[ Masterweb Reports ] - Dr Kusum Gopal has served as a Chief Technical Advisor to various UN agencies. Her gender-sensitive ethnographic expertise covers a diverse subject matters: Education, Social Development, Civic and Informal Legal understandings, Children’s welfare, Reproductive Health, Refugee Rehabilitation, Relief work, Reconstruction and Conflict Resolution, Public Health (HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Cholera), Domestic Violence, Religious Strife, Human Rights, Environmental protection and, related concerns. Civil rights activist Dr Salah AL-Bander interviewed her for the Kashmir Observer recently.
Q: The World Knows About Mahatma Gandhi And His Mission For A Peaceful World. How Best Can Gandhism Are Applied In These Very Turbulent Times. Please Elaborate
A: The essential philosophy of Gandhism is about individual and collective morality by Satyagraha or soul force, establishing the truth, granting the rights of self-dignity and self-determination to a people and their industry against brutal injustice, putting an end to the two hundred years of colonial exploitation through ahimsa or non-violence. By walking through the villages, dressed in a loin cloth, he more than anyone else, ignited ordinary men and women to participate against colonialism, democratising and widening the struggle for freedom. He also believed that suffering was to be endured, for “a complete renunciation of violence of the heart and, consequent active exercise of the force generated by the great renunciation”--that individuals who neither submit passively nor retaliate to violence find in themselves a new sense of strength, dignity, and courage. There was an ethical code for each satyagrahi to follow and, that meant not just wearing the khadi or spun cotton but an implicit adherence to specific strictures. What is often not acknowledged is that moral valuations have tremendous popular appeal because they are grounded in the cultural and, in both the oral textual belief systems such as the Upanishads, if I may add ethnographic traditions of the Indian subcontinent. In the regions bordering Afghanistan, for example, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan came to be known as the Frontier Gandhi, for his adoption of Gandhian principles More recently, Nelson Mandela and, now Baba Anna Hazare, a retired army driver have advocated Gandhism and won national support against the fight against corruption and social injustices. And, we have President Obama who is an ardent admirer of Gandhi.
Different historical and social contexts of conflicts and wars result in different expressions. Nevertheless, recognising the critical significance of soul-force as the embodiment of feelings, of deep emotions of the people from the both sides is an entry point towards any form of conflict resolution: both warring parties acknowledging that conflict whatever its dimension also represents the angst as indeed, anger as also an opportunity for dialogues , if not immediate reconciliation. There are painful truths that need to be accepted but what we need to emphasise is the similarities and, mutual interdependence - common grounds rather than differences within a culture of trust and respect.
Q: Can Gandhism Be Applied In The Context Of Arab- Israeli Conflicts?
A: Only Mahatma Gandhi could answer this important question. Satyagraha has been drawn from the philosophical traditions in the Subcontinent – in the sense that we had Satyagrahas before – following the first Partition of Bengal – when the British divided it as an act of cauterization to crush the agitation against colonial rule, the Swadeshi movement for example. A Satyagragha to take root in the Arab- Israeli context will need to draw upon mutually understood terms of reference and people on both sides willing to participate jointly in these efforts can succeed. This is also such a sacred region as it is the birthplace of three great world religions and so many accompanying forms of expression. And, to most peoples all over the world, peace here would resonate in creating prosperity in their lands.
Q: Could You Elaborate?
A: We understand and often attempt to analyse events or happenings as they have unfolded without examining the philosophical and historical roots of conflicts and wars, we need to mediate on what it means to learn from teachers one has never met .On level, what needs to be brought to the fore is that for the two nation state to be established, the roots of the rage that both peoples feel in this region needs to be expressed through dialogues, making compulsory to respect Arabic and Hebrew cultures. The Holocaust, a very traumatic reminder of human bestiality was engineered by a ‘civilised’ nation in Europe, which forced the need for an independent state for the Jewish people so that it could not happen again. At a poignant lecture I attended whilst a student in Cambridge, Prof. George Steiner said as Hitler wanted the Jews exterminated and out of Europe, his father told him to stay in Europe as that would defeat Hitler’s goal so he did. What is important to reiterate is that Arab peoples were not responsible for the persecution of the Jewish people. And, race and tribe were not matters that affected interaction between the various communities. These cultures, like ancient cultures are very hospitable, kind and generous. And, there are Arab Jews, Arab Christians and Arab Muslims and, to attribute an ethnic or racial identity goes against the spirit of these cultures which have contributed immeasurably to the learning and progress of humanity. Indeed, persecution and ill-treatment of any peoples or individuals is against the charter of human rights but also against the constitutions of most countries.
For millennia, in these ancient cultures, Arabs, Jews and Christians who lived here contributed to a vibrant syncretism and, continue to share deep connections. The shared use of metaphors in the languages, customs, music, cuisine reflects such ancient connections. This is itself a very powerful ground for conflict resolution. Even more importantly, they shared their land of their ancestors with those who came and settled and founded Israel. The dialogues now should focus on similarities and sharing legacies. As eminent scholars have noted that the Torah and the Qur’an are very similar. In fact that in itself provides the moral and intellectual foundations for conflict resolution dialogues. Control and availability of natural resources such as water and land form a major point of grievance and, separate settlements have caused deep rifts within this very sacred region, the birthplace of three great world religions. It is important to begin negotiations between the main parties and, come to an agreement on sharing resources and respecting the rights of all individuals equally. Clearly, solutions can only come from the soil: Hezbollah, Hamas, the Israeli government and all parties alone can solve these issues with people who are living with so much mistrust and fear. The USA and other governments can at best provide supporting roles.
Q: What Paths Should These Dialogues Take?
A: The aim of such Dialogues is to come to an agreement through a process of restoration, reconciliation, and unity. There are, as you know, great eminent officials, scholars and, governments who have at present initiated interfaith dialogues. I am not a scholar of religion but am studying the philosophical syncretic bridges between different faiths. There are many bridges that can be traversed. One for example, are the Maimonides, the Jewish philosopher Maimuni, believed that Sufi practices and doctrines continue the tradition of the Biblical prophets. He introduced into the Jewish prayer such practices as reciting God's name, prostration, or dhikr, stretching out hands, kneeling, and ablution of the feet. Some of these Sufi-Jewish practices are still observed in a few Synagogues. Abraham Maimuni's principal work entitled "כתאב כפיא אלעאבדין"Kitāb Kifāyah Al-'Ābidīn ("A Comprehensive Guide for the Servants of God") was compiled in Arabic. In the book, Maimuni evidences a great appreciation for, and affinity to, Sufism. Followers of his path continued to foster a Jewish-Sufi form of pietism for at least a century setting up the pietistic school in Egypt. The followers called, interchangeably, Hasidism or Sufism (Tasawwuf), practiced spiritual retreats, solitude, and fasting and sleep deprivation. Interestingly, the Ottomans through the tanzimat sought to incorporate various faiths cultures within, governance by inclusion. By embracing the Hanafi School and, drawing upon all four schools in its law making, it permitted maximum flexibility within the limits of Islamic tradition placating disparate populations of Jews, Christians and, indeed, various schools within the Sunni Islamic traditions. Many of the spiritual exercises of the Hesychast movement championed by St Gregory Palamas whilst at the Ottoman court were derived from Sufi and Islamic practices. And, of course we cannot forget the wonderful contributions of the Mughals. We have inspiring precedents to guide us to make the impossible a reality.
Q: Is There A Solution For Afghanistan?
