with citizens, zero healthcare, crumbling educational systems, no electricity or clean drinkable water, it is clear, this President-elect has his work cut out for him. With such a list of political and socio-economic problems that are plaguing Nigeria, it begs the question, how are we going to get out of this hole?
Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Keys to Development
The Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT, believes that innovation and entrepreneurship are key to developing a country’s ecosystem. For a country to survive, its ecosystem should maintain a delicate balance between different stakeholders: entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, universities and government. I had the rare opportunity to visit three countries that are working every day to put innovation and entrepreneurship at the forefront of their agenda: The United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Senegal.
As an MIT Legatum Foundry Fellow, each visit had me retrospectively thinking about how they’ve been able to improve versus why we’re still getting wrong in Nigeria. I learned that in their own unique ways, each country is showing how the government can work in tandem with the private sector, to drive the goals of visionary leaders that Nigeria’s President-elect could learn a lot from.
In the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, prayers are said. 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Imams, prayer leaders and up to 50,000 people a day come there, some of whom pray for the soul of the departed leader Sheikh Zayed. The Sheikh had a vision for his country: to build a new reality for his people, a new future for their children and a new model for development. One man’s vision decades ago, transformed the destiny of generations coming after him.
In the UAE, those goals carry through today. The country has created what they call their ‘2031 Vision,’ a national development plan for the next 10 years, with an eye on the power of tech. Today, Dubai has a Ministry of Artificial Intelligence, and they didn’t just stop there. The country has also established the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence. An institution that is fully dedicated to advancing A.I. and using it as a force for good. It’s such a critical time for that industry, with companies like ChatGPT and Midjourney now dominating conversations around the future of tech, with even Meta recently announcing new A.I. products are being developed for Instagram and WhatsApp. It is clear that A.I. is going to quickly become an invaluable and crucial piece of technology for industries and countries.
Outside Dubai, Sharjah is another notable city in the region, that shows the government’s push to support innovation and entrepreneurship. In Sharjah, they’re working to bring in entrepreneurs from outside the UAE and support them through initiatives like the Khalifa Fund and other opportunities given to entrepreneurs and Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMES). This openness ensures that Abu Dhabi emerges as a thriving destination, so that people coming from outside the region can equally benefit and contribute to building the economy.
Beyond tech and business, Abu Dhabi is also positioning itself more and more as a touristic and artistic destination. For a long time, people have often only associated countries in the Middle East with oil; but, within the last few decades Abu Dhabi is working to change that narrative. From the Louvre to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, one sees how Abu Dhabi is also actively looking beyond oil, diversifying its economy and attracting tourists to visit and enjoy what the country has to offer.
It’s a similar story in Egypt, where they’re also building on their history to move them into the future. One clear example of this, is in the majestic Sultan Hussein Kamel Palace. A historic site that has been around since the early 1900s…And today, it has been morphed into a modern platform for entrepreneurs, offering incubation programs for Egyptian start-ups. The Palace also has a working partnership with Egypt’s IT, Industry and Development Agency (ITIDA). Through this, up and coming businesses get access to support through a competitive application process. And, they’re actively impacting businesses. At this point, ITIDA has worked with hundreds of local start-ups. It also helps that it’s located right opposite the University of Cairo. Being this close to the school also means being close to young, curious minds to easily explore whether start-up life is for them. All of this was a real eye-opener, and a sad cry for what we call universities and research institutes back home in Nigeria.
Finally, not too far from us in Nigeria is Senegal – but, compared to us, they’re making leaps and bounds when it comes to innovation at multiple levels. Although it’s considered a developing country, its ecosystem is thriving. The Senegalese government is deliberate in making sure women and young people are included through the Office of Digital Economy and Youth Employability. The government is also highly focused on bringing marginalized groups into the financial system, especially in a country where 97 percent of enterprises are in the informal sector according to the International Labour Organization. In Senegal, resources are made available to women, small and microscale enterprises, at no interest, something Nigeria could benefit from as so much business here is also done informally.
Like the UAE and Egypt, Senegal also values the importance of a solid education for building the next generation of leaders. Dakar American University of Science and Technology was founded by Dr. Sidy Ndao and was started with less than $50,000 of his own money. His goal? To educate future engineers, scientists, astronauts and people of African heritage. Implementing an American style of education with a reputation for excellence, students come out with a five-year engineering degree with critical thinking abilities, strong communication and entrepreneurship skills from a university focused on practical learning.
The entrepreneur is one of the most critical stakeholders to driving a thriving innovation ecosystem in any nation; how they’re perceived, conceived and frankly, whether the government supports them or not. In Nigeria, it’s sad to realize that there’s a huge bias against entrepreneurs. Most have very little or no capital, they can’t access funds; and even if start-up funds are available, the entrepreneur is knocked down by huge costs in the form of multiple taxes, federal tax, state taxes, local government fees, business licensing, infrastructural license fees, business-related licensing and other tax obligations; fees can topple any business within two years of starting out.
In witnessing different ecosystems, it’s clear that of the three, Nigeria could learn the most from the UAE, as it’s closer than ever to the original vision of Sheikh Zayed. His vision stated very clearly that he hoped to build a new future for people, and a new model of development. Through his goals, the UAE has embraced the use of technology to the point that they have an entire Ministry dedicated to A.I. linked to the Prime Minister’s office. Their government has embraced innovation as the hallmark of development; their ‘2031 Vision’ aims to transform the country from a dependency on oil to a knowledge-based economy. In Sharjah, they’ve set up an entrepreneurship center providing support to entrepreneurs to gain access to finance, working spaces, investors, legal support and more.
Please, say a prayer for Nigeria.
Our next leader must have a clear vision. He must be insightful and ingenious; one who will unite the nation with a strong mission and purpose. Lee Kuan Yew had a vision for Singapore, Sheikh Zayed had a vision for Abu Dhabi, will the incoming President of Nigeria be able to step into the role and be a visionary? Not just to lead, but unite our country with a vision so strong that it overpowers tribe, language, cultural and religious bias. Our leader must practice adaptive leadership, have a purpose, be in line with current realities, and be intentional about our future.
MIT Legatum Foundry Fellow
Founder, Terra Kulture and BAP Productions
As the dust settles on Nigeria’s presidential election, the focus turns to the incoming administration and the policies that will define its tenure. The election, which saw Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) emerge as the winner, presents an opportunity for Nigeria to chart a new course and tackle some of the challenges that have bedevilled the country in recent years.
There is no doubt that Nigeria is at a critical juncture in its history. The country has a growing population, a thriving economy, and enormous potential. However, it also faces a range of pressing issues, from corruption and insecurity to infrastructure deficits and social inequality. To address these challenges, the incoming administration must adopt a bold and innovative approach that takes into account the unique circumstances of Nigeria.
One option for the new regime is to focus on infrastructure development. Nigeria’s infrastructure deficit is well-documented, with the country ranking low in global indices for access to electricity, roads, and other basic amenities. Addressing this deficit will require a significant investment in infrastructure, including power generation, transportation, and housing. The incoming administration could consider establishing a dedicated infrastructure fund, with private sector participation, to finance and manage infrastructure projects across the country. Such an approach could help to attract foreign investment and create jobs while improving the quality of life for Nigerians.
Another option for the new regime is to tackle corruption head-on. Corruption is a major challenge in Nigeria, with the country ranking poorly in global indices for transparency and accountability. The incoming administration could consider implementing a range of measures to combat corruption, including strengthening anti-corruption agencies, improving governance and accountability frameworks, and promoting transparency in public procurement processes. The new administration could also consider introducing whistle-blower protections, incentivizing citizens to report cases of corruption and malfeasance. By tackling corruption, the incoming administration could help to restore public trust in government institutions and create a more conducive environment for investment and economic growth.
The new regime could also prioritize security and stability. In recent years, Nigeria has faced significant security challenges, from terrorism and insurgency to communal clashes and banditry. The incoming administration could consider implementing a range of measures to improve security and stability, including increasing funding for security agencies, improving border control and intelligence gathering, and addressing the root causes of insecurity, such as poverty and unemployment. The new administration could also consider establishing community policing initiatives, promoting dialogue and reconciliation between communities, and investing in education and skills development programs to create opportunities for young people. By prioritizing security and stability, the incoming administration could help to create a more conducive environment for investment and economic growth.
