Friday, January 18, 2019
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ideas have consequences

You are here:Home>>Items filtered by date: January 2017
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  • Mozambique: Nyusi Greets Renamo Leader's Commitment to Peace
    [AIM] Maputo -Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Friday welcomed the election of Ossufo Momade as President of the country's main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, and particularly his stated commitment to achieving an effective peace.
  • Kenya: Why Tanasha Won't Convert to Islam to Marry Diamond
    [Nairobi News] Diamond Platnumz's Kenyan girlfriend Tanasha Donna will not convert to Islam in order to marry the Tanzanian singer, as required by Islamic laws.
  • Mozambique: Court Claims Hanekom Free On Bail - Wife Denies
    [AIM] Maputo -The provincial court in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado had claimed that the South African businessman Andre Hanekom, accused of financing the terrorist attacks in the province, has been released on bail - but his wife, Frances, says he is still being held by the military.

Nuclear energy and nuclear technology can be of great aid to Nigeria in her endeavor to supply steady, reliable and clean energy for her domestic electric consumption. Without doubt Nigeria at this stage of her industrial stage must do something about the paucity of electricity to power her industries and residential homes. Nuclear technology with its entire prospect has its challenges that must be appreciated and be given the requisite attention in order to avoid any catastrophe. Nigeria must do thorough feasibility study, and comprehend the convoluted technology, and implement the intricate precautionary measures and mechanisms required to operate a highly sophisticated technology.

Many countries have sorted and utilized nuclear energy for substantial deliverance of reliable electric supply."­As of July 2008, there were more than 430 operating nuclear power plants and, together, they provided about 15 percent of the world's electricity in 2007. Of these 31 countries, some depend more on nuclear power than others. For instance, in France about 77 percent of the country's electricity comes from nuclear power. Lithuania comes in second, with an impressive 65 percent. In the United States, 104 nuclear power plants supply 20 percent of the electricity overall, with some states benefiting more than others." Nigeria can join these nations but she must play by rule of the game: Safety is everything.

Analyzing and dissecting the pros and cons of building nuclear plants to supply clean and steady energy to the country will not negate nor slow down the project but will strengthen the hands of Nigerian government. There is a reasonable danger associated in nuclear plants operations but with well trained technicians, technologists and scientific bureaucrats an error free management and operations are possible. As a nation, we must be frank to one another; we do not have or seems to be sustaining a maintenance culture. Nigeria is quick to build or set up shining and glaring projects but falter in rendering first class management and maintenance.

The recent multi-million dollar Nigerian satellite (NigComSat-1) built and launched by the Chinese in May 2007, was shut down to prevent it spinning out of control and damaging others in orbit. The satellite project an example of a "white elephant in space" was a waste of time and resources. The billions of naira invested in the satellite technology can be utilized to solve the earthly problem of waste disposal in Kano or supply borne tap water to a struggling villages in the interior of Nigeria. Nigeria must make sure that the nuclear project will not suffer such a fate like the satellite (NigComSat-1).

Murtala Muhammed International Airport, at its inception was among the greatest aesthetic and architectural wonders of Africa but it has since deteriorated considerably due to lack of maintenance. So is the Ajaokuta Iron and Steel industry, has it not become a dead wood? All these are toddlers' picnic compared to the effects of nuclear mismanagement and God forbid a nuclear accident or incident. In nuclear technology operation, concerns must be attended to, before they metamorphosed to catastrophic accidents and incidents.

In case of nuclear power plants, they must be safely run, for there are no second chances in nuclear accident. Nigeria has the human capital and technical know-how for such a convoluted and elaborated project but lethargy poses the greatest threat to scientific development in Nigeria.

Nuclear accident and Risk management: The Chernobyl effect
No one can discuss  nuclear accident, without recollecting and mentioning the disaster of Chernobyl in the defunct Soviet Union.
"It is the 20th anniversary year of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster, where a reactor testing at Chernobyl (now in Ukraine) went terribly wrong on the night of April 25th-26th. This led to the world's worst nuclear disaster involving radiation exposure and explosions. Other nuclear power plant accidents include Chalk River, Canada in 1952, Windscale Pile No. 1, England in 1957, East Germany (near Greifswald) in 1976, Three Mile Island, USA in 1979, Tokaimura, Japan in 1999 and Mihama, Japan in 2004. Some of these disasters led to immediate deaths, chronic diseases like thyroid cancer and leukemia, and major damage to the environment such as groundwater contamination and burning up of plants and trees. Property was rendered useless while expensive rehabilitation, remediation and monitoring programs were carried out. The nuclear power plant disasters were due to either or all of these: improper reactor design, equipment failure and human error."

