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
Young, obscure student leaders initially led the best chance of a revolution Nigeria had at the University of Benin campus in May 1989. These young leaders staged a protest that became famously known as the “Anti-SAP Riots”. This protest-turned-riot, spilt into Benin-City and rapidly to other cities in Nigeria including Lagos, Port Harcourt and Ibadan. The masses were firmly behind the student protesters. The people bought the persuasive message of the obscene leadership corruption and thoroughgoing military repression. However, it was the rejection of neoliberalism that was mercilessly impoverishing the majority of Nigerians that spurred the citizenry. The people and the student protest were one people with a united aim. The guns of the repressive military regime no longer frightened the masses; they had nothing left to lose.
“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
President Muhammadu Buhari won many die-hard supporters purely because he refused to play the game of “begging bowl politics” at a time when Africa’s innumerable dictators were queuing up to take IMF / World Bank loans as global neoliberalism aggressively dictated. If Buhari had accepted the aggressively marketed neoliberal-induced loans, General Ibrahim Babangida might have never become president and Nigeria’s recent history different. Conversely, if Buhari had remained in office enduringly then with the “no loan” stance, Nigeria might be up there today with Botswana, a nation that rejected IMF / World Bank loans. However, Buhari, now a democratically elected president is actively courting loans from economic powers, the most recent being China. What happened? Egnahc? 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