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Nigeria: A Nation On Death Row

In a few months time, Africa most populous nation, Nigeria will be heading to the polls to elect its political representatives in an electoral exercise  that has been predicted to be the fiercest yet political battle in the history of the country and a great decider to the unity and continuous existence of the 1914 amalgam and by extension the stability of Africa as a whole.

For a country that has witnessed decades of military misrule and dictatorial governments, there is a resounding appeal to ensure the continuous play of democracy and political stability. Like every other country, Nigeria is faced with its own challenges. The slippery war against terrorism, where the dreaded Boko Haram group has continuously held the country to ransom with tonnes of atrocities among which are the numerous genocides that is claiming thousands of helpless and vulnerable lives. The unabating kidnappings especially that of over 200 girls of Chibok Secondary School and the unending massacre of many others on a nearly daily basis has become a major source of concern to residents of the country and even the world at large.

The current political play in the country towards the 2015 general election points clearly towards doomsday. The country is currently divided along partisan class laced around religion and ethnicity. While majority of distance analysts simply see the current brouhaha as normalcy in the build up to the election, experiences of the immediate past points otherwise.

Now That Boko Haram Is World’s No 2 by Bolaji Tunji

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 For most discerning Nigerians, the war against Boko Haram has not really started, though the Nigerian leadership would say otherwise.  And I am not sure the war would really start notwithstanding what the military authority would want us to believe. It is not that soldiers are not in the theatre of war. But what has been the result of the military effort. On a daily basis, we are assaulted with pictures and reports of people moving from their communities to areas they consider safe. As at today, there are some communities still under Boko Haram. And let us not forget that we still have over 200 Chibok girls in the custody of the sect.
So going by the result posted so far, the military has not distinguished itself in this war.  Most Nigerians are finding it difficult to accept that the military can deal decisively with the menace. Thus it was not really a surprise when the news broke that Mubi which had been captured by the sect was retaken by local hunters, a feat that was impossible for the ‘professional’ Nigerian Army to accomplish. Though it was said the task was achieved with the help of the Nigerian Army, but the role played by the army was not stated. The military has not equally come out to state the role it played in the battle.

What kind of support did they give? Who led the attack? Was the attack led by one of the hunters or an army officer? One was thus left wondering how this feat was achieved. We have seen pictures and video recordings of the Boko Haram fighters surrounded by death-dealing arsenals which have enabled them to put our soldiers on the run, with some of them taking refuge or as the military would call it, tactically withdrawing into neighbouring countries of Cameroun and Chad.

Dilemma of Nigerian voters by Mobolaji Sanusi

Jega

.The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country’—-Franklin D. Roosevelt

It is no news that the commencement of distribution of the third phase of PVC in Lagos, Ogun, Edo, Imo and nine other states has been quite problematic. Apart from the lamentations of inhabitants of other states, yours sincerely’s experience in Lagos while trying to obtain the card was shattering – and it is worth sharing with my readers. When I got to the polling unit where I got my temporary voter’s card over four years ago, my names and those of others that registered under that unit code could not be found. Then my journey to the unknown began. We were directed to go to other units and as at the last count, I got to no fewer than seven units around the area but still could not found my name let alone asking for my PVC.

Quite a lot of others in my area saw their names on the list pasted on boards at polling units but their PVCs were missing. On the initial last day of the exercise, I gave up that except miracle happens, I may not be able to vote in the 2015 general elections since I could not find my name. Then the exercise was extended and someone advised me to go and register afresh. To that option, I was not well disposed because of the criminal implication of double registration. Another person suggested that I should go and collect a form to register my complaints. I thought that could be done at the local council in my area but l was directed to a primary school in the area, whose compound was deployed to attending to voters with complaints and those wishing to register afresh.

I got there. The chaotic environment there which was quite detrimental to any meaningful learning process of the pupils can be better imagined. The noise pollution level is quite beyond acceptable decibel. People from different shades of life, mostly the hoi polloi, were on a long queue. Intermittent noisy arguments, outbursts and sometimes, big fights over some people’s attempts to shunt were the order of the day.

In The Future of Our Dreams… by Olatunji Ololade

Our next best hope still elevates the eternal law of averages. They choose to ornament “less-than” even below the eternal line of averageness. I speak of the Nigerian youth. I speak of you and me. Beneath our passionate cry for change subsists a spinelessness that ornaments even the deserter with the valor of knights, thousands of miles from the scenes of combat and the valiant’s death. We have failed to make a response ideal to our cause. We have failed to display courage necessary to our survival and adequate to our time.

It’s every man for himself; the successful doctor, banker, journalist, engineer, police officer et al, do not care about anything and anybody else. It’s what Evelyn Waugh describes as the sly, sharp instinct for self-preservation that passes for wisdom among the rich. Hence the desperation of the Nigerian youth to be rich, within the bounds of that dear old “wisdom” and thought process that infinitely manifests as foolishness.