In addition to these options, the new regime could consider a range of other policy initiatives to drive economic growth and development. For example, the new administration could consider promoting entrepreneurship and innovation, creating a favorable business environment, and increasing access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises. The new administration could also consider promoting trade and investment, both domestically and internationally, by improving infrastructure, reducing trade barriers, and promoting Nigeria as a destination for investment. By pursuing these and other policy initiatives, the incoming administration could help to unlock Nigeria’s vast potential and create a more prosperous and equitable society for all Nigerians.
However, it is important to note that implementing these policy initiatives will not be easy. Nigeria is a complex country, with a range of political, economic, and social challenges. The new administration will need to navigate these challenges carefully, while also building consensus and working collaboratively with stakeholders across the country. Additionally, the new administration will need to ensure that its policies and initiatives are inclusive and promote the interests of all Nigerians, regardless of their backgrounds or affiliations.
To achieve its objectives, the new administration must prioritize inclusive governance and ensure that all Nigerians have a voice in the policy-making process. This means reaching out to civil society organizations, community leaders, and other stakeholders to understand their perspectives and concerns. It also means creating opportunities for citizens to participate in the governance process, whether through public consultations, town hall meetings, or other forms of engagement.
In addition to building consensus, the new administration must also prioritize transparency and accountability. This means being open and honest about its policies and initiatives, and ensuring that resources are used efficiently and effectively. It also means holding public officials accountable for their actions and ensuring that they are subject to appropriate oversight and scrutiny.
Furthermore, the new administration must prioritize long-term planning and sustainability. This means looking beyond short-term political considerations and focusing on policies and initiatives that will deliver long-term benefits for Nigeria and its citizens. It also means ensuring that policies and initiatives are designed to be sustainable, both financially and environmentally.
The new administration must also take into account the importance of international relations and cooperation. Nigeria is an important player in the West African sub-region and a key member of the African Union. It is also a major oil producer and a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). As such, its actions and policies have implications beyond its borders.
The new administration should therefore prioritize regional and international cooperation, working closely with its neighbours and partners to address common challenges and promote regional stability and development. This means engaging with other African countries and organizations, as well as with international organizations such as the United Nations and the World Bank. It also means promoting cooperation and dialogue with other major powers, including China, the United States, and the European Union.
In addition to promoting regional and international cooperation, the new administration must also prioritize environmental sustainability. Nigeria is a country with significant environmental challenges, from deforestation and desertification to air and water pollution. The new administration must take steps to address these challenges, promoting sustainable land use practices, investing in renewable energy, and reducing carbon emissions.
In doing so, the new administration can help to ensure that Nigeria’s economic development is sustainable and environmentally responsible, promoting a green economy that creates jobs and supports the country’s long-term prosperity.
Overall, the incoming administration has a range of policy options at its disposal to address the pressing challenges facing Nigeria. By prioritising inclusive governance, transparency, accountability, and long-term planning and sustainability, infrastructure development, corruption, security, and economic growth, regional and international cooperation, and environmental sustainability Furthermore, success will depend on the ability of the new administration to build consensus and work collaboratively with stakeholders across the country, as well as on its ability to take a holistic approach to policy-making that takes into account the interrelated challenges facing Nigeria today, this way, the new administration can help to unlock Nigeria’s vast potential and create a more prosperous and equitable society for all Nigerians.
Lagos, March 11, 2023 (NAN) Hamilton and George, a boutique financial advisory firm based in Lagos, has announced the commencement of Private Placement exercise for Quantum Partners, the parent entity, for an emerging innovative fintech platform for African entrepreneurs.
The company is building Africa’s first green and sustainable fintech, deploying its expertise in digital technology and green finance to transform Africa’s business and startup ecosystem.
The Private Placement is part of Quantum Partners’ efforts to raise additional capital to support its growth and expansion plans.
The funds raised will be used to accelerate the development of the company’s technology platform, expand its product offerings and deepen its reach in key markets across Africa.
“We are thrilled to be working with Quantum Partners on this exciting Private Placement exercise,” Mr Joseph Edgar, the Chief Executive Officer of Hamilton and George, said in a statement on Saturday in Lagos.
“As a specialised financial advisory firm, we are committed to providing our clients with the highest level of service and support.
“With our expertise in the Nigerian market and our deep network of partners and investors, we are confident that we will be able to help Quantum Partners achieve its fundraising goals,” he added.
In a joint statement issued to mark the commencement of the exercise, Adedipe Oluwafemi and Samuel Ndubuisi-Brown, co-founders of Quantum Partners said, “we are excited to launch this Private Placement exercise.which represents a significant milestone in our journey to empower African entrepreneurs and startups through innovative digital finance solutions.
“With the support of Hamilton and George, we are confident that we will be able to attract the right investors, who share our vision and are committed to driving positive change in Africa’s business ecosystem.”
The Private Placement exercise is open to accredited investors who are interested in participating in the growth and success of Quantum Partners, as it seeks to build a category defining fintech firm in Africa.
The statement advised interested investors to contact Hamilton and George for more details, adding that Cordros Trustees Ltd, a trustee firm, would lend credibility to the capital raise exercise.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Hamilton and George Advisers is a boutique financial advisory firm based in Lagos, Nigeria.
The firm is a specialised financial advisory firm that focuses on providing personalised services to a specific niche, and provides a range of services to its clients, including corporate finance, advisory and proprietary investment.
It is focused on deploying a team of professionals and a deep network of partners and investors toward helping Nigerian and African businesses to achieve their full potential.
Cordros Trustees, on its part, offers a wide range of trustee services, including corporate, public, and private trust services.
The firm has an experienced team of professionals with expertise in various areas of trust management such as estate planning, fund management and corporate restructuring.
They provide customised solutions that align with the unique needs of each client, ensuring the best possible outcomes.
The firm adheres to regulatory standards set by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to ensure the safety and security of its clients’ assets.
The statement said that
Quantum Partners Investment Service Ltd focuses on building Africa’s next-generation fintech platform with special attention to empowering African entrepreneurs and the businesses they run.
“The company recognises that the traditional financial system may not be equipped to address the changing trend and unique needs of today’s African businesses and startups, especially since most financial systems were designed for a different time and age.
“The company believes the world is changing and so must the financial services engine that powers it,” the statement added.
In military regimes, which have together accounted for approximately half of the Nigeria’s history, it was technocrats, for most purposes, who led the government. Even in many civilian governments, key positions such as the finance and commerce ministries were often imposed upon them.
Despite their seemingly strong credentials, however, their performance remained mostly unsatisfactory, and if the experiment were to be repeated, there is no reason to expect any different outcome soon. It is, therefore, necessary to reconsider how technical expertise may best be availed in matters of governance.
What did our past technocrat governments fail to achieve? Well, for one, they could not achieve a taxation system that is fair and where what is due gets collected, nor did they manage to increase and diversify exports with goods and services that are internationally competitive, whose sale is not dependent upon receiving state subsidies and grants of ‘favoured’ status by buyer countries.
They were not able to remove discriminatory regulations and subsidies that favour the powerful — of which the corporate sector and banks are the biggest beneficiaries, nor were they able to bring agriculture and livestock productivity and quality at par with international standards or impose agricultural income tax on a par with other sectors.
They were not able to help industry progress from the simple assembly of imported products for domestic sale to national indigenous development, manufacturing and export of products, nor were they able to cut losses by state-owned enterprises.
They were neither able to ensure reasonable quality healthcare and education/skills training for all nor were they able to significantly reduce corruption.
Technocrat dispensations neither intended to nor could have built a narrative that could galvanise citizens’ support for policy reforms.
Why did they fail? To begin with, under military rule, the governments they served were formed in violation of the Constitution and therefore lacked legitimacy. They neither intended to nor could have built a narrative that could galvanise citizens’ support for policy reforms that would have adversely affected special interest groups. Additionally, since 1999, the wrong persons were selected as technocrats — often commercial bankers, former IMF/World Bank staffers and persons with a narrowly focused background in finance/economics/law.
Such individuals lacked the essential qualities and competence required for a national-level policymaker. For example, these technocrats could not relate to ordinary citizens and did not represent them in any way. Some technocrats had a clear conflict of interest in their roles, as they were closely associated with businesses in the same field for which they were devising policies (more on this below).
For decades, these wrongly selected technocrats focused only on short-term financial manipulations — of the currency exchange rate, bank interest rates, deferred payments for imports, juggling of certain import/export duties and subsidies, and so forth.
