Friday, May 28, 2010

On PDP, Power Rotation and Federal Character

Power rotation or call it ‘zoning’ has become a very topical issue in Nigeria’s polity. The view held by some political elites is it that, ‘rotation’ is the only way to maintain political balance in a nation like Nigeria that is divided along religious and ethnic lines.

This same view was shared by the US Under-secretary of State, Johnnie Carson, when he said recently that “the United States supported the rotation principle as a guarantor of stability in Nigeria, a country of 140 million split between the Muslim north and predominantly Christian south”.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) remains the only party in Nigeria whose party constitution supports power rotation/zoning. Section 7(2)C of the PDP constitution states:

“In pursuance of the principle of equity, justice and fairness, the party shall adhere to the policy of rotation and zoning of party and public elective offices and it shall be enforced by the appropriate executive committee at all levels”.

This confirms that the PDP power rotation policy is more than just a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ as we’ve been made to believe by “AGIP” (Any Government In Power) political sycophants.

But in spite of the PDP constitutional provisions, many within the party believe that the power rotation policy has outlived its usefulness, and that it should be jettisoned altogether. Considering that these calls are coming at a time when a non-Northerner is occupying the seat of power sounds quite suspicious. In the current prevailing circumstances, the sincerity of the anti-rotation supporters within PDP will always remain questionable. I will say that the jury is still out on whether such calls are been made in the public interest or just serve the personal benefit of President Goodluck Jonathan, to remain in power beyond 2011.

It beggars belief that same political jobbers and sycophants calling for the abolition of rotation policy, after they themselves have been a major beneficiary, are same people scouting for the next Party Chairman from a particular region of the country. So why haven’t they declared that anyone can run for the post of PDP Chairmanship instead of ‘zoning’ it to the Southeast. If zoning is bad for the presidency, then why is it good for political party offices?

The hypocrisy in the PDP was further exposed by the recent announcement that Ogun state 2011 Governorship slot has been zoned to Yewa/Awori. This decision according to the party officials is in the spirit of “equity, justice and fairness”. So on one hand, we have some National Party leaders saying the power rotation should be dumped to pave way for Goodluck Jonathan, but on the other hand, we have a state chapter of the party announcing that it has zoned its Governorship slot to a particular ethnic tribe. Again, this begs the question, if zoning is not good enough for the Presidential slot, why must it be forced down the throat of state party supporters?

For how long will these Papas Deceiving Pickin continue? A Yoruba proverb says “eniyan meji ko ni padanu iro”. Which literally means, “two people cannot fall victims of lie or deceit”. Whilst the ‘deceived’ could be genuinely’ ignorant, the ‘deceiver’ definitely knows what he/she is doing.

Social and political commentators argue daily that power rotation is unconstitutional, and should not be taken seriously as it only binds members of the PDP. But that statement is not entirely true. Whilst the constitution may not be explicit on power rotation, it clearly supports the principle of federal character. Section 14(3) of 1999 constitution states

“The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few State or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies”.

For me, there’s no fundamental difference between Section 7(2)C of the PDP Constitution and Section 14(3) of the 1999 constitution. Whether you call it power rotation, zoning, federal character principle, are all aimed at the same purpose. The single purpose, as we are made to believe, is to prevent the predominance of a particular ethnic group or tribe in political office.

Whether such a provision/clause is good or bad is a different argument altogether. In my opinion, Section 14(3) is one of the fundamental errors of 1999 constitution. Any legislation or policy that aims to restrict political office to a tribe, religion or sex only breeds mediocrity. There’s enough evidence to show that rotation, zoning, federal character principle or whatever name you call it, has contributed immensely to the paucity of development in the country. No region in Nigeria has benefitted from zoning or federal character principle. For example, Ex-Pres. Obasanjo ruled the nation for almost 10 years both as civilian and military Head of State. But I don’t think Abeokuta is any better developed than Benin.

Yes we hue and cry about how bad power rotation is. We say it’s PDP policy and no one else. We say people should be free to seek elective office irrespective of tribe or religion. But the reality is, the political landscape and machineries of government are guided by medieval and retrogressive constitutional provisions, which in fact transcends individual party policies.

It is such medieval constitutional provision that has given political parties like the PDP, the audacity to adopt a rotational policy. And until we expunge such provisions from our constitution, changes in presidential power base would only mean very little in reality.


PRESS RELEASE: Nigerians at home and Diaspora set to Transform Nigeria

Nigerians at home and abroad have come together to create an organisation that is aimed at creating awareness and motivating the people to participate in promoting and ensuring good governance in our country, Nigeria.

They have formed an organisation called the Transform Nigeria Movement

In order to achieve this noble objective, Transform Nigeria will set out to enlighten Nigerians with the sole aim to empower the people to think positively about developing a new type of leadership and followership for Nigeria, thereby creating the leaders of tomorrow and introducing new ways of thinking for Nigerians.

Already the group has more than 2,500 members on facebook, a core leadership of 100 men and women based all over the world including the United States of America, United Kingdom, Nigeria, Italy, Ecuador, and Italy among other countries with a further network of about 12,000 Nigerians connected online around the globe.


"Starting now, let's take up in our own lives the work of perfecting our union, let's build a government that is responsible to the people and accept our own responsibilities as citizens to hold our government accountable" --- Barack Obama

Transform Nigeria envisions a Nigerian society where there is a positive change in the consciousness, orientation, and world view of all Nigerians.

