Wednesday, January 22, 2020
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ideas have consequences

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President Trump administration is planning to add Nigeria and six other  countries - Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania - to its travel ban list, as reported by news network Reuters.


According to Wall Street Journal , "Some countries could be banned from participating in the diversity visa lottery program, which awards green cards to people in countries with low levels of immigration to the U.S. President Trump has called for an end to that program, saying it lets undesirable people into the U.S., and he has proposed reorienting the existing visa system toward skilled workers instead."



Nigeria, for example, Africa’s largest economy and most populous country, is a U.S. anti-terrorism partner and has a large diaspora residing in the United States.




"A senior Trump administration official said that countries that failed to comply with security requirements, including biometrics, information-sharing and counter-terrorism measures, faced the risk of limitations on U.S. immigration.





The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The State Department declined to comment.



Under the current version of the ban, citizens of Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, as well as some Venezuelan officials and their relatives are blocked from obtaining a large range of U.S. immigrant and non-immigrant visas."



WSJ reported that visitors overstaying their visa duration maybe partially driven the ban to include Nigeria and others. "In the 2018 fiscal year, 24% of Eritreans on business or visitor visas overstayed their permits, along with 15% of Nigerians and 12% of people from Sudan. Those compared with a total overstay rate in the category of 1.9%."


Speech delivered by Professor Wole Soyinka at the “Never Again Conference” organised by the Nzuko Umunna and Ndigbo, to mark the 50 years after the Nigerian Civil War on Monday, January 13 at the MUSON Centre, Onikan Lagos).
Image result for Wole Soyinka @ “Never Again Conference” - 50 years after Biafra Civil War



Last year October, about a week after the nation space that we have generously agreed to refer to as Nigeria, celebrated her 59th year of Independence from colonial rule, I found myself at the Athens Democracy Forum, Athens being of course that former nation-state that claims the honour of pioneering a system of governance that we all today, celebrate under the name – Democracy.




I have no intention of challenging Athens on her claims. What is of note in that claim is simply that the Greeks consider this system of socio-political arrangement of such primal validity, despite numerous challenges and setbacks, that they continue to flaunt it at the rest of the world as the ideal to which all of humanity should aspire. What is even more striking is that much of the rest of the world continues to fall in line, join in the exercise, and propagate its virtues. Two weeks after that conference, I was back on this soil of our own continent on an allied interrogation of history generated concepts. The venue of the second encounter was Dar-es-Salaam, the occasion, the bi-annual Conference on African philosophy.





My remarks today derive largely from issues raised by those earlier exchanges. There is a coincidence of timing and relevance for our present gathering here, both thematically and historically, a coincidence that almost qualifies as a gift of Providence, since all three encounters are geared towards the historic search of humanity for existential choices based on the exercise of collective wisdom. I do not speak of wisdom as an abstract pursuit, a lofty aspiration that exists in a rarefied realm of its own, but wisdom as the very manifestation of the human ability to seize both phenomena and experience by the throat and squeeze them of any lessons they have to offer us in amelioration of human existence. 






That claim is justified by the very theme of this encounter: NEVER AGAIN. It is not the first time most of us here have heard that expression. It is, unfortunately, also not the last time such an exhortation will echo in human caucuses, structured and/or casual, organized or improvised. It is both sentiment and pragmatism, an admission of an error, of an anomaly, of a less than desired expectation of ourselves, what we believe we are capable of, what deficiencies in judgment we consider we are capable of transcending. It is, to sum up, an indication of our capacity for vision, a refusal to be stuck in a mode of thought that discountenances the possibilities of human transformation, of possibilities of transcending present limitations. 



That resolve may emerge from an individual or collective experience. Let me bring it down to the most mundane, accessible level.  Let us say, in a foolhardy moment, we have exceeded the dictates of prudence in spending, overshot one’s budget. What do we swear when the moment of realization descends? Never Again!  Or perhaps – a more literally sobering experience – who still recalls his or her first hangover the morning after a night of over-indulgence? The very first words that emerge in that first flush of sobriety? Again, the two words: Never Again! 


The trouble, of course, is that humanity tends to forget such lessons too soon, and will be found pursuing the same course of action again, all over again and again. We become inured to what we consider our capacity for recovery, even boast of our increasing resistance to the effects of the night before. However, we know only too well that, side by side with that seeming capacity for recuperation, there is a steady erosion of the physical constitution that comes from excess. Sooner or later, the liver – among other vital organs – will take its revenge. That latter analogy is quite deliberate. Power intoxicates and, in that drunken state, human beings become mere statistics. 



Some people remain in a drunken stupor for years, alas, intoxicated by the sheer redolence of power and cheap access to the instruments of force. And so I evoke that analogy to bolster those sober and anxious voices that warn, from time to time, that no nation has ever survived two civil wars. The claim that no nation has ever survived two civil wars may not be historically sustainable but, it belongs to that category of quest that I have referred to as the pursuit of wisdom – in his case, we may equate it with the wisdom of not holding a banknote over a flame just because the Central Bank claims that it is fireproof. Or attempt to hold an exposed electric wire, just because NEPA is notorious for electrical incapacitation. 






Correspondingly, our analogy is sternly directed as a mirror to those contrary voices which boast: “I have fought a war and put my life on the line to keep this nation one, and I am ready to do it all over again.” That bravado, by the way, conveniently overlooks the reality that a parallel, often more devastating toll in human lives and lingering trauma is also exacted from untrained, unprepared non-combatants, burdening the future with a more unpredictable, indeed even irreversible hangover. And that introduces us conveniently to my second conference in Tanzania for which my contribution was titled: WHEN IS A NATION? – with the sub-title, Power, Volition and History’s Reprimand. I believe you have begun to grasp the connection.





