Nigeria has path-dependently or even habitually allowed bad leaders and kakistocrats to enter positions of power and govern it either by means of coup d’etas or fraudulent ballots with relative ease and the resultant dissatisfaction is left to be managed by even worse leaders. The cycle of bad leader to bad leader to worse leader has thus become a solidly stable equilibrium in the nation, escaping it seems unlikely. Most Nigerians wonder endlessly how this habit can be broken or bad elections ended in order for good leaders to come into power and foster best governance possible in the society. All by itself this is a very mistaken expectation.
Thursday, two weeks ago I had just come out of hospital after a two-week stay there. As a resident of a Bermondsey, my brother wheeled me to the shops. As we got to the former Santander Bank premises on Southwark Park Road, then turned into the headquarters of the Simon Hughes Liberal Democrats Return campaign, we bumped into the man. Simon Hughes was all alone carrying a large cardboard box out of the headquarters and headed for a yellow-painted black cab which he was known to drive. My brother and I greeted Hughes, but he barely responded, he looked unhappy. Hughes is usually a cheerful and accessible person. The June 8 elections had just ended, and the former MP had lost. It was a very personal irony for me, a very difficult one. I did not want Simon Hughes to come back as my MP.
When sociologist Donald T Campbell came up with his eponymous Law, one wonders if he expected it to be of theoretical or practical use. Campbell’s Law states that “the more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor.” Originally intended to measure crime rates and other social phenomena, it has been in also in use in corruption studies. Tony Blair, as Prime Minister of Great Britain, is exemplary as a textbook case of Campbell’s Law.
There has been too much optimism invested in what is widely touted in Nigeria as the ‘dividends of democracy’ i.e. the benign and enabling outcomes of democracy. After 18 years of a return to democracy in Nigeria, the dividends of democracy on offer has only meant the military is no longer in government. The dividends have neither been delivered in the form of better leadership nor better governance. Unsurprisingly, the crisis of leadership in Nigeria cannot be solved by democracy as a system all by itself. Democracy can fail societies terribly. Continue reading
Never underestimate the wisdom of the old saying, “what Britain needs is another good war”. Peace, jobs, wages, NHS are boring and appear to be responsible for the national malaise in British politics. Or are they? The May 5th local elections are over, and the June 8th general election is on its way.
Any political party promising to sell rice at 2014 prices might sweep President Buhari’s administration out government resoundingly. Never underestimate the hunger chasing millions of Nigerians like an avenging angel.
When the government introduces good ideas in Nigeria, they come as brazen wayward prostitutes never as enduring industrious spouses. The stuff of quick fixes never endures. The latest new concept necessitating the governments interest in Nigeria is rice. A few years back, rice became the rage because of the focus then was on “[political] ricism” – the use of rice [and other items] by politicians to induce voters to make on the spot decisions to vote for them. Now the rage is “rice self-sufficiency” – restrict rice importation (by imposing 60% duties) and improve the local rice industry’s production capacity. Consequently, rice is much less affordable in Nigeria today than hitherto, and citizens are feeling the sharp pinch. Before anyone qualifies the policy of rice self-sufficiency, we need to ask if it is another serial prostitute in the hands of the government or not.
When last week Grand Minister, Babs Fashola (SAN), claimed his now-famous incapacity to revamp the Nigerian electric power sector was partly due to the inadequacies of Nigeria’s population census agency, he knew he was lying. Another grand act of blamocracy engendered by the Buhari administration. Nigeria’s electric power problems are primarily that of money (investment) and transparency (incorruptibility); it has nothing whatsoever to do with population census. Fashola did not even have to lie about Nigeria’s electricity development backwardness even though he lied about giving Nigerians an ‘electricity miracle’ in just 18 months if President Muhammadu Buhari won the 2015 general elections. Any fiens?
In 2000, Nigeria’s electric power sector had an underinvestment backlog bill of a minimum of $5 billion, $10 billion was more like it. That bill accrued during the period, 1984 to 1999, tacitly under the leadership of Generals Buhari, Babangida, Abacha and Abdulsalami according to the United States Trade and Development Agency. Olusegun Obasanjo squandered the best opportunity Nigeria had to invest in the electric power sector (2000-2007). Goodluck Jonathan also squandered a fair chance and blackouts were interestingly put up for privatisation. Now in 2017, the bill stands at about $20 billion minimum. The reality of electric power development is straightforward – if you do not have several billions of dollars to invest transparently and diligently, forget about it altogether. Nigerians should bravely accept they will not get constant electricity (24hrs all-year) for many years to come.
