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ideas have consequences

You are here:Home>>Items filtered by date: June 2011
 
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  • Nigeria: Gunmen Kill Five-Year-Old in School Attack
    [Daily Trust]Police in Bauchi State said suspected gunmen set ablaze some houses in the staff quarters of Government Girls Secondary School (GGSS), Yana, killing a five-year old girl on Sunday.
  • Sudan: Opposition Reiterates Call to Overthrow Bashir
    [Sudan Tribune]Khartoum -The chairman of the National Consensus Forces (NCF), Farouk Abu Issa, has reiterated the determination of the opposition alliance to overthrow the government, underscoring they wouldn't engage in a dialogue that doesn't lead to dismantling the regime and restoring democracy.
  • South Sudan: Juba Clamps Down On Media Over Fighting
    [IPS]Juba -As rebel forces loyal to South Sudan's former vice president Riek Machar declared on Tuesday Apr. 15 that they had captured the key oil town of Bentiu, the government has been accused of clamping down on local media in an attempt to influence the reporting on the conflict.
Friday, 24 June 2011 15:47

Michelle Obama tours South Africa

Michelle Obama Does Push-Ups With Archbishop Tutu in SA

U.S First Lady Michelle Obama ended her week-long visit to South Africa by meeting the Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu - and getting a bit of a workout. They visited the famous Cape Town Stadium in which some of the 2010 World Cup games were played, where the First Lady encouraged young people to protect themselves against HIV/Aids and use sport to stay healthy.

Earlier U.S First Lady Michelle Obama visited the former President Nelson Mandela and his wife lady Graca Machel, the former Mozambican first lady at their home in Houghton. She also visited Mandela’s charitable foundation and Emthonjeni Community Center in Zandspruit Township, Johannesburg.

"You are VS - very special people," said Tutu in his cheery voice soon after he stepped into the room filled with young people and the media. He encouraged the youth to reach for the stars so that they can be anything they want to be in life.The First Lady began her speech by joking with the Archbishop: "You are also a special person". Obama backed Tutu's words by telling them that one has to be a "VHP" - very healthy person - to inspire very special people.

US First Lady Michelle Obama and her childrenwith Nelson Mandela, at this home, in Houghton SA.

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama does push-ups with Archbishop Desmond Tutu as they participate in youth activities raising awareness for HIV prevention, at Cape Town Stadium in Cape Town

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama does push-ups with Archbishop Desmond Tutu   photo:Reuters

Then she participated in the sporting activities. She dribbled the ball and did push-ups on the floor beside with the Arch while the children cheerfully shouted out president Obama's famous election slogan, "Yes we can!" Former Bafana Bafana soccer star Mathew Booth was also present at the function. He said he was invited by the group Grassroots Soccer to take part in the project that educates, inspires and mobilizes the youth through soccer. "Meeting both Desmond Tutu and Michelle Obama is beyond what words can explain," he said.

Associate Press reported, "Michelle Obama kicked soccer balls Thursday with former Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu and flexed her biceps doing push-ups alongside him as she closed out a goodwill visit to South Africa and prepared to head for neighboring Botswana. She also visited a museum that documents the forced segregation of a once racially mixed area of this coastal city. Obama and family members traveling with her, including daughters Malia and Sasha, met Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and a leader in South Africa's fight for racial equality, at the new Cape Town Stadium where the World Cup soccer tournament was held last year. She also received briefings from several HIV/AIDS prevention organizations,including some that use the discipline of soccer to teach kids about the disease.

In remarks before the soccer drills and calisthenics, the first lady urged dozens of kids to make safe, healthy choices. HIV/AIDS is a serious challenge to South Africa, where between 5 million and 6 million live with the disease in a country of just under 50 million. An estimated 17 percent of adult South Africans are infected.

"It's hard to have an impact if you're not in the best condition possible," she said. Her morning visit to the District Six Museum replaced a long-planned ferry ride to Robben Island that was canceled at the last minute due to high winds that made the Atlantic Ocean waters too treacherous to cross."

 

Frederick Chiluba came to power as Zambia's second president by defeating the once-revered Kenneth Kaunda in the first contested elections in the country for more than 20 years.

Democracy flourished during his 10-year rule, but the dapper and diminutive politician ended his career under a shadow of corruption. He was the son of a copper miner, and was born in Kitwe, in what was then the British Protectorate of Northern Rhodesia.

