Nicaragua is considered as one of the safer countries in Latin America. Tourism-related crime like petty theft and scam artists (and the occasional robbery and assault) sometimes occur, usually at night and involving alcohol. There have also been some problems with carjacking by criminals posing as police. For the moment, Elizabeth Perkins states that Nicaragua has mostly escaped the gang violence that has plagued the cities of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. Smugglers, mafiosos, dealers, and crackheads are found along the Atlantic coast, where drug-related crimes threaten local communities, although to a lesser extent in recent years.
The Corn Islands have experienced several rapes, and San Juan Del Sur experienced an extreme wave of violence in 2008 that included kidnapping. In 2015, a woman was accosted while walking on an isolated road outside of town. In 2014, a tourist was raped and killed after walking some distance along the beach from the Montelimar resort.
The Tipitapa-Masaya highway, formerly a convenient shortcut for going from the airport to Granada while avoiding Managua, is increasingly dangerous at night as it is the scene of fake “police inspections” that end up with foreign tourists being forced to go from ATM to ATM, withdrawing cash. Before travelling, check official reports, including the U.S. State Department’s warnings and the travel forums. Managua is the city with the most crimes.
Big cities, like Esteli and Chinandega, have neighbourhoods you should skip as well. Avoid travelling alone, especially in remote areas including beaches, at night or while intoxicated, and pay the extra dollar or two for a cab. You are most at risk of pick pocketing (or hat/watch/bag snatching) in crowds and on public transport. Keep a low profile and leave a flashy jewelry, watches, and expensive sunglasses at home.
Keep your cash divided up and hidden in a money belt, sock, or your undergarments (take a cue from the many Nica women pulling cordoba bills out of their cleavage). Immediately report crimes to the local police department, at a minimum because your insurance company back home will require an official police report before reimbursing you. Elizabeth Perkins further states: Nicaragua police have good intention but with a few resources. Don’t be surprised if you are asked to fill up a vehicle with gas.
This is annoying but not uncommon, and chipping in for $20 of gas will help get the job done. While police corruption does exist, the Nicaraguan police force is notably more honest and helpful than in Latin American nations, and has gotten more professional during the Ortega administration.
In these circumstances I did say no way, even though many parts of Nicaragua stayed safe during the worst of violence. San Juan Del Sur, for example, Nicaragua’s main beach town and tourist/expat Mecca, experienced no violence.
They recommended either not travelling to Nicaragua at all only for essential reasons or stay at home. Nicaragua, the poorest country in Latin America and the second poorest in the Western Hemisphere, has widespread underemployment and poverty. GDP growth of 4.5% in 2017 was insufficient to make a significant difference. Textiles and agriculture combined account for nearly 50% of Nicaragua exports.
On November 27, 2018, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved the Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality (NICA) Act, which “seeks to condition U.S. approval for loans to the Ortega regime from international financial institutions.” On the same day, the U.S. Department of the Treasury issued an Executive Order that demonstrated it “is committed to holding the Ortega regime accountable for the violent protests and widespread corruption that have led to the deaths of hundreds of innocent Nicaraguans and destroyed their economy.”
In addition, on November 29, 2018, there were reports that the Nicaraguan National Assembly cancelled the legal personality of Information Centre and Health Advisory Service (CISAS), Institution of Strategic Studies and Public Policies (IEEPP), let’s make democracy (HADEMOS), and Nicaraguan Centre for Human Rights (CENIDH). According to the resolution, CISAS allegedly (a) conducted illicit activities, (b) changed the public order, and (c) conducted activities not related to its objectives.
The director of CISAS was expelled from the country before the cancellation. Similar actions expected against other organizations that have denounced the abuses of the Nicaraguan government against human rights. It is important to note that the criminal circumstances of Nicaragua as a nation may not be different from what is obtainable in most third world countries. There is no country in the world that cannot boast of criminal tendencies such as the visible ones in Nicaragua.
Fortunately for the country, it has no militant group(s) which threatens the very survival of the nation state such as could be found in Nigeria, Somalia, Kenya, and a host of other countries in Africa. Fraudulent activities are so prominent that the governments of these nations are running from pillar to post in an attempt to find a lasting solution to the problems of kidnappings, assassinations, essential scams, robbery, rapes, outright murder, and a host of other devilish activities capable of destabilizing a nation state. Although Nicaragua is rated as almost number one country in the world within the context of criminality, the world should note that a careful investigation into the activities of other countries may reveal the fact that Nicaragua may not occupy the first position, after all. Therefore, Nicaragua may not be rated as number one in the sphere of such criminal acts.
Although, Nicaragua was based on socialist ideology during the period of Daniel Ortega in 2018, the country still remain a capitalist state, no matter how the country intend to preach the gospel of socialism. Obviously, socialism cannot work side by side with capitalism. It is so fundamental that socialism has failed when implemented in most parts of the world.
Insurance, another recapitalization and matters arising
The Season for re-alignments, reorganizations, mergers and outright acquisitions is here again. The insurance sub-sector is at the ready for another round of recapitalization exercise in the bid to shore up issued and fully paid up capital for the risk under writing business.
But why does the regulatory body think, the risk underwriting business deserves another lift in the context of financial capacity. Should the insurance practice not be left alone to continue to do its own thing since the liquidity in the hands of the everyday Nigerian is neither here nor there?
By way of curiosity, how many insurance marketers, those in the claims and underwriting departments took a personal insurance policy for themselves outside of motor insurance policy which the Nigerian law compels?
And why the insurance practice, public perception about the threat from insurance marketers and risk under writers about four decades ago was that of a deception all in the bid to collect premium and tell tales by moonlight when claim arises.
There are many unending questions agitating the minds of observers and analysts of issues and developments in the practice of insurance business in Nigeria.
Without any prejudice, it is time to come to terms with reality with contemporary developments in the Nigerian nation. The prevailing economic variables between the last recapitalization and now have changed. Businesses have moved on and insurance should not be an exception.
A peep into the Financial Statement of some insurance companies in Africa alone indicates Nigeria ought to have had three different recapitalization programmes after the last one.
This is because of the following reasons which should include, denominating anticipated income for Nigeria in the dollar, Nigeria remains an import dependent nation, and hence the demand for the dollar remains very active, consequent upon which the Naira will continue to depreciate.
Inflation is still in the realm of double digits. Premiums are collected as if it is a special favour, but claims are paid as an obligation at some point when the naira has experienced a drop in value.
The level of unemployment is still very high consequent upon which a family or an individual may not renew a policy on the altar of poor cash flow.
It is very embarrassing to know that Government Ministries, Departments and agencies take out policies on credit and foot drag at paying premiums. Chief executives deploy known influences in the bid to collect premiums many of which have gone bad and written off in the profit and loss accounts.
In consideration of strange practice, some premiums are paid when a claim has occurred or 99% anticipated. Unethical disposition of risk under writing practitioners all in the bid to retain the patronage of a policy holder at renewal or stay in the good books of the cabal who make things happen in the business of insurance marketing.