We believe that a well informed populace will be motivated to positive action. Nigerians have been dormant for a long time; it is our responsibility to awaken them from slumber by informing, educating and enlightening the youths on what truly goes on in Nigeria.

Our goal is to entrench good governance, hold our leaders accountable and rid Nigeria of corruption by getting Nigerians to engage in governance, expose and/or report corrupt practices wherever noticed.

Our Objectives

The drive to transform Nigeria will start in the grassroots across all states of the country and in all Nigerian Diaspora communities abroad. The model of operation of Transform Nigeria Movement will be a combination of a village style town square meeting and a modern day "Tea Party" meeting to;

create a quiet and peaceful but effective revolution that will involve all Nigerians of goodwill - to create the biggest online Movement in Nigeria where Nigerians, especially the youths will come together in one forum to chart the way forward for our country;

create a dynamic Movement using 21st century Solution "the internet, emails, text messaging and hand bills - to tackle our age-long problems;

create software to automatically send news to the emails and phone numbers of registered members;

create Transform Nigeria Groups in the 36 states of the Federation including the FCT, Local Government Areas, Wards and Villages and in all the Universities, Schools and Colleges;

generate publicity in Radio, TV, Newspapers and hand bills to be distributed regularly in Schools and Universities, L.G.A, wards and villages;

Plan activities that will allow all members from all regions and groups around the country to get to know one another and with time travel around the world to observe and learn from other democracies.


Our Manifesto and constitution will be available to every member and prospective members to enlighten them on the aims and objectives of the organization. Every member will be expected to live up to the high standards expected of the future leaders of the country.

This is socio-political, non-partisan, unbiased, neutral organisation. It is not a political party, neither are we affiliated to any political party. Every Nigerian is welcome.

We are calling on every Nigerian; teachers, youths, students, workers, traders and artisans. Indeed every Nigeria with an email address – let us mobilise for the betterment of our country and to reshape our country's polity. Together we will create the Nigeria of our dreams.

This is a very long journey, but today we take the step towards changing the course of the ship of the Nigerian State.

Three places where you can join the Transform Nigeria Movement


2. Facebook




1.Nicholas Agbo - Oakland California; 2. Dr. Anthony Afolo - New Jersey;

3.Ezinne Anyanwu - Texas , United States; 4.Emmanuel Ohai - Atlanta

5.Modupe Odunsanya - Illinois , United States; 6.Paul Adujie – New York

7.Noyo Edem– New Jersey; 8.chijioke akunyili - Los Angeles

8. Acho Orabuchi - Texas


1.Ikhide Odion - Aberdeen; 2.Adeniyi Adeleke – London

3.Ifeoluwa Adebayo – Reading; 4.Gbenga Shadare – Nottingham;

5. Chinedu V. Akuta – Leicester; 6.Tochi Godwin Ekwuogo - Swansea

7.Chukwunonso Ngwu – Coventry; 8. Jasper Ojiakor - London


1.Nnenna Iwuanyanwu – Lagos; 2.Acho Orabuchi;

3.Nathan Jonah- Kaduna; 4. Akin Lawanson - Ile Ife

5. Emeka Nwachukwu - Lagos; 6.Oluwatobi D. Adelaja - Lagos

7.Favour Afolabi – Lagos; 8.Abba Anthony - Kaduna

9.Phillip Nwaochei - Asaba; 10.Akeju A. Aike – Warri

11.Akeju Akintomiwa Aike – Warri; 12. Kalu Awa – Port Harcourt

13.Akeju Akintomiwa Aike – Warri; 14.Peter C. Njoku – Enugu

15.Okwenna I. Hons - Kano; 16. Sandra Yakusak – ABU, Zaria

17.John Luka – Kaduna; 18. Julius Dariya – Kafanchan

19.Stephen H. Hassan; 20. Ayuba U. Kalba - Abuja

21.Ronke Doherty - Abuja; 22. Kayode Ajulo - Abuja

23.Lawal Ishaq; 24.Stephen Hassan

24. Kingsley Oye


1.Afolabi Shola – Helsinki, Finland; 2.Isaac S. Oyebola - Treviglio, Italy

3.Ambrose Obimma - Frederiksberg, Denmark; 4.Demilo Grant - Halmstad , Sweden;

5.Rufus Oteniya – Milan , Italy; 6.Cyril Oriafoh


1.Akinyemi Adeseye - Cuenca, Ecuador

2.Razi anka – China;

4.Adigun Mathew - Empangeni, South Africa

5.Nnamdi Ousamane– Burkina Faso

Your  Government

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Central Bank of Nigeria Bribery Scandal - Documentary

Click on the link to watch the new documentary titled 'Dirty Money'. The documentary is on allegations of corruption against the Central Bank of Nigeria, under the former leadership of Prof. Charles Soludo, and Australian company Securency International Pty Ltd.

It is alleged that the Australian-owned company, Securency,  paid CBN officials millions of  dollars in  bribe for the Polymer naira note contract. The allegations of bribery is currently under investigation by the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

The documentary also includes interview with current CBN Governor, Lamido Sanusi and former EFCC Chairman Nuhu Ribadu. The case bears the hallmark of the Halliburton and Siemens bribery scandal.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hajia Turai Yar'Adua, Where Is Our N10bn?

It was in July 2009 that the former First Lady used her position to coerce prominent personalities to raise fund for the implementation of her proposed Cancer Centre in Abuja. As expected, the event recorded high turn out of private businessmen and public officers. According to media reports, a total of N10bn was realised at the event. The money raised include donations from state governors private businessmen. I recall that Gov. Babangida Aliyu made a staggering donation of N720million on behalf of the Governors forum. Messrs Aliko Dangote and Aminu Dantata also donated N1bn and N1.2bn respectively.