Working as a clerk as a young man, he joined a building and engineering workers union, and visited East Germany and the Soviet Union, but later became disenchanted with Communist ideology. He rose through the union ranks to become chairman in 1971, and became increasingly involved in politics in Zambia.He had been a supporter of Mr Kaunda through independence in 1964, but became disillusioned with one-party rule, and in 1980 threatened to call a strike against the regime.

Widespread support

After months of turmoil, President Kaunda ordered the arrest of Mr Chiluba and three other union leaders, and they were held for three months, until a court ruled that their imprisonment was unlawful.On his release, Mr Chiluba began to attract increasing support, and, in 1990, formed the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy, MMD, to oppose Mr Kaunda's authoritarian rule. With a bankrupt economy - foreign debt stood at more than $6.4bn (£4bn) - high unemployment and 100% inflation, he attracted widespread backing for his demands for economic reform and improved human rights.

Only five feet tall, he was nevertheless an impressive figure who, as a born-again Christian, brought the passion of the pulpit to his oratory.

Kenneth Kaunda in 1991        Levy Mwanawasa in 2005

Kenneth Kaunda relinquished power in 1991            Mwanawasa:successor brought charges of corruption

President Kaunda finally bowed to demands for free elections which were held in November 1991 and closely assessed by 2,000 local and foreign monitors, including a Commonwealth team and one led by US ex-President Jimmy Carter.The poll was declared free and fair, and Mr Chiluba and his party were swept to power with more than 80% of the vote. Mr Kaunda stepped down in what was regarded as the most democratic change of government ever seen in Africa.

Mr Chiluba inherited enormous economic problems, aggravated by the worst drought in the country for 50 years. He set about trying to persuade the West to come to his aid in setting up a free-market economy, and promised a big sell-off of state-run enterprises.But Zambian hopes for a bright future gradually turned to disillusionment as Mr Chiluba began to abandon egalitarian principles and processes.

Tarnished image

Corruption became widespread at all levels and crime increased. The sell-off of the state copper mines was botched and many of the mines company's assets vanished into thin air.In the meantime, the free-market economy failed to deliver and three-quarters of Zambia's population continued to live in poverty. What's more, Frederick Chiluba's personal image suffered badly when he appeared to be more interested in himself than his country.In 1996, he prevented former President Kaunda from standing against him in the presidential elections by changing the constitution to preclude candidates with parents born outside Zambia. Mr Kaunda's father was from what is now Malawi.

His hounding of Kaunda was not popular either at home or among the international community.

In 1997, he imprisoned the former leader for allegedly conspiring in a coup plot against him. Mr Chiluba released him only after pressure from Africa's elder statesmen, Nelson Mandela and Julius Nyerere. He also tried to strip Mr Kaunda of his citizenship.

Then Mr Chiluba tried to amend the constitution again to enable him to run for a third term and allegedly spent a lot of money bribing people to support his cause. Nevertheless, he failed and was forced to step down in 2002.

Corruption Charges

The following year, his hand-picked successor, Levy Mwanawasa, brought more than 100 charges of corruption against Frederick Chiluba including the theft of $35m of public funds allegedly funnelled into private bank accounts in London. His wife Regina also faced charges of theft. Mr Chiluba denied all charges, saying they were politically motivated. And he was acquitted after a six-year trial. However in 2007 he was found guilty of stealing $46m (£23m) of public money by a UK court.

To his credit, under Frederick Chiluba, freedom of speech in Zambia flourished and its media became as lively as anywhere in Africa.Though he tried to extend his tenure in power, he did not resort to state-controlled oppression to get his way.Internationally, he helped broker a peace agreement in neighbouring civil war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. Perhaps Frederick Chiluba's greatest legacy is that he established a lasting principle of democracy in Zambian politics.

 

 

Thursday, 23 June 2011 14:01

Child labour and population explosion

Child labour and population explosion in Nigeria

So many talk shops have been going on child labour, population explosion and family related matters calling for serious attention before they go weird. It is really a troublesome topic to discuss because many people have faced it with myopic perceptions while others have gone too sentimental about the whole matter.

 Child labour is a universal phenomenon especially in underdeveloped countries, Nigeria inclusive. But I continue to wriggle in pains whenever I think about Nigeria finding it very difficult to develop amidst too much wealth and health. With such bounties bestowed on Nigeria by the Incomprehensible Almighty, I cannot find any cogent reason why Nigeria should have this menace called child labour on the increase as well as remain underdeveloped. I do not subscribe to some arguments that it is a curse because our leaderships had failed us.