Such is the mentality of the Nigerian youth, regrettably lacking in guts and substance; our utterances persistently leap from our lips as discontent, insignificant as the spores of fungi yet impinged on the base surfaces of our minds. It’s indeed shameful what cowardly lot we have become.

We dream of the future and talk of change within the limits of our intelligence forgetting that the world of such future that we anticipate will foster a more demanding struggle against the limits of our intelligence, not a cozy rose bed in which we can lie down to be waited upon by a more compliant fate and time.

As Another Civil War Looms, By Chido Onumah

BiafraMapForty-four years after the end of the Nigeria-Biafra War, Nigeria finds herself on the brink of another civil war. Nigerians have waited in vain in the last five years for those who should know to show some fortitude and speak out. Last week, a few of them did.

The suggestion, as reported by Sunday Punch (16/11/14), by retired senior military officers, including a former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon – the man who prosecuted the Nigeria-Biafra War – asking President Goodluck Jonathan to declare “total war” on Boko Haram, the group that has terrorized Nigerians for about five years and has lately annexed parts of the country, couldn’t have come at a more auspicious time. While their tactics – cutting off food and fuel supplies to the insurgents – may be problematic, their intention is commendable. The interpretation is that Nigeria is fighting a civil war and needs to approach it as such.

Before the latest intervention, one of Nigeria’s most respected military officers, Col Abubakar Umar (retd), had, in a strongly-worded open letter to Nigerians, proffered solutions to the current impasse. Umar was quite categorical. “I feel compelled to appeal to all Nigerians to recognize that Nigeria is indeed at war. It is a war that seems set to engulf the entire country. We need to understand that the war in the Northeast is a war against Nigeria. The insurgents intend to use a conquered Northeast as a launch pad on which to invade and conquer the rest of the country and possibly the whole of the West African sub-region,” he wrote.

Real Reason Nigeria Is Broke By Emmanuel Onwubiko

Zero Option for Corruption: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Crude oil asking price per barrel in the international market is reported to have slumped far lower than the budget projection of a little over $75 USD. This, coupled with the unfortunate scenario of the United States of America not buying Nigeria’s huge crude oil exports are said to be the major fear factor why Nigeria’s external reserves have plummeted to an all time low since 1999.

Nigeria’s Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for  the Economy,  Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was at her wits best the other day when she briefed the National Assembly. She had raised the issue of  imminent economic crunch that may befall Nigeria unless in her words ‘we learn to do belt tightening in the way we live as a nation”. The coordinating minister for the Nigerian economy is one fortuitous Nigerian public officer that can be said to have seen it all in the area of managing the nation’s economy given the fact that she has remained consistent like the Northern star in the Nigerian political firmament since early 2003 or so when she was ‘borrowed’ by the then Chief Olusegun Obasanjo-led administration to head the Ministry of Finance before being reshuffled to the less fancied Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which led to her exit but again emerged as the Minister of Finance under the current dispensation since the current President became Acting President in 2010 and then was reappointed after the current Head of State and Head of government, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, won election for his first full four-year tenure since 2011.

Chibok girls: Ezekwesili’s Demand For Truth by Chris Nonyelum

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As with the pursuit of happiness, the pursuit of truth is itself gratifying whereas the consummation often turns out to be elusive.   —Richard Hofstadter

There is no denying the fact that Mrs Oby Ezekwesili’s article entitled, ‘The truth, nothing but the truth’, published in leading Nigerian newspapers was written with patriotic zeal. On the surface, she seems to have arrived at rational conclusions regarding the failure of government to rescue the Chibok girls several months after their abduction. Expressing deep concern about the unfolding ugly events in the country, she reminded the government that “more citizens are traumatized by the daily killings and maiming as well as the destruction of our people and the annexation by the insurgents of some of our national territorial space”.

The concern and anxiety she expressed are not only genuine but also real and disturbing, seemingly authenticated and validated by government’s apparent inability to find solutions to these worrisome problems confronting the nation and threatening its corporate existence. The whole essence of the article and its central purpose is anchored on the desire to know the ‘truth’. She wants to know ‘the truth regarding our counter insurgency strategy… what is really going on in Mubi, Gombe, Pokiskum and Yola… why our government deliberately misleads the entire country and the whole world with that cheery but phantom news of ceasefire and the release of our Chibok girls…for those who ask about what we demand as we stand daily for our 219 daughters, the answer is simple: The Truth, nothing but the Truth!”

