Sunday, July 10, 2016

All Lives Matter (Re-Post from Black & White Blog)

The spate of shootings in the United States these last few months is tenebrous to say the least.  From the shooting in Orlando at the popular gay hangout the Pulse Club to the sniper shooting of police officers in Dallas yesterday at a rally organized to protest the recent killing of black men, Philando Castile and Alton Sterling by the police in Minnesota and Louisiana respectively, all these killings are symptomatic of a society awash with weapons and whose instinct to any perceived or real threat is the application of violence.

No one knows for sure how many guns are in the hands of civilian Americans, but estimates range from 280 million to over 350 million, a significant percentage of which are high-powered assault rifles usually reserved for the military in other countries.  The National Rifle Association (NRA) along with some right-wing organizations has been largely responsible for rabid resistance to any form of gun-control legislature suggested by the congress or the White House.  They often tout the 2nd Amendment (often referred to as the right to bare arms) as a sacrosanct and unimpeachable law in the US Constitution as though it were the 11th commandment of God.  Oftentimes, the argument these pro-gun lobby groups tout is that the more people are armed, the fewer gun violence will occur.  But this argument has been borne out to be a fallacy time and again.  All one need to do is compare the per capita gun-related deaths in the US with those in other countries with stricter gun-control to see the glaring difference.

The real reason to the resistance to gun-control has to do with the amount of money to be made by the gun industry.  The NRA threatens negative repercussions to any member of congress or politician that suggests gun-control by pouring massive resources to get such a politician thrown out of office or un-elected.  By stoking the embers of fear and paranoia among right-wing nationalists, anti-government groups, anarchists, militias and other individuals so inclined to believe that there is a looming threat of a tyrannical government in Washington DC, the NRA drives up more gun sales as these groups and individuals stockpile arms and ammunition with which they hope to use in defending themselves from the so-called tyrannical government should such a doomsday scenario occur.  Of cause the NRA is silent on how these arms stockpile will defend against Army tanks, Air Force drones, jet bombers and fighters and Naval Aircraft Carrier Arsenal not to mention Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Arsenal at the disposal of the government.

Another issue to consider is the atrociously scant and bereft mental health care system in the US. Many individuals who otherwise would have been institutionalized or medicated for their mental health issues remain unable to access the system because of the chaotic private and state insurance-based health care administration in the US.  Many health insurance companies have gatekeeper policies in place that make it difficult, limit or altogether preclude access to mental health services by its subscribers.  Many states contract out the administration of their Medicaid health insurance programs to such private health insurance companies that seek to limit consumption in order to maximize profits.  All these ensures that the mentally unwell, who are non compose mentis and therefore unable to navigate these gatekeeper policies themselves are overwhelmingly under served.

Yet another factor to consider is the historical racial divide and tension that pervades the body politic and societal fabric of the United States.  Statistics show that black men in particular are overwhelmingly disproportionately apprehended and jailed in the criminal justice system than any other ethnic group. Black men are also more likely to be killed by the police than other ethnic groups even though they do not perpetrate more violent crimes than other ethnic groups.  The Black Lives Matter movement arose to tackle these disparities. While it has garnered the support of many, there are those who see this movement as a nuisance, including the controversial presumptive nominee of the Republican Party, Mr. Donald Trump.

Yesterday's shooting in Dallas surely is a negative for the Black Lives Matter movement.  The shooter, Mr. Micah Xavier Johnson appears to have acted alone and is said to have been angry that more black Americans are killed by white police men even as the Black Lives Matter protests have continued over the last few years.  In fact, Mr. Johnson was said to have criticized the Black Lives Matter movement for not doing enough.  Being a military veteran of the Afghanistan war theater, Mr. Johnson may well have been suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and may have fallen through the cracks of accessing mental health care services and hence his obviously delusional and tragic apocalyptic view of the issues that confront the broader American society.  How long will Americans continue to be cut down by gun violence? How many more funerals will have to take place before the Nation comes to its senses and seek to address the issues of racial inequality, porous gun laws, mental health issues and all the other ills that make some people inclined to express themselves through bias and violence? 

Monday, February 02, 2015

A Change is in the Air (A Change is Gonna Come!)

