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You are here:Home>>Vincent Ogboi>>Displaying items by tag: Nigeria
Displaying items by tag: Nigeria

A reconstruction plan and massive aid for Africa

The one-time US presidential candidate and civil right leader Rev. Jesse Jackson was in Nigeria and called for African version of the Marshall plan, a reconstruction plan and aid given to Europe at the end of Second World War. Rev. Jackson said that Africa deserves a massive assistance as a result of damage done by colonialism and naked aggression that has left the continent poor and downgraded.

Jackson was in Nigeria to address Kuramo biennial conference, a dialogue on law and developmen in lagos state, Nigeria. His words, “In order for countries to overcome disparities, they need to get fair trade and favored-nation trade status to cover the ravages of war and occupation and colonization. The formula was good for European reconstruction - it should apply to Africa."

“The Marshall Plan, put forward by the U.S. to rebuild Europe after the war with the Axis Powers, cost roughly $13 billion at the time. Jackson offered no estimate on what a similar program aimed at road, sewer and building construction would cost across the continent, but said Western nations had an obligation to the countries they once occupied.”

Associated Press reported that,“Jackson acknowledged that he once benefited from Nigeria's largesse: he toured South Africa to protest apartheid in the 1980s with the financial backing of then-military dictator and current presidential aspirant Ibrahim Babangida. Babangida left power in 1993 as a reported $12 billion in oil revenues went missing.”

Rev. Jesse Jackson is not a stranger to issues affecting Africa and he has been a vocal supporter of Africa. In the era of his presidential candidacy he did call for debt cancellation and lower interest rates on the loans given to African nations.

 

Rules to strengthen Nigerian banking system

The apex bank of the land, The Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) is formulating a policy equipped with rules and regulations to prevent future banking crisis. The governor of central Bank of Nigeria Sanusi Lamido confirmed that as he addressed a forum of bank directors in Lagos. The CBN chief said the rules will be directed to the lenders and together with “international advisory panels” the banking crisis can be put to rest.

Nigerian banking crisis confronted the country's economy in the second quarter of 2009 and the banking integrity was badly threatened and damaged. The banking meltdown brought the marketers confidence on nadir level. There was a consequential liquidity problem and that slowed down the growing economy. Therefore it became logical that the Reserve Bank should come up with regulations to tighten and addressed the laxity in the system.

The CBN chieftain Sanusi confirmed that the new rules will “forestall the pitfalls of the past where corporate governance malpractices brought a number of banks to their knees" and the subsequent “bailout of some notable local banks in the second half of 2009 underscores the importance of sound corporate governance practices and professional ethics”.

At the time of the banking crisis, Sanusi’s Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced the dismissal of managing directors of five banks in Nigeria - Intercontinental Bank PLC, Fin Bank, Union Bank, Oceanic Bank and Afribank. And on top of that many influential individuals and companies were fingered on not living up to agreements of the debts they own to those banks. The reason given by Sanusi Lamido’s CBN for letting them go is principally due to:

“Excessively high level of non-performing loans in the five banks which was attributable to poor corporate governance practices, lax credit administration processes and the absence or non-adherence to the bank’s credit risk management practices. Thus the percentage of non-performing loans to total loans ranged from 19 per cent to 48 per cent. The five banks will therefore need to make additional provision of N539.09 billion. The huge provisioning requirements, have led to significant capital impairment. Consequently, all the banks are undercapitalized for their current levels of operations and are required to increase their provisions for loan losses, which impacted negatively on their capital. Indeed one is technically insolvent with a Capital Adequacy Ratio of (1.01 per cent). Thus, a minimum capital injection of N204.94 billion will be required in the five banks to meet the minimum capital adequacy ratio of 10per cent.”

The failed banks were later recapitalized by CBN at the tune of 620 billion naira ($4.1 billion) and injection of such a large fund probably solved the problem of liquidity but the danger of increasing inflationary trends looms with such a large injection of the fund. Nigerian inflation stood above 10 percent since the injection of the funds. We are not suggesting with certainty that the enormous fund injected did trigger the rising inflation but no enlightened market observer will deny the correlation between excessive liquidity and inflation.

Prior to the proposals of new regulations, Emeka Chiakwelu the Principal Policy strategist at Afripol stressed that CBN must go further and come up with a doable comprehensive blueprint to reform the banking sector. To look into the rules and ordinances of the banking and readjust them where there are lax and weakness in the system. At this time of global economic meltdown, the last thing Nigeria needs is to be weakening further by problems of the banking sector. The ramification will be capital flight and restriction of flow of capital for wealth creation in Nigeria. Already the Standard and Poor’s lowered Nigeria credit rating from BB-minus to B- plus.

Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) was said to be carrying out a banking reform in early 2010. With this new incubating regulation it means that the core of the matter was not solved nor resolved in the initial banking reform in Nigeria.  To make laws to avert profligacy is one thing, but to implement the laws in order to check excesses is where efficiency, discipline and call to duty are urgently needed.

Nigerian Banks must not abandon the serious job of tackling inflation and building a stronger currency to the central bank. They can be a partner to monetary and fiscal policies of the government by adhering to rules and regulations of banking sector and not trying to exploit the loopholes for short time gain and by so doing weaken the banking sector.

 

Private Car plant opens in Nigeria

Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Limited (IVM) based in Nnewi, Nigeria has been  opened for operation and president of Nigeria was present to cut the tape. The first of its kind in Nigeria, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company is a privately owned company and the CEO Innocent Chukwuma is the principal investor. Many important government and business individuals garthered at the opening ceremony including the governor of Anambra state and some of its cabinet members.

There was a huge satisfaction from the guests and mood was festive, as the whole ceremony proceeded. This is a booast for private industry in Nigeria especially in the Auto industry where Nigeria is badly lagging behind when compared to other emerging nations. This is not the only car plant in Nigeria, there was already french based peugeot car plant but it was wholly controlled by the government of Nigeria with its foreign joint partner. Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company do not have a partner with the government rather an independent company that is 100% owned by private individual.

 

President Jonathan said,  “I am indeed happy that Innoson is not just assembling parts that are imported from  other countries. From all indications, it is only the engine that is imported. Apart  from that, every other thing is manufactured in Nigeria,”  and stressed that it will help to lessen unemployment and trigger economic growth in the state. He further stressed that government economic policy was in line with development of private industry and private enterprise.

According to the CEO of the motor industry, Mr. Innocent Chukwuma said that  the car plant employed almost 1,600 Nigerians together with some expatriates while the operation sister company at Enugu employed 1800 Nigerians.

pic: Innoson Motors

He said, “Mr President, with adequate encouragement, we can go beyond our present level of  operation, and when we operate fully, the auto plant alone can employ as many as  3,200. We want to appreciate the example of the Enugu State Governor, Mr. Sullivan  Chime (who has placed an order for hundreds of buses and refuse disposal vans from  Innoson) and pray that every tier of government from Federal to Local Government and  government parastatals, should emulate this patriotic act,” he pleaded to President  Jonathan.

Most of the raw materials were raised in Nigeria and all the car parts were made in Nigeria except the imported engine blocks. Innonson car plant makes seater- buses, double cabin pick up  vans and SUVs which were on displayed on the opening day.

Nigerian government needs to make a serious decision on moving forward with its iron and steel industry by privatization and giving chance to superior technical and management expertise from the private industry. To improve automobile industry in the country engine blocks must be manufactured in the country. With improvement in the electric power sector and iron-steel industry, Nigeria will join the rest of the productive vehicle manufacturing countries.

 

 

 

President Goodluck Jonathan in Anambra State

Anambra State and its people including Governor Obi are making the preparation and putting the finishing touch to receive the August visitor, His Excellency President Goodluck Jonathan on his official visit to the state. The people of the state will come out in mass numbers to receive and show Anambra hospitality to the president. Without doubt, the people of the state and its government are solidly in support of the president and his progressive policies. While ago the governors of south eastern Nigeria and stakeholders congregated at Enugu and wholeheartedly endorsed President Jonathan for another four years.

Anambra State has a lot to be proud of and as it’s truly the -light of the nation. The state and its people have contributed immensely in the making of Nigeria and are in the vanguard of Nigeria’s actualization. The great sons and daughters of Anambra State have continued to make Nigeria proud and great.  The one shining example was the role played by the late Rt. Honourabe Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe in struggle to free Nigerians from colonialism and ushered the country into the oasis of freedom and liberty.

Even to the present day illustrious sons and daughters of Anambra State including those at home and Diasporas have not rested on their laurels but used every opportunity to make Nigeria better and greater. The Honorable Chinua Achebe, an Anambrian and one of the greatest novelist of our time continues to speak out on issues that are relevant to the people of Anambra state and indeed Nigeria.

With the availability of ample human capital in Anambra State, there are also numerous problems confronting the state. This is where Governor Peter Obi comes in and he will have the ear of the president of Nigeria with this official visit. First and foremost, the provision of security is not adequate to confront the menace of kidnapping. The problem of kidnapping is among the major problems confronting the state. The government of Anambra State may not appreciate the depth of the problem but kidnapping is a clog in the progress of the state.

