*Nigeria: Port Harcourt Chamber Decries Absence of Members On RSBoPP Board
Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, PHCCIMA has decried the non-inclusion of its members on the board of Rivers State Bureau of Public Procurement, (RSBoPP).
President of the PHCCIMA, Engr. Vincent Adonye Kingston Furo made this observation last Wednesday when a delegation of the Rivers State Bureau of Public Procurement, (RSBoPP) visited the office of PHCCIMA in Port Harcourt . He stressed that the constitution of the body is faulty considering that the role of the chamber as the mouth piece of the organized private sector was not taken into cognizance. ” The significance of the chamber cannot be over emphasized, especially in an economy as huge as that of Rivers state” he said, underlining the need to actively involve PHCCIMA in the affairs of the board.
The PHCCIMA helmsman maintained that Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce has the capacity and array of professionals cutting across all fields of endeavour to merits its pride of place in the RSBBoPP board whose responsibility is that of setting standards, regulating, monitoring and overseeing public procurement in Rivers state. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria showing Port Harcourt
Her also told the delegation to work in synergy with the chamber to ensure that all establishment, including construction companies doing business in Rivers state embrace, register and identify with the chamber to enable it assume its oversight function for the business community in the state. Engr. Furo urged the Director General to take the message back to the relevant authorities to make them see the need to have the chamber members among the RSBoPP board.
Director General of the Rivers state Bureau of Public Procurement, Barr. Franklin Nlerum who had spoken earlier said the objective of the visit to PCCIMA was to share with them the essentials of the public procurement reforms in the state. He said it has become expedient to visit to introduce the emergent regime from the public procurement Law which entered into force in May 2008 and to seek input from the chamber as a critical shareholder group in the implementation plan for the regime.
Nlerum defined Public Procurement as an overall process of acquiring goods, works or services by government or anybody funded from the public resources which he said covers the entire spectrum from identification of needs through selection of the apt alternative for meeting the need, and timely in a cost effective manner. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria showing its 36 states, including Rivers State and Federal capital (Abuja or FCT)
He said the reforms are not entirely new but is particularly concerned with essential aspects derive from existing but ignored practice, explaining that the objective of the regime is to ensure that public expenditure results in value. “ PHCIMA is to further the business community and the interest of the business community are better served in an environment as contemplated by law in transparency, equity and competition.
The Director General stated that PHCCIMA as the second oldest chamber in Nigeria is not only strategic but also an important body considering its role of advocacy for the business community and its resolve to unlock new vistas of business opportunities in the state.
“RSBoPP has the mandate of ensuring transparency accountability, competition, economy, fitness for purpose and to achieve value for money through the public procurement reforms” Nlerum was quoted as saying, asserting the need for integrity, good character and discipline in our attitude to service and work as attributes that largely determines our progress and accomplishment.
Though Barr. Nlerum promised to take the Chamber observation to the Rivers state House of Assembly and other relevant authorities that were involved with the constitution of the body; he urged the chamber to do more by contributing their quota for the overall progress of the state.
*Tags: Nigerians, Port, Harcourt, Chamber, Decries, Absence, Members, Rsbopp, Board, Abuja, Africa, Masterweb
*Nigeria: Position of Anambra State Elders Council On Labour Crisis In The State
An emergency meeting of the expanded Anambra State Elders Council met in Awka on Monday October 3, 2011 to examine the difficult situation created by the trade union crisis in the State and by the strike action embarked upon by all civil servants since Friday September 17, 2011.
1. The Council noted that the shutting down of schools by the labor unions has forced school children into the streets while the closure of public health services has put the lives of hospital patients in peril. The Council regretted that the attempt to bring the State to a standstill was made without waiting to exhaust all avenues of negotiation, mediation and reconciliation between the State Government and workers.
2. The Council recalled that even before the strike began, the Council had summoned a roundtable meeting of the Anambra State Government, the Nigeria Labor Congress and the Trade Union Congress on Friday, August 12, in the effort to head off the looming battle. The State Governor and the labor unions had presented their positions to the meeting; after which a technical committee of the two parties to the dispute was set up to examine peace options, harmonize their positions, and report back to the Elders Council. Unfortunately, the workers embarked on the strike action without respecting the agreement to report the outcome of the Technical Committee's work to the Elders Council.
3. On Monday September 19, an all inclusive Summit of Traditional Rulers, the Chairmen of Town Unions, the Churches, the leaders of Women, Youth and professional organizations was summoned in Awka to douse the fires and resolve the conflict between Government and the workers. In presenting the case of the State Government, the Governor told the meeting that the State Government had fully complied with the minimum wage law by paying N18, 500 to the lowest grade of workers. On the basis of this assurance the meeting asked the labor unions and civil servants in the State to return to work immediately while negotiations would continue on all outstanding claims and entitlements.
4.The Anambra State Elders Council noted therefore that the labor conflict in the State had nothing whatsoever to do with the minimum wage law since the State Government has fully complied with the stipulations of the law. The matters which are now in dispute are: (i) the demand for a general review of salaries across board for workers in the senior reaches of the civil service; (ii) the demand that salary increases and allowances granted by the Federal Government to its workers before the minimum wage law came into force should be implemented in the Anambra State civil service; and (iii) the larger question of using most of the resources of the State for the payment of salaries while leaving very little for capital development and public services. These are serious and weighty matters which cannot be decided in a hurry as a part of implementing the minimum wage.
5. At the end of the meeting on Monday, October 3, the Anambra Elders Council met again with union leaders and told them that patience, peace and negotiations were their best ways to victory. The State needed peace and quiet to re-position itself politically and economically. Everyone was aware of the financial austerities which workers faced and of the need to enhance the living conditions of workers. But paralyzing the State by shutting down essential institutions was not the way to reach this goal. A general review of salaries and allowances particularly for workers in the higher echelons of the civil service was not a part of the minimum wage issue. Workers must therefore return to their duties without further delay. Negotiations for general improvements in remunerations and working conditions should continue in an atmosphere of peace. The Elders Council pledged to use all its influence to improve workers' pay packets provided that they called off the strike immediately.
DR. DOZIE IKEDIFE OON
Chairman of the Elders Council
PROFESSOR BEN OBUMSELU
Photo Above: Map of Anambra State, Nigeria.
Photo Above: Minimum Wage Table
*Tags: Nigerians, Position, Anambra, State, Elders, Council, Labour, Crisis, Governor, Peter, Obi, Abuja, Africa, Masterweb
*Boko Haram, Islamized Nigeria…Really? Thank God!
