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Poverty And Existential Problems Of Nigeria

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Issues For APC 2023 Presidential Campaign

By

Salihu Moh. Lukman

This is dedicated to the three hundred and seventeen students of Government Girls Science Secondary School, Jangebe, Zamfara State abducted by Armed Bandits on Friday, February 23, 2021. And also, to the 27 schoolboys and 15 others of Government Science College Kagara, Niger State abducted on February 17, 2021. May God Almighty protect and return them safely to their families. Amin!

 

It was the late economist, John Kenneth Galbraith, in the book, The Nature of Mass Poverty who warned that ‘Poverty is man’s (and woman’s) most powerful and massive affliction. It is the progenitor of much further pain – from hunger and disease on to civil conflict and war itself.’ In our case in Nigeria, beyond our self-inflicted ethnic and religious conflicts, poverty is also at the root of all the kidnappings, abductions and banditry.

 

The problem of high incidence of poverty in Nigeria has been our reality for decades, which no Nigerian can deny. Year after year, both governmental and non-governmental, including multilateral institutions continue to remind us of the ugly reality of our high incidence of poverty. Just recently, the World Bank released its annual report on Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2020: Reversal of Fortune. The report indicated that 2,969,158 Nigerians are living in extreme poverty and a total of 94,470,535 million are below the poverty line of $1.90 or about N700 per day. It also highlighted sadly that Nigeria has the largest population of poor people, accounting for 20 per cent of people living in poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, with a further projection that the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the economy will increase the number of people living below the poverty line to more than 100 million by 2022.B

Beyond this alarmingly damning statistics, the report drew attention to the stagnant reality of the problem of extreme poverty in the last three decades across the world. In the particular case of Nigeria, the North and North East are reported to have poverty rates higher than the national average. This is certainly not a new revelation at all. As Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof. Charles Soludo, as far back as January 2007, drew attention to the worrisome conclusion that ‘Very high level of poverty is essentially a Northern Phenomenon.’ In a presentation to Stakeholders on the Economy, Prof. Soludo highlighted that three northern regions had an average poverty incidence of 70.1% as compared to 34.9% for the three southern regions. Of course, more than anything, what justified Prof. Soludo’s assertion that ‘Very high level of poverty is essentially a Northern Phenomenon’ had to do with the fact that the 10 states with the highest incidence of poverty were all northern states. This contrasted with the information that the 10 states with the lowest incidence of poverty were all southern states.

The 2010 National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report of Harmonised National Living Standard Survey (HNLSS) released on February 13, 2012, indicated that poverty in Nigeria increased from 54.4% in 2004 to 69% or 112,518,507 in 2010. And ahead of her August 29, 2018 visit to Nigeria, former British Prime Minister, Theresa May, declared that 87 million Nigerians live on less than $1.90 a day, which according to her makes Nigeria ‘home to more very poor people than any other nation in the world.’

Interestingly, most times when problems of high incidences of poverty are raised, many Nigerians, including our political leaders easily switched to either denial modes or using politics to distract attention. This was the case in 2012 when the NBS report was released. The government rejected the NBS 2012 report on the ground that $1.00 per day measure used by NBS overstated the nation’s poverty profile. In its place, the government argued for the use of purchasing power parity measure of $1.15 per day, based on which the headcount measure was said to be lower than the 69% or 112,518,507. It was in recognition of the need not to play politics with poverty that as a party, APC acknowledges that poverty incidence in Nigeria is more than 100 million. The manifesto of the party explicitly underlines this reality based on which the APC government of President Muhammadu Buhari committed itself to lifting more than 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.

Therefore, without questioning the legitimacy of World Bank underestimated figure of 94 million Nigerians living below poverty, both the APC and the government of President Muhammadu Buhari acknowledges that more than 100 million Nigerians are poor. The critical issue is to what extent are we committed, both as a party and as a government, to implement initiatives aimed at reducing poverty in the country? Somehow, given our increasing challenges as a nation, the impact of government welfare programmes appears to be hardly satisfactory, which accounts for the stagnant reality of the problem of extreme poverty as reported by the World Bank. Often, we over-politicise challenges and, in the process, weaken our capacities both as citizens and as governments to mobilise effective national responses to the resolutions of serious problem of poverty in the country.

With the knowledge that our people are poor, why is it difficult to associate our current high levels of crimes, producing all manner of conflicts with high incidence of poverty in the country? Could it have been a coincidence that less than three years after Prof. Soludu raised the alarm that ‘Very high level of poverty is essentially a Northern Phenomenon’, Boko Haram insurgency took over the North East? Part of what Prof. Soludo highlighted in his 2007 presentation was that the North (excluding FCT) ‘have less bank deposit than South-South zone’ alone. Secondly, the North (again excluding FCT) accounts for approximately only 10.75% of deposits and 8.5% of bank loans. While this may not present an objective measure of the level of economic activity, to some degree, it is indicative of the volume of formalised activities.