A: Ours is a century of great turmoil as the balance of power has been dramatically transformed and, such an understanding is being met with some difficulties. Well, in Afghanistan, there has been since the 1970s, raging civil wars beginning with the Soviet occupation and, the people are suffering immeasurably. For any effective solution, the promise to work towards establishing a culture of trust and respect is necessary- and currently that seems to be a remote prospect. There is an urgent need to acknowledge all interests openly – and, the Taliban and all other mujaheedin groups – be they in Pakistan or Pakistani Kashmir. There has to be a thorough understanding of the history and culture of the Afghan people that goes back three hundred years or more, and the indigenous forms of governance they appreciate and identify with.
For instance, we need to respect that this region remained for millennia a free and open frontier that facilitated the movement of peoples, trade, armies and, new communities across its strategic terrain—accepting all groups of peoples. That its civilization has been profoundly influenced by the geography and historical affinity with Central Asia, the Iranian plateau as definitively, as with the rest of the Indian subcontinent unifying the two parts of inner and outer Asia. By such time honoured open frontier traditions and practices, Afghanistan has emerged primarily as a confederation of tribes and khanates, a legacy of several hundred centuries. It is also a form of government that the Afghans have preferred, as they are a fiercely independent, egalitarian people who have never favoured a central authority, particularly, if it is seen as being imposed from the outside. With diverse settlements of peoples in the hostile terrain a pluralistic culture emerged with the passage of time. Ethnicity as it is currently interpreted using colonial and Euro-American terms of reference, therefore needs to be qualified within the context of the history and syncretic culture of this region, for instance, the nomenclature Pathan and Afghan have been used synonymously; however there are over twenty different groups that had coexisted, interacted and, assimilated through several hundred centuries. Nowadays, Pashtuns are referred to as Pathans. Whilst they are in the majority, many other groups exist such as Tajiks, Turks, Uzbeks, Hazaras, Baluchis Aymak, Irani, Farsiwan, Brahui, Turkoman Arab, Nuristani, Kohistani, Pamir, Kyrgyz Gujar, Mongols, Arabs, Qizilbash, Punjabi, Sindhi each having contributed to a rich linguistic diversity, with Pashtu and Dari being spoken by the majority.
Prof David Edwards, an excellent scholar has correctly noted that Afghanistan’s troubles have less to do from divisions between groups or ambitions of particular individuals than from the imposition of the ideal of a nation state. Nation state, he notes is not inevitability but rather a product of specific cultural and historical events. There has been no moral discourse on statehood in Afghan society that is shared by the majority. It has always been competing forms of moral authority such as the qawm that are challenging the state and its legitimacy and indeed, its role in providing meanings to events. He observes, that Afghans acknowledge that they fight among themselves, that bitter enmity exists as it does everywhere, but in comparison to the hierarchical, centralised world; theirs is a world of definitive ethical standards and fierce loyalties. He notes further, that in Afghanistan other notions of community have persisted on an equal level with the state, other moral orders have endured despite the consolidation of power by the state and these orders continue to challenge the state and its assertion of supremacy. Thus, by respecting indigenous cultural sensitivities, engaging with local support and by revitalising traditional institutions in the process of reconstruction and recovery it is possible that the international community will be able to contribute more positively to Afghanistan’s future. It is a region that has been experiencing continuously, lacerations. This will stop if we combine cultural sensitivities with political solutions.
Q: What In Your Opinion Would Reduce The Bloodshed And Violence, Wars And Occupations Leading To Peaceful Governance?
A: That is a tough question. There is an urgent need for reflection going back in time before we go forward and, initiating a long conversation with all conflicting groups. There exists in modern political analysis to borrow from Bourdieu, ‘meconaissance’ (loosely, translated, misrecognition), considerations and interpretations remain outdated – thus fresh appraisals by all governments and policy makers who are working with such preconceived erroneous, belief systems need to engage in this joint conversation. If we study the histories of these regions that are experiencing the worst turmoil just now– Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, many parts of the Arab world, and, certainly, Africa what comes to mind is the spirited, egalitarian customs that inspired great civilizations; there has always been great respect for the individual, discriminations based on the colour of one’s skin, physical features, ethnicity indeed status were not valued. These are ancient cultures with extremely powerful traditions of knowledge, of learning, fine arts and, hospitality which have made rich contributions to humanity. Traditional forms of conflict resolution in each culture must be brought to bear and, we need to go back to the pre-colonial times to resuscitate indigenous understandings of democracy whilst locating the roots of the present conflicts.
Q: The Greatness Of Indian Civilisation Is Widely Appreciated. Yet There Is So Much Inequality, For Example, Caste. Can You Explain And Elaborate?
A: Yes, certainly. Caste today is supposed to have been derived from Manusmriti or Manu Dharma sastra, a facet of the richly diverse Indian philosophical systems. The Manusmriti is not a legal code in the sense of the word, but a darshana or interpretation of philosophic systems: all ancient philosophical systems in India are known as darsanas, literally meaning, calling insights or points of view. None of the darsanas -- almost 3000 verses codify cosmogony; four ashramas, government, domestic affairs, caste and morality are binding. In the etymology of Indian words, Manusmriti has come to be erroneously interpreted during the colonial period as the Laws of Manu. Eminent Sanskrit scholars do not accept the translation of smriti as ‘laws’. Smritis are remembered knowledge of the sages, derived from shrutis or divine revelations and thus are not binding. The philosophical and lexical richness of the darsanas needs to be interpreted within the cultural context of Sanskrit.
Under colonial rule, for the first time, through random physical measurements, classification and separation of the subject populations using anthropometry, skin colour, racial classifications, and, creation of ethnic identities occurred. H H Risley, an influential administrator for example, ludicrously determined that, “the social position of the caste varies inversely as the nasal index”, that, caste status was fixed, unchangeable; nearly all native practices and customs were reinterpreted distorting indigenous understandings and legislated customary ways of being out of existence. The colonial system supplemented its own formal institutions by manipulating these indigenous social networks in producing and reproducing social and political identities. In the experience of ordinary people such official social identities ultimately determined their fate, and they were forced by circumstance into relying upon those identities.
What is important to note is that the right of land ownership was transferred to the zamindars and those designated as the “lower castes” were turfed out causing widespread poverty. It is now clear from authoritative research that although one was born into a caste, his or her caste status was not fixed; one could change and did change caste and intermarriage was rife. With the movements of people, occupations and social relationships were always in a state of flux. For example, under the Turko-Afghans, the Mughals, groups of people who came to be known as the Kayasths became the backbone of the administration married into the Pathans, Turks and other groups of people or, the Banjaras who are now reduced to poverty, were once very influential and wealthy traders - salt carriers of the Mughals. The rich and romantic language of Urdu developed from these camps from Arabic, Persian and, Indian languages as did Hindustani.
Q: Why Have These Interpretations Been Accepted? How Can This Be Changed?
A: The ancient cultures of the Indian subcontinent are immanent cultures, cultures of acceptance. And, for any change to be effected knowledge needs to be disseminated. For millennia, various peoples have traversed the landscape from the time of the Indus Valley civilisation almost five thousand years ago to the Mughals. Undeniably, the offer of lands, sanctuary, intermarriage, exchange of material goods made explicit through ceremonial rituals of mutual hospitality and acceptance of one another. Thus, for example, suli or bond-brotherhood concerned kinship relations between different peoples and, individuals through formal adoption of one by the other. With diverse settlements of peoples in this terrain, flourishing syncretic traditions, a fusion of indigenous Indo-Persian, central Asian, Turkish (and other influences, a pluralistic culture emerged with the passage of time nurturing diverse range of belief systems, philosophies as indeed, also, poetry, music, dance, cuisine, couture and so forth. Race and ethnicity as it is narrowly interpreted using colonial and Euro-American terms of reference, therefore needs to be qualified within the context of the history and syncretic culture of this region. The same is true of religion. As cultures of acceptance, all influences are taken and incorporated within, thus, we have integrated and accepted colonial readings. Prior to the British all those who came to Indian subcontinent had intermarried, integrated and, accepted the people as they were accepted by them. This is why colonialism was markedly different from previous empires and governance- it emphasised differences and created separatism. For nearly two hundred years, the formal codification of differences among peoples their religions, racial/ caste discrimination, separatist movements of language purification led to the Partition. Indeed, these impairments which created widespread moral, social, cultural dislocations with damaging consequences on personhoods and, identities need to be researched. There is to date, an absence of well researched accounts of the Partition of the Subcontinent. However, there are some profound films such as Garam Hawa with the actor Balraj Sahni.