Nobody can accuse Russians of scientific inferiority; notwithstanding, the industrial accident of Chernobyl happened. Nigeria has to be prepared for any eventuality which must be back up with elaborated standard operation procedure to handle any unforeseen disaster. The most important is to have safe proof paradigm designed to prevent any accident by well experienced risk managers and scientists. Nigeria can do it and operate successful nuclear plants with a solid foundation rooted on discipline, concentration and circling competence.

Nuclear Technology cost
Without doubt, it is very expensive to build and maintain nuclear plants. It will cost billions of dollars to build nuclear plants. According to the blueprint proposal about seven plants have been proposed, four in the north and three plants in the south. The exorbitant cost for construction notwithstanding, further resources are needed to run, buy and replace parts of nuclear plants as it wears and tears. Our bureaucrats cannot afford to mismanage this venture and leave sour taste in our mouths with regards to Nigerian Airway, NEPA, Ajaokuta Iron & Steel and many white elephants abandoned in the dumpster of Nigerian industrial experiments. In this era of democratic capitalism, government must not monopolize the project because of their inefficiency, corruption and over compensation. The private companies and citizens will be given opportunities to participate into the ownership of the nuclear plants. Government has to float a limited liability company in which the stocks will be available to the public to buy. Nigerian government can still own the majority stocks but there must be an injection of free enterprise mindset and reality that will be a booster for efficient and transparent run of the nuclear plants. The partner between government and the public will lessen the cost burden and embolden transparency and probity.

Peaceful and nuclear security
Nigeria is only interested in the safe and peaceful utilization of nuclear technology for domestic energy consumption. Security must be the cornerstone for safety: Our enemies can betray us by stealing the uranium (the natural occurring element/raw material for nuclear energy) and enriched them for destructive purposes. Nigeria must create a well guarded security post to prevent any peripheral intervention, ready to exploit the technology for building bombs and destroying lives. Nigeria must be prepared with seasoned and well equipped security apparatus that has the skill to stop outside interference. Nigeria must make sure that the internal enemies of progress will not use the capture of the nuclear plants to blackmail the people and government of Nigeria.

The disposal of nuclear waste
The half life of uranium (the time it takes for half its atoms to decay) is problematic and which implies that a storage place is necessary. The waste made during nuclear fission including uranium, plutonium, and other elements are highly radioactive. These elements including uranium have long half-lives (the time it takes for half its atoms to decay) some longer than 100,000 years thus creating long time periods before the waste will settle to safe levels of radioactivity. Nigeria will not be immune with this problem of nuclear waste storage; even highly technological nation like America is still gripping with the issue. Daren Briscoe writes in NEWSWEEK (American magazine) recently: "A bigger problem than the safety of the reactors themselves is what to do with the deadly waste they produce. Nuclear power is praised for its zero carbon emissions, but it comes at price-radioactive fuel rods that remain toxic for thousands of years. If you're looking for a reason to feel queasy about building more nuclear reactors, this is it. While politicians bicker over where to put it all-nuclear waste is the ultimate "not in my backyard" dispute-the stuff is piling up. As things are now, a lot of it is simply stockpiled at the plants, submerged in open pools of water for as long as five years and eventually sealed in steel and concrete casks. "You have more than 100 reactors storing waste on-site, under what the Nuclear Regulatory Commission calls a temporary license, in the worst of all possible places." So if America is having some issue with this, what must Nigeria do to handle such a difficult challenge? Nigeria must be creative, resourceful and willing to learn from others.

In totality, a storage place must be built to contain these radioactive elements, which must be warehoused in safe storage area until they poses no risk to man and the environment. Our forest, water and natural wild life must be protected from the devastating effect of uranium contamination and pollution.

What Nigeria must do
As a strategist, patriot and scientist, this paper seeks not to discourage Nigeria, who has come of age. But to elucidate the incessant vulnerability associated with this technology to Nigeria's policy makers and bureaucrats. Such a project associated with a danger of this magnitude proportion cannot treat in nonchalant mannerism akin to Nigeria's structural and institutional weakness. Nigeria needs a steady power supply and nuclear technology can play an active role in supplying reasonable quantity of energy to Nigeria. However, Nigeria must have diversity of energy supply - solar, thermo, wind and of course nuclear. Nigeria can not make nuclear technology the principal energy supply but to initially build few numbers of nuclear plants at this stage, then as they learn and gain experience in optimum operation of nuclear plants, Nigeria can build more plants.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that ensures "Atoms for Peace" for members in nuclear field can be of great aid to Nigeria. The IAEA is a repository of information and safety guidelines on efficient operation of nuclear plants for peaceful purposes. In addition, Nigerian indigenous scientists scattered around the world can be invited to be advisers to the projects - great scientists and technologists are invariably great minds that are needed for such a Nigerian project.