If not, let me remind you that Tanzania was one of the five nations that recognized the breakaway Republic of Biafra during the Nigerian Civil War. Finding myself in that setting, among products of a very special historical formation – pre- and immediately post-colonial African – despite variations in detail, it was an opportunity to interrogate what, if any, could be considered a philosophical or ideological extract from 




a human event that consumed – it is estimated – two million and a half lives within two years. One of the preoccupations of philosophy is of course to immerse its processes in what actually makes humanity – tick. So, there we were in Tanzania, a crucial player in the Nigeria – note, I do not say Biafran but– Nigerian tragedy. Regarded as a progressive nation, with a track record of support for liberation causes both within the continent and outside – such as the Palestinians struggle for nationhood – serving as a front-line buffer against apartheid South Africa and thus incurring punitive attacks from that racist enclave, Tanzania nonetheless chose to go against the tide of opinion within the then Organization of African Unity.





She recognized a secessionist state at a time when such a position was not only unfashionable, but was even regarded by many as an act of race treachery, a rupture of the not-for-discourse, not-for-consideration political ‘absolute’ named: African Unity. ALSO READ: 50 years after: Let’s review issues that caused civil war ― Gowon, Soyinka, Utomi, Anya, Akintoye Yes indeed, that was the conjure word: African Unity. 




Unity as in non-fragmentation, non-divisible, was a proposition in transcendentalism, an Absolute. A modern continent, offspring of multiple rapes – or indecipherable trading treaties – and externally imposed distribution lines, was to be weaned on the milk of a foster mother named – African Unity So let us consider the implications of that collective position. In objective terms, what exactly was it? A historic irony, I propose. 

We are introducing here a very plain issue that goes to the heart of national coming-in-being of any people, that issue being a polarity between volition and – dictation. Perhaps you will now admit the relevance of my commencing reference to that other conference that occupied itself with the ancient socio-political system known as – democracy. The Yoruba have a proverb for that implicit lesson in contradictions – it goes:won ni, amukun, eru e wo, o niat’isaleni. Translation: The knock-kneed porter was told: that load on your head is skewed. His reply was – ah no, the problem lies at the base, in the beginning, not, in the consequence. And so, the question is thrown open as a fundamental proposition: is democracy itself not vitiated, not a sham where the roots of coming-in-being of a people spell dictation, coercion as opposed to – choice? 





Volition? Consent and Participation? Those are the building blocks of Democracy. Democracy is manifested in the act, not in the rhetorical flourish. That is the irony to which I refer, an irony that commenced when the Organization of African Unity adopted the very protocol of the inviolability of national boundaries – that is, the sacrosanctity of given boundaries, dictated, imposed, arbitrary and artificial boundaries, and its members resolved to defend those boundaries to the last drop of our blood. Now, a pause here is mandated. Tomorrow, I know that I shall open the pages of the newspapers and read that Wole Soyinka has advocated the breakup of Nigeria. 




One reporter will educe that from an underlying principle I have just enunciated, jot it down in his or her notebook, and others will copy that conclusion verbatim. Too bad for the nation’s Intelligence Quotient – known as I.Q. I have long given up and will proceed  – as I always have – on my own terms, with my uninterrupted dialogue with history, and in my own mode of expression. Those who wish to catch up can do so in their own time. My extract from that civil war remains what it always was – a simple self-interrogatory: Have we been had?





Absolutes tend to resound with clarity, an exclusionist proceeding that does not tax the brain. Absolutes readily corral even millions into comfort zones of unquestioning receptivity, simply from fear, or even just from the way they sound, not for the implications of their content. Absolutes however remains what they are – glorified sound-bites such as: The sovereignty of this nation is non-negotiable. Yes, what exactly does that mean? We know what it meant for the first-comers at the helm of affairs in the Organization of African Unity. It meant: to each his own, as exists at this moment of history. This is a club of leaders, let us keep things the way they are by respecting one another’s turf. No trespassing. No adjustment of givens. No agitation. No negotiation. 





Again, I warn against reductionism. I do not belittle the passion, the sincerity, the dedication to the liberation of the continent from external control as diligently pursued by a number of those leaders. I do not belittle the ideological determinism of a handful, the will to transform, to catch up the rest of the world and redress the history of enslavement – both by the Eastern and Western worlds, the humiliating racism for which we are on the receiving end, even till today. I do not for a moment underestimate the self-sacrifices and `I do not ignore the vision of a few individual leaders.




I do insist however that protocol of sacrosanctity of colonial boundaries was a self-serving power mechanism of internal control and domination that had nothing to do with a structured, programmatic concern for the African masses who bore the brunt of effects of colonialism and its later, camouflaged successors – including internal colonialism. And thus I continue to ask: Have we been had? Are we still being well and truly had? Do we continue to lay ourselves wide open to be cheaply had?  Well then, consider the state of the world, at that very time that the conference in Tanzania was holding, just last October. Let us take a look over the continental wall and instruct ourselves. 




That conference was taking place, 60 years of modernity after the Nigerian civil war, simultaneously with an ongoing upheaval in a distant continent, Europe, is a former colonial power, Spain. Yes, that power, Spain, was embroiled in a secessionist move by a province known as Catalonia. The initial, dramatic proclamation took place in Catalonia’s own provincial parliament earlier that year, echoing that other allegedly retrogressive move thousands of miles away on this very continent, in this very nation, in a region abutting the Bay of Biafra – that is, history was being replayed full 60 years after the precedent that was set in the Bay of Biafra. 





In between of course, need I remind you of the dismantling of the monolith known as the Republic of Soviet Unions – with the nearly forgotten acronym of USSR? Hindsight or foresight, irrespective of what triggers off recollection, it is all part of our humanity to call history to account from time to time, and most especially in those moments when its obscured fault-lines are exposed. And so we proceed to an even closer scenario – closer that is, even intertwined with our own history as former colonials – the United Kingdom, a fellow Commonwealth nation. 




