The messiah of Nigeria and supreme anti corruption crusader who is friend to everybody and belongs to nobody (who cares what he said, he translated hausa to english and thought it would sound as good, it sounds better in hausa) has spent a year in office. We have had a year of the party who came onboard with the change mantra in power. I bet over this weekend we have read thousands of articles about this and I guess this is one more. Before I go ahead I would like to acknowledge that the PDP gave us 16 years of mediocre leadership and oversaw a kleptocracy which led to the limiting of the potential that is Nigeria. Whatever successes they might have had, Nigeria could have been a lot better; before someone enumerates the ways in which PDP succeeded I am neither a PDP nor APC voltron. My name is HRH SIR Farouk and I just want to make esoteric sense because obviously if I wanted to make common sense then what I would say would lack any insight and be the same with what any Tolu, Dike or Hassan would say. Anyway so a year after changing the party in charge and leadership, how do Nigerians feel?
As I write this, President Jonathan has called to congratulate President-Elect General Muhammadu Buhari on his historic win. It is the first time an incumbent president is losing in Nigeria. Prior to this elections and with the powers of procrastination I started writing a post which lay as a draft in my wordpress about how to win an election in Nigeria and the points I made were thus Read the rest of this entry »
An interesting and quite methodical forecast for the upcoming elections. I rather agree with a fair amount of the forecasting just that I see voter turnout in the Northeast to be slightly under 50%. I also see the voting pattern being slightly different in Adamawa, Edo, Imo and Rivers with PDP getting slightly more votes than forecasted in those states. I however think there will be an increased percentage of votes for APC in the North and South West in General with the voting pattern of the middle belt group left a bit in the air. If we have a free and fair election then we might have an election that can swing either way. When forecasting we might have to factor in rigging in whatever form it might exist. I think a method of rigging this election would be preventing election materials from getting to areas that aren’t a party’s stronghold. I believe both major parties have the machinery to rig, one through the power of government and the other through the power of money and thugs. Who do I predict will win? I see a slight victory for President Jonathan but then again the Nigerian people might pleasantly surprise me and opt for something different. Not that I think Buhari is better, I think removing an incumbent will send a shiver down the spine of the political class and tell them that if you do not perform you will be booted out of office. All in All, I hope above all for a peaceful election. Either Buhari or Jonathan, whoever wins or loses should accept the result and battle if they must through the courts.
I am also personally interested in the National Assembly elections happening tomorrow. I think we will see the emergence of other parties aside the PDP and APC as decent forces within the National Assembly. Now only if some of these parties when they win the National Assembly seats and gain political power come together and form an interesting third option in the run to 2019.
Find the Post below
Nigeria’s 2015 presidential elections are due to hold in a couple of days, barring any last minute changes to the rescheduled date, March 28. The poll was initially scheduled for February 14 but deferred due to ‘security concerns’, as stated by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The postponement was not a welcome development to the All Progressives Congress (APC), the country’s strongest opposition political party, considering the massive momentum and traction gathered ahead of the planned February 14 date. The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on the other hand appeared to be in sync with the decision to reschedule. Popular public opinion holds that if the elections had been held as initially planned, the APC would have come out victorious, perhaps inching towards a landslide. This impression was further alluded to by the likes of Dr. Frederick Fasehun, leader of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), in a…
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This is day 2 of the nationwide strike embarked on by the Labor of our country against the removal of fuel subsidy which resulted in a more than 100 percent hike in the price of fuel. Most of what I have observed in the protests is an obvious anger at the government of GEJ for imposing what is seen as an anti-people and anti-welfare tax on the people by raising the price of fuel and as a result increasing the price of almost everything in the country. Overnight, price of transportation increased, food prices equally increased. But I am not here to discuss that. If you live in Nigeria you already know this. What I have failed to hear are alternatives, people are arguing haphazardly without providing suitable alternatives.
Our house of representatives called for the suspension of the removal of subsidy, the debate in the house was for the most part puerile. People were not allowed to properly articulate their views, they were shouted down by people of opposing views. I am personally against the removal of fuel subsidy, however I am objective enough to listen to the other side of the argument and really do not see why we should keep paying for subsidies when the money paid to the importers and marketers are going to provide jobs outside the country and the effects of which are hardly seen in our economy. I also think it is tragic for our government to keep on borrowing to pay for subsidy if indeed what they claim is true.