Does Fashola’s ministry have even just $5 billion to invest, a quarter of the minimum sum required to revamp the sector?
One of the big lies trumpeted of the electric power sector in Nigeria is the spectacle of “installed capacity”. For over 40 years Nigeria has been struggling hopelessly with 6000 MW installed capacity. Installed capacity is the generation capacity of the sector. Capacity is only a potential and does not automatically translate in electricity delivered to end-users. Despite Nigeria’s installed capacity Prof J B Akarakiri published a paper in 1999 in Energy titled ‘Private Electric Power Generation as an Alternative in Nigeria’. The paper was just three pages, but its implications were visionary and devastating; Nigeria should forget about the centralised electric power National Grid for its constant and sustainable electricity supplies; people should opt to their own generators if they wanted stable or on-demand supplies of electricity. Less than a year after the publication, Nigeria witnessed it’s first “zero installed capacity moment”, total national blackout.
Fashola has had a few “zero installed capacity moments” of his own since he became the Grand Minister.
Going back in time, in 2000 the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) had on its books 1.6 electricity customers with 51% residing Lagos State even though, Nigeria had a 150 million population and Lagos State had 11 million. These figures indicated that just over 1% of Nigerians were electricity customers and Lagos State only 7% of the national population. It is evidence of gross nonfeasance and inefficiency by NEPA and the government. Research by the author carried out in 2002 demonstrated that in Lagos State, electricity customers were about 400% greater than what NEPA had recorded. Electricity meters for customers were scarce and expensive, power theft was rife, illegal (mostly unsafe) connections (to whole communities) rampant. Furthermore, tenement buildings (face me, I face you) that litter Lagos had ten to twenty families as tenants. Many tenants used microwaves, TVs, VCD recorders, boiling rings, electric irons in them using one meter and registered as “one customer”. How can peak demand and average daily demand for electricity supplied be appropriately calculated with such grossly underestimated customer data?
How many electricity customers does Fashola say the regulators claim they had on their books in 2017? Ask him.
In a properly run society, every regulator like energy corporations conducts its own customer-based census. It is called market research. Guinness Nigeria plc knows how many customers it has and uses it to determine growth areas, supply chain approaches, marketing strategies and more. It even uses such information to determine how many people are not drinking Guinness stout because they drink Star, Gulder, Trophy or other beers. If Guinness data management cannot be handled by itself, it would outsource the job to a reputable market research firm like RMS.
Fashola’s advisers should tell him the difference between per capita and per customer in market/sector analysis or planning.
What is the solution to the problem of electricity in Nigeria, many would ask? $20 billion and meticulously transparent oversight; any other technical explanations will have to start from here on. Where will Fashola find the money and are there enough honest personnel to get the job done? Environmental campaigner, Nnimmo Bassey, has persistently highlighted in the media how Nigeria loses over $1 billion annually in uncollected gas flaring penalties from oil production companies operating in Nigeria and also over $5 billion annually in tax fraud from oil services companies. That amounts to over $6 billion annually lost to the Nigerian purse; legitimate and deserved money. This money if honestly collected and invested, can clean up the Niger Delta and completely revamp the electric power sector in just five years. It is not Fashola’s problem but his boss, Buhari, is Minister of Petroleum. For all his anticorruption messianics, he has done nothing about this particular fraud and inertia.
Fashola does not have to be dishonest about the deplorable state of electric power in Nigeria. He unwitting inherited a disaster. And he can keep his blamocratic excuses for election time. Nigerians should know the realities of their electric power sector even though it is not pretty and “change” is faraway.
Southern Kaduna Massacres are the stuff Nigeria is made of. Before anyone dismisses such a claim, we have to examine the pervasive ‘value of life’ in Nigeria to both ordinary citizens and the government as well as the cost of ‘taking life’ in Nigeria; ‘life’ here mainly refers to that of the ‘underdog’ [the weaker Nigerian by dichotomy]. Religion and oil politics have led to the biggest massacres in Nigeria’s history, including the Civil War, but life is taken daily with sudden and unexpected spontaneity everywhere in the country for innumerable reasons, some totally inane. Tragically, unless the United Nations, Amnesty International or some heavyweight foreign NGO takes interest in the matter, Nigeria’s leaders, politicians and intellectuals simply ignore the problem. The White Man’s Burden all over again, in another dimension?