READ ALSO: Cries for Justice: Sasha and the Burden of Political Leadership

Between 2007 and 2010, what have we done both as citizens and as governments at federal and state levels to bring down the levels of poverty in the country, based on which income levels of citizens are raised? This is not about politics, and we need to rise above easy resort to propaganda to explain or divert attention from the naked problem of high levels of poverty. While it could be convenient to put all the blame on federal authorities and to that extent play politics with reference to condemning the party in power at the centre, we need to all take responsibility where it matters most. For instance, if high level of poverty is the ‘progenitor’ of Boko Haram in the North East, what did the Borno State government for instance do to reduce poverty especially between 2007 and 2010 when the insurgency began. Note that Borno State has been, until 2015, under opposition All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), one of the legacy parties that merged to form the APC. The issue is beyond complaining about the inability of federal authorities to initiate the right response. After all, initiatives to reduce poverty fall in sectors covered under the concurrent legislative list in the Nigerian constitution.

Being members of APC with all the commitment to contribute to the success of the party, we need to tell ourselves the hard truth, which is that an important determinant of return to peaceful coexistence and moving Nigeria forward under the leadership of our party is dependent on the capacity of our governments to lift Nigerians out of poverty. Therefore, we need to engage the disturbing issue of high levels of poverty in Nigeria beyond the narrow prism of politics. Outside the simplistic strategy of promoting our political choices, it is equally important that we wake up to the reality that high levels of poverty have produced really unimaginable existential threats both for citizens and for the nation. Daily, lives are being lost, individual liberties and freedoms are under permanent threats, properties and livelihoods are being destroyed. Every Nigerian today lives with the fear of one form of threat or another. The North East has been ravaged by Boko Haram for more than 10 years. The problems of banditry and kidnappings are gradually taking over the North West and North Central.

Since 2010, peaceful life has eluded us in the country, more so in the North. Problems of suicide bombings, kidnappings and banditry are now very common. High casualty rates, including loss of human lives no longer shock Nigerians. In February 2014, 59 innocent school children of Federal Government College Buni Yadi, Yobe State were killed by Boko Haram insurgents. This was closely followed by the abduction of 276 secondary schoolgirls of Government Girls Secondary School Chibok, Borno State in April 2014. In February 2018, 110 pupils of Government Girls’ Science and Technical College Dapchi, Yobe State were similarly abducted. Cases of abduction of school children have become frequent. In December 2020, close to 500 schoolboys of Government Science Secondary School Kankara, Katsina State were abducted. In February 2021, it became the turn of 18 passengers of Niger State Transport Authority (NSTA). Few days after, 27 schoolboys and 15 others were abducted from Government Science College, Kagara, Niger State. The most recent is the abduction of 317 girls of Government Science Secondary School of Jangebe, Zamfara State on February 26, 2021.

We may delude ourselves into all the debate based on the reckless consideration of amnesty and divisive ethnic and religious propaganda. The reality is that criminal activity of banditry, kidnappings and abduction of innocent school children are emerging to be very lucrative economic activities in the country. It is now a sophisticated business network with frontend that may involve people and institutions that are least suspected. For instance, how is it possible that tens and hundreds of people would be abducted without any trace? Wouldn’t they pass through towns, villages and communities? Along the routes they passed, wouldn’t there be police and security posts/stations, traditional and religious leaders that could confirm suspicious movements?

And with all this sad reality of our existential threats in the country, which is destroying our educational sector, we are debating whether we should have state police or not. Anybody debating whether or not to have state police is simply part of the problem. How many private securities are guarding our homes? With all that is happening to our schools, isn’t it a case that requires the establishment of armed police stations in each school to guarantee the safety of our children? Can this be provided by the Nigeria Police as it is constituted today? Isn’t this a challenge requiring emergency response? How can the lives of school children be so threatened, and we are busy debating politics? Our leaders in APC must wake up and stop all the hesitation around consideration of the APC True Federalism Report. Why was the committee set up in the first place if our leaders knew that they are not committed to resolving problems that question what we have today? Isn’t it common knowledge that no problem can be solved by replicating exactly what may have created the problem?

While it may be tempting on account of our divisive politics to imagine that we can resolve our problems based on strategies that merely reproduce old initiatives in different forms, we need to strongly appeal to our leaders, especially President Buhari to recognise the fact that our national situation is no longer acceptable. All the indices suggest the high possibility that most Nigerian children are potentially either criminals or abductees. Nigeria is fast losing its capacity to produce skillful, innovative, resourceful, entrepreneurial and industrious citizens. Given the efficiency with which abductions of school children are successfully being executed, it would appear that the population of criminals working as bandits, kidnappers and abductors is more than the number of police and security personnel in the country. With the alleged collaboration of security personnel, traditional and religious leaders in the business of kidnapping, banditry and abduction in the country, the only safe person is probably a kidnapper, bandit, abductor or their collaborators. This being the case, how can any military and security strategy alone successfully end the problem of banditry, kidnapping, abduction and insurgency? Military and security strategy would remain a mirage and resource drainpipe so long it is not combined with effectively implemented ambitious strategy to lift Nigerians out of poverty.