By Ikechukwu Enyiagu
Thank God! At last, it’s coming closer to home. I thank God because no one could now comfortably continue to feign incognizance of the goings-on since most Nigerians, though educated, active and wise, oftentimes prefer nonchalance and unserious approach to realities until their dangers come knocking on the bedroom doors. Islamic extremists have spotted Nigeria as another fertile ground for blood spillage-the likes which are common in the some Arab countries; but they shall spill their own blood only. However, the height to which this madness may climb will be entirely dependent on the choices the government of the day and the people decide to make from now. Their methods often seem unserious until grounds begin to fall to their favors through acts of terror. And, hey! Never mistake those who champion this course for the uneducated and uninformed; don’t even dream of thinking that these Jihadists lack roots and supports within their people; most leaders in those lands are signatories to what they do. It’s a beautiful thing that the Northern branches of Nigeria are now speeding up on their catch; this way, Nigerian would be forced to sit up. It all started with one callous and hell-borrowed strategy introduced by the British as a means of checking the Igbos to avoid being questioned or opposed while they milk Nigeria dry. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria
A people were called out of their self-satisfying nomadic and cattle-rearing lifestyle and had leadership thrust upon them. Then, they were aided to flush out Igbos in a genocide which claimed more that three million (3,000,000) lives, leaving us with remnants. Yet they were not satisfied. Oil were sucked from the South but transferred through underground pipelines to the North. Next, all national arsenals were shifted to the North-leaving other parts, especially the South East, with nothing but a division with only a name. Next, it was registering Hausa as the national language of Nigeria on BBC, claiming that Hausa is the only language worth hearing from Nigeria by the outside world. Further, these people who arrogantly called one of their states a “born to rule” went on to register Nigeria in the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) as an Islamic country. Next, their battle axe, Al-Qaeda, came in to register its bank but was advised that such premature move would blow up their cover. So, instead, they decided to implement one of their agenda which involves the Naira currency; they started writing Arabic/Islamic inscriptions in the Naira notes which only a closer and keener look could observe. When they were spotted and complaints threatened their resolved plan to Islamize all of Nigeria, they removed those inscriptions and replaced them with those from the three major tribes. As the anger died off, they secretly reintroduced these same Islamic Arabic signs to the national currency. In their timing, they installed a chronic Sharia enforcer as the CBN governor in the person of Mallam Sanusi. At the same time, they supplied and kept on supplying Boko Haram with all they needed to kill at will and terrorize the entire nation in an attempt to create diversions from their true agenda and sympathy which would lure Nigerians to unsuspectingly tolerate these schemes. And while they go on terrorizing the country and excitedly making President Goodluck Jonathan sweat in his sleep, the CBN Mallam used the federal money to start championing the Al-Qaeda banking in Nigeria in the guise of Islamic Banking. One of their spiritual leaders even went as far as openly boasting and vowing that all Muslims in Nigeria would go to war should the plan for an Islamic banking system be stopped. While their agents, Boko Haram, kills Igbos and peoples of other different tribes at will, their Northern leaders openly and unashamedly revealed that they have personally authorized the killings by blaming it all on the government. And in commenting, one of their governor even claimed that those who died were bound to die as they did. ( Continues below...... )
Photo Above: Late Boko Haram Leader, Mohammed Yusuf. Police said Yusuf was shot while trying to escape.
Recently, their scheme shifted to the killing of Igbos and anyone in Nigeria who cannot recite, offhand, the Islamic Quran. While they embark on this, the Nigerian government keeps seeking means to bribe them off their lifelong dream of Islamizing Nigeria but at the same time rounds up, beats, kills, arrests and detains without reasons the non-violent MASSOB members. As it is today and true to the maser plan given them by their leaders, Boko Haram has rebuffed every attempt by the federal government of Nigeria for any peace deal. Their condition for truce in Nigeria, however, has now been made evidently clear: Nigeria must be totally Islamized-from the East of the country through every other angle to the entire north; every Nigerian must become a Muslim by choice or by compulsion-in life or after being killed. Thank God again, the time for the inevitable decision has come; the moment to determine whether or not to let these unfeeling and hell-sent zealots Islamize all of Nigeria and compel every Nigerian to become a Muslim has come in its time. Every Nigerian, in line with the culture of selfishness, had kept silent and unconcerned while all these above-mentioned steps were taken against us and without our consent; but as it has come to a matter strictly of the heart, Nigerians have lost the privileges of keeping mute and unconcerned. Either way, Nigeria must shake. By the way, Nigeria was never built to stand and it was finally nailed to the coffin on the Biafran soil filled with the blood of all those killed in the genocide. According to America’s prediction, Nigeria is due for a breakup by 2015, but it looks like these Islamic extremists have no respect for predictions or patience; Al-Qaeda has waited longer than necessary, in their calculation, to pounce of Nigeria. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Mohammed Yusuf's bullet-ridden body shown to journalists in a video hours on July 30, 2009 after Nigerian police announced they had captured him alive. Police said Yusuf was shot while trying to escape.
Whichever way the federal government chooses to take against these developments, a Sovereign National Conference remains the choicest and only peaceful alternative. It does not really matter if the name ‘Nigeria’ is replaced with ‘Islam’ and it means nothing if Nigerian currency’s name is changed into Boko Haram or Sharia; any country may choose any language for whatever they desire and they could write the name of who they worship in every material, every home, each meal, and every skin. It, however, matters deeply if these plans are being moved forward in Nigeria as long as Nigeria remains politically one. AS LONG AS NIGERIA REMAINS HINGED TO AND DEPENDENT ON BIAFRA’S PRESENCE, MEMBERSHIP AND SUPPORT TO SURVIVE, SHARIA LAW WILL NEVER HAVE RELEVANCE BEYOND THE NORTH. Nigeria will never be Islamized and Igbos will never have to read any portion of the Quran involuntarily. Unfortunately, Ojukwu will eventually be remembered by all Nigerians who may ever find their path to accepting and loving truths. It would be an unfortunate thing because, by the time everyone who is human enough in Nigeria sees the truth, the loss would be unbearable. I thank God, once again, for giving Nigerians another time to choose whom to serve: A God of love, tolerance, and freedom, or that of compulsion and destruction; the God who created life and treasures it, or the one who was created but lost his place in God’s blessings, who, as a result, goes about seeking unsuspecting, undiscerning, and weak souls to enslave and to devour. The crossroad is here and the moment of decision has come; everyone has lost the privilege of remaining silent and unconcerned, including you.
Ikechukwu Enyiagu can be reached at
*Tags: Nigerians, Boko, Haram, Islamized, Africa, Masterweb
By Intersociety, CLO & Human Rights Club
(Onitsha-Nigeria, September 29, 2011)-The leaderships of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law-Intersociety, Civil Liberties Organization-CLO and Human Rights Club of the Legal Research, Resource & Development Center in Anambra State, view with uttermost concern the circumstances that led to the ongoing indefinite strike action embarked upon by the State leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress. We dare say that the strike action is ill managed and poorly handled by both State Government and the leadership of the Labour in the State.
While remaining collective sticklers of decent minimum wage for every Nigerian worker, our worry is that the passage of the Amended National Minimum Act of March 2011 was hasty and shoddy. Apart from inherent peculiarities in the capacities of the States and LGAs to pay the new minimum wage, it also appears that the amended Act is ambiguous in its letters, which has given room for various forms of interpretation by stakeholders including the leaderships of the Labour and various levels of government in the country. The Act, apart from few exceptions or defences with regard to business establishments with few employees, etc, also covers the employees in the private sector. The economy of the country was also not made to accommodate the new wage Act in terms of macro and micro growth. Instead, the recurrent expenditures of the Federal Government and most States of the Federation have jumped to over 75% of the national and States earnings, at the utter mercy of the all-important capital expenditures, which have fallen to less than 25%.
In Anambra State, a “win-lose” strategy, in place of a “win-win” strategy has been employed by both State Government and the State Labour leadership to have an edge over each other. The State Government sees the State Labour leadership as having malicious intents and being political in its approach. For instance, the Labour was accused of embarking on seven days warning strike, instead of traditional three days. It was also accused of being remote-controlled by Senator Chris Ngige and using foul and discredited languages against the person of Mr. Peter Obi, the Anambra Governor, as well as calling on citizens to stop paying their taxes and foreign donors to turn their back on the Government and People of Anambra State.