There are very few people on record who have been more critical of University Campus Grown Fraternities (UCGFs) in Nigeria, including the National Association of Seadogs (NAS) a.k.a. the Pyrates Confraternity (PC) than myself. I have written a score of articles [on this publication] that question the existence, motives, evolution and modus operandi of UCGFs with conclusions that are damning. I am neither a defender nor supporter of UCGFs. We may, however, take strong exception to Governor Adams Oshiomhole (APC) using the [former] membership of NAS in a smear campaign against Osagie Ize-Iyamu, from an opposing party (PDP), to get him disqualified/discredited in the dying minutes of the (now postponed) 2016 Edo State gubernatorial elections. Continue reading
Femi Aribisala is undoubtedly one of the brightest and most effective journalists and bloggers writing out of Nigeria. He is one writer who indeed never seems to disappoint with his pen, be it a tweet or an essay for Vanguard or elsewhere. In a recent tweet, Aribisala emphatically states @femiaribisala – March 13th 2016; “Buhari said he is a poor man during the election, now he says he is a rich man who can afford to send his children to school abroad.”
Before the 2015 elections, millions of pro-Buhari supporters swore by his ostensible Spartan-lifestyle and voluntary poverty as an exemplary model to be emulated by all for Nigeria to progress. Those very same people are now with violent vehemence and intolerance defending the entitlement of President Muhammadu Buhari to be a very rich man. Continue reading
When President Muhammadu Buhari won the 2015 general elections, he did so largely with the support of neutral and anti-PDP (Peoples Democratic Party) commentators. Everything bad in Buhari’s life history was to be forgotten and everything good was in ascendance. From another perspective, it was very difficult for practitioners of competent thinking to justify the pervasive profligacy behemoth of PDP while in power. The ministerial appointments Babs Fashola, Timi Amaechi and other ‘gubernatocrats’ that took more than half a year to make that was the start of the negation of support for President Buhari. Many thinking men deserted except the likes of Wole Soyinka turned their backs on and pens against Buhari. But many political miracles were promised by the Buhari government. Where are they? Continue reading
It will be interesting to hear what pundits have to say about the “sexual relationship” between the adult male, Yinusa, and Ese Oruru a 13-year-old girl said to have been abducted by the former since 2012. There is much talk about endemic injustice, an ineffectual police force and legal system, unconcerned politicians and unscrupulous predatory males within the borders of Nigeria. What is not being said is that poverty has reduced females in Nigeria even seriously underaged ones into “purchasable” sex objects either as goods or services. Ese’s case was just a solitary cause celebre case out of millions of abused underaged girls in the country. Continue reading
Christmas is here! This time last year many politicians from Delta State were queuing up in London, England to see ex-Governor and Gubernatocrat, Chief James Onanefe Ibori. They were far away from home and the main reason they wanted to see “the Man” was to secure their political futures in the wake of the 2015 general elections and perhaps do other things for themselves. After all, Ibori is founder of the dominant Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) based Ibori Dynasty that rules Delta State even when he is in the slammer in a foreign land! One may wonder what this Christmas holds for the Ibori Dynasty. Continue reading
In the arena of corruption, especially at the grand level where billions of dollars are stolen as a rule of thumb, secrecy and cover-ups are two of the most dominant factors. Many of the world’s great scandals relating to corruption are found out by mistake or whistle-blowing. Once in a while trifling investigations into some minor malfeasance or routine crime ends up unexpectedly uncovering some case of grand corruption. A peripheral component of major corruption may seem frivolous by those who choose to see it so, but how about the main act? Continue reading
Accepting failed leadership as a good thing is surprisingly very well-accommodated in Nigeria. “Excuses” are the most valued tools in the hands of Nigerian leaders, their clients and their supporters. There are no excuses made by politicians at election time but when the failure of elected leaders start to become very apparent and distinct, the last resort is to go to public relations professionals to cook up the next best excuse. And too many Nigerians cannot wait to embrace it unrelentingly. Continue reading
Trade unions are purely or originally organisations that were created and existed to protect the rights of workers especially from the exploitation and insensitivity of the owners of capital, their employers. Things like annual paid holidays, adequate working conditions, fair pay, secure working contracts, the 35-40 hour week etc. are the gains of trade union activities. However, there are malignant and highly deviant mutations of trade union or its ethos going on in Nigeria and elsewhere in the form of gang or cult activities. Continue reading
A familiar political face in Nigeria is gubernatocrat Chris Ngige. He is now a minister in the government of President Muhammadu Buhari. Ngige is the man credited with bringing ghoulish acts to the mainstream by taking an oath naked before a juju shrine promising total compliance to satisfy his kingmakers/patrons that he will do their bidding when he gets into power with their backing. It is the genesis of the infamous “Okija Shrine” saga. Continue reading
Nigeria since independence in 1960 has had six democratically elected executives, the most recent being Muhammadu Buhari. The country has also had seven military heads of state; six by way of coup d’état). No democratically elected head of state from Tafawa Balewa to Goodluck Jonathan has ever gotten into power on electoral promises of anti-corruption while all six military coups were staged on the raison d’etre of fighting corruption. Anti-corruption has thus never been exploited for election purposes in Nigeria, until 2015. Change? Continue reading
President Buhari has searched and decided, the Department of State Services (DSS) has screened and cleared, the Nigerian Senate has accepted and announced the candidates for long-awaited “ministerial list”. The Nigerian nation has been deceived and spat upon by its leader once again. Habit or repetition is not “CHANGE”.