As Nigerians and especially those of us who are members of APC, we must work hard to push our leaders to combine military and security strategy with a successful implementation of ambitious national initiative to lift Nigerians out of poverty. Our loyalty to our leaders must, as necessity, include getting our leaders to succeed in lifting Nigerians out of poverty. That is perhaps the only insurance cover that can support us to begin to move towards peaceful coexistence in the country. So long as we have Nigerians living in conditions of extreme poverty, crime rates, including banditry, kidnapping and abduction of innocent school children will remain high. Reducing this challenge to issues of enforcement of law and order alone will be insufficient. The factory that produces bandits, kidnappers, abductors and insurgents is the very condition that holds more than 100 million Nigerians below the poverty line.

READ ALSO; The Disciples Of Success

The good thing is that our party and our leaders are not in denial about this reality. Since May 2019, President Buhari has declared the commitment of our APC government to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty. And just on Tuesday, February 23, 2021, President Buhari requested the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) led by Prof. Doyin Salami to present a plan for poverty reduction strategy in the country. From the reports after the meeting between President Buhari and PEAC members, the defining principles of the proposed strategy recognise that ‘Poverty is not only the lack of cash. It is defined by lack of access to shelter, health, education and jobs which must all be addressed.’ Part of the shocking information in the plan, which jolted the president was that only two per cent of Nigeria’s vast agricultural land resources are being utilised. Although Prof. Salami was reported to have informed President Buhari that the plan has so far gained overwhelming approval of stakeholders across the country, it is important to draw attention to the question of commitments of Nigerians, especially our political leaders, irrespective of partisan affiliation, in implementing initiatives for poverty reduction in the country.

Without making any specific demand, while recognising that the PEAC has broadly defined poverty beyond financial capability, covering access to shelter, health, education and jobs, our governments and our leaders, especially President Buhari should translate the ambitious commitment to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty to a very high capacity to mobilise large-scale investments in achieving set national targets. It is highly recommended that our ambitious plans to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty should come with both sectoral annual targets as well as negotiated commitment by state governments and other non-governmental and private sector players to take responsibilities. For instance, with the clear focus on shelter, health, education and jobs, can responsibilities under the plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty include the construction of houses, hospitals, schools and the number of jobs to be created at all levels? Can these targets also include deliberate initiatives to increase medical personnel, teachers, provision of modern healthcare equipment, books and teaching materials? What will be the responsibilities of state governments and other non-governmental actors? How will funding be mobilised at all levels?

Conscious that only two percent of Nigeria’s vast agricultural land resources are being utilised, what will be our annual targets? This is where given that statutorily our state governments are the custodians of lands based on the provision of the Land Use Act, states must be mobilised to play leading roles in implementing initiatives to achieve national targets. Certainly, the capacity to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty cannot be achieved with the same level of resource application in all these sectors. To what extent are we taking steps as a nation to mobilise the resources required to achieve lifting of 100 million Nigerians out of poverty?

READ ALSO: DSS Denies Attempting To Arrest Igboho

Recognising further that since 2015, the government of President Buhari has been implementing National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), which is far more than what any government in the past has done, it is important that the impact of all initiatives in the lives of citizens is guaranteed. Now elevated to a ministerial status, there is the need to ensure that credible methods of targeting the poor and vulnerable for the reduction of poverty, effective monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, among others under the NSIP initiatives are being employed. Predicated on the need for more sustained and inclusive economic growth, reduced poverty rates and closing the wide income inequality gap between the rich and the poor, a lot of welfare investments are being implemented in the country under the NSIP initiative.

Founded on the four pillars of N-Power, Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), Home Grown School Feeding and Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), millions of poor Nigerians are benefiting from these initiatives. For instance, GEEP has disbursed N36.9 billion in interest-free loans of between N50,000 to N350,000 to more than 2.3 million Nigerians. Under the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, 9.9 million primary 1 – 3 pupils in 54,952 public primary schools in 35 states have benefited. Additional 107,000 cooks have been engaged. In the case of Conditional Cash Transfer more than 3 million poor and vulnerable households have been registered on the National Social Register, out of which more than one million families are currently being paid N5,000 monthly.

All these should be consolidated with sectoral targets and commitment to implement initiatives by our states and non-governmental actors in order that they contribute to lifting Nigerians out of poverty. It is to the credit of the Buhari administration that investment in agriculture especially around initiatives to provide support to farmers is a major priority. Early in the life of the administration, the Anchor Borrower Programme funded by the CBN was launched with N200 billion on November 17, 2015. More than 1.5 million small farmers producing 16 different commodities and cultivating over 1.4 million hectares of farmland have been funded. What this demonstrates is that if after all these public investments by the Federal Government, only two percent of our vast agricultural land is being utilised, it simply means that levels of investment in the agricultural sector should be increased by more than tenfold if we are to target the utilisation of anything around 10 – 15 percent. To achieve such a target would require strong partnership of the federal, states and private players. Again, it will be deceptive to imagine that any target can be achieved if the issue of security is not resolved. With the high rates of kidnappings taking place in farms, there has to be a special framework initiate to provide security in our farms. Could such a framework be possibly covered under the current Nigeria Police Force?

