Google+ Followers

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Nigeria's Goodluck Jonathan: Five reasons why he lost.



By Damian Zane
BBC News


Goodluck Jonathan is the first Nigerian sitting president to lose an election
Nigerians are so used to the idea that an incumbent should win presidential elections that President Goodluck Jonathan's failure to beat Gen Muhammadu Buhari needs some explaining. Here are five reasons why the opposition won:
1: Harder to rig
Past elections have been marred by serious irregularities and suspicions of rigging. In 2007 observers said the presidential poll was not "credible". In 2011 the vote was considered to be better run but observers said that rigging and fraud still took place.
This time the electoral commission took more steps to prevent rigging, including new biometric voters cards.
Also President Jonathan's party, the People's Democratic Party (PDP), had lost control of some key states which meant it could not control the electoral process there.
line
2: Boko Haram and security
Nigerian soldiers displaying a Boko Haram black flag
The Nigerian army has made some recent gains against Boko Haram, but not enough to convince Nigerians
The election took place against the background of an Islamist insurgency in the north-east of the country. The Boko Haram militant group has killed 20,000 people and forced some three million others from their homes and President Jonathan was criticised for not getting to grips with this.






The poll was delayed for six weeks to give time for the security situation to improve, but even though most areas controlled by Boko Haram were recaptured, it seems to have come too late for many people.
line
3: United opposition, crumbling PDP
PDP supporter
The extra six weeks of vigorous campaigning by the PDP was not enough to halt the slide in the party's fortunes
The PDP has been described as an election-winning machine. When it was created it united a northern elite with leading politicians from the south, but that alliance has broken up and the party lost some key figures. Even former President Olusegun Obasanjo came out against Mr Jonathan.
At the same time, the opposition managed to unite under the All Progressives Congress (APC) banner. The last six weeks of desperate and dirty campaigning, in which the APC responded in kind, was not enough to turn the tide.
line
4: Economy
Dollars and Naira
Nigeria's economy is growing but the wealth is not being spread around
Nigeria is Africa's biggest oil producer and its largest economy, but many fail to feel the benefits with nearly half the population living below the poverty line. Continued corruption is seen as partly being to blame.
National income is due to grow by more than 5% this year and next year, but people did not seem in the mood to thank Mr Jonathan for this.
line
5: Time for a change
Nigerian election posters
APC supporters chanted "change" wherever they went and it seems to have caught the mood. The PDP has been in power since the end of military rule in 1999, and 2015 is the year that Nigerians decided that someone else should have a go at sorting things out.
President-elect Buhari now has to prove he really can change things.

Nigeria election: Muhammadu Buhari wins

Residents celebrate the anticipated victory of Presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari in Kaduna, Nigeria 31 March 2015
Supporters of Muhammadu Buhari celebrated as the results came in


Former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari has become the first opposition candidate to win a presidential election in Nigeria.
Incumbent Goodluck Jonathan telephoned Gen Buhari, 72, on Tuesday night to congratulate him and concede defeat.
Unofficial voting tallies put Gen Buhari more than two million votes ahead of his rival.
Observers have generally praised the election, though there have been allegations of fraud.
Election results as they happened






A spokesman for Gen Buhari's All Progressives Congress (APC) party praised Mr Jonathan, saying: "He will remain a hero for this move. The tension will go down dramatically."
Gen Buhari's supporters took to the streets in APC strongholds, including the northern cities of Kano and Kaduna, to sing and dance in celebration.
The APC issued a statement after the result was announced, calling for "calm, sober celebrations" and warning supporters not to attack opponents.
"He or she is not with me, whoever does that," the new president said.
line
Analysis: Will Ross, BBC Nigeria correspondent, Abuja
Buhari agreed last week to respect the outcome of the polls
Gen Buhari's victory is a hugely significant moment in Nigeria's turbulent history. Never before has a sitting president been defeated in an election.
Since independence from Britain in 1960, there have been numerous coups and most elections have been rigged. Of course in a close election there will be many voters who are not pleased with this outcome but the whole process is a sign that democracy is deepening in Nigeria.
The poll has once again brought to the surface dangerous religious and regional differences and there is still a threat of violence.
The man who has been voted out, Goodluck Jonathan, has played a huge part today in trying to prevent that. He made the phone call when there would no doubt have been some in his camp who would have preferred to dig their heels in.

Profile: Muhammadu Buhari
Profile: Goodluck Jonathan

The former military ruler managed to win more than 25% of votes in 24 states, meaning he avoided the possibility of a run-off with Mr Jonathan.
He dominated the country's north-western states, which have suffered most from attacks by Islamist militant group Boko Haram.
In Borno state, one of the worst-affected by Islamist violence, Gen Buhari won 94% of the vote.

It is the fourth time that Gen Buhari, 72, has sought the presidency.
He ruled Nigeria from January 1984 until August 1985, taking charge after a military coup in December 1983.
Mr Jonathan had led Nigeria since 2010, initially as acting leader before winning elections in 2011.
Nigeria has suffered from several attacks by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which has killed thousands of people in its drive to establish an Islamic state.
Many voters have said that they believe Gen Buhari is better positioned to defeat Boko Haram.
The verdict on Mr Buhari's 20 months as military ruler is mixed.
The European Union's top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, congratulated Gen Buhari on his victory, saying she "looked forward to working with" him.

Muhammadu Buhari
Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria's new leader
Muhammadu Buhari in focus:
◾Aged 72
◾Muslim from northern Nigeria
◾Elected president in 28 March poll
◾Military ruler of Nigeria from 1984 to 1985
◾Deposed in a coup
◾Poor human rights record
◾Seen as incorruptible
◾Disciplinarian - civil servants late for work had to do frog jumps
◾Survived an apparent Boko Haram assassination attempt

Monday, 30 March 2015

PRESS RELEASE! PRESS RELEASE!! ON SIEGE ON GOVERNOR ROTIMI AMAECHI


NOTHING BAD MUST HAPPEN TO GOVERNOR ROTIMI AMAECHI AND THE LEADERS OF APC
The Executive Council and members of APC UK Chapter are very concerned about the threat to the life of the APC Governor of Rivers State and Director General of APC PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN ORGANISATION, Governor Rotimi Amaechi who had earlier complained that the President Goodluck Johnathan led PDP government had completed plans to assassinate him and some leaders of APC.
We are very worried that the Federal government on the orders of President Jonathan has unleashed combined units of the Nigerian army and police to barricade and lay siege to Governor Rotimi Amaechi’s house , as the APC Presidential and other candidates lead in early polls results in the General elections 2015. This is of great concern to us. We invite you to watch Governor Rotimi Amaechi, complain to a Police Officer in front of the Governor's House in Port Harcourt in front of the gentlemen of the Press, bloggers and social media users - https://fbstatic-a.akamaihd.net/rsrc.php/v2/y4/r/-PAXP-deijE.gif
We are all witnesses to how orderly the Nigerian people are speaking and making it clear that change has come to Nigeria through their patient and orderly voting at polling stations all over the Country in spite of intimidations and underhand dealings of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP,  the police as well as the army and other security forces. We call of the PDP and President Jonathan to rein-in their forces and thugs in order to save precious Nigerian lives and property. The people are resolute to have genuine change come to Nigeria and no power can stop them now.
We are therefore asking the world to take note of the dastardly plans by President Jonathan and PDP to assassinate the leaders of APC. Indeed the APC candidate for the House of Assembly for the Dukku constituency of Gombe in Gombe State along with eight members of APC was assassinated this morning Saturday, 28 March 2015. May their gallant souls rest in peace.
We call on the police and security agencies of the Federal government of Nigeria to make sure that the perpetrators of this evil act are brought to book promptly. As for Governor Rotimi Amaechi and other leaders of APC throughout Nigeria, we call on President Jonathan and PDP to respect the peace accord signed by the APC Presidential candidate General Muhammadu Buhari and President Goodluck Johnathan and make sure that nothing happens to them: not even a hair on them should be harmed. Let peace reign and let our people live to declare the works of God Almighty and make Nigeria great again.
This is a Save-Our-Souls message to intimate the world that democracy is under threat yet again in Nigeria as the government of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP employs subterfuge and violence against the peoples of Nigeria through the manipulation and disruption of the electoral process and its umpire, Independent Electoral Commission, INEC and the incitement of ethnic militias to commit mayhem and ethnic cleansing against Nigerians. This is in order to create a situation unsuitable for elections or ripe for the outright stealing of the elections by the government and its security agencies as well as the PDP thugs. Our leaders are not safe unless President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP can give us the guarantee that they are safe and would abide by the letter and spirit of the peace accord he signed onto with our Presidential candidate General Muhammadu Buhari recently.
The world cannot afford to allow Nigeria to fail as a state. The regional and global impact, let alone, the scale of potential human suffering of allowing Nigeria to fail or degenerate into a theatre of war are too heinous to face. THIS IS WHY WE ARE NOW CALLING ON THE WHOLE WORLD TO HELP NIGERIA AVERT THIS SITUATION.
Watch the siege on Governor Rotimi Amaechi’s house in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State of Nigeria: https://fbstatic-a.akamaihd.net/rsrc.php/v2/y4/r/-PAXP-deijE.gif
Philip Ilenbarenemen,
Publicity Secretary,
APC UK Chapter

