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
After reading Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt by Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco a few years back, the unusual happened. I developed a keen yearning to rediscover a dormant space in my mind for the appreciation of illustrated stories and cartoons. I remembered the political cartoons of Josey Ajiboye and Omoba (Dotun Gboyega) and the entertainment illustrations of Morak Oguntade and some others. The illustrations of these men were as political and useful as the illustrations of Joe Sacco, hence the yearnings. Josey Ajiboye was a pioneer and grandmaster in the print media industry. The depth and influence of the work of these illustrators are incalculable as was elaborated in The Role of Editorial Cartoons in the Democratisation Process in Nigeria by Ganiyu Jimoh.
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.
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
Corruption is here in the world to stay, and it entrenches itself in our society deeper daily. Such is our most significant contemporary reality in times of peace and not in an emergency. It is even now legal. Corruption has paved the way for unnecessary and preventable wars, unrest, pestilence, systemic failures and emergencies. Many commentators brand such occurrences as unexpected contingencies. “Things happen”, is the persuasion we must believe, as if they occur with little or no calculated intention and help. The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed more corruption than is normally available to the average citizen. Backing ideologies, facilitators, and the consequences of corruption have become more visible to all. The media, criminal justice mechanisms, legislation and civil services could never offer the people such an accessible view of corruption in normal circumstances.
The 2019 elections have come and gone and have produced its victors and losers no matter how illegitimate the ballot was. Many issues that plague Nigeria severely were not even discussed in the campaign season. Dividends of democracy? What was discussed was patrimonial-manias in the shape of the obtuse mantras of “only X can save Nigeria”; good luck to the promoters. The unresolved issue of interest here is the raging drug problem that is ruining an entire generation of Nigerian youths and severely embarrassed the Buhari government through a BBC expose titled “Sweet Sweet Codeine.” As the drug problem has been largely unresolved, the government is going to be embarrassed again shortly. One may ask, where is the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in all of this? One should perhaps, more importantly, ask what roles the presidency and national legislators playing in drug enforcement? Continue reading
What is Col Sambo Dasuki doing locked up in detention indefinitely without trial at the behest of President Muhammadu Buhari? What happened to court trials in Nigeria which are sending other politicians guilty of corruption to jail? Supporters of President Buhari [regardless of party affiliation] would naively (the vast majority) or insincerely (very few) have people believe that Col Dasuki’s detention is evidence of a strong anti-corruption ethos under the present government. The truth is that it is one of the most histrionic acts of corruption of the Buhari Presidency courtesy nepotism. Dasuki is in detention for his very own safety at the fawning kindness of the President. If anyone can accurately evaluate the most likely politician that would be assassinated in Nigeria on any given day of the year, it will be Dasuki by a very wide margin and it is unlikely he would survive unprotected. But why? An informant in military intelligence tells us. Continue reading
“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 is a keen fascination among young men, particularly at leading schools and universities around the world with the “captain-pirate” mode of rebellion or disobedience against the injustices and excesses of the status quo in society. It is not surprising. The literal meaning of a pirate and the piratical life is one of thieves and the means of thieving, respectively. Its significance in the context of fraternal orders of young men is consanguineous with the metaphor of Robin Hood – stealing from the rich or powerful to give to the poor or weak. The young or seasoned pirate, as he solemnly swears at his initiation, under the direction of his captain is thus necessarily an agent of social justice in society.
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
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
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
It has been one year since Ayo Odebisi went on another kind of going abroad trip. When I heard and looked at his photo, I saw more the love and friendship we had, and spontaneously I tried to reach out to him, I named him “Jimmy”. All the people I love I give pet names, Paramole’s has been the only posthumous instance. In the eulogy “I Will not Mourn for Ayo Odebisi (Paramole)” I wrote what many have said encapsulated his life and what he represented on one page. I will not repeat such here. What I valued most about Odebisi was his perspicacious construction of eudaimonia in the image of the 4-7 Creed, the Creed of the Pyrates. His approach to creating a better society could never have been more sincere or practical, but it somehow remains to many lofty.