It is also instructive to note that even when there was fuel subsidy, many places outside the major cities and maybe state capitals in Nigeria were never paying for fuel at N65 per liter. I was recently in my hometown and fuel was almost N100 while it was N65 in Abuja. It is the same in many places in the country, outside state capitals people generally pay more for fuel.
I think many of us know that there is some merit to the argument for removal of subsidy but we also know that all of us will suffer from the inflation that follows this rise in price of fuel. The president on his part has announced “palliative” measures to help with the removal of fuel subsidies. Buying buses, building rail lines and reducing the basic salary of executive political office holders by 25%. Keep in mind that in most cases their allowances outpace their basic salary. We are also consistently told that the money from the removal subsidy will be used for development. I have seen the commercial on NTA about this, they kept playing last night over and over again. Again, I think many Nigerians are educated enough to know more money could mean more development but the problem is that Nigerians do not trust the government.
I do not trust the government, I see the money from the removal of subsidy somehow ending up in someone’s pocket. I cannot say how but I am confident about the evolving nature of corruption in this country. For every new system developed, people evolve new means to beat the system. What can I say? We are brilliant at the wrong things.
I have spoken way too much grammar or turenci much like my compatriots without providing alternatives, Here are some alternatives I thought of,
An improved tax regime
Maybe I am talking from a yankee point of view but many countries are run on tax. Nigeria of course has improved its tax collection a lot since I was a kid but much more can be done. There are still plenty people that do not pay tax in this country. I think a system where the richer people pay more tax and the poorer people less will help generate revenue for the government. Also a more thorough enforcement of tax not just on public servants but private individuals as well. A sales tax would not hurt as well. In a country of 160 million, I believe tax will be a considerable source of income to government at all levels.
This alternative has already been canvassed by many people and even the president to a certain extent. The president already hinted at the reduction in basic salaries of executive political office holders. I believe he should go a step further and also reduce the allowances the accrue to the executive. A similar reduction should be applied to the legislature and judiciary if need be. The same should be applied at the state level to all political office holders. It is time that political office should be made less attractive to Nigerians in order to attract altruistic individuals. A general reduction of overheads, travel expenses, entourages and delegation for government trips should be applied all across the board. This will considerably reduce the cost of governance. Austerity measures are being applied all over the world in countries undergoing the effect of a world recession, Nigeria should be no exception.
A Comprehensive Audit of Government
A comprehensive audit of government;s books should be done. All ghost workers should be removed. Funds from contracts that have been collected and have not been done should be reclaimed by the government. A complete opening of the books of NNPC and all parastatals should be done to look for ways to cut down cost and reclaim funds wasted by corruption. Why NNPC specifically? NNPC over the years has been the cash cow upon which corruption has been perpetrated. NNPC has a 60% stake in all oil produced in Nigeria and for the most part does little of the work of production. The get an enormous amount of funds and do not open up their books for people to know how much they make. It is from NNPC that money is siphoned by the executive for campaigns and other things. So it is imperative that some of the funds accrued by the NNPC are audited. Also it should be noted that some agencies of government are redundant are are duplicating functions. They should all be audited.
These are three major things that I think need to be done before subsidy removal. Other things that could be done are
A gradual removal of fuel subsidy
Repairing our refineries (this will cost money)
Engage in public private partnership for refining crude oil in Nigeria.
Allow smaller companies to refine crude oil in Nigeria instead of arresting them, you should regulate small scale refineries.
These are my layman alternatives to fuel subsidy, Of course, I am not an economist. Are there other ways around the removal of fuel subsidy or is removal of fuel subsidy the only way to go?
Not poor not privileged
Dour and disadvantaged
A working class oppressed
Oppressed yet not distressed
Men I m hard-pressed
To find the right words to express
The feeling of distress
The masses are really stressed
Today, I want to report a murder to the police station of the Internets. The crime was a crime of passion. The crime started when the assailant married the victim about 51 years ago. The marriage like all marriages had so much promise in the beginning. There were some initial skirmishes but the marriage held its ground. Unfortunately over time, the marriage turned into a hostage situation. The assailant tortured the victim for years and has now killed the victim in Cold blood. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the assassination of the Nigerian Middle Class.
I know that some will argue that the country doesn’t have a middle class or that the middle class is a very small proportion of the population. I m not here to argue that. I do think we could argue that once upon a time somewhere between independence and today there was a middle class. Whether or not there is a middle class by international standards, there is a working class. A group of people who have jobs or own businesses and are able to feed themselves. These group of people are under threat. I m not going to be a prophet of doom and say more today than ever. I would rather say, it has been a geometric progression of torture targeted at the hard working people of this nation. Assaulted from all sides, whether its by sickness, rising prices of commodities, falling value of their currency, road accidents, corruption, crime, poor power supply, insecurity and all round lawlessness.