Fast forward to 2010. Umaru Yar’Adua is dead. Turai is back in her village in Katsina. Also, all seem to have gone quiet on the N10bn donation and proposed Cancer Centre. Up until now, there’s no single evidence to show the project has either commenced or was abandoned. No single block has been laid for the commencement of the project.

There’s also no evidence to suggest that the donors are yet to redeem their pledges. Even if some of the monies are yet to be received, I don’t think it’s too much to ask how much is in the coffers of the proposed Cancer Centre. The last time I checked, the only visible impact of the N10bn was the development of a project website ( In fact the website has not been updated since June 2009.

The need for investment in the Nigerian health sector cannot be over emphasised. Without exaggeration, N10bn is a drop in the ocean, in terms of how much investment is required to turn the ailing health sector around. Millions of Nigerians die daily due to common illnesses. With specific regards to Cancer treatment, it is public knowledge that there are only four active radiotherapy centres in Nigeria, giving a ratio of one machine to about 30 million people, as against the recommended one per quarter million by the World Health Organisation.

The available spectrum of anti-cancer drugs is also very limited and such drugs are not readily available. Imaging facilities for staging patients with cancer, such as computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), are difficult to come by, and when available the cost of such studies puts them out of reach of the average citizen.

It is therefore imperative that any proposal to improve and modernise the health sector are made through proper channels. For any public officer or their associates to seek donations (in form of charity) for a project that is bereft of any governance structure, smacks of criminality and it is tantamount to blatant abuse of office.

The proposal to build a Cancer centre in Abuja raises serious questions that are begging for answers. For instance, under whose ownership will the Cancer Centre be? Is it the Yar’Adua household or the Health Ministry? Who will manage the operation of the hospital? As a charity organisation, where is the ‘Board of Trustee’? And who are the members, if there’s one?

Having looked through the website of this sham Cancer Project, all I can see is a list of members of the Planning Committee, which is made up of former Federal Ministers. But now that these Ministers have been sacked, who is now responsible for planning the cancer centre? Has a new planning committee been constituted? Who are the members and how often do they meet?

Truth be told, N10bn is a lot of money in any currency. The coercion of public officers and private individuals by the first Lady for donations towards a supposed charity project itself is the height of corruption. And for her to have collected such monies without any commensurate development to show for it after almost 18 months beggars belief!

Unfortunately, ‘corruption’ has a different meaning in Nigerian context. When you talk of corruption, some folks believe it’s only when you blatantly deep your hands into the public treasury.. But I’m still searching for a jurisdiction outside Nigeria, where a first lady will collect money from donors, under the guise of charity, but refuse to undertake such a project. The question of whether it’s government money or not, is totally irrelevant. It’s any different from the Red Cross asking for donations on behalf of Haiti earthquake victims but siphoning such funds into private pockets.

If Hajia Turai was really serious about improving the health sector, why didn’t she raise funds to develop and improve the cancer units in existing government hospitals? It is my understanding that almost all government hospitals in Nigeria have a cancer unit. So what’s the point of starting afresh in Abuja. And if she wants to be tribalistic, why not develop the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital and make it ‘world-class’?

But of course she wouldn’t do that. These thieving first ladies, who usurp powers not granted to them by the constitution are just rogues. They use their position to enrich their pockets, under the guise of sham charity projects. Rather than build institutions, they take advantage of their position, as wife of head of state to build up their ‘pension’

We are now used to Nbillions donated to various pet projects at federal and state level without any commensurate result. The lifespan of such projects are only as long as the tenure of their promoters. Before, it was Maryam Babangida’s Better Life for Rural Dwellers, then came Mariam Abacha Family Support Programme, and Stella Obasanjo’s Child Care Trust. Despite the amount of donations showered on all these projects, I’m yet to see any infrastructure that has survived beyond the tenure of these women. But this trend must stop!

As for Hajia Turai, I implore her to either refund the donations she has collected or commence the Cancer Centre project without delay. And if not, I make bold to say, the blood of millions of Nigerians who have died as a result of cancer-related illness will FOREVER be on her head.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Serious thoughts on the Nigerian Union – By Jesse Adeniji.

IBB, recently taunted the much maligned Nigerian youth about his/her inability to grasp the complexities and intricacies of governance. I do believe in order to prove the gap-tooth, self confessed wrong, we, as the youth of Nigeria, need to demonstrate intelligence and keenness of mind in dissecting, analysing and presenting workable options our dear country can explore in the journey to true independence and respect in the comity of nations.

I have two major overarching drives in sitting down to put this little thought of mine together:

(a) To prove to IBB that contrary to his warped sense of judgement, the Nigerian youth is one heck of a miracle. Denied opportunities in his/her own home turf, by unauthorised, dubious and autocratic rulers like IBB, we have found ways to thrive in the nooks and crannies of the world including Nigeria.

(b) To kick-start a revolution in the intellectual sphere of the Nigerian youth. We are actively involved in activism. That’s not enough, we need to propose alternative viewpoints to the existing lies being used to put our nation in bondage by those forces of neo-colonialism, among which IBB is king.

I reckon if we all bring our grey matters to bear on postulating real, credible solutions to the Nigerian debacle, we could somehow come to a convergence from our different perch-points and rise up to make Nigeria better. It is my belief that the revolution that will work will start first as an intellectual revolution. When it grows and prospers on the streets, no form of corruption or bribery would stop its all conquering impact.


