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Nigeria under Bondage of Corrupt Leaders

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Yusuf

 

By Yusuf Shuaibu Yusuf

The essay though not historical one, to fully understand the quagmire and chaos Nigeria stumbled into, one has to contemplate and flashback the emergence of the country as a sovereign nation and the immediate events that led to its development. Only then would one asses its present malady and profer a possible remedy to it.

A former British colony, situated in West Africa and occupying a total area of 9237770km² and total coastline of 853km, Nigeria, a multi culturally diverse nation, is the most populous African country with enormously vast natural resources. The country which attained its independence in 1960, has alternately been ruled by both military and civilian governments until 1999 when Abdussalamu Abubakar, a military head of state himself, finally handed over power to the elected civilian government, starting from Olosegun Obasanjo,down to Yar’Adua, through to Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and finally to the incumbent president Muhammadu Buhari. And this has been the longest time, so far, the country has ever witnessed the uninterrupted civilian rules since its inception.

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There is a need to elaborate on the word ‘corruption’ as it would recurrently feature in the subsequent paragraphs. Corruption is an umbrella term for any action that deviates from what is right. This includes election misconduct, misappropriation of public funds, exam malpractice, nepotism, favouritism, bribery, tribalism, regionalism, religious bigotry and whatnot. In 2012, Nigeria was reported to have estimatedly lost over $400 billion to corruption since its independence.

“The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. There is nothing basically wrong with the Nigerian land or climate or water or air or anything else. The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which are the hallmarks of true leadership.” Chinua Achebe.

The total decay and degeneration, we, therefore, see today and for which change we crave and dream of, hasn’t been something natural or fortuitous, but rather the outcome of train of corrupt leaders who have generation after generation, misgoverned the country, mismanaged and looted its vastly enormous wealth, divided and disunited its citizens,for their political benefits, along ethnic, religious and regional divides, thereby sowing the seed of hatred and distrust among its citizens who have, already, been culturally diverse in nature. Thus, the vast natural resources meant to develop our social and physical infrastructures and also to create business friendly environment in order to attract foreign investors, become a loot to be plundered by the cycle of our political class and their cronies. The politics, therefore, becomes attractively lucrative where only the rich can invest directly or indirectly through sponsoring their own candidature or that of their ‘boys’ to contest for political offices with the sole aim of yielding profit through bogus contracts. Law and order, which is supposed to be binding on all the citizens, becomes a thing for the poor while the rich and political elites can, at will, trample on the laws with impunity. By virtue of nepotism, regional or political sentiments, the dull-brained are privileged over the intelligent and the mediocre over the competent when it comes to employment, promotion or appointment.

As Chinue Achebe has aptly said” Nigeria is what it is because its leaders are not what they should be.” This claim has made it obvious that if leaders are good and competent, all other thing would fall in place and if leaders are bad and corrupt all other institutions would decay, crumble and become disorderly. It would manifest to anyone, upon little reflection, that a bad leadership affects all the existing institutions in a country, the way cancerous cells affect the entire system of the body as exemplified in Nigeria. It’s now evident that the perennial bad and corrupt leadership has virtually infiltrated and permeated all our social institutions. This cancer has eaten deep into the fabric of our existence, turning our country on its head.The ultimate outcome and the effect of this age long corruption is that Nigeria has fallen short of the prerequisite to reach world standard in almost all aspects of human endeavour, simply, because the vast resources designed to develop any such aspect are diverted and stolen by the same people who have assigned such projects in the first place.

Consequently, our educational and health sectors are in shambles. And unfortunately, the same politicians who have jeopardized and stagnated these sectors will, when the need arises, fly to developed countries for medical reasons or education of their children.
Failure of the governnment to provide job oppurtunities or create an enabling environment for the foreign investors to boost our industries has rendered our teeming youths jobless and possible recruits for the underworlds. The best brains who could be employed in Nigeria to develop the country but denied, perhaps because of their poor connection with the political class, daily, go to abroad seeking for a higher paid jobs while some of them who decide to remain in the country engage in any sort of crime to grasp quick money. No wonder Nigeria is notoriously popular in scamming and other sorts of cyber crimes. Our economic reality is so hostile that even the semi literate and the illiterate ones have, on daily basis, now jumped on the bandwagon and leave the country, for Arab world to perform domestic services and other odd jobs or seek asylum in Europe, masquerading themselves as refuges. In fact, there has never been an exodus of Nigerians into the foreign soils as we are witnessing today.

Insecurity is another grave issue Nigeria has to deal with. Our security framework has been politicized and corrupt as recruitments or promotions are allegedly not often done on merit. Another yet sad development is the way this deliberately lingering insecurity becomes a source of stealing in Nigeria. Just like the endless lies surrounding the provision of steady power supply, the issue of insecurity has created an avenue where our politicians and allegedly high ranking military officers unaccountably steal money putting the lives of the millions Nigerians at risk. This, has in consequence, made our military framework porous, exposed and very vulnerable. There have been many outcries and demands by junior military ranks, in their endless war against Bokoharam, for the short of manpower, lack of sophisticated weapons. Despite huge investment by the government in this sector, our senior military officers still complain about underfunding as being the reason of the dragging of the war . The lack of readiness, caused by corruption, by the government to tackle the issue of insecurity, squarely, is what has led to the emergence of the deadlier variant of Bokoharam in Northeastern part of Nigeria, which has now expanded its onslaught towards North central part of the country. The issue of IPOB, which on daily basis, wreck havoc on innocent Nigerians and Niger Delta militants still remain a matter of serious concern. The recent insecurity challenges which have also gone out of hand are the issues of banditry and kidnapping. The notoriety of bandits and kidnappers have caused the loss of lives and property and rendered ten of thousands innocent Nigerians homeless. The sad accounts of rapes, tortures and huge money given as ransoms to these gangsters are no longer top stories in our daily papers. In the same vein,The police who is supposed to inspire confidence and treat people with cordiality and sociability often do exactly the opposite.The tags: ‘Police is your friend’ or ‘Bail is free’, by the police organization, is as annoying as it is ridiculous. Those who have once been charged by the police or been to police station to bail out a friend or a relative would understand what I mean. The masses, therefore, lose their confidence in the police organization and no longer see the police as their friends but mere extortionists.