The broking firms are looked up to by risk under writing practitioners, but again, after collecting their commissions, brokers will make another appearance at renewal of the account or only when claims are not paid. It is on record that few brokers place insurance policies with underwriting firms without paying premiums at the outset. These are few ethical issues that hinder capacity to deliver in good time.
A high depth of financial muscle is the principal issue at stake here, especially in a country like Nigeria where trade, monetary, fiscal policies and legislation of the environment work against the projection of a profitable financial year.
One can cite the activity chart of trading at the Nigerian Stock Exchange as an example of attitudinal disposition towards patronage of shares of quoted companies as stated in the under mentioned sectors of financial services, oil and gas and the Conglomerates
The weekly market report released by the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Friday, June 7th, 2019. “The Financial Services Industry (measured by volume) led the activity chart with 578.032 million shares valued at N7.384 billion traded in 5,934 deals; thus contributing 75.17% and 58.85% to the total equity turnover volume and value respectively.
“The Oil and Gas Industry followed with 55.229 million shares worth N1.486 billion in 1,111 deals.
“The third place was Conglomerates Industry with a turnover of 48.332 million shares worth N227.418 million in 470 deals”
This is evident of the fact that a highly capitalized company has a direct influence on the value of the share per unit and consequently on the returns per share.
A risk underwriting company if well capitalized should therefore not be an exception in terms of equity turnover volume and value.
With the marching order from the NAICOM, the journey towards ranking in the comity of companies that would be desperately sought after has just stated.
According to a circular titled ’Minimum Paid up Capital Policy for Insurance and Re-Insurance Companies in Nigeria’ signed by Director Policy and Regulation Directorate at the National Insurance Commission, Pius Agboola, Companies underwriting Life Insurance Business would now recapitalize to N8billion, those in the business of General Insurance would recapitalize to N10billion, risk underwriting companies doing composite Insurance business would move up to N18billion, while re-insurance companies expectedly should step up to N20billion.
Hitherto, Life Insurance Business underwriters needed N2billion, General Insurance was N3billion, Composite needed N5billion as the Statutory Minimum Paid up Share Capital while those into re insurance needed only N10 billion.
Efforts to beat the June 30, 2020 are under way, For instance, Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc completed a rights issues.
Different strategies to beef up issued and paid up capital would be unfolded in the many weeks ahead of the 2020 deadline.
Labiran, a Public Affairs Analyst, sent in this piece from Lagos
Between Presidential poll and the judges’ gavels
The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal for 2019 polls concluded its onerous tasks on Wednesday 13 September 2019 which ended in favour of the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari and Prof Yemi Osinbajo that polled 15,191,847 votes; the highest number of votes and met all other criteria stipulated in the enabling laws for emergence of a winner in presidential poll. In the judgment at the Court of Appeal, the court affirmed President Buhari’s victory as a justified win.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Atiku Abubarka polled 11,262,978 votes to emerge the first runner-up in the poll, but dissatisfied with the results, brought actions challenging the return of President Buhari as winner by the returning officer. Atiku alleged he obtained different figures from the server of the electoral umpire; Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC which purportedly showed he won the election with margins. Unfortunately (INEC) disclaimed the purported servers’ data stating that Commission didn’t use the server for the poll and earlier, the Supreme Court dismissed the action entirely for lack of merit. The outcome repeated itself at the tribunal.
Resultantly, whilst Buhari’s supporters hailed the judgments, the opposition insinuated they were robbed of their mandate by the verdict, bitterly alleging that judiciary merely delivered the scripts of ‘the-power-that-be’. However, in any developing nations, such insinuations are no shocking news particularly in the camps of the oppositions whenever verdicts favour the ruling party or her government. For example, the same judiciary was massively, overwhelmingly hailed as the last hope of the common man when the court’s gavels, one after another stopped APC from fielding candidates in Rivers, Zamfara, Bauchi, Sokoto and Cross River states recently which made PDP to sweep the entire polling units without stress.
Be that as it may, appraising the poll verdicts demands legal reasoning and critical-thinking in determining if justice is actually done as adumbrated by Lord Hewart CJ in the Appeal Court in R v Sussex Justices, ex- parte McCarthy (1924) – “Not only must justice be done; it must also be seen to be done.” To do this profoundly, the two contentions which bothered on Buhari’s eligibility to contest elections without the School certificate and also the purported polls results tracked from the Commission’s server which the court refused to accept are germane. Convincingly, the two are the major causes of actions.
Seriously, the contentions vis-à-vis education qualification ought not to be stretched too far to the Court of Appeal as it is settled ab initio. In fact, it isn’t supposed to go beyond a village square as Part IV of the 1999 Constitution (FRN) as amended which serves as the Interpretation Act crystal clearly dealt with it in a simple language. From it, it is noteworthy that issues bordering on education qualification as far as general elections are concened are exclusive duties of the Commission as it is statutorily clothed with discretionary powers to even go beyond certificate holders for all elective offices including office of thepresident. By implications, a candidate or political party lacks powers to challenge another on the ground of academic qualification as long as it meets the satisfaction of the Commission. This may sound witty but that is the law.
Section 318 (1) (supra) provides: “In this constitution, unless it is otherwise expressly provided or the context otherwise requires – “School Certificate or its equivalent” means (a)a Secondary School Certificate or its equivalent, or Grade II Teacher’s Certificate, the City and Guilds Certificate; or (b)education up to Secondary School Certificate level; or(c) Primary Six School Leaving Certificate or its equivalent and (i)service in the public or private sector in the Federation in any capacity acceptable to the Independent National Electoral Commission for a minimum of ten years.
And (ii) attendance at courses and training in such institutions as may be acceptable to the Independent National Electoral Commission for periods totalling up to a minimum of one year, and(iii) the ability to read, write, understand and communicate in the English language to the satisfaction of the Independent National Electoral Commission, and (d) any other qualification acceptable by the Independent National Electoral Commission.” These provisos show clearly that the Constitution is broadminded and extremely accommodating on the issue.
Apart from the statutory provision above, the court is clothed with powers to reasonably take judicial notice of Buhari’s status in the Nigerian Army as a retired major general in government’s payroll to determine his eligibility vis-à-vis education up to school certificate level. Judicial notice enables a judge to accept a fact without the need of a party to prove it through evidence on account of notoriety: things of common knowledge.
On the purported results tracked from INEC server which was the basis for the botched action to upturn the election victory in favour of Atiku and PDP, indeed, it sounds absurd in the sense that a serious contention should have been anchored on original results obtained, recorded and signed by all accredited party-agents alongside designated INEC officials at the polling units accordingly. As a matter of fact, the results authenticated by accredited party agents supersede any results found anywhere whether in the server or INEC records.