Thus, what is often overlooked in understanding India, indeed the Subcontinent, is the continued domination of Anglo-Saxon interpretations although people are struggling with the unwieldy post-colonial infrastructure, their loss of lands and grinding poverty remains an extremely serious problem. And, solving these dilemmas remains the responsibility of subsequent governments since Independence.
Q: Please Elaborate On Hinduism.
A: These term’ Hindu’ need qualification as these tensions have less to do with religion than normally acknowledged. Syncretic beliefs have always been integral to the Subcontinent for millennia. For over thousand years, the prolixity of Indo-Islamic aetiologies was woven into the fabric of everyday existence, there was harmonious co-existence. As a matter of fact Urdu was the awaam ki zaban, the language of the common person in Mughal and, post-Mughal India. And, Arabic was taught in madrassas even as far south as Madras during the Mughal times as also, Indian languages. There is no mention of the word Hindu or Hinduism in any ancient religious texts of India. Gandhi observed that Hinduism is not a religion but a way of life. There are important texts such as the six schools of Indian philosophy, the Dharmasastras, four Vedas, Upanishads etc., are compilation of centuries of wisdom. None of the philosophical traditions of ‘Hinduism’ endorse a religion of the Book: neither do they depend on the authority of a single set of scriptures or exclusive ministerial councils to embody belief systems, nor, is there a definitive liturgy as is the case with the monotheistic Judaeo-Christian traditions. In the subcontinent, various sects and communities have simply coexisted within a pantheistic belief system: the absorption of a deity or belief from another religion does not affect its pluralistic character; it is assimilative, encouraging co-existence. Anyone can gain salvation, a good Muslim, Jew or Christian as long as he or she follows their moral duty as prescribed by their religious texts- as one who is born as a ‘Hindu’ can.
In the Indian subcontinent, it is not so much religion as we understand it within the Judaeo-Christian tradition, but rather the open-ended nature of the experience of the sacred that is central to the way spiritual experience is both conceived and understood. Life is seen to have no beginning and no end. Thus, the sacred does not necessarily imply belief in God, Gods or ghosts but also is influenced by the lunar calendar times of the day, musical forms, cuisine, different seasons, as indeed, intent is regarded as essential to the collective life of a people, a planet or a cosmic system. Prayers, vows and chants were seen as ferries to a shore of experience beyond the temporal state. The doctrines with its rich vocabulary relating to the subjective and psychic states, functions and phenomena from moksha, mukti, punya, maya, karma and the concept of detachment, are pervasive themes. It is seriously inaccurate to understand Hinduism as an ‘ism’, a religious-cultural phenomenon, an essence with fixed properties to which Hindus, in so far as they are Hindus, subscribe. It cannot be encompassed as an index of standardization unlike Islam, Christianity, and, Judaism. The term ‘Hindu’ many scholars have established is extra local and, some note it was first used in 1815 in India when the arbitrary religious classification of the population, introducing practices of control, discipline and exclusion. With colonial rule, the establishment of what came to be known as “Hindoo legal codes”; similarly “Mohammedan laws” were distorted borrowings from Mughal legal framework which were re-written. Muslims were represented as separate and foreign when nothing could be further from the truth. Islam has always been vital to the Subcontinent and, is firmly integrated within all the regional cultures. The Act of Separate Electorate in 1935 is a good example; none of these laws had the sanction of the people or their leaders. And, modern India continues to be detrimentally governed by outdated administrative infrastructures and representations as indeed, do most post-colonial countries.
Q: What About India And Pakistan? Is There A Solution?
A: Yes, the Partition, the proverbial heart of darkness. Immeasurable, callous meddling’s having produced these deep wounds, these wounds still fester and they will not heal. What is not known is that there were seven partitions of the Subcontinent, two partitions of Afghanistan in 1879 and 1893, the partition of Bengal in 1903-04, the loss of Burma in April 1937 and west Aden, Mustaʿmarat ʿAdan, in 1937, Ceylon in 1947, and the same year between India and Pakistan and all these partitions continue to have a ripple effect throughout the region, the last being the bloodiest. It is noted that over fifteen million people were displaced, millions massacred, but it is reckoned over twenty million were forced to leave their home. This loss of ‘heimat’- painful estrangement from their lands of their birth, their childhoods, their languages, and biradaris reverberates as families remain forced apart on either side of the divide. And, those who were tragically dispossessed remain bitter such as the Sindhis who lost Sindh and, Punjabis who were forced to flee from west Punjab. India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan were most affected but also, Nepal, Tibet, Burma and Sri Lanka suffered. We have had in the not so distant past - shared over five thousand years of cultures, shared histories- millennial connections with the movement of peoples, trade and inter-marriages which generated at the same time as it nurtured a rich cultural diversity, the vitality being expressed as we understand it today, particularly under the Mughals. There are in these foundations deeply powerful syncretism’s, traditions of co-existence of all religions, philosophies and peoples which flourished prior to colonialism and the policies of divide and rule. The political events that led to the partition of the lands and subsequently the separatist politics has poisoned this vitality.
Modernity in Europe is about national identities and boundaries which evolved gradually and, in some parts remain an unsettled reality. However, in Africa, Post Ottoman Empire and, the Indian Subcontinent happened over a few weeks and the locals were not consulted. Over the last sixty-four years much has happened to widen the rift, though people on both sides desire peace as religious pilgrimages and inter-marriages continue to happen. Certainly, geopolitics has a critical bearing here and, when the ‘crisis of terrorism’ abates, in time, an EU sort of arrangement would be useful to end the tension and create a zone of peace. In the end, it is the struggle for land and resources that needs to be addressed and safety of all citizens to be guaranteed. I think, despite the enormous problems, such wisdom will ultimately come to prevail, we can only hope sooner rather than later.
*Photo Caption - Map of Indian Sub-Continent
[ Masterweb Reports: Olalekan Waheed Adigun reports ] - The 2016 US presidential campaign is turning out to be dramatic. Many analysts have predicted a something close to an easy victory for Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton to have an easy ride in the primaries. I also recall severally downplaying the chances of Republican top-notch, Donald Trump, in some of my write-ups. I was proven all wrong as the results of recent primaries turned in.
I kept a vigil with CNN as the results turned in on Tuesday night hoping fighter Hillary will turn Bernie Sanders’ lead in New Hampshire around only to wake up that morning to know I was living in the world of my dreams-people are “feeling the Bern”. Not until I watched my beautiful-looking Hillary concedes defeat to Bernie, I didn’t believe it even though the major headline was “New Hampshire primary results: Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders win”!
The US state of New Hampshire held its traditional primary just eight days after the Iowa caucuses. Polling in the Granite State has historically been volatile in the final weeks before the primary. Once Iowa holds its caucuses, many New Hampshire voters are known to traditionally cement their opinions especially in the age of the new media.
The state has a reputation for predicting correctly the winner of the eventual nomination. Historically a look at votes cast in New Hampshire shows a candidate received and won the eventual nomination.