Friday, 27 March 2015

HOW BUHARI WILL APPLY COMMON SENSE TO TRANSFORM THE NIGERIAN ECONOMY


By Chief Lawson A. Omokhodion
The record of General Muhammadu Buhari’s  (GMB) involvement in making Nigeria a respectable country is out in the open domain. When he assumed power after the December 31, 1983 military coup, the conservative NPN (National Party of Nigeria) federal government had virtually destroyed the economy the way the conservative PDP federal government has destroyed the Nigerian economy today. Fake import bills, massive current account deficit, shortage of foreign exchange, huge external borrowing by the NPN government, austerity measures via the government economic stabilisation act of 1982, drug peddling and smuggling, violence all over the country particularly after the Ondo State vigorously contested elections and general state of despair were characteristic of he NPN government. The way it was under the NPN in 1983 is the same as it is in the PDP government of today. GMB came as head of state to rescue the country and he took certain drastic steps. The NPN government had run down the country’s foreign exchange reserves because of the over invoicing of projects, fraudulent expenditure on the construction of the federal capital city of Abuja and the profligacy of the government of President Shehu Shagari who was as weak and as clueless as the present leadership.
To address critical shortages GMB did not go out for foreign loans the way President Jonathan and Finance Minister Okonjo-Iweala are busy doing now by borrowing from China, ADB and world financial markets. He cut down on imports and rationed what was available in the country. Nigerians got used to managing what was available and producing locally what they could. It was then that toilet rolls began to be produced in Nigeria. GMB’s government now went into counter trade to be able to barter crude oil for critical supplies and the country moved in a disciplined manner. Nigerians now formed a cueing culture and both Nigerian men and women learnt how to be orderly, how to wait patiently for their turns and how to be polite to other Nigerians. In a matter of months Nigeria regained its respect among the comity of nations.  Unlike today where impunity, disorderliness and a culture-of-do-what-you-like prevails in government, orderliness was the reward of GMB’s presidency. We must return to the rea of order and good governance that only Buhari will ensure.
GMB hates corruption and disdains crude capital accumulation and wealth without work. He clamped all the corrupt leaders of the three political parties into detention and the government set up the special military tribunals to try the corrupt politicians. The parties were NPN, APP and the UPN. Many of the governors were sent to jail with their ministers and commissioners. These are the same corrupt people fighting Buhari today and yet under the PDP federal government these politicians have once again ruined the economy the way the NPN ruined the economy in 1983. To further make useless the money stolen by corrupt politicians, in 1984 GMB changed the colours and configuration of the Naira. The politicians were in trouble and they started working with the Ibrahim Babangida group to stage a military coup. GMB served as head of state from December 31, 1983 to August 1985 (18 months) and not one case of corruption was ever brought against his government or in the states. He would punish corruption vigorously and without mercy. But President Jonathan is soft on corruption. If Nigeria does not kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria as GMB said. When he became PTF Chairman, the known fact was that GMB would approve a contract with two conditions. Either the contractor performed well and got his cheque with a handshake or performed badly and got handcuffs heading to jail. He punished offenders and rewarded good performers. The EFFC and ICPC will be allowed to do their work independently without interference and according to the states setting them up. 
Buhari hates religious violence and the unnecessary waste of human lives. As head of state no one religious riot broke out. He was put under pressure to take Nigeria into the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Countries) but he refused saying that Nigeria was a secular state and no one religion must be allowed to dominate the country. It was the government of Ibrahim Babangida that took Nigeria into the OIC in 1986 leading to the crisis that led to the sacking of Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe as the chief of general staff. GMB led the Nigerian armed forces to crush the maitasine riot in the North-East and drove away the Chadian forces that occupied portions of Nigeria’s territory. Under GMB there will be no religious or Boko Haram crisis and if any one comes up it will be immediately addressed. GMB will not declare state of emergency in selected local government areas in the states where insurgents take over without taking firm action across the entire states. It was the way that the government of President Jonathan handled the Boko Haram criminality at the initial stages that gave impetus to the insurgency to grow out of hands. As an old time general of the Nigerian army, GMB will take decisive action on all matters of insecurity be it the murderous Hausa Fulani herdsmen, armed robberies, kidnapping or total lawlessness by individuals or groups.
As military governor of the former North-East state as it was then known and covering the whole of present day Borno and Yobe states and parts of Taraba and Adamawa states, the administrative capacity of GMB was never in doubt. He managed the resources of the state and Maiduguri the state capital was a beautiful, peaceful and progressive city under GMB governorship. Under President Jonathan the city of Maiduguri is a dangerous and abandoned city and a home of internally displaced persons. GMB was the petroleum minister under the government of Olusegun Obasanjo in 1976-79. GMB knows the history of the nation’s refineries and what is required for them to work. GMB will ask the original equipment manufacturers used for the refineries to return to fix the nation’s four refineries. If the refineries are working the corruption in fuel subsidy payments will be eliminated. The $20 billion that we pay annually for petroleum imports will be saved. Jobs will be created. The refineries will create jobs and the spin-off effects will positively affect the economy. The money stolen by accused subsidy thieves who include the sons of two former PDP Chairman will no longer be accessible to them. Cases of corrupt enrichment to the detriment of the people of Nigeria will not be swept under the carpet. GMB will make local refineries functional and new ones will be built by both private businessmen and government. Nigeria practices a mixed economy system and GMB will not abandon the government to private capitalists. GMB will work with the private sector and will make sure the public sector provides the facilitating environment for economic growth.
GMB will pay special attention to road and rail network. The cost of building roads will not be higher than the cost obtainable in Ghana or Togo; two countries that share the same weather conditions like Nigeria. The hierarchy of corruption in both the federal and state legislature and executive organs will be dismantled. The monies saved will be used to provide jobs to Nigerians and improve the state of the local economy. The rail lines will be given genuine attention and more will be done at a cost much less than the cost of railway today. The current rail line being executed by the Lagos State government that the President Jonathan is blocking will be facilitated. In 1984, the proposed metro line planned by the civilian government of Lateef Jakande was cancelled by then Lagos state government of Mudashiru Lawal because Lawal explained to the supreme military council that corruption and contract manipulation were quite evident in the awards. The 2015 GMB’s federal government will provide a nationwide framework for transparency so that disagreements between governments like the type that occurred with Mudashiru Lawal and Lateef Jakande will not be allowed to obstruct public spirited projects. GMB is a progressive personality and as President he will return Nigeria to a state of respectability in all spheres of life.
GMB will improve public schools across the land by proving both a policy framework and needed resources. The situation where only the very poor send their children to public primary and secondary schools will change. GMB will improve the state of public hospitals such that the poor, the aged and the weak will find a place for medical attention. The huge resources spent by Nigerian parents to educate their children abroad in universities and attend hospitals abroad when they are sick will be addressed by upgrading the facilities in public institutions and making sure that strikes by professional bodies and lockouts will be minimised by constructive engagement and appeal to a higher ideal of nation building. GMB will make sure instances of crude oil theft are either completely eliminated or reduced to a few barrels per day. GMB will pass the petroleum industry bill by working sincerely with the legislative chambers to achieve what PDP with double majority in the two chambers under President Jonathan could not achieve.  GMB will make sure all the funds that have been disbursed to make abundant electricity supply possible in Nigeria are applied as approved. GMB will not witch hunt but he will insist that any federal government project expenditure must carry commensurate value.
GMB will project a strong Nigeria. A nation where no-one will be oppressed. A nation where our diversity is strength and not the disabling weakness it has become. A nation where the rich and the poor will coexist as equals before the law. A country where local production is enhanced and import dependency minimised. A nation that is sympathetic to the strong and welcoming for the rich. GMB will give us a nation where the young school leavers and young graduates will be gainfully employed and happy and committed to a new Nigeria. We need just common sense to transform Nigeria’s socio-economic directions. Buhari has the common sense.
A vote for APC’s General Muhammadu Buhari is a vote for a prosperous new Nigeria.
 *Chief Omokhodion was MD/CEO Liberty Bank Plc

