As we approach the uncertain aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, many developed and developing societies remain shaken, disrupted and precarious. Jobs and austerity are the main tacit or stated socioeconomic fear of most people. The political economy of despair we are witnessing never enters the perception or the historical heritage of a nation, place or people with positive reception. We accept COVID-19 as a global pandemic is a tragedy. Most will survive it, but the death toll remains staggering and the caused disruption colossal in many countries. Our daily transactions, interactions and relations society and the economy rely on had to cease indefinitely, but for how long?
The problem for most citizens around the world is the survival of their regular economic and social expectations. Individuals have had to deal with many trenchant uncertainties at once, unawares. Jobs, businesses, opportunities, property, status, privileges, leisure and rights, many aspire to or worked so hard to attain are now looking like the glimmers of a past era. Yet, in our free-market-oriented world, orthodox economic theory demands everyone without exception must be rational in their actions. Rational cannot prevent winter or make disasters disappear instantly. To ask robust rationality of citizens under conditions of despair or even prosperity is quite a stoic demand. The political economy of despair under the current paradigm is never complete without the contradictions it produces.
Why should ignorance and illiteracy always take the blame for the failings of the weak democracy in Nigeria? It takes some extremism or disturbing denial to ignore or even use derisory evidence and poor logics to affirm President Muhammadu Buhari’s government since 2015 is either competent or successful. Obstinacy and benefit-seeking are culprits. Under Buhari’s watch, Nigeria finds itself taking a steep dive in the economic, political and social arenas of the country. The economy is in tatters with no recovery in sight. Security and safety are hopeless enough to be the responsibility of God. The tribal rivalries are making the country more unstable than before the civil war and the future of Nigeria uncertain than ever. Buhari’s ascendancy to power was not the outcome of an ignorant or illiterate population. It took the scheming of the best educated and most enlightened Nigerians to achieve that feat.
Riverine Remedy: Yankius, you self, you cannot even ask after me if I don’t call you. Na so your friendship be?
Yankius: O mi Riverine Remedy, have you not heard of 5G and its cover-up story? If not for that, to call you from time to is not hard now.
Riverine Remedy: (Laughing loud and cynically) So, you still believe in that 5G – COVID-19 junk? You are more than that and you know it.
Yankius: If you do not agree with my beliefs it does not give you the privilege to insult me.
Riverine Remedy: Yankius, have you heard the Acting Managing Director of NIger Delta Development Commission fainted while being interrogated for grand corruption by Representatives in the National Assembly? Nigeria’s Big Thieves are growing in numbers geometrically. Continue reading
Formal education is one of the most overrated things in human development people on the African continent can gain, maybe elsewhere too. Education in the formal sense is an “institutional thing,” i.e. the stuff of institutions. It is not just the stuff of classrooms and ivory towers. Institutions rely on education and education has to be meet institutional and societal requirements through governance for it to serve any useful purpose in society. The symbiosis of institutions and education is both valuable and undeniable. In a nation where institutions are unenforceable, we must expect the education curriculum to be inadequate in many senses. Education is not just the acquisition skills but also the awareness of the requirements of civil participation in a just or improving society.
Ideology can be such a blinding and narrow-minded state of mind, individually or collectively. Accurate history informs us that plagues and pandemics have devastated the world several times and for millennia, long before socialism and capitalism came into existence and the human race is still here. But not because of the excessive passions that drive ideology. My conservative friends of Nigerian origin seem to think otherwise. Continue reading
The magic of Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has come from his citizens, but nothing of significance he has done as leader of the nation. Blamocracy (blaming past administrations for the impossibility of addressing present troubles) and claimocracy (claiming credit for the achievements of former governments) now have the regard of significant achievements in themselves. Many citizens claim that while the federal government is clean, competent and thriving, the states and local governments make up the rotten parts of Nigerian for governance. Leadership has become excused of responsibility by so-called voters. We take on the challenge to examine this sticky fallacy.