The real economy — comprising agriculture and industry (including IT) and international trade/exports — was not paid sufficient attention to for the medium or long term.
What are essential qualities that should be sought in a national-level policymaker? As discussed in one of my earlier articles, they include awareness of the living conditions of the people and their needs; an understanding of society’s core values and priorities; empathy with the people; loyalty to this country; deep knowledge of and experience in one or more sectors; a public mandate; and an absence of conflict of interest.
The majority of our population is directly or indirectly dependent on agricultural income, while agriculture accounts for half of the employed labour force.
Staple agricultural produce is our major source of our exports. Key industries, such as textile, fertiliser, tractors and agricultural machinery, and sugar and flour mills are linked to agriculture. Less than 1% of the population owns shares in the corporate sector or banks.
It is true that the services sector currently accounts for significant portion of our GDP flows, but the country’s financial sector, wholesale/retail trade and transport sectors, and most other services sectors primarily serve the domestic market and have not attracted substantial foreign investors.
The services sector does not compare with agriculture in exports, and insufficient exports are the bane of our economy and the main reason behind our socio-economic crisis. It would, therefore, be a gross misreading of the reality to surmise that Nigeria is essentially a services economy which can be steered by tinkering with rates and percentages.
Given the context, what is the most effective way to engage technocrats? First, there should be agreement that we are a democracy where lower-income citizens form the majority, and the well-being of the majority is paramount. Then come the next steps: our elected representatives should set clear national development policy objectives and guidelines, after which the legislative arm should select technical specialists.
Technocrats, once appointed, should work under and within the given policy parameters, instead of acting as policymakers themselves, and help develop plans and activities. Meanwhile, the elected representatives should build a public narrative to explain and convince citizens of what needs to be done. And once a strong unified narrative is built, the citizenry can be expected to stand by the government when it is doing away with the unjust privileges extended to special interest groups.
In conclusion, it may help to illustrate the proposed arrangement using the structure of a corporate enterprise. The elected representatives may be seen as the board of directors of the company, representing the owners (the citizens). The bureaucracy forms the management staff, while the technocrats function as management consultants.
The BoD sets the objectives and policy guidelines to benefit the owners (citizens). The management then develops plans and acts to achieve that. The management consultants, based on their broad experience and area expertise, may be engaged to advise the management (or to take a more practical part in developing plans) or even advise the BoD, as needed. But always, the BoD (here, the elected representatives) should be the final decision-makers.
IT is now impossible to escape the reality that some in Nigeria have too much wealth while many have too little. Families are having to choose between food on the table and children in school. It is hard not to think that this is unfair. We can be callous about it or concerned. How the future unfolds might depend on our choice.
Contrary to the promised trickle-down of capitalist development, wealth has been sucked up. Extrapolating from India, five per cent of Pakistanis now own more than 60pc of the country’s wealth whilst the bottom 50pc share only 3pc of it. This is a huge suppression of demand that stifles growth and fosters despair.
It is unsurprising that redistribution can yield positive results. Almost all prosperous East Asian countries had land reforms, chaotic in some (China) and orderly in others (South Korea). Wealth transfer from those spending on luxuries, mostly imported, to those consuming locally made products boosts manufacturing and creates jobs.
There are other intangible benefits. In South Korea, it is claimed that reduced income inequalities placed everyone “on a more or less equal footing, and individual effort and ability rather than family wealth became the most important determinant for individual success. Many believe that the Koreans’ characteristic diligence and their emphasis on education were motivated by this perception of equal opportunity”.
The wealth-generating model of capitalism we have followed has a major anomaly.
Much has been written of the failure of land reform in Pakistan but it might be futile chasing a bus we missed. While the scope for transfers and the scale of their impact remains huge because of immensely skewed distribution, landlords are now no longer the dominant players and we should adjust our thinking to the phase of development we are in.
The wealth-generating model of capitalism we have followed has a major anomaly: while it has finally accepted the logic of minimum wage, much less attention is paid to top compensation. Discussion of the wage-ratio (ratio of top to bottom salaries) has been subdued although there is nothing sacrosanct about it. It is a policy choice and recommendations vary widely across countries.
No such ratio exists in Pakistan and we need to think of one. The monthly minimum wage is Rs25,000. Imagine a wage-ratio of, say, 30 yielding a maximum monthly compensation of Rs750,000. The market could continue to determine salaries to signal scarcities but everything above the cap could be taxed away with the proceeds earmarked in a fund to benefit the country’s poorest 25 per cent. (How the fund is set up and managed are details for later.)
A positive effect would be immediate: raising the ceiling would be tied to raising the floor making the latter something to fight for rather than against. The income compression would also trigger falling prices of housing and land freeing up resources now locked in unproductive investment.
A parallel measure could limit inheritance to, say, 25pc of household wealth beyond a certain threshold with the rest going to the above-mentioned fund. This too would initiate a positive reallocation as people dispose multiple houses and plots accumulated for passing on. Consumption would rise boosting the economy.
Education can be the most important pathway to equality but the playing field can never be levelled if access remains contingent on household wealth. We could consider eliminating private education. Children could be randomly assigned to a public school within a five-mile (eight kilometres) radius of their homes where they would ideally be bussed.
Public schools are not fated to be bad; they are so because we do not care. Exclusively public school education exists successfully in Switzerland and Finland, for example, and there is no reason it cannot in Pakistan. Once Mahmud and Ayaz have to share the same bench, public schools could improve with surprising speed.
The measures mentioned here would need time to have impact. Something is also required to reshuffle the existing order faster providing opportunities for those at the bottom to move up without recourse to a social revolution.
Consider two relevant ideas: Rawls’ ‘Veil of Ignorance’ where people are asked to design a society without knowing where they might end up in it, in terms of class, location and physical condition; and, reincarnation, in which people know they would be ‘reborn’ in forms unknown to them contingent on their deeds in this world. In the abstract, these should motivate compassionate and just behaviour but in practice they have had little effect because self-interest has become overpowering under capitalism.
Is it possible to operationalise these ideas to give them teeth? Imagine households classified into, say, five categories (from the richest to the poorest) based on the type of house they occupy. When a head of household turns 30, the household is randomly reassigned to one of these categories (within the same jurisdiction thereby enabling them to retain their jobs). A household moving down would be able to upgrade its newly assigned residence with its higher income; one moving up could generate income by subletting a part of its bigger home.
Society could be reshuffled rapidly. Slums would be upgraded and sparsely populated enclaves would densify. The market would adjust to cater to the new effective demand for services like transport.
A well-designed scheme would announce a reasonable transition period before starting implementation on a yearly basis for heads of household turning 30 that year. The expectation of forthcoming change would quite likely lead to pre-emptive adjustments so that most desired effects might be achieved during the transition period itself taking the sting out of the actual reassignments. It would be too risky to allow abject poverty to continue if one might be reincarnated as an impoverished person and slighting the ‘Veil of Ignorance’ could be costly.
Many readers might deem this quixotic if they take it literally. They should consider it more a wake-up call because where things are headed the probability of social upheaval is non-zero. We need to think ahead to craft a soft landing.
Readers can contribute by coming up with their own, more feasible, ideas for a just Pakistan. It is important to take our heads out of the sand before it is too late.
Now that it is all over (hopefully), let me have my say about the presidential elections, the obidient madness, and your “arisetv-like” behavior through all this.
- I respect everyone’s right to their views, but the rate & level of animosity with which you constantly vilified Tinubu was quite astonishing to me. Is he really worse than GEJ or PMB, considering what we have experienced with them? If you acknowledge that he has a knack for picking good people (including Osinbajo in that list), does that not, in fact, make him better than the last 2 presidents we have had? Is the ability to put round pegs in round holes not a critical part of being a good leader? Tell me which governor or leader in the entire country has that knack better than Tinubu.
- There is no Nigerian election that is smooth sailing or that does not come with manipulation, but is it difficult to believe that Obi did not get any significant votes in the states where he performed poorly? Analyze the list. Obi himself made the election a sectional and religious affair by visiting all the churches everywhere and christian dominated areas in the northern states. What is the christian population in those northern states he performed abysmally in? What effort did he actually make to court Muslim populations? Did his Muslim vice have a personality?