One might even argue that there is a serious conspiracy to to kill off the middle class. The middle and working class are the people who are literate, who have some form of education. They are the ones who are the backbone of bureaucracy both in the private and public spheres of business. These are the people who are struggling to make the best of the education system before them. They have school fees to pay, mothers and fathers in the village to take care of, extended families who keep bothering them for money because they live in the city. These are the people that are in traffic with you everyday in the city. These are people who if they collectively decide to rebel against the system can topple any government of the day. They are the educated people that lead the masses to revolution. The learned Lenin in a sea of poor disgruntled masses who guide the anger of the masses to start a revolution. This is why there might be conspiracy to keep these people down. Wreck the hope of a Nigerian dream, I say Nigerian dream because the dream of any country can only be viewed through the eyes of its middle class. The Nigerian dream seems to be to make the middle class impoverished and watch as they struggle amongst themselves and rush to the upper class and government big wigs for contracts and patronage thereby helping to keep these people in power.
I m not going to argue the pros/cons of removing fuel subsidy but as an avid conspiracy theorist especially on Nigerian matters I will say this, the money from subsidy will most likely go to fund the behemoth and colossus known as the PDP. A group of people that have shown themselves bereft of any human sympathy in formulating policies. People are dying from violence and you think of prostitution bill so that you Mr Big Senator with the big pot belly will continue to drive around the streets of Abuja and steal young men’s girlfriends brazenly in the daytime (not that this doesn’t already happen).
Granted, I hear removing subsidy makes some form of economic sense but is not there a way to cushion the effect on the people. If austerity is the way to go, I would like to see some leaders give up sizable chunks of their allowances and security votes to make this happen. This coupled with a currency that is going to hell makes it almost a certainty that the prices of commodities shall rise and of course I doubt that the salaries or earning power of the people will rise commensurately to the rise in price making the average Nigerian poorer for it. In the midst of this, the extra money from the removal of fuel subsidies will be secretly funneled to people’s account and of course we wont hear about it until years later. Have you ever wondered if when someone is caught with stolen money in Nigeria, EFCC doesn’t calculate the interest the money accrued in the account? Because if you stole a billion naira and over the years it accrued an interest of 100 million, the Nigerian people want the interest too.
If you think I m overreacting listen to my layman’s reasoning, lets look at agriculture. A lot of food is grown up north and transported to southern cities such as Lagos by road. Increase fuel prices and transport costs go up, People who distribute food stuff will be forced to increase food prices and in an unregulated market it might even rise to as high as 50 percent above what it was previously. The Nigerian economy runs on fuel, increase fuel prices and the cost of business will skyrocket because the businessmen and women must buy fuel for the generators. In fact eh, like Chris Rock once joked people will start sleeping with each other for fuel.
I m sure many people have talked the death out of this issue and I m late cos I started this but was so busy and couldn’t finish for the past 2 weeks. Seriously, the little middle class that Nigeria has is about to go up in smoke. Mr President and leaders, do something about this. This is not the fresh air you promised us. In fact, you are prime suspect in this murder investigation. Maybe if you give me a little bribe I will blame this on colonialism. This one don pass my power o, This might be a job for Sherlock Holmes (babalawao/spiritual konji version).
Is there hope for the middle class? Is this end? Or is it? Will the Middle Class make it? Is there any solution in sight? Will there be more churches and mosques and fighting once the middle class become poorer? Stay tuned for part 2 (In the next 50 years…)
because half the stuff Fela sang about are still happening and…
2010 don pass o and light still no dey. We don almost add 2011 on top sef.
Before I write this letter, I would like to state that I am a Nigerian. I did not vote GEJ and I despise the PDP. However, I feel the violence going on is terrible and should be stopped. I have hence addressed a letter in hausa to my fellow “northerners”. We and indeed Nigeria deserves better than the violence.