On the Democratic side, since 1992, Barrack Obama (2012), John Kerry (2004), Al Gore (2000) and Bill Clinton (1996) all won at New Hampshire and eventually won the party nomination.
On the Republican side, Governor Mitt Romney (2012), Senator John McCain (2008), Governor George W. Bush (2000 and 2004) and Senator Bob Dole (1996) all won the GOP primaries in the state and became eventual winners in the final analyses.
Let us have a look at how the presidential candidates fared in New Hampshire. In the Republican race, Donald Trump has a clear lead with 34% over Marco Rubio’s 11%. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders had a clear lead with 60% over Hillary Clinton’s 38%.
Let us forget a little about the Republicans and restrict our analyses to the Democrats. I say this because the GOP nomination is still open to more possibilities than their progressive counterparts. If it is not Jeb Bush, it will be Marco Rubio. If it is not Ted Cruz, it should be Donald Trump. But surely the ticket cannot go to Christine Fiorina!
For the Democrats, the ticket belongs to whoever is “feeling the Bern” or “fighting for US”. Hillary for America strategists need not be told now that they have grossly underestimated Bernie. They also need not be reminded of the importance of NH primary. They do not need the advice that the time come for a reality check. They cannot continue to rely on Hillary or Clinton to just bring in the votes. Bernie may not be so popular with those outside America, but the results are going on just fine for him. In fact, Bernie’s strategists, the truth be told, are doing a fantastic job.
In a parenthesis, the loss in this year’s state’s primary is strange because New England state has long been kind to the Clintons. It is the same state that made, Hillary’s husband, Bill the "comeback kid" in 1992. And Hillary beat Barack Obama there in 2008, salvaging her campaign after a third-place showing in Iowa.
Also, the fact that Hillary has about 9% support among younger women, aged 18-34, should concern her handlers because records available show that Bernie cruises home with over 90% support among this strategic population. Whoever invited Madeleine Albright, first woman US secretary of state, to speak at Hillary’s NH campaign rally obviously did not do a good job. Let us hear what she had to say on younger women who are not supporting Hillary: “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!” Haba Madam! Na by force?
Well, I have just been reliably informed that "special place in hell" is Albright’s favourite line which she has used for many years therefore it is not unique to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Again, even at that, she being a longstanding diplomat, Albright should have been more tactful speaking for a political campaign!
As a Hillary fan myself, I think it will be good if her handlers can look at the New Hampshire debacle from fresh perspectives. President Obama lost in the state after a good start in Iowa in 2008, yet he still won the election. In this case, I suggest her handlers do as they were doing when they started. They need to avoid attacking Sanders directly. The attacks on his campaign from Hillary for America are becoming too direct in recent times.
It appears there is mental fatigue on the part of Hillary’s handlers since the Benghazi Inquiry. In my opinion, the handling of that incidence is the most professional thing her campaign has done. Ever since, it has been forthcoming in providing the gap for Sanders to exploit. This only shows mental fatigue on the part of Hillary for America.
While we agree that is not just rocket science, we keep our fingers crossed as the results on these keenly contested primaries come in without engaging in unnecessary prognosis. One thing is sure- US politics will not remain the same after the 2016 election. The results so far show how fast the political establishments are crumbling in both parties if things continue this way. This is where Hillary’s campaign staff must analyse the issues from!
Olalekan Waheed Adigun x is a political risk analyst and an independent political strategist for wide range of individuals, organisations and campaigns. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com. Phone: +2348136502040, +2347081901080.
*Photo Caption - Hillary Clinton
[ Masterweb Reports: Chukwuma Bright reports ] - Gone are the days when Africa cry of underdevelopment by the West was foremost on the list of issues the continent faced. Dehumanization of black Africans in India and other Asian countries is of great concern to all lovers of justice, liberty and freedom. Africans are continuously abused and killed in these countries without much response from African Union (AU) and the countries their citizens were so dehumanized or killed.
An irony of both the elite and political class who pay lip service to how the Asia-African relationship has been in China and India and in some cases at the fore-front of the dehumanization.
Every now and then, one of the Asian countries would host African heads of state for one summit, conference, Exhibition or the other without these presidents complaining about the ill treatment of their citizens in these countries. African Union is one of the most visionless, unproductive, useless, senseless organization in the world - they have never said a word about the treatment of their citizens in other parts of the world.
Read for yourself below, the abuse of black Africans in India:
Fury as Tanzanian attacked in India - News | - Daily Nation
Diplomats Protest Over Attack On Africans in India ...
Had Rajiv married a Nigerian, instead of a white-skinned ...
If Sonia were Nigerian, would she have been Congress ...
India: Tanzanian student attack brings charges of ingrained
India arrests over Tanzanian student attack in Bangalore
'Racist' Indian mob attacks African students - Telegraph
Their Indian horror: Africans recount everyday racism | india .
Mob attack on Tanzanian woman renews concerns about
petition: Demand to stop hate crimes against Africans in India
The bigots know how to get their way by tagging abuse of black Africans "mob action" - giving the dog bad name in order to hang it.
Chukwuma Bright ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ) reports from India.
*Photo Caption - Ugandan woman stripped and abused in India recently.
[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. Peregrino Brimah reports ] - Mass graves were reported found in Kaduna, location of the recent military action against the Islamic Movement. On February 6th "activists" found a mass burial ground at Mando Kaduna cemetery along the Birnin Gwari road near Hajj camp, that had been ploughed by caterpillars. They said it contained some of the bodies of movement victims that had been killed by what has been regarded as an overhanded military "honour killing" reaction.
When mass graves are found, it is a humanitarian alarm and trigger for immediate investigation. But frankly, who will investigate these mass graves when the suspected perpetrators are the State and Nigerian army?
The Nigerian Attorney General Malami has refused to open an investigation into the happenings of last December. Nigeria has left it to the implicated State government and Nigerian army to investigate themselves. The Kaduna State government has been accused of exhuming bodies at the Darur Rahma burial ground. Decayed carcasses from that burial ground were transported and dumped somewhere, perhaps also in the discovered location at the Mando cemetery.
A list of 705 missing victims has been released. The corpses in the mass burial ground need to be forensically studied to see if they are remains of some of the missing Muslim victims. The families have also stated their right to properly burry their lost loved ones according to Muslim rights. These bodies were simply dumped there in very inhumane fashion.
Nigerian and the international human rights watch's, the media and other humanitarian conscious individuals are urged to urgently press for justice. The Nigerian military must urgently come forward and confess on where it dumped bodies if it did so, so they can be investigated before decay. The Panel constituted by the Kaduna government is a chair-and-table investigation panel at best and not an action panel. The Nigerian police whose duty has been replaced by the army and now the Kaduna panel needs to recognize its responsibilities in civil crises. Contrary to the expressed opinion of Nigeria's President during his media chat, the police are meant to have opened an investigation into the events of December 12-16th, investigating all parties and should have been the ones to discover and investigate the alleged mass graves. They should start now or they will be held to account for abandonment of their constitutional duties.
There is urgent need for action as families are crying not knowing whether their loved ones are dead or alive, and what can be worse?
Dr. Peregrino Brimah ( Email: email@example.com ) reports.
*Photo Caption - The Kaduna mass graves.
[ Masterweb Reports: Judd-Leonard Okafor reports ] - Wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, is to launch a report next week detailing the prevalence of female genital mutilation in Nigeria as part of a zero-tolerance campaign against the practice.
Preliminary findings by the report show female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM) are most prevalent in the six states of Imo, Ebonyi, Osun, Ekiti, Oyo and Lagos.