I refer to the attempted breakup of that once colonial power whose policies in the first place certainly contributed to a violent, devastating resolution on the Nigerian testing ground. The Brexit movement is taking place within a loose organization, so one can claim it is not quite the same as that ugly word, “secession”. However, Brexit did lead,  with remorseless logic, to a renewal – repeat, renewal of the calls for Scottish independence. It is a recurrent agitation that actually resulted in a referendum in 2014– just six years ago – after a motion in the Scottish Parliament. That motion, like Brexit, obtained the assent of the union government in Westminster. 





The UK government under David Cameron found that it had to campaign hard to swing the votes for a “No”. Some here may recall that even Lawn Tennis had a cameo role in that drama since the referendum took place close to the Olympics, and collateral anxieties built up– would Andy Murray compete as a Scot, or as a Brit? If only such weighty issues of governance and nation-being could be reduced to benign proportions such as the uncertainties of the game of tennis! On a personal note, let me reveal here that I was in that very parliamentary house not long after the failed referendum where I addressed the International Society on European Enlightenment. 




It gave me the greatest pleasure to sympathize with members of the Scottish parliament on their abortive act of secession. Closer home, of course, we have undergone the break-up of Ethiopia and Eretria, after decades of human wastage. There is, of course, the resolution of a Sudanese separatist uprising in negotiated divorce. When – or if at all – will a verdict be objectively delivered on whether this was ‘one giant step forward for humanity’, or one harrowing step for socio-political retrogression? 




What matters for those of us committed to a humanist mode of thought is this:  a direction was finally agreed upon in favour of the survival of Sudanese humanity, the termination of its decades-long agony, and the annulment of the unwritten pacts of mutual decimation. Let my comments during a eulogy to our own homegrown secessionist leader, Odumegwu Ojukwu, who was once violently excoriated, later absorbed, after his military defeat, into the bosom of a “united” family – let those comments stand for some of the wider implications that derive – not to all, necessarily – but indisputably from some such events of dubious associations, even of the most benign. 





My eulogy went as follows: “On that day, May 30, of the year 1967, a young, bearded man, thirty-four years of age in a fledgeling nation that was barely seven years old, plunged that nation into hitherto uncharted waters and inserted a battalion of question marks into the presumptions of nation-being on more levels than one. That declaration was not merely historic, it re-wrote the more familiar trajectories of colonialism even as it implicitly served notice on the sacrosanct order of imperial givens. It moved the unarticulated question: 




“When is a nation?” away from simplistic political parameters – away from mere nomenclature and habit – to the more critical arena of morality and internal obligations. It served notice on the conscience of the world, ripped apart the hollow claims of inheritance and replaced them with the hitherto subordinate, yet logical assertiveness of a ‘people’s will’. Young and old, the literate and the uneducated, urban sophisticates and rural dwellers, civilian and soldier – all were compelled to re-examine their own situating in a world of close internal relations and distant ideological blocs, bringing many back to that basic question: Just when is a nation? Throughout world history, many have died for, but without an awareness of the existential centrality of that question. The Biafran act of secession was one that could claim that people had a direct intimacy with the negative corollary of that question.




Their brutal, causative circumstances – I refer to the massacres, the deadly hunts – could provide only one answer to the obverse of our question, which would then read: When is a nation not? In so doing, he challenged the pietism of former colonial masters and the sanctimoniousness of much of the world.




He challenged a questionable construct of nationhood, mostly externally imposed, and sought to replace it, under the most harrowing circumstances, with a vital proposition that answered the desired goal of humanity – which is not merely to survive, but to exist in dignity. Even today, many will admit that, in that same nation, the question remains unresolved, that more and more voices are probing that question – when is a nation? – from Central Africa through India/Pakistan to Myanmar and the Soviet Union – enquire of Cherchnya and the siege of Beslan! Innumerable are the casualties from contestations of that facile and unreflective proposition that whatever is, is immutably ordered, which confers the mantle of a divine ordinance on those spatial contrivances, called nations, even as they continue to creak at the seams and consume human lives in their millions. 




Such arch-conservationists, sometimes imbued with a high sense of mission, see only a sacrosanct order in what was never accorded human approbation, as if it is not its very human occupancy that confers vitality on any inert piece of real estate. Julius Nyerere was too astute not to know that his gesture of recognition was futile. That leaves us one extract – arguably others, but I wish to fasten on just one – symbolic. Translated into the language of propulsive thinking, impelled to extract a lesson from an unrelenting cycle of human wastage, that lesson would read: 




Humanity before nation. Indeed, Nyerere’s justification of his action implied as much. And, when we finally met, during a North-South conference that took place in Lisbon after his retirement, at a critical phase of the anti-apartheid struggle, he reaffirmed the rationale behind his decision. Well, it does not matter whether r or not that alone constituted the rationale for his position – we know he was a politician, and political motives are predictably multiple and interchangeable. What does matter for us today, is the imperative of a ‘revisionist’ attitude, even as a purely academic exercise. For example, ask ourselves questions such as: What price ‘territorial integrity’ where any slab of real estate, plus the humanity that work it, can be signed away as a deal between two leaders – as did happen between Nigeria and Cameroon. 




You seek an answer to the claims of territorial integrity? Ask the fluctuating refugees on Bakassi islands just what is the meaning, for them, of ‘territorial integrity’? Again, I feel obliged to emphasize that this has nothing to do with whether or not one side was in the wrong or right, nothing to do with accusations of a lack of vision, of pandering to, or resisting the wiles and calculations of erstwhile colonial rulers, or indeed, taking sides in a Cold War that turned Africans into surrogate players and the continent into prostrate testing ground for new weaponry. 