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Again, PDP kicks against Card Readers

by Gbade Ogunwale, Assistant Editor, Abu
The presidential campaign organisation of the Peoples
Democratic Party (PDP) has again kicked against the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to use of Smart Card Reader for Saturday’s election.
At a media briefing in Abuja on Wednesday, the Director of Media and Publicity of the campaign, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, alleged that INEC has colluded with the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) to compromise the card readers.
According to him, the contract for the production of card readers was awarded to companies owned by a friend and supporter of the presidential candidate of the APC, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari.
Fani-Kayode said: “Our concerns stem from the fact that the moving spirit and a major shareholder and board member of the company that supplied the card reader system and machines to INEC is not only a friend of but also an ardent and keen supporter of General Mohammadu Buhari and the APC.
“That man’s name is Sani Musa and he is indeed the main force behind the company. The company’s name is Act Technologies Ltd. and the Chairman of the company is one Engineer SK Danladi.
“How and why INEC would give the contract to supply the card readers to a fanatical APC supporter and to a man whose other company was officially blacklisted by INEC a couple of years ago for sharp practices, needs to be explained.
“Sani Musa has expressed his undying support for the APC and General Buhari and his hatred and virulent opposition to the PDP and President Goodluck Jonathan openly and publicly on his Facebook wall.
“Some of his comments on Facebook read as follows: I stand with him (Buhari) for whatever reason and I imagine the kind of people given spaces in our nation’s news tabloids.  Hoodlums are having field day in Nigeria since the inception of GEJ’s administration.  Mad men, hooligans and vultures have taken over decency of the society.  May Allah save us from the torments of this (sic) rascals and expose their intentions on our nation state be it the Boko Haram, killer militants or by extension those in authority with wicked intentions-Amen.
“Worst still, it is clear that certain aspects of and electronic components within the card reader system which will be used in Saturday’s election have not only been compromised but that the encryption codes and so-called ”master key” may have been made available to the opposition or their friends and agents. This will enable them to access the system, fabricate and generate fake votes and manipulate the voting patterns to their advantage.
“This constitutes a very serious breach of security and it is a criminal offence. It is also very dangerous. Worst still it can easily be carried out successfully because, if done quietly and properly and without any deep scrutiny, it is virtually fool-proof.
“All you need to make it work is to have certain relevant and key INEC officials that are in the know to work closely with the supplier of the card readers and an opposition party that is so hungry and desperate for power that they are ready to pay large sums of money to their friends and associates to help them get it by hook or by crook.
“We believe that all those components are now in place and that the biggest and most brazen attempt to rig elections in the history of our country will take place on Saturday if the necessary measures are not taken to prevent it.
“If the conspiracy is not exposed, if the Nigerian people do not rise up and demand answers, if the plan is not intercepted and aborted, if the Chairman of INEC does not answer the relevant questions and take the necessary steps and if the relevant individuals, including Sani Musa and his collaborators and co-conspirators in INEC and the opposition, are not called to order, arrested, interrogated and prosecuted their plan may well succeed.
“In view of this dastardly plan that is in the offing and this unwholesome conspiracy, we call on the party leadership and faithful to direct our supporters and polling agents to be very vigilant at every polling booth and to guard and protect their votes. After voting they should stay at the polling booths to ensure that their votes are counted and that they are not manipulated or changed.”

PRESIDENT JONATHAN AND OKONJO-IWEALA DRAG ECONOMY INTO DISASTER ZONE.




BY CHIEF LAWSON A. OMOKHODION.