Nigeria stands at yet another cross roads, as the world watches Africa’s most populous country hurtle towards D-Day, February 14, 2015.  This year’s St. Valentine’s Day is the day Nigerians go to the polls to decide whether to give Mr. Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan another four years as president or change the guard by voting in Mr. Muhamadu Buhari, a retired army General and former military head of State.

Nigeria has never had a more contested election as this impending one.  With the apparatus of government in their control and the popularity of their party bearer, Mr. Jonathan, waning, the PDP is likely to pull all stops to ensure that it is not kicked out of office come May when the newly elected officials will be sworn into power.  The preceding six years during which Mr Jonathan has been in power have been lackluster to say the least.  

The economy has descended into the pre-2000 doldrums it was in before Mr. Obasanjo took power and indeed Nigeria has witnessed some of the most violent terrorist activities since the Nigerian civil war.  Mr Jonathan’s apparent cluelessness and apathy is not helping the matter and many Nigerians would like to see a change of leadership.  However, there are those Nigerians who have enjoyed the largess of the Jonathan administration or have benefitted from its ineptitude and corrupt application of resources and they have vowed to do all in their power to ensure that Mr. Jonathan wins the 2015 presidential elections.  Particularly vociferous and tenaciously behind Mr. Jonathan are ex-leaders of the Niger-Delta militant groups who have in the years since Mr. Jonathan has been in power, enjoyed juicy lucrative security and supply contracts given to them by Mr. Jonathan’s administration as a placatory means to earn their loyalty and support.  

Indeed, two such Niger Delta militant ex-leaders are the buccaneers, Mr. Government Ekpemupolo, aka Tompolo and Asari Dokubo.  They, along with the irascible Bishop David Oyedepo of Winners Chapel have made what can only be described as inciting tribalist statements at the very least, or even war cries, depending on which side of the divide you choose.  While there have been condemnation from many well-meaning Nigerians, the security forces are curiously silent about these, which beggars the question if the Jonathan administration is not behind these threats.

If Nigeria were the true democracy it seeks to be, and the Jonathan administration is confident that it has demonstrated reasons why it deserves a second chance then these threats and acts of blackmail are irrelevant.  Many Nigerians who are old enough to remember the Buhari/Idiagbon administration are nostalgic of that era’s lawful application of government resources and disciplined citizenry as opposed to the jungle that Nigeria has become under Mr. Jonathan where thugs and thieves rule the day in government and terrorists abound in the Niger creeks just as they do in the North eastern states of Nigeria.  A change is desperately needed and indeed a change it is Nigeria must have else she devolves into a failed state of the ilk of Afghanistan and Somalia. 

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Nigeria – Boko Haram & The Ebola Virus Scourge

As if the strain inflicted on the Nigerian citizenry by the ignominious Boko Haram terrorist sect were not enough, the Nigerian psyche has been further assailed by the threat of a full blown Ebola epidemic.  With the ineffectual government of Mr. Goodluck Jonathan struggling to get a handle on the scourge of Boko Haram (it’s been almost four months since 278 girls were kidnapped from Chibok) it will be a calamity at best and a catastrophe at worst, not only for West Africa but for the world, should the Ebola outbreak get out of hand.

While Mr. Jonathan cavorts in Washington at the African Leaders – US conference, hundreds of Nigerian troops have been killed in the North Eastern state of Bornu as Boko Haram seizes the border town of Gwoza, the second after Damboa, which it seized on July 21, 2014.  With two Nigerian towns now under its control added to a vast portion of the Sambisa forest, which straddles Nigeria and Cameroun, Boko Haram is quickly carving out a geographical enclave for its proposed Islamic state.

Condemning strongly the “excesses of Boko Haram”, Mr. Jonathan and his PR machinery’s favorite refrain, while not taking cogent steps to confront the problem of Boko Haram leaves many Nigerians to speculate that either Mr. Jonathan is clueless as to what needs to be done about the brutish terrorist group or he is apathetic to the plight of Nigerians and the territorial integrity of the country which he pledged to protect and defend in the oath he took when he assumed the presidency.  The Nigerian Military troops in the battle against Boko Haram have raised alarm as to how under-equipped they are compared to the terrorists.  The Nigerian military is kitted with old, degraded and sometimes fake arms and ammunition that are decades old with ordinances that fail to detonate in their confrontations with the terrorist sect leading to high casualties dealt on the Nigerian Military by the superiorly armed terrorists all the time.

