Corruption is essentially a phenomenon that is highly secretive mostly because its perpetrators seek to avoid the consequences of detection, prosecution and conviction. In Nigeria, and for a long time corruption in high places has been both visible and morally-neutral because of the generous guarantee of impunity public officials readily enjoy. However, the impunity guaranteed by government inertia appears to be insufficient for thieving public officials. Nowadays, lawmakers actually enact bills to destroy those who have the temerity to detect, expose or prosecute their very own cases of corruption and enact bills to immunise themselves against detection and prosecution. Is there not supposed to be a “War Against Corruption” (WAC) going on in Nigeria? Continue reading
Between 1999 and 2007 there was an acute frenzy of political aspirations occurring among Nigerians in the diaspora; it was quite an evident wave. The frenzy was about Nigerians seeking to return home to go successfully into politics and hold office or get lucrative contracts from the government. Pre-1999, many if not the majority of Nigerian males in the diaspora were quite content to live indefinitely overseas but after the 1999 return to democracy, it was rare to find a Nigerian male who was ‘away’ that did not want to return to Nigeria to make it big. That was the birth of the “X say make I come home” era.
For ‘X say make I come home’ the X was either, Obasanjo, Ibori, Igbinedion, Tinubu, Duke, Akande, Odili, Omene, Makoju, Clarke or any other leading politician or technocrat in power. ‘X say make I come home’ had a stilted drama to it. It was said in a smug, self-congratulatory, ostensibly humble, ‘I have arrived’ manner. ‘X say make I come home’ was perhaps the most prestigious thing a Nigerian in the diaspora could utter to his fellow compatriot expatriates at the turn of the Millennium. Nigerians were returning home in large numbers to make it big or have a comfortable life.
Many that went home to ‘the call’ experienced a mixed bag of fortunes and outcomes which could be classified into four distinct groups. The “Winners” went home and landed great jobs or won major elections or got juicy contracts without much ado or with a bit of a struggle. Some eventually became ministers, governors, state commissioners, directors in government agencies, local government chairmen, assemblymen, representatives, and senators. Others became personal assistants, special assistants and unofficial proxies to the winners, sharing in their often fabulous good fortune. Then there were the glorious contactors.
The “Runners” were the hustlers who had to work very hard to get any income or privileges to could secure. It was usually tough for runners but they eventually got lucrative contracts from their contacts in government. The fortune of the most successful runners was “win big, lose big”; their actions always had high stakes. More often than not, non-payment or severely delayed payments for contracts executed and completed was their Achilles heel. Many were crushed due to payment uncertainties.
The “Testers” were the ones that went to Nigeria with resources that would last them for up to eighteen months while they were prospecting for position and contracts in Nigeria. It appears that for this group of prospectors were quite pragmatic since many returned to their bases in diaspora when their resources ran out and the success of the ambitions remained unfulfilled. However, the testers were also a major feeder group for the winners and runners who eventually made it (big).
The “Shock Absorbers” are so-called because they appeared immune to the consequences and awareness of failure to the point of being rescued back to diaspora by third parties. A few shock absorbers did make it to the rank of winner and runner. The tales of the experiences of shock absorbers were often tragic and sometimes fatal. We leave it at that.
While the winners constituted (max.) 5% and the runners (max.) 15% of those who had said ‘X say make I come home’ the other 80% was a mix of unsuccessful Testers and Shock Absorbers. Most of the all the winners and most of the runners have remained in Nigeria while nearly all the unsuccessful testers and shock absorbers are back in the diaspora. In a nutshell, at best only 1 in every 5 made it well enough to go to Nigeria and sustain themselves enduringly there but only 1in every 20 fulfilled their dreams of “making it big in Nigeria.
These days we no longer hear guys in diaspora uttering the line ‘X say make I come home’. Most who got the call were disappointed by the patrons who “invited” them home. Some of such patrons strung their invitees along till they ran out of resources to fend for themselves then dropped them. Some invitees lacked the skills and acumen to make it in Nigeria even though they had sufficient opportunities to succeed presented to them. Others fell out with or lost the favour of their patrons. Quite a number had impatient wives back in the diaspora who were impatient with the delays in their husbands earning a repatriate-able income and pressured them to return. There were other factors too.
While the winners and some runners are smiling to bank many in the diaspora now realise that the days returning home was bound to bring a man success and financial independence just because he was from the diaspora or had very high ambitions are no longer here, they are gone… for most. You can still find people going home to make it big but in small numbers.
These days many Nigerians in the diaspora are content to earn their pension there or do so grudgingly without any recourse to go back home.