No, we merely place before ourselves an exercise in hindsight – with no intention however of denying credit to those who did exercise foresight – we propose that the loss of two million and a half people, the maiming and traumatization of innumerable others and devastation on a hitherto unimaginable scale, by a nation turned against itself even as it teetered on the edge of modernity, provokes sober reflection. That’s all. Sober reflection. A re-thinking that is unafraid, especially as such scenarios, considered in some cases even worse, more brutish, have since followed. 



Need one recall Rwanda’s own entry into that contest in morbid pathology, one that surpasses the Biafran carnage when comparatively assessed in duration and population parameters? All remain active reminders to haunt Africa’s collective conscience –  the existence of which, I know, is an optimistic presumption – and appears to elude the ministrations of politicians and/or ideologies, or indeed theologians. I propose that we borrow a leaf from our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora.





I have no qualms in reminding this, or any other Nigerian audience that, such as the ingrained slave mentality of the contemporary progeny of those who sold those exiles into slavery in the first place, that some in this nation actually consider it a duty, even honour, to take up cudgels on behalf of the denigrators of our own kind, of our own race. 




Thus, they proceed to insult those who respond in their own personal manner to such racists, however powerfully positioned and no matter where on this globe – but let that pass for now. My intention is to jog your memories regarding that spate of serial elimination of our kind – the African-Americans – by white police in the United States at that very time, an epidemic that merely actualized the racist rantings of the current incumbent of the White House as he powered his way to the coveted seat in the last United States elections. 






The African-Americans, tired of being arbitrary sacrificial lambs, the victims of hate rhetoric, went on nation-wide protest marches, carrying placards that read: Black Lives Matter. Adopting that simple exhortation enables us to include the millions of victims of failed or indifferent leadership on this continent who are more concerned with power and its accruements, who see the nation, not as expressions of a people’s will, need, belonging, and industry, but as ponds in which they, the bullfrogs of our time, can exercise power for its own sake. It is they who militate against ‘nation’, not – I shall end on this selective note – not the products of migration from purely nominal nation enclaves who perish daily along the Sahara desert routes, who drown in droves in the Mediterranean. They are the ones who confronted the question with, alas, a fatalist determinism. 





They asked themselves the question: When is a Nation?  And the answer of those desperate migrants is clearly read as: not when we left where we called home! As long as our humanity opts for unmarked graves in the Sahara desert, or in the guts of the fishes of the Mediterranean, their answer remains to haunt us all.





Yes, indeed, let us internalize that Africa-American declaration as statement of a living faith, an expression of our humanity that may compel leadership to pause at critical moments of decision, thereby earn ourselves some space where we can re-think those bequeathed absolutes that we so proudly spout, gospels of sacrosanctity, pre-packaged imperatives or questionable, often poisoned“truths” that incite us to advance so conceitedly towards the dehumanisation and decimation of our kind. Any time that leadership, on whichever side, is about to repeat yet again the ultimate folly of sacrificing two and a half million lives on the altar of Absolutes, any absolute, we should borrow that credo, paint them on prayer scrolls, flood the skies in their millions with kites and balloons on which those words are inscribed: 
African Lives Matter!



 

Former 2019 Presidential Aspirant Okey Samuel Mbonu has thrown support to the concept of “community policing” as enunciated by the Southwest Governors, via the Amotekun project.  Mbonu in a statement released from his current base in Washington DC, United States; stated that community policing is an inevitable aspect of true federalism which Nigeria purports to practice.



He further explained that community policing in the US arose from the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution, which gave all citizens the right to bear arms, for the security and defence of their local communities, against unbridled attacks and potential terror.



Mbonu stated that since the numeric strength of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), is only 350 Thousand, for a population of 200 Million, that it is not rocket science that there’s an array of criminal elements, having a field day all over Nigeria, with rampant kidnapping, robbery, and banditry ravaging both north and south Nigeria.  It is also an open secret that more than half the NPF are busy guarding politicians, their wives, and their children, thus making the rest of the population vulnerable with one police personnel per 3000 to 5000 persons.



Mbonu stated that the FG should be congratulating the Southwest Governors, and encouraging the Southeast, South-south, and Middle-belt governors to form their own Community Policing units to augment the NPF, just like the Hisbah Police, and the Civilian JTF.



Mbonu also asked Nigeria’s Attorney General to understudy the US Federalism that Nigeria adopted, where Policing is strictly a state and local government affair, with every one of the 4000 counties (local government area) in the US, having its own police, along with City Police Departments for the various cities across the US.



Further, Mbonu said that the US Federal government technically does not have a “domestic” police force, because policing is a state affair, and the US Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) which is not a “uniformed” service, is only there, to aid in investigation of major interstate crimes, at the request of state officials, or due to some other serious issues.  In any case, the FBI would work closely with state police when invited to each of the 50 US states.



He stated that Amotekun would protect all citizens in their particular domain, whether they are Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, Ijaw or Efik, and urged the FG to retrace her steps, and embrace dialogue with the states, to work toward a common purpose of securing Nigeria domestically.  Once the nation is secure domestically, the national military will then truly focus on the self-professed enemies of the country.

 


Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari), has nominated Dr Kingsley Obiora as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.  He will replaced outgoing  Dr Joseph Nnanna. 
The nominee’s name has already been forwarded to the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, for confirmation by the Senate.



In the  statement signed and released by Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesinas reads , “President Muhammadu Buhari has sent the name of Dr Kingsley Isitua Obiora to the Senate for confirmation as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.



“In a letter to President of the Senate, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, President Buhari said the nomination was in accordance with the provision of Section 8(1) (2) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (Establishment) Act 2007. “Dr Obiora, upon confirmation by the Senate, replaces Dr Joseph Nnanna, who retires on February 2, 2020.



Dr Obiora holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Statistics from the University of Benin, a Masters in Economics from the University of Ibadan, and a Doctorate in Monetary and International Economics, also from the University of Ibadan."