Many scholars and critics have eloquently written about the Why’s of the debacle we face as a nation. Few have ever dug really deep to open our eyes to how things could be.

As a nation, we have practised 2 distinct forms of government. We started with the Parliamentary system. Some school of thought maybe we weren’t getting the right deal from that and nudged us in favour of the American presidential system.

After over 48 years of experiment, it’s mighty clear to us that the problem isn’t with the systems – there have been proven continuous success stories of both systems of government by Britain and America and a few other countries – it’s with us as a people.

It’s obvious to us then that something is either wrong with us as a people, or the basis for our union is mighty faulty. It’s my belief that we’re no less endowed as humans from others and that the problem lies in the union – both the form and the structure.

Excuses & Lies

We have advanced a lot of silly excuses as to why where still languishing in the comity of backward nations of the earth.

The foremost lie we hear is : ‘ Rome wasn’t built in a day’. I quite agree that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Fact. What is also more factual is, Dubai took a fraction of the time it took Rome to be built! And with better infrastructure and precision engineering.

In today’s world, once you develop a blueprint, anyone can copy it and therefore, you do not need to spend as much time as it took for the prototype to be developed. The atomic particle was first identified by Athenian scientists in the ancient world. It took several scientists and an awful lot of resources and 2nd World War urgency to develop the H-bomb after Einstein split the atom.

Nowadays, it takes a couple of months for a nation that has the know-how {blueprint} and materials necessary. No right thinking nation asks her scientists to take as much time as it took the pioneers to develop one for them.

The second excuse is: ‘Oh, Nigeria is much too diverse to have one voice!’. True. We’re diverse just as other nations! America was wrested from the Red Indians by a combination of disillusioned and disenfranchised Europeans of diverse background – Germans, English, Irish, Scots, Netherlanders, Belgians e.t.c

Indonesia has almost the same number of ethnic group as Nigeria, with deep religious fault lines running through, yet, they are a thriving nation.

China is the same. It’s got all sorts of tribes and races and yet has become the manufacturing capital of the world with a strong voice in International politics. There are many other countries to mention if not all the countries of the world! Our situation is not unique and therefore isn’t an excuse for flunking our nation building classes.

The third most prevalent lie is: ‘The British are responsible for our debacle! They joined us together by force.’ Hahahahaha Nigerians! Tell me of a country that hasn’t been nipped and tucked and shifted around like chess pieces by ruling powers from time immemorial?

The Romans have been known to relocate entire tribes and nations to preserve their power. The Mongols did same. The Babylonians, The Ottomans, Napoleonic France, The British, USSR and other European powers. Belgium was under slavery for so many years and has so many tribes smashed together – French, Germans, Flemish + other tribes – yet they have thrived and found a way to be relevant.

A nation that blames her failure on the past isn’t fit for the future.

Structure of Nigeria.

The founding fathers, in retrospect, understood Nigeria better than the likes of IBB and his ilks. In attaining independence from the British, they recognized that we aren’t ‘one’ people. They knew we are aeons away from the ‘one Nigeria’ mantra that has brought us the civil war and become a rallying cry for dictators like IBB and Obasanjo.

As such, they opted for a system that allowed each region to develop at its own pace. At least the Northern region was formed by some political consensus even if later, the Middle Belt felt it needed her own identity.

When we opted for the American Presidential style, the spirit was to maintain some form of autonomy for the constituent units.

It was that spirit of healthy competition, engendered by the pre-independence political arrangement that helped us develop ahead of the likes of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and a few other now very prosperous nations of the world.

The North set its priority as trade. The West was education and commerce. The East was into trade, education and manufacturing. The Northern government paid wages commensurate to the standard of living in the North at £2 a month to the civil servants. The East paid £3 and the West paid £4. It’s the same kind of reward structure obtainable in America. Earning $200,000 in New York might not be as profitable as $140,000 in Wyoming. In UK, it’s called London Weighting.

The West started the University College Ibadan and later OAU, the East had UNN and the North ABU. There was healthy competition.

Even politically, the Mid-West saw themselves as neither West nor East and were able to negotiate their existence.

Enter the Military goons!

The military opportunists made a mess of a minor situation where the North was dangerously meddling in the affairs of the West, something not unexpected in a nascent union.

From that time, they became infested with the power syndrome. The detail is well documented, so i move to the consequences.

Apart from stymieing the political learning process, they imported a deadly poison into the system that has dogged our existence as a country today.


Because they didn’t have the brain and wherewithal to manage the Nigerian national economy, and the emergence of the oil commodity, they centralized the purse and linked all states to the apron strings of the government at the centre – whatever shape or size in which it came or appeared.

Federalism is not one unless it’s FISCAL in nature! The success of the regions at independence was absolutely founded on the ability of those regions to retain 60% of their own income and use it to pursue developmental needs relevant to their region.

It’s the access to income that makes a man! Not the clothes he puts on. Everyone knows that romance without finance is a nuisance. So they killed off the regional economies and made them dependent on handouts from the ‘goon’ in Ribadu Road and later Aso Rock!

As such, it’s the same power monger, or more succinctly, power Mongrel that determines what is spent in 31 states of the Federation and in about 770 local councils spread across the length and breadth of our dear nation.

My friends, that is, in effect is a UNITARY government! At least politically the ruling party is always a winner takes it all and all the national resources is therefore concentrated in their hands.