Anambra State business community especially the tourism industry is bearing the brunt of kidnapping that have gone rampant in the state. Anambra citizens residing outside the state are reluctant to journey home as fear of being kidnapped becomes overwhelmingly probable and real. The citizens of Anambra State in Diasporas especially those in North America and Europe are not returning to the state in a record numbers. The state is losing out because money and resources are not flowing freely into Anambra State.

Governor Obi will dialogue with the president and solicit for a help in providing adequate security to protect lives and property in the state. After all, the most important function of a government is the protection of life and property. President Jonathan is a progressive and compassionate leader; he will come to the aid of the government and people of Anambra State on this calamity they are experiencing.

Another major problem is the issue of unemployment among the youths. The young men and women are the most important human resources needed for growth and development. In a capitalist economy government do not necessarily create jobs but they do create conducive environment that enable job creation to be possible and sustainable. President Jonathan’s visit to the state can be a source of relief and the beginning of something great and spectacular for the Anambra state and indeed Nigeria.

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


 

 

Published in Emeka Chiakwelu
Thursday, 07 October 2010 18:17

AFRICA: Then, Now and Forever

Philip Emeagwali on  Nigeria’s 50th anniversary

Excerpt from Nigeria’s 50th anniversary lecture at the Embassy of Nigeria, Paris. Lecture.

Walk with me in memory to one of the greatest celebrations, the end of the colonial era in Africa. The day: October 1, 1960. The place: British West Africa. The setting: a crowded stadium in the Atlantic coastal town of Sapele. School children are waving green and white flags in honor of the birth of modern Nigeria, no longer part of the British Empire.

I was six years old and was in that stadium. I do not remember what was said because the concept of colonialism was abstract to me. But I vividly remember an incident that made me cry all that day. I was waving my flag in excitement when a faceless bully snatched it away and disappeared into the crowd.

In far-away Lagos, the Union Jack was lowered. Nigeria's Head of State, the Queen of England, was dethroned and Nnamdi Azikiwe became Nigeria's first black leader.  Fifty years earlier, the Union Jack had cast its shadow across every global time zone, giving rise to the saying, "The sun never sets on the British Empire.” We had showed our pride in being part of the empire by celebrating Empire Day on May 24th, Queen Victoria's birthday, with parades and sporting competitions. Later, Empire Day was renamed Commonwealth Day.

As a country, Nigeria has existed for 96 years, but it has only been independent for 50 years, for just over half that time. We must critically examine the 46 years of colonial rule over Nigeria and the scramble for Africa that began with the Berlin Conference of 1884, if we are to get insights into how to chart our nation's course for the next 50 years.

The Sankofa is a mythical bird of the Akan people of West Africa. If flies forward while looking backward, with an egg in its mouth to symbolize the future. In order to understand its history, to reclaim its past, and to enable its people to move forward into the 21st century, Africa must look back, back to the Berlin Conference of 1884 and back to the Atlantic slave trade that spanned four continents and four centuries. This will allow us to understand how we came to be 54 nations instead of one.

Like the Sankofa bird, Africa must look to its past to predict its future. It must know how it evolved in order to understand how it can be recreated. Its people should know where their journey began in order to understand which direction to take to find their future.

The Berlin Conference is when Africa was divided into roughly 50 colonies, and 1884 was when the modern map of Africa was created. The Berlin Conference was the beginning of modern Africa. In 1884, Africa was the agenda, but no African was at the table.

This year, in 2010, 17 African nations are celebrating their 50th anniversary of sovereignty and post-colonial rule. Nigeria's journey, like that of the other independent African nations, began at the Berlin Conference 126 years ago with no African in attendance. If colonial Africa could be created in Berlin, then a future Africa could be created in Beijing. Nations creating technological knowledge are reinventing the future and recreating Africa.

I believe that, by the end of this century, one in two Africans will live outside Africa. I was asked: "Why did you live in exile

from Africa for 37 years?" Put differently, "Why don't you deliver Nigeria's 50th anniversary lecture in Abuja, instead of in Paris?" I have never visited Abuja. But I am not at home in Washington, D.C., either.

I had an asymmetrical relationship with Africa and America, as well as with science and technology. I worked entirely outside the gates of science and as an outcast, with outsider status. I was honored, but will forever remain an outsider in America. I was honored for retelling the 330-year-old story of the Second Law of Motion: from the storyboard, to the blackboard, to the motherboard, by reprogramming 65,000 subcomputers to compute as a supercomputer, and to communicate as an internet. I became my own ancestor in physics, my contemporary in mathematics, and descendant in internet science.