Image result for emeka chiakweluEmeka Chiakwelu is an Environmental & Ecosystem expert in USA, and the Principal Policy Strategist at Afripol Organization. www.Afripol.Org/ 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
Chiakwelu holds first degree in Industrail/Environmental Chemistry(B.Sc)  with  minor in Mathematics and Economics. And has pursued  post graduate studies in  Economics  and  Environmental Chemistry .

Dear Donald J. Trump,

By the grace of God, President of the United States of America.

As the United States of America opens a new chapter today, many around the world, myself inclusive, are optimistic that the success you have achieved in your career as one of the world's foremost entrepreneurs will be translated to your life as a public servant and custodian of the trust of the American people.

For over four decades, you have consistently created wealth and opportunities for yourself, your family, your country and its citizens.

The city of New York, host to the United Nations Headquarters, thus the world's most prominent city, bears the hallmark of your signature through your real estate developments.

You have also left your footprints in politics, media, education, sports, entertainment and the arts.

From this backdrop, I am very hopeful that the United States of America and indeed the rest of the world will be witnessing great, worthy and positive frontiers under the Trump Presidency.

I congratulate you, the 45th President of the United States, as you begin your tenure today. I pray that God will bless your tenure and enable you actualize your vision and commitment to building a better and more secured America and the world.

Let me seize this opportunity to express my hope and desire that your administration will work with Africa to help her people realize their achievable great future and harness the God given potential domiciled in the land and people of Africa from Cairo to Cape Town.

May God bless the United States of America. May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria and may God bless the world.

Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR
Chairman of the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation

Saturday, 14 January 2017 06:13

Naira is falling to nearly N500 to $1

Macroeconomic dislocation and the distressed pressure brought to bear on naira is triggering the precipitously freefall of the value of the Nigeria’s currency.  This is now beyond the pale, a disastrous saturation point and if it continues unchecked the naira as we know it will become a worthless currency just like the Zimbabwe currency.

Since the official devaluation of naira coupled with negative growth of the economy, things are falling apart and the center cannot hold any more in this West African nation. 

“The Naira on Friday depreciated further at the parallel market as dollar scarcity worsened. The Nigerian currency exchanged at N497 to a dollar at the parallel market, losing two points from Thursdays posting; while the Pound Sterling and the Euro traded at N597 and 515 respectively. At the BDC window, the Naira was sold at N399 to a dollar, while the Pound Sterling and the Euro closed at N600 and N515, respectively” as reported by NAN.

The parallel market is probably the effective indicator to rationalize the true value of naira to a dollar. The unrestricted parallel market does not have government controlled forces to regulate the trading of dollar as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The parallel market is purely regulated by the market forces of demand and supply unlike CBN dollar market that are rationed to commercial banks with some restricted regulations..

“Trading at the interbank market window saw the Naira closed at N305.00 to a dollar. Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, President, Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), expressed the hope that the Naira would bounce back next week. Gwadabe said that the CBN would be selling about 25 million dollars to BDCs next week and this would definitely help in reducing liquidity challenge in the Market. He urged Nigerians not to panic as the CBN was working closely with the BDCs to ensure that the Naira recovers quickly.” (NAN)

Another major headache in Nigeria is the rising inflationary index since the devaluation of naira and the thinning country's foreign reserve. It was reported that the annual inflation rate purges from 18.48 in November to 18.55 percent in December of 2016.  And we are not anticipating anything better for the first quarter of 2017. There is no glimpse of silvery trends wherever you look at economy.

The depressing value of naira is being made worse by the falling of the oil price and incoherence in the economic planning of the government. The recession of the economy with negative GDP growth can be turn around not by waiting for oil price to rebound. But rather by fabricating a detailed bulwark to combat rising inflation and stabilize the economy especially the weaken currency .  The falling naira and biting inflationary trends can be redirected as a fulcrum for triggering economic growth by coming up with a logical strategy to grow and sustain a pro-growth  economy.

Image result for naira emeka chiakweluEmeka Chiakwelu is the Principal Policy Strategist at AFRIPOL. His works have appeared in Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Forbes and many other important journals around the world. His writings have also been cited in many economic books, publications and many institutions of higher learning, including tagteam Harvard Education., This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The British Prime Minister, Therese May is trying too hard to become the next Iron lady of conservative party in the reminiscent and mode of the late Margaret Thatcher.  But is she the real deal?  Is she willing to do what it takes to deserve the title of the iron lady? When Thatcher took over the helms of affairs, she instituted numerous reforms that brought Britain towards the path to true capitalistic society. She was also loyal to her allies especially Israel and America, standing by them without waffling.