 
The drums of the 2015 Presidential elections have been sounding since December 2014. By March 28 the people would speak.  While PDP’s President Jonathan is running on its records of the past five years, the APC candidate General Muhammadu Buhari is running on his promises to the electorate. Anyhow, a new government would be sworn-in on May 29.  Watchers of the Nigerian economy are wondering what is going on particularly when all senior federal government officials have relocated to their states of origin for politics. But what will the Finance Minister and Co-ordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and her team tell the world about the economic successes of President Jonathan? That the economy suddenly fell apart one year after rebasing the GDP?  That the federal executive council weekly meetings only approve projects that are never funded? That policies are not discussed at the council? Many questions to answer but it must resist the temptation of being carried away by the digitally re-mastered pictorial depiction of phenomenal achievements by a federal government that is now so adept at propaganda and deception. Aside the issues of corruption and insecurity it is time to discuss government duties, obligations and responsibilities to guarantee citizens’ socio-economic rights.
Okonjo-Iweala must worry why fuel importation is a key result area of the economy she manages?  The last time on TV she was explaining payments to fuel importers and why there would be no fuel scarcity. In fact in the past six months the government has paid estimated $6billion (six billion dollars) for fuel importation. Okonjo-Iweala must feel so ashamed that as an economist her government cannot take advantage of the nation’s natural resource endowment in crude oil to grow the economy. Over three and half years after the 2012 fuel subsidy crisis, Ngozi’s federal economy has no new petroleum refinery in sight and the existing ones continue to operate at 18% of capacity. Jobs lost in their thousands! At the last count Nigeria’s OPEC quota of 2.3 million barrels per day is undermined by both oil theft of 400,000 barrels per day and inability to generate sales. Yet the 480,000 daily barrels of crude oil that could have been refined locally are replaced by imported fuel. Ngozi and the federal government place their hope on the fact that the Aliko Dangote’s refinery will be ready in 2017 as if Dangote is synonymous with the federal government.  What will Ngozi tell her World Bank colleagues that has made Nigeria so dependent on imports on every aspect of its life? Import of furniture items?  Import of kerosene stoves? Has Ngozi read the goals and lessons of the structural adjustment programme of 1986? As a world bank trained economist why no long-term development planning agenda that guides the economy she is co-ordinating? Will this economy continue to dwell in the zone of disaster once again as from May 29?
Does this economy know how much it loses to OECD countries on annual foreign educational pursuits by students and medical tourism by the rich? Nigerians annually troop to the UK, Canada, USA, Switzerland, Dubai and others for quality university education. It costs a minimum of six million naira annually for undergraduate tuition and board in the UK. There are over 5000 Nigerian students in UK universities. Some students go to Benin republic and Ghana to receive university education in both good and inferior institutions. Students do go to India for university education, a country that was nowhere in the 1970s. In Nigeria none of its about 150 universities is rated amongst the first 1000 universities in the world. A country where both federal and state government owned universities cannot boast of proper toilet facilities for its hostel students. In Nigeria’s public universities, the inadequacy of both halls of residence, classrooms and lecture theatres negate the existence of these institutions. In the past 5 years the federal government alone has set up nearly 20 universities without even a study to ascertain the type of education and skills needed by the national economy. Yet these universities must produce good quality graduates for the economy and pronounce them fit both in learning and character. Why will a federal government not achieve excellence in academics and infrastructure in 10 selected universities in 5 years? In 16 years? If there are 10 world class universities in Nigeria most of the students who fly to the UK, Canada and USA for university education will remain at home to school and conserve the nation’s scarce foreign exchange. Does Ngozi know that as Co-ordinating Minister for the Economy she must be concerned? Does Ngozi know that job creation in this economy is her number one priority? A country where nine out of every 10 graduates are unemployed confirms that the economic policies have failed. Job creation is beyond ventures like Sure-P; You-win; graduate internship programme for 20,000 youths, or agropreneur programmes for 5000 youths in an environment where well over 25 million youths are daily searching for jobs. The Nigerian youths are debased and dehumanised by joblessness. What is the desirable annual unemployment rate that Ngozi and her colleagues target? How come federal government institutions like PRODA and FIIRO cannot be reorganised, funded, and engineered to achieve breakthroughs in the Nigerian manufacturing world to create jobs, products and services? Why must national initiatives in local raw materials conversion programmes of yesteryears wither away?
The multi-billion dollar cost of medical tourism in Europe, America and India is another drain pipe on the nation’s resources. How can a finance minister watch helplessly as billions of dollars are moved by patients seeking medical treatment abroad? Yet a strategic analysis of the environment would have pushed the federal government to singly or in partnership remodel a few existing teaching hospitals into world class hospitals making provisions for a no strike contract. Basic health challenges that nurses and assistants handle in Europe and America lead to instant death in Nigeria. Infant and Children and maternal mortality remain common place. Killer high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke and hospitals have no CT Scans, no MRI, no dialysis machines, no defibrillator, no reagents, no cancer treatment machines and yet there is a federal government. Equipment are not available and trained doctors have all left in frustration leaving behind only the sympathetic ones ready to help us through the domestic medical rot. By the time the Central Bank of Nigeria releases foreign exchange for fuel importation, approve foreign exchange for payment of foreign school fees, and basic travel allowance and disburses funds and business travel allowance for sick Nigerians going abroad for medical treatment little wonder that the nation’s foreign reserves can hardly hold its ground. With the international oil market gone soft the outlook for the local foreign exchange market is now dismal and horrendous.
The government must blame itself for allowing the exchange rate to break through the psychological threshold of N200/$ and now trading at N200/$ open market and N198/$ CBN. An economy where such a massive devaluation of its currency has taken place and yet the interest rate on loans and advances is an average of 27% pa is not serious about economic survival. Will Ngozi say that the fundamentals of the Nigerian economy as they stand today do credit to President Jonathan’s government? Since the second tier foreign exchange market of1986 the present experience has been the most traumatic. When businesses borrow they must pay back otherwise they come in conflict with the banks. Repeated bank loses on such transactions does not augur well for the economy. When banks collapse it is on account of the debilitating effects of bad loans on their shareholders’ funds. The small and medium sized businesses in the country cannot survive on an interest rate of 27%pa. The large scale industries cannot survive for much longer on both an interest rate of 27%pa and an exchange rate of either N198/$ or N220/$. The outlook is that the Nigerian economy is on a free fall. This delicate period has been compounded by an election where no rules are obeyed. All the ministers now play politics. The result is that confidence has left the economy and investors both local and foreign are adopting a wait and see attitude. The daily stock market price losses and decline in market capitalisation indicate that the economy is in turmoil but neither Okonjo-Iweala nor her colleagues know what to do.
It is instructive how the country has been allowed to go to the dogs in such a short time.  Senior federal government officials tell lies so freely. The Agriculture Minister Dr Adesina has extolled cassava bread but tried as I have there is no one loaf of cassava bread in sight. So where is Cassava bread? Similarly, the Agriculture Minister told the nation that several rice mills have been commissioned and notably in Abakaliki. And yet all my efforts to buy a bag of Adesina rice have failed. Many federal ministers are strangers to the Nigerian environment. Like Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala the agriculture minister is of the OECD stalk; a stranger in the land. If Dr Adesina knew better he would know that the only way to successfully transform agriculture in Nigeria was to reorganise the commodity boards and re-establish the Nigerian palm produce board; the Nigerian rubber board; the Nigerian Grains board; the Nigerian cotton board; the Nigerian cocoa board and create a new one called the Nigerian rice board. Many federal ministers have no sense of Nigeria’s economic history. The result has been a catastrophic failure and destructive economic agenda by strangers hired from western institutions to run critical arms of government. May be Trade and Investment minister Olusegun Aganga’s made-in-Nigeria Toyota cars may roll out soon.
Whenever I see Professor Nebo the Power Minister on national TV I feel very sorry for him. The reason is that he has tried every known trick in the books to convince Nigerians that 4,000 megawatts is a good buy for the well over $35billion poured into electricity supply and generation by the PDP government in the past 15 years. When Professor Nebo is not bemoaning gas pipe lines vandalization, he is crying over transmission lines. Yet no report is heard of gas explosion as a result of pipeline vandalization. If indeed a gas pipeline is vandalized the resultant fire outburst will be catastrophic. Recently, the Central Bank of Nigeria offered a soft loan of N213 billion to the gencos and discos that bought the assets of the power holding company of Nigeria. This massive loan is being disbursed through commercial banks. If past experience is anything to go by, this loan will go the way the aviation and textile intervention funds went. Meanwhile, Professor Nebo is confused as he knows there is no public electricity in the country. Too many fundamental questions need to be answered by federal ministers. Tons of presidential goodwill wasted. Fuel subsidies’ frauds unresolved? The docile EFCC and ICPC have made embezzlement of public funds such an easy past time. Why is impunity our guiding principle? The next President must apply a new strategy. We must change how things run in this country.  Let Buhari run Nigeria!
 *Chief Omokhodion was the Managing Director/CEO of Liberty Bank Plc.

Femi Fani Kayode: Silver Spoon Kid And Night Soil Man To A “Dumbo” By Jessica Obioma

“Night soil” is a euphemism for human faeces collected at night from cesspits. When some of our aged fathers and grandfathers were kids, pit latrine was the norm in the villages while township toilets were constructed with septic tanks that needed to be emptied weekly or forth nightly. At that time there were no adequate infrastructures like sewage treatment facility or individual septic disposal. Moreover protective gears like those worn by Ebola nurses were not available so the Night soil men must have suffered a few splashes of the filth on their garment. Not to mention the stench but they did their job with dedication. Someone had to do the job and remember “there is dignity in labour”.   
Femi Fani-Kayode 
 