I experienced the usual in an unusual way. I was an ordinary person caught up in extraordinary circumstances. I decided to march forward, to come home to myself, not to someone else's home. I stayed in exile in America, feeling at home in my alienation from the white community. My 37 years of solitude allowed me to gather myself and to find my power.

Philip Emeagwali has been called “a father of the Internet” by CNN and TIME, and extolled as a “Digital Giant” by BBC and as “one of the great minds of the Information Age” by former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

 

Saturday, 02 October 2010 15:47

Professor Akunyili on Nigeria at 50

My thought on Nigeria at 50

The founding fathers of Nigeria had a dream of building a united, prosperous and developed nation state where social justice reigns supreme like ever flowing river. This vision filled the atmosphere at the then Race Course, now Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos on that Saturday morning precisely on October 1, 1960 when the Union Jack (British Flag) was lowered for the Green-White-Green Flag. The Colonial Masters handed over the baton of the country’s leadership to our founding fathers.

Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Nigeria’s First Prime Minister, aptly called the Golden Voice of Africa encapsulated this vision in his speech at the auspicious occasion. ‘‘We, the elected representatives of the people of Nigeria, concentrated on proving that we were fully capable of managing our own affairs both internally and as a nation. All too soon, it has become evident that for us Independence implies a great deal more than self-government… This great country, which has now emerged without bitterness or bloodshed, finds that she must at once be ready to deal with grave international issues…. When this day in October 1960 was chosen for our Independence, it seemed that we were destined to move with quiet dignity to a place on the world stage… We are called upon immediately to show that our claims to responsible government are well-founded, and having been accepted as an independent state, we must at once play an active part in maintaining the peace of the world and in preserving civilisation. I promise you, we shall not fail for want of determination…’’

Nigeria’s foremost nationalist and first indigenous Governor- General, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe laid the foundation for good governance. Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the visionary Premier of the then Western Region tagged the best president Nigeria never had walked the independence talk. Chief Michael Okpara as Premier of the Eastern Region did wonders while the Northerners can hardly forget the Midas touch the legendary Sir Ahmadu Bello brought to governance as Premier of Northern Region.

Unfortunately, six years after, the Military struck unjustifiably on January 15, 1966, through a Military Coup that laid the foundation for subsequent change of governments by the barrel of the gun. This caused many crises in the land including the Civil War. These conflicts / war retarded the development of our dear nation and above all, led to the loss of so many precious lives. The rest is now history.  As Nigeria turns the Golden Age of 50, many Nigerians have argued that our founding fathers may be turning in their graves owing to the state of the Nigerian nation state.

Nigeria gained Independence on Oct 1st, 1960

They say there is nothing to celebrate about. I don’t blame them. I share in their disappointment. I appreciate the ugly fact that many of our people still live below poverty level. I am not oblivious of the fact that there is a predominance of unresolved issues that threaten our nationhood.  The only point of departure between me and them is that we have cause to roll out the drums, though responsibly. The singular reason that we have remained an indivisible entity calls for celebration. If for nothing, in Nigeria for the first time, there was a civilian to civilian transition in 2007. The sustenance of civil rule in the land shows that we have something to cheer about.

The fact that this country has created internationally acclaimed brands of men and women doing the country proud calls for euphoria. As we celebrate our independence, we must do so with sober reflection. We must ask ourselves certain questions to know where we got it wrong, where we did our best and our best was not good enough and where we failed completely to act as individuals, as public servants and as a government and make efforts to make our society work better.  I have never been comfortable with the poor image of Nigeria in the comity of nations. So when I was appointed Minister of Information and Communications, I initiated the National Re-branding Campaign to correct the negative perception of Nigeria and its people. So far, the campaign has permeated all nooks and crannies of Nigeria and the world.

In this era of National Re-branding Campaign, we are changing negative attitudes, forming positive traits, reviving our beautiful cultural values and instilling patriotism in our people, we cannot afford to be extravagant in the name of celebrating our 50th anniversary. Already the Federal Government and the 36 states of the federation are striving hard to make the country one of the 20 developed economies in the world by the year 2020. Fellow countrymen and women, as we celebrate, we must all join hands to evolve a Nigeria of our dream. Government alone cannot do it. For me, the Nigeria of my dream is a nation-state founded on justice and honesty of purpose. This is so because all great nations of the world thrive on justice. I want a Nigeria that has zero tolerance for corruption, religious and tribal bigotry. Indeed I want to see a Nigeria where people will proudly say I am a Nigerian living in so, so and so state and not a Nigerian of a particular state of origin! This arrangement will unite the people, eliminate mutual suspicion among the people and remedy the indigene – settler induced crisis ravaging Nigeria especially in the Northern part of the country.