The corruption and rot that has rendered the Nigerian military a glorified vigilante group has also rendered the Nigerian Health care system in near-total collapse and disrepair.  Nigeria is supposedly the largest economy in Africa with a GDP of about $502 billion in 2013 but spends only about $6 billion on its defense. Of this amount, only about $2.33 billion is actually spent on the Nigerian Military with the balance of about $3.7 billion going to fund the Nigerian Maritime Security Agency charged with Maritime security which it conducts through juicy security contracts awarded to former Niger Delta militant leaders (associates of Mr. Jonathan when he was Governor of Bayelsa state) and their private armies of pirates.  Essentially, more than 60% of Nigeria’s defense budget goes to paying protection money to the Niger Delta militant groups.

Recently, Mr. Jonathan asked the Nigerian congress to pass an appropriation bill for $1.0 dollars to pay for training and equipment of the Nigerian Military against Boko Haram.  If Nigeria’s history of corruption and misappropriation of funds is anything to go by, it is doubtful that the $1 billion dollar being sought by Mr. Jonathan will be used for its intended purpose.

Nigeria’s best hope of tackling the Boko Haram and the Ebola virus threats is to ask for help from the international community.  The USA, France, Britain, Israel and even Australia have offered their assistance as regards the Boko Haram scourge as have the CDC in the US and the WHO as regards the Ebola virus threat.  When a government is as clueless, inept and confused as the Jonathan Administration seems to be, there should be no shame in asking for help from those who can save the country from these seemingly intractable problems.  As the Nigerian First Lady, Dr., Dame, Chief, Deacon, Mrs. Patience Jonathan famously put it, "Daris God O!"

Monday, January 02, 2012

Nigerian Fuel Subsidy Removal

The Nigerian government has over the last three decades subsidized the price of refined petroleum products consumed in the country.  What started as a stop-gap to meet supply shortfalls that occurred during scheduled Turn Around Maintenance of the Eleme, Port-Harcourt and Warri refineries soon became the norm as the Nigerian National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC) seemed incapable of managing the operations of these refineries leading to perennial fuel shortages and scarcity.   As the population of Nigeria grew, so did the demand for refined petroleum products even as two additional refineries were built in Kaduna and Port-Harcourt.

With a combined installed refining capacity of about 445,000 barrels a day, Nigeria’s four refineries are enough to meet the daily consumption requirement, currently estimated to be about 325,000 barrels per day, with room for exportation.  

Over time, the officials of the NNPC charged with managing the refineries soon discovered that by keeping the refineries in a perennial state of disrepair, they could award refined product supply contracts to their cronies and proxies and pocket the profits.  In order to stave off public criticism of the scheme if they charged the market rate for the imported products, they decided to subsidize the cost and successively set the pump rates, never mind the arbitrage opportunity this provided hoarders of the products, who took advantage of the endemic scarcity, and smugglers and diverters who saw the opportunity to charge multiples of the cost price if they sold the products in neighboring African countries.  In 2011, the NNPC is estimated to have spent over $8.00 billion on subsidized imported refined petroleum products because the four refineries in Nigeria barely operated at about 15% of full capacity (the Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison Madueke, claims between 50% and 60% capacity utilization in a "Townhall meeting" in Lagos about two weeks ago).

There is no telling that removing the subsidy on imported petroleum products makes sense.  However it does not take care of the intrinsic problems of corrupt enrichment of selves, cronies and proxies by the managers of the refineries and the perennial scarcity. In fact, it will only mean that importers of the refined products have a license to charge higher prices for their products, affording higher returns to their patrons in the NNPC, who will consequently have a higher incentive to keep the NNPC refineries in disrepair and non-functional.