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
While Nigeria was being firmly gripped by the ostensible “showbiz” of anti-corruption promoted by the new Nigerian government before and after the 2015 elections, many crimes were largely kept out of the mainstream media mostly because they were not expedient. Only anti-corruption mattered. A popular political youth leader, Dr Ugonna Omereonye, was brutally murdered in Imo State where his main enemy was the Governor of the state, Rochas Okorocha. This is not an attempt to implicate the governor in the murder but examine a very disturbing reality. Ugonna’s death needs proper revisiting. Continue reading
Nigeria has had many deadlines foist upon its public through its chiefs governmental agencies as a show of commitment or as a precursor to a privatisation. Deadlines have been set by successive presidents as a test point for the management and performance, mostly in the electric power and the oil and gas sectors. However, there is a now a radically new deadline set by the president; the terrorist group that has continuously humiliated the Nigerian state for years, Boko Haram, will be completely annihilated by the Nigerian armed forces in December 2015. This is an order issued to the Nigerian military chiefs by President Muhammadu Buhari. Again? 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
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 “Saraki crisis” is making Nigerians and some foreign spectators of the three arms of government to rethink their understanding of the design and processes of democracy in the real-world, particularly the legislature. Surely, democracy is not a dirty word in Nigeria… yet. Continue reading
It is amazing to hear that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s refineries are to be sold due to inefficiency and under-performance problems if a self-set 30-day government ultimatum is not met. This is the same NNPC that is supposed to be the only concrete evidence that President Muhammadu Buhari is doing a good job. Ibe Kachikwu, NNPC’s new General managing Director, is even portrayed as some Nigerian equivalent of Jack Welch, a great American super-CEO. Yet, privatisation is the most possible solution to the refineries failing performance, especially when it comes to fuel provisions. The logic of governance is failing Nigeria’s management disastrously and common sense is appearing to be increasingly uncommon the higher one goes. Continue reading
Nigeria appears to be definitively on track for major national and state anti-corruption initiatives; where the track will lead to nobody knows. The time and climate for disinterested and rigorous anti-corruption activity in all areas of the country appears to be very ripe. Furthermore, it is certain that most Nigerians especially those outside of the top 1% are enthusiastic about the anti-corruption climate designed and (to be) enforced by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. However, there is a serious “blind side” to it all. Continue reading
President Muhammadu Buhari has a political “house” he heads and it is the recently emerged All Progressives Congress (APC). New houses either collapse or withstand whatever the elements throw at them. What usually comes to mind when the strength or weakness of a house is mentioned is the nature of its foundation. How strong is the Buhari’s House in the current uncertain climate of Nigerian politics? Continue reading
Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, has not yet made any particular major political appointments most notably those of ministerial office. This strategy of not rushing to make political appointment has put Muhammadu Buhari firmly in the driver’s seat of governing the nation and left the visible and invisible political patrons (kingmaker and godfathers) thoroughly perplexed. Is there any wisdom behind Buhari’s strategy? Continue reading
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
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
In the above photo we can see kneeling before the First Lady of Akwa Ibom State, Mrs Ekaette Akpabio, the usually imposing State Commissioner for Works, Don Etim in her husband’s executive cabinet, while conversing at a public event. While many Nigerians predictably may see this image as innocuous and just “one of those things” it is all by itself an embarrassing if not egregious image of Nigerian democratic politics. 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
Chinua Achebe was ostracised by the Western academy for his truthful but hard to swallow comments on two European intellectual sacred cows, Joseph Conrad and Albert Schweitzer in which he branded them as racists using the pretext of artistic expression. It is reputedly proposed by many around the world that his comments cost him the Nobel Prize. Continue reading
In Nigeria there exists a non-market non-governmental extortionist technostructure that is nameless but for the purpose of convenience we shall call it the ONT (i.e. the Owners of Nigeria Technostructure). Continue reading
The 2015 elections in Nigeria are about Muhammadu Buhari of APC and Goodluck Jonathan of PDP. Those who are not voting will be voting for ‘no one’. Voting for ‘no one’ is legitimate in a democracy. Beyond the relevance games, rumours, slander, seditions, insults, accusations, libel, smears, cross-carpeting, campaigns, anti-campaigns and all what not, on Election Day people will vote. I suspect the choice of candidate to be voted for will be based mostly on ethnicity, [political] ricism, religion and beer parlour logic or mai chai corner consensus. It would have been better if the elections were based on a rational basis. Continue reading
Bishop Matthew Kukah has a lot to say about Nigeria and often has very interesting things to say. In an interview he makes an attempt to classify Nigeria as a “semi-primitive” country but his discourse easily falls into “politics”. Bishop Kukah with his praise of Nigeria’s leadership and democracy even unwittingly extols semi-primitivity highly! Bishop Kukah is more appreciative of the expectations of the village peasant for Nigeria’s democracy than the expectations of the educated / travelled for Nigeria. I am surprised Kukah’ politics is tolerant of the logic of “a tarred road = good government”. Continue reading
In the course of researching corruption and misgovernance in Nigeria it is not too hard to observe public servants and politicians of very high status and education plead that they are “still learning” when their heinous and embarrassing incompetence and failures are discovered or exposed. 16 years of democracy has not been sufficient to discard or start to discard this attitude towards public service because there has to be a ready-made excuse for their blunders and malfeasance since there is never a credible one for corruption. The postponement of the 2015 general elections is no different. Continue reading
We cannot reduce malfeasance to party politics or party propaganda alone in Nigeria or any nation on the planet, anonymous and faceless special interests play a bigger role. Military rulers as well as democratic politicians have all contributed abundantly to this disaster called Africa. Democracy is supposed to create far better results. Continue reading