 Children below the age of maturity are exclusive responsibility of their parents. Their feeding, clothing, education, health and maintenance should be completely taken care of by their parents most especially their male parent. Duties of both parents of a child are clearly stated in Holy Scriptures and practically demonstrated by the best of humanity. Even today, some people are guided by the spirit of God and humanity, and they can never subject their God-given innocent children to hardship and the hostilities of life.

 Except for a child whose both parents are dead; this is God’s making and God’s decision in this respect often has very remote positive consequences which man often never comprehend. And in the cause of putting up a challenge against God’s decision, such child goes off-track. A child here means a grown-up. Otherwise, God will send a good Samaritan to the tender one as saviour.

 In Nigeria, our streets and markets are eyesore with very small innocent children exposed to the queers of the society, hawking, stealing, pick-pocketing, wandering and even begging for food. Why? Why? Why, dear parents? If you are alive under whatever condition, why should you allow your three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and ten year old child to go out and hawk to feed you and pay his or her school fees? Remember that God gave them to you as trust. Remember that many people have remained sad because they cannot hear a cry from a child of their own.

There has been arguments on how many children a nuclear family should be made up of in Nigeria. It is documented on papers that each family should not have more than four children. This means that every Nigerian couple should be entitled to four children only, in an effort to control population explosion. But the questions that arise are: Will that be the solution to Nigeria’s poverty pandemic, considering the fact that many African countries have little population but are worst hit be poverty, underdevelopment and child labour. Also, does it imply that Nigerian men should stop having more than one wife? And if this happens, what kind of society will Nigeria become where a quarter of its female population has no husbands?

 Added to this, what is the assurance that bastards most of who are naturally the cause of our numerous societal rots will not multiply. With the set-up of today, Nigeria has a long way to go in terms of development and fight against social ills even if every family bears only one child in the next two decades. So, I think our strength for today is in our number. It is because we are many that we are blessed. It is because we are many that we have so many good heads. It is because we are many that developed countries fear us, because we cannot all be caged, monitored and undermined. It is because of this that they fear one day, one or a group from amongst the multitude will rise and change our fortunes.

However, it is quite true that poverty is the root of child labour and its attendant consequences: child abuse, child trafficking, child prostitution and even child witch-crafting. Poverty itself is the primary cause of population explosion. Find out how!

A family needs joy and social amenities. When there is no television for the parents to watch; no recreational facilities and the two monitor the movement of each other against extramarital affairs, they swallow themselves times without number and generate children. Some cannot travel outside their birth places. Some Nigerians, even married couples, have never traveled outside their villages, local government areas and states.

There is hard work that generates extra power for the men. There is idleness which invites all forms of thought. A man goes out for his daily bread but comes back without anything. The woman is angry that the family has nothing to eat in a day. There is no new experience or discussion to share between the parents. The environment is the same. All these sorrowful conditions cannot remain because human being are impatient and always in a hurry. Some people in such hurry hang themselves or abandon their matrimonial homes. Stories that attest to this abound in the cities. And other parents in an attempt to cheat and steal the time will console themselves with imaginary love. At the end, children are generated.

Therefore, the problem of child labour can only be effectively controlled when the government provides social amenities, creates jobs (not only political jobs for a few) for parents to engage, initiates and sponsors general child-basic needs and enact enabling laws to protect the child. But it must not be believed that freedom of a child should be total in such that the parents can be challenged by the child, except when the child’s basic needs are not provided.

 Muhammad Ajah is a writer, author, advocate of humanity and good governance based in Abuja E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

 

 

Saturday, 18 June 2011 14:08

Nigeria's Inflation Rises to 12.4%

The Rising Inflation Rate contradicts CBN policy and its measures

The report coming from National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) is not a good news for Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) because the inflation rate was reported at 12.4 percent. The recent numbers from NBS have shown that inflationary trends are not cooling down but rather are surging. The composite Consumer Price Index (CPI) stood at 12.4 percent; CPI is used to measure inflation level in the country. This is disappointing phenomena because it does not bold well neither it is conducive for economic growth. While inflation rate of month of April was 11.3 percent, the increasing rate of April has shown that CBN may be losing the battle at arresting the inflationary enemy as they promised.