 

I have a dream that sooner than later, the votes of Nigerians will count and we shall say bye-bye to electoral fraud!  I envisage that in no distant future, our democracy will be built on one-man-one vote – the panacea for constitutional democracy! I believe if the peoples’ votes count, the leadership will be more accountable to the led. This will positively impact on all sectors of society because politics is the super structure upon which the economy rests. Once you fix the polity, you remedy so many socio-economic problems plaguing the society. Though this sounds like a tall dream but it is possible with Electoral Reforms and positive attitudes by Nigerians.

Even in the best of systems, it is the operators of the system that make it work and not the constitution or Act of Parliament per se. The implication of this is that no matter the Constitutional Review and the Electoral Reforms carried out by the National Assembly, if Nigerians stick to their old ways of doing things, the system will still not work effectively! Britain for example has an unwritten constitution yet it is a politically stable and better organised society than our dear Nigeria with a written constitution.  A Nigeria of my dream is a country where its citizens enjoy critical infrastructure such as good road, water, un-interrupted power supply and to mention but a few.  Power will power the economy and help the country to attain the Millennium Goals. With power, industries, large and small scale businesses would yield optimum results. I want to see a Nigeria that its transport system is complemented by a vibrant railway system.

This will make our roads last longer because most of the cargoes carried on roads will have to be transported by rail  hence minimising inflationary trend because economists have shown that high cost of transportation is partly responsible for the galloping inflation in the land. I foresee a Nigeria devoid of alarming unemployment and insecurity. These are possible in view of the abundant human and material resources God Almighty has bestowed us with. I want a Nigeria, where citizens are proud of their citizenship and can actually take it to the bank. To achieve this, we all need to roll up our sleeves and soil our hands in work. There should be no short cut to success than hard work!  Dreaming dreams alone will not make it happen. Endless criticisms without providing viable alternatives will not make it happen. It will happen when we subsume our self interest for national interest. It will happen when we say, ‘enough is enough’.

This is the Nigeria of my dreams. I am committed to it even at the expense of my life. It is this vision of Nigeria that has shaped my outlook and actions. It is what keeps me going when I am tired and want to give up. It was what almost cost me my life at NAFDAC; it is what is propelling me now. This vision of Nigeria is alive in my heart, I can see it.  In summary, all we need to do as a people is to get the polity right, shun corruption, be patriotic, believe in God and every other thing shall follow. Happy birthday! Nigeria:

Good People, Great Nation

• Professor Dora Akunyili is Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Communications.

 

Friday, 01 October 2010 14:34

Nigeria at 50

Nigeria is ready to move forward

Nigeria at 50 is trying to mature into adulthood. Although slow but it is almost certain that when Nigeria finally gets it right, this sleepy and now about to be awaken giant will be noticed. The awaken Nigeria will not only be noticed by many nations in Africa who after one disappointment after another by Nigeria almost wrote her off but also by the great powers of the West.

Most Nigerians agree including the new breed of leaders that for Nigeria to turn away from the past, it cannot be business as usual. Nigeria must harness all of her resources, not only natural resources, but their highly neglected and very educated human capital most of whom are scattered in the Diasporas.

The future certainly looks good for Nigeria, if the current breed of leaders can honestly adhere to the emerging Democratic principles. Then the oil resources could become a blessing to the Nigerian masses. Nigeria must imbibe a sense of belonging, ownership value and zero tolerance to their pervasive corruption. The corrupt system that has permeated every fabric of the society must be defeated for Nigeria to grow and flourish.

I was pleasantly surprised when yesterday, I read that Nigeria just made the list of six nations whose economies are expected to blow away expectations and become leading powers in their regions relatively soon. These are (Mexico, Australia, Indonesia, Nigeria and S. Africa-MARVINS just like the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China)  and I hope that Nigeria does not falter and miss this opportunity.

 

Mr. Vincent Ogboi is a Senior fellow, economic and financial analyst on African affairs at Afripol Organization

 

 

Published in Vincent Ogboi
Friday, 01 October 2010 06:08

NIGERIA IS FIFTY YEARS

AS THE JOURNEY CONTINUES

NATIONAL ANTHEM OF NIGERIA

Arise, O compatriots, Nigeria's call obey

To serve our fatherland

With love and strength and faith

The labor of our heroes past

Shall never be in vain

To serve with heart and might

One nation bound in freedom, peace and

unity.