- Apart from Lagos, what percentage of Ibos are in the rest of the South western states? They are mostly based in Lagos because that is the center of commerce, and that is what the Ibo man is all about. Did he think he would sweep the southeast and also sweep the southwest states when contesting against a Yoruba man?
- Labor took Lagos for the following reasons..
a. Lagos has a high population of Ibos & most if not all of them voted for “their son.”
b. Lagos has a high population of elites & Obi resonated with them with his English & elitist talk
c. A lot of Yorubas and other lagosians like you resent Tinubu for his hold on Lagos. Is it jealousy? You acknowledge that “his picks” for governor have been excellent choices. Lagos is the most complex & difficult state in the country to govern, yet Lagos is doing well. Many state governors copy what Lagos does. People from other states (especially the east) are eager to relocate to Lagos. You are constantly happy to tell us about your huge network & your ability to reach anybody etc etc, so you like having control & influence. Why all the resentment?
d. Most christians resented the muslim-muslim ticket & were eager to show their disapproval.
It was simply a combination of these factors that made Tinubu lose Lagos by a slim margin. I do not doubt that he knew having a Muslim vice would cost him votes, but he had to take that strategic decision, or he would have totally lost out on northern votes. He was smart & strategic enough to know he needed those votes with Atiku in the fray.
- Inasmuch as Obi could speak well & reel out data, he was either not strategic in his thinking or he was arrogant because he convinced himself he was the people’s choice north, south, east & west. The delusional sycophants around him encouraged that thinking & their savvyness with social media spurred them on. Politics is about strategy and numbers. If people can stop and use their brains (if they have any) and ask themselves intelligent questions, they will stop all this nonsense about Tinubu’s win not being legit. It is not possible to rig irresponsibly the way it was in the past. (except you are a Wike who is just a matter hatter, but even if you toss Rivers results in the bin, Tinubu will still come out tops).
- Whether you choose to admit it or not, Obi can not magically get the required numbers based on self-aggrandizement about being the “messiah.” Winning a presidential election in Nigeria is not about touring media channels & social media campaigns. You need to pour as much energy into the grassroots, those uneducated people who don’t do Twitter or watch arise or channel tv. Millions of people DID vote for Tinubu. He has spent years building alliances across all regions. Atiku has done the same. He has a Yoruba wife, an Ibo wife, and maybe others from other regions for all I know. Late MKO Abiola won resoundingly because of the alliances he had built across all regions over the years & how helpful he had quietly been over many years to the masses in different parts of the country.
- Obi has always been a sectional person. I might be wrong, but this is probably the 1st time he has criss-crossed Nigeria. If the reports are true (I am not saying they are), even when he visited the northern states, he focused on churches and Christian communities. Only a few northern states have a high number of christian populations. What efforts did he make to court Muslim populations? Many in the north looked at him as someone who was only interested in christian votes. I also read somewhere that he basically sidelined labor party chairmen in many of those states. He did not trust them because he had his own inner caucus he felt could deliver for him. Did his inner caucus have boots on the ground? Were they local people whom the masses could identify with? Like Obi, his vice came across as elitist. What percentage of nigerian voters are educated? When you go on campaigns or on Arise TV and Channels tv to talk about GDP and quote figures and percentages to show how educated & knowledgeable you are, how many of the masses who will vote are you actually connecting with? Well, I guess we know the answer now, don’t we.
- Millions of people did NOT vote for Obi. That is a fact & a bitter pill he should be able to swallow if he has any understanding whatsoever about leadership. The mentality of “where I win, it’s legit, where I lose, it was rigged” is madness as far as I am concerned & people touting that nonsense should go get their heads examined. Was there rigging & manipulation? For sure, but all the parties did it. I have seen videos of underage voters in the east, so nobody should paint a picture of saintliness as far as elections go. If some are better at manipulation than others, so be it. You, Edgar, are an expert in manipulation, so let’s not even go there. I don’t believe the level of rigging or manipulation essentially affected the overall results. What Obi did was weaken PDP significantly because PDP always swept the southeast resoundingly in case people are pretending they have forgotten. APC has never done well in the southeast, so Obi’s coming out only dented them a bit. Why is it difficult to believe APC would win again?
- As for Sanwo Olu, my belief is that he will do well. Tinubu’s win will help him, so I disagree with you about Tinubu speaking up for him. Don’t forget Nigerians like to be associated with success & power. Another thing that I believe will help him is IPOB’s stupidity of going to raise their flag in Alausa. I might be wrong, but I do not believe that the average Yoruba man who dislikes Tinubu & voted Obi for president will prefer IPOB to Tinubu. What that idiotic stunt conveyed is that a vote for LP is a vote for IPOB. I doubt that the Yoruba man will sit by and welcome IPOB to flex muscle on Yoruba land & perhaps unleash the mayhem they have been unleashing in the east. People say the Iboman is his own worst enemy…probably true if you ask me.
- My advice to Obi? He should be a statesman, accept defeat & call off his rabid dogs. He should not let sycophants fool him. He lost because he did not do enough. He got carried away by his popularity amongst some very loud people who were also very social media savvy and then got arrogant. He thought he did not need to build alliances.
- Now is the time for him to come off his high horse, sit back, analyze and restrategize, make a list of things they did well, make a list of areas where they failed and strategize on how to turn the failures into success for his next run. PMB lost the election 3 times, fought all the way till he lost at the supreme court & came back to fight again until he finally won. Is Obi so arrogant or delusional that he does not think he can lose an election? Does he not have what it takes to fall, pick yourself up, and come back fighting? If he doesn’t, then I suggest you need to invite him to a one-on-one with you so you can give him lessons based on your personal experience. One of the things he MUST ABSOLUTELY do is get his obidients to stop threatening fire and brimstone on everyone who is not obidient. Many people, including me, do not like bullies & I will not, in a million years, give my vote to a party of bullies. He is young, and hopefully, he is smart, he has time, God willing.
- He should definitely be VERY proud of what he has achieved in a very short time. I am happy he entered the fray. He has put pressure on Tinubu and future Nigerian leaders. They know they cannot afford to fuck up. They know they have Obi waiting in the wings to take them out. The pressure is on. That is VERY good for our country.
- My advice to you? Get over yourself and stop the vilification of Tinubu. Give the man a chance. I might be wrong but I do think he is not after money. I think he believes he has something to offer Nigeria on a larger scale and that he actually wants to leave a legacy. He knows he is old so he knows he does not have much time on his hands anyway. If he had all the ailments they say he has, he also knows stealing all the money in the world cannot buy him good health or extend his life. He is good at picking the right people to get the job done.
- Personally, I don’t need a leader who knows everything. I am happy with one who understands his limitations and is able to pick the right people to help him deliver. He knows he is not blessed with the gift of the garb so he refused to let himself be bullied into a debate with other presidential aspirants. That is what I call understanding your limitations. He would have been a fool if he had exposed himself to a debate and he sure ain’t no fool. If someone were to organize a public writing competition & the stakes were high, only a foolish writer who does not understand his limitations would publicly take you on if you were part of that competition? If Tinubu is or was a wily crook, he will understand where the crooks are coming from even before they start their shenanigans. He is a cabal all by himself 😅 so I don’t see any cabal caging or manipulating him like they did with GEJ and PMB.
And finally, he knows Obi and his ilk are waiting to take him out.
Let’s wait and see what he has to offer. The first 60 days of his presidency will definitely show us where he is headed.
Me, I do wish him well, for the sake of the common man. I pray he gets it.
What I forgot to also add is that a lot of your writings and musings on whatsapp and in dailies are designed to influence people and minds. You like having power and the ability to influence people. If you had Tinubu’s influence, you would be totally brazen about telling people to go stick themselves where the sun don’t shine if they don’t like what you do or say. You do that even now just because of your network so what’s your grouse?
The much anticipated election 2023 is finally here with us as it would finally be held next Saturday 25 February which is just a few days time.
And the redesigned Naira swap with some of the old denominations that is now the rarest commodity to come by in Nigeria (second only to air) has become the number one (1) defining factor for 2023 elections.
That is followed closely by the persistent and debilitating petrol scarcity crisis which despite the 2022 national budget allocation of over N4 trillion naira towards subsidizing the pump price of the commodity,(in some quarters it is believed that N6 trillion was actually sunk) the electorate has been pinning away in petrol stations for days and weeks in search of the commodity in the manner that Mungo Park the Scottish explorer and his fellow adventurers searched for River Niger until they found it in 1796 after two (2) expeditions.