Voting, votes and honest election results are not enough to prevent elected officials from misbehaving or misgoverning once they get into office. Constitutional checks and balances are not usually sufficient enough to check and balance the activities of those in power abuses of power in the form of malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance. Such abuses are hard to detect by the everyday citizens and those in government have no incentive to report them. Those who independently report such incidences quickly become “enemies of the state”. Therefore, other strong pressures and institutions are required to subject those in power to govern well, but they must emerge from the citizens themselves or a significant number of them. Nigeria is no exception. Continue reading
People when no dey happy, people when know dey look
– Fela Kuti, Overtake don Overtake
Last week Ibrahim Malu, the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was delighted to announce that its training college had graduated 183 cadet officers with 331 more to come. It was an expedient statement intended to assure Nigerians that the fight against corruption is intensifying in concrete ways. Many Nigerians reacted with smiles, emotive comments and dancing. Deja vu?
Uncritical support for anti-corruption activities in Nigeria always discounts the over-ruling problem. The entity that created and maintained the culture of wanton corruption in Nigeria is the “Owners of Nigeria Technostrucrure” (ONT), Nigeria’s leading special interest group. Without any iota of blame apportioned to the recent EFCC cadet graduates and their trainers, they are merely analogous to doctors trying to cure cancer with Panadol.
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
Numerous factors are acutely responsible for the persistence and worsening of the phenomenon of corruption in many so-called democracies. These factors include regulatory capture, lack of transparency, inappropriate political systems, vertical policy transplantations, the weak rule of law, harsh economic conditions, the absence of political legitimacy etc. All these factors tend to be invisible to the general public and require scandal to be known. Another critical factor in the growth of corruption is the much less talked about “guilty accuser syndrome”. The guilty accuser syndrome is a sophisticated political selection strategy that ensures that only politicians with “dirty hands” can get into positions of power that are both strategic and lucrative. Such a syndrome is more associated with new and transition democracies than mature liberal version. The guilty accuser syndrome is a significant weapon of corrupt political patrons since it can ruin strong institutions and render institutional reform useless.
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.
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 is no good name for a terrible disease” – Urhobo proverb.
“The solution to Africa’s problems lie solely in Africa” – George Ayittey.
Coconut Head Corruption (CHC) is a term derived from the vocabulary of George Ayittey. He is a distinguished U.S. based Ghanaian economist and is used to describe the observed hollow-headedness and thoughtlessness exhibited by corrupt African leaders and their clients. These Big Men Ayittey is critical of have engaged in corruption since the beginning of the post-colonial era. Ayittey consistently and emphatically in his works and on social media uses words like “Coconut Leader”, “Coconut combat” or “Coconut solutions” to address misgovernance and lousy leadership in African. Coconut-prefixed words as Ayittey uses them is just one aspect of the sincere, blunt and uncompromising zeal with which he is opposed to corruption and deliberate under-development in Africa. Solving Africa’s problems is not a ‘popularity contest’; it is about consistent successful approaches and outcomes; political correctness has not done anything for Africa (Ayittey 1992).
Where is the Government of Nigeria (GON) or the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) winning their war against corruption? Nowhere. No vigorous prosecutions, no convictions, no legislative reforms, no judicial reforms, no constitutional reforms, nothing. All the citizens of Nigeria see are publicity stunts and government-engineered scandals. Is there anything else substantial to show anywhere? The incentive now is, after all its tough talk, the GON must save face as Nigeria, and the rest of the world watches her anti-corruption activities. Recent developments are now verifying the stage-managing of the cash seizures; the money is going back to where it came from directly – the Central Bank of Nigeria. (see http://wp.me/p1bOKH-KW)
There are many rational reasons for the GON (its agencies) and EFCC to stage-manage mysterious theatrical large “cash discoveries and seizure” to make them look like they are doing a good job and these are evident to everyday Nigerians. Continue reading
The current sensation in Nigeria is the mysterious discoveries and seizures of large sums of money (mostly foreign currency) found at lying fallow at premium addresses. The cash discoveries are claimed to be the work of selfless “whistleblowers” at the encouragement of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). And it is expected to show the world that the Government of Nigeria (GON) is winning on its anti-corruption campaign promises. Some highly experienced experts in the anti-corruption and crime industry find the discoveries very unlikely and too good to be true. The fantastic cash discoveries made by the EFCC credibly appear to be merely clever stage-managed acts of publicity.
The Pyrates Association has legally ascertained that the “4-7 Creed”  can neither be patented nor used exclusively by the National Association of Seadogs (NAS). Thus, the Pyrates Association is rightful and justified in its adoption of the 4-7 Creed as its central and guiding philosophy.