The tightening of the monetary policy maybe losing its grove, and it is beginning to look that it is beyond the power of CBN's application of monetary policy that comes with tinkling of the interest rate to reduce inflation. The usage of interest rate tinkling to control inflation may has limited effect and maybe waning. Nigerian economy has structural problem that must be corrected to be able to control inflation. The importation of essential commodities with its rising prices and the rising prices of food, petroleum and accommodations are causing the rising inflation.

Obinna Chima, financial Reporter at Thisday wrote, "Worried by rising inflationary pressure in the country, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), which is chaired by the CBN Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, had surprisingly raised the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) from 7.5 per cent, to 8 per cent at its last meeting. The Committee which also lifted the Cash Reserve Requirement (CRR) had expressed its desire to battle inflation which has stubbornly remained at double digits, to single digit rate.

Most analysts attributed the hike in inflation to the rise in price of some household items, building materials and rents. They specifically pointed out that the high cost in kerosene and diesel contributed to the significant rise recorded in the CPI."

National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), "The urban ‘All Items’ monthly index rose by 0.2 percent while the corresponding rural index rose by 1.5 percent when compared with the preceding month. The year-on-year average consumer price level as at May 2011 for Urban and Rural dwellers rose by 11.5 and 13 percent respectively.

"The percentage change in the average composite CPI for the twelve-month period ending May 2011 over the average of the CPI for the previous twelve-month period was 12.6 per cent. This was slightly lower than the figure for the preceding month. The average monthly food prices declined by 0.3 percent in May 2011 compared with April 2011 figure. The level of the Composite Food Index (CFI) was higher than the corresponding level a year ago by 12.2 percent."

Nigerian government has been increasing spending while at same time having large trade deficits with some trading partners due to increased spending and importation. Another source of the rising inflation may come from the massive and continuous borrowings of the Federal Government of Nigeria. Nigeria has been borrowing heavily lately in order to finance the rebuilding and renovations of infrastructures.

The myriad issues that contributed to the rising inflation including the massive amount of money injected into the circulation to ease credit crunch. The recapitalization of the failed banks and the buying of the toxic assets of the failed banks introduced equally a large sum into the monetary base.

The scarcity of petroleum products especially kerosene with the long queuing lines in Lagos and rest of the country has brought about hoarding and subsequent higher price. The refining of oil outside Nigeria and importation of petrol at this era of the global rising prices of petroleum are major contributing factors to inflation. Things of these nature and others are triggering higher inflation rate and rising inflationary trends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The White House rolls out the red carpet for President Ali Bongo of Gabon

The White House is rolling out the red carpet today for President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon, whose penniless West African regime is notorious for its human rights abuses and widespread corruption (hat tip: this eye-opening report by ABC News). In yet another display of extraordinarily bad judgment, the Obama administration is extending the hand of friendship to another prominent tyrant, just two days after Washington sided with Hugo Chavez and various Latin American despots against Britain in a declaration over the Falkland Islands by the Organisation of American States (OAS).

Needless to say, Obama’s press secretary Jay Carney struggled to explain why President Bongo has been accorded the honour of a White House visit, admitting to ABC News that he has a "less than sterling record". But, said Carney, it was still "very important" for Bongo to meet with the US president, because:

First of all, the president of Gabon is making reform efforts, which we support. Secondly … Gabon has been an important partner in some of the issues that are very important to American national security.

Gabon, with a population of only 1.5 million and a per capita income of just $1,438, has never been a key US "partner", as Carney ludicrously spins it, and as for "reform efforts", they are nowhere to be seen. But it does have a reputation for being a massive kleptocracy governed by a ruling family that has been in power for more than four decades, since 1967. According to UN consultant Jack Blum in an interview with ABC, the Bongo family and its cronies have "siphoned off 25 percent of the gross domestic product of the country… the people who are running the country are guilty of grand theft nation."

obama-ali-bonga-odimba-11-6-9obama-ali-bonga-odimba-11-6-9

Human Rights watchdog Freedom House classifies Gabon as "not free", with a political rights score of 6 (on a scale of 1 at the top, and 7 at the bottom), and a civil liberties score of 5. As Freedom House points out, Gabon is a classic one-party state:

Gabon is not an electoral democracy. The 2009 presidential election was marred by irregularities, including allegations of vote rigging and intimidation of the press. The president is elected for seven-year terms, and a 2003 constitutional amendment removed the two-term limit imposed in 1991. The president has extensive powers, including the authority to appoint judges and dissolve the parliament.