The third (3rd) challenge which is the registration and collection of Permanent Voters Cards ,PVC by voting age Nigerians ,especially the youth demographics has been trounced by the more pressing maladies of demonetization and the attendant difficulties in sustaining livelihoods and petrol shortage with debilitating effects on the populace.
The new development highlighted above is contrary to the situation about a year ago when who is more corrupt amongst the front running presidential candidates or the four (4) leading contenders for the office of the president of the federal republic of Nigeria had taken the center stage in Nigerian political theatre.
The switch from corruption and related issues to existential issues such as the catastrophic effects of lack of access to the redesigned currency notes and non availability of petrol,both of which are essential guarantees for the survival of Nigerians,is so stunningly surprising that no pundit or soothe sayer could have predicted it until it happened.
And that is in contrast with the view that l had canvased in an article published in the mass media, particularly in Daily lndependent newspaper of 13 September of last year titled:”Presidency 2023: A Contest Between Three ‘Sinners’?”.
In that piece,l had drawn attention to the fact that the front liners for the 2023 presidential contest are ex public servants and in light of the fact that Nigerians regard all public holders, especially of the political hue as corrupt.
While emphasizing that having been public servants they are all ‘sinners’ in the eyes of Nigerian masses,I then made the case that the presidential candidates are likely to “let the sleeping dog lie” by not anchoring their campaigns on who would fight corruption in government better.
In my view, making fighting corruption the number one objective in the agenda of the incumbent government is counterproductive,shallow and akin to shadow chasing as evidenced by the disappointing outcome of the outgoing regime that anchored the administration’s core goal on fighting graft.
The assertion above is underscored by the fact that even before independence from British colonial rule, going as far back as 1943,successive regimes or government administrations have been wagging futile wars against corruption.
Instead of winning,the various successive governments even pre independence have been losing the war as corruption has gained more grounds in our socioeconomic and political environment as demonstrated by the monumental level of corruption currently thriving in our society.
So,if our current leaders had bordered to test their hypothesis of making fighting corruption the center piece of their governance policy,it should not have been rocket science for them to learn or enlighten themselves about the fact that corruption in government has grown exponentially from the demand by public servants for bribe of 10% of the value of a contract pre 1960 independence,(which the military adventurers had often touted as the excuse for the coup de tat of 1966) to the current level of corruption in the new dispensation where entire funds for contracts can be received with no work done and no consequences suffered for the embezzlement of public funds.
The pervasive culture of corruption prevailing in our clime,especially in the public sector today extends beyond the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC where it is legendary that contracts worth billions of naira were awarded and never executed,but money was paid to the contractors.
The Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund,NSTIF and similar government agencies where snakes either swallowed money that was supposed to be in government coffers or termites chewed up vouchers that would have evidenced money in the vaults as well as the recently sacked accountant general of the federation,AGF Mr Ahmed Idris’s heist of one hundred and nine(N109) billion from workers payroll. The hideous levels of graft suggesting that corruption has become unbridled in our country include the case of billions of naira also recently declared as unaccounted for by Mr Abdulrasheed Maina, chairman of a Task Force on the recovery of pensions funds that got convicted and jailed for the fraud.
It is therefore not surprising that all of the acts of corruption in the course of the past eight (8) years would make mockery of the much vaunted anti corruption mantra of the incumbent government.
And the current scenario or culture of corruption makes what the founding fathers of modern Nigeria- the trio of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe,Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Sir Ahmadu Bello that were arraigned for corrupt practices during colonial rule,pale into nothing.
In light of the highlighted reality above,how long would corruption and the fight against it continue to define our political process?
Before answering the question,allow me take you down memory lane by delving a bit into our historical archives to exhume some epic fights against corruption targeting our foremost and iconic leaders.
In the twilight of colonial era,the great Africanist, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe,when he was premier of eastern region and later governor general of Nigeria got accused of corruption-ACB saga.
Dr Azikiwe was not only indicted but basically convicted by Foster-Sutton Tribunal of Enquiry in 1956 for having a stake in African Continental Bank,ACB which was in contravention of the law precluding public officers from having beneficial interests in private business and worse of all, promoting the business through government patronage while also obtaining loans from the bank.
Mr Peter’s Obi family’s interest in Fidelity Bank where he domiciled $50m Anambra state funds and his family’s investment in SABmiller, the brewery in Onitsha in which the state had substantial investment echo the corrupt practice for which Azikiwe was found guilty in 1956/7 by the British colonialist.
Corruption in public office saga was also used to embarrass the great Yoruba sage , Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
That is when he was Western region premier.
According to records,he got investigated for his improper interactions with funds belonging to Western region produce marketing board.In plain language ,he was accused of enriching himself with public funds.
It happened in 1962 when Coker Commission of inquiry found chief Awolowo guilty basically because the funds he borrowed from the produce marketing boards to develop some infrastructure were not well accounted for. Does that not bear resemblance to the allegations against Tinubu that he is having less than transparent links to lagos state treasury via the tax consulting firm-Alfa Beta that is engaged to collect revenue for the state since his tenure as governor,1999-2007 till date ?
The case of corruption levied against,Sir Ahmadu Bello,who is one time premier of northern region that was well respected and even still revered in the north till date, is not dissimilar.
His arraignment is the oldest recorded corruption case against a high level public office holder in Nigeria. And it actually happened in 1943 when the Sardauna of Sokoto, sir Ahmadu Bello who was in charge of the Sokoto Province was tried by Sultan Siddiq Abubakar III for allegedly misappropriating cattle tax (Jangali),and was found guilty,then sentenced to a year in prison.
But according to reports from the archives,the British colonialists who were in sympathy with him provided sir Ahmadu Bello escape route from the one (1) year sentence by establishing a Magistrates Court to which he launched an appeal and got judgement in his favor. There are parallels that can also be drawn between recent corruption cases involving notable Hausa/Fulani men such as Col.Sambo
Dasuki former National Security Adviser,NSA indicted for converting $2.1 designated for the purchase of arms for this military and Mr Ahmed Idris,disgraced one time Accountant General of the Federation,AGF earlier referenced who was convicted for embezzling over a hundred billion naira workers salaries via illegal deductions.
Now,l had to go down memory lane to resurrect historical accounts of corruption and its role in shaping the politics of Nigeria to drive home the point that allowing it to define our political recruitment process in the coming elections on 25 February and 11 March would not only be a throwback to pre independence, it would be re-enacting 2015 when president Buhari,(touted as having zero tolerance for corruption )was ushered into office by being packaged as the Messiah that would clear up the proverbial Augean stable and save Nigeria.
But rather than deliver our country from the stranglehold of corruption , in a space of eight (8) years,see how the nation has literally degenerated into a cesspit of corruption with a present and clear danger of her going into oblivion,if the correct leader does not take over the reins of power from president Buhari from 29 May 2023.
To be fair to president Buhari,he never actually claimed to be a development expert. He only wanted to whip Nigerians into line by getting them to shed their damnable penchant for indiscipline.
That is why during his infamous rule as a military dictator (January 1984 – August 1985) his main policy plank was anchored on War Against Indiscipline,WAI.
Having been acclaimed to be a forthright man by his followers he was compelled by them to vie for the presidency for the fourth (4th) time in 2015,even after he had vowed when he lost the third (3rd) time in 2011 that he would no longer contest for the presidency of Nigeria.
Unfortunately,that singular quality of being ‘Mai gaskiya’ (Man of truth) which was the sole motivation for his supporters goading him to contest for the office of president until he prevailed,does not confer sufficient ability or capacity to turn things around for good in a country estimated to be more than two hundred (200) million people with multiple religions and cultures,as well as about 500 tongues and 250 tribes,plus diverse geographical environments ranging from desert to savanna to rain forests and mangroves as well as creeks.
It is rather disheartening that we seem to have just identified Buhari’s shortcomings in political and economic leadership after colossal damage had been done.
The inconvenient truth that those who facilitated president Buhari’s emergence as president on the fourth try would not admit is that the man was just a darn good soldier, period!
And as time has proven ,being a no nonsense soldier would not necessarily make a good president in the way that a hood does not make a monk.
But the powerful forces around him compelled the trained and dye-in-the-wool soldier to become a political leader of Nigeria-an occupation in which he lacks the required skills and the reason he has performed woefully.