We’ve been living a lie. And we’ve ended with these fallouts;

(a) Too much power and resources was concentrated at the centre. Therefore, as a natural consequence, ‘capturing’ power at the centre is a DO or DIE affair.

(b) The power of the constituent units to compete healthily through innovation and invention was crippled. It’s far more expedient to sit on your arse as a governor and collect the handout called oil revenue sharing and loot than actively looking for ways to promote the economic empowerment of the people.

(c) Since they also took away the rights of the States to make the local councils under them accountable, and aligned it to the federal government, we’ve made accountability to the Nigerian voter doubly impossible. And yet about a quarter of Nigeria’s income is frittered away through that route. And the local councils have become a crucial ground not only for looting the country blind, but also for gaining power into Aso rock for any political party. Since the whole structure of government in Nigeria is one huge looting machine, people have surrendered their will to siding with a party that has ‘ captured’ the councils and that pattern is replicated on the other levels. {Reason why PDP is boasting of spending then next 50 years. They know whoever has enough loot in hand to bribe at that level will take hold of power}.

(d) Our skills at governing has been reduced to that of passing handout down the line, so we give little thought to research and development and pay more attention to politicking right across all fields of endeavour. Positions therefore exist merely as a ladder from which your knife might get a cut from the national cake.

(e) It ensures that the minority tribes in Nigeria remain that way. Neatly tucked away from the centre of things, unless you get feisty and acquire some Al-Qaida training and begin some Mujahedeen war against the government like the Niger Deltans are doing. And God save you if you’re not protected by a mix of heavy war equipment, African voodoo and labyrinth creeks to find refuge in. Ask those guys from Benue and Borno.

(f) Let’s face it, when there’s too much money at the disposal of the man at the centre, it’d take a miracle to keep his hand from it. Even if all we give the man at the centre to run Naija is just 40% of derivation from each constituent unit, it’s still a lot of money! Too much.

So what do i think we need to do?

My belief.

I do believe that Nigeria can work. I also believe that our togetherness has already made us the biggest market in Africa; we have more potential for growth and prosperity.

But that unity HAS to be negotiated. It must come from the heart based on a set of agreements and rules enforceable by any party in a fair and honest way.

It’s a shame that adults have refused to talk to themselves 50 years after their oppressor left. Yet they want to drag each other along.

That’s exactly what our refusal to come to a conference table means. It means our friendship is based on coercion and deceit. If i have issues with my wife, we both sit down as adults and listen to one another, then we iron out our differences and agree some basic ground rules to help us navigate the future. It doesn’t mean we won’t have issues in the future, but if we refuse to hold a ‘ clear the air’ meeting and follow it up with ‘heartfelt tête-à-tête’, how on earth can we hope that there would be peace in the home?

I do believe that a National Conference or whatever name you want to call it, when held, will actually bring us together rather than alienate us. We will be stronger because we will have ironed out differences and given each other assurances and know where to proceed from and where we’re headed.

Case for Fiscal Federalism.

To my mind, a true fiscal federalism is still the best way to go. One, each region will have the chance to determine its own fate within a strong structure.

Two, each region will truly complement each other in the true sense of it as we’d be forced to engaged in an economic give and take. Imagine if Bayelsa keeps 60% of it’s resources, she will need to hire the best doctors from all over Nigeria, it will need the best teachers who might not be Bayelsans and also might have the best maritime industry that would employ professionals and artisans from all over Nigeria. In reverse, the less endowed states can start to look at people as its natural resources and establish the best training institutes to provide the best people to the super-endowed states.

How to start.

Based on my preference for a fiscal federalism, we do not necessarily have to start the derivation at 60%. We will of course need to be strategically progressive in achieving that aim. If we set a 10 year moratorium for all the 31 constituent units to revert to keeping 60% of all income generated, we’d give each state the opportunity to prepare for a different life.

In these 10 years each state will have to find where it can apply the law of comparative advantage. I refuse to accept that there are states not endowed in Nigeria! I refused it vehemently. One, if you have humans, you have wealth! Geological wealth {wealth from minerals hidden in the ground} have performed well below the potential of Anthropoid wealth { wealth from inventions and services}. The combined returns Google, Apple, Microsoft and Logitech is far more abundant than what oil has given Nigeria in all of it’s national life.

Two, the mineral mapping done by America through the satellite technology, places Nigeria as the second most wealthy after Democratic Republic of Congo {former Zaire} in Africa. I completed my NYSC program in Gombe State in 1998-1999. I was astonished to find out that the state has Uranium in commercial quantities! Nothing has been done about it because they’re content getting easy money from the centre!

Also, Gombe state happens to have the highest number of cattle per head in the whole of Nigeria. I didn’t see any corned beef manufacturing company there! In Biu, you have a plateau that produces the best tomatoes in the world the Italians would be proud of. There’s no tin-tomato making concern there.

You could replicate that in every state of the nation. Palm Oil has been called the new crude. It’s about the healthiest emulsifier allowed in European food manufacturing. It goes into everything from your soap to your wafers, chocolates, e.t.c What stops a state like Borno from acquiring land in Cross River in conjunction with a company with technical expertise from anywhere to develop such products using local labour while the profits go to the people of their own state?

In negotiating our unity, experts could be brought in to analyse of ascertain the amount of natural resources, human resources, climatic resources and the potential of each state. Any state found to be intrinsically weak will be supported by special funds from the money that goes to the centre by enforceable agreement for up to a period of time necessary for such state to stand on its own feet.