Why Dialogue Would Have Been And Still The Best Option:
Our findings across the Federation show that Anambra industrial dispute is as a result of “percentage calculations”, and not the usual blanket refusal by some State Governments to implement the “National Minimum Wage”, which has been the case in other States engulfed by strike actions. In the case of Anambra State, workers at the Grade Level 01 to 06 (core NLC members) have had their minimum wages increased to N18,000.00 (increase of additional N10,000), in compliance with Section 2 (1) of the new National Minimum Wage Act 2011, which provides “As from the commencement of this Act, it shall be the duty of every employer( except as provided for under the principal Act as amended) to pay a wage not less than the national minimum wage of N18,000.00 per month to every worker under his establishment”. The increase has since reflected in their August 2011 salaries. For workers in Grade Level 07 to 17, about N15,000 each was added to their monthly earnings across board and this also reflected in their August 2011 salaries paid to them. The 2000 teachers recruited recently also benefited from the increase by receiving additional N10,000.00 each.
Point Of Departure:
According to the Government of Anambra State, there are 15,000 employees under its employment, sharing the personnel and over-head monthly wage bill of over N2Billion, out of the State’s monthly average receipts of N3Billion. The recent wage adjustment has added additional N400million to the State’s existing monthly wage bills. In July 2011, the Government said it received highest allocation since its creation, of N7.4Billion because of accumulated non-released earnings arising from excess crude oil earnings, etc. The remaining 35 States also benefited according to their earning percentages in the national revenue sharing formulae. Some core oil States received over N40Billion each. The main point of departure or disagreement between the Government of Anambra State and the State Labour leadership is the latter’s insistence on “percentage increment”, that is to say: if the N18,000.00 minimum increment translates to 150% differential from the previous wage of N7,500.00, then Grade Level 07 to 17 workers should have theirs increased by 150% as well. For instance, if a director was earning N2Million per month before the 2011 amended Wage Act, he or she should have his or her pay increased by 150% or N5million, an increase of N3Million, this, the State Government sees as untenable.
The consequences of the foregoing are far-reaching. The very foundation of Social Contract is seriously under threat. Government exists not to sustain government machinery alone, government workers inclusive, but to ensure greatest comfort and happiness for the greatest number of the citizenry. Fulfilling social responsibility obligations are more important than spending billions of naira in sustaining the security votes, commissioners, SAs, First Ladies, legislators and their PAs, governors and their deputies, judges and magistrates and other government employees.
It is very unfortunate that mere “15,000 government employees” and few hundreds of top public officials in the Anambra State Executive, Judiciary and Legislative arms have continued to spend over 70% of the State’s monthly earnings or over N2Billion on recurrent expenditures, while less than N1Billion is left for the maintenance of the remaining 5million People of Anambra State through the provision of key infrastructures. There are at least three new live gully erosion sites in the State, courtesy of the outgoing raining season. Many strategic roads, especially urban/city layout roads in Iyiowa-Odekpe and Okpoko/Nkutaku(Ogbaru), Awada and Ugwuagba (Obosi), Nkpor and Odume, Woliwo, Omagba Phase 11 and Fegge(Onitsha), Nnewi, etc are begging for urgent attention. A number of hitherto good roads, defaced by the outgoing raining season are also begging for re-attention. This is not to mention the numerous ongoing projects with regard to inter-community/LGA roads, bridges, erosion controls and other key infrastructural projects requiring billions of naira from our lean commonwealth.
The Government of Anambra State is also not helping matters in the area of Internally Generated Revenues. Anambra State’s IGR capacity averages N5Billion per month, but arm-chair syndrome and corruptive tendencies of some Government aides and workers have steadily reduced the actual earnings to less than 10% or N450million to N500million per month. The inability of the State Government to embark on data mining that would have ensured sound or credible database for its collectible or generate-able revenues is also part of the problems. Another aspect of the problems is duplicity of revenues and criminal conducts of middlemen. Data mining helped the Government of Lagos State to identify and effectively manage over 1,300 revenue windows, fetching it about N17, 5Billion per month. To ensure sanity and elimination of duplicity of revenues, etc, there should be a joint revenue collection body for the State Government and the 21 LGAs.
The regulation of the Anambra State workforce is very porous. The “15,000-Man workforce” is also very unproductive and corrupt. An average Anambra worker demands tips before treating a file. The e-civil service has continued to erode the Anambra State Civil Service. Its methods are analogous and outdated. Falsification of age appears to be very rampant in the State Civil Service. Many “panel-beating” faces and bodies abound in the State workforce. There is need for thorough age or profile verifications of the State workers especially from 2002 downwards. The possibility of many ghost workers existing among the State workforce is also not ruled out.
However, we wish to kick against threats by the Government of Anambra State to disengage the workers, who are not from Anambra State. Instead, they should be made productive, loyal, and patriotic and committed to the cause of developing the State. We agree with the State Government that “many” of the workers from outside the State are working at the cross-purposes with the State’s ideals, but disengaging them would amount to “jungle-justice” and violation of the national cohesiveness and integration. That Enugu and Abia State Governments have done it should not be a credible guarantee, because Anambra State is a melting pot, where people from all walks of life are melted and reformed as first eleven in commerce and intellectual artistry.
While viewing the ongoing strike action in the State as unwarranted, we call on the leadership of the State Labour Congress to embrace dialogue and shun hard stance attitudes. The accusation of partisanship leveled against it, if true, should be discontinued. The period of dialoguing with the State Labour leadership should also be used to resolve the impasse between the Government of Anambra State and its health workers. It is our insistence that the principle of “not serving two masters at the same time” should be invoked to make medical personnel working in government hospitals to either face their private practice or work in government hospitals round the clock, otherwise expatriate doctors should be hired to ensure uninterrupted and quality public healthcare delivery. In legal practice, once made a judge or magistrate, he or she is barred for life from practicing as a private counsel even after retirement.
Lastly, it appears that the minimum wage “tsunami” is sweeping away the traditional social benefits and threatening the all-important Chapter Four (Fundamental Human Rights) provisions in the 1999 Constitution as amended. In Ebonyi State, for instance, the all-important bursary and internal and external scholarship awards for brilliant indigenes of Ebonyi, an effective human resources development strategy commendably initiated by former governor Sam Egwu, which produce hundreds of postgraduates annually from the State through further studies overseas in key academic disciplines, are under serious threat, no thanks to controversy surrounding the new National Minimum Wage. In Abia State, not minding that the State workers have not gone on strike nor have their new minimum wage been paid, yet the State Government is going ahead with its plans to disengage the workers of the State, who are not indigenes of Abia State. Above all, the inflationary rates and worthlessness of our currency arising from naked wage adjustments without corresponding growth signs in the economy are socially disastrous. The Federal Republic of Nigeria and her components parts should not continue to run stomach economy or economy of intestine, as these clearly defeat the very idea of post Hobbessian styled government, which is to ensure security and welfare of the citizenry as well as greatest comfort and happiness for the greatest number of people.
