Wednesday, April 30, 2014


The stage is set for an increase in fuel prices. Sadly,the government is acting out the same script it has always done but with a tweak- fuel unofficially sells for N110 in most filling stations across the country, yet  Nigerians buy with token protests.  If I were in government rather than announce a hike, I will retain the status quo because an official increase would lead to nation-wide strikes. The politics of fuel  subsidy and punishing Nigerians for the government's incompetence and enrichment of a few without appropriate palliative measures to cushion to removal of subsidy leads us back to where we were in January 2012.

Friday, April 25, 2014


In George Orwell's 1984, we read how the government of Oceania through it's Ministry of Truth misinforms and manipulates citizens while the Ministry of love tortures and conditions those who fall out of line. Nigeria's current government appears to follow suit as a citizen almost became an "unperson" but for  vigilance of social media activists.This makes one wonder the number of people (especially non-journalists) that have disappeared by reason of security agencies before the rise of new media and those who have no social media presence.

Indeed all governments engage in public manipulation in national interest- though it's definition of national interest is  personal. However, when a government's primary function becomes misinformation and manipulation  in the face of the many challenges a nation faces, it shows that there is a blasé and puerile attitude towards decision making. To be fair to Nigeria's current government, predecessors have plied the propaganda route. The difference is that it was done with more tact and adroitness.  For instance, human right abuses under President Obasanjo's government  were and are viewed are necessary and not for the abuse that it is. President Obasanjo is perceived as a strong leader and not civilian dictator. Obasanjo's downfall was his third term bid, otherwise he did no wrong. However,  this government's attempts are so haphazard, casual and slipshod. From the unthought Oduah's assassination attempt story, Reno Omokri's failed attempt at labelling Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as Boko Haram's sponsor to SSS's (they should know better) spew on Boko Haram's attack on it's forte  and the various versions that was given (you can read them here and here), the stance that Boko Haram is a Northern problem the North should deal with, questions the government's ability to govern and if indeed the government understands its purpose is to improve the welfare of citizens. If this government understands that, our president would not make petty comments like"I could vividly remember that the Kano State governor, Kwankwaso, did not vote for me during the primary and secondary elections in 2011, he was part of those who worked against me during that period and did not celebrate with me after the victory".  If a government cannot take responsibility for Nigeria's electricity crises and blames the opposition and the opposition knows no better than to take needless swipes  at the government whilst failing to take responsibility for its part in the  sorry state state the nation is in  one wonders which way Nigeria. 
For a country whose population is expected to hit 210 million in 2020 and 273 million  in 2030 (source: United Nations Department of Social and Economic Affairs), where 120 million people have no access to electricity, where about 15% of her 200,000 km roads  are paved and at least 10.5 million kids are out of school with a projected illiteracy rate of  42 million  adults and 10 million youths by 2015, the government should be hard at work  addressing these issues and  planning for the next 50 years rather take to the airwaves comparing the president to MLK and Nelson Mandela egging him on in incompetency mischievously noting that "those who are for him are more than those against him". It is  reckless of government institutions and officials  to promote tribalism and beer parlour talk by mis-informing citizens. The government  also needs to get better in the way it interacts with citizens especially critics. In this age of the citizen reporter, it is  laughable that SSS- Nigeria's highest intelligence unit  would  tell barefaced lies on the whereabouts of a citizen and hold this citizen for days without. SSS's behavior shows the low level of intelligence gathering and citizen engagement of the country and the knowledge our security agents have. 
Nigeria's 1999 Constitution (Chapter 2, section 14b) states that the the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government. It is time for the presidency to ignore the cheers and jeers and focus on achieving that purpose. Actions speak louder than words. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

It's called "facilitation"

Ask any Nigerian and we would tell you that corruption is Nigeria's biggest problem. Ask how it can be tackled and we  would  be quick to blame the system and the government and we would throw our hands up in resignation.The system responsible for mire of corruption we are sinking in is an alien that possesses us especially public servants and leaders. The system is responsible for the mysterious fires that gutted Federal ministries in the 1980s when audits approached, the flagrant looting of public funds from the 80s till date and the impunity exhibited in our society. The system is responsible for the Wabara 55 million scam, Stella Oduah, Dimeji Bankole, the Police pension fraud  and Patricia Etteh. 
Though the system dwells in high offices, it also manifests itself in the average Nigerian. How you ask? It generates income for the frustrated hardworking individual to the lazy who sees it as a means to quick easy money. 
For example, you want to obtain the new driver's license, all NIgerian drivers must have by July 2014. You can either process it yourself or use the system. To process it yourself, it would take 3-6 months to get the permit or pay the system between N16,000 ($100) to N20,000 ($116) and you would get your license in no time.  How much is the actual cost of the license? N6,375 ($37). Part of the 16,000 goes to the facilitator (the system's incarnate) and the civil servants who expedite processing the license. 
Another example is passport processing.The official cost of a passport is N7,500 and there is no timeline/ SLA on processing a passport. It could take up to 8 weeks. However with N20,000($116)-N25000($145), a passport is yours in 48 hours. In this case, the "facilitators" are immigration officials-there's nothing for the boys.  Still on immigration, are you tired of standing in queues when you arrive Nigeria to be cleared? Would you love  to exit from the plane straight to pick your bags? That can be arranged for as little as $100. In fact, some security firms would provide escort services from the plane to your home for N600, 000 ($3400)- the firm takes its share and the rest is paid to immigration officials unreceipted. 
Customs is another institution the system presents itself. Scanners have been provided to check and clear containers without unloading the container. However because offerings have to be made to the system, containers are unloaded by clearing agents for custom officials to check, 79 signatures are required to clear the goods and at the end of the day an importer has to pay demurrage and pays the clearing agent higher than the originally agreed fee. 
Yet the system is neither a spirit nor a ghost. The system lives because we enable it. We enable it because it is convenient, we can afford it and we do not care, thus the system thrives and when it does not work in our favour we gripe about the decay in our society. 
The makers of system are public servants who see the government agencies as avenues to make money and make processes needlessly cumbersome. Until the "system" is starved, it the cost of living and transactions would continue to rise. 
Unfortunately we would not fight the system because we believe in waiting our turn and hope for the imaginary day we or those we influence would have control over the system.