At the moment  Dr Kingsley Obiora  is the  Alternate Executive Director in the International Monetary Fund in Washington DC, United States of America. His boss is  Godwin Emefiele ,  the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria since June 4, 2014. .

Nigeria’s public debt stands at N26.2trn as Buhari govt moves to borrow N10.8trn

 

According to the Debt Management Office, Nigeria’s external debt as at June 2019 was $27.1 billion, with the 36 states and Abuja owing $4.2 billion. Domestic debt level as at June was $56.7 billion, with the states owing $12.9billion . In Naira terms, external debt stood as N8.3 trillion in June and domestic debt was N17.3 trillion.



And  In addition  to the monstrous debt,  the Federal government of Nigerian  is proposing to borrow  additional 22.7 billion dollars



Based on the findings and compilation by Brookings Institute and World Poverty Clock, “Nigeria has overtaken India as the country with the largest number of people living in extreme poverty, with an estimated 87 million Nigerians, or around half of the country's population, thought to be living on less than $1.90 a day.”



When Nigeria’s economy was rebased in 2014, the country’s Gross domestic Product (GDP) stood at USD 510 billion by the end of fourth quarter the gdp rose to USD 568.5 billion  making Nigeria the largest economy in Africa.  The economic development engineered by monetary and fiscal policy was pro-growth was principally driving the economy.  The gdp was rising and growing up to 7-8 percent was realized. With the containing and out rightly taming of inflation rate at less than ten percent, coupled with the speaking up of Nigeria’s brand, the country was a steady growth. I guess good thing never last forever especially in Nigeria.  Then in 2016 the negative growth stepped in and devastated the economy until early quarter of 2017.


Central Bank of Nigeria employed monetary policy tool to mop up liquidity at monetary base due to high inflationary trends. CBN did maintained already jacked up interest at 14 percent  to tame the rising inflation rate which was exceeding 11percent. This scenario triggered illiquidity and credit crunch in the market because borrowing became very expensive.

Below is the further analysis by Bloomberg :

"Budget Woes

The government will need to fund its 10.6 trillion naira ($29 billion) spending plans at a time when economic growth is faltering. Revenue has fallen short of target by at least 45% every year since 2015 and shortfalls have been funded through increased borrowing. In its latest credit report on the country, Moody’s Investors Service warned that the state is likely to take on even more debt and the budget deficit is set to widen further.


“One of our concerns is the authorities seeking central bank financing to fund part of the deficit,” Yvonne Mhango, an economist at Renaissance Capital, said in an emailed response to questions. “That would add to inflationary pressures.”


Inflation reached a 19-month high in November and increases in the minimum wage and power tariffs are adding to price pressures. The west African country has also shut its land borders since August to stem smuggling of items like rice and frozen products, causing food prices to rise by 15% from a year earlier.



Currency Pressures
The risk that the naira will have to be devalued is mounting. The central bank has sought to maintain high yields as an incentive to foreigners to invest in debt denominated in the local currency, attracting large dollar inflows in the process.


While the naira remained relatively stable in 2019, the country’s external reserves are down to a year-low of $38 billion. Yields on naira-denominated debt dropped to an average of 13% at the end of last year, from a peak of 18% in 2017, diminishing their attractiveness to fund managers who are concerned about a possible currency weakness.



“The Central Bank of Nigeria’s de-facto naira peg will likely continue to be under pressure in the near term due to widening imbalance in the current account, which has increased external financing needs amid weaker portfolio inflows,” Omotola Abimbola, an analyst with Lagos-based Chapel Hill Denham Securities Ltd., said by email. “We believe the CBN may be forced to review the market structure in the second half of 2020 to address investor concern.”



Banking Blues
Banks in Africa’s most populous nation ramped up lending in response to pressure from the central bank to raise their minimum loan-to-deposit ratios to 65% by the end of last year, increasing the risk of defaults. And the problem could get even worse if the regulator follows through with plans to increase the minimum ratio requirement to 70%, Abimbola said.
A high proportion of loans have already been restructured, masking the real levels of problematic debt within the banking system, according to Moody’s. "

 

credits: Afripol, Bloomberg, Guardian


Image result for senator menendez letter to Nigeria


The United States  Senator Bob Menendez issued the below press release and letter that subsequently  brought about the release of Sahara Reporter publisher  Omoyele Sowore.

"Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement after Omoyele Sowore, a prominent Nigerian-American journalist and activist, was arbitrarily re-arrested yesterday by Nigerian authorities. Sowore, a New Jersey resident, was first arrested in August and despite two court orders for his release, Nigerian security services refused to release him until yesterday. Hours later he was re-arrested.  Senator Menendez has been involved in securing Mr. Sowore’s release after his family in New Jersey approached his office about it. Amnesty International declared Sowore a prisoner of conscious on November 20th."

“I am outraged by the blatant harassment of Omoyele Sowore, an activist and journalist whose only crime appears to be exercising his right to free expression.

“In a concerted effort to secure his release on behalf of the Sowore family living in New Jersey, my office has been working closely with the State Department as Mr. Sowore’s case languished following his arbitrary arrest back in August. While we continue to seek immediate answers about Mr. Sowore’s treatment and conditions in jail, I will be further engaging directly with U.S. Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard in Abuja to raise this case at the highest levels of the Nigerian government so the Buhari Administration gets the message that we are committed to defending Mr. Sowore’s rights and securing his release.  “This blatant miscarriage of justice is symptomatic of closing political and media space in Nigeria.”