 

Oh God of creation, direct our noble cause

Guide our leaders right

Help our youth the truth to know

In love and honesty to grow

And living just and true

Great lofty heights attain

To build a nation where peace and justice

shall reign.

 

 

THE NATIONAL PLEDGE

 

I pledge to Nigeria my country

To be faithful, loyal and honest

To serve Nigeria with all my strength

To defend her unity and uphold her honor and glory

So help me God.

 

Lead Image The Past And The Present Presidents and Head of States: (L to R) Abdulsalami Abubakar, Ernest Shonekan, Ibrahim Babangida, Olusegun Obasanjo, Goodluck Jonathan, Yakubu Gowon, Shehu Shagari and Muhammad Buhari. Photo: NEXT

Nigeria is 50 years today and the anniversary is filled with festivities. Nigerians deserved to sit down, reflect and look back on this amazing journey. Nigeria has made her mistakes but also have moments of joy and happiness. On the day the first president of Nigeria, The late RT. Honourable Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe saluted as Nigerian flag was hoisted and national anthem was played, Nigerians never anticipated that the journey would have been rocky with troubles and tribulations. Nigeria experienced civil war, military coups, IMF's austerity measures, depravity, corruption and many others. But in spite of all these, our great country is still standing and for this we shall thank God.

Nation-building is an arduous and difficult exercise. The path to Nigerian project was not easy rather paved with complexity. Sometime the vision of greatness is realized, while in some cases it ended in futility. Nigeria is not exempted from the mistakes and errors of nation building. We as a nation have missed many opportunities and have gone astray. Nigeria has abandon the noble cause of being her Brother's keeper and have become selfish and egomania.

Nigerian youths the most important human resources and human capital have been neglected and they are not properly educated and fed. The odds against them are mountainous and cumbersome.  Without positive and credible role models, Nigerian youths have nearly gone the path of emptiness but they continue to triumph and beat the odds. The leaders have disappointed the Nigerian citizens and have not done the right thing. The people are quick to point accusing fingers to the leaders while they dwell in their own moral laxity.

The infrastructures have deteriorated to a point that Nigerians do not have adequate health facilities, safe drinkable water and  are now living in semi-darkness bedeviled with the electricity shortage. The educational facilities were almost destroyed that some of the graduates are carrying around empty degrees. Nigeria cannot provide jobs to the citizens and poverty has become almost universal in the Nigerian world. The climax is lack of security in the country - kidnapping and robbery have become the most lucrative enterprise for the youths.

Nigeria has her triumphs; Nigerians continue to co-exist as a nation in spite of the naysayers. Many have labeled Nigeria a failed state, but ordinary men and women of goodwill in Nigeria continue to believe in the Nigerian project. These hardworking Nigerians wake up in the morning everyday and thank God and go on living. They raised their children by eking out a living and they hope for a better Nigeria. These average Nigerians make a way where there is no way. They continue to pray for their country and hope that things will get better. These are our patriots and shining amours, for their devotion and commitment to Nigeria is without comparison. To all these men and women; we salute and raise our caps.

Our time for revival and transformation has come and Nigeria cannot afford to fail.  Africa and world needs Nigeria to make it and reclaim her giant of African status. Nigeria has the natural and human resources to become one of the most relevant nation in the 21st century.

A task for our leaders and citizens of Nigeria is to envision a nation of freedom, liberty, equality unity and justice. We can make our country even greater, when we work together, dream together and live together. Nigeria! the sky is your limit and your next fifty years can be more promising and more fulfilling by living according to your national anthem and pledge -  by building a nation where peace and justice shall reign.

 

Happy Anniversary and  May God Bless Nigeria!

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, 29 September 2010 04:32

Onitsha Needs and Deserves Environmental Facelift

 

Onitsha deserves a break!

Onitsha the commercial Mecca of Anambra State in Nigeria, the city that gave us Main Market, the largest market in Africa, has been neglected so much that it desperately cries for a facelift. Some of the roads are so deteriorated that they pose both traffic and health hazard to the urban habitants. The quality of life has been and will continue to depreciate if the trend is left unchecked. The multiplicity of the pot-holes unfortunately has become pool of dirty waters and raw sewage. With these facts, the pot-holes teem with mosquitoes. The devastating effect of mosquitoes and its malarial consequences cannot be overemphasis within this context. Wastes and refuses that litter all the nooks and corners of Onitsha especially streets and roads contribute to this menace. There is no adequate waste management program for the collection and disposal of refuse. The ubiquitous trashes are health peril to the urban dwellers; the reckless abandon of rubbish has however, diminished and disfigured the aesthetic configuration of the city.