More than any government in our recent history, attention to infrastructural development is a major priority. Railways have returned as a mode of transportation in the country. Abuja Metro Rail, Abuja – Kaduna Rail and Itakpe – Ajaokuta – Warri Rail started by previous administrations have been completed. Lagos – Ibadan Rail started by the current APC administration in 2017 has also been completed. Even in terms of the politics of it, once poverty rates remain high, it will require some levels of subsidy for citizens to access the rail services. In addition to the return of railways, there are so many road projects across country.

Part of the challenge which limits the impact of initiatives of government in terms of reduced levels of poverty in Nigeria has to do with the bias which makes governments to focus more on aggregate performance of the economy that emphasises issues of economic growth rates. The major attention then is market reform policies with the assumption of an inbuilt mechanism to guarantee access to income earning opportunities by citizens, which in turns translate to improved standard of living. But like the Human Development Report 2020 of the United Nations Development Programme argued, ‘Economic growth is important, especially for developing countries; raising income levels is crucial for those living in poverty, in every country. But as the 2019 Human Development Report emphasised, the increasingly important questions for many countries are not about the overall size of the pie but the relative size of its slices.’

Therefore, beyond the excellent initiative of government to ensure that the Nigerian economy is on the path of sustained growth, which is largely responsible for the quick exit of the country out of recession, it is important that there should be a deliberate policy to increase both the levels of economic activities in the country as well as a share of income citizens earn through participation . This can’t be achieved based on a rigid mindset, which makes our leaders to only seek to protect old standards. As a nation, we need to wake up and stop fantasising. Our lives and especially the lives of our children are what are at stake here. Today’s anger and frustration should provide the resilient energy to nurture and create our envisioned Nigeria – the country of our dream with abundant opportunities and leadership that walk the vision of our generation and that of future generations. Both as a nation and as citizens, we are faced with existential crisis, which can only be addressed if we are able to move our citizens out of poverty!

Dr Lukman is the Director-General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum . But this position does not represent the view of any APC governor or the Progressive Governors Forum.

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Opinion

Exposed: The Real Peter Obi

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Exposed: The Real Peter Obi

By Promise Adiele
Today, I am possessed by the spirit of exposure. Without let or hindrance, resistance or disputation, I surrender to the service of my fatherland to expose, perhaps in the process, educate the foolish and enrich the wise, nothing more. While exposing, I didn’t consult the Ifa oracle or Delphic oracle, both Yoruba and Greek prognostic divination essences famed for revelation. Exposure, that act of revealing the unknown, invades my conscious mind while the revered apostle of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud watches with keen interest. I admit to being a helpless captive of the spirit of exposure. It goes beyond the paralyzing mental hypnosis suffered by victims of religious ecstasy. I am fully aware and awake, with no hallucination, reverie, or phantasmal anecdote. I have no choice in the matter, therefore I must expose, reveal, uncover, and inform. St. John suffered the same fate as I do today which inspired him to write the Biblical book of Revelation. Exposure is different from prophecy, the alter ego of prediction. While exposure reveals what exists but is not known, prophecy reveals what does not exist, therefore not known. Today, I am not predicting anything. I want to expose many things about the presidential flag bearer of the Labour Party Mr Peter Obi. Every presidential aspirant must be exposed, nothing hidden. No guesswork. No half-truths.

My determination to expose the real, undiluted, factual, identity of Mr Peter Obi inheres from the tumultuous effect his persona is currently having on the Nigerian political horizon. Interestingly, the emergence of one man in our country’s political maturation is causing a tsunami across the length and breadth of the land. In my commitment to unravel Peter Obi, I have engaged the remote and immediate peculiarities of his identity, his historical existentialities, and the sublunary ethos that foreground his groundswell among Nigerians at home and abroad. Also, my objective is to steer the wheel of our contemporary political discourse away from obtuse, unreasonable circles to centres of rational, objective thinking. Granted that we can make mistakes sometimes, but we shouldn’t hug idiocy forever. Nigeria is on the cusp of collapse due largely to the mistakes of 2015 when we collectively plunged into a semblance of Hades for failure to expose what needed to be exposed. But 2023 offers a good opportunity to correct the mistakes of the past. Peter Obi’s exposure? Here we go.