And as the US State Department points out in its latest annual report, Gabon has an appalling human rights record:

The following human rights problems were reported: ritualistic killings; use of excessive force by police; harsh prison conditions and lengthy pretrial detention; an inefficient judiciary subject to government influence; restrictions on privacy and press; harassment and extortion of African immigrants and refugees; widespread government corruption; violence against women; societal discrimination against women, noncitizen Africans, Pygmies, and persons with HIV/AIDS; and trafficking in persons, particularly children.

Is this really the kind of "partner" the White House wants to cultivate? The decision by President Obama to host one of Africa’s worst despots is a sad reflection on the current US administration, whose dictator-friendly foreign policy, from Tehran to Khartoum to Libreville, is an embarrassment for the leader of the free world.

Nile Gardiner is a Washington-based foreign affairs analyst and political commentator. He appears frequently on American and British television and radio, including Fox News Channel, CNN, BBC, Sky News, and NPR.

Published in Archive

Bankole and the next generation of treasury looters: A Great threat to nation building

The alleged financial misappropriation, fraud and loan shenanigan in the hands of the erstwhile Speaker of House of Representative, Mr. Dimeji Bankole is quite troubling. "Bankole is already facing a 16-count charge of allegedly misappropriating N9 billion capital project fund through contract inflation."

Then it was reported by Vanguard newspaper the "ex-Speaker and his colleagues shared the N10 billion loan which was an outcome of an executive session wherein members insisted on enhancing their allowances. According to reports, the members had prevailed on the former Speaker to source and share the N10 billion loan, with Bankole getting about N100 million whereas his deputy got N80 million."

Then coupled to that Bankole and the former deputy Speaker Nafada were accused "over allegations of corrupt enrichment and misappropriation of over N40 billion."

These are no child picnic but massive allegations for a young man of this generation.

It is massively disheartening even to a point of helplessness and hopelessness for Nigeria, not because of the allegedly crime of looting per sec but for the individual that allegedly committed the crime.

Bankole is a young man of this generation and an emerging Nigerian leader by its own right. A man with great prospect, who has already made a great mark in Nigeria’s polity by becoming a Speaker of the House of Representative, the fourth in the line to the presidency, few heartbeats away from the most important and powerful position in the country.

The Bankole’s generation has seen Nigeria at her nadir, without global respect and with compassing corruption running rampant around the contours and foundation of Nigeria. The ramification is nation without direction and vision, a nation where poverty and indiscipline were eating deep into the fabrics of the society. The building blocks of peace, unity and brotherhood were steadily and gradually crumbling.

The country was losing sense of nationhood; it became a society where the might was right and woe to the weak. Nigeria was fast becoming a nation where majority of Nigerians were sinking down to floor of abject and penury poverty. This phenomenon is contrary to a nation endowed with ample human and natural resources - an ocean of affluence and petro-naira.

With the help of providence and prayers of ordinary Nigerians, the country is gradually but steadily emerging from ruin of the past and impermeable darkness. For the first time in the history of the young nation a credible election was held and Nigerians elected leaders of their choice not by selection and imposing leaders on them by the ‘wise men’ of their ‘village’.

This generation expects a whole lot from Bankoles of their generation and when it is proven that Dimeji Bankole committed the allegedly crime of looting, he will become the greatest disappointment so far in his generation. This is a man who should have known better: well educated, exposed to Western civilization of probity and accountability and comes from an affluent background. Why is he committing such a silly and stupendous crime?

This is the man that should raise the flag of Nigeria and hoist it so high that the whole should know that Nigeria is ready to claim her spot under the sun. Instead he chose to take his good name and throw it to the mud.

Bankole has been the role model of so many Nigerian youths since he took over the seat of Speakership, for with eloquence and glowing intellectual alacrity he mesmerized millions of his fellow citizens as he spoke to the press after his swearing in and taking his oath of office.

It is a new Nigeria at least the EFCC is going with full force with the investigation. Inasmuch the EFCC is doing its job; it must not go after him with any personal vendetta or agenda in order to prove any particular point. EFCC must do its job without fear or favor. Demji Bankole as a citizen deserves to be accorded the presumption of innocence until he has been proven guilty in the court of law. This is not to be soft on him but show that Nigerian legal and enforcement authority is in pursue of the truth and nothing but the truth.

Nigeria must look ahead for while punishment is a major deterrent to a crime, it also has its limitations. The current and coming generations of young Nigerians must be inculcated and impacted with values of probity and accountability. Most importantly the inviolability of a high or low office with its given powers and responsibilities must be respected.