Onitsha OnitshaOnitsha Pics:Dr. Okenwa R. Nwosu

With the governor Mr. Peter Obi at helm of affairs, the local and state governments could liaise to formulate sound environmental course of actions and principles that will revive Onitsha. A solid waste service and prudent management must be instituted for the collection, disposal and recycling of discarded materials in a manner that will be safe, efficient, environmentally sound and cost-effective. A blueprint strategy of comprehensive refuse disposal to the landfill in Onitsha will spell a new beginning for the city and its inhabitants of nearly 2 million. This will create a neat ambience that will automatically elevate the quality of life. By improving the environmental quality of Onitsha, it will definitely spur rapid economic development. This is possible because it will attract new businesses and capitalists - who will be willing to invest in the city and as well, spend some time there. Not only that the improvement will facilitate business activities; it will also help to position Onitsha as a Mecca of business and tourism in Nigeria.

Environmental deterioration in Onitsha does not augur well for the citizens of Anambra State in particular and Nigeria in general, in view of the sociopolitical and economic symbolism Onitsha stands for. These have significantly diminished against the status quo -due to neglect and in-action.

A city that had produced great legal and political bigwigs like Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Sir Louis Mbanef and others, who were in vanguard of Nigeria's independence struggle and actualization, cannot be abandoned to rust and decay. The task of rebuilding, restoring and refurbishing a new city does not rest entirely on finance, though it is important, the primary and key condiment is the political will. The resolve to combat the detrimental state is and must be rooted on the political will and commitment.

All stakeholders -politicians, government executives even public companies (as a result of their social responsibilities) must seize the opportunity at this moment to act on the best interest of the masses. Initiating a master plan and mustering the will-power to move forward must be the order of the day. The electorates have rendered power or mandate to the leaders through their elections into offices for an all-encompassing performance. With the exception of God, no other is more sacred than the votes of the electorates. The Governor and Chairmen of the local governments need no extra mandate than the power already derived from the people as reinforced in the constitution. Leadership must therefore, take the bull by its horns, by nipping this menace in the bud.

The major environmental defect is the refuse abandonment, which must be tackled to accomplish the lofty task of creating and cultivating sustainable strategies for a cleaner environment in Onitsha. The initial strategy is to constitute a task force under the auspices of the ministry of works, which will then come up with the comprehensive plans to formulate the methodology and implementation of refuse disposal. The committee will formulate environmental policies and ethics that will delineate the responsibilities of the private citizens and government officials in sustainable clean environment.

"Trash receptacles will be strategically placed to ensure that the public is given ample opportunity to dispose of litter. Messages will be stenciled on the trash barrels to enlighten the public on how to properly dispose of litter. This will help to ensure that trash is removed before runoff; wind or birds move it to the drainage channel. Trash containers are to be emptied at a minimum of once a week. All collected trash and debris will to be hauled to an approved landfill by licensed solid waste disposal vehicles. Vehicles used to haul the debris shall have a sealed bottom to prevent leaks or seepage, and the trash materials shall be covered while the load is in transit. All personnel will be instructed the correct procedure for trash disposal."

External monitors and strategists in the form of experts, consultants and managers are needed to work with government. Government alone cannot segregate itself from the private enterprises towards the planning and implementation of sustainable clean environment. In the free market economy, the presence of private industries does enable fast delivery of services and portends well for probity, transparency and it deepens capitalistic democracy.

 

 

Published in Archive
Wednesday, 29 September 2010 04:20

The collapse of the Naira

Nigeria's Strategic Blunder

Nigeria has so far achieved theoretical quantitative macroeconomic fundamentals, but a lot needs to be done particularly on stabilizing her bearish Naira currency. Although Naira is relatively stable, it is weak and soft when you compare it to other major currencies like dollar and euro. Presently Nigeria is having one of the lowest debts to GDP ratio in the world. This is attributed to her recent payment of foreign debt and the reasonably macro-economic stability she achieved through economic reform measures with a huge foreign reserve. Yet the value of Naira continues to be depressed.

Nigeria's financial and economic community is quick to point out that the fate of Nigeria's currency Naira - the gyrations, floundering and nose-diving is the ramification of global economic meltdown. This is not entire the case, we can recollect couple of months ago that Nigeria was celebrating because Merrill Lynch, an international investment banker rated Nigeria as one of the top ten nations that were safe for investment. The rating may be incredible - "at least to anyone living in Australia, much of Europe and U.S. -- because it ranks Nigeria (where the per capita GDP happens to be a paltry $2027 a year) as the safest economy in the world, which certainly seems like a stretch given it's the 38th-largest economy in the world and 137th when based on per capita GDP -- not to mention it suffers from social unrest."