One of the most interesting but intractable things about development in Nigeria is the pervasive perception of both what it is and should be. What is development? Why are Nigerians always left behind? These are questions best answered indirectly. Continue reading
What has happened, Africa? This is the question a bright youth leader on a private forum asked when he learnt the Chinese have set up the 13th Chinese Police Station in South Africa. The answer is Nothing. Whether we base the question on fact, fiction or exaggeration is immaterial. Chinamen are coming and coming big to Africa. Continental tragedy was visible in African people who should have known better in advance, notably the intellectual/educated class, who were unwitting. “Bright lights” keenly supported the decadent misgovernance many of the post-colonial leaders foisted upon their citizens on the continent up to this day. Africans are now living with the harsher realities of such thoughtlessness and misfortune. The Chinese are now exploiting Africa’s naivete. Who will not?
“Guilt by community association” (GBCA) is back in Nigeria in fresh form in 2018 not by the actions of a foreign colonialist but those of the local Nigerian auto-colonialists courtesy Fulani herdsmen affairs. In the colonial state of Nigeria under British rule, the main means by which the Nigerian staffed police force secured conformity and order from Nigerians was community arrest and faux crime taxation. If a person dropped dead in Ilesha, Oron, Keffi or Ughelli (or some village), the police would arrest all the heads of family in the area (or village) requiring each to bail themselves at a prohibitive cost; GBCA was born. The people quickly learned that a police matter was a money matter. This was the very first habit the Nigerian police force acquired that ensured that they would become hopelessly corrupt in future. Corrupt initial conditions bred both corrupt post-Independence foundations and institutions, a legacy of empire. Today, Nigerian auto-colonialists carry the blame for GBCA.
“Federalism” and “restructuring” and related terms are all political jargon. It means they are not so easy to understand by non-specialists and are widely appreciated by assumption, not fact. Nigeria is a federal republic that practices federalism on paper but is a unitary state in reality because it lacks the provision of autonomy for subnational or federating units. All advanced nations have undergone several phases of restructuring for political, economic or social reasons at different stages in their existence. Many Nigerians are oblivious to the fact that the creation of Lower Niger protectorate by the British, the amalgamation of North and South Nigeria, the institution of the four colonial constitutions for Nigeria and ultimately Independence in 1960, where all cases of restructuring. Oil appears to be the only reason restructuring, or federalism looks strange to some in Nigeria. I shall now answer the questions raised in response to restructuring (non-technically): Derivation or Ownership?
“Restructuring”; its meaning is debatable, and for many, it is about oil, resource control. Surprisingly, many see resource control as the receipt of an increased top-up percentage of “derivation” by oil-producing states from oil revenues issued by the federal government (FG) as fiscal allocations. Where is the control in receiving a token part of the revenues from resources mined under your jurisdiction? The practice of derivation no matter the percentage is not reducible to restructuring. A synonymous concept to restructuring is “federalism”, the structural devolution of power from the central government to federating units granting them autonomy within the political structure. If achieved in Nigeria, restructuring will effectively end the unitary system of government introduced by the military government since 1966. Very little is said about the “ownership” of natural resources in the mainstream Nigerian debate on restructuring. Is ownership a taboo word when it comes to oil and federalism?
There are many able Nigerian analysts, commentators, pundits, academics and journalists who have rightfully earned a say in the Nigerian political arena. Most are insincere, some swing and a few are truthful in their evaluations of the state of political realities and performances of governments and their principals. All performances of governance do need to have standardised or unique benchmarks for their measurements to be valid. Continue reading
There is an insightful article for those interested in governance by Taiwo Makinde titled Problems of Policy Implementation in Developing Nations: The Nigerian Experience. In the paper, the Makinde explains quite persuasively why policy implementation in Nigeria routinely fails with successive governments. He implicates, among other factors, a lack of continuity of policy implementation from a previous government to a succeeding, e.g. from Presidents Babangida to Abacha [or Jonathan to Buhari]. Ego [of the leader] is the reason he provides for this. The logic is simple; it is better for the current president to sabotage the good works of a predecessor and initiate his own that will place his mention high on the lips of posterity. It holds for all forms of organisation in Nigeria. The significant exception is President Muhammad Buhari and for strange reasons; blamocracy [and claimocracy].
