“Empowerment” has a strange meaning in the Nigerian context; “the sharing of money by politicians to clients, supporters, the undecided and antagonists”. Empowerment is thus the use of state money to buy political support within the polity by many means such as rent offerings, sinecures, “pacifiers” and prebendalism. Empowerment can wear a ‘something-for-nothing’ shirt since it is often unearned or undeserved. From keen observation and credible sources, the “empowerment game” is one that President Muhammadu Buhari, despite the genuine criticisms levelled against him, has apparently refused to play both as military and democratic president. It is a powerful sign of moral uprightness. Yet, does refusing to play the empowerment game as old as independence not have costs? Can someone rule Nigeria in peace and harmony without empowerment? Continue reading
The Niger Delta has been exclusively the undisputed source of Nigeria’s vast but plundered national wealth for five decades. When President Muhammadu Buhari came to power in 2015, his first “tough actions” were exacted on the Niger Delta with the bombings of illegal refineries and bunkering assets. It was an utterly senseless strategy that created only more pollution and all promises by the President to “clean up” the Niger Delta have proven to be empty. Now that the price of oil has fallen dramatically and Nigeria is catching economic perplexity, it is as if the Niger Delta and its incidence of ecocide have vanished from the government’s list of priorities and even the collective consciousness of Nigeria, yes, the “One Nigeria“.
Slavery, groundnuts, palm oil, cocoa, rubber, timber, tin, columbite, uranium, Gum Arabic etc. all combined as exports could not earn Nigeria the kind of wealth petroleum and gas has earned in a very short time. When Nigeria was an agro-state, most of the agricultural cash crops Nigeria exported were also from the Niger Delta, particularly palm oil – the product that led to the creation of Nigeria (first as a protectorate) by Great Britain. In return, the Niger Delta (its lands and peoples) has become an ecocidal and genocidal hotspot where death, disease, pollution, poverty and state violence flourish at the expense of people.
The GON is getting very tough at the “tail end” of the oil sector by punishing retailers of petroleum fuel for “hoarding” like they have “weak oil bunkerers”. Meanwhile, the executive cabinet of GON is staffed by hoarders of billions of dollars’ (in cash and assets) of “oil wealth”. This is the latest showing of “no-nonsense anticorruption” at its most trifling in Nigeria. Yes, the landlord chasing rats in the living room while his house is fully on fire? This ‘catching the serpent by the tail’ solution is a dangerous staple approach adopted by the current GON. Continue reading