Can we say of same about Theresa May when it comes to Israel?

Prime Minister May is trying to proof that she is a strong supporter of Israel just like the erstwhile Iron Lady Thatcher, but not so many people are buying it.  She criticized the speech made by the outgoing US secretary of State John Kerry on the   two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian prolonged conflict. 

Yet her country Britain voted on United Nation Security Council resolution 2334.  This unacceptable resolution by the supporters of Israel passed by a 14-0 vote and Obama’s America abstained from voting on the resolution.

Image result for benjamin netanyahu theresa may Prime Minister of Israel

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s criticized Obama, the outgoing American president on the outcome. "After the U.S. abstained on a vote by the U.N. Security Council on December 23, which declared illegal all Israeli settlements constructed since 1967 on occupied Palestinian land, Netanyahu accused the Obama administration of working behind Israel’s back to pass the resolution.”  (Newsweek)

The resolution by the “United Nations security council has adopted a landmark resolution demanding a halt to all Israeli settlement in the occupied territories after Barack Obama’s administration refused to veto the resolution.”

· “Why would the British prime minister criticise Kerry when her own government played a leading role in the passing of UN Security Council resolution 2334 which condemned Israel over its settlement expansion? Kerry ordered the United States to abstain while May’s government voted in favour,” as rightly pointed out by Azriel Bermant,of The UK Guardian.

Theresa May should take a stand without trying to play to both sides. After all, Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East and Israel does not need a lukewarm ally especially at this juncture of her history, when the threat for survival of the Jewish State cannot be overemphasized.  

Image result for emeka chiakweluEmeka  Chiakwelu, Principal Policy Strategist at AFRIPOL. His works have appeared in Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Forbes and many other important journals around the world. His writings have also been cited in many economic books, publications and many institutions of higher learning including Harvard Education. Africa Political & 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.   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Sales of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” have soared since a special edition of the Nazi leader’s political treatise went on sale in Germany a year ago, the German publisher has said.

The book outlines Hitler’s ideology that formed the basis for Nazism and sets out his hatred of Jews, which led to the Holocaust.

The new edition is the first reprint since World War Two, released last January after a 70-year copyright on the text expired at the end of 2015. It includes explanatory sections and some 3,500 annotations, and has sold 85,000 copies to the surprise of its publishers.

“These sales figures have taken us by storm,” Andreas Wirsching, who heads up the publishers, the Institute for Contemporary History (IfZ) told German news agency dpa.

“No-one could really have expected them,” he added.

Hitler wrote “Mein Kampf”, which translates as “My Struggle” in English, between 1924 and 1926. It was banned by the Allies at the end of World War Two.

Hitler wrote most of the first, highly autobiographical, volume while incarcerated in Landsberg prison after his failed Munich coup attempt in 1923. After his release, he wrote much of the second volume at his mountain retreat near Berchtesgaden.

A bestseller after he became chancellor in 1933, “Mein Kampf” had by 1945 sold 12 million copies and been translated into 18 languages.



Wednesday, 04 January 2017 01:31

Biafra: Can One Kill an Idea Through Coercion?

“Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere”, and “he who holds a man down stays down” (Martin Luther King).  Slowly but steadily, Nnamdi Kanu’s detention in Nigeria, and the IPOB (Indigenous People of Biafra) cause, are beginning to resonate around the world, propelled by the phenomenal presence of the Nigerian and Igbo Diaspora around the world, especially in the US.

It took a while for Igbo elites in the US to figure out Kanu, IPOB, and the myriad of recent agitations from Nigeria.  On the face of it, the right to free speech is usually sacrosanct in any self-professed democracy, including Nigeria.  Therefore, criticizing the government of the day, should not ordinarily lead to treasonable charges. 

However, now that the Kanu and IPOB matter are beginning to sink in, many in the Diaspora are seeing Kanu’s diatribes as legitimate expressions of free speech, bordering on public criticism of national failures in Nigeria; even though the tone should not be personalized against any individual person or official. 

Any half-way decent lawyer will tell you that under the English common-law, which Nigeria and other English common-law adherents operate, there must be satisfactory proof of the elements of mens rea, and actus rea (the thought, followed by the action), before one finds a defendant culpable for violations of law.

Kanu and IPOB’s followers’ statements of their perception of marginalization in Nigeria are not unusual; especially since the publications were not followed by an actual armed rebellion.  Boko Haram is on the contrary, an armed rebellion, which constituted a clear and present danger to Nigeria.