And being an honest man,he has repeatedly admitted as the curtains fall on his reign that he has done his best, but regrettably his best has not been good enough.
Except he is able to quit the stage with a loud ovation if he is able to conduct the freest and fairest election which he seems to have resolved would be his real legacy, President Buhari would go down in history with infamy.
Before then,the next president which by the power of a perceptive and forward thinking electorate would be the former vice president Atiku Abubakar, should be prepared to inherit a country under the yoke of extensive ruins of economic, political and social dimensions which would take years of dexterous and assiduous work to pull back from the brinks.
The underlying factors for the worries expressed above stem from the facts that the fabric of unity in our country has become so tattered that rather than Nigeria becoming a nation,it has remained a country in search of harmony as it is currently highly polarized along ethnic and religious lines.
And it is a situation made worse by a debt over hang estimated to be seventy seven (77) trillion naira.
Since l predicted in the article titled: How To Become President Of Nigeria In 2023” way before anybody else three (3) years ago that the final contest for the presidency of Nigeria would be between Waziri Atiku Abubakar of PDP and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu of APC which l reproduced in pages 331/332 of my book by same name:” Becoming President of Nigeria. A Citizen Guide”published and launched 10th May last year, a myriad of media attacks have been directed at me. They range from:as a young man,why are you predicting victory for two (2) old and corrupt politicians who plundered our country, to: as a southerner why are you supporting a Fulani to succeed another Fulani, and finally: as a Christian why are you accepting those running in a Muslim-Muslim ticket for the presidency.
And the level of chicanery as reflected by the disrespect for federal character principles enshrined in the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria,resulting in the perfidies highlighted above is the reason for the hell hole that zero sum politics of exclusivity played by the incumbent government has dragged our country into.
That is as opposed to playing multi-sum politics of inclusivity that could have enabled our country flourish like Singapore and Indonesia, which are her peer countries that attained nationhood or were at the same development stages at in the 1960s.
I have sustained the struggle to get critics to be more open minded by trying to get them to see that my vision of Nigeria is not just from the optics of being a southerner or Christian, but from the prism of a patriotic Nigerian that is tribe and religion neutral.
That is in the manner that owing to his quest to unify American voters,in a speech at the onset of his pursuit of the office of president of the United States of America,USA in 2016, the man that was to become the first and only black president of the most powerful country in the world, Mr Barack Obama made the following declaration aimed at bridging the racial divide amongst the American electorate during Democratic Party convention:
“There is not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America…we worship one awesome God”
By and large,the above statement by Mr Obama pretty much reflects my response to those gripped by the fear of another Fulani man riding roughshod with other Nigerians as had been the case with president Buhari.
And l would like to admonish all Nigerians to subscribe to the Obama philosophy or doctrine.
Although it is trite,l often like to remind those dividing our country based on tribe and religion that a former president of Nigeria ,(1979-1984) Alhaji Shehu Shagari of blessed memory was Hausa/Fulani from Sokoto state who had Dr Alex Ekwueme an lgbo man from Anambra state as running mate?
They both won the presidency of Nigeria in 1979 and two of them led the country in a balanced government driven by equitable and commonsensical power sharing equation that saw the spread of development projects across the nation such as steel mills, and auto assembly alluminium smelter plants before they were toppled via military coup de tat as they were commencing their second tenure in 1984.
Subsequently,another combination of a Fulani man Umaru Yar’adua as presidential candidate and an ljaw from Niger delta, Goodluck Jonathan also contested and won the presidency from 2007 to 2010. When President Yar’adua from katsina state suddenly passed away in office and then vice president, Jonathan picked up the baton of leadership of Nigeria from him.
It is worth emphasizing that in the short period (a little over 2 years) that Yar’adua was on the saddle in Aso Rock Villa, the rules of engagement as enshrined in the federal character principles embedded in 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria were duly observed and the principles of equity and inclusivity in governance of multiple nationalities that make up our country were also never neglected.
It is the incumbent regime that has destroyed the fabric of unity by breaching the federal character principle encoded in the constitution and which is the glue that had been holding our country together as one,basically because it is legislation against nepotism and other divisive tendencies.
My point is that it is the character and world view of the person who has been at the helms of affairs and calling the shots from Aso Rock Villa in the past nearly eight (8) years that is the current bane of our country manifesting in ethnic strife and separatist movements now tugging at the very soul of our beloved country.
The culprit is not necessarily the ethnic identity or the tribe of the leader in Aso Rock Villa seat of presidential power where some aggrieved Nigerians are directing their anger and frustration, but the personality and his world view.
Hopefully, Atiku Atiku Abubakar would prove to be more like ex presidents Shehu Shagari and Umaru Yar’adua of blessed memories who are Fulani men and known to be unifiers than president Mohammadu Buhari, also a Fulani that is leaving a sordid legacy of being tagged a divider-in-chief instead of unifier-in-chief by the chroniclers of the Buhari era in the annals of political leadership in Nigeria.
Prior to the anti corruption conference held in London in 2016 under the prime ministership of David Cameron,the first and only British leader to have ever said to the face of a Nigerian president or to the hearing of the Queen of England, “we have the leaders of two of the fantastically corrupt countries in the world Nigeria and Afghanistan” as Mr Cameron did with President Buhari.
Yet,at the inception of the incumbent government in 2015, it is known to have adopted the mantra “Let’s kill Corruption before corruption kills us”
It is not such a paradox that corruption is on the verge of killing Nigeria after nearly eight (8) years of ‘killing corruption’ mantra of the government in power?
In fact,Nigeria’s current ranking by the global corruption tracking agency -Transparency International,Tl lays bare the fact that the anti corruption posture of the incumbent administration is more of a farce than fact and more of a scam than substance.
The Corruption Perception Index CPl of Tl for the year 2022 released this January indicates that Nigeria dropped five spots from its 2021 record by scoring a mere 24 out of 100 points.
That is why it is ranked 154 out of 180 countries rated.
The above data indicating a worsening perception of corruption in our country is evidential of the fact despite electing a presumed anti corruption tzar as president in 2015, Nigeria has (to borrow a street lingo) fallen from frying pan to fire as far as corruption is concerned and by extension,in all measures of human development.
Before being elected president,General Buhari had a reputation of being as straight as a fiddle,hence he was known by his kit and kins as ‘Mai Daskiya’ which is roughly translated from Hausa language as the man of honesty.
But today that mystery of being a corruption intolerant leader has been erased by the reality of a leadership that is reveling in corruption as our country is now corruption personified by all standards of measure.
And it is such an irony that the problem of Nigeria is really not just corruption,but lack of patriotic leadership.
So,a pertinent question that l would like to pose to readers who still believe that only a candidate who is corruption-scandal free should preside over our country is: since 1943 when sir Ahmadu Bello was tried for corruption,perhaps as a result of a set up by his political antagonists,and 1956/7 when Nnamdi Azikiwe battled his own corruption charges for violating the law that prohibits public servants from having equity in private business concerns to 1962 when Obafemi Awolowo was also found culpable of financial malfeasance arising from his dealings with the regional produce agency’s funds ,and even when subsequent regimes(both military and democratic) have made anti corruption the fulcrum of their administrations: has the future of Nigeria become brighter?
As the current dire situation in our country reflects,we need a leader that would wage a war against poverty,not just corruption that is a mere symptom of the trouble with Nigeria which is basically lack of patriotic leadership as the renown novelist,late Chinua Achebe had enlightened us in his seminal book : The Trouble With Nigeria.
Take Singapore and Indonesia which did not make anti corruption the main criteria for choosing their leaders,but settled for leaders with positive visions and blue prints to lift out of poverty the largest number of people in the country men as the apple of their eyes.
Today,Singapore is in the first world with a superlative GDP of $397 million having a paltry population of only 5.64 million people.
The adult population of the country holds a total estimated wealth of US$1,627 US$1.63 trillion which makes it the twelfth (12th) wealthiest country in the world, compared to an adult Nigerian that is said to be carrying a debt burden of about N750,000 each,if our country’s N77 trillion naira debt is shared equally to her over 200 million population.
On its part,Indonesia is on the borderline to becoming a first world club member with a GDP of an impressive 1.1 trillion with a population of nearly 276 million which is higher than that of Nigeria.
The Asian country is more prosperous than our country simply because men of vision and patriots have been leading her and Nigeria became the poverty capital of the world basically because the government in power made the number one (1) item on the agenda of governance fighting corruption as opposed to fighting poverty.