READ ALSO: How I’ll Treat Agitators, Secessionists As President – Peter Obi

First Exposure: His full name is Peter Gregory Obi and his nickname is ‘Okwute’. He has a clear, real, and honest identity. There should be no contention or controversy about the identity of the potential of the next president of Nigeria. ‘Okwute’ in Igbo language means rock. The muse reminds me of the connection between the Biblical Peter and rock. Recall that the Master told the Biblical Peter, “upon this rock will I build my house and the gates of hellfire will not prevail against it”. Today, we have a potential president of Nigeria whose real and nickname are subsumed in that divine declaration by the Master. Peter ‘Okwute’ Gregory Obi’s identity draws on celestial and terrestrial possibilities which explain the wildfire his emergence on the political scene is provoking. Surely, the gates of religion, ethnicity and other nebulous metaphors that represent hellfire will not prevail against his name. Remember, his name is Peter Gregory Obi. No questions. No stolen identity. No one adopted him as a child. No family is denying his parentage. It is only a deluded generation that will vote for anyone whose identity is shrouded in secrecy. Identity denominates human existence therefore a fake identity presupposes a fraudulent personality. Peter ‘Okwute’ Gregory Obi is his name. He does not have any other name. Go and verify.

Second Exposure: Mr Peter Obi was born in 1961 and he is from Aniocha Local Government Area in Anambra State. No controversy. That is his origin. Did you know that? He has an identifiable genealogy and definite origin. Any political office aspirant with an indeterminate origin is a disgrace to the political process and unbridled insolence to the electorate. Peter Obi’s origin is well known. His origin is not an object of infinite conjecture. He did not migrate to Anambra from any of the neighbouring states or countries. The next president of Nigeria must have a specific origin known to all Nigerians. No guesswork, no permutations, no lies, no mysteries and no sophistry. Anyone, even a foreigner can aspire to any political office in any part of the world, but hiding one’s identity is criminal, therefore morally disqualifies anyone from any political office in the land much less the presidential seat. Peter Obi is from Aniocha Local Government Area in Anambra State. Go and verify.

Exposure Three: Did you know that Peter Gregory Obi is arguably the only former governor in Nigeria that does not collect a kobo as pension from his state Anambra? Go and verify. Some past governors have impoverished their states by appropriating the exchequer and collecting almost 70% of the Internally Generating Revenue. Such states have the potential to be like Dubai or even better but because their former governors, cronies, and family members have the states in their pockets, the states wallow in inadequacy, leveraging the average, not aware of their vibrant potential. Peter Obi’s wife does not control any part of Anambra State. His only daughter does not control any market in Anambra State. His only son does not own properties in Anambra State. Peter Obi does not have thugs all around the State as a murderous arm of violence and civil menace. A man that does not collect a pension from his state as a former governor is not greedy. Nigeria does not need a greedy president who will turn state coffers and structures to private use.

Exposure Four: Are you aware that Peter Gregory Obi is healthy, fit, and agile? Now you know. He can engage in physical exercise and do thirty to fifty push-ups in a few minutes. He can jump on the treadmill in a jiffy and remain there for a long time. Did you know that in 2022, he plays football, table tennis, and lawn tennis? He does not have any known medical history which will impair his official function as the president of Nigeria. Given Nigeria’s experience under the current administration, the country does not need a septuagenarian, sickly, frail, and senile president. According to Suyi Ayodele in his Tuesday FLATOUT column in the Daily Tribune “a town which makes the invalid its king does not prosper because the health of the king determines the prosperity of the town”. No one gives a sick baby to a sick nurse to look after. Nigeria is sick, very sick therefore requires a fit, proper, agile, and healthy president to fully take charge of our collective affairs. Remember, when Muhammadu Buhari took over the reins of power in the country, he lamented that age was affecting his performance and wished he was younger and healthier. He went on to spend considerable time in a London hospital while the country suffered in parturition. This must not recur. A body led by a set of rotten eyes will inevitably head for disaster. Nigeria should never be led by a sick president again. Peter Gregory Obi is healthy and rearing to go. Kindly go and verify.

READ  ALSO: Can Peter Obi Win The Presidential Election In 2023?

Exposure Five: Peter Obi attended Christ The King College Onitsha Anambra State. Afterwards, he was admitted to the University of Nigeria Nsukka in 1980 to study philosophy, the acclaimed parent discipline. He graduated in 1984. Some lost souls are peddling the propaganda that he spent twelve years at UNN studying philosophy. Well, Obi graduated from UNN in 1984 at the age of twenty-three. If he spent twelve years studying philosophy at UNN, that means he was admitted to the university in 1972 at the tender age of eleven. These greasy-brained detractors will stop at nothing to merchandise falsehood of impudent dimension. Anyway, he attended Lagos Business School, Harvard Business School, London School of Economics, Columbia Business School and the International Institute of Management Development. He also attended the Kellogg School of Management of North-Western University, Said Business School of Oxford University and Judge Business School of Cambridge University, go and verify, no controversy.