Nigeria may currently be on a perilous slope if caution is not taken.  A peaceful protest or dissent from civil society groups should be seen as constructive criticism, not a cause to clamp down on segments of the population.  As Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka stated “The Man dies who stays silent in the face of tyranny.”  The government should not use a heavy-handed security force to muzzle dissent in a democracy.  Wole Soyinka has also said that, “You cannot kill an idea”; IPOB is an idea, you cannot kill an idea that has taken root in the psyche of millions of people.

Buhari’s Gaffe
President Mohammed Buhari unwittingly tried to deal a fatal blow to the discordant tune of the new Biafra movements, when he spoke publicly about the matter; during a media chat in early 2016.  During the media chat, he injected his personal opinion on a matter that was already subject to legal adjudication.

President Buhari implied inter alia, that withholding bail from Kanu was valid, because Kanu was charged with serious crimes.  When questioned further Buhari stated, “Kanu was carrying both Nigerian and British passports (apparently Kanu was a dual citizen)”.  Actually, Nigeria’s constitution allows for dual citizenship; therefore coming into Nigeria carrying two national passports was not a violation of Nigeria’s current laws, and certainly not “treasonable". 

Nigeria’s attorney general should have advised the presidency appropriately on dual citizenship and other matters, in regard to the Kanu matter.  Further, there are senior advocates in Nigeria who should be speaking publicly about these matters as well.  It is reasonable to expect that Nigeria still operates on sound legal reasoning, and the rule of law from her voices of learned jurisprudence. 

Is everyone cowering because their bread and butter may be on the line? Where are the consciences of the bar and bench in all these? Have Nigerians become completely timid since Gani Fawehinmi passed?

The Danger of Disobeying Court Orders
A society that has adopted the rule of law, cannot deny any person his or her liberty without just cause.  The president, acting on a whim, cannot ask the security agencies to “further detain” a person, whose charges were initially dismissed; or who was previously admitted to bail, by a competent court.

We have it on factual authority, that a competent court initially dismissed charges against Kanu.  However, the DSS acting on orders from above, decided to hold Kanu “further” on the same matter, contrary to the legal principle of “Res Judicata”, and without sufficient legal justification.  This is now unlawful detention. 

The above is troubling, more so because a substantial number of the Nigerian elite inside Nigeria, have stayed strangely quiet in the face of this injustice.  Many past and present political leaders, and the elites of both northern and southern Nigeria, have been quiet.  Injustice thrives not only because bad actors in governance have perpetuated injustice, but rather because the people who should speak-out have refrained from doing so.

The great danger of not speaking out is that it empowers a bad actor; and slowly the same act could be perpetrated against other persons, for insufficient legal reasons; until the bad actor acquires total power, and begins the decimation of all voices of reason, and democratic structures.  Unchecked powers allow dictatorships to take hold. 

We believe President Buhari has professed his commitment to democratic principles.  It is time for him to prove what he has professed, by backing away from a personal stance on matters of this nature.

The Time for Persons of Integrity to Speak-out
We trust that all Nigerians of integrity will begin to speak out on the injustice of the Nnamdi Kanu issue now, before it becomes too late.  No nation in history has ever survived with the executive branch of government usurping powers that is not theirs to possess, especially judicial power.  That was precisely how the Roman Empire, under Augustus Caesar, went down; after Augustus Caesar assumed absolute power over Rome.

The Anti-Corruption Campaign Should Continue
Many of us have come to respect President Buhari’s anti-corruption agenda; because to be fair, the previous government maintained a “laissez faire” attitude to corruption.  A government where billions of dollars of a defense budget could be shared callously by public officials and their cronies would have eventually ran the country aground. 

For the record, let us not confuse this Kanu, IPOB, and other civil rights matters, with the several criminal cases of corruption leveled against several politically exposed persons (PEP’s).  The many former and present public officials, including those who sent troops to die in battle, while pocketing billions of dollars of the defense budget, need to face the consequences of their actions.  There are bona fide mountains of real direct evidence stacked against these other persons, whether they are southern or northern Nigerians.

Will Nigeria survive another Civil War?
Another full-scale civil war may decimate Nigeria irreparably.  The descent into heavy-handed use of government coercion, against powerless citizens, including killings at IPOB rallies is worrisome.  The situation is now spiraling into other issues, amid rising calls for restructuring of the polity, insecurity, economic recession, and political instability; all of them tearing at the fabric of Nigeria.

In the event that another civil war arises out of the current discontent in Nigeria, it will certainly not be a repeat of the previous lopsided civil war, where most of the major powers of that day supported one side, over a small enclave. 