The survey by United Nations Population Fund and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNFPA) found southwest region had the highest prevalence, nearly double the national average between 2003 and 2013, according to data from the National Demographic Health Survey.
The prevalence of FGM is lowest in the northeast but has been increasing within the same period, and even faster in the south east region.
The report to be launched by Mrs Buhari follows a programme to abandon FGM, which began in the six priority states since 2014, to help girls like Cecila Ogore, who was forced to submit to female genital mutilation at age 18 to guarantee her family's social status in her community.
FGM is still commonly done on grounds of protecting a girl's chastity, marriageability or a rite of passage into womanhood, but Ogore wasn't given any reason when she underwent FGM in 2012.
"No one told me about it. It was on the day it was to be done that I knew about it," she told Daily Trust. " My mum pleaded with me. I didn't want to deny her what was rightfully hers."
She and over a dozen other survivors will give testimonies of having endured the pain of FGM on Tuesday as Buhari launches the report to strengthen the anti-FGM campaign.
Ogore, who's been involved in the campaign to turn girls and women against FGM, said, "It is something I went through, and I don't want young girls out there to go through it."
*Photo Caption - Nigeria First Lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari
[ Masterweb Reports: Intersociety reports ] - (Onitsha Nigeria, 3rd February 2016)-The advocacy attention of the leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) has, again, been drawn concerning a public sensitive report credited to the Attorney General of the Federation & Minister for Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, to the effect that “the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had in the past 12 years since its creation, recovered over $2trillion or N400trillion from Nigeria’s criminal groups and public office holders”. The perfidiously false report was published in the front page of the Vanguard Newspaper of today, being 3rd of February 2016.
The AGF was copiously quoted by the Newspaper’s Ikechukwu Nnochiri as having made the disclosure in a keynote address presented at the ‘First Annual Conference on Financial Fraud, Cyber-Crime & Other Cross-border Crimes’, in Abuja, yesterday (2nd of February 2016. The AGF was specifically quoted as saying: “available reports showed that in the past 12 years, since the establishment of EFCC, more than $2 trillion has been confiscated and recovered”. Full details of the AGF’s unpardonably falsified report are: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/02/money-laundering-efcc-recovers-looted-2trn-in-12-years/.
We had in the course of issuance of this statement, gone extra mile to confirm the authenticity of the AGF’s blundered figure and his authorship; leading to the management of the Vanguard Newspaper informing us this morning (3rd of February 2016) that “the AGF was not misquoted” and that “it was contained in his written keynote address” delivered at the said Abuja function. They also informed us that “ before its publication, the reporter (Ikechukwu Nnochiri) was specifically requested to scan and forward the said keynote speech containing the “blundered version and figure” and he forwarded it immediately, leading to the publication and its front page use.
We have severally stated publicly and still state that “corruption is first driven by moral decadence or integrity crisis” and that those wishing to fight the scourge must first be morally upright or integrity rewarding. That is to say that “he or she that sets to go to equity, must go with clean hands at all times”. A man or woman that shaves his or her armpit hairs is not expectant of armpit dirt and offensive odour. A woman who wears a stained white brazier does not wear short sleeve gown to an occasion. One of the greatest threats to fight against corruption is falsehood and propaganda. Another is unclean hands of those fighting it and those supporting those fighting it (i.e. CSOs and activists).
For the avoidance of doubt, the Nigeria’s Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was established through an Act of the National Assembly of Nigeria, dated 13th December 2002 (now refers as “EFCC Act of 2004”) and it started its operations in 2003 or during the second term of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. The creation of the Commission was partly in response to pressure from the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF), which named Nigeria as one of 23 countries non-cooperative in the international community's efforts to fight money laundering. The successes recorded by the Commission including loots recovery and effective and maximum use of technology and institutional mechanisms reached their peak between 2004 and 2007. The fame of EFCC and others like NAFDAC, got shrank from 2008 and upwards; owing to election and appointment of corruption friendly public officials as new set of heads of Nigeria’s Presidency, AGF, NAFDAC, Police and EFCC.
Just yesterday, 2nd of February 2016, we released a facts laden report of our recent investigation on the state of public budgets, loans and expenditures in Nigeria in the past 12 years; covering January 2005 to December 2016. The expenditures covered the 36 States, the Federal Government, the Niger Delta, the Federal Capital Territory and the country’s constitutionally recognized 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs). At the end, we found that the totality of public expenditures in Nigeria in the past 12 years, captured by various FGN, States, FCT and Niger Delta budgets and LGAs allocations in Nigeria in the past 12 years (2005-2016) stood at $600billion or N118.2trillion.
We also found that Nigeria had in the past 10 years (2007-2016) borrowed a total of N10trillion or $50billion from local and international lending institutions. Of $600billion or N118.2trillion of the public expenditures under reference, only 30% of same or $180billion (N36trillion) was spent on capital projects. One of the reasons behind this special investigation is to checkmate the antics of some propagandist government officials and their unprofessional media acolytes, who recklessly and mindlessly inflate and corrupt figures and other sensitive public matters here and there for purposes of settling political scores and misleading Nigerians and members of the international community. The report is published on the electronic media below.
http://www.newsexpressngr.com/news/detail.php?news=19845&title=Nigerian-politicians-squander-N118.2-trillion-in-12-years,-incur-N10trn-debt-in-10-years. http://www.thetrentonline.com/mass-poverty-how-nigerian-politicians-squa... http://www.thenigerianvoice.com/news/204939/mass-poverty-in-the-land-of-plenty-how-nigerianpoliticians.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheNigerianVoiceNews+%28The+Nigerian+Voice+News%29 http://elombah.com/index.php/special-reports/4722-explosive-mass-poverty-in-land-of-plenty-how-nigerian-politicians-squandered-n118-2tr-in-12-yrs
Using the foregoing indisputable statistics, therefore, it is totally correct to say Nigeria and its federating units including States, LGAs and Federal had never generated half of “$2trillion (N400trillion)” since the return of civil rule in June 1999; not to talk of the EFCC recovering “$2trillion in the past 12 years since its creation”.
Even if the total public expenditures of 2003 and 2004 are added to the total public expenditures of $600billion or N118.2trillion under reference; covering January 2005 to December 2016, the total public expenditures including loans and generated funds; budgeted, allocated and expended since then is not more than $700billion or N140trillion.
Our questions to the Honorable AGF and the Federal Government are: where did “the $2trillion (N400trillion)” the EFCC recovered in the past 12 years come from? Where is it kept? Was it recovered from “looted” personnel cost budgets or overheads cost budgets? Or was it recovered from meager $180billion (+$30billion allocated for capital expenditures for 2003 and 2004) meant for capital expenditures from January 2005 to December 2016? Was it also recovered from oil bunkering? What are Nigeria’s total public expenditures from its three tiers since 2003? How much was recovered from “criminal groups” as well as “from public office holders”?
We challenge the AGF as well as the authorities of the EFCC to rubbish this position of ours by providing publicly concrete answers to the above questions and graphic details of how, where and when the EFCC recovered “$2trillion or N400trillion from criminal groups and public office holders” in the past 12 years, as well as statistical breakdown of the amount and how it was recovered, kept or spent. Also, “in the past 12 years since its (EFCC) creation”, requires detailed specification, as in from what year to what year did the 12 years cover? We will not be surprised if defense of “being quoted out of context” is invoked by the AGF as an escape route. If this type of unpardonable falsehood can be dished out by the country’s law-lord or chief law officer, then Nigeria is doomed irreparably!
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Mobile Line: +2348174090052
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Chinwe Umeche, Esq., Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program
*Photo Caption - As seen.
[ Masterweb Reports: Adekunle Olushola reports ] - Foremost African financial institution, Guaranty Trust Bank plc, has been listed among the top 500 global banking brands in a study conducted by Brand Finance, one of the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy.