So with this highly publicized rating one can extrapolate that the Naira is out of harm's way, from the tumbling of the global economic downturn. The subsequent dramatic falling of Naira cannot be justified for Nigeria's economy is not wholly exposed to floundering of world market.

Nigeria may be perceived to be safe because she has not really submerged in the mainstream of financial and economic globalism. Nigeria has not met the criteria to be fully vigorous and integrated player in the world trade theatre; Nigerian economic indicators and metrics including statistics, benchmarks and indices on the economy is the testament of the country's inactivity on international stage. Again Nigeria does not have a credit based economy and lacks the serious capitalists and capital to be among the chief players in the global trade.

So, why is Naira falling? The currency Naira is falling due to both tactical and strategic blunder.

Nigeria's economy is fragile and weak because Nigeria operates one commodity based economy, which is oil, a major source of her foreign currency.

In the short range, Nigeria is obsessed with easy money of oil trading and out rightly rejects the growing diversifications of her economy she initiated. A great nation like Nigeria has refused to grow her economy with all the natural and human capital at her disposal. Nigeria exports the crude oil to developed nations who refines the oil and Nigeria will in turn buy back the refined oil from the outside and subsidize the gasoline for local consumption. The oil refineries are not performing at an appreciable and optimum level, instead they are abandoned to waste away for Nigeria lacks maintenance culture.

This logic, mindset and modus operandi towards wealth creation forges and set the stage for the scarcity of dollars.

Forces of Demand and Supply

The Naira demand and supply is determined by the market forces because Naira is allowed to float without any fixed exchange rate. The relative weakness of Nigeria's entire economy does not seem favorable to the status quo. The GDP is relatively small compared to industrialized nations and this negates the stability and international purchasing power of Naira. The amount of importation overwhelms the economy and a low return of foreign exchange due to lack of exportation to generate foreign exchange.

The crux of the matter is the demand for dollars are extremely high among Nigerian banks. Nigeria does not generate enough foreign exchange to satiate local consumption. Therefore the demand for dollar drives the value of Naira that is ubiquitous and weak. Nigerian source of dollars and foreign exchange comes only from the export of oil and its overdependence for foreign exchange from oil.

The  psychology of the meltdown

The psychological impact of the global economic downturn must be appreciated. With global access to the international news networks including CNN, BBC and others remote corners of the earth become nominal partakers in the global village. Therefore pseudo feeling of the bad news might creep into Nigeria's mindset and usher in a psychology that may trigger the fall of naira in the real world.

What Nigeria must do

As the value of Naira nosedives, Nigeria has another alternative to prop up the Naira by withdrawing her huge war chest - her enormous foreign reserve and liquefy the financial and banking market. This is a delicate tactical action because drawing down of the reserve can lower Nigeria's credit worthiness and financial rating.

Nigeria's financial actors cannot fold their hands and blame this whole sorry episode on the global economic meltdown. Naira as currency is not readily convertible which becomes a barrier in the active participation in global trade especially in currency transaction.

The governor of central bank deserves some credit for his early vision. Professor Soludo has called for pegging of Naira by making it convertible but Nigeria's gatekeepers failed to heed to his recommendation. But it is never too late to act, for there must be a consensus on this matter via enlightenment of the Nigerian public and elites on the merit of readily convertibility of Naira. Convertibility is akin to setting up a wall in the defense of Naira from hostile local and international currency traders that hoard dollars in Nigeria thus creating artificial demand and scarcity of dollar.

Nigeria must make foreign exchange available to its local banks. The banks need the dollar for its customers who are engaging in foreign transactions. At the moment Nigeria need to withdraw some money from her foreign reserve, which will be pump into the market which will definitely reduce the scarcity of dollars. This will in turn enable Naira to regain some of its value and withhold the trashing from dollar. But all this is a temporary measure and not the panacea to a healthy and sustainable currency.

Nigeria has become responsive to the diversification of her economy, not minding she has a long way to go. The country knows what to do, but procrastination and intellectual lethargy have always retarded her progress. Oil cannot continue to be her only high yielding sector; agriculture must be expanded and retooled. Investment must be made in research and development.

A paradigm shift

There must be strategic planning by the responsible parties in Nigeria: The politicians, business community and bureaucrats must stop talking and launch operation economic diversification. The economic reforms must be practical and pragmatic to the marketers and citizens.

Fiscal and monetary policies can be applied to regulate and appreciate naira but it is not doable and workable, for although the fundamentals of the economy may be sound but it lacks the stability and zest to leverage against the dominant dollar.

 

 

Published in Archive
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