The Letter (Wasika wa jama’a masu yin tawaye a arewa)
‘Yan uwa na sanun ku,
Gaskiya ‘yan arewa kuna ba ni kunya. Me ne ne ma’anan kashe kashe da ake yi soboda zabe? Haba mutane na, kun sa abin ya zama maganar addini da iskanci. Kuna kashe mutane wanda ba leifinsu? Ai, mun sani dalilin wannan tawaye shine tallauci da rashin boko kuma ya hadu da rashin wayo. In kuna da wayo, da kun yi tawaye ban da kashe kashe da ji wa mutane ciwo. Wanda suna da leifi a maganar tallauci da kuma rashin cin gaba na arewa ba christa ba, kuma ba ‘yan kudu ba. Wanda suna da leifi sune, masu mulki, su sarukuna da gwamnoni da ciyamomi. Me ya sa ina magana haka? Soboda sune suna cin kudi gwamnati, sune suna cin kudin kwantract. Sune dalili ba ku da ruwan sha, sune dalili wandansu wurare ba su da lantarki, sune dalili yaran mu basu zuwa makarantar kirki, sune dalili ba mu da taki yin noma. In har za ku kone gidar wani, ku kone gidar masu sata kudin mu. Wanda suna mulki, kuma wanda sun rude ku. Ai in sojoji da ‘yan sanda sun kasha ku, wanda sun zuga ku za su mutu ne? babu. Yaran su suna gida lafiya, suna zuwa makarantu masu kyau, kuma sun ci suna sha. To ku fada mini wannan mutane ba yaran Iblis ba. Me ya sa za su zuga mutanen mu su yi abun kunya kuma su suna zama lafiya sun jin dadin kudi.
Ai ba amfanin fada. Me ya sa? Mu a arewa mun yi mulki a Nijeriya wa shekaru sun kai arba’in. Ama ba mu da abun da za mu iya nuna wa shekarun mulki. Su Buhari da IBB me su ka yi wa arewa. Sun kawo mana ruwa ne? Sun sa yaran mu a makaranta ne? babu. Sun bar talakawa suna fama da wahala. Sun sa sauran Nijeriya sun bar mu a baya. Sun fi mu karatu kuma soboda haka suna samun aiki sosai ko a garin mu. Ai mulkin arewa be taba kawo wanna abin kirki mana ba. Masu zuga mu suna so kullum muna zuwa muna bara muna rokan su kudi. Ba su so su bamu aiki. Ai wannan tsantsammin reini ne.
‘Yan uwa na ku yi abu da wayo. Dena kashe kashe nan. Ku girar ran zabe na gwamna ku cire ‘yan karya da sata a mulki mu ku sa mutanen kirki wanda za su ja arewa da nijeriya gaba.
Naku a cin gaba,
Khalifa Ibn Gaskiya
If I were a political leader, I would probably say something like what I have written above. I m a bit lazy to translate but the gist of it is this, I have written a letter or message to those rioting and telling them that I understand their frustration at the poverty and pitiful situations they have been forced to live in and I understand their anger over the elections. I however feel that they could have protested without the violence, in fact I believe that their actions have been nothing short of foolish. Indeed the people to blame for the current state of the north are the political and religious leaders, the local government chairmen, and the governors who have misused funds meant for the development of the North. I went further to say that we as a region have had little to show for almost 40 years of power. Our leaders have enriched themselves and refused to educate the masses. They rather have us keep coming and begging them for money. The leaders who have incited us to violence, are sitting in their houses, they have money, food to eat and enough to drink. Their children are educated and are employed. They do not understand our struggle. They are using us for their own ends. As a stern believer in the Malcolm X maxim of freedom by any means necessary, I said that if indeed anyone should be lynched it should be the corrupt leaders of the north who have sold the region to keep their potbellies shiny.
To the rioters, we will die fighting soldiers and police, and for what? Are we fighting so that the leaders who incited us will continue to enrich themselves? I concluded by saying that the only way to move the north and indeed Nigeria forward was to vote out non performing leaders in the coming governorship elections. Our power is not in our weapons but in our votes
I applaud the efforts of the security operatives to quel the violence. I however feel that this occurence and the violence that has been occuring in Plateau state over the last decade point to a country that doesnt fully deal with issues. You just send soldiers to stop uprisings. Have we ever tried to bring out the underlying issues behind the violence and discuss them as a nation. Tribalism and religious bigotry is rampant in our country not just in the north. These people are just uneducated and poor enough to be easily manipulated into killing others. Maybe the National Orientation Agency should d their damn job! Maybe we need to finally learn how to be politically correct in this country. People speak and say inciteful speech without any repercussions. We need a law that makes inciteful speech whether in a church, mosque, office or any public place an offence.
I have spoken my piece. What do you think?