As Nigerians feverishly trudge towards the 2023 election to save the country from imminent collapse, all the presidential hopefuls must be exposed and critically scrutinized. We must also remember that our present condition is the end-product of an odious conspiracy in 2015 by a few people with vaunting, inordinate, self-serving objectives. It appears that APC’s only objective as a political party is to preside over the liquidation of the Nigerian federation. Do they think we are stupid? We cannot succumb to ennui at the most critical moment of our corporate existence and allow the ruling potentate to further imperil our existence. We must ask the basic questions about all the candidates, their identity must be exposed, health profile, education history, and place of origin. I have exposed the Labour Party candidate. Expose APC and PDP candidates honestly and straight to the point.

Adiele, PhD,
Mountain Top University.
Promee01@yahoo.com

 

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Opinion

The Failed Government Of Muhammadu Buhari

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By Victoria Praise Abraham
We do not have problems in Nigeria. What we have is a failed leadership and a failed government of the APC-led government of President Muhammadu Buhari. His government cannot effectively tackle insecurity, unemployment, food security, incessant strikes by various bodies in the country and many other leadership challenges presently plaguing our nation.

When Buhari of the All Progressives Congress took over in 2015 we all thought our many problems as a nation were finally over. We thought that our great messiah had finally come and that our lives as a people would now finally get better, richer and healthier. The Buhari government had promised change and we were already in a bad place as a nation and as a people. Alas, this was not supposed to be.

Today, we all can testify that it has been a change from bad to worse and from the frying pan into the fires of life.

Life as a Nigerian living in present-day Nigeria has become extremely difficult, frightening and a great ordeal and struggle. Everything that can collapse has collapsed. The health care system, the educational system and even the economy is in the sliding bend. We have never had it worse than this and our prayer to God Almighty is for urgent interventions and deliverance from this clueless government that has helped to mismanage the economy and our naira.

We have been bruised and battered by the lack of leadership or poor leadership by this APC-led government of Muhammadu Buhari for more than 7 years. Our sensibilities have been assaulted as we daily now live in the fear of being kidnapped either on trains, on the roads and even in the air. The situation is dire, pathetic and desperate at all levels of life. The daily kidnappings, killings and abductions have now reached alarming low levels the kind we have never seen before to the point that the president himself is lamenting the situation. How on earth can you as a president lament the troubles in your nation? This is a clear and glaring sign of a failed leader and a failed government because it means that you are fed up and unable to properly cope with the challenges that you are facing as a leader in the 21st century Nigeria.

We are assaulted daily by terrorists, bandits, kidnappers, abductors, armed robbers and pen robber in the same Buhari-led government. If not, how do we explain the humongous thefts of our collective wealth by top people in the Buhari-led government? A case in view is the high-level theft by the accountant general of the federation Ahmed Idris who stole billions of naira from the coffers of the nation.

Unfortunately, we have a president whose greatest pastime is jetting all over the globe in search of pleasure and peace while his own nation burns under the fires of terrorists, bandits, armed robbers and pen robbers. It is an open secret that Muhammadu Buhari is the most-travelled president of Nigeria.

Muhammadu Buhari at the slightest invitation from any country and for any occasion is quick to accept these invitations and of course there are also his many medical trips abroad at the expense of the Nigerian state.

It has never been this bad in our national life. People no longer sleep with their two eyes closed especially in the areas worst hit by terrorists and bandits in Nigeria. The north and the south of Nigeria including some parts of the east and west are being bombarded and we are daily losing precious lives of our Nigerian youths and even the middle aged and elderly. Women and children are not spared by this daily ordeal of insecurity, and instability.

READ ALSO: Okotie Wants To Lead Interim Government After Buhari

A large percentage of Nigerians can no longer eat three square meals because of the prevalence of poverty, food shortages and this is further compounded by poor or no health care systems. The power outages are another pathetic showing in the life of this APC-led Buhari government.

For the average Nigerian, it is hell on earth because they cannot eat well, they cannot sleep well and whenever they fall sick there is no access to good healthcare and so many are dying under the terrible hardship that never gets reported in the papers but this hard reality of the ordinary Nigerians is clear for anyone to see because more and more people have taken to begging for their daily living.

There is no job for the poor man. There is no peace for the poor man. There is no joy of any kind for the poor man. Even the educational sector is not spared in this great failure of leadership by the APC-led government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

A large number of Nigerians live below a dollar a day. This situation is so bad that Nigeria has been dubbed the poverty capital of the world. Most of our youths are jobless, helpless and hopeless. The government has not deemed it fit to create an enabling environment for job sustainability.

There is nothing concrete and planned on the ground to curb youth restiveness, so you find most youth taking to crime because somehow, they have to find a way to live.

The Buhari government of the APC party has failed to provide these teeming millions of youth jobs to secure their future. A president that cannot think outside the box and be creative enough to find solutions to our myriads of problems is not my ideal kind of president.

During the campaign season just before Buhari took charge of the running of Nigeria as president he pledged to tackle insecurity, unemployment, and corruption. In his presidency these problems have worsened at a frightening rate.