The way around the issue of the mismanagement of Nigeria’s oil sector is for the government to totally divest its equity stake in all the joint ventures it has with the various operators in the industry.  These interests should be sold off in the stock market encouraging a wide base participation and equity distribution with a cap of say 1% to 2% of the total equity stake as the maximum any individual or entity can hold.  In addition to this, the Nigerian government needs to liberalize the ownership of refineries by issuing more licenses to allow as many private enterprises as possible to set up refineries all over the country.  This will not only stem the perennial fuel shortages, it will foster competition and reduce prices as the incentive for operators who want to remain profitable will be to hone their operations to be as efficient as possible.

Fully divested of its equity stakes in the industry, the government will through its agencies provide regulatory and oversight control of the industry and raise revenue through licensing fees, tariffs, duties and taxes.  This will in one fell swoop take care of the current inefficiencies and massive corruption in the system.

This proposal however will take about a year or two to achieve, as the required physical and organizational infrastructure will have to be in place and operational before subsidies are abolished.  That the Jonathan administration has chosen to abruptly end subsidies on January 1, 2012 without any structures in place guarantees a hard landing and will wreak untold economic and social hardships on the common Nigerian folk.  This limited understanding and analysis of the issue risks for the Jonathan government a high political premium particularly as it comes at a period when Nigerians are disenchanted with the harsh economic downturn and serious security issues currently facing the country.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Tyranny of the Majority

Reading through the comments and justifications for supporting the anti-gay bill in the various media and fora in Nigeria reveals how limited, hypocritical and beclouded the mind of the average commentator on the issue is. Reasons range from the "un-Africanness" to the "irreligiosity" of homosexuality. Given the universality of the phenomenon, homosexuality is certainly more African than are the two major religions, Islam and Christianity, both of Middle Eastern origin, whose books the religious bigots use to perpetuate their ignorant hate messages.

Homosexuality is not a choice. Most people who are oriented that way were born that way. There is emerging scientific evidence that certain genetic triggers called "epigenes" are implicated while the individual is in-utero, and that the phenomenon is found in species other than human (birds, dogs, goats, dolphins, monkeys, chimpanzees etc have been documented with same-sex orientation).

The Nigerian National Assembly which has failed Nigerians in all aspects of law making and governance continues to fail in its responsibilities, and rather than preventing the tyranny of the majority chooses to foster it as a diversionary tactic in the face of more pressing and salient issues they should be tackling, such as fighting corruption, providing good roads, access to a decent health care system, security, and regulatory and legal systems that work.

Besides, homosexuality is said to be prevalent in the high echelon of society and government in Nigeria. It was one of the reasons on which the infamous and bizarre Major Okar attempted coup d’├ętat was predicated. No doubt, there are certainly some hypocrites (closet-gays) in the NASS who lent their votes to this repressive and retrogressive bill.

Rather than disenfranchise our poor brothers and sisters who live with this burden of discrimination every day, let us all non-homosexual Nigerians rise up against this injustice and focus our government on the things that really matter in Nigeria. Homosexual relationships between consenting adults just like heterosexual relationships are strictly between the consenting parties, government has no business legislating it and laws should not be made to single it out and punish practitioners. It would serve Nigerians better if the government went after the serial pedophiles and statutory rapists who marry girls as young as 12 years old and younger all in the name of religion and tradition.

The irony is that while Nigerians like to project an image of religious piety, Nigeria is one of the most corrupt, avaricious and debauched societies in the world. The so-called men of God, pastors, imams, gurus and other charlatans condone criminals and the debauched in their congregations.  Many are active perpetrators of corruption and debauchery, yet they bleat their hypocritical holier-than-thou rhetoric to cloak their own debauchery and curry the favor of their incredibly gullible congregants.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Enough is Enough

From the debates, it may be inferred that the Buhari/Bakare ticket is the most desirable. Ribadu's responses to questions hinted that an autocrat belies the man, and his in-eloquence suggests that he needs more schooling in public speaking and diplomacy. He was great as EFCC chairman, but it is questionable if this automatically translates to a great president.

Buhari appears to have turned a new leaf. He has actually been consistent in his opposition against the PDP and apart from the PTF chairmanship he accepted under the Abacha regime, the man really has no stain. At least under his leadership in 1983-1985, He tried to undo the rot that the Shagari government had rendered Nigeria.