While commending the present Government of Anambra State for its fiscal ingenuity, particularly its zero- loan culture, we call upon it not to relent at ensuring effective social services delivery especially in the area of provision and maintenance of key infrastructures including roads, bridges, erosion controls, health and education. The intervention of the State House of Assembly and the State Elders Council in the ongoing industrial dispute is very commendable. They are called upon not rest in their oars until the industrial dispute is equitably resolved. The leadership of the State Labour must be reasonable, focused, selfless, creative, non-partisan and considerate in its approach.
Chairman, BOT, Intersociety
Comrade Aloysius Attah
Chairman, CLO, Anambra State
Comrade Samuel Njoku
Coordinator & Para-legal In-charge
Human Rights Club, Anambra State
Photo Above: Comrade Aloysius Attah
Photo Above: Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Intersociety, 41, Miss Elems Street, Fegge, Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria.
*Tags: Nigerians, Anambra Labour Strike - Our Informed Opinion, Africa, Masterweb
*Disintegration of Nigeria Cheapest Means To Containing Islamic Extremism In Africa
By Ikechukwu Enyiagu
No one ever solves a mathematical equation without a formula; no one finds the solution to a problem without first finding the root of the problem. Terrorism didn’t just happen; it is the result of decades, and perhaps, centuries of subdued disagreements and misunderstanding. Wisdom demands that prevention often be preferred to a cure. These truths inform this timely advice to the United States of America, Britain, France, and all other affected countries of the world to accept without delay that, in order to contain this virus called terrorism which is speedily spreading all over Africa, Nigeria must be disintegrated without further delay. Like a mustard seed, terrorism only has to have a point of contact-no matter how small. Whilst the Nigerian genocide against Igbos from 1967-1970 have remained no business of the world ruling interests (those who champion human rights) to this date, terrorism in Nigeria shall force everyone to ask this very vital and inevitable question which has until now been mumbled in different quarters: “Does Nigeria has to remain one?’ Of course, the obvious answer to this is a resounding NO! Setting aside the unthinkable amounts of money which the US and other nations have wasted so far in the fight against terrorism, lives threatened, with no one sure where and who it may be next, pose greater worries for the world at large. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria
Nigeria, a country with over one hundred and sixty million (160,000,000) people, have proven itself ungovernable as one federal state. A foolish leader is not one who makes a mistake but one who refuses to accept his mistake and learn from it; the amalgamation of Nigeria by her majesty’s authority was the worst mistake ever made by the British government. Even with the many lives of Igbos wasted, with the backing of Britain, for no justifiable cause, and the corruption which has corrupted everything in Nigeria, until now, the British authorities have not accepted that their “Project Nigeria” was a fatally destructible and failed one. Nevertheless, Islamic terrorism is about to change all that arrogant denial. Until now the pursuit of a Biafran state out of this failed project called Nigeria has not won all the duly needed attentions and interventions from the United Nations, America, and the rest of the world. However, it will be noted here that Biafra is not the only nation in Nigeria that wants to secede; the entire Northern states of Nigeria have obtrusively been agitating for their separate state, even before the Nigeria-Biafra civil war, where Sharia law shall be the constitution of the day; and at the other end stands the Niger Delta movement. While MASSOB represents the Biafran movement, MEND fights for the Niger Delta and Boko Haram, the Muslim North. And while MASSOB resorted to a non-violent approach to assert and obtain the rights of Igbo nationhood, MEND uses violence to claim their rights, while Boko Haram diversifies terrorism in Nigeria. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map and Flag of Nigeria
According to Gen. Andrew Owoye Azazi, the Security Adviser to the Federal Government of Nigeria, “Terrorism has come to stay in Nigeria.” This was in confirmation of the British secret service’s report that Al-Qaeda has planned to use Nigeria as their African headquarters to attack the west. And true to it credentials, Boko Haram, the extension of Al-Qaeda in Nigeria, has now sworn that “the country would not have peace until there is 100 per cent implementation of Sharia law in the country as enshrined in the holy Quran.” This therefore leaves no question as to whether Nigeria will metamorphose into a Pakistan, an Afghanistan, or even another African Somalia; the question the west and indeed the rest of the concerned member states should be asking now ought to be: “Should we let Nigeria evolve into a Somalia, or an Afghanistan, or even a Pakistan in Africa?” Considering the effects of fighting terrorism and mostly the damages it has inflicted so far, the obvious answer to this, again, should and must be a resounding NO! ( Continues below...... )
Photo Above: Late Boko Haram Leader, Mohammed Yusuf. Police said Yusuf was shot while trying to escape.
Having considered the conditions of Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, South-Sudan, and Somalia, I have come to the only wise and workable conclusion and solution to a terrorism-free Africa: A disintegrated Nigeria. If British intelligence claims Nigeria to be the proposed African headquarters of Al-Qaeda, then it could be since the sings are on the increase. One of the many reason large sums of money are wasted and lives lost in combating this international crime is the precautions and cautions taken by America and its allies to avoid killing innocent citizens, and the sole reason terrorism has lasted this long is because those involved take advantage of civilian-populated zones , both to hide and to attack. In the case of Nigeria and, by extension Africa, knowing the source of the problem would lesson the degree of wastes always envisioned and encountered. The economic instability in all of the western countries today is the effect of fighting terrorism-the effect of refusing to prevent from occurring and, instead, preferring to cure when the whole system has been effectively affected. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Mohammed Yusuf's bullet-ridden body shown to journalists in a video hours on July 30, 2009 after Nigerian police announced they had captured him alive. Police said Yusuf was shot while trying to escape.
Not everything has immediate cure if and when not initially prevented from occurring. Lastly, I’d like to advice the US and all concerned that, before the decision to send drones or to come in to fight terrorism (which has actually gained legal residence in Nigeria) is made, please help Nigerians to help you. Nigeria has truly shown the final sign of a failed state when it lost the capability to provide security to protect its president; how much vulnerable can an ordinary Nigerian be? But before the west comes in to increase our pains as a means of reducing yours, give us the help we need to reduce yours without having to increase ours; help us to dissolve this lethal mistake of an experiment called the Federal Republic of Nigeria. A stitch in time saves nine.
Ikechukwu Enyiagu can be reached at
*Tags: Nigerians, Disintegration, Cheapest, Islamic, Extremism, Africa, Masterweb
By Masterweb News Desk
Masterweb team was on the ground in Awka August 25 to 27 for celebrations marking the twentieth anniversary of the creation of Anambra State. Anambra was created on August 27, 1991 by the military government of General Ibrahim Babangida. Our team operating as independent observers travelled across the state on August 25 inspecting projects by Governor Obi’s administration. The team began their trip at 9.00 am ending at 7.00 pm when it was getting dark and did not completely cover all the targeted projects. Our team returned to Anambra on August 30 after the celebrations to visit remaining projects.
It took us this long to file a report on our assessment of Governor Obi’s performance which we are rating “excellent”, because we employed both visual, common sense and scientific methodology in arriving our rating. We visually saw the projects and not a third party describing them to us, used common sense to assess them and scientific methods to cross-check assumptions and conduct accurate analysis.
In our analysis we compared Anambra State under Governor Obi to other states in Nigeria and not in the United States nor anywhere-else in the developed world. Comparison of a Nigerian city or state to any place in the developed world can not be made until the federal government delivers on her responsibilities. The infrastructural and power supply situation in Nigeria is shameful, to say the least. These are constraints among others, in the ability of a non-corrupt efficient governor doing his best.