Nigeria must find ways and means to encourage the incoming generation of politicians to shun corruption and looting. To build a progressive and corruption- free Nigeria, our youths the leaders of tomorrow must not compromise themselves at the corridors of power.

Emeka Chiakwelu is the principal Policy Strategist at Afripol. Africa Political and Economic Strategic Center (Afripol) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa.

 

http://afripol.org/ This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Thursday, 16 June 2011 00:54

What Mr. President must do to succeed

 

Although I was one of those Nigerians who underestimated the ability of Mr. President to conduct a free and fair election due to his interest in the Presidential race, I have come to realize that it was a misplaced thought. He has done well in that aspect, at least far better than the past since the return of Nigeria to democratic governance.

The road is clear and it is now for Mr. President to start delivering dividends of democracy to the people, especially on the promises he made to the Nigerian people in their geopolitical zones. The first thing that will make him succeed is a good, reliable and youthful cabinet that is made up of energetic (not weak), young (not old or too old), experienced (not inexperienced), selfless (not selfish and greedy), patriotic (not sabotaging) and God-fearing (not cultic) Nigerian citizens.

 

If that is done, then let him consider this agenda for his first tenure of four years. First, let him discard clustering agenda. The clustering of projects every year has not yielded any good in our developmental stride. A review of the past governments even at the state level has depicted that embarking on so many projects at the same time end up sharing the people’s fortune to a very few individuals. Such monies are often diverted into private pockets and have hardly been accounted for.

 

So, in the best interest of the country and its good people, the President should get closer to the masses to win their love, admiration and support. He must be reminded that God’s real love is with the poor and the down-trodden. He should embark on those projects that have direct impact on the masses. He has no option than to succeed because he has come at a time when any little positive change will distinguish him from the past.

 

I so dearly wish Mr. President takes one or two sectors every year, and not all the sectors at a time. What I imply is that while greater attention is paid to the sector of choice due to its exigency to the nation, other sectors would receive minimal attention. For instance, Mr. President should devote greater human and material resources to the power sector this year. By the end of 2011, a visible positive change can manifest.

 

Although 2011 has only six months to go, I still insist that the first sector whose fixing will give way to development in Nigeria is the power sector. Once Nigerians can have stable power supply, not only that business and industrial activities will thrive, jobs will be created through the birth of more industries and on the other hand, criminality will drastically reduce. A survey has shown that most of the criminal activities carried out by Nigerians are not unconnected to joblessness and idleness. So whatever this will take Mr. President in terms of money, Nigerians would not hesitate to give him the support he needs.

 

But before this can work, he should summon all those who import generators into this country and give them ultimatum to stop such. This can also work if he can assure them of other business opportunities which they can engage to make legitimate livelihood. But if such importation is contraband, then the Nigeria Custom and Immigration Service departments of the Ministry of Interior must be queried and cleansed. This is part of factors that have militated against the fixing of the power sector. Then, the NEPA or PHCN should be chastised.

 

In 2012, Mr. President should take on the education sector. It has been observed that our educational system has become so bad that some Nigerians prefer to send their children and wards to nearby countries like Ghana for studies. Also, it can be attested to that private school proprietors have mortgaged our educational sector. Hardly can any public school in any part of the country claim excellence. At the end, half baked students prepared by half baked teachers and instructors are produced from our public schools. Ignorance and half education are quite dangerous to the society. In Abuja and its environs, public schools are nothing to write home about. There are Government Secondary Schools at Lugbe along Airport Road and Aso in Mararaba where learning has remained a nightmare for students.

 

Mr. President should summon all the school proprietors from the nursery to tertiary level to discuss way forward for our education. Some of them should sell their schools to government or go into partnership to save the situation. Again, the Federal Government should attempt declaration of free education for certain percentage of the Nigerian citizens, especially the underprivileged. All the exchange scholarships between Nigeria and other countries should be channeled to the underprivileged who are definitely smarter, more serious and more patriotic.

 

Mr. President should also mandate every state to collaborate with the Federal Government in establishing a Federal University and a Federal Polytechnic in those states where there is either one or none. All the states of the federation should be mandated to declare effective, efficient and well-coordinated and monitored compulsory free education to the secondary school level. Those states which can afford to extend the free education to tertiary levels should be encouraged. After one year of complete attention to the education sector, Mr. President will choose another sector of choice.