Thus, any results that are inconsistent with the one duly signed by all the party agents are invariably shams. To leave the results from the polling units and accept whatever data inputted by someone in the server is not a robust action. Instructively, in manual elections, the results from polling units are the primary evidence of scores unlike online voting that the server is a primary source. Thus, where results in the servers don’t correspond with scores obtained at polling units in a manual election, it shows the server’s data were manipulated. Holistically, the verdicts are profound and distinctively anchored on points of law accordingly instead of emotions and sentiments. Thus, I bow to their Lordships.
Umegboro is a public affairs analyst and Associate, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (United Kingdom). 08023184542-SMS only Https:carlumegboro.com
100 days in office: Gov. Zulum as Roosevelt’s good student
Different countries have had their own share of economic depression and political turmoil. While some wriggled out of their socioeconomic and political quagmire, others allow such problems to become their albatross. What accounted for the difference between countries, which survived devastating effects of depression and those, which allowed the problems to consume them largely depended on leadership style and political will. The experience of America under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt has shown that government’s intervention in economic crisis can be effective if it is right. Roosevelt was inaugurated on March 4, 1933 having won the US election in 1932.
This was at a time when most banks in the U.S. were insolvent. Over 10,000 banks had failed and $2 billion were lost in deposit. Expectedly, there was fear and panic among depositors. But the president assured a dejected nation using his famous words: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
For him, it was not just about rhetoric; it was about building a political reputation and viable economy that will allay the fear of a dispirited nation. Just a day after assumption of office, Roosevelt declared a “bank holiday,” closing all banks indefinitely until the situation improved. Although the situation was critical, the term “holiday” was used to douse the tension and gave hope to depositors. Roosevelt did not bailout his country alone. He relied on the U.S. Congress to carry out his reforms. The Congress gave him a tremendous support. The president got everything he wanted and in today’s politics, the Congressmen would have been labelled as rubber stamp legislators.
The Emergency Banking Bill sent by the president was passed overwhelmingly by the Congress with little debate to pave the way for solution to the banking sector. This gave a lifeline to some banks and on March 12 they were opened for business. Just 24 hours after, depositors found reason those banks should be trusted again by depositing their money, which they had hitherto kept at home, with the banks. And for the first time during the depression, deposits exceeded withdrawals. Both the Congress and the public became convinced from the outset that Roosevelt was on the right track.
Roosevelt’s strategy comprised two parts: first, he provided relief for those in need mostly through redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor. Second, he re-organised and created new agencies. This provided long-lasting reform to the U.S. economy. Political observers described most of Roosevelt’s policies as “taking from one pocket to put in another.”
So, in his first 100 days, he concentrated on immediate relief. From March 9 to June 16, 1933, he sent to the Congress a record number of bills, all of which were passed without hassle by the congressmen. It was the success recorded by Roosevelt in his first 100 days that has now become the benchmark used in assessing whether a new government in different countries is on the right track or not. In other words, marking the first 100 days of a new government is Roosevelt’s legacy and gift for politicians to know the importance of hitting the ground running immediately. The only problem is that in some developing countries, the idea is misconstrued by governments to be an occasion for celebration, a misconception of what the first 100 days of an administration is meant to achieve.
Roosevelt went on to win election as the US president a record four times before the constitution was amended in 1951 to limit the tenure of a president to two terms. I have read opinions suggesting that in the first 100 days of an administration, the government should do something tangible in line with its electioneering promise. Providing a change in the first 100 days is relative.
The truth is that the first 100 days may not necessarily have any meaningful impact on the people and a serious government should avoid falling into the pit of populism by emphatising with the public at all times using unrealistic proposal. Policies should reflect the will of the generality of the people.
All sides of the coins should be looked at before the government arrives at a decision that will bring about general societal gains. Most Nigerian politicians are usually populists during electioneering such that they often forget that placing too much emphasis on populism in their programmes and policies could be dangerous and make them unpopular if reality dawns on them that some of the electioneering promises cannot be easily fulfilled as they had presented them during campaign. Of course, people will be easily dejected and feel deceived.
Populism as a political doctrine makes politicians look charismatic in the eyes of the people since they use rhetoric to aggressively defend the interest of the masses at the expense of the privileged elite. During his first electioneering, U.S. President Barack Obama promised that in his first 100 days, he would close the Guantanamo Bay camp without considering the consequences of such action. Although such populist statement was well applauded during electioneering, when the chips were down, it dawned on Obama that his plan was not only unrealistic; it could also compromise the safety of Americans. That indiscretion was Obama’s moral burden throughout his tenure.
This is the political damage that populism causes at times. Reasons have been advanced that populist policies have the tendency to harm rather than assuage the pains of the majority because it thrives more on pity and emotion rather than reasons. President Muhammadu Buhari like Roosevelt should concentrate on immediate relief and avoid controversial economic policies. A little bit to the right and a little bit to the left won’t be a bad idea. He should avoid a situation whereby he will be on the defensive most times explaining his programmes and policies to the populace because they are vague.
Like the Congressmen did for Roosevelt, our lawmakers should do the same for the president, particularly when his party, All Progressives Congress, is in the majority at the National Assembly. This is not a time to arm-twist the president for pecuniary gains. It is expected that the 9th National Assembly won’t be hostile to the executive as witnessed during the 8th National Assembly. It is a good thing that the president this time around showed more than a passing interest on how the leadership of the 9th National Assembly emerged. However, this does not mean that the lawmakers should be rubber stamps.
The Congressmen were not rubber stamps under Roosevelt’s Presidency. Yet, a lot was achieved through cooperation and American citizens were better for it. While nothing much could be achieved by most governors in their first 100 days, Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum has shown that much could the achieved within a short period of time if those at the helms of affairs are determined and have the politica will. The governor has reportedly inaugurated 120 projects in a state where insecurity remains a major challenge owing to Boko Haram insurgency. Most of the projects are at various stages of completion.
Infrastructures are not abstract. The people will see them, feel them and relate with them if they are available. Perhaps, the governor would have done more except for the security challenges, which made it difficult to access some areas. The Zulum example is what the first 100 days of an administration should look like as defined and practicalised by Roosevelt. Thumbs up for Zulum, things can only get better in Borno. Congratulation, Mr. Governor.
Practising witchcraft in marriage?
The Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines witchcraft as “the activity of performing magic to help or harm other people.” Collins Dictionary defines witchcraft as “the practice of magic powers, especially evil ones.” Marriage is not man’s idea. It was a creation of God in Genesis chapter 2. After originating marriage, God provided the rules of engagement in the Holy Bible, the word of God. Every brand new car comes with a manufacturer’s manual. Any attempt to operate the car outside the guidelines of the manual can create problems.
In the same vein, any attempt to operate marriage outside the provisions of the word of God leaves you with a marital crisis to contend with. Now, if you believe in God as your creator and believe in his instructions, your decisions or attempt to disobey his instruction is an act of rebellion, even when you offer him sacrifices such as songs, all night prayers, lavish monetary donations in church, and so on.