In the report, which is to be published in the February edition of the Banker, GTbank rises to 389th in the league table of the world’s biggest banks, 28 places from last year’s 417th position. It is one of only four Nigerian banks and tops in the country as the bank with the highest year-on-year brand value increase; from $213 million in 2015 to $243 million in 2016.
“We are excited to be named among the biggest banking brands in the world,” commented Segun Agbaje, the Managing Director/CEO of GTBank. “Our continued rise in the league of the world’s biggest banks is made possible by the passion and unwavering commitment of every member of staff, the management and the board to building a solid financial institution reputable for innovation, integrity, good corporate governance standards, and excellence in service delivery.”
Banks from five African countries made the ranking of which those from Nigeria cumulatively had the highest brand value increase of $249 million. Egypt came in second with a brand increase of $239 million followed by Togo at $134 million, while South Africa and Morocco both recorded brand decreases of $878 million and $213 million respectively.
GTBank has consistently played a leading role in Africa’s banking industry. The Bank operates from over 230 branches in Nigeria and has banking subsidiaries in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Cote D’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and the United Kingdom. Reputed for its superior financial performance and best in-class product and service delivery, the bank has received numerous awards from industry watchers and analysts, among these are the “Best Banking Group of 2015, Nigeria,” by the World Finance Magazine and the 2015 Bank of the Year by leading international investment and communications group, Africa Investor (Ai).
Social Media Manager
No 26 Oroleye Crescent off Abel Oreniyi Street.
Off Salvation Road, Opebi
*Photo Caption - A GTBank branch
[ Masterweb Reports: Intersociety reports ] - (Onitsha Nigeria, 2nd February 2016)-The leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) wishes to inform statistically that the Nigerian political leaders holding forth at the Federal, States, Local Government and Federal Capital Territory have between January 2005 and December 2016; a period of 12 years, squandered a whopping sum of N118.2trillion or $600billion. The squandered public funds are made up of generated and borrowed funds secured for the purpose of budgetary expenditures in all of the country’s public offices, between January 2005 and December 2016. The political leaders under reference include the Federal authorities, the authorities in charge of the country’s 36 States and 774 constitutionally recognized Local Government Areas (LGAs) as well as the authorities of the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja); numbering 17,500, made up of elected and appointed public office holders in the executive, legislative and judicial arms of government.
The political authorities under reference, have also between June 2007 and December 2016; a period of ten years, incurred staggering public debts of over N10trillion or $50billion from local and international sources; comprising States and Federal Government’s local and foreign loans. Nigeria’s official or public total debts as at May 2007 stood at $23.5billion; comprising local debts of N1.8trillion ($20billion: 140.00/US$) and foreign debts of $3.5billion. This was after its $30billion foreign loans were liquidated in 2006 courtesy of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and leading international lending institutions. But by the end of December 2016, Nigeria’s current total public debts must have risen to over N14.6trillion or $73billion. The Buhari’s federal Presidency alone has proposed a public borrowing of over $9billion or N1.84trillion in the 2016 budget proposal. Average of 20%-30% of 2016 budget proposal of each State in Nigeria is also expected to be funded from local or international borrowings.
When added, the country’s total official or public debts will be raised to as much as $80billion or N16trillion by the end of December 2016. The country’s current official public debts as at June 2015 were quoted by DMO as “N11.1trillion or $63.8billion”, using old official exchange rate of N155/US$. This is no longer fiscally realistic. Crookedness is also associated with government local borrowings in Nigeria; making it difficult for DMO to appropriately capture every kobo borrowed locally particularly by State Governments. As a matter of fact, totality of public borrowed funds in Nigeria both openly and illicitly borrowed; is strongly believed to be in the neighborhood of $80billion to $90billion or N18trillion or even more. Nigeria had also spent a whopping sum of N2.95trillion or $15billion in the past five years (2010-2014) in debts servicing. It is also feared in many informed quarters that Nigeria’s current public debts may most likely double at the end of President Buhari’s embattled administration by 2019, owing to alarming rates with which loans are being borrowed by his administration and subordinates of his administration particularly the State Governors.
On the other hand, by the end of December 2016, a total of N118.2trillion or $600billion borrowed and generated public funds in Nigeria since January 2005 would have been squandered by the named public office holders. These public office holders are majorly and dually controlled by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC). The two major political parties are also “two fingers of a leprous hand” used by those 17,500 public office holders particularly the elected; through back and forth membership and political trading, to squander the princely public funds under reference.
This grounded finding of ours is built on similar facts laden finding made on 13th January 2013 by the Vanguard Newspaper, which corresponded with data available at the Federal Ministry of Finance. The report found that the referenced tiers of government and their agencies in Nigeria had between January 2005 and December 2013 budgeted, generated, borrowed and squandered a whopping sum of N80trillion ($400billion); out of which N56trillion ($280billion) was spent on recurrent expenditures, while paltry N24trillion ($120billion) was spent on capital expenditures. In our expanded and extensive investigation following the foregoing, we further found that another N38.2trillion or $190billion had been squandered between January 2014 and December 2016; a period of three years. Of this amount and by the end of December 2016, the Federal Government would have spent N16trillion or $80billion; South-south zone N5.6trillion or $28billion, Southwest N4trillion or $20billion, Northwest N3.1trillion or $15billion, 774 LGAs N3trillion or $15billion, North-central N2.1trillion or $10billion, Northeast N2trillion or $10billion, Southeast N1.66trillion or $8.01billion and the FCT N625billion or $3.1billion which includes a 2016 projected budget of N180billion; totaling N38.2trillion or $190billion in three years.
Our grounded findings were arrived at using the main public budgets of the Federal Government, the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory; while in the case of 774 constitutionally recognized Local Government Areas (LGAs), their statutory federation allocations was used. For instance, in the 2015 federal allocations to the LGAs in Nigeria, a total of N953billion or $4.5billion was so allocated. On the other hand, our grounded finding did not include supplementary budgets of some of the 36 States and the Federal Government (some) as well as the internally generated revenues of the 774 LGAs. That of the LGAs was informed by total castration of the independence and functionality of the LGAs system in Nigeria; worsened by the provisions of Sections 162 (6) (State Joint LGA account) and 7(1) (management of LGAs by State Government). Also, in the course of our findings, the official exchange of N199.00/US$ was applied or used. We also hold that if the “missing points” are added, the budgeted and squandered public funds in Nigeria in the past 12 years will be higher than the figure under discussion.
Further breakdown of the above findings statistically indicates that by the end of December 2016, the Federal Government would have budgeted, generated, borrowed and squandered a total of N48.1trillion or $240billion; having budgeted and squandered N1.8trillion in 2005, N1.9trillion in 2006, N2.3trillion in 2007, N3.58trillion in 2008, N3.76trillion in 2009, N4.6trillion in 2010, N4.48trillion in 2011, N4.7trillion in 2012, N4.98trillion in 2013, N4.92trillion in 2014, N4.5trillion and the Buhari’s supplementary budget of N575billion in 2015 in addition to his 2016 budget proposal of N6.07trillion; all totaling N48.1trillion or $240billion in 12 years or from 2005 to 2016.
The South-south or Oil Niger Delta Region emerged the second largest squanderer with a whopping sum of N17.1trillion or $85billion; comprising N11.5trillion budgeted and spent between January 2005 and December 2013, and N5.6trillion between January 2014 and December 2016. The constitutionally recognized 774 LGAs emerged third largest squanderer with N14.4trillion or $70billion allocation in 12 years; comprising N11.4trillion between January 2005 and December 2013, and N3trillion between January 2014 and December 2016.