The “3-4-7 Creed” is the purposeful transformation of the very benign 4-7 Creed into a very specious admixture of manipulation [cf George Orwell’s Animal Farm]. The “3”; “Odas is Odas” is a brazen excuse for oppression, “No Friend No Foe” a brazen excuse to victimise targets and “fall guys” and “Absolutely No Lagging” a shameless justification for exacting slavery on free men. NAS can keep the “3” for its “intended” uses and conveniences; no benign organisation will adopt such doublespeak.
Therefore, the Pyrates Association by consensus will adhere most sincerely to the provisions of 4-7 Creed, from brook to ocean, in the spirit of true and transparent democratic practice, unlike the wanton autocratic methods that nurtured it initially.
Be Good, not Lucky
 The 4-7 Creed
Four Compass Points:
Against [moribund] Convention / Against Tribalism/ For Chivalry and Comradeship / For Humanistic Ideals
Seven Rudder Blades:
Deck before Ego / All before Self / Sense before Slogan / Truth before Cant/ Learn before Leap / Change over Stasis / Act over Yap
Hope for good governance and good leadership in Nigeria seems to be increasingly distant confidence. If leadership does not take the citizenry forward along the lines of development, growth and flourishing it can either stagnate the state or lead it backwards both in time and in comparison to other societies. Moving backwards in this sense and the manner it becomes manifest indeed is “de-civilisation”. Nigeria is becoming a largely de-civilised nation; sliding backwards in both modern and traditional senses because decay is profitable to the leaders. Continue reading
One of the most challenging experiences a Nigerian [or other African nationals] in Diaspora will ever face is encountered within the paradox of deciding either remaining in a foreign land permanently or going back home for good. Continue reading
It is highly regrettable that the controversial Christian clergyman, Johnson Suleiman, of the Omega Fire Ministries International used a sermon at his church at a Sunday service to practically incite violence against Fulani Herdsmen. It was a tit-for-tat statement, not the stuff of Christian preacher. He knew what he was doing, but his remarks might fail the “Brandenburg Test” making them speech offences. In a nation were at least half of the 170 million citizens are very angry but also very helpless about the Fulani Herdsmen problem, the question is how much blame can we ascribe to Suleiman for his unfortunate sermon? Continue reading
Many Nigerians hopefully think that one day, the nation will attract enough foreign direct investment (FDI) to enable the develop development of electricity in the country. The hope is FDI will thoroughly refurbish, upgrade or expand the generation, transmission and distribution capacities of the [now] privatised Nigerian Electric Power Sector (NEPS) to provide customers with “constant electricity” supplies. Please think again! Foreign investors are not coming into Nigeria with $20 billion (at least) to revamp electricity in the country. Nigeria is in no shape to attract foreign investment, and it is unlikely it would have if things were going well. Does Grand Minister, Babs Fashola, disagree? The attraction of FDI is solely based on the assurance that if invested, it will yield ‘good secure’ profits for the investors. What other incentives are there for foreign investors to invest in Nigeria?
If you were to personally ask President Muhammadu Buhari what the most successful thing a person could achieve in Nigeria was and he is candid with you, he will tell you to seize power (through coup d’ états or general elections) or amass riches (through grand corruption). Power and wealth for their sake will always breed corruption, and that is mainly why the president himself is not exempt. We all know that, but some emphatically deny it. The Panama Papers scandal involving tax evasion and money laundering cases in off-shore havens shook many international heavyweights in the civilised world but not Nigeria. Buhari’s administration has rendered big thieving Nigerian politicians and quasi-businessmen completely “Panama-proof”.
When I read the article titled ‘The Welcome Party for Ibori’ by Simon Kolawole, it was thought-provoking journalism considering the context of Delta State’s ex-Governor, James Ibori’s much-celebrated release from Belmarsh Prison, London, England. Many Nigerians mostly see Ibori’s celebrated release by mostly people from his home state of Delta as a national disgrace and most rightly so. However, when you consider Nigeria’s history of convictions for corruption, many who complain about Ibori’s smug prison release may simply be tribalists who would do the same if “their man” was convicted and eventually released. The real crushing national disgrace for Nigeria is that it still cannot convict her Big Thieves in her courts and rely on foreign governments to convict “selected” offenders. Yet, Nigeria celebrates Independence. Continue reading