In a nation full of decent competent technocrats and those with clean records President Buhari, the self-styled “Grand Sherriff of Anti-Corruption” has chosen the most corrupt ministerial cabinet Nigeria has ever seen for a first-term or second term presidential tenure. Buhari’s ministerial list has shown Nigeria concrete evidence that to be a long-standing or born again democrat you have to be pragmatic, be a thief. Buhari is now the “Prince of Thieves”. Buhari has not been captured politically by thieves, he has politically captured the thieves. Continue reading
The South West has now been, rightfully or wrongfully, disaffected by President Muhammadu Buhari and his “Northern Bloc”. The unholy alliance between the North and the South West fostered for the 2015 elections in Nigeria is over. Buhari’s parking ex-Governor Bola Tinubu into the corner is tantamount to parking the entire South West into the corner. Tinubu has been outsmarted in every department by Buhari and some. Continue reading
The All Progressives Congress (APC) is the political party which the current President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari leads. President Buhari was elected by a popular vote of the electorate to eradicate (or to the initiated, significantly minimise) corruption in Nigeria. Therefore APC is the party of eradicating corruption. Sorry to disappoint you but such thinking is both fallacious and senseless on the ground in Nigeria. Continue reading
The bickering between Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka and ex-President Gen Olusegun Obasanjo (Rtd) continues. Sometimes simmering sometimes crackling it will never stop. There is no love lost between the two men. Obasanjo is the hedgehog and Soyinka is the fox if one uses Isaiah Berlin’s understanding of great characters. However, the bickering in question is over the contents of the memoir “My Watch” by Obasanjo which has seen Soyinka caught out with a hat trick; Obasanjo 3 Soyinka 0!
Djomuu! Continue reading
The #OurVotesCounts voter education and election monitoring project sponsored and run by the National Association of Seadogs (NAS) was a laudable project. It sought to help in the constructive actualisation of a “free and fair” general election and encourage voters to go the ballot with their conscience rather than their stomachs in the 2015 general elections. How wonderful!
After innumerable citizens indigenous to Lagos and the South-West region in Nigeria roundly criticised traditional ruler Rilwan Akiolu, the Oba of Lagos, for his unfortunate ‘warning to the Igbos’, one should be impressed that there is hope in Nigeria even though not immediately convincing. The warning the Oba meted bordered on vicious tribalism and tribal cleansing. It provided an opportunity to witness social and political maturity and sensibility in the entire South West that is alive, sensitive and robust. Wole Soyinka, a South Westerner himself, and Nigeria’s most influential intellectual cum human rights activist – did not say a word.
In a very revealing and dramatic recent Guardian interview conducted by correspondent David Smith http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/mar/29/wole-soyinka-interview-nigeria-corruption-goodluck-jonathan, Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka lamented the process of the ongoing Nigerian general elections tainted by desperation, violence and corruption. He even tried to personify Mandela in his forgiveness of Buhari.
And yes, it’s Official! Soyinka claims to have forgiven General Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd) who he for decades characterised as being the former “head” of a crapious, inhumane, punitive, abusive, oppressive and repressive military regime.