This time the world is a vastly different place.  The dynamics, including the permanent presence of Nigerian Diaspora of a certain ilk, in some of the most influential nations in the world, will surely ensure that a war will not end the way the previous war ended. 

We hope Nigeria does not go in the direction of a civil war again.  The stakes are too much for 180 million of Sub-Saharan Africa’s most talented people.  There must be a better way to either resolve these matters, or reach an agreement for regions to go their separate ways by civil agreement. 

Nigeria under Buhari needs to release Nnamdi Kanu now!

S. Okey Mbonu                                                                                                                                                                    
The author is a Nigerian-American Policy Analyst in Washington DC, and Executive Director at NAL Council (Nigerian-American Leadership Council).  Mbonu holds a JD in law, and has been featured prominently on major US & global media entities; including briefings at the Africa-Sub Committee hearings at the US Congress, and other influential institutions in Washington, DC.  Mbonu has been referred to as “a powerful voice on Nigerian matters” (MSNBC February 14, 2015).
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Tel: 202 379-2848, Ext. 202

Prince Harry may be a British royal, but he feels most at home at a location a little further south.

That place is Africa, a continent Harry has traveled to (and worked in) multiple times over the past 20 years. His first visit came just after his mother’s death in 1997, when his father, Prince Charles, took him and his brother, Prince William, to clear their heads after tragedy. Now, he makes the trek annually.

“My dad told my brother and me to pack our bags—we were going to Africa to get away from it all,” he told Town & Country in their February cover story. “My brother and I were brought up outdoors. We appreciate nature and everything about it. This is where I feel more like myself than anywhere else in the world.”

His most recent trip to Africa came this past August, when he visited Malawi to participate in the 500 Elephants relocation project with non-profit conservation group Africa Parks. Town & Country documented Harry’s time in Malawi over six days of his three week trip in the thick of the animals’ migration — one of the largest human-led relocations in history.

The 500 elephants and 2,000 other animals — a mixture of buffaloes, zebras, warthogs and others — were relocated from an area where they’re in high supply to another park, Nkhotakota, where the population has diminished due to poaching.

Harry became acquainted with African Parks in the summer of 2015, but this is his first time working with them on-site. The organization works not only with animal conservation, but with preserving Africa’s wildlife habitats — many of which cannot be sustained without a wildlife population.

“I completely fell in love with African Parks, because they get things done,” he said. “They make tough decisions, and they stick to principles.”

In the group, Harry is just one of the crew — people even address him as such, by his first name! He sleeps in the same tents, and wakes up with the sun like the rest of them.

“I love spending time with these guys,” he told T&C of the experience. “Night after night, chewing the fat around the fire, about the pros and cons of the legalization of rhino horn, or the historic migratory paths of elephants, or the population explosion on the African continent. And also conservation back home, which is hugely important.”

Harry’s passion for conservation isn’t the only thing that keeps him coming back to Africa. He says when he’s there, his mood shifts, his worries float away — in particular, due to the anonymity he’s able to have there.

“I wish I could spend more time in Africa,” he said. “I have this intense sense of complete relaxation and normality here. To not get recognized, to lose myself in the bush with what I would call the most down-to-earth people on the planet, people with no ulterior motives, no agendas, who would sacrifice everything for the betterment of nature… I talk to them about their jobs, about what they do. And I learn so much.”
And of course, he takes what he does in Africa and brings it back to Britian, too.

“I go home and bang the drum. So that we can all try to make a difference.”



credit: dianapearltimeinc

Monday, 02 January 2017 01:06

Anambra State vs Niger Delta

Lets look at Anambra state and see why it is more sustainable than most oil producing states.

There are three major cities that drive the economic prosperity of Anambra state; Nnewi, Onitsha and Awka.

Nnewi is the industrial city of Anambra State. Nnewi is home to several indigenous industrial manufacturing companies. Nigeria’s first car manufacturing plant is located at Nnewi. Nigeria’s auto part manufacturing factories are located at Nnewi, the first Nigerian made motorcycle was and is still been produced at Nnewi. There are several number of indigenous industrial products been produced at Nnewi. Technically, Nnewi is referred to as the ‘Japan of Africa’.

One fascinating thing about Nnewi is that most (if not all) of the industrial estates and manufacturing factories located there were built by indigenous efforts and by Nnewi people. Ibeto Group of Companies, Cutix and ADswitch, Uru Industries Ltd, Omata Holdings Ltd, Cento Group of Companies, Coscharis of Companies Group, Innoson Group of Companies, Ebunso Nig. Ltd, John White Industries, Ejiamatu Group of Companies, Chicason Group, Louis Carter Group, etc are all manufacturing companies established by Nnewi people at Nnewi. These indigenous industrialists simply transformed Nnewi into what it has become. Nnewi alone accounts for over 70% of the auto parts manufacturing business in Nigeria. Nnewi has a private sector driven economy.