In our statistical comparative analysis, the performance of Governor Obi was above the mean (average) and significantly too. Using a confidence interval around the mean of 3 standard deviations, Obi's score was determined to be statistically significant. This ranked him one of the best governors in the country.
In the analysis we rated the projects by Obi’s administration assigning each project a number between 1 to 10 (10 for excellent), adding up the total and deriving the mean value. We came up with mean values for other states from figures from members of our team and reliable contributors, in a survey organized for that purpose. These were the numbers we used in our statistical analysis.
In the next couple of days we will commence the release of our inspection reports and photos. Our reports will be on few projects at a time, to enable readers devote more time and attention on each project.
Projects visited and inspected by our team include:
1. Amaku University Teaching Hospital
2. Anambra State Ultra Modern Fire Service Headquarters & State Emergency Management Complex, Awka.
3. New Anambra Govt. Secretariat (Twin Building)
4. Roads: Dualized Awka-Enugu Road (Zik’s Ave); Ora-eri-Obeledu-Akwaeze-Igbo Ukwu Road; Anambra State University, Uli Campus Road;
5. Alex Ekwueme Square
6. Prof. Kenneth Dike Library
7. Hydraform Block Industry
8. Anambra State Housing Development Corporation
9. Anambra State College of Agriculture, Mgbakwu
10. Obibia Bridge linking Okpuno and Mgbakwu
11. Neem Fertilizer Company
12. Otuku Bridge linking Umueze Anam – Nmiata
13. Faculty of Law, Moot Court, Library & Dept of Mass Communication –Anambra State University, Igbariam.
14. Onitsha Business Park
15. Onitsha Judges Quarters
16. Ministry of Justice
17. Onitsha North Local Govt. Headquarters
18. Onitsha Governor’s Lodge
19. Kidney Dialysis Center & Resident Doctors Quarters – Onitsha General Hospital
20. Justice Chuba Ikpeazu Stadium Onitsha North
21. Onitsha South Local Govt. Mini Stadium
22. Sabmiller Brewery (South African Brewery attracted to Anambra by Gov. Obi)
23. Obizi Water Scheme (Main Station at Uga, Booster Station at Uga, Reservoir Tank at Uga & Booster Station at Nkpologwu)
24. Ekwulobia Erosion Site Gully
25. Agulu Aguinyi Water Scheme
26. Odor Bridge linking Awgbu and Amaokpala
27. Comprehensive Secondary School, Nwafia (rebuilt by Gov. Obi)
28. Amansea-Ebenebe Road Bridge
29. Women’s Development Center (Rebuilt by Gov. Obi)
30. Okija Road Project (Okija to Ogbaru) & Okpu Bidge, Okija.
31. Dept. of Biochemistry - Anambra State University, Uli Campus
32. Lilu Road Project
33. Anambra State Judiciary High Court Complex
34. Umunze Cottage Hospital
35. Ekwulobia General Hospital (upgraded by Gov. Obi)
Anambra State is one of the names that can not be omitted in the history of Nigeria and Igboland. It has always been at the forefront of issues in Nigeria and South East Region. This is the reason why Anambra is among the places Masterweb has reportorial interest. Masterweb independently covered Anambra State Association-USA (ASA-USA) ‘09 Convention which held in Washington DC on October 24, 2009. In 2010, our team in conjunction with citizen reporters (live) Anambra 2010 gubernatorial election. This year we were on the ground in Anambra touring the state and independently inspecting projects by Governor Obi’s government. Yes, eventually we touched down in Anambra to report the true situation of things in the state in terms of development. Masterweb is renowned for the authenticity and accuracy of her investigative, fact-finding and reportorial works. We do not operate based on hearsay, vindictive or tabloid reporting as some news media and authors have done in Anambra in the past.
Photo Above: Governor Obi's score symbolized on photo
Photo Above: Map of Anambra State, Nigeria.
*Tags: Nigerians, Team, Scores, High, Governor, Peter, Obi, Abuja, Africa, Masterweb
*Nigeria: Anambra Labour & Minimum Wage – The True Story
By Concerned Anambra Stakeholders
The raging issue today in Nigeria is the implementation of the minimum wage and Anambra State is not different. Workers have every right to agitate for better welfare. They also have every right to embark on strike. But what matters is the way such agitation is carried on.
Since the wage palaver in Anambra State, the public has been fed a lot of half truths by the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) which sometimes have bordered on downright lies against the state government.
It is in the light of this that it has become necessary to put things in their right perspective and to let the public know the true situation.
WHAT DOES THE MINIMUM WAGE LAW SAY?
Simply put, it demands that no worker should earn less than N18, 000. It is not a wage increase as many people seem to interpret it. It does not also mean across the board increment.
WHAT HAS THE ANAMBRA GOVERNMENT DONE?
The Anambra State government has fulfilled the requirements of the Minimum Wage Law by ensuring that no worker in the state now earns less than N18, 000 monthly. On top of this, government has also added money to all categories of workers, with the least being N10,000. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Minimum Wage Table ( )
Out of 36 States, 6 States receive an average of N20 billion monthly; another 8 States receive an average of N6 billion monthly; while the rest, including Anambra State, receive an average of N3 billion monthly.
It is clear that the leadership of labour is being manipulated by opposition politicians who want to create anarchy in the state, by deceiving their innocent followers.
Labour should not be allowed to recklessly hold the State to ransom, this is why we call on government to fully implement the "no work no pay" law as well as other measures the Governor said she would implement. We call on workers in their own interest to return to their duty posts. We also call on Anambrarians of goodwill, including the clergy to add their own voices in calling them to order.
Workers must be condemned by all for asking the people of Anambra State to stop paying taxes and for writing letters to all the donor and international agencies working in the State to stop supporting Anambra State. As we write, it is painful to discover that they have been going to all the sites where Government is working, stopping contractors from doing their work. This is strange as it is wicked.
We wish to commend the patriotic disposition of judicial staff workers who have continued to work and we urge other workers to emulate their patriotic example. We equally thanks all those who have contributed so far in moving the state forward in these trying times. Anambra adibago mma, nye aka ka odi mma.
Photo Above: Enlarged Minimum Wage Table
Concerned Anambra Stakeholders wrote from Anambra.
*Tags: Nigerians, Anambra, Governor, Peter, Obi, Targets, Direct, Hits, Abuja, Africa, Masterweb
*Nigeria: A Lie Which Supports Palestinian Statehood But Denies Biafra’s Inalienable Reality!
By Ikechukwu Enyiagu
Has anyone ever seen such blatant and arrogant hypocrisy! Has lie ever obliterated the truth! Never! What shall we then say to these things? If a man eats his cake and expects to have it, shall he not be called a gluttonous fool? What name is more appropriate for a state which supports the establishment of another while, at the same time, does everything, not only to stop and deny the realization of the one beside it in which much blood have spilled and lives wasted, but continues to carry out policies with the intention of erasing the generation of this noble people, the Biafrans? What’s more, what game shall we say that the Nigerian government is trying to play with the international community when it sits on the rights, freedom and actualization of the sovereign state of Biafra and, at the same time, raises its corrupt and blood-soaked hand in support of another territory’s statehood? It gets funnier when one considers that this mouse called Nigeria, which cannot defend or protect even its president, thinks that it’s going to score any diplomatic point while resisting the actualization of Biafra and supporting the actualization of a Palestinian state even against the peaceful steps brought forward by the very people that protects its presidency. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria
The Palestinians have a right to statehood, every right thinking person accepts that. And we accept and believe that the time for that is now and ripe. The steps towards that actualization, however, are what are being considered. The people of Biafra have experienced genocide in Nigeria just as the Israelis have all over the world. While the Biafrans have opted for a non-violent approach to the Biafran dream, the Palestinians have used every method, including rockets and all forms of violence to ascertain their rights. But while this hypocritical, corrupt and bribe-taking Nigerian government goes ahead to arrest, beat, kill, and unlawfully detain MASSOB members in their peaceful and non-violent means for a Biafran state,  it unashamedly raises its voice and hand in support of a state filled with all violent method. 