I reject the claim the article titled Gowon and Babangida Created Nigeria’s Drug Culture, which I wrote is guilty of appropriating unnecessary blame to Gowon and Babangida wrongfully or misleading readers about the creation of the drug culture in Nigeria. In the first paragraph, I made it clear that some will disagree with the content. There is a big distinction between the “drug culture” and “drug trafficking” in Nigeria; the former is local Nigerian addictive drug use and the latter concerns Nigeria as an “entrepôt” for international drug trafficking. Even if some assume they are the same thing, let us look at the Gowon and Babangida regimes and their impact on drug access more carefully and see where the blame for Nigeria’s drug culture lies. Continue reading
It is certain that “access to drugs” policies have been mostly responsible for either a rise or decline in the demography of drug addicts in Nigeria. A controversial thing the Obasanjo military government did in 1976/77 was to progressively ban many goods [including controlled substances] into Nigeria to curb the wanton and wasteful “Import or Die” phenomenon triggered by the unexpected “Oil Boom” years governed by General Gowon. The first experience of drug culture in Nigeria, though very limited and short, was a creature of the frenzy of Oil Boom importation. Some will argue the ban’s impact on drug use was inadvertent or even nonexistent. Nigerians back then did not have to escape reality though; life was good and masses sought conspicuous consumption and luxury. When the ban on imported goods came into effect the drug abuse phenomenon faded like a fad but created smuggling boom in which smugglers found Veblen goods like lace and refined stills far more profitable.
Ironically, the viral drug problem of today’s Nigeria is fuelled by poverty, the demands of socio-economic survival and very harsh realities. The recent ban of codeine-based cough syrup by the Buhari administration after the BBC’s damning expose, Sweet Sweet Codeine will have nothing like the impact of the ban put in place by Obasanjo in 1970s. The present drug problem has now reached a high point after a long surreptitious build up; all presidents since Babangida reportedly created the Nigerian Narcostate have allowed the problem to fester. I will share my witness. Continue reading
Take a very good look at the photograph. In the photograph, you can see the portrait of a young teenager in a blue T-shirt (the Boy in blue) attempting to light up a reefer. He is closely surrounded by peers eager for him to do it because if he does they can too. There is some apparent awe for the Boy in blue by his mates; he is their leader by choice or nature. He is not from a privileged background and neither are his peers but they look up to him. Leaders instinctively know their followers expect them to be first movers and hardly back down. With the provision of privilege or means, he could be a future captain of industry, senator, Anglican bishop, colonel, principal or publisher. Who knows? What will be the use of the Boy in blues’ leadership appearance or qualities in the present and future Nigeria society? Who exactly is the Boy in blue and where can he be found?
One must seriously wonder what happened to a once genial and hope-filled town called Sapele. It was a youths’ town and youngsters were filled with promise and bright futures. Well… According to a competent and concerned eyewitness Ejorheya Brighoademo, a governance professional and works in the tourism and entertainment industry in Sapele, the incidence of drug addiction is conservatively 50% of the entire teenage population of the town! That is a whole generation afflicted with a destructive scourge. Incredible! How did Sapele, a major town in Delta State, Nigeria give into the drugs scourge? Continue reading
President Buhari like many past Nigerian heads of state is living proof of why slavery flourished along the coast of West Africa a few centuries ago. While the Europeans, Americans and others nurture, support and encourage their youth to build the edifices that have come to symbolise civilisation and world power, many African kings never had any use for their proliferating population of youths. Today is no different. Diaspora is the dreamland of the Nigerian youth. Under Buhari’s administration, the incentive for the Nigerian youth to go overseas for a better life has never been greater because of the lack of opportunities that stare them in the face. If leaders have no respect or value for their youth, who will? Continue reading
Recently, Wole Soyinka has been credited with stating in a speech or article titled “Where Did We Go Wrong?” stating a list of the very youthful ages of the Nigerian leaders and pioneers in the immediate post-colonial era. The wordings then goes on to adore the colonial youth of as men of vision and ability. I very strongly doubt that Wole Soyinka either said such a thing in public or wrote it. If he did, he must have gravely overlooked the realities and context that produced the very youthful leaders and pioneers of Nigeria’s past, which he is one. Nigeria’s youthful leaders, therein hailed, have left the country an insuperable legacy of misgovernance, corruption, polarisation and disaster. What is the fuss about Nigeria’s bungling first leaders? Nigeria produced youthful leaders in Nigeria for regrettable reasons, with truly pitiable consequences.