The indigenous industrial efforts at Nnewi means thousands of jobs for residents and millions in revenue for the state government.

Onitsha is the commercial city of Anambra State, it is gradually also becoming an industrial city too. A number of new manufacturing companies have recently sprang up within the city, making it not only a trade center but also a production center. The Onitsha main market is one of West Africa’s biggest markets and provides opportunities for thousands of entrepreneurs and revenue for the state government. Onitsha is a private sector driven economy.

Awka is the state capital of Anambra state. As expected, it is a city mostly funded by state government activities. Awka hosts the government structures, universities, and a pocket of small commercial activities.

Anambra state govt seem to have an efficient civil service that has helped it survive through this period of low federal allocations. Anambra internally generates between N2-3billion Naira monthly. After Ogun State, Anambra recorded the highest improvement in IGR within the past two years.

Anambra has an impressive road network system that makes almost all of its rural communities connected by road. The same applies to electricity distribution. The state also has an impressive system of funding and managing of its basic schools. Secondary school education is subsidized, students pay between N2- 4,000 per term. Public basic education is therefore not free like it is in the Delta. This is a sustainable approach.

Every public secondary school has a made-in-Anambra-Innoson school bus. The waste disposal trucks in the state are made-in-Anambra- Innoson trucks. Some local security vehicles are made-in-Anambra-Innoson vehicles.

Anambra has a ‘community police’ system which it calls ‘vigilante’. This security system is decentralized in such a way that every community has its own team of indigenous security men, managing the security of the community. They are armed and have patrol vans. The vigilante system is more effective than the Nigerian Police system. These security officers are not paid by the communities but by the state government. These set of security officers are more visible than the Nigerian Police officers.

In the government school where I worked, we have a brand new sound proof generator which Peter Obi delivered to the school years back. I am sure the school has never used that generator since it was delivered. We also have two other generators, we only use one of them. The school has also replaced its black boards with white boards and have therefore replaced chalks with markers. The school is a beneficiary of an NCC initiative and therefore has internet access, tens of laptops and desktop computers which it uses to teach its students. Our library has good books and the overall management of the school is commendable. Supervisors show up from state ministry once in a while to assess teachers performance. Its a state owned school.

The youth corpers who passed out of service last month in Anambra state received between 80-140k backlog payment for their service to the state. Surprisingly, while oil rich states like Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom have either slashed state youth corpers allowances by half or even stopped payment, Anambra state early this year increased corpers allowances and paid them all sometime last month before their passing out.

Anambra has an impressive number of indigenous billionaires who are driving their local economy. It is rumored that Anambra state alone has the highest number of billionaires in Nigeria as at today. I do not mean resident billionaires, I mean billionaires by state of origin. You can research this yourself.

On agriculture; there is a group of people called Anam in Anambra state. These people are driving the agricultural revolution in the state. They are as hardworking as the Hausa/Fulani manual workers. Those who know the Hausa/Fulani manual workers in the South will attest to their productive ability to deliver on difficult projects at cheap rates. And they provide cheap labor. In Bayelsa for example, the local Ijaw unskilled workers are complaining about how the Hausa/Fulani manual workers are taking over their manual jobs. These set of people can deliver on any kind of labor work and their prices are unbelievable. Anambra has these kind of people too and they are from the Anam area. The Anam people of Anambra state are predominantly farmers. In terms of agriculture, they are as productive as Northern Nigeria. Farming is their religion and their location along the Niger River gives them an edge over other farming groups in the state. They grow yam, tomato, plantain, rice, cassava, melon, potatoe, and many others. It is rumored that Anambra is now getting close to been self-sufficient in tomato production; thanks to the Anam people. I also hear that Anambra now exports vegetable.

One interesting thing I like about Anambra people is their hustling spirit and the drive to develop their hometowns even without government support. You will be amazed at what individuals and diaspora town unions are doing to develop their communities in Anambra state. A man named Ichue Mike Ezenduka built a 4.2 kilometer road for his community from his personal pocket. Another man named Dr. Godwin Maduka is building a 15 storey specialist Orthopaedic hospital in his hometown, this is outside the number of other projects he has constructed there. An Anambra business man named Authur Eze pays every youth corper serving in his hometown an additional ten thousand Naira monthly from his personal pocket. There are several other interesting efforts by Anambra people that I do not want to mention here. The point is, the rich people of Anambra consider themselves as part of govt and also take social responsibilities, especially as it affects their immediate hometowns.