Perhaps, and I’m sure, this is the time that the torchlight of the international community should be beamed uninterruptedly on Nigeria to see how a state as hypocritical, wicked, violent against its citizens, corrupt, destructive, fraudulent, discriminatory, faulty, and politically, economically, and security-wise unstable as Nigeria could stand up boldly and assert to be an embodiment of wisdom, democracy, freedom, and human rights. I strongly believe that it’s high time the United Nations understood that, for peace to reign in Africa, Nigeria must disintegrate. I strongly believe that the Western world understands the needful urgency in creating a Biafran state as one of its greatest measures in combating terrorism in Africa. Now that terrorism in Nigeria (starting from a city less than three miles to the capital)  has moved to killing Igbos who cannot recite any portion of the Quran in broad daylight, the sky shall be Al-Qaeda’s limit in the world if America and the rest of the world do not urgently stand up to support for the Biafran statehood. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Chief Ralph Uwazuruike in Federal High Court, Abuja., Tuesday, November 9, 2005 facing treason charges.
If indeed there should be a Palestinian state now, then there should be a Biafran state now. If the government of Nigeria claims to believe it proper that the Palestinians are due for statehood, then it will amount to an international display of immaturity, foolishness, and arrogant callousness when it goes on to deny and resist the actualization of the sovereign state of Biafra. It’s childish and unthinkable that a blind man could claim to see where the seeing should step on; it’s totally laughable and shameful that the Nigerian government could feel secure in the hands of Israel and still speak like an ungrateful baby. Palestine is due for statehood, yes, and Biafra is due for statehood too! If freedom must come with a cost, Biafrans have paid double, and if peace is the process, Biafrans have known this way. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Defunct Republic of Biafra
It’s important for everyone from everywhere, including Nigerians, to know that those who claim to be leaders in Nigeria have gone totally bonkers. A nation where the president is protected by a foreign security outfit  is not fit for a state within a state, and a nation where the first lady publicly and before the international community overshadows the president, her husband,  is a laughing stock amongst other diplomats and heads of state. The beauty of divine justice is that, no matter how much money you steal, no matter how much power you wield, and no matter how much blood you spill, your end shall be greatly shameful. That’s the inevitable end of Nigeria.
A stitch in time saves nine. Israel fought the 1967 war (also known as the June War, 1967) which stretched the Palestinian statehood actualization to this date barely a month before Biafra declared independence which led to Nigeria’s genocide against her (Nigerian-Biafran War, 6 July 1967). If Nigeria must speak in defense for human rights in the international community or anywhere else, it must start by speaking in defense for human rights at home.  This hypocrisy and this nationally-glorified life of sycophancy amongst Nigerian leaders can only bring one thing back home: more decay. Unless and until Nigeria releases its hold on Biafra, peace, freedom and human rights will continue to elude all in Nigeria. By the way, it does not matter what Pharaoh thinks or believes, God’s people must go. It matters not how many children Herod the king has killed is search of the seed of Abraham, the ‘born of the spirit’ shall not be touched.
 MASSOB Alleges Clampdown By Soldiers
 Nigeria reiterates support for Palestinian statehood bid http://www.vanguardngr.com/2011/09/nigeria-reiterates-support-for-palestinian-statehood-bid/
 5 killed for failing to recite Quran http://www.vanguardngr.com/2011/09/5-killed-for-failing-to-recite-quaran/
 Boko Haram: Jonathan gets Israeli protection http://www.vanguardngr.com/2011/09/boko-haram-jonathan-gets-israeli-protection/
 Undiplomatic Patience Jonathan Muscles Her Way, Bullying And Disrespecting Jonathan At JFK, US–Reports http://www.republicreport.com/undiplomatic-patience-jonathan-muscles-her-way-bullying-and-disrespecting-jonathan-at-jfk-us-reports/
 UN Chief Urges Jonathan to Keep Eye On Cote d’ Ivoire, Liberia http://theliberiantimes.com/?p=910
Ikechukwu Enyiagu can be reached at
*Tags: Nigerians, Lie, Denies, Supports, Palestinian, Statehood, Ndigbo, Biafra, Land, Rising, Sun, Africa, Masterweb
*Nigeria: Peter Obi’s Many Targets & Direct Hits
By Onukwugha Osuji
The failure of the generality of political leadership in Nigeria has been arguably the single most debilitating factor against societal development and progress. And, since many of them were not on the people’s mandate, there was little accountability but a high level of clouded purposes, broken promises and venality in the conduct of public affairs.
Mercifully, a few have established that with a clear vision, mission and commitment, positive outcomes are assured in governance. The experience of Peter Obi’s administration in Anambra State has been significant.
Soon after his inauguration for a second term in early February, 2010, a challenge was thrown to the Governor on “The Consolidation Imperative”. Some 20 months later, there is a revealing picture of his administration’s many targets and direct hits. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: His Excellency Governor Peter Obi (Photo 1)
Coming from a career background of corporate excellence, Governor Obi had a bird’s eye view of the developmental imperatives for his State. The enormity of the challenges ahead probably informed the Philosophy of ANIDS [Anambra Integrated Development Strategy]. This aims at several targets within the framework of the internationally-acclaimed benchmark: the Millennium Development Goals [MDGs]. To put the administration’s programme of action in perspective, the MDGs are to: Reduce extreme poverty and hunger; Achieve universal primary education; Promote gender equality and empower women; Reduce child mortality; Improve maternal health; Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; Ensure environmental sustainability; and Develop a global partnership for development. The relevance of these goals to the realities of the Nigerian [including Anambra] state of affairs can hardly be over-stressed. So, what is the status reckoning for the present dispensation in Anambra State?
In typical fashion, the administration generated a Poverty Profile of Anambra State as a basis to tackle the twin challenges of reduction of poverty and elimination of extreme hunger. The Poverty Map identified areas of dire need and others of various levels of deprivation. In deference to the basics of agricultural and rural development in the fight against poverty, the Government strengthened its participation in the FADAMA III Project – in partnership with the Federal Government and international Development Partners. By fulfilling its counterpart requirements, the State opened up access the project’s goals of: funds & equipment to several hundred rural dwellers engaged in agricultural activities; financial support for thousands of the physically-challenged, widows and women to start their own ventures as well as to orphanages and care givers; revolving loans to women co-operatives in agro-allied businesses, including poultry/fish/pig/snail farming and supply of an assortment of equipment to set up cottage industries. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Governor Peter Obi (Photo 2)
Still under this massive programme to combat poverty, there is a N2 billion intervention fund for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises [MSMEs]; extensive construction of rural roads to boost access to the various communities and optimize exploitation of their potential; construction of rural markets & lock-up shops, bore holes, abattoirs, cold rooms, VIP latrines; establishment of bakeries, rice threshers, palm kernel crackers, cellophane machines, mills for rice, cassava, feeds, palm oil, starch and maize; and procurement of tricycles.