Southwest zone was 4th largest squanderer and the country’s sub national largest debtor. It squandered a total of N11.3trillion or $56.5billion; comprising N7.3trillion between January 2005 and December 2013, and N4trillion between January 2014 and December 2016. Northwest zone was the fifth largest squanderer with N8.5trillion or $42.5billion; comprising N5.38trillion between January 2005 and December 2013, and N3.1trillion between January 2014 and December 2016; followed by North-central as sixth largest squanderer with N7.35trillion or $37.5billion; comprising N5.19trillion between January 2005 and December 2013, and N2.16trillion between January 2014 and December 2016. The Northeast zone was the seventh largest squanderer with N5.76trillion or $28.8billion; comprising N3.75trillion between January 2005 and December 2013, and N2trillion between January 2014 and December 2016.
This Southeast zone emerged 8th largest squanderer with N5.1trillion or $25billion; comprising N3.45trillion between January 2005 and December 2013, and N1.66 trillion between January 2014 and December 2016. The ninth largest squanderer was the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja) with N1.96trillion or $9.5billion; comprising N1.33trillion between January 2005 and December 2013, and N625billion between January 2014 and December 2016; all totaling N118.2trillion or $600billion in the past 12 years or January 2005 to December 2016.
It is shockingly sad that Nigerians are groaning in abject poverty in their land of plenty, to the extent that a whopping sum of N118.2trillion or $600billion was budgeted and squandered in the past 12 years (2005-2016) with little or nothing to show for it. Nigeria is a country of squander-mania. It is also developmentally dead as 98% of its solid minerals and agricultural produce are acutely subsistent or non- industrialized. Creative wealth is also near-totally absent owing to promotion by Nigeria’s political office holders particularly President Muhammadu Buhari administration, of sectional mediocrity and primordialism; corporate and bureaucratic idleness and laziness. Nigerian politicians rely heavily on oil and gas revenues as well as serial borrowings to sustain their political offices and siphoning of public funds.
As a matter of fact, crude oil revenues account for 35% of the country’s Gross National Product (GDP); 75% of government revenues and 90% of its export earnings till date. The country has no traces of any foreign investment overseas and has become “a territorial non grata” for real foreign investors, owing to myriad of its man-made security threats and other unsafe conditions as well as the Buhari’s gross and unrepentant affront to rule of law, human rights and constitutionalism. The country’s foreign reserves have shrunk from $36billion in October 2014 to $28billion in January 2016. Oil price has also fallen from $144 per barrel in July 2014 to as low as $30.25 per barrel in January 2016; leading Nigeria to lose over $70billion in oil revenues yearly to plummeted oil prices and presidentially provoked oil militancy in the Niger Delta.
Nigeria is expected to earn a meager sum of about $33billion from crude oil in 2016, from $102billion in 2013/2014 at the rate of $110 per barrel into 2.3million barrels per day. Also, out of the expected dwindling crude revenues of about $33billion for 2016, oil companies and drillers of the country’s crude oil are expected to be paid about $15billion or about 49% as contractual royalties; leaving the country with about $18billion or N3.6trillion oil revenues for this 2016. The Federal Government of Nigeria is expected to take about N1.5trillion or $7.5billion (52.6%); leaving the rest to oil States, 36 States, FCT and LGAs, etc.
The grand import of this grounded findings of ours is to bring to bear and to the attention of all Nigerians and members of the international community the entrenched squander-mania culture of the country’s political office holders and their total neglect and abandonment of over 170million citizens of the country to continually wallow in abject mass poverty; with the most shocking being chronic allocation of less than 30% of the budgets and staggering public funds under reference to capital projects. Another shocking observation of ours was resort particularly by States and the Federal Government to reckless local and foreign borrowings for the purpose of funding recurrent expenditures, comprising of personnel and overheads expenditures. In the Buhari’s supplementary budget of N575billion of 2015, for instance, most, if not all of it was for recurrent expenditures and in his 2016 budget proposal of N6.07trillion or $30billion, N3.6trillion or $18billion was for non-debt recurrent expenditures; which include N1.83trillion or $9.1billion for personnel costs and N547.8billion or $2.75billion was for overheads costs. Only a paltry sum of N1.8trillion or $9billion (30%) was proposed for capital expenditures. This is totally unacceptable!
Nigerians and members of the international community are therefore called upon to reasonably and sacrificially draw concrete comparisons between the expenditure of the staggering public funds under reference and level of socio-economic development ( i.e. roads, aviation, railway, transport, health, education, energy, water, shelter, justice, security and human rights, jobs, industry, environment and technology, etc) of their areas in particular and the country in general and be able to stand up and ask their political office holders, numbering 17,500, to account for the squandered public funds of N118.2trillion or $600billion in the past 12 years. They should rise up in condemnation of reckless and serial public borrowings in Nigeria particularly the entrenchment by political office holders of despicable habits of “borrowing to squander and plunder”.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Mobile Line: +2348174090052
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Chinwe Umeche, Esq., Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program
*Photo Caption – As seen.
[ Masterweb Reports: Isiaka Wakili reports ] - Italian government has expressed the conviction that Nigeria will emerge one of the most powerful countries of the world under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi spoke to State House correspondents today after meeting behind closed-doors with Buhari at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja.
The Italian prime minister emphasised that President Buhari's leadership was important to Italy.
Renzi said Italy was in total support of the ongoing anti-corruption war of President Buhari's government.
Describing Nigeria as a very important partner of Italy in Africa, Renzi also expressed his country support to Nigeria in the fight against terrorism.
The Italian leader called on the international community to consider Africa as priority in the fight against terrorism.
Renzi said he and Buhari discussed how to foster both country's cooperation in the areas of security, energy, infrastructure, agriculture and small and medium enterprise.
President Buhari listed issues discussed with Renzi as including the development of petroleum resources as well as training equipping of security forces. Buhari added: "We discussed agriculture which is one of the areas we identified that will be a priority in face of dwindling oil prices.
*Photo Caption - President Muhammadu Buhari
[ Masterweb Reports: Intersociety reports ] - (Intersociety, Onitsha Nigeria, 25th January 2016)-One of the social maladies, if not the worse, bedeviling Nigeria of present socio-political dispensation is lack of sound general census (population and industrial) and national planning. This is compounded by lack of visionary political leadership and statesmanship. To the extent that on mere mentioning or appearance of a president of a country on international scenes; its national currency instantly loses value in money market; speaks of the enormity of the disaster of having a tinkerer as president; as opposed to other social climes where emergence of a visionary, thinker and statesman as president instantly leads to valuation of its national currency in money market and positive recoveries in its economy. In other words, Nigeria under the present civilian administration of Gen Muhammadu Buhari fundamentally lacks vision, statesmanship and sound national planning built on scientific and statistically grounded population and industrial census.
Modern Census is divided into three categories of general census, population census and industrial (economic) census. Combination of population census and industrial or economic census is called general census. Population census gives country sound information with respect to age-brackets (infancy, children, adolescence, youth, adult and aging populations). It also provides analytical and grounded statistics as it concerns gender population (males and females), working population, student population and non-working population or unemployed. From population census, the number of private and public institutions’ working populations are credibly ascertained; likewise membership of ethnic groups and religious bodies. The number of Nigerians living in Diaspora is also credibly ascertained using sound population census. Also soundly ascertained is the number of population or people occupying each square kilometer of landmass both in densely and sparsely populated areas of Nigeria. Creation and allocation of geographical and geopolitical entities like States, Local Government Areas, Senatorial Districts, Federal and State Constituencies as well as allocation of public human and material resources can only be appropriately and popularly allocated using sound population census.