 

Preferably in 2013, all attention should be turned to agriculture. Under this sector, a lot should be done. The groundnut pyramids should be rebuilt. The cocoa farms should be enlarged. Cassava farming and processing should be practically mechanized as Mr. President promised many times during his campaigns. All related industries in agriculture whether in stock, fishing and birds with the stability in power supply would have naturally began to grow from strength to strength.

 

In 2014, there should be focus on transportation and its diversification. Aggressive efforts should be laid on road constructions that link all parts of the country. For instance, there should be express double lane roads linking the North and Southeast, the Southsouth and the North, the Southwest and the Southeast and the North and Southwest. Many of the forests are just occupying spaces that can be used for roads. But before then, there is need to rehabilitate the existing federal roads linking states so that the armed robbery cases and accidents on them can be curbed. Maybe the President needs to query those contractors handling the dualization project of the Abuja-Lokoja Road which has taken so long to complete. Also, the former Ajaokuta Toll Gate junction has become a death trap.

 

Of equal importance, the airports and the seaports should be thoroughly tackled. Many more rivers should be dredged to enhance transportation by water. Mr. President should think of re-establishing the Nigerian Airways, despite all odds of the past. It is unbelievable that a country called Nigeria does not have a national carrier. Even if it is to be managed by the private sector in order to ensure efficiency and entrepreneurship, the name Nigeria Air is very dear to many Nigerians, including this writer. So, the President should summon transporters like Peace Mass Transit and others who have made tremendous efforts to link up the whole country in the transportation system by considering the masses even during festive periods as well as employing the teeming youths.

 

I do not attach much interest in Nigeria spending heavily on security. Interestingly, Nigeria has been blessed with world-class security intelligence and defence that can protect her from any external aggressions. Our security threats are all internal. And their architects are Nigerians themselves. That is why it has been difficult to quell, because many innocent citizens would be victims if force is to be applied. But we all know the causes of these civil disturbances and even the brains behind them are known to the authorities concerned. The problem is the lack of political will to face the so-called godfathers, moneybags, politicians, or whatever name to end this menace. Kidnapping is on. Armed robbery is a daily occurrence in one part or the other of the country. When you see the rampaging youths on the screens of television, one is convinced that they cannot have the money to buy the heavy and sophisticated weapons they carry. Yesterday, it was militancy in the Niger Delta. Today, it is Boko Haram in the far North. Who knows the next tomorrow?

 

Mr. President is the Commander in-Chief of the Armed Forces and thus the Chief Security Officer of the nation. Let him identify those behind the gruesome killing of the citizens in Jos and Borno and bring them to book. He should also ensure that all those behind the murder of Nigerian youths in Bauchi, in Akwa Ibom, in Niger, in Kaduna, among others are exposed after the Sheikh Lemu led-panel must have submitted its report. There should be no dilly-dallying over the loss of innocent citizens.

 

By 2015 when Mr. President would be getting ready to conduct another freer and fairer elections, our power, education, agriculture, transport and security sectors (FIVE SECTORS) would have been stabilized. I will personally push for his second term. God bless our collective efforts to make Nigeria great.

 

Muhammad Ajah is a writer, author, advocate of humanity and good governance based in Abuja E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Published in Archive

Picture News of Poor south Africans

"When stories are told about African poverty, race often seems to play a large part. Based in Senegal, Reuters photographer Finbarr O'Reilly (previously featured here for his work in DR Congo) traveled to South Africa earlier this year and visited one of a growing number of squatter camps populated mostly by Afrikaners - white South Africans - to document their stories and help show that, despite the fact that impoverished blacks in the region far outnumber whites, poverty is a human issue, not necessarily racial. O'Reilly: "While most white South Africans still enjoy lives of privilege and relative wealth, the number of poor whites has risen steadily over the past 15 years. Researchers now estimate some 450,000 whites, of a total white population of 4.5 million, live below the poverty line and 100,000 are struggling just to survive in places such Coronation Park, a former caravan camp currently home to more than 400 white squatters. Formerly comfortable Afrikaners recently forced to live on the fringes of society see themselves as victims of 'reverse-apartheid' that they say puts them at an even greater disadvantage than the millions of poor black South Africans." (

- Poverty stricken whites of South Africa By gbooza.com

  

 

 

President Jonathan in Washington and in New York in Pictures

"President Obama and President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria met at the White House on Wednesday, June 8 and reaffirmed the strong bilateral partnership between the two countries. The President personally congratulated President Jonathan on the success of Nigeria’s recent elections, which deepened the foundation for future democratic contests. The leaders discussed how the Jonathan administration can build on this momentum by investing in Nigeria’s energy supply, agricultural productivity, democratic institutions, and security sector. The President called on President Jonathan to make fighting corruption a national priority and a critical step in ensuring the necessary conditions for sustained economic growth and lasting prosperity. The President thanked President Jonathan for his leadership both regionally and within the United Nations Security Council on pressing issues such as Sudan, Libya, and Cote d’Ivoire. Both leaders agreed to continue to work together to promote peace and security."