AFRIPOL INTERVIEWS Chief (Dr.) Victor Ide Okoye


Dr. Victor Ide-Okoye has been elected the president general of Umuoji Improvement Union (UIU) USA and North America since 2017. Okoye in his capacity as the leader of UIU North America promised to move forward with the  building of a medical center in Umuoji. But in the course of his tenure, issues arose that brought about division, impeachment imbroglio and consequently two fractions of UIU in America.  Ide-Okoye never ceased with the project and has just completed the physical  building of the medical center.  AFRIPOL interviewed him on  all the issues that brought about the division and separation, on how he did manage to complete this project of medical center and his vision of peace for  UIU North America.


Afripol‘s cultural and Entertainment Analyst, Mark Wooten and Emeka Chiakwelu, Afripol founding director  conducted the below interview. Chief Dr. Ide is always a pleasure to speak to you and AFRIPOL thank you for making out time for this special interview with AFRIPOL….


QUESTION 
At the July 2018 Umuoji convention held in New Jersey USA, in your capacity as the president general of Umuoji Improvement Union of North America you pushed a bold and ambitious agenda of building and equipping a modern medical center in Umuoji.  How far have you gone with the project?

Dr. Victor Ide Okoye: Yes my brother, during our 2018 National Convention the National Congress, the general membership unanimously voted 49 – 0; to build a modern medical center for our people back home. As you must have heard, those opposing the project continue till this day to fight and to obstruct all of our efforts, but I must give thanks to God Almighty, because today, it is near completion.  You know the saying “pictures don’t lie”.  Here is the current picture of the Medical Centre at Nkwo Dimechem Umuoji


QUESTION
We remembered your rallying words, “Let us build a medical center in Umuoji”.  You called for a collective effort, for one tree does not make a forest. How was the level of cooperation from Umuoji sons and daughters worldwide?

Dr. Victor Ide Okoye: Good question, the truth of the matter was that during our 2018 National Convention in New Jersey, we debated passionately about the Medical Center Project; the oppositions were fierce and nasty. Some people wanted us to go and rebuild the Abor Maternity Home and most of us wanted to build a more modern medical center for Umuoji; that one we could call our own. After debating and deliberating for over 4 hours, the votes were called and the votes were 49 - 0 to build a new medical center. Those fiercely against this project were acutely aware they were losing big time and decided not to vote against it because they didn’t want the record to reflect their opposing to a life-saving project for our brothers and sisters back home. Today, they are openly and brazenly showcasing their disgust at the project making every effort to thwart the project. I guess when one is on the right path, God would find ways to make it happen.  We just refused to take “NO” for an answer.  They have come against me with everything they had.

As everyone must have heard those opposing our Medical Center project have formed their own UIU/NA faction.


They have created their own WhatsApp forum and announced there that they have impeached the elected National President of UIU/NA, removed the National Vice President, and removed the National Secretary. Yes, true story, does it sound like a “Banana Republic” You guessed it right. Some of them are having a field day defaming my good name. But there is a price to be paid if you defame someone’s good name. we are currently sorting those out in the courts here in the United States.


Also, as most of you might have heard, during my visit to Umuoji in December of  2018, I found out that those opposing the Medical Center project at Nkwo- Dimechem Umuoji , wrote a petition against me to the Inspector General of Police, alleged that the initial $9,000.00 we paid to the contractor  building our Medical Center at Nkwo-Dimechem Umuoji was stolen by me. They planned their evil act to have me harmed and detained. I was able the secure the fictitious petition they wrote against me. My investigation exposed that their plan was to harm me personally. Their goal was also to make sure that they stopped our planned fundraising in Umuoji to enable us complete the project. Bottomline, I do what I do for the love of my people.

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Even with a viable and credible opposition, you thrived and accomplished your agenda. What is the source of your optimism and motivational energy?

Ide Okoye: The love I have for my beloved town Umuoji is my driving force.  I love my town and I wanted to be a part of something big that would truly meet the needs of our people.  One thing about me is that whenever I am told that I can’t do something that I know I have the right to do; I become unstoppable. All my life, that word, “no” has never been a part of my lexicon. You know me from high school and you know how we roll!!! Laughter. Honestly, I just want to give back and I am so lucky to have found others like me who are willing to give back. I am so tempted to mention some names here, but I will wait. We are working on recognizing and honoring some of our folks behind this our project during our upcoming 2020 National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts.

 

Whose brainchild was it to build Umuoji Medical Center? Has it always been in the pipeline before you became the leader of UIU North America branch?

Ide Okoye: It doesn’t even matter whose idea it is, can we all just get things done for our people and have them benefit from our collective effort! But on different note, I have read somewhere some folks are claiming that it was their idea or they had the idea in mind or whatever. But the funny thing is that those who were claiming that it was their idea were the biggest opposition to this project. So, I don’t get it. . ., you’re opposing your idea? Let me give you a little perspective; When asked what I hoped to accomplish if elected the National President of UIU/NA, during our National convention in Maryland in 2017, I promised to do the following:


(1) Secure a land and build a brand new, ultra-modern medical Center in Umuoji;
(2) Get our young adults completely involved and inaugurate the youth wing of UIU/NA;
(3) Inaugurate more branches, because since our union began; some 20 years ago, we had never added any branch, we were stagnating;
(4)  re-organize our Annual National Convention and
(5) continue our yearly medical mission;


Well let’s evaluate our achievements 2 years later; here are what we have done thus far:


1.   the goal of Inaugurating the UIU/NA Youth Wings was accomplished during our 2018 National Convention; mission accomplished.
2. We have created two new branches; Canada Branch and Western Region Branch.
3. Held two highly successful National Conventions 2018 New Jersey, and 2019 Toronto Canada. Both National Convention were totally successfully,
The 2018 National Convention in New Jersey was where we voted unanimously to build the Umuoji medical center at Nkwo Dimechem, Umuoji. Toronto Canada was the first National Convention held outside United States. Its tremendous success speaks to the inevitable success birthed whenever like-minded people dedicate themselves to rising beyond their personal agendas while serving a greater good.