Perhaps at this juncture,l should reveal that my disdain for the continued preoccupation of successive Nigerian governments with anti corruption fights, ostensibly to tame the monster,but of which the opposite has been the outcome with corruption growing in geometric progression in our country is altruistic. That is because my advocacy for war on poverty as opposed to war against corruption predates the current leadership election season during which l am predicting Waziri Atiku Abubakar’s victory at the polls on 25 February.
In an article titled: “A Call For A National War On Poverty”, published on the back page of Thisday newspaper and on multiple online platforms some three (3) years ago,l compared our country’s war against corruption to China’s battle against the menace,and highlighted how and why China has succeeded in bringing corruption down to a manageable level in their country,while we have been on a slippery slope with respect to curbing the scourge of corruption in our country.
In chronicling how China emerged from the rear to become the number (2)world richest and even threatening to overtake the USA as number one (1) in world power hierarchy,the following case was made:
“…China is only 11 years older than Nigeria in terms of nationhood and independence. But the East Asian country has grown from being an autarky (like North Korea trading with nobody ) some 30 years ago until it joined WTO in 2001 and became a production factory to the world.”
Thereafter,l argued that:
“Subsequently, China assumed the position of the world’s second largest economy status with an estimated $12 trillion GDP, and it is now on track to becoming the largest economy by global ranking, Look at Gerry Augustine Church on Saturday because this car we’re gonna get in less than two decades,when it would have overtaken the USA’s economy which is currently the world’s largest.
“In contrast, Nigeria has degenerated from being a peer to countries like Singapore, Malaysia,Taiwan and South Korea, which it was at par at independence in 1960, to Banana Republic level , in terms of socio-economic standards of living and security of lives and property of citizens. The unfortunate and depressing descent of Nigerians into a vortex of misery, courtesy of reoccurring visionless leadership of our country is a much bigger malaise than the anti corruption rhetorics of governments from the colonialists to military and democratically elected civilians that have not yielded any modicum of positive dividends since independence some 59 years ago.”
In comparing China’s success via the long fight against graft with Nigeria’s failed war against corruption, l undertook a historical excursion by recalling how the need to get rid of corruption has been the raison detre for several changes of democratic leaders of government at the centre by military adventurers, and the core reasons sold to the electorate by rival politicians and political parties in the course of recruiting new political leaders also known as democratic electioneering process.Below is how l has put it:
“After the counter coup of 1967 where it was alleged that the plotters of the 1966 putsch were ‘corrupt’ and ‘fraudulent’ in terms of ethnic bias by assassinating only top military officers from a particular section of the country, and officers of a religious faith while preserving the lives of those from the ethnic stock and faith of the coup leaders, the Brigadier Murtala Muhammed led coup of 1975 was also mainly driven by the crusade against corruption in government.
“The fiery army general is famous for the mantra: “This government can not condone Indiscipline” which is a military euphemism for corruption.That interregnum was followed by the coup led by General Muhammadu Buhari on December 31, 1983 which like the 1966 and 1975 coups was on a mission to dislodge the democratically elected government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari in the bid to clean the proverbial Augean stable by getting rid of corrupt politicians in the country.”
Furthermore, l pointed out that:
“The lbrahim Babangida led palace coup of 1985 that unseated Buhari’s 18 months spell in office was also launched to cleanse our country of corruption. This time the corruption was not so much of bribery, but of the hue of fraud and double standards as reflected by the scandal of the infamous 53 suit cases allegedly belonging to the Emire of Gwandu which was illegally allowed into the country during change of Nigerian currency. That’s in addition to the case of an underage child of a member of the ruling military council going on the Muslim religious pilgrimage to Mecca which was against the law, amongst many infractions.”
I also threw light on the fact that:
“The fearsome army General Sani Abacha, who took over the reins of govt in 1993 after Babangida stepped aside , did not have anti corruption agenda, rather successive governments had recovered billions of dollars stolen and stashed abroad by the late dictator. Similarly, General Abdulsalam Abubakar’s short tenure as interim military head of state 1998 to 1999 had no anti corruption ideological inclination because it had no time for such luxury. But the democratically elected government of Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 was geared towards continuing with the anti corruption play book of the past leaders hence it established the Economic and Financial Crimes Commisson (EFCC) to tackle graft shortly after he assumed office.”
Then l surmised by stating that:
“The assertion above is underscored by the fact that the Nuhu Ribadu led EFCC was basically primed to lead the charge against corruption both in the public and private sectors in the same old style that had always been applied in the checkered history of Nigeria even pre independence.
Skepticism about the altruistic value of the government’s persistent war on corruption was triggered at that point as cynics were convinced that the fight against graft under the Ribadu led EFCC was not only partisan, but weaponized by then President Olusegun Obasanjo to rein in his opponents across the aisle and also compel fellow party members to tow his line.”
From the copious reproduction of the nearly three (3) years old article,it is clear that my aversion to the way and manner corruption was about to be allowed to define 25 February and 11 match elections has antecedents that go way back to over six(6)decades.
That is why l was vehemently opposing corruption as the pre-eminent criteria for choosing our next president until the dynamics of politics in our country changed in these last few days due to the existential struggles of getting hold of the redesigned naira notes to put food on the table and the nerve racking process of finding petrol to facilitate mobility via vehicles,and as fuel for electricity power generators to for in our business planes and comfort in our homes.
These are the twin evils that have stretched thin the survival instincts of Nigerians in these last days to the elections and which are strong factors that must weigh heavily in the minds of voters as they cast their ballots for their favorite candidate for president next Saturday.
Without being told ,the aforementioned issues have become the critical criteria for the recruitment of our next political leaders.
It is remarkable and instructive that when the chips were down,the British people
were originally driven by ethnic nationalism and failed to elect Rishi Sunak of Indian descent as Prime Minister. Rather,preferring to elect as Prime Minister,Liz Truss who is native English from Oxford.
But the British parliamentarians had to face the brass tacks of going back to elect the current PM Rishi Sunak, a tested and proven manager of men and materials by virtue of having served as minister of the exchequer,(finance minister) when Mrs Truss proved to lack the capacity to handle the enormous task of putting the United Kingdom,UK together,after it had a great fall off the wall like Humpty-Dumpty (in the famous kindergarten rhyme) following its hard exit from European Union,EU also known as Brexit a couple of years ago.
Like Britons,Nigerians should prioritize capacity,ability and experience over anti corruption rhetorics in choosing their next president on 25 February which is less than three (3)days time.
It is quite fortuitous that the present life and livelihood threatening calamities that have befallen our country men and women making it extremely difficult for a vast majority of them to enjoy decent living in the past three (3) months to election D-Day, would shape their voting decision, which should be devoid of sentiments that are tribal or religion driven,but inspired by competence,capacity and experience to rescue our country from the hole of hopelessness that it has been sunk by the outgoing regime.
Fellow Nigerians ,you will agree with me that these are extra ordinary times that require expert handling by someone with the cognate experience.
Remember, Wazirin Atiku Abubakar, as vice president of Nigeria between 1999-2007 led the revolution of the telecoms sector that produced the GSM telephony symphony being sang by all and sundry in our country. If he had been given the opportunity to continue as the chairman of the economic council from 2004 to 2007,the electricity generation and distribution system currently in shambles-besetting the masses and hobbling economic growth would have been turned around through the unbundling of the services in the manner that the telecommunications sector was changed into a success story.
But even though he remained vice president from 2004-7, the mandate to continue with the good work that he did as chairman of the economic council was taken away from him by his boss at that time due to a nasty political fight.
Hence Atiku Abubakar as vice president did not have the opportunity to fix the electricity sector as he did the telecoms sector because competence and proven performance were sacrificed on the altar of vendetta.
The same applies to the petroleum production and distribution sector currently costing the nation multi trillion naira in subsidies as contained in our annual national budgets and which is causing the populace horrendous hardships simply because it is still under the control of government.
But the good news is that the former vice president Atiku Abubakar still has the blue print and master plan to reform and recover from decay the ailing public utility services system such as the electricity and petroleum production and distribution sectors for the greater good of all Nigerians in the manner that GSM telephony benefits all. And he has promised that he would turn the sectors around when he and his party, PDP win the presidency through the efforts of you the voters and by the grace of God.