Shekerau has been a brilliant governor in Kano state, enjoying a high level of respect, perhaps even as high as Aminu Kano. He is the only governor not under investigation for corruption. While some governors have bought multi-million dollar mansions with looted state funds in various lush cities in Europe and America, Mallam Shekeru has only just begun construction of his first house ever.

Fola Adeola, Ribadu's VP seemed to know what he was talking about as did Shekerau. Oyegun, Shekerau's VP appears to spot an old-school mentality of divide and conquer, and thus did not complement the calm and studied intellect of his principal.

Bakare seems to have shed his erstwhile religious bigotry too, a good thing since half of Nigerians, whose VP he is aspiring to be is non-Christian. He succinctly and aptly put in perspective the impudence of the Jonathan/Sambo PDP by referring to their absence from the debates as the "arrogance of incumbency"

If the opinion of people like me should matter, the PDP should be voted out of office. They have been at the helm since 1999 and all Nigerians have reaped is the profligate celebration of corruption and ineptitude by PDP elected officials and appointees. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Nigerian Terrorist Attacks - Accusations and Recriminations

Recent events in Nigeria are saddening.  On the 50th anniversary of the country's independence, the government decided to throw a big bash (not that there is anything to celebrate in Nigeria, except perhaps the criminality and corruption of politicians, government officials and their business associates who help them perpetrate the crimes and hide the loot).
The British intelligence agency had alerted British citizens in Nigeria and the Nigerian government about a potential October 1 attack days before, and in fact, had prevented its invited dignitaries from attending the celebrations in Abuja on October 1, 2010.  Based on this intelligence two days before the attacks, the Interpol had searched the home of Mr. Henry Okah, a Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) arms supplier living in South Africa.

The bombs, whose explosions had punctuated the events of October 1 in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were claimed to have been planted by the notorious Niger Delta militant group, MEND, who had sent emails and text messages to the Nigerian Security Agencies, the BBC, and other News agencies claiming responsibility.
The smoke had barely settled when President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan made the puzzling announcement that MEND was not behind the attacks despite the emails and text received from them.  Experience and history of this kind of attack anywhere in the world shows that it takes more than a few hours to make the determination of culpability, and even then it is often a law enforcement agent, and not the president, that makes such announcements, typically after weeks or months of careful investigation. It begs the question of the veracity of Mr. Jonathan's claims and absolution of MEND in spite of their claims to have carried out the attacks.

Mr. Okah has since been arrested and was said to be in complicity with the group that planted the explosives.  Mr. Raymond Dokpesi, the campaign director general of one time Nigerian military president, retired General Ibrahim Babangida, who is Mr. Jonathan's most formidable adversary for the Presidential elections, was also arrested and claimed to be in contact with Mr. Okah via text messages and phone days leading up to the October 1 attacks.  Curiously though, Mr. Dokpesi was released after interrogation, indicating that the claims may be spurious.

Mr. Okah, through an interview with Al Jazeera claimed not to be involved in the attacks and in fact had been contacted by an associate of Mr. Jonathan's to announce that MEND was not responsible for the attacks hours before Mr. Jonathan made that strange announcement absolving MEND.  He further claimed that Mr. Jonathan's associate on the call had essentially told him that if he did this, he would be a free man.

It is even more baffling as members of MEND were shown in the creeks on an Al Jazeera interview less than 48 hours before the blasts, engaging in paramilitary exercises and flagrantly denouncing the Nigerian government and professing their resolve to keep fighting in the Niger Delta.

The questions now are a) Why would the President of Nigeria absolve the militant groups even as investigations had barely begun?  b) Is Mr. Jonathan using the attacks opportunistically to denigrate his political foes and thus win the sympathy of Nigerians?  c) Could members of the Babangida camp be in bed with Mr. Okah, or in fact are his sponsors?