It is very brazen political lying to equate the refund of stolen funds to the state with political success or successful anti-corruption. Effective correction, detection and prevention are the all-round benchmarks of successful anti-corruption for any given democracy. Only proper correction can make precise detection worthwhile, which in turn makes adequate prevention robust. The recovery of stolen is the supererogatory part of the correction and legal punishment the obligatory part. The successful prosecution and conviction of corrupt persons for corrupt practices without any recovery are also deemed successful anti-corruption. “Big theft, Big punishment” should be the motto of any serious anti-corruption government, not recovery. The recovery of stolen funds without formal legal correction is at best dysfunctional just like a car without wheels is dysfunctional. Recovery may be impressive in a backward country or to liars and the naïve but not in a civilised one or to politically aware people because there is an understanding of the impacts of “structural traumas of corruption “A political lie has started to unravel. Continue reading
The complete metamorphosis of the butterfly is a thoroughly adequate analogy for civilisation: the gradual progression from egg to slug to pupa to imago [the beautiful butterfly]. In the Nigerian context, it starts with the colonised state to the inexperienced independent nation-state to transitional nation-state to strong state. The furthest stage Nigeria ever go to was the ugly butterfly that never blossomed. However, after the initial euphoria of the return to democracy, it is now evident that Nigerian politicians and clergy are busy reversing the progress of the nation back into the stage of a slug as a consequence of their thefts and misrule; it suits them well. But does it suit the everyday citizens?
Nigeria once [for several years] had constant electricity, reliable tap water supplies, a world-class education, a modestly corrupt civil service, a postal system that could be depended upon, rape was associated with slum areas, robbery was not something that bothered people, people drove their cars to their home towns 100s of miles away by night, educated women did not have to sleep with men to get employment, kidnapping was unheard of, sexual attitudes were responsible, people were not desperate enough to be easily conned by clergymen, major politicians did not serve rice with an apron in the streets to win votes. Most of all people wanted to be something, upwardly social mobility was open access and the moral cost of doing wrong was high. And this is not a glossy nostalgia for something that never happened, we all lived it even better if one is old enough to remember.
Where has it all gone? Continue reading
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.