“But Samuel replied: Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice and to heed is better than the fat of rams:
FOR REBELLION IS LIKE THE SIN OF WITCHCRAFT and stubbornness as iniquity and idolatry” (1st Samuel 15:22-23).
You are unmarried and you have the aspiration to marry your own husband and be joyful in marriage. You are being advised to consider God’s guidelines concerning such venture. You are telling your adviser to put Bible aside and allow you to do things your own way.
It is witchcraft because rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft and unknown to you, you are about to practice magic and do yourself evil. You have a conflict with your spouse. Efforts are being made to use the word of God to resolve the issue.
You are saying things like: “Please, keep the Bible out of this. I won’t accept it.” My dear, you have embarked on an activity that can help you to harm yourself and your spouse, which is witchcraft. You are rebelling against the word of God and rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. Your spouse has offended you but despite his or her repentance and remorse over the offence, you have refused to forgive him or her despite all the Biblical references being presented before you. You have even vowed to deal with him or her in retaliation. You are simply practicing witchcraft by rebelling against God and his word in Matthew 5:38-39, 43-48.
“If a man pays back evil for good, evil will never leave his house” (Proverbs 17:13). You are having sex with someone you are not legally married to. God in his mercy is using people to bring your attention to God’s position on what you are doing. You are telling them to leave you alone to continue living contrary to God’s expectations. You are practicing witchcraft in marriage by rebelling against God and hurting or harming your spouse. Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.
You are stealing from or defrauding your spouse, claiming to be wise, in line with the coaching or influence of your ungodly friends, even though you know that the wisdom of the world is foolishness unto God (1st Corinthians 3:19). You are practising witchcraft in marriage because you are rebelling against God’s word; and rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft and stubbornness as iniquity and idolatry.
The danger of witchcraft in marriage and rebellion against God’s word is that there is a reward. God said: “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” (Exodus 22:18). It is not the duty of any mortal to identify, fight or kill a witch on God’s behalf. However, this scripture indicates that God hates witchcraft. Anyone practising witchcraft is God’s enemy and does not deserve his mercy to enjoy life or peace. Do you now see why peace has eluded many people in marriage? “An evil man is bent only on rebellion.
A merciless official will be sent against him” (Proverbs 17:11). When you are practicing witchcraft in a marriage or premarital relationship, you are an evil man and you could unknowingly navigate towards violating the laws of the land and paying penalty for your offence.
If you are involved in wife battering, child abuse, rape, fraud, stealing and other crimes, you are practising witchcraft and breaking the laws of the land at the same time. A merciless official will be sent against you to arrest and prosecute you.
Today, examine your ways and be sure you are not practising witchcraft in your premarital or marital relationship. To be liberated from any form of witchcraft practise, you need to surrender your heart to Jesus Christ. “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: FOR WITHOUT ME, YOU CAN DO NOTHING” (John 15:5). If you desire a joyful marriage, you must avoid the practise of witchcraft and obey God’s word.
7.2% VAT hike: Here we go again
Plenty plenty water for Africa
Na so-so water in Africa
Water underground, water in the air
Na so-so water in Africa
Water for man to drink nko O!
(CHORUS) E-no dey
E-no dey e dey
(CHORUS) E-no dey
Water for town
(CHORUS) E-no dey
Government sef e dey?
(CHORUS) E-no dey
-Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s ‘Original Suffer
I am again turning to the ‘People’s musician’, the late Abami Eda, Fela Anikulapo Kuti to once again illustrate the happenings in this our amazing country called Nigeria. The above couple of stanzas were taken from an album released by the Afro Beat maestro way back in 1981, which he titled: “Original Suffer Head”.
In the song, Fela sang about the many problems the average Nigerian was suffering ranging from the high price of food, no power, no water and housing amongst others. On the other hand, Fela, who died on August 2, 1997, in the same record also pointed out that while the average Nigerian was suffering those he called “big people” were enjoying because they had food, lived in decent accommodation and had generators to provide themselves with electricity. This is his exact lyrics from the song concerning the power and food situation: “Na the big-big men dey get electric If them no get electric Dem go Get plant O Ordinary light for man nko O (CHORUS) E-no- dey Na so-so plenty food for Africa Ordinary food for man for chop nko O E-no dey Government sef e dey? E no dey” Sadly 38 years and 10 Nigerian leaders later the reality is that not much has changed. In fact, many might even say the plight of the average Nigerian is bleaker now than it was back then when Fela released the song.
What is startling is the fact that government is again about to take citizens on another journey promises without them at the end of the day enjoying any corresponding tangible benefits. And what do I mean by this, let me explain. Sticking to an already well tested script, which has served them in the past, early this year, in March to be precise; two senior officials of the Federal Government, the then Budget and National Planning Minister, Udo Udoma and the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Babatunde Fowler, dropped the hint of government’s intention to increase Value Added Tax by 50 per cent as part of adjustments aimed funding the 2019 budget. According to Fowler, the proposed payable VAT based on the increment would be between 6.75 percent and 7.25 per cent as against the five per cent on all products in the country.
This implies an increase of between 35 per cent and 50 percent. He added that the increment will affect the Company Income Tax and the Petroleum Profit Tax. Predictably the announcements immediately drew reactions, with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) cautioned the Federal Government against increasing VAT.
The uproar that greeted the kite flying made government to back down insisting that it was still being considered and no firm decision had been taken. However, last week the government finally showed their hand and announced that it agreed to increase VAT from its current 5 percent to 7.2 per cent and when it is implemented, it is expected to generate not less than N2 trillion into the government coffers in 2020. No one can begrudge government for trying to improve its revenue base. Unfortunately if history is anything to go by most of the citizens will again be left with the short end of the stick. Incidentally as at the time “Original Suffer Head” was released, the pump price of premium motor spirit (PMS), more popularly known as petrol was 15.3k per litre.
In fact, it had only just been increased three years earlier by the then Military Head of State, General Olusegun Obasanjo from 9k a gargantuan leap of 70%. Of course in making the adjustment the Head of State told citizens that the government needed more money in order to provide better services for them in the area of roads, security, power, health and so on. Since this price hike of October 1, 1978 the pump price of fuel has been adjusted a staggering 23 times with every single leader giving the same reasons for what they acknowledged to be “painful but necessary action” in order to provide more services.
However, still not satisfied with the increased revenue from the increase in pump price, in 1994, after receiving the report of the study group set up by the Federal Government in 1991 to review the entire tax system, government, in January of that year, kicked off VAT after the promulgation of the Value Added Tax Decree No. 102 of 1993.
This was to further boost government’s coffers as unlike the Sales Tax, which covered only nine categories of goods plus sales and services in registered hotels, motels, and similar establishments, VAT base is broader and includes most professional services and banking transactions which are high profit-generating sectors.
The Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) put the VAT pool in 2018 at N1.1 trillion, while the Federal Inland Revenue Service has already generated more than N600 billion in the first half of 2019. Going by the NBS 2018 figures, the recent increase in VAT from five percent to 7.2 percent (2.2 percent addition), representing 44 percent increase, and is expected to generate an additional N484 billion yearly. And by the current sharing formula, the Federal Government will get N73 billion; states, N242 billion; and councils, N170 billion.