Anambra state is a sustainable state because, just like Lagos, the economy is not funded by politics of allocation alone which boils down to the civil service. The industrial and commercial activities are what drives the economy and even the politics.

In oil states like Delta and Bayelsa, the bulk of the economy is funded by politics. Asaba for example is a city sustained by government patronage. Yenegoa depends heavily on federal allocations. If civil servants are not paid, the economy (down to the market women) becomes grounded as it has recently become. After churches, the next biggest industry in Yenegoa is hotel. These hotels are patronized by mostly oil contractors and govt officials, with the grounding of the oil sector which by extension also grounds the govt, the hotel industry has nearly collapsed due to low patronage. In the past, due to free oil money, the govt of Bayelsa employed 'everybody' to work in its civil service as a way of empowerment and wealth creation. Today, the action is no longer sustainable and the decision is difficult to reverse. Today, the civil servants cannot be paid nor sacked. The state is almost grounded.

Despite the free oil money that has accrued to the Niger Delta states over the years, the region still suffers from been seen as a sustainable region. Its civil service is fraudulently bogus, its development contracts are ridiculously inflated, its businessmen are administrative based, they rise with an administration and fall when the administration leaves office. Their sources of wealth cannot be sustained because it is based on govt patronage. Akwa Ibom has fantastic public infrastructures but there are no serious internal economic activities to sustain the system. Port Harcourt city of Rivers State is gradually feeling the heat of the oil sector crisis. Port Harcourt industrial economy is oil servicing based. The other economy is funded by politics. With the oil sector in crisis, Port Harcourt is becoming a stagnant city in terms of economic prosperity. IOCs are unable to pay contractors. Contractors are forced to lay off staff to remain afloat. The Onne Port which would have created an alternative economic prosperity for the state is greatly and wrongly tied to the oil & gas sector and is badly affected by federal politics.

While Anambra state is producing and selling indigenous products to the rest of Nigeria and earning exchange to sustain its people and state, most Niger Delta states are still at the level of consumption. This is the big difference.

Recently, a development commission in the Niger Delta needed a client to purchase some plastic products worth over two hundred million Naira. I was directed to find a manufacturer that meets the specification. I could not find any in Port Harcourt or any other Niger Delta state. I ended up recommending Innoson factory at Enugu and another at Lagos. The deal has already been struck. Enugu and Lagos will be patronized for the contract. This is what we are talking about. Enugu, Anambra and Lagos have products to offer Nigeria just like the North is offering in agriculture. What are the Niger Delta states offering the rest of Nigeria to earn more money for its govt?

The future of Nigeria lies not even in agriculture but in manufacturing. This is why I am impressed at what indigenous people are doing at Nnewi and Lagos.

The Niger Delta might have lost its golden opportunity just like other regions of the country due to the resource curse syndrome which comes with free oil money. Anambra is successful because indigenous Anambra people have a natural inclination to succeed by whatever means necessary. Alot still has to be done by the state govt though.

Anambra could have been better if the federal politics was right. Anambra could have been better if the constitution made room for community based govt which they already do practice in some sense. I have seen community unions donate transformers, build public schools, manage hospitals and do many more things in that Igbo land. It all shows that there is a sense of responsibility towards home. With a community based govt system in a place like Anambra, development will reach the grassroot. I see a place like Anambra becoming an ideal destination for economic opportunities.

I hope the Niger Delta people will learn a thing or two from the Anambra people soon. Its time to think home in a sustainable manner.

It is time for state govts to pick up the list of imported products into Nigeria and say to themselves, what and what on this list can we replace between now and three years time from our states? What is our comparative advantage?

The Igbos are already trying to overcome the Forex crisis by expanding their local manufacturing base by finding local substitutes. The Igbos are both traders and industrialists. They don't only sell, they also produce. Onitsha and Nnewi is a perfect example of this illustration and Anambra state is simply reaping the benefits from its peoples effort. Everyday you see trucks moving finished goods from Anambra to other parts of Nigeria just like it is done from Lagos state. You hardly see same from most Niger Delta states.

The unitary system that we practice has hampered competition among states for too long. It is becoming clearer now that there will likely be no more free oil money soon. Those like Anambra who have laid the foundation for industrial revolution have nothing to fear. The industrial companies will provide the taxes through which the govt will survive. That is how it should be.

I feel worried for Bayelsa state. I worry for Delta state too. And I pray that the oil sector collapse as soon as possible. That might be the only opportunity for us to start thinking. Not just here in the Delta but in the whole of Nigeria.

IzuTony Osborg is from the Niger Delta

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    Ferienhaus Ostsee

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