A photograph of Hon Evance Ivwurie, Delta State legislator, appeared on Facebook a couple of years ago that uncannily emitted a tangible glimmer of hope out from the groundswell of the intractable political despair that grips Nigeria. The photograph showed Ivwurie vigorously searching for Fulani Herdsmen menacing the area, completely unarmed in the bush of Abraka (Delta State) with the unassailable expression of much physical energy, genuine indignation, utter fearlessness and a hint of finality. This article not another declamation about the terror of Fulani Herdsmen in Nigeria but grounds for the possibility of a necessary shift in the attitudes of elected officials towards adopting “Toe-to-Toe politics”. Continue reading
In the UK and the USA, the spectre of Nigerians achieving academic excellence in institutions of higher learning everywhere has increasingly etched for itself a significant space in the folklore of immigration. Such widespread excellence is even used with dubious effect to show how Blacks born in America or in the UK are simply lazy, unambitious and even of criminal disposition. This is certainly the Hegemon’s and Black Conservative’s comfort; one side of an overstated story. The prospect of Uber, the mobile app taxi business, losing its UK licence for gross corporate irresponsibility exposed a most understated side of the story in a shockwave. Continue reading
Many talking points in Nigeria and diaspora are increasingly focused on the undeniable necessity for a ‘proper revolution’ to happen and soon as a singular means to decisively sort out the poly-faceted corruption and misgovernance entrenched in and withering away the country beyond recognition. Talk of revolution is good for expressing various dimensions of despair. Notwithstanding, the realities of revolution are not represented in the everyday chatter of it and appear to be tacitly hiding in many brains. A thoroughgoing political revolution has a very high cost that involves mass coordination, mass murder, mass destruction and mass deception [propaganda]; are Nigerians ready for that? How possible is it? Continue reading
Anti-corruption is not a simple task to handle and it is not always straightforward. There are practical exhaustive steps to fighting corruption if properly executed (even with mistakes) that could certainly lead to massive reductions in the incidence and scale of the phenomenon. Currently, there is nothing of substance either straightforward, indirect or practical about the mission of anti-corruption in Nigeria that swept the current government of President Muhammadu Buhari into power. Corruption has at best become a “spiritual exercise” in the sense that the President and his Anti-Corruption Czar are behaving more like minor biblical prophets sent to warn their people than kings and administrators who ruled people with effective direct instructions. It’s time to pray. Continue reading
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.
As much as many may try, it is not possible to make sense of the current political realities of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by any conditions that preceded the Civil War (1967-70). This is not a case for perceived discontinuity but exceeding and sudden transformation. Nigeria only became a full state after the beginning of the Civil War, considering her acquisition and use of state power via centralisation. This is because during and after the war, Nigeria ceased to be an intended ‘uniform federation’ and opted since the administration of General Yakubu Gowon to be a two-tier state; the federation and its colonies. Nigeria is truly an “auto-colonial state” today, a fact obscured for 50 years. Continue reading
A “billionaire” kidnapper, Evans, is now the new icon shining in the dull skies of Nigeria. One may ask how a ruthless kidnapper can either be an icon or hero to millions in Nigeria? Because it is Nigeria. Claude Ake once stated that “Nigeria is the only country in the world where no one questions the source of one’s income.” The depth of the statement is far from casual or mere observation. Amassing wealth in Nigeria, whether legally or illegally, has a highly regarded and venerated virtuousness of its own. In many cases, the more crooked the source of income, the better it is rated by the public. That is why you find young men who have legitimately worked very hard for their money blatantly lie that they made the same money by crooked means. How twisted can things get? Continue reading
One may wonder who within the Nigerian Ministry of Education orchestrated the removal of the History [of West Africa] as a subject from the national academic curriculum several years ago. Many have claimed that the removal was to hide the ‘darkness of the Civil War’ and to quell potential tensions it might harness. Has it worked for contemporary Nigeria? We know it has not. The Muslim-dominated North defeated Christian East in a very bloody and savage conflict that claimed millions of lives, and they want the people to ‘forget’ by robbing them of a significant component of their educational freedom? History is ultimately a reflection of the handwork of leaders for all posterity, and they know it. Agnotology does not often work enduring, and it has limits.
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
Excerpt of a talk ‘The Crisis of Leadership – The Case of Nigeria’ given by Grimot Nane at a meeting of the Democratic Alternative (DA) about the leadership problem in Nigeria – 15/05/2017.
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.
It is unfortunate that the ethnic group that the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, belongs to is a “nation of habitual butchers”; the Cattle Fulani. This is the unequivocal belief of the nations within Nigeria victimised by Herdsmen violence. First, it was military men in uniform and now it is wandering Herdsmen; both have enjoyed peerless impunity. The university town of Abraka in Delta State, Nigeria has witnessed another incidence of menacing violence by Fulani Herdsmen against its residents this week, a repeat of what occurred in the same town last year. The people of Abraka (Urhobos) have experienced an atrocious mix of intimidation, violence, mayhem, murder, trauma and vandalism at the hands of Fulani Herdsmen in their very own indigenous land. Why are there no credible responses from the state to deal effectively with the crisis other than shoddy policing? Continue reading