Under this Buhari-led presidency Nigerians have become poorer and impoverished in an alarming fashion. The exchange rate of the naira to the dollar has been on a free fall for years now and the central bank governor under the Buhari-led government does not seem to know what to do about the problem.

The economy has been battered and bruised because of the lack of proper structures that can help grow the economy. Nigeria is importing everything and exporting less and less. Even the oil that is produced in Nigeria is again taken out of the country for refining before it is again imported back into Nigeria.

Our economy continues to struggle at the lowest levels. We are rich as a nation but poor as a nation and as a people. This is a great mystery, misnomer and travesty.

We are unable to travel interstate to do business with each other as Nigerians because of incessant abductions. Economic activities continue to dwindle to an all-time low since the Buhari-led government took over from the Jonathan-led government in 2015.

Buhari has borrowed so much from international bodies and China that we will spend many years repaying all that he and his government have borrowed in the last seven years and more.

READ ALSO: Buhari Goes To Saudi Arabia For Investment Conference

We are in desperate times because our innocent citizens are being kidnapped, and killed daily all over the north. There are problems of IPOB in the eastern part of Nigeria and we all remember the killings in the Owo massacre of Sunday the 5th of June 2022.

President Muhammadu Buhari never deemed it proper to visit Owo to commiserate with the indigenes of Owo over this dastardly act of terrorists in South West Nigeria. This lack of empathy and compassion from Buhari is unbelievable and acceptable. It shows that as a leader he lacks compassion and a very strong attribute of a great leader is empathy and compassion.

The Buhari government has not deemed it proper to enact laws that will stop Fulani herdsmen from roaming the lands of Nigeria and wreaking havoc on the innocent land owners of the south. We have a government that prefers cows to the precious lives of its human citizens in Nigeria. Under the present Buhari-led government we have become more divided as a people and as nations. Nigeria is a marriage of many nations and a wise leader will work at uniting these different nations with the Nigeria nation and not work hard at dividing it as the Buhari government has done in the last seven years.

Our present situation as a nation is pathetic, frightening and we are in need of quick divine interventions from God. On a practical level it is time for the impeachment of Muhammadu Buhari because in his time we have had unprecedented records of death of innocent Nigerians, more corruption, higher levels of the unemployed Nigerian youths and general insecurity and traumas.

The problem we have as a nation is not the myriads of problems but rather a failure of leadership or no leadership at all. Our leaders at the highest and at all levels have failed us a nation. We are rudderless, leaderless and clueless as a nation.

Our leaders at the highest helm of governance has failed woefully and it is time for them to all bow out and retire back to their bases.

It is time for the Buhari-led government to be impeached to save our fatherland and our unborn generation from further slide, decay and destructions.

We do not have problems in Nigeria, what we have is a president that prefers to jet around the globe to seek pleasure and peace in faraway Britain, Dubai, France and Spain rather than stay in Nigeria to fix the challenges confronting his leadership.

What we have in Nigeria is a leadership problem because everything starts and ends in leadership.

 READ ALSO: Buhari Goes To Rwanda For Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

All these other countries that Buhari prefers to stay in is as a result of leadership that works, that is effective and promising. We have leaders that lack the know-how, of how to properly solve problems in Nigeria.

In 2023 we need a president who is visionary, intelligent, fearless, selfless, courageous, compassionate, a unifier, sincere, competent, charismatic and a good communicator to help us rebuild our nation Nigeria,

We have fallen as a nation and we need a rescuer and a builder to help us rebuild and restructure the Nigerian nation.

As it is now, we are yet to find the messiah. As we begin the countdown to the search for the next crop of leaders, we must be very clear and discerning so that we do not choose leaders that will traumatize us as a people. We must choose credible, competent and compassionate leaders going forward. We truly do need ‘CHANGE’ now not the change Buhari promised us in 2015 but the change that will help to move our great nation forward forever. The APC-led Buhari government has failed woefully. He must now do the decent thing by resigning or be impeached by the senate.

2023 beckons.

A new Nigeria will emerge by the special grace of God Almighty.

. Abraham is an award-winning author and CEO of Vic-Abraham Media Nigeria Ltd.

 

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Opinion

Muslim-Muslim Ticket Narrative: The Republic In Peril

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Muslim-Muslim Ticket Narrative: The Republic In Peril

By Hope O’Rukevbe Eghagha
The Muslim-Muslim ticket which the APC under the otherwise shrewd and perspicacious Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu has adopted promotes and reinforces a dangerous narrative which the seven years of the Buhari administration have negatively entrenched in the minds of Nigerians. For, before Buhari, it was largely in somewhat hushed tones that the mythical Fulani ownership of geographical Nigeria was discussed. Not supported by any instruments of pre- or postcolonial relations, that dangerous supposition was essentially in the minds of a few and believed by fewer persons. For most southerners it was a joke, an infantile joke to claim that the rich waters and oil of the Niger Delta belong to some fellows who live one thousand miles away.  It is like the Israelis claiming that the oil fields in the Arab states belong to them because God had promised them the land flowing with milk and honey!