It should be easy to establish any connection between the Babangida camp and Mr. Okah if one exists.  Since the British had some intelligence on the attacks before they happened, sifting through these should shed some light on the investigation.  Following the money trail if indeed there was any funneled to Mr. Okah for the attacks should lead to the sponsor.  If all the claims made by Mr. Jonathan however are false, then Mr. Jonathan and his associates are perpetrating a crime at least as heinous as the October 1 attacks.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

James Ibori Arrested in Dubai

Fugitive Ex-Governor of Delta State, James Onanefe Ibori has been arrested in Dubai reports reaching Nigerian Politics Blog confirmed.  Mr. Ibori is widely believed to have financially bankrolled the candidacy of the late Umaru Yar'Adua for President in 2007.  As a result of this, he wielded a lot of influence over the late President Yar'Adua, so much so that not only was he able to evade prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for gross acts of graft and money laundering, he was able to manipulate the removal and eventual sack of its stellar chairman, Mr. Nuhu Ribadu. Mr. Ibori who is also wanted in the UK for money laundering of millions of pounds supposedly looted from the coffers of his state in Nigeria, would be extradited to Nigeria to face trial for his crimes said the EFCC chairman, Mrs. Farida Waziri.

Mr. James Ibori has had a criminal record since the 1990s when he was convicted for shoplifting along with his girlfriend (now wife) Theresa Nkoyo Nakanda on January 25, 1991 at the Isleworth Crown Court in London.  Ibori, who worked as cashier at a home improvement store, Wickes was found guilty of helping Ms. Nakanda, who worked as shop-hand steal merchandise from the shop.  Both were sentenced to two weeks imprisonment and fined 750 pounds.  In 1992, the same Ibori was convicted for credit card fraud by the Clerkenwell Magistrate’s Court in London and fined 800 pounds. Ibori left England and moved back to Nigeria sometime shortly after and shuttled between Lagos, Warri and Abuja to try to make ends meet.  In 1995, a magistrate court in Bwari, FCT convicted Mr. James Ibori for grand larceny for stealing building materials.

With a talent for criminality, Ibori somehow managed to ingratiate himself with associates of Major Hamza Al-Mustafa, former Chief Security Officer of the late Nigerian dictator, General Sani Abacha.  Soon he was in the inner circle of the Abacha security and hit-squad
.  He in fact along with Al-Mustafa co-owned Diet Communications, publisher of The Diet newspaper, which they used to infiltrate the Nigerian news media in the hey days of the Abacha government.  Ibori was an informant to the General's intelligence network and was reputed in some circles to have played a vital role in the infamous assassination of National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) chieftain, Pa Alfred Riwane by the Abacha goons on October 6, 1995.  In bed with the Abacha killing apparatus, Ibori is said to have amassed a small fortune with which he rigged and won the governorship of Delta state in 1999.
Ibori’s arrest by the Interpol in Dubai yesterday is a welcome development.  Rather than being extradited to Nigeria, Ibori should be extradited to the UK to face the music, because he is unlikely to get what he deserves in Nigeria, from where he fled and whose law enforcement agents Mr. Ibori seems to have in his pockets.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Goodluck Jonathan Dissolves Executive Council

The news of the dissolution of the executive cabinet by the Nigerian Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan comes at a time when most in the country have watched with chagrin the nauseating and puerile vaudeville the Nigerian political environment has become. For months, President Yar'Adua was absent from the country and said to be undergoing medical treatment in Saudi Arabia while remaining incommunicado with all of his direct reports in the Nigerian Executive Council including his Vice President to whom he failed to transfer power.

Last month, frustrated by Mr. Yar'Adua's absence and the intrigues carried on by his closest official associates and purportedly his wife, the Nigerian congress decided to apply extraordinary methods to the extraordinary situation to formally transfer power to Jonathan in a yet contentious and arguably unconstitutional resolution. In the penumbra of this flux, Dr. Jonathan's legitimacy has been variously questioned, least of all by Mr. Yar'Adua's scroungers, who have made it difficult for Jonathan to effectively take charge. There have been varied insinuations and innuendos as to how the Acting President should conduct himself lest he transgresses against the powers that be in Northern Nigeria to whom the Presidency belongs for the next six years because of the arcane and asinine logic informing the "zoning of the presidency" by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Yar'Adua's and Jonathan's party.