In industrial or economic census, it is statistically done to ascertain the number of existing or functioning business enterprises, social enterprises (i.e. churches, mosques, foundations, etc), commercial buildings, commercial and private vehicular (lorries, mini lorries, cars, tricycles, motorcycles, etc), government agencies, and small, medium and large scale industries. It also covers railway, maritime and aviation sectors. The number of functional and non functional public and private health and educational facilities as well as functional and non functional public, multinational and private commercial companies and nonprofit organizations are credibly captured through industrial or economic census. It also importantly and appropriately guides export and import trade policies of the government. Through industrial census, PPP-engineered industrial policies of the government including industrial revolution; location, concentration or de-centralization of industries are aggressively pursued. Credible and sound industrial census also attracts huge direct foreign investments and remittances from enterprising Nigerians living in Diaspora and moves the country away from subsistent to mechanized industrialization and its policies. Till date, Nigeria’s 33 solid mineral deposits have remained substantially, if not totally subsistent and un-mechanized.
Through population and industrial census, public resources and development projects are appropriately allocated based on geopolitical and geographical population density and environmental considerations. Also through this, public wealth and debt per capita as well as population birth and death rates, among others are credibly ascertained. Population and industrial census is roundly important and serves as the fundamental foundation of economic, political (including securitization, electoral and criminal justice), environmental and cultural policies of the government. The national planning and budgeting can only become ambitious and revolutionary if sound population and industrial census is put in place and be demographically updated as appropriate. The importance of timely and credibly conducted population and industrial census for Nigeria of present challenging time is the first among equal. Sound population and industrial census is also a fundamental foundation for transparency and accountability of the Government and a starting point of anti corruption policy of the same Government.
Further, sound population and industrial census scientifically gives birth to creative, industrial and competitive communities. A country with sound and modern population and industrial census moves away from population and society; founded on primordialism and destructive social ideology to that founded on industrial creativity and competition. The United States, for instance, is one of the world’s most ethnicized countries; yet its population has successfully been transformed into industrially creative and competitive generation. There are hundreds of thousands of industrial communities in the USA today. An example of industrial or creative community in Nigeria is Nigeria’s Movie Industry. The World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and the American Basket Ball Association (NBA) are two main examples of creative or industrial communities in the United States.
A creative or industrial community is that capable of producing forefathers and incapable of discriminating on the ground of sex, ethnic origin or place of birth or religious affiliation. For instance, there are many forefathers and non Americans in the US Wrestling Industrial Community (WWE). Creative and industrial community is also capable of earning national respect and protection as well as contributing to the individual and collective wealth of its mother country. A brain creatively kept busy finds no time for primordialist and other socially incoherent conducts. A creative brain is a researcher who is busy bringing new things and ideas into life. This is the secret behind the exploits of the United States to the extent that its military thinkers few years back invented world’s fastest military aircraft that flies 2.7km per second.
It therefore saddens our heart that Nigerian territory had been operated without a sound general census for the past 63 years or since 1952/3. We are not aware, too, till date of any industrial census (whether sound or unsound) ever conducted in Nigeria till date. What can be called a population census figure was that of 1952/3 conducted by then British colonial authorities. Another attempt at conducting population census in Nigeria was that done in 1991 during the inglorious military regime of Gen Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, which put the total population figure at 88.5million. The 2006 population census organized by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, which gave Nigerian population size as “140 million”, was far from being credible. Apart from systematic exclusion of millions of Nigerians during the census, particularly the people of the rain forest and oil delta regions; there were credible reports of post census sectional manipulations by sectional and central powers that be; whereby figures of self acclaimed born-to-rule States or regions were rapaciously inflated.
Shockingly, it is only in Nigeria that population of dry lands or semi desert are chronically greater than those of the rain forest. In all, the current population size of Nigeria being put at estimate of 170million-174million is totally unscientific, speculative and unreliable. There must be domestically organized general census to statistically ascertain how many Nigerians are leaving in the country, how many that leave outside Nigeria and how many leaving in the country as lawful and unlawful immigrants. On these the National Panning, political and economic policies of the Government must be laid.
Absence of sound industrial census in Nigeria is another shocking and provocative dimension to the country’s demographic roguery. This is why trade and investment policies of Gen Muhammadu Buhari’s civilian administration are in disarray with no iota of hope for Nigerian citizens in 2016. What is called 2016 Federal Budget Proposal lying before the National Assembly is nothing but “loan-based recurrent expenditure authorization document; waiting for certification before mastication”. A truly public oriented budget or budget proposal is that containing over 60% capital expenditures with 95% or more of its funding sources derived from non borrowing or loan sources. But a critical look at Gen Muhammadu Buhari’s budget proposal clearly indicates that it is a budget of neo-colonialism (filled with loans or borrowings) and legitimized profligacy. It is therefore not surprising seeing his new lenders including USA “applauding his anti corruption drive”, in spite of the fact that a whopping sum of N795 Million ($4Million) is set aside in the controversial budget document to upgrade website of the State House alone. This is a compound fraud! Fraudulent recurrent expenditure provisions contained in Gen Buhari’s 2016 budget document are incontestably graver than the so called $2.1Billion arms deal scandal.
It further shocks us as to rationale behind the unceremonious cancellation of the “2016 census exercise” by the Nigerian Population Commission and its National Planning counterpart. The NPC had last month announced, on presidential directive, the canellation of 2016 general census and claimed that it had shifted it to 2017. This is not only against the Federal Government policy of conducting general census in Nigeria in every ten years; but also contrary to the United Nations guidelines for “national census of member-States to be held in every five-ten years”. Till date, no federal authority in Nigeria including the National Planning and the Nigerian Population Census authorities can boast of sound data as per the country’s population and industrial census figures. The number of illegal immigrants in the country is also publicly unknown till date.
In the United States, for instance, as at 2013, apart from its scientifically established population of 313 million, there were also 11 million illegal immigrants leaving in the country. But in Nigeria, its population had been managed using speculative, unscientific, unverifiable and unreliable figures for decades. Every aspect of Nigeria’s demographic democracy is roguishly and chronically manipulative. One of the realities of these age-long demographic manipulation and suppressive policies in the country was the 2015 general elections where to the shocking of all Nigerians, millions of underage children, as young as nine years were registered as voters, issued permanent voters cards and allowed to vote in the core northern States; so as to shore up the northern population and maintain the age-long phantom northern population superiority over the southern part or rain forest region of Nigeria.
Possibility was also very high that during the election under reference, hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants particularly from Niger and Chad Republics were allowed access into Nigeria and “Nigerianized” to vote in the said controversial poll. The 2016, by convention and law, ought to be Nigeria’s year of general census; but this has deliberately been stepped down by the administration of Gen Muhammadu Buhari in preference of retention of age-long status quo of demographic violence or suppressive policy.
We condemn unreservedly the unceremonious cancellation of the 2016 General Census by the civilian government of Gen Muhammadu Buhari. We strongly believe that Nigerians are tired of being sized and measured speculatively using international figures plotted and graphed by international demographic theorists. Nigerians should rise with one voice and insist on conduct of general census, which must include population and industrial counting. It is the right of every ethnic nationality, religious body, male, female, child, infant, adolescent, youth, adult and elderly in Nigeria to be put in the know of their population size and be updated statistically on same in every five or ten years. It is also the right of every Nigerian not to be kept in the dark with respect to conduct of sound industrial or economic census in the country; which is a driving engine of industrial policies or directions of both the Government and the private sector.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Mobile Phone: +2348174090052
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Esq., Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program
Uzochukwu Oguejiofor-Nwonu, Esq., Head, Campaign & Publicity Department
*Photo Caption – Map of Nigeria