There is a huge similarity and a major difference in the night soil job of that era and the one Femi Fani-Kayode has chosen to do for President Jonathan- a man he once described as “a President without balls”. The major difference is the fact that FFK’s brand of Night soil job is so undignified. How do you launder the image of a President that you have already announced to the world, through the internet, that he “is the problem” with your country. Femi actually said in his Premium Times column that “Jonathan is the problem we have in this country today and until he resigns, is impeached or is voted out of power nothing will change and Nigeria will continue to go from bad to worse.” He then said “That is what you get when you vote for a man who never wore shoes to school”.
Isn’t it so hilarious that this arrogant, loud- mouthed Femi (who says Governor Amaechi used to own only one shirt) is now the errand boy of a man who never wore shoes to school? It’s beyond comprehension that this Silver spoon kid who wrote that “Jonathan has deservedly earned such accolades as “dumb”, “clueless”, “incompetent”, “heartless”, “corrupt”, and “very greedy” could condescend so low as to mop after the same “incompetent shoeless dumbo”. Once Jonathan poopoohs  in the office, in media briefings or on the campaign ground FFK is at his beck and call, happy to pack the s…t, package it and label it “designers” for the media to buy and sell to the world.
I wish I never read that article where Femi said that this President does not understand the meaning of the word “class” and “honesty.” Also, that “Jonathan prides himself on his own weaknesses and incompetence” and that “his love for false prophets and strange women knows no bounds and no ends.” So our President is addicted to prostitutes and juju prophets? But he already has two wives and we know that Daddy G.O of Redeemed, who says all politicians are liars, is always praying for him on teevee. So why is he then patronising false prophets and prostitutes? Or was FFK so ferocious in his attacks because the government of President Jonathan had accused him of embezzling public funds when he was a minister? He really fought dirty as if there were no tomorrow didn’t he? No he fought like a drowning man.
However, he succeeded in getting the President’s attention hence a special invitation was extended to him to visit Aso Rock where they eventually talked things over, “kissed” and made up. Please don’t ask me what happened to the embezzlement case. All I know is that FFK is in court with EFCC over an allegation that while in office FFK carried out SEVERAL financial transactions and dealings in cash in excess of 500,000 thousand Naira without going through financial institutions contrary to the laws of the land. The best FFK could have done after they “kissed” and made up was take a bow, thank the President and vow never to publish any more callous articles about his dumb incompetence.
But, wait for it, Jona needed to make a point that he may be dumb but the Fani Kayodes of this world are dumber! He may not be Silver spoon like Femi but he’s got what it takes to turn a Silver spoon kid into a Night soil man….(Pause)… “You see, Femi, you and I can be best of pals you know. I am ready to give you an open cheque once you can use your impeccable grammar to prop me up. I mean, you know I don’t have balls you have to lend me yours so that people could stop calling me weak. And, of course, you need the money to maintain your “class”, and high taste in women. I remember you once said in a newspaper interview that you are not faithful to your wife. At least, you and I have a lot in common. We need each other. Those prostitutes, sorry, strange women wanna have fund you know. So I am game, if you are.”… “Oh why not, Mr President, your wish is my dream.” Jona got his pound of flesh!
One of the issues I deal with on my radio shows is the consequences of sexual sins. You need to hear the confessions people make to me about their sexual liaisons. The average politicians is ready to kill and maim just to get into a position with a budget, loot the treasury and sleep with friend’s wives , nieces, inlaws and just any teenager desperate for recharge card. Sexual sin not only wounds your soul and deadens your conscience; it also enthrones the spirit of error. It is quite progressive. It leaves a big hole of insatiability in you that’s why there is a graduation from oral to anal with one woman today, one man tomorrow, then a prostitute next tomorrow. Then you continue to loot and loot and loot the public treasury in spite of the monumental youth unemployment, non-existent quality or free education and no proper medical care for the poor. Each illicit sexual encounter keeps chipping off your virtue, your morality and deadens your conscience. And would you like to know what happens to somebody who has no conscience? Just the same thing that happens in the lives of our politicians that they could wake up from month to month living in affluence while teachers and civil servants go home with no salaries, no food for their families, no peace and no self-worth. Go to the villages and see how people are shrinking out of hunger. They look like refugees in their own homes and those in power are still planning to use soldiers to rig the elections, cause war and more suffering for them.
That was an aside. Back to FFK. On that glorious day, FFK got into Aso Rock a Jona-basher and came out head-over heels in love with Goodluck. When money talks, bullshit walks. Those who say money can’t make you happy have never shopped at Harrods!... Believe me when I say… in my country the so-called rich are more desperate for cash than the poor. They are kleptomaniacs, so insatiable and their conscience is completely dead. I used to think it’s only the Ibos of Okija shrine fame that can do anything for money… Suddenly FFK is screaming his lungs out desperate to convince us that Buhari is Boko Haram and Boko Haram is Buhari. Has he forgotten that he once wrote in his column that “Jonathan regards Boko Haram as his “siblings” and “freedom fighters” so “cannot hurt them”? In fact he stated thus: “I really wonder whose freedom Boko Haram is fighting for, whose interest they seek to further and protect and what blood ties exist between them and our President”. In conclusion he said that Jonathan and co are “shameful and insensitive leaders who have absolutely no empathy with or sympathy for the many victims of Boko Haram.” To have an articulate Fani Kayode who put these arguments in black and white turn around now to say Jonathan must be voted into office for another four years of “shameful , insensitive, clueless, dumb, corrupt and incompetent”, leadership is devilish and criminal to say the least. I have only quoted Femi’s words. I dare not add my own because he has said it all. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 8 verse 11 that “because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil”.
Nigeria is a country that destroys its own. The best brains have no fighting chance to put their talents to good use. See how Jonathan has reduced a brilliant Silver spoon Femi into a mercenary. He has turned Femi into a jaguda. There is no difference any more between him and a slum-bred Fayose who only knows how to make a living out of thuggery.
When Reuben Abati, Chief Press Secretary to the President, published a dossier on how Femi ran the A      viation ministry into a state of near collapse Femi fired a ruthless response. He listed how Jonathan cannot account for the 100 billion USD made from oil sale in two years, how he squandered 67 billion USD of our foreign reserves and how he cannot account for 350 billion Naira on security. Then he added: “This is how weak governments that have nothing to offer and something to hide always behave.” He accused Abati of going on “a delusional and self-serving joy ride … and distasteful form of intellectual and psychological masturbation..” Today this same Femi has taken over Abati’s “self-serving delusional psychological and intellectual masturbation” role as the President’s Night soil man. Thank God I have a degree in English otherwise I wouldn’t have understood all these idiotic grammar that they use to lace over corruption and criminality. Abati must be shaking his head in utter disbelief and amazement. Never knew this could happen in my life time that a Femi Fani-Kayode could be part of this President’s attack dogs seeking to out-do everybody else.
  Jessica Obioma is a multimedia journalist, author, publisher, TV anchor woman, Radio Show Host and President, Teenage Life Mission. Website: teenencounters.com