Benefits of freeing up the country by agreement

• The first benefit is an intrinsically humanistic one. We will be recognizing the ability of each constituent unit to devise a survival mechanism that leads to prosperity. After all, before Lugard showed up all the Nigerian regions have produced enduring dynasties and systems of survival!

• We will be encouraging recognition for the right to triumph through the dint of hard work and enterprise. The best will be able to prop up the weak just like the Bill Gates of this world founded companies that made other Americans and nationals millionaires! We are covering up the destinies of so many talented Nigerians up with the current pursuit of ‘chop-i-chop’ ideals.

• We will free Nigeria from the shackles of decadent and despotic leadership. If you realize that the centre involves too much work required of true patriots, and less opportunity for self aggrandizement, less charlatans will sign up for Nigeria2011 or whatever year. Only people with will and vision will put themselves forward.

• We will be able to conquer our fear to do the right thing! Those who’ve hidden behind religious and ethnic banners to loot us blind will be exposed. How? Because each component unit will now be the focus of real political attention, it’d be easy for those component units to enforce their own laws as there will be openness as we know ourselves very well and there’s no covering from the Abuja godfather as we’ve witnessed in Anambra and Oyo. For instance in Ogun state, I’d be able to challenge a sitting governor better because he knows that when runs foul of the law, we know where to get him! You cannot use assassins freely because the monopoly of the law will not be absolute.

• The stranglehold of the neo-colonial forces in Nigeria would be broken. As the constituent units assert their powers and wield it, corruption will be reduced and prosperity freed up. As of now, a sitting governor cannot initiate a rail development scheme without first getting permission from the president through moribund and useless National Railway Commission. A situation that arrogates extensive power to a mere civil servant to rubbish the dreams of the people of a particular state and gives controlling powers to the president in undermining a governor.

• Same thing as above is obtainable with the security apparatus. The constitution gives the power to protect lives and property, and promise of prosperity to the governor of a state. Yet that governor has to rely on the assurance of the Inspector General of Police who’s politically appointed by the President to fulfil a constitutional demand. How does that work? The result is what transpired in Jos when the governor could only run to the military authorities who did nothing. Thousands of people were murdered and it’s not swept under the carpet. Business has continued as usual. We need to follow the spirit of the letter that we agree to! We need to have state police! America has it and the heavens haven’t fallen. The British have it. How can we refuse to do the needful on the basis of our fears?

• We’d be able to make it impossible for business oligarchs to buy Nigeria off. Glo is the second national carrier. It controls the call data and infrastructure plus internet access for about 50% of the whole populace. That is a big security risk. In case we do get into war and it’s infiltrated, we’re doomed. It’s one of the reasons we’ve not exposed the killers in our midst. They give orders over the phone, they access the internet.........the vital monitoring tool isn’t in the hands of govt. Ever wondered why the BT line runs through every home and is linked to the national security centre in Britain?

• We’d be ale to free up civil servants who are concerned with making their councils economically viable. So they’d offer business friendly services, encourage businesses to set up with them and not turn to touts running after Okadas and street traders for registration! They even employ Area Boys nowadays to collect revenue!

What Next?

I have started this debate so that all the more brainy, qualified and brilliant minds than i am, some of whom i have met on Facebook – Kayode Ogundamisi {whom i have discussed the need for the solution focussed activism}, Babatunde Rosanwo, Feyi Fawehinmi, Seyi Osiyemi, Cee Won, Seun Kolade, Phil Smart, Ken Davidson, DJ Abass, Ayo Sonaiya, Wale Adedayo, Franco Francis, Gbola Bowale X, and all others i can’t remember now, who constitute the vital link between the Nigerian teenagers and all less than 45, the true future of Nigeria.

I expect rejoinders and new line of thoughts. We need to start providing our solutions no matter how crude. Once we get talking to each other, we’d add more wisdom. We can also put pressure on the elderly democrats and thinkers like Prof. Sola Adeyeye and the likes to write and support us with experience.

I am offering as many as are interested in this project to let us like AWOLOWO provide some intellectual context that’s so much lacking in our dear country and make it available via a website we’d co-build. I am sure we will come to a convergence and spread the news as much as possible for others to imbibe so we can flag off the true revolution – the one that comes from understanding imbibed in the heart and displayed on the streets if necessary to get Nigeria out of the woods.

It’d be a shame for all these despots to challenge us and not give them good answers.

The race for Aso Rock and the future of Nigerians have begun. None of the candidates yet have any thematic thrust or real manifesto, written that specifies how we can reach the promise land. Most will sell the usual crap – road, water, light, hospital. At 50 years?

We’ve got to wake up!

Jesse Adeniji is a marketing communications specialist. He runs Jessemay Consulting, London.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Adios Umaru Yar’Adua…..Bienvenido “Saint” Goodluck Jonathan

The shenanigans that engulfed the nation’s political landscape was brought to an abrupt end last week. The death of President Umaru Yar’Adua drew to a close, the political uncertainty that eclipsed the nation for almost six months. Whatever anyone says, one thing is certain, President Umaru Yar’Adua is gone. The questions about him turning up at next Friday’s Jumat service or jogging up and down the stairs are now history. A new chapter has now been opened in the nation’s history book from the 5 May 2010.