But can we, in all honesty, say that citizens have also seen a marked improvement in their general wellbeing in the wake of these various increases? The answer is no. People still cannot access improved health care facilities, nor enjoy portable water, good roads or even enhanced security! Instead while the generality of the citizens have seen their standards of living going south; the political elite have seen theirs go north! And it is because of the general mismanagement of the nation’s commonwealth at all levels of government – local, state and federal – that many are against any form of increased financial burden in whatever guise because at the end of the day the money will not be put to good use. Despite the difficult economic situation of the country, governments and our representatives have not deemed it fit to help out by reducing their wages, emoluments and other overhead costs.
Instead, they are giving the impression that they are already making sacrifices by “donating” their time to represent us. Thus why they (political class) can quickly pass bills that will benefit them; they are struggling to come up with a new minimum wage. The bottom line is that if the citizens see that their money is actually being put to good use, many will be more than willing to pay more with minimal complaints not minding what the politicians are doing. The sooner politicians realise this, then the sooner things will begin to improve, not only for themselves but more importantly the the generality of Nigerians and the nation overall through good roads, decent health care and enhanced security amongst other things.
I’m an Englishman in New York
Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner aka Sting is an English singer, songwriter, and actor. He was the principal songwriter, lead singer, and bassist for the new wave rock band ‘’the Police’’ from 1977 to 1986, and launched a solo career in 1985. The chorus of his 1987 single headlined captures it all;
‘’Oh, I’m an alien, I’m a legal alien
I’m an Englishman in New York
Oh, I’m an alien, I’m a legal alien
I’m an Englishman in New York’’
A critical analysis of the dramatis personae portrayed by Sting revealed the following;
The subject is well oriented
He has awareness of who he is and his legal status
He has awareness of where he came from and his present location
He has a sound memory recall
Imagine the reverse of these; the subject is not aware of who he is, unaware of his legal status and doesn’t know where he came from and the present location and worst of all has an impaired memory. He is surely as bad as being lost!
Mama AJK lives with her daughter and son-in-law in the satellite town area of Lagos. She has had having recurrent bouts of memory loss over the years for which various orthodox and unorthodox medications have been used. She is also a known diabetic. On a fateful morning, she was home with the maid who had to dash out to buy some items in the neighbourhood market. She returned later and assumed Mama was in bed as is customary. About 3 hours later she went to her room to get her for lunch only to discover she was absent, searched and searched the whole house, compound, adjoining houses and neighbourhood but Mama was nowhere in sight. The search continued over the next 2 weeks but graciously enough a neighbor called their attention to a ‘’special announcement’’ on television which indicated Mama had been found in Badagry! The old woman looked unkempt, could not recall how she got there or what actually happened and was unable to recognize any member of the household including her daughter!!
What could have gone amiss, could she be suffering from a memory impairing disease?
What is Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that leads to slow destruction of brain cells which in turn leads to impairment of memory and thinking skills, and eventually the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia among older adults. Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning—thinking, remembering, and reasoning—and behavioral abilities to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities.
In Alzheimer’s disease, when brain cells start to deteriorate, the body attempts to stop this process by producing a protein called amyloid. However, amyloid deposits build up in the brain, leading to further deterioration. These deposits of amyloid are referred to as “plaques” and cause the brain cells to shrivel up and form “tangles”, which in turn lead to changes in the brain structure and cause the brain cells to die. The formation of plaques and tangles also prevents the production of some important brain chemicals, called neurotransmitters (eg: acetylcholine, which is important in memory function). Over time the loss of brain cells causes the brain to shrink.
While there is no known cause for Alzheimer’s disease, it has been indicated that the following factors may play an important role in the development of the condition:
Genetic factors, such as the presence of, or changes to, certain genes
Environmental factors, such as long-term exposure to some environmental solvents (eg: pesticides, glues and paints) or infection with certain viruses or bacteria
Lifestyle factors, such as a lack of exercise, poor-quality sleep and a diet lacking fruit and vegetables.
However, it is now believed that a combination of these lifestyle, environmental and genetic risk factors trigger an abnormal biological process in the brain that, over time, results in Alzheimer-type dementia. Identified risk factors for developing the condition include:
Old age, Down syndrome, History of a head injury, Smoking, Alcohol intake, Family history of Alzheimer’s disease, Obesity, High blood pressure, High cholesterol and Diabetes.
Symptoms commonly experienced during the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease include:
Mild forgetfulness – especially short-term memory loss
Mood changes, including irritability and anxiety
Difficulty processing new information and learning new things
Loss of spontaneity and initiative
Confusion about time and place
Decline in ability to perform routine tasks.
As Alzheimer’s disease progresses the following symptoms may develop:
Increasing short-term memory loss and confusion
Difficulty recognising family and friends
Shorter attention span and feelings of restlessness
Difficulty with reading, writing and numbers
Possibly neglectful of hygiene
Loss of appetite
Personality changes (eg: aggression, significant mood swings)
Requires increasing assistance with daily tasks.
Towards the later stages of the disease the following symptoms may be experienced:
Inability to understand or use speech
Inability to hold urine / faeces
Inability to recognise self or family
Increasing immobility and sleep time.
Diagnosis of the condition is via history taking, examination and request for some tests.
There is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease, treatment focuses on managing symptoms, associated chronic conditions and supporting the person and their family.
Stop smoking and cut down on alcohol
eating a healthy, balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight
staying physically fit and mentally active
Avoid exposure to pesticides, glues and paints
These measures have other health benefits, such as lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease and improving overall health.
The picture painted above was replicated in the past week when a septuagenarian was declared missing after haven visited a hospital unaccompanied. It is therefore expedient that someone should always be in the company of the elderly if they must venture out of the safety of the home environment.
Onoja and the life of a political warrior
MUHAMMAD BASHIR writes on the political exploits of the Chief-of-Staff to the Kogi State Governor, who is seen as a hardliner and someone who always surmount the insurmountable.
The Chief of Staff to Kogi State Governor, Chief Edward David Onoja, is called the White Oracle not only because of his political sagacity but also because of his political triumphs. He always gets what he want, whenever he goes for it. The 45-year-old from Odidoko-Emonyoku in Ogugu District of Olamaboro Local Government Area of Kogi State, is not a political green horn, as his political exploits started right from his school days.
During his student unionism days at the University of Jos, Onoja wield his political expertise to install the first Student Union Government (SUG) President from the Faculty of Natural Sciences.
Venturing into conventional politics, Onoja played a major role in ensuring victory of whoever he backs. One of the best quality that can never be taken from him, is having nose for a quality and credible leader, little wonder why he has always been passionate about the success of President Muhammadu Buhari. Chief Onoja in 2010 had galvanised support for Buhari during the defunct CPC era.