A President Without Balls, By Femi Fani-Kayode

Femi Fani-Kayode
Femi Fani-Kayode
Permit me to begin this contribution by quoting a portion of an essay that I wrote on September 26, 2011, which was titled ”On Goodluck Jonathan, David and Goliath”. The portion reads as follows.
”A few days ago from the sacred pulpit of the hallowed chambers of the National Christian Centre in Abuja and in the presence of the entire leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan proclaimed as follows- ”I am not David….I am not a general…..I am not a lion…..I will defeat the Goliaths in our land”. These are deep and instructive words yet I do wonder whether Mr. President understands the spiritual and practical implications of what he is saying.
“If he says that he ”is not a David” how can he then possibly slay the ”Goliaths in the land?” If he says that he ”is not a general” how can he be an effective Commander-in-Chief who commands the respect and confidence of his army and his officers? If he says that he ”is not a lion” how can he overwhelm the animals in our jungle that seek to destroy and ravage our land? The lion is a noble and courageous animal that defends it’s pride and family and protects it’s own. That is why it is known as the ”king of the jungle” and that is why our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ Himself is known as the ”Lion of the Tribe of Judah”.
“Every king worth his salt must have the spirit of the lion and the warrior in him to a certain extent. It is a fundamental pre-qualification for good quality and inspirational leadership and that is what distinguishes the pretender and the usurper from a real king. May the spirit and weakness of Ahab not be our President’s portion even though his words seem to have ensnared him. History proves that weak kings and weak leaders always pull down and destroy great empires and strong kingdoms.
“If you have any doubt about that consider what happened to the Roman Empire under Nero, Claudius or Caligula. If you still have any doubts after that then read up on Russian history or watch an excellent old film called ”Nicholas and Alexander” about Tsar Nicholas the 1st, the last Tsar of Russia and how his strong-willed wife and his consistent display of weakness shamed and brought down imperial Russia, destroyed the 300 year old royal dynasty of the Romanovs, led directly to the First World War (which in turn led to the Second World War and then later the Cold War), caused the communist revolution, led to the Russian civil war, resulted in the murder of his whole family and ended in the establishment and creation of the most evil and godless empire that has ever ruled half of the world- the cold and all-powerful Soviet empire.
“That is what weakness, prevarication, inconsistency, cowardice, emotional slavery, inexplicable fear and the celebration of indecision can do. Worst still you don’t boast about such qualities because there is nothing to be proud of in them. Always remember, whether you are a king or a subject, that courage is the greatest of all the virtues. This is wisdom. Would someone please tell our President”.
Once again please take note that the contribution that I quoted above was part of an essay that I wrote on 26th September 2011, almost two years ago to the day.
With the killing of 91 children by Boko Haram in Damaturu a few days ago, the slaughter of 40 Nigerian troops by Boko Haram in Borno state recently, the massacre of 41 school children in Borno state by Boko Haram two months ago, the mass murder of no less than 7000 Nigerians by Boko Haram in the last 3 years and the raging war that is going on in the northern eastern part of our country between Boko Haram and our military today, those words and that counsel that was offered two years ago seem even more relevant today than it was even at that time.
The carnage that we are witnessing in our country today has come as a direct result of the manifestation of weakness at the top. When a President tells the world that Boko Haram are his ”siblings” whom he ”cannot move against”, as he did earlier this year, he is asking for trouble. When a President keeps offering Boko Haram amnesty even when they kept rejecting it and whilst they were murdering his people, as he has been doing for the last three years, he is asking for trouble. When a President installs and supports a party National Chairman who describes Boko Haram as ”freedom fighters”, as he did earlier this year, he is asking for trouble.
When a President announces to the world that he is ”not a lion or a David”, as he did exactly two years ago, no one should be surprised when his people are killed like flies before his very eyes. May God bring us a real leader that can save our nation and may He take away this one who feels no pain and has no empathy when Nigerian blood, nay even the blood of innocent children, is shed with impunity. Under the tenure of our ”lamb” President, more innocent Nigerians have been slaughtered by terrorists than at any other time in the history of our country except during the civil war.
What a mess! What a record! I continue to ponder about one thing though- would the President have been so unperturbed and detached from the whole thing if the children that were killed in their school yesterday morning had been from his Niger Delta area or from the east. It appears to me that simply because those kids were northerners, this President just ”doesn’t give a damn”. What a tragedy! Whether Christian or Muslim, northern or southern, these are only children and they are NIGERIAN children each of whom is entitled to the full protection of the Nigerian state. I have said it before and I shall say it again, Nigeria has become an abattoir of human flesh and blood under the tenure of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and all those who support him should bury their heads in shame. The blood of all those innocent people is on his hands because he swore to an oath before God and the Nigerian people to protect them from such evil. Instead of getting on with his job and doing so he has spent the last few days boasting to the world about ringing the bell in the New York Stock Exchange and receiving irrelevant, illusionary, self-serving and absurd commendations for absolutely nothing from President Barack Obama. May God deliver us!
Permit me to make a painful observation here. I was thoroughly appalled about the fact that when our lamb President was asked about the latest round of killings during his live ”Presidential Media Chat” programme on Sunday evening, he not only told a lie to the world by claiming that only ”21 or 22 students were killed” at a time when the BBC and CNN had confirmed that at least 45 bodies had been found (more were to be discovered later) but he also failed to express his condolences to the families of those that had lost their loved ones. He made the same omission when he failed to commiserate with or express his condolences to the families of the soldiers that were killed in Borno state whilst fighting Boko Haram simply because they ran out of bullets during the course of the battle.
By way of contrast not only was he quick to offer his condolences to the government and people of Kenya for the terrible carnage that was inflicted on them by Al Shabab last Friday when 68 people were killed (I guess that to him Nigerian blood is not as expensive or as important as foreign blood) but he was also quick to offer the Kenyan government military assistance. If President Uhuru Kenyatta decides to accept his offer let us hope that our lamb President will give enough bullets to the soldiers that he will send. Our boys are deeply courageous fighters and they certainly deserve that much. They also deserve to have a Commander in Chief that inspires them, that watches their back and that gives them the very best. May the souls of all those that have been killed by Boko Haram in the last three years rest in peace and may the Lord take the leadership of this nation from the lamb and give it to a lion king.
Permit me to end this contribution with the following observations. As crude and unpleasant as it may sound the question must be asked – does our President have any balls? Is he really a man? Does he have what it takes to fight a war against terror or is it that there is more to this than meets the eye? Is there a sinister and diabolical conspiracy and plan to ensure that elections do not hold in the northeast and the northwest in 2015 given the fact that those areas are very hostile to the suggestion that Jonathan should return to power that year? Is this whole thing planned and contrived or is it a case of chronic incompetence, ineptitude and weakness? Does Jonathan believe that it is in his interest for the north to burn and for northern blood to be spilt? Is the mindset of those that are pulling the strings of the view that since the problem has been (to use the President’s own words in his last media chat) ”localised” and ”contained in a certain area” the government can sit back and watch the locals slaughter themselves whilst they continue to drink champagne in the Villa and fantasise about 2015? If that is the case has it not occurred to them that their fellow Nigerians live in those areas where the problem has supposedly been ”localised” and is the blood of those fellow Nigerians not red as well? Are they less Nigerian because of where they were born and who they are? Are the people that live in the villages and countryside not as important as those who live in the towns and cities?
Whatever is really going on here God sees all and anything that is not of Him will surely fail. If it is nothing but weakness and incompetence that has resulted in this unprecedented carnage the President will answer before God for violating his solemn oath to protect the Nigerian people from enemies within and from enemies without and if it is a conspiracy to encourage and create turmoil and chaos in the north just to ensure that they are excluded from the vote in 2015, both Jonathan himself and Nigeria as a whole will reap the consequences. It is worth noting that that is precisely what happened in Mali in the elections that took place before the north was taken over by the Islamists and it led to a full scale civil war. Any attempt to exclude any part of this country from participating in the elections in 2015 under the guise of lack of security or Boko Haram will result in the same thing with catastrophic consequences for Nigeria.
Yet as Napolean Bonaparte once said, ”we must never account to conspiracy what can easily be explained away by incompetence”. It is more likely than not that the situation that is folding in the north-east and the feeble fight that our government is putting up against Boko Haram over there is down to Jonathan’s weakness and nothing more. So when asked the question is our President capable of fighting the war against terror my answer would be that I am afraid that I doubt it very much. He just doesn’t have it in him. As the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair once said about John Major, his predecessor in office, he is just ”weak, weak, and weak’’.
I am a great believer in strong government and I am one of those that have always believed that President Olusegun Obasanjo was one of the best, if not the best, and most effective leaders that we have ever had in this country. I say this not because I had the honour and privilege of serving in his government but because, when it comes to his record in public office, the facts and figures speak for themselves. Not only are they outstanding but also they are yet to be matched and since he left office in 2007, everything has gone to the dogs. Love him or hate him one thing is clear- not under Obasanjo’s watch would 7000 innocent Nigerians be massacred at will in the space of just two years by a bunch of murderous and heartless terrorists. He would have known exactly what to do and how to do it to put a stop to such callous lawlessness and anarchy right from the start. Equally significant is the fact that such was his love for Nigeria that regardless of the region, ethnic group or religious faith that the victims came from, espoused or belonged to, his response to the terrorists would have been swift, decisive and utterly ruthless. He would have had Boko Haram in ”shock and awe” and the whole world would have marvelled at it. This is because in Obasanjo we had a President who not only had balls but who also had the courage, heart and guts to match them.
The greatest error that we as a people ever made and the worst tragedy and misfortune that has ever befallen us as a nation is the fact that a meek lamb ended up taking a throne that was designed and prepared for a lion. The unfortunate consequences of that tragic error and misfortune are there for all to see. The shedding of the blood of even the youngest, the most innocent and the most vulnerable in our society by Boko Haram on a daily basis is an eloquent testimony to that unsavoury fact.