I must confess I have been keenly waiting for the next Wole Soyinka “moment” no matter how long it would take and it has arrived much earlier than expected under terms that most would not have easily imagined. No one said, “the Man” was not a genuine enigma. Soyinka has clearly stated that he will not vote for President Goodluck Jonathan (of the People’s Democratic Party) in the 2015 elections just around the corner and advocates that no right-thinking Nigerian should vote the incumbent in for another term.
Wole Soyinka is not only a genius but also indeed an enigma even to the most discerning of minds. What is certain is that he has chosen in the course his entire career to be “the man on the moment”. Sometimes such quests for championing ‘moments’ entails considerable inconsistency and reversal in what one believes in or affirms. Let us start with the Wole Soyinka Annual Lecture (WSAL) series instituted to honour the life, times and works of the man.
Two Lectures – Master of Ceremony – Jide Lanlehin; at the Feast of Barracuda held by the National Association of Seadogs, Zero Meridian Chapter, London, England on the 16th of May 2015.
If one wants to explain why former Minister of the Niger Delta, Godsday Orubebe, of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) behave the way he did at the National Collation Centre where the elections results for the 2015 Presidential and National Assembly elections quartered, it is easy to compare Orubebe’s actions to those of Matthew Harrison Brady at the end of the film Inherit the Wind. Brady in the film gave a hysterical even insane outburst having lost a classic case Darwinism versus the Bible, he being on the side of God. Orubebe was fiery, indignant, overbearing, desperate, vehement or disruptive but he was not insane. Continue reading
Are Leaders or Followers to Blame for Corruption?
Weeks Centre for Social and Policy Studies
Corruption is unsatisfactorily defined as the “misuse of public office for private gain” because it suggests corruption only happens in the public sector . But the definition also indicates that the power of [high] public office is the starting point for corruption. Corruption is characteristically a top-down not bottom-up phenomenon.
We often read and hear some people say “Corruption in a nation is the problem of followers” or “every nation deserves the leadership it gets”. Such statements demonstrate an incomplete or unfair understanding of corruption and maybe ‘power’- supporting sophistry. How can lawmakers, law interpreters and law executors, the legislators, judges and presidents, respectively, of a nation and their clients be exempt from the blame or be the least culpable for corruption?
There was considerable peace and “silence” during the 2015 Nigerian general elections yesterday. It was good news that apart from the “I am above the law” behaviour of some senior politicians there might have been no incidences of chaos or violence at all. The inefficiencies of (Independent National Electoral Commission) INEC would have usually caused alarm but Nigerians demonstrated they can be patient, tolerant, well-behaved and disciplined in the face of delays, procrastination and uncertainty like any other nationals. Really! Nigerians silent when they would usually vex and “rake”? Continue reading
One would wonder why the power of incumbency of presidents and governors in Nigeria,elsewhere in Africa and other places in the world is well-near indomitable at general elections. While incumbents can use state resources to campaign against the opposition, to buy votes wholesale and rig elections with impunity such resources are not always enough to secure election victory. Well, certainly not in 2015. Continue reading
The United State of America is the chief exporter of “globalisation democracy” that has seen nations around the globe both encouraged and bullied into taking on two incompatible dictates of governance policy; representative democracy and neoliberalism. Continue reading
Muhammadu Buhari, a presidential candidate in the forthcoming 2015 General Elections, is reported to be terminally ill with cancer and complications of organ failure. The details of his medical condition/records are available from the private hospital in London, where he has been receiving intensive treatment for a while now. The man has only six months to live.
Buhari’s reaction to his unfortunate situation is that all he wants is the historical record that he was elected a democratic president of Nigeria in 2015 before his death. If he wins next week’s elections, he will hand over Professor Oluyemi Osibajo, his running mate, in July 2015. Governor M R Kwankwanso of Kano State has been lined-up to be Osibajo’s vice when the ‘time’ comes. Continue reading
“Anywhere you hear someone talking about change, stone that person” (three times in succession) – Patience Jonathan; Nigeria’s First Lady in her 2015 Election Campaign
The word “stone” is a very ominous one that conjures up exclusively many meanings and images of violence and immorality. The emphasised passion with which the First Lady uttered the statement is reminiscent of people praying for fatality to happen to their enemies in the ‘return-to-sender’ fashion. It betrayed a violent consciousness in Nigerian democratic politics that politicians are by keen self-regulation forbidden to reveal and therefore a characteristic of Nigerian politics ‘in private’. Cases of Freudian slip (utterances due to psychological mix-ups) or Kinsley gaffes (truths uttered by politicians in public by mistake) are rare in Nigerian politics. Continue reading