In the build-up to the 2015 presidential elections, Onoja became Project Director of the Kogi Youths Arise Group (KYAG) under the chairmanship and sponsorship of Alhaji Yahaya Bello, now the 4th executive governor of Kogi State.
The group mobilised thousands of youths to campaign for the Change Agenda of the APC in Kogi State and beyond. They were instrumental in delivering the state for the APC, which contributed in no small measure to the ultimate victory of their mentor and role model, President Muhammadu Buhari.
Later that same year, Edward became Head of Campaigns and Chief Strategist for the Yahaya Bello Campaign Organisation, leading a team of hitherto unknown, but equally passionate, youngsters into the nook and cranny of Kogi State canvassing for his candidate.
Through his doggedness and passion for success, Onoja played a pivotal role in ensuring that APC defeated an incumbent PDP governor to make Yahaya Bello the governor.
Given his expertise and political know-how, Onoja generally known as Chief or White Oracle won 25 seats in the Kogi State House of Assembly. The APC also won seven out of the nine federal constituency seats in the state and got two senatorial seats.
Before the 2015 gubernatorial election in the state, Onoja was among the few that believed in the Bello candidacy. He was faithful and stuck to his current boss until they took over the government from the PDP.
His loyalty to Governor Bello earned him the first appointment as the Chief of Staff, even when some were mumbling over his appointment. In several fora, the governor has always ascribed to him (Onoja) as his twin.
These diverse political overtures and experiences imparted him with the experience which currently serves him well in handling difficult political situations.
Onoja as a youth emancipator, have singlehandedly turn around the fortune of Kogi youths from thuggery to personalities to be reckoned with. The Chief-of-Staff, whose midas touch have positively affected kogi youths contributed to the peaceful coexistence the state is currently enjoying.
He ensured that youths in the state occupy enviable positions ranging from commissioners, local government administrators, special advisers, and heads of board and parastatals, among others.
Without mincing words, the next level administration of Governor Bello wouldn’t have succeeded without the huge input from Onoja. His tenacity in governance and politics armedtwisted the APC to nominate him as the running mate to Governor Bello ahead of the November 16 gubernatorial election.
A chieftain of the APC in the Central Senatorial District, Abdulazees Mohammed, who is also a former Special Assistant to a former Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani, described the nomination of Onoja as Governor Bello’s running mate as a perfect combination.
Mohammed further maintained that, besides increasing the fortune of Yahaya Bello in the forth coming election, his commitments and loyalty towards the success of the APC-led government under is unprecedented, stressing that as the current Chief of Staff to the Kogi State Governor, Chief Onoja has demonstrated uncommon loyalty, trust and sincerity which is rare amongst today’s politician.
According to him, the nomination as Bello’s running mate would have averted or reduced the likelihood of animosity, disloyalty, absence of understanding that has become of most governors and their deputies in the country today, describing the nomination as well thought and deserved.
Hon. Abdulazeez who disclosed this to our correspondent, also commended Governor Bello for empowering a sizable crop of the youths and women across the state, adding that the state shall witness multi-dimensional development if elected.
He called on the good people of the state to support the re-election bid of Governor Bello for a prosperous Kogi.
The Chief Press Secretary to the state governor, Muhammed Onogwu, while describing the quality of Onoja, said: “Many people have come to describe Edward Onoja with different appellation; with some describing him as a political oracle, some call him an enigma while others see him as a spiritual leader because of his prophetic manifestation.
“Laced with an immeasurable level of empathy, love for the people and charitable gesture, Edward Onoja has come to epitomise the living reference of an uncommon philanthropist.”
“Giving his iconic characteristics, unmitigated appetite for justice, proclivity for fairness and equity, the Chief of Staff to Kogi State Governor undoubtedly mirrors egalitarianism. He epitomizes nature’s template of what a man thrust with responsibility posits.”
“He is politically witty, courageously strategic and bravely poised in dismantling the chocking old order of political domination, offensive nepotism, tribal hegemony, favouritism and religious bigotry. Gifted with the innate ability of seamless negotiation, oratorical prowess, and the political wherewithal, he navigates and closes the gaps between the old and the new order, bringing to common compromise different ethnic, political and cultural orientations.”
“Edward Onoja embodies the essential qualities of the great American Diplomat in history; Henry Kissinger-renowned negotiator, geopolitical Consultant, custodian of political idealism and pragmatism.”
He said the unrivalled role in the overwhelming success of the APC in the 2019 General elections can not be easily forgotten.
“A young, committed and audacious Edward confronted the old system and broke the yoke of excruciating hegemony. With tact, domesticated vigour and intimate pact with the grassroots, he set the new order that defines inclusiveness. Traversing the hinterland along the interior villages at the boundary of Benue, crossing the Mabolo River along the boundaries of Enugu and Anambra states, identifying our brothers and sisters who were merely Kogites by geographical description but have be forgotten by the government in the past, Edward identified with them redirected their traces back to their roots and ensured government made impact in their communities.”
Chief Onoja was recently conferred with grand commander of Igala kingdom organised by the most revered Igala Cultural Development Association (ICDA) an umbrella body of all associations in Igala land.
The first of it kind tittle bestowed on him came along with several commendation by some indigenes in the state.
The story of Igalaland according Mohammed Onogwu cannot be told without the mention of Edward Onoja today. “He did not only erase the memory of the past maladministration and lack of basic amenities and infrastructure which had become the age-long insignia that differentiate Kogi East from other senatorial districts of the state, but he has also written his name in the historical marble as one who brought fortunes to the people of his ancestral constituency.”
He said the last time Ibana-Okpo-Ikeje-Emonyoku-Odidoko-Ogugu-Ette road got government attention was during the reign of Prince Abubakar Audu of blessed memory, saying that Two Igala sons had governed the state while that road remained in deplorable condition.
“But today, it has been rehabilitated for the benefit of the people. Also, the Umomi-Akpagidigbo-Ugwolawo-Ajaka-Idah road, Ankpa-Okpo Express Junction road which were hitherto abandoned for years are now fixed. All things are equal; no politician is ideologically connected with the grassroots in Kogi East as Edward Onoja today. “
“Within Olamaboro local government area where he hails from, over 30 boreholes in over 17 communities have been provided as part of his constituency projects. Renovation of schools and scholarship to hundreds of students annually, offsetting medical bills of indigent patients, construction of town halls and worship centres, youth and women empowerment and support for entrepreneurship and participation in socio-cultural activities including the recently built and commissioned Igala Unity House has endeared Edward Onoja to the hearts of the Igalas.”
“Giving to his impact on Igala soil, Edward was recently conferred with the award of “Grand Commander of Igala Kingdom” by the highest Igala Socio-cultural Organisation, the Igala Cultural Development Association at Anyigba.
From the Riverfront of Bassa local government area, through the hinterland of Dekina, Ankpa, Ofu, Igalamela to the Riverbank of Idah and riverine settlement of Ibaji, the administration of Yahaya Bello dots various communities with one project or the other.”