Re: Nigeria On The Brink. A Direct Response To Richard Grenell - Adeolu Ashaye.

Now that the world’s eyes are firmly fixed on Nigeria, in the week of the country’s Presidential elections, some who should know better have chosen to fudge the important issues.
In an opinion piece (Nigeria on the brink) for the right wing Washington Times, a pro-Jonathan newspaper, a one-time Mitt Romney aide, Richard Grenell, regurgitated some outdated and unfounded comments about the leading opposition candidate in the Nigerian elections, Muhammadu Buhari.
According to Grenell, Mr. Buhari said. “God willing, we will not stop the agitation for the total implementation of the Sharia in the country.” Agitation? Is this an indication that Mr. Buhari supports violence because the end goal of the terrorist attacks throughout Nigeria and Africa is an Islamic state? It is a legitimate question that should be asked by leaders of the Obama administration.
What a truckload of nonsense!
In public and private interventions on religion and politics in Nigeria since 1998, Buhari has repeatedly shown a commitment to pluralism, tolerance and respect for the constitution and laws of Nigeria.
These are some of Buhari’s words on this issue, quoted verbatim:
In Sokoto, June 2001 – “I explained that Sharia, however, has been with us well before the British colonized Nigeria. Now, Sharia has been introduced in many Northern states and Sokoto is one of the states that has already adopted Sharia. It must be pointed out however that Sharia is applicable only to Muslims … Midway through our democracy, we have time now to assess the situation on ground in terms of making our choice in the next elections. Vote for good men whether they are in Borno, Katsina, Sokoto or wherever. Vote for those who will protect your interest.”
FactChecki Did Buhari Say Muslims Should Only Vote Muslim Leaders?
In Abuja, February 2015 – “The Sharia identified in the constitution is almost synonymous with customary law. It is only applicable in matters of personal status such as marriage, divorce and inheritance. This has been the case since the 1979 constitution. Just as no one can make any customary or any other religious law, the law of Nigeria, so Sharia cannot therefore be the law of Nigeria,” he said.
The former head of state who tried to dispel people’s notion regarding his alleged religious bias, insisted that he had never supported extremism of any kind, adding that nowhere in my record of service to this nation has this false toga taken place.
He said though he has been a devout Muslim, he has never belonged to, nor shared the views of any extremist group.
According to Buhari, the role of government is to protect lives and property of citizens and to respect and protect their constitutional rights.
“One critical freedom that every government must strive to protect is the liberty for citizens to exercise their respective faiths, Christians and Muslims or others, in a lawful manner without fear or hindrance and to prosecute those who use religion as an excuse to destroy homes, schools and places of worship”
THISDAY: No One Can Impose Sharia Law On Nigeria
Not content with his misrepresentation, Grenell went further by delving into the realms of outright falsehoods, all in his warped bid to give Buhari a bad name. Hear him:
“Mr. Buhari has also spoken sympathetically about members of the terrorist group Boko Haram, has cautioned against a rush to judgement on its members and has personally been selected by the terrorist group to lead its negotiations with the Government of Nigeria.”
For the record, Gen. Buhari has never been sympathetic towards Boko Haram or any other terrorist group for that matter. The so called mediation with Boko Haram has turned out to be nothing more than a hoax by elements of the Jonathan government, on at least 3 different occasions in as many years.
During his brief spell as Head of State in the 1980s, Buhari successfully led an offensive to wipe out the last vestiges of the homicidal Islamist terrorist group known as Maitatsine. In February 1984, just two months after he became Head of State, General Buhari led from the front when he flew into Yola, in the Northeast to oversee the successful military operations to flush out the terrorists.
Rather than handle Boko Haram with kids gloves (prior to the recent pushback), like Goodluck Jonathan has done since Yar’Adua dealt with them in 2009, Buhari was lucky to escape with his life following a deadly assassination attack by people suspected to be Boko Haram operatives in July 2014. On the same day and in the same city, Kaduna, a prominent Islamic Cleric, Dahiru Bauchi was also targeted. Both Buhari and Bauchi had spoken against Boko Haram in the weeks before the attack.
Buhari however suspected a government cover-up:
“When I was bombed, what was the reaction of Boko Haram? Did Boko Haram ever put out a statement? It was the government that quickly said that they were not responsible and that was the last we heard about it. Even if it was an unknown Nigerian, I think a proper investigation would have been carried out to find out what happened. How did they get the sophisticated weapon to bomb your headquarters in Abuja and the United Nations building? How did they get to such a sophisticated level of detonating an explosive device just adjacent to my vehicle and see how it pierced the body of the bullet proof vehicle…Nobody ever bothered to brief me on the outcome of any investigation on the incident.”
THISDAY: Buhari In Quest To Secure Nigeria
If Grenell was unaware of these facts before he penned his piece, it speaks to the ignorance that characterised his largely uninformed comment piece.
If as a Republican hired hack and lobbyist, Grenell has an axe to grind with the Obama administration’s foreign policy, he has chosen the wrong example to make his unfounded point.
Mr. Grenell will better serve his audience, by basing any Nigeria relevant analysis on accurate information, rather than the patchwork of out of tune talking points which he appears to have been fed by those who commissioned his hatchet job.
Without mincing words, Gen. Buhari’s strong leadership on security issues remain the best bet for Nigerians and her friends from DC to Douala, from New York to Niamey.
In closing, a few weeks ago in London, Buhari gave a seminal and well received foreign policy speech at Chatham House. I urge Richard Grenell and his friends to get acquainted with these words again:
“Let me assure you that if I am elected president, the world will have no cause to worry about Nigeria as it has had to recently; that Nigeria will return to its stabilising role in West Africa; and that no inch of Nigerian territory will ever be lost to the enemy because we will pay special attention to the welfare of our soldiers in and out of service, we will give them adequate and modern arms and ammunitions to work with, we will improve intelligence gathering and border controls to choke Boko Haram’s financial and equipment channels, we will be tough on terrorism and tough on its root causes by initiating a comprehensive economic development plan promoting infrastructural development, job creation, agriculture and industry in the affected areas. We will always act on time and not allow problems to irresponsibly fester, and I, Muhammadu Buhari, will always lead from the front and return Nigeria to its leadership role in regional and international efforts to combat terrorism.”
CHATHAM HOUSE: Prospects for Democratic Consolidation In Africa… – Buhari
This is the only guarantee for Nigeria and the world to ensure that the most populous country in Africa does not slip away.
Adeolu Ashaye is a Nigerian citizen with more than a passing interest in Nigerian history, politics and international affairs. He resides in Aberdeen, Scotland and tweets as @naijahistory.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Jonathan’s Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics, By Ibraheem Dooba