With the style and composition of the Buhari government, the irredentist president made his plans clear to all – government was by a section of the country, for a section of the country and for a particular religion! To boot, Fulani from some countries in Africa have started assembling in the country to make Nigeria their home. The hostile scoundrels who kidnap, maim or kill are not indigenous to Nigeria, I dare say. The baffling thing is that southern leaders could not effectively challenge the gradual dismantling of a national consensus that had governed interethnic relations since 1960. Most of them in mainstream politics simply latch on to the received wisdom that to gain power in the centre you must suck it up to the holders of power from the north. So, they sacrifice their people on the altar of greed for power!

In 2003, before the grand alliance of unlikely forces that finally gave Buhari access to federal power, Bola Tinubu was reported by Wikileaks to have said that “Muhammadu Buhari is an agent of destabilization, ethnic bigot, and religious fanatic who if given the chance would ensure the disintegration of the country. His ethnocentrism would jeopardize Nigeria’s national unity’. It is true that the Tinubu camp has vigorously argued that their principal never said any such stuff. But Farooq Kperogi in Notes from Atlanta (December 4, 2021) has laid the authenticity of the statement to rest by asserting that ‘I took up Tunde Rahman’s challenge and showed that Tinubu indeed said what he was quoted to have said – and worse’, citing diplomatic cables wrenched from Wikileaks trove.

READ ALSO: Rivers APC Ex-governorship Aspirant Resigns From Party Over Tinubu’s Muslim-Muslim Ticket

In skewed appointments both to cabinet and non-cabinet positions, Buhari made no bones about telling Nigerians that he meant to govern Nigeria as a colony of Fulani hegemony. Nowhere is this hegemony so evident than in the security architecture of the country. Also, the marauding herdsmen in the country never fail to remind abductees that Nigeria is their patrimony and that accounts for the soft approach of the incumbent government in dealing with the menace posed by terrorists and bandits. Nigerians have cried aloud about the skewed appointments in favour of one section of the country. Nothing has entered the ears of the Commander-in-Chief! Suddenly, the successor administration if the APC wins is a Muslim-Muslim band. Not good for the sight. Not healthy for perception. Not healthy for inter-religious harmony.

Nations build institutions which sustain and protect the core values of the country. In a country as multiethnic and multireligious as ours, no individual or administration should violate those core values. It is possible to argue that the fundamental principles for national unity have not been defined and nationally accepted. For example, power rotation, the place of religion and ethnicity must be worked into the Constitution. Nothing must be taken for granted. No section or religion must claim or preach superiority. It has the capacity to implode the country, either now or in the future.

READ ALSO: Tinubu’s Muslim-Muslim Ticket Disastrous – Babachir

It is against this background that the APC Muslim-Muslim ticket must be resisted by pressure groups, ethnic and religious associations. The issue must be on the ballot box on election day. A northern Christian who was Legal Adviser to APC resigned his position because of his objection to the Muslim-Muslim ticket. Ironically, Senator Tinubu and the APC had expressed reservations about the same-religion ticket in 2015. It was for this reason Professor Yemi Osinbajo was drafted in with his impeccable Christian credentials as a pastor in RCCG. What changed in 2022 or 2023?

The ethnic tension in the country that has reached a crescendo is alarming. Whether by design or default, the Tinubu and Shettima ticket is an attempt to further increase the tension and permanently destroy the fragile attempts at inter-religious harmony. It promotes the inane idea that one ethnic group or religion is superior to others in the federation. It is foolish to believe this nonsense, even if the ethnic group is numerically stronger. The point must be made that this rejection would not have mattered if the operating conditions in the country were settled or acceptable. For as we know, a Muslim could be as bad as a Christian in governance and vice versa. In other words, promotion of a religious faith does not bestow administrative or governing competence on anybody. The list of those who have misgoverned the country includes Muslims and Christians, with religion playing no moderating role in attitudes to the commonwealth.  The ruling APC which has mismanaged Nigeria into a freefall is slapping Nigeria further in the face by tying to force an anomaly on the nation.

READ ALSO: Tributes As Ace Artist Onobrakpeya Turns 90, Celebrates 60 Years Of Creative Genius

The APC has attempted to make things look good by appointing spokesmen who are Christians. This is after suggesting that a Christian from the north as a running mate to a Muslim from the south is not good enough to attract votes from the north. What a slap to northern Christians. This accounts for the bold and resolute reaction of the Dogaras and Babachirs, something we must take seriously.

All Nigerians must queue up to vote for their candidates in 2023. Hopefully, votes will count this time around. If they do, the Nigerian people will speak on who they want to govern the country. Sadly, the PDP ticket is also guilty of negating one of the assumptions that had governed the country – power rotation. We are therefore in a fix with the two old political parties. What will the end be?

Professor Eghagha writes from the Department of English, University of Lagos.

 

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