The State Government’s investment in a Neem-based organic Fertilizer plant would expand the agricultural sector’s capacity to create employment and increase productivity. In a similar vein, thousands of jobs at various unskilled and skilled categories would be generated from other investments attracted by the Obi administration to the State. These include a South African Brewing plant at Onitsha and the Rice Mill at Omor – easily the largest of its kind in West Africa.
As observed by the Co-ordinator of the National Poverty Eradication Programme [NAPEP], Dr. Magnus Kpakol, “Governor Obi remains determined and dogged by initiating effective economic empowerment programmes”.
For Anambra-watchers since its creation some 20 years ago, the attainments of the Obi administration in the education sector will always bear repetition. To date hundreds of primary and secondary schools have been rehabilitated and renovated; many others built, furnished and equipped. Virtually all the Government secondary schools in the State now have laboratories, libraries, ICT facilities [desktop computers, laptop computers, and Internet connectivity], buses, bore holes, electricity – gestures extended to private institutions. At a record of 200 secondary schools, the State has the highest number of that tier in ICT facilities in the country even as it rates top in the establishment of Microsoft Academies.
In its second term, the Government is funding the construction of 1,000 [4-room] classroom blocks per year. The project is on course, verifiable from the town unions through which the funds are disbursed. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Governor Peter Obi (Photo 3)
Tertiary education has continued to receive boosts in structures, facilities, faculty, welfare, accreditation and improved funding. Benefitting institutions include Anambra State University [and its various Campuses and Teaching Hospital]; Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe; School of Agriculture, Mgbakwu [with laboratories, hostels, classrooms, administration & staff offices and demonstration farms]; School of Nursing & Midwifery, Nkpor; College of Health Technology, Obosi; and Professor Kenneth Dike Central Library, Awka [for references and sundry research].
Much more than most other State Governments, the Obi administration has a decent number of women on its payroll in decision-making capacities. Barely two years ago, for instance, there were more female than male Permanent Secretaries in service. Of course, the full-fledged Ministry of Women Affairs and Women Development Centre are in place to ensure the pursuit of women’s rights and protection of the girl-child.
The health foundation of Anambra State is comparable to the best elsewhere. Existing Primary Healthcare Centres are being strengthened and new ones established to cater to maternal, child and reproductive health. Today, there are at least 5 [five] PHCs in each of the State’s 21 Local Government Areas. Added to these are refurbished and newly-constructed General Hospitals – all decently equipped and provided with personnel, essential consumables, water, power-generators, duty vehicles and ambulances.
Medical and general health education is also on the priority list with construction works, furnishing, installation of facilities and active pursuit of accreditation for Anambra State University Teaching Hospital & College of Medicine, Amaku-Awka as well as other tertiary health institutions across the State. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Map of Anambra State, Nigeria.
The environmental challenges in Anambra State are quite enormous. Variously on its own and in concert with the Federal Government and Development Partners, the State Government has been steadily tackling the menace of erosion at over 1,000 sites. Dredging of blocked canals and waterways is also on-going even as the administration operates full-fledged agencies for waste management and for emergencies.
As indicated elsewhere, the infrastructural base of Anambra State today is easily one of the most solid in the country. The concrete evidence is reflected in the over 500 kilometres of intra-city and inter-city roads [including bridges and box culverts], water schemes power generating sets in various communities and several other urban development projects.
Staff welfare is also of critical concern. It should be recalled that it was the Obi administration that first gave Permanent Secretaries official cars, built decent houses for Judges Quarters, and constructed twin Secretariats to accommodate majority of the Ministries and civil servants. In the same vein, it has consistently fulfilled the salaries and basic allowances of civil servants. Despite the fraudulent lapses in the system before his tenure, Peter Obi demonstrated empathy for Pensioners in the State by sourcing funds to settle arrears of their gratuities and pensions from 1996 to 2010.
Commendations for the Obi administration have come from unlikely sources and from people who should know. The Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs, Hajiya Amina Az-Zubair asserted that “Anambra State has made remarkable success in the implementation of the MDGs programme”. And such has been the prudent management of the public treasury under the present dispensation that Anambra State was declared “the least indebted State in Nigeria” by the Federal Government Debt Management Office [DMO].
The incumbent Anambra State Government has aimed at several targets and score many direct hits. With the fear of God and a clear vision, he has demonstrated that governance is all about the people and not some abstract statistics. Despite all the positive strides of the past five years, it is pathetic that erstwhile entrenched interests that had leeched on the State continue to sow the seeds of discord, calumny and hate among the citizenry. Would the people prefer the old style imprudence of allocating the State’s resources and funds to a few individuals at the expense of the common good? The Peter Obi they know would not do that! The good among us should not appear helpless, while the worst display their vile energy, so help us God.
Onukwugha Osuji sent this piece from Lagos.
RELATED ARTICLE => Peter Obi Holds Post-Election Press Conference
*Tags: Nigerians, Anambra, Governor, Peter, Obi, Targets, Direct, Hits, Abuja, Africa, Masterweb
*Nigeria: Calls For Fuel Subsidy Removal - How Not To Help The President
By Kali Gwegwe
Never in the history of Nigeria has any president or military ruler enjoyed the overwhelming support of the low and middle class as Goodluck Jonathan does. These two socio-economic classes make up over 80% of the Nigerian population. The interpretation of this analysis is that Goodluck Jonathan is Nigeria’s first “people’s president.” Several reasons are responsible for this political development. However, let me dwell on the fundamental factor. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria
After decades of uncertainty, Nigerians have come to accept democracy as the best form of government. Up till 1999, a greater percentage of Nigerians preferred military dictatorship to civilian administration. The foundation of this aberration is not far-fetched. Previous democratic experiments crashed on the heads of hapless Nigerian masses. It happened that most politicians simply used their privileged positions in government to pursue personal, tribal, and religious interests. This sad political development went on to rubbish the fair spirit of democracy. Soon, corruption, tribalism, religious intolerance, political thuggery, and decaying public infrastructure drowned the fertile expectations of the hoard of the unemployed, middle and low income Nigerians. What followed this distasteful reality was not unexpected. People started clamouring for change. Sadly however, this change came not through the ballot boxes, but barrel of guns. At first, it never mattered much to the masses. People were just interested in a change; not minding the colour or taste.
Just in no distant time, falsehood grew weak and collapsed on the laps of military dictators. These despots spoke in tongues that resembled those of saints. Despite the quality of propaganda they unleashed on harmless and unsuspecting Nigerians; all their lies could not be turned into truth. It however cost Nigeria the sweat and blood of some patriotic citizens for the unsuspecting masses to come to the realization that democracy was superior to dictatorship. The important point to note is that the problem with Nigerian democracy was traditional. It had something to do with our peculiar political attitude. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria
In countries where democracy is working, it is the political leaders that have made it so. This directly rests the blame for Nigeria’s poor democratic culture on the shoulders of the nation’s political class, which have continued to ignore the fundamental fact that democracy is all about identifying and finding solutions to the needs of society. These needs include peace, security of lives and property, economic growth, infrastructural development, and social welfare. It was in this state in the political history of Nigeria that Dr. Goodluck Jonathan came into the scene. From every available indication, Jonathan’s emergence is more of a divine interjection than human connections. President Jonathan is no doubt Nigeria’s first unassuming head of government. He is intelligent, humble, hardworking, and a God-trusting personality. His captainship of Aso Rock defied many national traditions and norms. Apart from the fact that he is the first PhD holder to mount Nigeria’s presidency, Jonathan is the only minority to have been entrusted with the nation’s driving seat. His famous “I was not born rich” speech endeared him to many voters, weeks leading to the April 2011 presidential election. Millions of ordinary Nigerians, including myself hurriedly saw Jonathan as “our man.” This was a man that went to school without sandals or bag to carry his books. He slept under an electric fan only at the University of Port Harcourt.