Whether Umaru Yar’Adua is a good or bad leader is now totally irrelevant. Engaging in endless discussions dissecting the Yar’Adua administration or personality will not put food on the table of 150 million Nigerians. Writing hypocritical and sycophantic eulogies about Umaru Yar’Adua or portraying him as “least corrupt” Nigerian President will not provide jobs for the 21 million unemployed youths roaming the streets of Lagos, Port Harcourt or Zaria. To describe Umaru Yar’Adua as an “epitome of humility” or Apostle of “Rule of Law” is now redundant statement. It’s not our tradition to speak ill of the dead, however, heaping unnecessary and hypocritical praises on the dead also makes no sense!

Our attention should therefore now be focused on the “new chapter” that is currently being written. We cannot change what is gone. However we do have an opportunity to shape the future.

We need not remind ourselves that the system that produced Umaru Yar’Adua as President is still very much alive and kicking. It’s Umaru that is dead not the “system”. And while the masses hue and cry over Yar’Adua’s death, the system is busy oiling its machinery and gearing up for the next election.

So what has changed? If Nigeria can be described as a car travelling on the highway, one can say that only thing that has changed in the last six months is the car driver. The car is still very much the same. We have a “new” reluctant driver, who seems to have no sense of direction. This new driver is been guided by the same old GPS system. The same system that has been in operation for the past 11 years, without taking us anywhere.

Since Goodluck Jonathan assumed office, praise-singers and adulators have been busy heaping praises on him. The calls for him to contest the 2011 election have been coming from left, right and centre. But, why all these unnecessary praise singing? What has Jonathan done in the last three months that makes him more worthy of the exalted office of the President than Dele Momodu or Omosule? What policy has he implemented that makes him the “messiah” we have been waiting for? Yes he reconstituted the Cabinet and “sacked” the INEC Chairman Maurice Iwu. And so! The decision to sack the Cabinet and Iwu were only coincidental with public agitations. There were not really taken in the public interest. Let’s not be deceived, Jonathan needed to break the backbone of the cabal that held sway during the Yar’Adua administration and consolidate his hold on power. Also, while he thinks about his next move, he needed to make sure that he’s in absolute control of whoever is in charge of INEC.

As I write, any criticisms of Goodluck Jonathan are now perceived by the Pro-Jonathan loyalists as symptoms of “Pull Him Down” syndrome.. When the issue of allegations of corruption against his wife, Patience, are brought to the public forum, the Jonathan apologists are always quick to remind us that “no Nigerian politician is clean”. When we ask that allegations of corruption against Patience be fully investigated, we get told that “he who is without sin should cast the first stone”(!). When we say, Goodluck Jonathan has no moral right to fight corruption, they reply, “nobody is a saint”.

I have no issues with GJ apologists, as everyone is entitled to his/her opinion. However, I find it quite nauseating that those who are not interested in the allegations of corruption against Patience Jonathan are the same people asking that James Ibori should be sentenced to death by firing squad. Those who say “he without sin….”, are the same calling for the probe of Yar’Adua cabal. These are the same people calling for the investigation of allegations of corruption against Gov. Fashola. We cannot say we want leaders with integrity, but turn around to say “no Nigerian politician is clean”. The minimum that can be demanded from any leader is “integrity”.

I heard someone say recently that “Nigerians should now be satisfied because Jonathan is now the President”. Let me say this. The clamour for transfer of power to Goodluck Jonathan was a matter of principle and not personality.. It was not about Goodluck Jonathan becoming President. Just as the June 12 pro-democracy activists will tell you that the June 12 struggle was not just about MKO Abiola. It was about support for rule of law and democratic sustainability. At that time, it was imperative that we adhere strictly to provision of the Constitution. So for anyone to make such a statement is not only patronising but insulting.

Let Goodluck Jonathan run for the office of the President if he chooses to. After all it’s his prerogative. And thank God we are in a democracy. However, one thing is clear, we are watching. Let him not use the power of incumbency as a rigging tool. Any attempt by his administration to fight corruption must be transparent and genuine. The EFCC should not once again be turned into a tool for fighting perceived political enemies. His appointment of the next INEC Chairman should not be for the sole purpose of perpetuating himself in power.

There’s no doubt, one thing Pres. Goodluck Jonathan has in his favour right now is public goodwill. It’s therefore important that it takes advantage of this, positively. There’s enough time between now and next general elections for him to lay good solid foundation for credible elections and infrastructure development. If he provides decent power supply and appoints credible people at INEC, Nigerians – irrespective of tribe and religion – will line up behind him come 2011.

The question on everyone’s lips now is, will this new driver dump the GPS system and take us to a new destination? You will have to agree with me that the new driver himself was a passenger cum co-driver. He had no plan to be in the car in the first place, hence his reluctance to take over when the car was about to crash. So taking an independent decision devoid of interference from the GPS system will be a tall order.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Sworn In As 14th President of Nigeria

Watch Video

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua is Dead!

Fifty-eight-year-old Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua died at his presidential villa on Wednesday, state TV has said.

  A presidential aide and the information minister confirmed his death. Mr Yar'Adua, who became president in 2007, had been ill for some time.
The government announced seven days of national mourning and said the president would be buried on Thursday.
Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan - who became acting president in February - will be sworn in later, reports say.
The Nigerian Television Authority interrupted its normal programming to announce the news, in a brief statement early on Thursday.
The announcer said: "The president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, died a few hours ago at the presidential villa.
Mr Yar'Adua, a Muslim, will be laid to rest later on Thursday in his home state of Katsina, in the north of the country.
Reports from Nigeria said Mr Yar'Adua died between 2100 (2000 GMT) and 2200 (2100 GMT) on Wednesday in the capital, Abuja.
May his soul rest in peace. Amen!