Also extolling Onoja’s virturs, the former chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists kogi state council, comrade Ali Atabor, this is the first time in the history of Kogi state a Chief of Staff to a governor commands much respect even from his political adversaries.
Atabor who is equally the trustee member of the NUJ national body, argued that Kogi State would have been greater if the kind of Onoja have been in governance of the state, since its creation.
“As a journalists I am not good at praise singing, but I am force to say that the relationship between the Chief-of-Staff and the governor is so cordial and healthy for the state,” he added.
Chief Edward David Onoja will be running mate to his boss, Governor Bello for the coming gubernatorial election in the state. The question now is; can he continue to do better in his philanthropic activities in an event they win the election? Time will tell.
Take a message to Bayelsa
Moving the slogan from “Pride of the Nation” to “Glory of all Land”, not all Bayelsans understand that it is a confirmation that Bayelsa State has arrived in the harbour safe and sound, off the waves under Governor Seriake Dickson.
That’s why this message must get to them, so that the finger of God in Bayelsa will not be mistaken for the finger of Man, and also to know that the progressives have been floundering on the path of “Prosperity.”
Tell the people of Kolokuma/Opokuma in Bayelsa wherever you see them that the comforter, Senator Diri Douye, is set to reinvent their land where harmony and love shall exist in every city.
Having experienced good governance under Governor Dickson for the first time in history, it is a mission-divine to have Diri Douye to finish the ‘FORWARD TOGETHER’ mantra and no one will be ‘Left Behind’.
Tell the people of Brass that many human locusts must have afflicted their land in the past, and the jungles may have been under-achieving.
But that with the coming and support of Governor Dickson, down to Diri Douye, as successor, the Philistines shall be nowhere to be found around their land anymore.
Tell them there will be no more tears and no more sorrows in Brass. Their case shall be like the case of the Jews under King David down to King Solomon.
I pray that the people of Ekeremor can be properly messaged that the economic space shall be more liberalised, despite all the Egyptian hawks trying to clutch the economy on to the old order.
Let them know that the people’s comforter, Senator Douye shall use his charm and aura to overcome all the Pharaohs and Nebuchadnezzar of their land and Ekeremor will see Egypt no more and never witness Babylon again.
Tell the good people of Nembe that for the struggle for power over the years, there is agog with the filaments of festivities, as they all support Diri Douye on his all-round ‘Prosperity’ mission.
Tell them that Diri Douye will work with them to defeat their political buccaneers and lead the people in their Canaan land to checkmate all the political capons, who are under the impression that the husk of the game can never come alive on its own, even when the soul of the game has not vacated the contraption.
Please, don’t forget to tell the Ogbia people that Diri Douye shall be grounding the machinery of all anti-Ogbia merchants, so that the land will not see repose.
Take a message to Bayelsans in diaspora. Tell them that Governor Dickson is the Moses of our time that has led Bayelsans out of slavery, and written the Ten Commandments to the path of ‘Prosperity’.
And he has anointed Diri Douye to be the Joshua that will bring Bayelsa to ‘Forward Together’. Please, kindly tell them to come back home to invest and join in the ‘Prosperity’.
Please, take a message to Sagbama. When you get there, stand at every junction and look at the magnificent works God sent Governor Dickson to perform, and thank God for being God.
Then go inside and tell the people that Diri Douye is the comforter meant to turn the place to the city of David. Tell them to expect the tabernacle of David under Douye, as they shall be called the seeds of David.
It is a case of Glory to Glory in Bayelsa State, as Governor Dickson finds Diri Douye worthy to take Bayelsa to greater height, and the people must be told the truth so they could fly along.
Yenagoa, and the good people of Yenagoa, I can see you. I can see how your smile is bursting into loud laughter.
Tell Southern Ijaw and other parts of Bayelsa that what’s happening in the state is simply the voice of Jacob and the hand of Esau. Tell them to be strong for Diri Douye.
If you forgot every other message I have sent you, please, don’t forget this one. Don’t forget to tell all other minority tribes across the state that Diri Douye will bring out the strength in the diversity of Bayelsa and unify the land with love.
λAbanum writes from Abuja.
The $9.6bn judgement debt burden
The court judgement of $9.6 billion against Nigeria by a United Kingdom court for its inability to perform a subsisting contract between both parties continues to elicit reactions and controversy in the polity. In a judgement against the nation, the Irish company, Process and Industrial Developments Limited (P&ID) has been given the right to seize $9.6 billion in Nigerian assets. The sum, which is about 20 per cent of the country’s external reserves of $45 billion, makes the judgement a product of the inability of our government to keep faith with the contractual terms with the existing Gas Supply and Processing Agreement (GSPA), causing the nation an opportunity to add 2,000 megawatts of power to its generation capacity.
In 2010, both parties had signed the agreement that P&ID would build a state-of-the-art gas processing plant that would convert wet gas to dry gas and supply same to the national grid at no extra cost to the country while the Federal Government would lay pipelines and supply gas to the plant in line with the deal. The company was obliged to make its invested funds through the exportation of byproducts of the wet gas for over 20 years. Reports indicated that the government failed to lay required pipes, making it impossible for P&ID to build the plant, as agreed. This brought about the dispute that made the company accuse Nigeria of breach of contract and depriving it of opportunity to earn a profit, as building the plant was contingent on the government laying the pipes.
For emphasis, in keeping to the terms of the contract, the company had opted for arbitration and a settlement was reached in 2015 in which Nigeria agreed to pay $850 million. Unfortunately, Nigeria did not adhere to the terms of the arbitration, making P&ID resort to arbitration and in 2017 whereby the arbitration tribunal ruled in favour of the company and ordered Nigeria to pay for the value of the profits which P&ID would have earned from March 2013 with interest. Despite this, the government reneged by forcing the company to approach a commercial court to seek enforcement of the tribunal’s ruling, which culminated in making the court to rule that Nigeria had erred in the handling of the matter and should, therefore, pay $9.6 billion to the company. The non-presentation of proper documentation to the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division (Commercial Court) has accounted for the legal action facing the nation.
The interim award judgement would give P&ID the right to seize Nigeria’s assets in any of the 160 countries that form part of the New York Convention, which is a global pact for the enforcement of such arbitral awards. Matters arising from the case suggest that there are many faults on the part of the government. For instance, representatives of the government were accused of not being in court when required or refused to follow up on negotiated out-of-court settlements. These amounted to costly legal mistakes as the judgement is capable of making the country to lose a huge amount of 20 per cent of its external reserves, which is about 2.5 per cent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Furthermore, rather than correcting the mistake, retrogressive actions were taken by the country and the suit, which lasted for more than four years, had a ruling against Nigeria that it was liable to the P&ID. This judgement was never contested.