Why GEJ Deserves A Second Term by Robert Obioha

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Even before President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ) exhibited signs that he would contest for a second term in office in 2015, a minority group of self-appointed critics of the administration elected to indulge in “Jonathan should not contest” stale tale. While some of them allude that his contesting the 2015 presidential poll will cause havoc in the country, others who have deliberately refused to see anything good in GEJ’s administration, called for his outright resignation from office because of the ongoing war against terrorism in the North-East. From their utterances, it is clear that the only reason the critics have against GEJ’s second term ambition is that it will cause “trouble” in the land.

Most of the “stop Jonathan campaigners” are unfortunately members of the opposition and their sympathizers. But have they forgotten that in a democratic setting, such calls that infringe on the rights of President Jonathan to vote and be voted for as duly provided for, in the extant 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, are null and void and of no effect whatsoever. Rather than dwell on Jonathan should not contest campaign, those at the behest of the untoward pastime should be creative enough to tell Nigerians what makes GEJ ineligible to contest the 2015 presidential poll besides the mournful Armageddon fiction.

Delta Air Lines Reports Solid Demand in Nigeria

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Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) marks the seventh year anniversary since the start of its daily nonstop service between Lagos Murtala Muhammed International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Delta remains the only U.S. carrier to operate daily year round service between Nigeria and the United States offering hundreds of onward connecting opportunities via Delta’s Atlanta hub.

Speaking at an annual media roundtable in Lagos, Bobby Bryan, Delta’s commercial manager East and West Africa, said, “Delta’s flight between Lagos and Atlanta has remained solid, and we have been seeing load factors averaging around 80%.  The top U.S. destinations that our customers from Nigeria have been travelling to include Houston, Washington, Los Angeles, Dallas and New York and this year alone we have carried some 100,000 passengers.”

Bryan continued, “Since our first service to the U.S in 2007 Delta has flown over 770,000 passengers.  It’s incredible to think that is equivalent to the population of the city of Abuja.”

Delta operates flights between Lagos and Atlanta with a Boeing 767-300ER aircraft with up to 208 seats in a two-class configuration featuring 36 seats in BusinessElite, offering fully flat-bed seats with direct aisle and 179 seats in economy class.  Customers flying in Economy Comfort, Delta’s premium economy service, benefit from up to four additional inches of legroom and 50 percent more recline than Delta’s standard international Economy class seats, as well as priority boarding. Other product initiatives being rolled out across Delta’s international fleet include the expansion of Wi-Fi service by the end of 2016.

Delta flights between Lagos and Atlanta are available for booking via travel agents or Delta’s reservations team on 01 279 9000. Visit www.delta.com for further information and flights schedules.

CAPTION:

Bobby Bryan, Commercial Manager, East & West Africa at Delta Air Lines (M) flanked by Olufemi Adefope, Managing Director, Skylogistics (L) and Salami Omeiza, Station Manager, Delta Air Lines (R) during the airlines 7th anniversary press conference in Lagos.

Govs call for withdrawal of $2bn from Excess Crude Account – Vanguard

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For the fourth month running, statutory revenue available for distribution between the three tiers of government dropped as the total revenue for October stood at N593.34 billion. The amount is about N10.192 billion lower than the N603.529 billion shared in September.

This is just as governors of the 36 states of the federation called for the withdrawal of $2 billion, or about N320 billion from Nigeria’s $4.11 billion Excess Crude Account to be used for the completion of projects and for provision of security across the country ahead of the 2015 general elections.

Details presented at the end of the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, FAAC, meeting in Abuja on Tuesday however showed that N420.036 billion realised as oil mineral revenue for the month was higher by about N45.294 billion realised in the previous month.

Non-oil revenue was lower than N127.356 billion realised in September by about N10.699 billion.

Accountant-General of the Federation, Jonas Otunla, said gross revenue of N536.692 billion received for the month was higher than what was received in the previous month by N34.596 billion.

Lawlessness in Ekiti…..Nation

fayose•Illegalities in the house of assembly are a frightening development that should not stand

Once again, impunity, subversion of the democratic order and brazen illegality have become the order of the day in Ekiti State since the Ayodele Fayose administration was inaugurated. It seems the “one-trouble one-day” syndrome that prevailed during the governor’s first tenure is back again.

The show of shame exhibited by a minority of the lawmakers on Monday is an indication that the way forward in the state may be paved with thorns. A few members of the House of Assembly were said to have met in cloudy circumstances to consider requests from the state executive. In order to ensure that the majority was locked out of the deliberation, scores of heavily armed riot policemen, complete with armoured vehicles were said to have been mobilised to get the job done.

How many lawmakers sat? The opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) that controls majority of the seats put it at seven. This was corroborated by the Speaker, Adewale Omirin. The men who perpetrated the act said they were 10, while spokesman for the state governor, Mr. Idowu Adelusi, said they were nine.