It is refreshing to see Dr. Jonathan finally take charge. He needs not only to dissolve the Executive Council, he needs also to look at the various government parastatals and agencies which are peopled by Yar'Adua loyalist scroungers who may want to sabotage the efforts of the Acting President.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Yar’Adua’s Puppet Masters

This is to wish a Merry Christmas to all my Nigerian Politics readers.  The past twelve months went so fast that it is unbelievable that this was the year that saw the first African American President sworn-in in the USA, witnessed the bottom of the world wide economic recession, saw the collapsed of several banks in Nigeria and abroad, a peace accord between Niger Delta Militants and the Nigerian Government and the despicable carnage in Northern Nigeria resulting from the Apocalyptic and Nihilist Boka Haram cult.

It’s been a lot to digest this past year.  It seems Nigeria has taken several steps back and reversed the gains (however contentious) made during the more dynamic Obasanjo regime.  For one, the foreign debt is once again soaring (approx $6.00 billion as at November 2009), the laudable gains of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have been inverted and the rate of unemployment and inflation are even higher.  All these can be traced largely to the inept and punctuated leadership of President Yar’Adua.  The man has surrounded himself with charlatans and sycophants of the Ilk of James Ibori, Fugitive ex-Governor of Delta state and dunderhead ignoramus Michael Aondoakaa, Attorney General of Nigeria.  These people take advantage of the frail health of Mr. Yar’Adua to influence policies and executive actions in their favor.
For over a month now, Mr. Yar’Adua has been said to be receiving medical treatment in a Saudi Arabian Hospital with little information given as to what ails the man and how he is responding to treatment.  It is also said that there was no proper handing over to the Vice President, Mr. Goodluck Jonathan and thus a power vacuum as it were exists in the executive branch of Government in Nigeria. In democracies that work, not only will there be more information available on the health status of the President, a smoother and more transparent temporary transfer of power would have occurred from the President to the Vice President.  But the way politics is conducted in Nigeria, power is hugged and information withheld for ulterior motives. 
Mr. Yar’Adua may very well be in a coma but those around him who claim to speak and act on his behalf and benefit from his remaining as president do all they can to make sure the temporary transfer of power to the VP does not occur.  The puppet masters will continue to run the show as long as they pull the strings.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Coding of Crude Oil a la Bankole

Dimeji Bankole, the Nigerian Speaker of the House of Representatives’ suggestion that Nigeria should consider coding its crude oil at face value seems a rational one, except that he did not quite explain how this should be done. While chemical “coding”, in the context Bankole seems to refer, is possible and actually used to distinguish batches of certain chemical products through the use of additives to serve as chemical markers. It is used usually in highly purified substances that have identical chemical and physical characteristics regardless of their source of origin.

Crude oil as it turns out have different chemical and physical characteristics unique to their source. In fact, no two wells anywhere in the world have been known to exhibit the same chemical and physical characteristics. Physical characteristics such as spectrophotometry, rheology, sedimentation rate, specific gravity, even color and organoleptics may be employed along with chemical characteristics such as fractional component assay, gas chromatography, HPLC, voltammetry, NMR, Pyrolysis, mass spectrometry etc as analytical and assay methods. All these are enough to pinpoint not only the country of origin of the crude oil, but the exact well from which it was drilled.

Bankole was either shooting off the cuff in the characteristic ignorance that pervades the Nigerian body politic, or was setting the stage for a future multi-million dollar crude oil additive contract for some of his friends waiting in the wings to execute yet another scam to game the system and loot the coffers of Nigeria.  Besides, what is the cost of adding this so called "code", its decoding and other attendant administative costs?  Assuming this is possible, what is the cost/ benefit analysis?  Any leader worth his salt should be capable of critical reasoning and Bankole fails to exhibit this with his asinine suggestion.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Importance of Being Earnest

The importance of being earnest is the only reason why I try to tell the other side of the story to the bunch of people that make up the Nigerian Polity and their cohort.  Someone just tried to hijack my blog.  I suspect it is the Nigerian Government trying to shut me down, but their low-tech approach is no match for someone so tech savvy as myself.

i will continue to blog about the truth and injustice perpetrated by the nefarious cabal of clowns that rule Nigeria.  My brethren and sisters make no mistake I shall blog as is true to my name until the dawn of time or my last breath whichever comes first.  Thence, stay tuned.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Obama visits Ghana, Snubs Nigeria

Nigerians lament the choice of Ghana as President Barack Obama’s first port of call on the highly popular first Black American President’s first official visit to Sub-Saharan Africa. Ghana, which enjoys relative peace and stability, seems a natural choice over the chaotic and fractious situations in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya, other countries deemed to have been considered for the historic visit.