The following knotty questions deserve answers: why did public officials offer to give up jurisdiction clause to overseas interests and by so doing, externalise the choice of law in contracts to be executed within local jurisdictions? Could this be deliberate to put the nation in a disadvantaged position? Was the deal meant to be a failed venture ab initio? What were the obligations and limitations of the parties? What is the actual amount that the firm invested in Nigeria on the contract? Where is the office of the firm located in the country? Who are the personnel and principal officers of the firm in Nigeria? These are questions that deserve concrete explanations in line with the statutory requirements for foreign participation of business in Nigeria.
As a way forward, the government should explore every legal means to resolve the dispute without further delay. This becomes crucial in view of insinuations by government that the judgement debt was a calculated attempt by international and local scammers to deplete the country’s rising foreign reserves, just as the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), had rejected claims by P&ID that he was culpable for causing a delay that culminated into the award of $9.6 billion against the nation.
It is hoped that the country’s economy would not be depleted going by the welcome decision to invite the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), the police and relevant bodies to look into the saga. Those found guilty should be sanctioned no matter how highly placed they may be. The Federal Government should logically appeal against the ruling of the UK court by exploring the possible defences customarily afforded by sovereign states under the United Kingdom Sovereign Immunity Act to halt enforcing payment of the avoidable judgement debt.
This should be properly done through a well-coordinated strategy without foreclosing out-of-court settlement options, which is the hallmark of arbitration as opposed to litigation in terms of being parties-driven, privacy, time management, and cost-effectiveness. This possibility should be harnessed given the reported olive branch extended by the son of the owner of P&ID, Adams Quinn, in reaching out to the Federal Government for a possible amicable resolution of the issue in dispute. Quinn is said to be in contact with the government, having proposed meetings with government officials.
We should always remember that the business of governance is a serious one that should be accorded great attention, expertise, and patriotism. What has been the experience of the nation over the years is that governmental affairs have not been given the utmost attention that could yield or transform into rapid development and good governance for the nation. Despite our modest achievements, unnecessary rivalry, poor accountability, red-tapism, nepotism, indiscipline, lack of continuity and sustainability of public policy had characterised public administration in Nigeria.
This lack-luster performance of public affairs has further weakened by the alleged government bloated workforce, which informed the setting up of the Steve Oronsaye Committee in 2011 and before it, the Ahmed Joda panel of 1999 that had recommended the reduction of statutory agencies from 263 to 161, out of which about 38 of them were set for outright scrapping. To date, not much had been done to implement the life-transforming initiative. We need to get it right as a nation by learning from past mistakes and taking decisive and critical decisions. The avoidable $9.6 billion debt judgement should be reversed. This is the expectation of the people.
- Kupoluyi writes from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) via email@example.com.
NEPA’s industrial line, a scam
I hate to stop writing on NEPA until Nigeria will start to experience regular light supply. When I grew up to meet the emergence of the Electricity Corporation of Nigeria (ECN) as a corporate institution, my impression was that we shall enjoy the supply of light with the so-called National Electricity Power Authority (NEPA), when it replaced ECN, but as time progressed it became obvious that Nigeria will continue to be in total blackout.
During the period of the ECN, light was constant for the common good of Nigerians but NEPA came to destroy its legacy to the extent that nobody is sure of regular supply of light any longer.
Those who constitute the leadership of the country for some decades are fully aware of this teething problem. Although, they have consistently told us that they spent millions and billions of Naira and other hard currencies on the sector, light has simply refused to be constant in Nigeria or that the operators of the corporate institution have volunteered to toy with it. When these crop of leaders travel out to other countries, and especially the industrialised ones, they enjoy constant and regular light in operation. And, when I was opportune to stay in Europe for years, I witnessed uninterrupted electricity. I was in the Bundes Republic (Germany) for several years where I saw that light was not interrupted even for one second. So, what is actually wrong with the supply of electricity in Nigeria?
A school of thought strongly believe that the several billions of Naira deployed to ensure that there is light in Nigeria have been tempered with by those in authority which make it impossible for us to get constant electricity supply. Others are however of the opinion that those who import generators into the country do prevail on the operators of NEPA to jettison any attempt that will make the supply of light practicable. I doubt, however, that this second opinion cannot hold water because it is not strong enough to believe. This powerful cabal cannot hold NEPA to ransom because they too need the constant supply of light in their homes and other industrial endeavour.
Perhaps, it is my wish to add that those who are in charge are not knowledgeable enough and grossly incompetent to know exactly how to operate electricity supply to the administration of Nigerians and the interest of corporate institutions. In the immediate past, the Government of the Federation opted to privatise NEPA in order to be in line with what operates in the industrialised world. Yet, incompetence persists. For instance, the contractor in charge of the Edo-Delta states has been battling with the onerous task to supply electricity to the affected areas under her jurisdiction. Unfortunately, there is no difference between NEPA and the neo-contractor of electricity supply.
To the best of my knowledge and as a resident based in the Warri suburb, nothing has changed when compared with NEPA. It has even become worse. Hence, the Edo people have always protested against the woman handling Benin Electricity Distribution Company. Several protests have been staged in Benin City at one time or the other against the incompetence of the woman to supply electricity to consumers in the two states. The real issue at stake is the sudden emergence of the industrial line which to my understanding is expected to supply light directly to companies and other industrial layouts.
On whether it has succeeded in achieving this goal or not, only close watchers will be able to ascertain its success or failure. Even in our area, the marketers and other top officials of the lady’s corporate establishment had canvassed that the industrial line would be better than the conventional line of NEPA. Almost immediately, landlords and tenants in my area mobilised to collect a total sum of N10 million and gave it to them. The impression created was that we will be able to enjoy regular light without interruption except if there was the need to make repairs and other amendments to the line. After the installation, we enjoyed constant light supply for about three weeks before we started to appreciate the fact that it is not different from the conventional NEPA line.
Till date, they operate the industrial line just like the conventional NEPA line. Residents of the area are even clamouring the area should revert to its status quo which in my opinion is even better than the industrial line. When NEPA places areas in the dark, let all of us stay in it and suffer together. There should be no need for any preference. All of us should suffer the same faith of the supply of darkness by NEPA. From my own perspective, the whole arrangement of industrial line is fraudulent which bothers on clear design to defraud the innocent consumers of their hard earned money. I think that the Minister of Power must arrest the situation and the ugly trend. It is all based on deceit and a clear attempt to enrich the operators of the electricity body. There is nothing less than this.
Another dimension to this ugly scenario is that, when there is darkness usually occasioned by the interruption of electricity, the operators would have some manufactured reasons to give as regard why light could not be supplied. The management would give technical reasons and in the process proffer solutions. Of course, these solutions will run into between N500,000 to millions of Naira at a time. How often will the consumer cough out these kinds of amounts at regular interval? In fact, those who are beneficiaries of the industrial line are completely tired of the constant extortion of money from them by the electricity operators. Let the fraudulent practice stop to enable us progress and ensure that there is room for the supply of constant light.
On the whole, I wish to suggest that something must be done by the Federal Government so that the supply of light can be constant without interruption.
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