So,l urge you (voters) not to repeat the mistake of 2015 by electing expired or experimental president,but decide now to elect an experienced president-Waziri Atiku Abubakar with enormous wealth of composite public and private sector experience by casting your votes for him on 25 February,2023 for Nigeria to be in better and safer hands for the unity and prosperity of all Nigerians and progress of our country
Magnus onyibe,an entrepreneur, public policy analyst ,author,development strategist,alumnus of Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy,Tufts University, Massachusetts,USA and a former commissioner in Delta state government, sent this piece from lagos.
To continue with this conversation, please visit www.magnum.ng
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reports that between 2015 and 2023, Nigeria’s unemployment rate varied. The anticipated unemployment rate for 2015 was 10.4%. But in 2016, it increased to 14.4%. The rate then reached a peak of 20.42% the next year before increasing once again to 23.1% in 2018.
The unemployment rate in Nigeria decreased somewhat in 2019 to 17.6%. This was ascribed to several government programs designed to increase employment and lower the nation’s poverty rates. The COVID-19 epidemic significantly affected the unemployment rate in 2020, which increased to 33.2% as a result. This resulted from the pandemic’s broad disruptions, which included company closures and declines in economic activity.
Despite the epidemic, the Nigerian government carried out efforts to promote economic growth and create jobs. The outcome was that in 2021, the unemployment rate decreased marginally to 25.1%. The rate fell further in 2022, hitting 24.3%. The Social Investment Program was implemented, and micro, small, and medium-sized businesses were created, among other initiatives that the government funded to increase employment and lower poverty rates.
Nigeria’s unemployment rate is projected to increase to 37% as of 2023, which is a negative trend due to the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG). The rate is still rather high, though, and to maintain long-term economic growth and lower levels of poverty in the nation, both the public and private sectors must keep funding job creation initiatives.
Consequently, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a huge increase in the jobless rate in Nigeria in 2020. The rate has varied throughout the previous eight years. The rate has, however, gradually decreased because of government attempts to boost economic growth and create jobs. To maintain sustainable economic growth and lower levels of poverty in Nigeria, the nation must keep funding job-creation initiatives.
Track Inflation rate from 2015-2023
Data on inflation from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) from 2015 to 2023 gives an understanding of how prices of products and services fluctuate in Nigeria. NBS inflation data tracks changes in the nation’s overall pricing level for products and services over a certain time. Given that it has an impact on both individuals’ spending power and the economy, this information is crucial for both consumers and policymakers.
According to NBS data, there was a slight increase in inflation in 2015 compared to 2014. This increase was 9.5%. This was linked to the depreciation of the local currency and the drop in oil prices, both of which influenced the economy of the nation. The nation’s inflation rate did, however, increased in the years that followed, to18.5% in 2016.
A little decrease of 15.3% in inflation was recorded in 2017 according to NBS statistics, which may be attributed to reducing prices for food, transportation, and other necessities. The following year inflation decreased once again to 11.4%. This was partly because of the actions taken by the Central Bank of Nigeria to reduce interest rates and boost the money supply to curb inflation and stabilize the economy, because of the nation’s economic crisis brought on by high oil prices and a lack of foreign currency.
Nigeria’s inflation rate increased to 11.9 % by the end of 2019, because of the nation’s economic crisis brought on by high oil prices and a lack of foreign currency.
According to NBS inflation figures for 2020, the COVID-19 epidemic and its effects on the economy caused inflation to increase. Due to the growing prices of food, transportation, and other necessities, the inflation rate rose to 15.75%.
According to NBS inflation data as of 2021, inflation was on the decline and was at 15.61%. This is primarily a result of the nation’s attempts to reduce inflation, which have included introducing economic reforms, enhancing the supply chain, and raising production capacity.
In 2022, Inflation rose to 21.8% due to flooding in 2022, insecurity, and supply chain disruption, oil theft which led to the increase in the high inflation rate in the nation.
In conclusion, NBS inflation data from 2015 to 2023 highlights the fluctuation of prices in Nigeria and its impact on the economy. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the country’s efforts to control inflation and stabilize the economy have resulted in an increase in Inflation rate which Is affecting the country and its citizens badly.
Track Dollar rate from 2015-2023
The dollar rate in 2015 was roughly 197 Nigerian naira to 1 US dollar. This rate remained quite steady in the months that followed, with just minor changes. However, Nigeria had a severe economic slump in 2016 and 2017, and the dollar rate fell to roughly 305 and 306 Nigerian naira to 1 US dollar respectively.
The rate continued to stabilize throughout 2018, and at the end of the year, it was about 307 Nigerian naira to 1 US dollar. However, the rate began to climb again in 2019, with an average rate of 310 Nigerian naira to 1 US dollar. In 2020, the NBS dollar rate reached an all-time high of more than 350 Nigerian naira to one US dollar.
The rate fluctuated throughout 2021, but it remained quite high, with an average of roughly 413 Nigerian naira to 1 US dollar. In 2022 the dollar rate increased drastically to 450 Nigerian naira. The dollar rate is currently running at 461 Nigerian Naira. The future of the dollar rate is difficult to forecast since it is impacted by several factors, including the country’s economic policies, global economic trends, and political stability. Analysts predict that the rate will stay high in the future years as Nigeria grapples with economic issues.
Source: National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
LAGOS, Nigeria – February 2nd, 2023 – Cadbury Nigeria Plc (a part of Mondelēz International), has been certified as a Top Employer in Africa for the third consecutive year. Cadbury Nigeria also emerged second place in the Top Employer in Nigeria category, this year.
The Top Employers were recognized in a global virtual event organized by the Top Employers Institute, recently. To earn Top Employer certification from the Amsterdam-based Institute, businesses are evaluated against a rigorous list of entry criteria and participate in an HR Best Practices Survey. Mondelēz International was awarded Top Employer status in Nigeria.
In a statement, Oyeyimika Adeboye, Cadbury Nigeria’s Managing Director, said: “The fact that we got certified for the third year running attests to our consistency of purpose, and commitment to doing what is right.
“The Top Employer certification further validates the fact that our people policies and practices are world-class. We will continue to champion policies that promote harmony in the workplace.”
Wole Odubayo, Human Resources Director, Cadbury Nigeria, said: “We are excited to add the Top Employer 2023 to the numerous awards already received by Cadbury Nigeria. We continue to benchmark our practices against the best in the industry and continue to improve our processes and systems.
“This certification from Top Employer recognizes the best companies to work for in Nigeria and Africa. All the external awards and recognitions received by the Company is a testimony to the great work we have done. We will continue to help create and drive a great place to work and position us as employer of choice in the market for talents.”
According to the statement, which was issued by Frederick Mordi, the Company’s Corporate Communications and Government Affairs Manager for West Africa, the Company also won eight awards at the prestigious HR People Magazine awards, one of Nigeria’s top HR platforms, in 2022. Some of the awards included ‘Employer of Choice’ (under 1000 employees); ‘Outstanding in Talent Management’; and ‘HR Team of the Year.’ ‘HR Champion Award’ went to Adeboye, who beat five other Managing Directors that were nominated as well, for their role modelling and championing HR initiatives.
About Mondelēz International
Mondelēz International, Inc. (Nasdaq: MDLZ) empowers people to snack right in over 150 countries around the world. With 2021 net revenues of approximately $29 billion, MDLZ is leading the future of snacking with iconic global and local brands such as Oreo, belVita and LU biscuits; Cadbury Dairy Milk, Milka and Toblerone chocolate; Sour Patch Kids candy and Trident gum. Mondelēz International is a proud member of the Standard and Poor’s 500, Nasdaq 100 and Dow Jones Sustainability Index. Visit www.mondelezinternational.com or follow the company on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MDLZ.
About Cadbury Nigeria
Cadbury Nigeria Plc (CNP), a publicly quoted company, is the pioneer cocoa beverage manufacturer offering some of the most loved brands in the country. Cadbury Nigeria is a 74.99%-owned subsidiary of Mondelēz International, a global snacking powerhouse with an unrivalled portfolio of brands. The remaining 25.01% of shares are held by a diverse group of indigenous, individual and institutional investors. A front-runner in beverages, confectionery and gum, Cadbury Nigeria’s quality products–Bournvita, Hot Chocolate 3 in 1, TomTom, Buttermint, and Clorets–are market leaders in their respective consumer segments. For more information, visit www.cadburynigeria.com or www.mondelezinternational.com/About/Nigeria