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Monday, May 3, 2010

Little Practical Steps While We Wait

It seems highly unlikely that an epidemic of selflessness and patriotism will suddenly break out in the ranks of our political and social elite class. This is partly because we have a culture of passive indifference on the part of the citizenry and a rapacious appetite for filthy lucre on the part of our politicians. The primary purpose of government in Nigeria would appear to be the personal enrichment of politician-contractors and the personal aggrandizement of our infantile political class. And I am not convinced that either prayers or curses alone can provide the magic formula for solving our problems. Prayers obviously didn’t work in Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sudan, North Korea and their utility, as a sole or prominent weapon in the Nigerian context, is highly dubious to put it rather mildly.

Given the foregoing doom-laden scenario and abject prognosis, it is unsurprising that true patriots and even ordinary compatriots have become resigned to their fate, accepted our unattractive ‘destiny’, retreated into mental and physical inertia and adopted a ‘to your tents o Israel’ mentality. If this situation is not reversed, we risk giving up the struggle for our nation’s betterment, emancipation of ourselves and our very survival becomes a chance occurrence subject to the capricious whims of our bandit politicians and crooked rulers.

Methinks we are not totally helpless and I direct my appeal to those Nigerians who have had the good fortune to have an education, are able to earn a living and have the luxury of not worrying about getting the next meal. There are simple things we can do while we wait for good governance in our motherland. Here are some of those things, and this list is by no means exhaustive.

Health education: Inadequate knowledge of health issues is a major factor in generating our dismal health statistics like infant mortality and life expectancy rates. The lack of awareness of elementary health facts and misconceptions even among highly educated Nigerians is truly alarming. For example very few people outside medicine realise that ‘heart failure’ is not a synonym for ‘cardiac arrest’ and ‘food poisoning’ does not mean deliberate contamination of food by chemical poisons or juju powder. Those who know can painlessly share knowledge and can repeatedly ram these nuggets of knowledge down the throats of our family and friends. It is literally a matter of life and death.

Health promotion: Those of us who are healthcare professionals can adopt a more proactive attitude to the health of our families and friends. We can, for example ask hard questions about health and wellbeing and not simply wait until things become desperate. Practically speaking, why not offer a free health check (physical examination, blood pressure, blood sugar, haematological and biochemical profiles etc) annually to most or all members of your extended family. It surely must be cheaper than burying them prematurely later.

We can encourage our people to ask more questions from healthcare professionals when they go to hospital. For example, if your doctor says you suffer from typhoid, ask questions about his diagnosis methods and treatment suggestions. The doctor ought not to mind and I can attest to this longing for even mild curiosity from personal experience as a practising physician in Lagos. We must take control of our health and robustly discourage sloppiness and quackery in medicare.

Education: It is possible to inexpensively augment the efforts of our educational system at all levels and help improve the overall literacy level of our citizenry. One example is to have small mentoring groups consisting of perhaps 3 to 5 individuals each. They can they undertake to ‘adopt’ a few pupils each and closely promote their education by measures such as helping them with sc materials, liaising with their teachers and generally taking an active interest in their academic development. This need not be a high cost option and a few phone calls here and a few purchases here would rapidly amount to a lot of effective attention. This is especially pertinent to those of us who live abroad as, by my reckoning, a paltry monthly outlay of 20 pounds can be put to very effective use. If your ward is able to access the Internet (and there are many cyber cafés around in Nigeria now) you might even be able to keep in touch more frequently and less expensively by email. Just think of how inspiring a pep talk from ‘Uncle Joe’ from Lagos or ‘Aunty Joyce’ from London can be to a young child in the village. We can disseminate information about scholarship schemes, support our alma mata, supply writing and reading materials to schools in our neighbourhoods and set up school competitions (spelling contests, essay competitions, endow end-of-term prizes etc).

Career promotion: We can all actively seek to promote the careers of our younger compatriots and offer useful help based on our life experiences. If you come across one studying Accountancy for example, help them to consider taking ICAN exams or if you meet a youngster studying medicine, try to help consider options for postgraduate training and career development should that be their ambition.

Reduce waste: It is very common for us to fritter our cash on frivolities like big parties and flashy clothes. Some might argue that these parties are deeply entrenched in our culture and arguably play a role in maintaining some social cohesion in a fractious society but this is a largely specious argument. We can have smaller parties less frequently (and have just as much fun), decline to celebrate 80th year remembrance of our late great-grandmother with anything more than token drinks and prayers and ‘spray’ just a little less money (or none at all) at the next Owambe party. Whatever we save this way can be deployed to making the lives of others just that little bit more bearable. It really is that simple.

Little acts of protest: When our absentee governors, legislators and senior special advisers and their retinue of lackeys and political jobbers arrive on their next trip to Europe and USA, those of us who live here can take advantage of the culture of democratic protest in these societies to make their stay most uncomfortable. We can pester them with hostile posters, flood their residences with protest mail, harass them with hostile phone calls on TV phone-ins and generally make their lives miserable. It is a fate richly deserved by our traducers and we are morally justified in doing this. I am open to suggestions in this regard.

It is regrettable that we are unable to mobilise our abundant resources to promote the wellbeing of our people and lift Nigeria into the ranks of advanced societies but that is our lot at present. We can either wring our hands in frustration or do something, no matter how little. The time for action is NOW. Please do something. TORI OLORUN. I BEG UNA.

Femi Adebajo
United Kingdom

Saturday, May 1, 2010

BBC Welcome to Lagos Video - Part 3

Click here for Part 1
Click here for Part 2