“A well-wrapped statistic,” said Darrell Huff, six decades ago, “is better than Hitler’s “big lie”; it misleads, yet it cannot be pinned on you.” So, to save the ordinary citizen from the mischievous use of statistics, Huff deemed it fit to teach regular folks how to do wicked statistics, hence his book, How to Lie with Statistics.
Here’s how Huff defended his project: “This book is a sort of primer in ways to use statistics to deceive. It may seem altogether too much like a manual for swindlers. [But] the crooks already know these tricks; honest men must learn them in self-defence.”
Unlike Huff, I wouldn’t (and can’t) cover all the angles people employ to deceive with statistics. Like him, however, it is a concern seeing how people abuse statistics and deploy them as a weapon to tell lies. So I propose to share three tips of how to spot a bad statistic.
What is the baseline?
Seeing that it hasn’t fulfilled any shining promise, our government distributes and publishes statistics and makes nothing of the baselines. But you can use that to catch them. For example, if I present a report that says HIV kills six million people per year in Lagos, you can ask one question to quickly discover I couldn’t be telling the truth: what is the total number of people who die yearly from all causes (from accidents, cancer, of natural causes, etc.) in Lagos? If the answer is less than six million people per year, you’d know that statistic is a lie. It’s the baseline technique that Obasanjo’s minister of agriculture, Adamu Bello, used to expose the lies of Jonathan’s minister of agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina.
Before then, the man and his ministry overwhelmed us with statistics, “We ended 40 years of fertiliser corruption in 90 days,” they informed us. Also, ‘the growth that the Jonathan administration has engendered in the agriculture sector is unprecedented’. It happened that this was a complete fabrication.
Sharing data from the National Bureau of Statistics and the Central Bank of Nigeria, Adamu Bello argued that instead of growth, there has been a decline in the sector since Obasanjo left office. Statistics show that between 2003 and 2007, when Obasanjo left office, the growth in the agriculture sector averaged 6.85 percent per annum. The growth started declining immediately after he left office. And in 2013, under Jonathan, growth in the sector was 4.5 percent; the government failed its own target of 8.0 percent growth.
Also, the ministry of agriculture was simply being mischievous when it said that it eliminated N26 billion annual corruption in fertiliser distribution. Using the same baseline technique, we can ask what the total budget for fertiliser per year was in those years. That was what Adamu Bello did. The answer may surprise you: N3 billion!
How can you steal 26 from 3? Bello said the total subsidy between 1999 and 2007 was under N25billion. “This can be verified from the Budget Office of the Federal Ministry of Finance,” he said.
Another baseline question, if N870 billion fertiliser subsidy was embezzled in 40 years, what was the total budget for agriculture for those years?
Adamu Bello doubted if the entire budget for the ministry of agriculture was up to that amount. “To claim that there was subsidy of N870 billion spent on fertilisers, since the use of fertilisers was initially encouraged by the government about 40 years ago, is most unfair, as I doubt if the entire agricultural budgets for the whole period was up to that sum,” he said.
Dr. Adesina knew he could no longer win with statistics, so he changed tactics. He challenged Adamu Bello to tell the citizens his achievements in seven years as minister of agriculture.
“Bello never told Nigerians the truth about his actual performance in office. Let him give details commodity-by-commodity, and let him state where and how this impact was felt,” Adesina said through his assistant on media, Oyeleye Olukayode.
Under a better president, Adesina could be a good agriculture minister. However, what we get from the ministry now is too much noise and a good deal of initiatives and acronyms: phone for farmers, e-wallet, Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES), Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP), Fund for Agricultural Finance in Nigeria (FAFIN), NIRSAL, and so forth. As a result, we’re confused and overwhelmed.
What is the method?
Imagine Daily Trust has four columnists – Mohammed Haruna, Adamu Adamu, Mahmud Jega and Ibraheem Dooba. Respectively, they make N3 million, N2 million, N1 million and N5 million per month. What is their average monthly pay? If we add all the money together and divide by 4, we get N2.75 million. From here we can draw a conclusion that a Daily Trust columnist belongs to the middle class.
What if, however, Dangote starts writing for Daily Trust? Now, the paper has five columnists, but Dangote also brings his income of, say, N100 million per month. If we add all the five monthly pays together and divide by the five writers, we get N22.2 million per month. Now, we can say a Daily Trust columnist is a rich man. Is this conclusion valid? Yes. But the method that led to the conclusion is flawed. When we have numbers that are too high or low (outliers) in a data set, statisticians advise us to take the median not the mean.
Now, if we do the calculation again using the median, we’ll get an entirely different result. To do that, we arrange the numbers in ascending order: N1m, N2m, N3m, N5m and N100m. Now we take the middle number, which is N3 million. Which is quite close to what we figured earlier before Dangote crashed the party – and a far cry from N22m per month.
So when a politician gives you an average that sounds suspicious, you can ask which average he chose.
The Bureau of Statistics demonstrated recently the importance of appropriate method selection in statistical analysis. Sokoto State was the poorest state in Nigeria, it said. Niger State was the least poor.
In response, the governor of Sokoto State, Magartarda Wamako, stepped forward, breathing fire: “An agency that failed to conduct a proper survey on what we have been doing as government to mop up the rate of unemployment in the state should not attempt to misinform Nigerians and the rest of the world that Sokoto is the poorest state in Nigeria with 81.2 per cent rate. Such a rating is unthinkable, utterly incorrect and misinforming,” the Punch newspaper reported him as saying on January 14.
It took NBS almost three weeks to deny the reports that it rated Sokoto State as the poorest state in Nigeria. On January 25, ThisDay published a statement from Dr. Yemi Kale, the statistician general, addressed to the chambers of Dr. Alex Iziyon (SAN), the lawyer to the Sokoto State Government.
I was confused further when last month, at a retreat organised by the gubernatorial campaign council of Niger State APC, officials from the Governors’ Forum told us during a presentation that Niger is one of the poorest states in the country. The conclusions of the bureau and that of the Governors’ Forum, while measuring the same thing, are at the opposite ends of the spectrum.
When I asked the question, the Governors’ Forum said they are using a method completely different from the one the statistics bureau used. Instead of measuring income alone, they also measured other indicators of well-being such as health, education status, etc.
So if it sounds fishy, ask for the method.
Is it a lie?
When some conclusions are drawn from statistics, you immediately know that they are lies. A recent example of this is the recalculation of our GDP. President Jonathan and his mutual admiration society usually imply that the president grew our GDP to 500 billion dollars. No. He did not.
Recalculating is different from creating. Take for example, if the value of the products in my village’s weekly market had not been calculated for many years (even after its expansion) until now, and it’s found that the current value is far higher than what was calculated several years before, are we going to credit the incumbent chairman for this achievement even though there were many chairmen who contributed to the growth of the market before him?
Credit the incumbent, Jonathanians say: “Buhari’s shameful past is dwarfed by the achievements of Goodluck Jonathan. Under Jonathan, Nigeria has emerged as by far the largest economy in Africa with a GDP of $503 billion; nearly double the previous estimates,” Femi Aribisala wrote.
When Jideofor Adibe, a Daily Trust columnist, implied the same thing, I immediately threw away 70 percent of the respect I had for him; and I’m now sussing him out on the remaining 30 percent.
Actually, the Economist argued that the Nigerian economy is growing not because of Jonathan but in spite of him: “The single bright spot of his rule has been Nigeria’s economy, one of the world’s fastest-growing. Yet that is largely despite the government rather than because of it, and falling oil prices will temper the boom. The prosperity has not been broadly shared: under Mr Jonathan poverty has increased. Nigerians typically die eight years younger than their poorer neighbours in nearby Ghana.”
So next time you feel you’re being conned with numbers, ask yourself the three foregoing questions.
Let’s end the way we started, with a wise counsel from Darrell Huff: “But without writers who use the words with honesty and understanding and readers who know what they mean, the result can only be semantic nonsense.”
Ibraheem Dooba, Ph.D, is a data scientist.