4. We secured a land at Umuoji from the UIUN for our medical center project, thanks a bunch to our indomitable PG, Dr. Victor Okechukwu Anyaegbuna’s administration.
5.  Our very own Modern Medical Center; Umuoji medical center is completed, and we are currently working on equipping this project as we speak,  we are planning to open it for our folks on or before December of  2020. My brother talk is cheap.

 

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Now you have completed the physical structure of the Umuoji Medical Centre.  What is your strategy for the equipping and running of the medical center?

Ide Okoye: Like I said, we are securing equipment as we speak, and other minor work in the center is still ongoing. We have 10-year plan strategy on running the Medical Center; it is going to put Umuoji on the map. Every equipment and all the medications are going from the United State of America. Trust me my brother when we are through with the center, it is going to be one of a kind in Anambra States. Our folks are excited and we are looking forward to doing something great for our folks. Knock on wood.

 


It is not news any more that UIU in North America have split into two fractions and you are leading the fraction that is building the medical center. Can you enlighten us or rather tell us to the best of your knowledge what caused this division among brothers and sisters in a foreign land?

Ide Okoye: As you know we live here in the US, which is a civilized society but it seems some of us are still behaving like they live in a Banana Republic.

Our constitution is very clear; the only people who have power to elect or not elect the officers are the General Assembly which happens once a year. Couple of guys who think for some reasons they are the owners of UIU/NA went to WhatsApp forum to publish that they have removed the National President, removed the National Vice-President, and I think they wrote that they removed the National Secretary as well.  I truly don’t know why they decided to defame my name by writing about impeachment and misappropriation of funds and other defamatory write-ups.


They took me to court in the State of Nebraska, alleging that I stole $9,000.00 from UIU/NA and that I needed to return the money. They should have simply started their own faction which they have every right to do. Initially, I had no interest in going to court with these guys, but you know sometimes people take your kindness for weakness.
Well to answer your question, yes, we have two factions now, honestly, if that would bring more development to our dear town, so be it.  Remember we have had this UIU USA since 1999/2000 and yet no tangible achievement until I became the National President and decided to do something tangible for our folks. I guess some of them wanted to keep things the way it has been.

Image may contain: 2 people, including Dr-Victor Ide-Okoye, people smiling, people standingIde and wife


Two separate conventions were held this year July by the two fractions. One convention was held in Canada and another in Dallas USA. Your own group was in Canada convention.  How did Umuoji arrive at this juncture in a foreign land and how can we come together again?

Ide Okoye: Listen, our doors are open, my people and I, our interest now is to give Umuoji a Modern Medical Center, and if anyone wants to join us, let them come on down. We are not getting any younger, we cannot just meet once a year and contribute money and nobody gives account of this money. Our people are done with contributing money and nobody is giving them an accurate account of their contributions and you know we have done the same thing for 20 years and counting. Come on man, it doesn’t make any sense at all and I refuse to be part of a legacy like that.

Our convention in Canada was one of the best UIU/NA National Convention ever, we raised enough money to almost complete our medical center. I have to tell you; our people witnessed a different kind of convention and it will be impossible to convince them to go to convention again and just fight from morning to night in the name of a ‘meeting.”   Bottom line is this, we had a great convention in Canada, and our accounting was done within 24 hours and all the money raised deposited, all within 24 hours. This had never been done before.



Before the division and separation of North America UIU, you were accused for overstating and going beyond your constitutional power as the president and for allegedly financial misappropriation?

Ide Okoye: Yes, my brother. These people are bent on defaming my good name and you just cannot do that and get away with it. I have sued them for defamation of my good name.

Here is the truth of what actually transpired: In my “State of Union Address” in October  2018, I delved into the detail of how the medical center project was approved in New Jersey and also I detailed the process we undertook in selecting our medical center building committee members; the committee’s selection/award of the contract and their request for release of money to the contractor; the NEC meeting authorizing the release of the money to the contractor;  the refusal of the Treasurer to transfer the money as approved by the NEC; occasioning my reasons for effecting the transfer of $9,000.00 to the contractor account.
This was a project approved by the national body at the national convention. The few guys who opposed the project thought that they can stop the will of the people. But, no! Not on my watch.


Believe it or not, the only UIU/NA money in this project is only $9,000.00. Let me say it again, the only UIU/NA spent in this our Medical Center at Nkwo Dimechem Umuoji is only $9,000.00 which I transferred to the Contractor after the approval by the National Executive Council (NEC). Any other story by those opposing the Medical Center are all lies and slanderous.


The money we used to build the Medical Center was contributed singlehandedly by members of my group. It is the $9,000.00 that they wrote that I misappropriated, unbelievable, you just can’t make this up. I have contributed thousands of dollars to make sure that this Medical Center is not one of those abandoned projects in Umuoji. I thank God, my family is blessed and I would continue to give to make our town a better place.



We heard about the legal actions on both sides.  Suing and counter suing. What is the truth?

Ide Okoye: Well, it is true, like I stated before, they filed suit against me after I transferred the money to the contractor who is building our medical center. So, three of these guys claimed that they filed the lawsuit on behalf of the UIU/NA. In essence, they fired the first shot, so we decided to fight back.  One thing I can assure you is this; when anyone impugns my character in anyway, I will defend my good name with the last blood in my vein.



There was also an accusation of alleged award of contract to the building contractor without open bidding to the general public.  Not carrying along your executive members and creating your own inner caucus?

Ide Okoye: Well, my brother I have heard all sort of rubbish. But one thing I can tell you to take one look at the people making all these crazy allegations and rubbish write-ups, and compare these people to the caliber of  Umuojians who make up the building committee members like;  Mrs. Ngozi Stella Nkulume, Ike Ofoje, and Dr Jacob Mgbemena; I rest my case. Everything we have done is well documented. Remember at one point, they claimed that no land was given to us for this project. Some folks are really the enemies of our beloved town, honestly…



Finally let’s talk about peace and unity. How can unity emerge and once again UIU North America becomes one entity and to end this unwise division and separation?