Nigeria, which touts itself as the giant of Africa has been stifled and plagued with civil strife and unrests in the Niger Delta and still struggles with its democratic process with many of its public officials indicted in gross acts of corruption and various numerous crimes. During the presidential campaign of Mr. Obama, the chairman of the Nigerian Security and Exchange Commission was indicted for illegally collecting what was sold as contributions to aid the Obama candidacy despite the clearly spelled out disclaimer on the Obama website that foreign donations were not eligible.

The apparent snubbing of Nigeria by the Obama administration is appropriate. Obama should not be rubbing shoulders with the criminals and thugs that make the majority of the Nigerian public officials and politicians.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Monday, May 18, 2009

Yar’Adua Grows a Spine on the Niger Delta Crisis

It appears the Yar’Adua government is taking its cue from Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Sri Lankan President whose military has just decimated the once feared LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) aka -Tamil Tigers, the terrorist separatist movement that held sway in northern Sri Lanka for 26 years under the leadership of Velupillai Prabhakaran, who was killed in the government onslaught.

Like MEND and other Niger Delta militant groups, the LTTE started off as a self-determination movement for the cause of an independent Tamil Nation in 1976 and soon metamorphosed into one of the most violent and ruthless terrorist groups in the world. The LTTE engaged in bombings of government, commercial and tourism infrastructure. Kidnapping and murder of opposition voices, extortion, intimidation and high profile assassination of political figures in South East Asia was their forte. The LTTE pioneered suicide bombing as a tactic and invented the suicide belt, which was used by a female Tamil Tiger in the 1991 assassination of Rajiv Ghandi, then former Prime Minister of India opposed to the LTTE cause.

Mr. Yar’Adua should pursue this campaign to conclusion, but must prevent it from escalating into a huge humanitarian crisis. Provisions should be made for the evacuation of innocent civilians from the conflict zones. A ceasefire for 48 to 72 hours accompanied by a massive information campaign by radio, air-dropped-flyers and television announcing the ceasefire window and urging the evacuation of civilians from the conflict zones should do. Wide media coverage should be given to the evacuation process and the militants sternly warned against holding back any civilian population they might want to use as hostages or human shields as the Tamil Tigers did, and still in the end, were defeated.

The fact of the matter is that true liberation results only from peaceful resistance movements. Mahatma Ghandi freed India from the British through this method just as Martin Luther King won civil rights for African Americans through his non-violent civil rights movement. Even the Great Nelson Mandela won his battle against apartheid only after he renounced violence. There is a good reason why the ANC rules in South Africa today and not the Inkatha Freedom Fighters of Mongosuthu Buthelezi. The terrorists in Palestine make it difficult to achieve a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because of the compelling argument of insecurity that they provide the Israeli authorities by their terrorist actions.

Were MEND and its ilk Niger Delta militant groups legitimate, they would recognize how out-of-date nihilist separatist terrorist movements such as theirs’ are. A critical look at these Niger Delta militant groups reveals that they are but only the visible element of what is indeed a very large criminal industry involving the militants themselves, gunrunners, hostage negotiators, pirates, “oil bunkerers”, politicians and corrupt government officials of agencies charged with supervision of the oil industry and development of the Niger Delta. None of them really has the interest of the locals at heart.

They murder moderate locals who seek a non-violent approach, steal crude oil by breaking oil pipelines, in the processes degrading the environment through oil spillages. They use the ransoms they extract to finance profligate life-styles - Asari Dokubo, former Ijaw Youth Congress boss, and MEND sponsor, owns a couple of grand mansions in Abuja and Port Harcourt, a fleet of luxury cars and runs a harem of three wives and several concubines. The Yar’Adua government would do the present day generation of Nigerians and posterity a world of good by routing out these militant groups now before they metamorphose into larger and intractable terrorist organizations like those in the Middle East. Yar'Adua should eschew political correctness (in the Nigerian context) and do every Nigerian a favour and excise this cancer that is the Niger Delta militant movement organizations.