In all the accounts, the notorious fact is that a minority chose to impose its will on the majority and the state at large. Citing Order 27 of the House Rules, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers said they were empowered to elect a Speaker pro-tempore to preside over affairs in the absence of the Speaker. They also pointed out that a third forms the quorum to do legislative business. As such, they claim that the decisions taken were valid, legal and binding.

I pray to live for another 10 years – Obasanjo

obasanjoFormer President Olusegun Obasanjo on Thursday prayed to outlive  the Permanent Voters’ Card (PVC) issued to him by the Independent National Electoral Commission which has a 10 years life span.

Speaking while collecting the PVC at his Presidential Hilltop Estate in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Obasanjo said ” My prayer to God is for him to please let me outlast this card.”

“This means that if I outlast this card, I can be smiling. But then, it is only the grace of God. But I heard that some people were complaining that they have not collected their card. I do not complain because I know that I will eventually get my card. But people that genuinely complain will be attended to before the elections.”

He said the recent issuance of the PVC and the continuous voters’ registration exercise will portray the country in good light.

NATION

Adebayor accuses mum of doing ‘juju’ against him

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Tottenham Hotspur Emmanuel Adebayor is on a warpath his family after accusing him of neglecting them.

The Togo captain is alleged to have ejected his mother madam Alice Adebayor from the US$ 1.5million he bought for the family.

It is reported that the former Arsenal man split with his relatives because they were doing rituals against him.

“For the past six years Adebayor has rejected his mother and his immediate family whilst doing charity outside on the premise that our mother is a witch,” Adebayor’s cousin Margaret told Accra-based Peace FM.

“We have been thinking of his future as a footballer and did not want this issue out in the media but it is becoming too much.

“As we speak our mother lives in an apartment rented by our junior brother, Kola Adebayor, who currently lives in German“Could you believe Adebayor ordered his machomen to sack our mother and his own mother from a house he built in Togo claiming she is a witch?

Ban Air France from Nigeria Now! By Pius Adesanmi

tain de merde! I exclaim in absolute contempt as I hand over my passport to the French police officer. That’s an unthinkable vulgarity! It is the father of vulgarities in French, guaranteed to catch the attention of the French policeman who now holds my passport, lost in a few seconds of confusion. His colleagues in the ongoing process of stripping Nigerians of their human dignity also stop sharply in their tracks, all eyes on me. I have them where I want them. I want all four French police officers to hear me use a vulgarity that no White French man or woman can get away with using in the presence of a French policeman in the best of circumstances, let alone an African with a black ass getting off the plane – and from Nigeria of all places!

In the thirty seconds of their confusion, I can visualize what is going on in their minds. Their job, to stand right at the door of the plane, look mean and unfriendly, and scrutinize the passports of all passengers arriving from Nigeria, before such passengers proceed to face further humiliation at immigration and passport control, has conditioned them psychologically to face docile, frightful, and suppliant Nigerians pouring out of Air France flights weekly from Abuja or Lagos. Only for this six-foot-two-inch-male to hand over his passport with an air of supreme confidence bordering on intolerable arrogance and to ice that cake of hubris with unbelievable pottymouthed vulgarity.

What to do with this pompous Nigerian? Well, he did say “putain de merde”, right? It’s not just that he said it. It’s the way he said it: 100% Parisian French, complete with the accent. Nobody says it like that without being in perfect command of the French language, culture, and civilization. Nobody says it like that without having lived in Paris, without having crawled the streets of Barbes and Chateau d’Eau, without having been a habitual crawler on the platforms of Les Halles. This arrogant chap is one of us. He knows us inside out. He must have once lived here with us. He is us. He is doing this deliberately to provoke a reaction.

The link between low trade and high poverty by Roberts Orya

Accordingly, Chris and his colleagues listed human capital, infra­structure, institution­al quality, financial deepen­ing and proximity to markets as drivers of export diversifi­cation. These are very impor­tant recommendations which are familiar but which cannot be overemphasized. I will therefore run commentaries on them in the context of the Nigerian policy environment and readiness for trade as I conclude this piece.

The Nigerian middle class and wealthy Nigerians are noted to be pretty sophis­ticated. As such, an indus­trial development model that manufactures cheap and inferior products would be mistargeted at Nigerians with means. Nowhere is this recognized more than in the cable manufacturing industry where Nigerian cables are noted for higher quality than some imported brands. Once known for exporting inferior products.

China has been reforming its industrial policy to em­phasize the manufacturing of high quality products. This is the direction Nigeria should go to ensure we can trade in the global market of today and not of yesterday.

Human capital: Within a practical framework, multi-level support for human capi­tal development has been a key goal of this Administra­tion. School enrolment has improved generally. Specific programmes have targeted areas that had lagged behind due to past neglect.