Ide Okoye: Honestly, I don’t really think this is a serious division. Bottom line, is that some people want us to go and remodel Abor Maternity health center and some people want to build a brand new Medical Centre at Nkwo Dimechem and have already spent tens of thousands of dollars to achieve that objective. Sooner or later we will all get back as our big family. I don’t think any person from Umuoji would be denied treatment at any of those two medical centers. At the end of the day, we are one big family.


QUESTION
One more question Chief Ide, what is your next agenda and vision for Umuoji?

Ide Okoye: Honestly, I would like to tackle one more project before the end of my tenure in 2021. Stay tuned and thank you very much! You are awesome!


AFRIPOL: Thank you Chief, it is a pleasure speaking to you again and your cooperation was highly appreciated.

ggggMark wooden, Afripol's cultural and Entertainment Analyst.

AFRIPOL  works have appeared in Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Forbes and many other important journals around the world. Afripol  writings have also been cited in many economic books, publications and many institutions of higher learning including Harvard Education and Oxford University. 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

 

Disclaimer:

The opinions, comments   or views expressed here do not reflect the opinions of AFRIPOL  or any employee thereof. AFRIPOL do not  endorse any perspective. All rights reserved. This material and any other digital content on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from AFRIPOL

 

Orji Uzor Kalu, the former governor of Abia State and the present Senate’s Chief Whip of APC dominated senate was sentenced to 12 years in prison at Federal High Court in Lagos by  Justice Mohammed Idris. Kalu was found guilty of 39 counts of N7.2 billion fraud and money laundering.


Kalu’s co-defendants are his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited and Udeh Udeogu. Udeogu was the Director of Finance and Accounts at the Abia State Government House during Kalu’s tenure as governor was  sentenced  for 10 years  in prison

The court also ordered that the Slok Nig. Ltd. should be wound up and its assets forfeited to the Federal Government.



Kalu after the judgment was seen wiping his tears with a white handkerchief, the Nation reports.



Speaking after sentencing while been whisked away by the warders, Kalu said: “‘2023, here we come.”



He, however, begged the wardens not to handcuff him in public.



“Where are you taking us to now?




” Please don’t handcuff me. I will follow you,” Kalu requested.

 

Credit Daily Post

Tuesday, 19 November 2019 03:56

Poem – What is Africa…. Shithole?

Poem – What is Africa…. Shithole?
By Emeka Chiakwelu


Ancient landscape of body, mind and spirit
Noble Humanity of innovation, experience and action
Were you not there in the genesis ?
Relegated as the edged narrative in bondage



Destruction of mind was deadlier than body
Demolition odour of toxic hydrogen sulfide
odour of defeat , smell of capitulation
ever tired of sleeping in the middle of the day



suerly! called Africa plenty names
jungle
lazy
nigger
now called shithole



sadly you know me not
those adjectives represent me not
compilation of thoughts shift actions
words and actions are related
but actions and words are not same




hands are there to do the works
feet were drained by cottons of the fields
enslavement was from man not from Providence



Africa hands are free from chains of yesterday
legacy of yesterday resisted
freedom lies in your hands
mind refused to grasp



mother of the earth violated
spring water of umuoji polluted
the wealth of Africa harvested and siphoned
gold, diamomnd, silver taken away
Africa is living on will power
Surviving on the metaphysical strength



for how long will misery persist
children photographed with flies on their faces
where did the flies come from?
can anybody explain the source of misery



free but enslaved with names and calamity
the voices of children cried at midnight
where is mother and father ?
Protruding with misery in their eyes
Africa arise and take your stars in your crisp hands



But who is Africa?
I am Mandela
I am Azikiwe
I am Shaka Zulu
I am Aminu
I am Nkrumah
I am Kenyatta


Yes my name is Soyinka

Achebe that’s my name

my namee is Obote

my name is Dim Ojikwu

my name is Fela

my name is Adichie





I am….
not Tarzanic landscape
not dark continent
not noble savage
And history knows I am not shithole!



Emeka 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 Oxford University and Harvard Education. www.afripol.org, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

 

Tuesday, 19 November 2019 03:45

POEM: Ikemefuna

Ikemefuna    By Emeka Chiakwelu

(A sacrificial lad in Things Fall Apart)


Image result for things fall apart



Moisten forest mesmerized by repugnant darkness
Thoughts wandering from dawn to sunset
From where will the darkness emerged
For in the mind of the hero lies cowardice and malice
But you said he was fearless and a crusader hero
The hour pillage with darkness will arrive
The time has come for action to cogitate 
But profound thinking is for the cowards
Who told you so you simpleton
Without thinking, how can meaningful actions speaks



You cannot obliterate a destine event
The hour has come
Where is Ikemefuna  - a lad of innocence?
Clothed with guilt and revenge
Where are the arrows ?
And where are the swords ?
We came to make peace to the land
We came not desolate the land
The land is not asking for sacrifice
The land is asking for tradition to prevail
Those customs were obsolete and unforgiving
We came with a fig of olive branch                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 T
herefore let the lad  go in peace




Here comes Okonkwo the son of the soil
Dripping with culture and customs
A celebrated hero with shallow mind
Arrow in one hand and a sword in another
Okonkwo did you come for war?



Waging a war against your own son?
Take the olive leaf and spare the life of the lad
But they said you a coward
Masquerading as a hero in untamed mind



Obscurity comes out from your eyes
Darkness flow out from your guts
Gushing darkness hidden in the pale mind
Wicked thought lost in vociferous tradition
Only the pained face that repelled cowardice
Ikemefuna a dutiful son not sacrificial object

@CopyrightEmeka Chiakwelu

 

 

 

 

 

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