It never took many suffering Nigerians more than ten seconds to pick Jonathan as their presidential choice. The outcome of the 2011 presidential election did not come as a surprise to many. Even the few that expressed doubt about his chances did so based on their fears about the towering ethnic and religious factors in Nigerian politics. They therefore wondered how Jonathan could survive an election that will be decided by tribe and creed. It is gladdening that Nigeria has crossed the bridge of parochial sentiments. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: President Goodluck Jonathan waves to the crowd on arrival at a campaign rally in Kano, northern Nigeria, March 16, 2011.
The outcome of the 2011 presidential election was indeed a coup against the few but powerful enemies of Nigeria. The down-trodden masses decided to join forces to say no to the dirty and old order, where they are used and hurriedly dumped after oiling the ambitions of a few smooth-tongued politicians. Even in the midst of the darkest night, one thing has become very clear. Nigerians are tired of bad political leadership. President Jonathan appreciates this fact too. Unfortunately, not many in his team are on the same page with him. This is not only dangerous for him as an individual, but a big threat to the culture of democracy in Nigeria. The president must therefore do everything within his powers to moderate the opinions and counsels of his advisers and aides.
The greatest problem political leaders worldwide face is in the selection of a “winning team.” This is responsible for the many cases where government officials reason and walk in different directions. In such cases, the president usually fails to deliver on his mandate. Like President Jonathan himself confessed shortly before the nomination of his cabinet, people seek political offices for different reasons. While some are for service, others for personal gains. There are still some who seek power just to protect the interests or agendas of third party organisations. Quite frankly, it is very difficult to separate the “clean” from the “dirty” because they all wear the same faces and robes.
To help differentiate between the “clean” and “dirty”, political leaders are expected to listen to the opinions of their advisers, but strongly consider the interests of the masses. This is the secret of successful political leaders. Very few government officials will be ingenious enough to climb down from their Olympian heights to consider the feelings of the unemployed or low income earners. Their reasoning is always unilateral. The beauty of democracy is not in how sweet a song is, but how many people “feel” the lyrics. The truth is that democracy is all about numbers. The majority may be wrong in some cases. They cannot be wrong all the time. Nigerian masses are indeed right in asking for the continuation of fuel subsidy at least for now. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Nigerians casting their vote
It is a huge fact that many of those who voted for President Jonathan are card-carrying members of political parties other than the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). This is one good reason why the president must ignore every temptation and continue to absorb criticisms from the opposition. This will make him a better president than all his predecessors. No doubt, criticisms will come from labour, NGOs, cultural, and even faith-based organisations. It is also true that some persons and organisations simply find it fashionable to criticize every government policy or programme. This is wrong. Ordinarily, criticisms should be constructive.
However, one very important fact to consider is that criticisms of government policies and programs usually arise from isolated issues. For instance, labor and civil society organisations have vowed to resist any attempt to increase the pump price of petrol following the announcement by the minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala that that government is planning to remove petrol subsidy soon. Protests also greeted the revelation that electricity tariff will be reviewed upward early next year. It is not as if these government policies are bad. The problem lies in the fact that in developing policies and frameworks, most government officials usually refuse to look at all the sides of the coin. Every policy must take into consideration associated factors such as culture, income strength, percentage of unemployment, and level of poverty.
Take for instance calls for the removal of fuel subsidy. Those making this call hinge their argument mainly on the fact that other developed countries have saved a lot of money through the withdrawal of fuel subsidy. Unfortunately, the proponents of fuel subsidy removal have forgotten that the least citizens of those countries earn is as much as $130 a day. One cannot for any reason compare this to a country where many earn less that $2 a day. They have deliberately ignored the fact that the level of unemployment and poverty are still very high in Nigeria. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Nigeria Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
There is no doubt about the fact that the withdrawal of fuel subsidy will save billions of Naira for government to invest in other critical areas. However, the other side of the coin is that majority of Nigerians are too poor to buy a litre of fuel even at N65. These are persons that earn less than $2 a day. It is with this $2 that they pay for the feeding, rent, clothing, education, and medical expenses of their family members. Withdrawing fuel subsidy at this time will definitely increase the level of poverty in Nigeria. The gains of the new minimum wage of N18,000 will be rubbished by the hike in the pump price of fuel. Like I have suggested in my other write-ups on this same issue, those pushing for the removal of petroleum subsidy would sing a different song if they were earning even N100,000 a month. Many persons in the “president’s team” are not on the same page with him. Ordinarily, their opinions are supposed to be shaped by the pledge of the president, which is to “stand with the masses.”
This brings to the fore how ministers, special advisers, senior special assistants, and other aides are not helping the president to “stand with the masses.” Just as there are many ways to kill a rat, there also many ways they can help the president succeed without hurting the masses. Since from independence, hapless Nigerian masses have been forced to carry the burden of national economic transformation agendas, leaving the elites free as eagles in a clear sky. Like is usually done in western democracies, formulators of fiscal policies should turn the heat on the wealthy this time around. Government should introduce heavy taxes on luxury cars, mansions, and all imported goods that can be produced locally. Government should also reduce the salaries and allowances of elected officials and political appointees. More than that, the fight against corruption should be taken to the zenith.
Furthermore, government should pay more attention to the development of the non-oil sector of the economy. This should be done by energizing the private sector to perform at optimum capacity. This will however mean having a robust power groundwork, cheap access to credit facilities, lower interest rates, improved security of lives and property, friendly tax regime, and a sound transport infrastructure among others. With these fiscal policies, the economy will pick up and help create jobs and improve the welfare of the citizenry. It is at this point that government can contemplate the removal of fuel subsidy. By then, the nation’s socio-economic framework would be able to absorb the shocks that would come with it.
It is a shame that the world’s sixth largest producer of crude oil is importing fuel for local consumption. It shows that something is wrong with us as a nation. Instead of joining forces with the ministry of Petroleum Resources to make our refineries work at optimum capacity, the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Governor of Central Bank, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi see the removal of petroleum subsidy as a magic wand that will help provide the bulk of the money Nigeria needs to service her socio-economic masterplan. They should look elsewhere to raise money. The Nigerian masses have seen enough this last fifty years! This is very important because fuel is one thing that everybody uses directly or indirectly. There is no doubt that any increase in the pump price of fuel will prompt the upward review of transport fares, school fees, house rent, food stuff, and health care services.
Kali Gwegwe, CEO, Nigeria Democracy Watchtower writes from Yenagoa, Bayelsa State and can be reached at email@example.com ( 0806 407 4810 )
*Tags: Nigerians, Goodluck, Jonathan, Subsidy, Removal, Abuja, Lagos, Africa, Masterweb
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