                 - White House's  Readout of the President's Meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria

 

 

image

 credits: vanguard, thewill, Nigeriasquare, WH

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, 08 June 2011 12:36

President Jonathan goes to White House

Nigeria's President Jonathan goes to Washington

President Barack Obama has invited his Nigerian counterpart President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan to White House  on official visit scheduled for June 8th, 2011. This is an important invitation and has strategic implications as President Jonathan commenced to assume responsibilities as president of Nigeria. This invitation is beyond drinking of tea and other diplomatic niceties at White House, it is essentially rested on developing and consolidating relationship for mutual interest.

 As an emerging nation and giant of Africa, Nigeria is playing a vital role in the continent supplying the largest peace keeping force for peace making and conflict resolutions in Africa. And with increasing Nigerian prestige, together with the last successful election, Washington is extending a solid hand of continuing friendship recognizing quite well that China is becoming a key business partner in Nigeria and Africa.

 U.S. President Obama shakes hands with Nigerian ...President Jonathan in White House

From any point you look at it, Nigeria is a force for good in Africa. South Africa's economic power notwithstanding, Nigeria is the most important country in Africa. Apart from being the most populous country in Africa, Nigeria with her economic reform and accelerating economic growth is poised to become the richest and largest economy in Africa in the near future.

 Nigeria is the sociological and cultural leader in the African world; defining and setting trends on what it means to be an African in 21st century. Most importantly, Nigeria is making waves in scientific innovations, business, sports and arts with the help of Nigerian Diasporas in US and around world, together with the help of ever growing and influential Nollywood .

 Nigeria needs United States of America and vice versa. This is a meeting of mutual respect that will enable a better understanding of the world largest economy America and a vibrant emerging nation Nigeria.  America needs a partner in Africa to tackle many issues of trade, terrorism, health and climate changes. Nigeria with its ample human and natural resources can able to do it with a well-discipline leadership found in President Jonathan.

 The intrinsic point to make here is that Mr. Jonathan's hand is strengthened as a leader democratically elected by the people, as his mandate came from the consent of the populace. What took place in Nigeria in the last election gave President Jonathan a resounding victory and it was anything short of historic. Both local and international observers accepted the election process and outcome to be relatively free and fair. Some have even called it the freest and fairest election in Nigeria.

 The internal politics and state of affairs of countries are significant because it becomes a barometer to quantify respect that a president is accorded by the outsiders especially in this case of Nigeria's leader invitation to the White House. It is good for President Jonathan because he represents a new face of the emerging democratic Nigeria.

 President Jonathan  won his election by going to the people and asking for their votes and mandate; and America respects a leader who understand the power of the people and who honors the genuine wishes of the people. In other means the president coming to Washington is an invitation based on merit and mutual interest.

Goodluck Jonathan and Barack Obama - Pesident Obama Hosts World Leaders At Nuclear Security Summit

The policy makers and leaders of most dynamic democracy, United States will listen to the words of the Nigerian president for they know quite well that he is speaking for the entire people of Nigeria for he was truly elected by the people of Nigeria. The election of a leader by the ballot papers is very important because it is a mark of advanced civilization and respect of rule of law.

 President Obama knew quite well that President Jonathan is a serious and discipline leader. When Mr. Jonathan uttered the right words and asked thatnobody should rig for him in the past election. President Jonathan lived up to his utterance by rejection election riggings and shenanigans. By so doing he formulated a bright and enriched future for his nation.

At the dawn of 21st century Nigeria needs friends like America who will be willing to offer a true friendship based on mutual respect as they tackled African existential problems in particular and global problems in general. Therefore the second outing of President Jonathan to Washington is a good thing for it will enable both parties to forge and further a partnership that will aid to further peace, co-operation, capitalism and democracy in Nigeria and Africa.

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