Knowing that our judicial system is compromising, knowing that they would bribe their way when arrested, many Nigerians have become grossly indiscipline. The attitudes of jumping the queues and smoking in public places have become a norm in Nigeria. Violating traffic laws on our main roads is no longer seen as a crime by some Nigerians. There have been different campaigns, by different governments, over the years to end these unwholesome trends. But these attempts have always proved abortive, perhaps, the people enacting the laws and the law enforcers are wanting in discipline too. Dallying and disrespecting time has become deeply ingrained in our attitude. In fact, I have never seen or heard about any African country where ‘African Time’ has been normalized like Nigeria. Coming to public offices late and closing early have become widespread almost all over the country.

I have a dream that one day our vast resources would be channelled towards boosting our economy and developing our social and physical infrastructures such that Nigeria could be competing with the rest of the world in science and technology, such that people from different part of the world would be coming to Nigeria to study or to seek medical attention.
I have a dream that one day Nigerians would rally around and vote for the people with competency and capacity irrespective of religion, region or tribe, a dream that all Nigerians would come under the same umbrella of patriotism and sing the song of unity and brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day any Nigerian would be judged according to his personal character not his identity, that any Nigerian would decide to live in any part of the country and exercise their full rights, feeling safe and at home.

I have a dream that one day Nigerians would stop seeing politics as money making industry but as an avenue to serve people in order to leave behind a good legacy, a dream that Godfearing and incorrupt people would be the ones to lead the country, the outcome of which is an ideal society where the yearnings and aspirations of the poor are represented and realized. Such was the ideal society longed and struggled for by Malam Aminu Kano and his fellow patriotic comrades until their last breaths. Malam Aminu Kano once said: “Anyone who wants to lead should be the servant not the boss of those he wants to serve”.

I have a dream that one day every Nigerian, poor or rich, would be treated equally before the law, a dream that every Nigerian would have equal access and opportunity to education, employment and promotion, the ultimate goal of which is a perfect environment where competence and hard work pay, where merit is privileged over any other sentiment.

I have a dream that Nigerian military, police and other security operatives would one day be well manned and equipped so that they could rise to the bedevilling security challenges facing the country, that the police tags of ‘POLICE IS YOUR FRIEND’ OR ‘BAIL IS FREE’ would have their true meanings.

I have a dream that one day Nigerians, both the leading and the led would have respect for the law, out of patriotism and love for the country, a dream that Nigeria would have discipline leaders who would be leading by example, a dream that Nigeria would one day become a discipline and decent country.
I have a dream that one day Nigeria would prosper in peace and tranquility, a dream that terrorism, banditry and militancy would vanish, a dream that a person could travel to any part of the country, feeling secured.

Finally, I have a dream that Nigeria would regain her lost glory and pride and take her right place in the world stage.

Opinion

The Falling State Of Businesses In Nigeria-Umar Ismaila Isa

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Umar Ismaila Isa

 

By Umar Ismaila Isa

Its saddening, psychologically and traumatically worrying that in our today’s Nigeria, the major employers of labour are not just falling, but also wobbling, humbling, crumbling and collapsing like packs of cards much to the chagrin of other African countries that have long been venerating and reverencing and referencing Nigeria’s economy as the giant of the continent. How are the mighty falling.

Some of the factors responsible for these colossal falls are partisan political influence, interest as well as corruption which had brought businesses in Nigeria to their humble knees, specifically the micro, small and medium enterprises, while also not staking claims for even common macroeconomic factors like recessions, insecurity, government debt, exchange rate and high-interest rates.

As we speak, there were over 41million MSMEs in Nigeria in 2017. which have as at 2022 dropped to about 35 million.

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No doubt, failure to provide value money can make customers disgruntled and avoid patronage, so also poor inventory management, failure to differentiate product and services in a highly competitive environment, and strong bargaining power of buyers which can as well cause business failure, not mentioning weak economy, tax burden, high exchange rate, lower purchasing power, high inflation, money running out being in the wrong market, lack of research, bad partnerships and wrong allocation. All these undoubtedly in no small measure can cause business failure.

Also, Challenges like rising cost and reduced revenue, poor power supply, restrictive economic policies, foreign exchange hike, high cost of production, insecurity, high inflation rate have drastically reduced the number of MSMEs which were over 41million in 2017 and now ar about 35million in the just last year 2022.

The data from the bureau of labor statistics isn’t encouraging at all, as it shows that approximately 20percent of new businesses faile during the first two years of operation, 45percent during the first five years and 65percent during the first ten years, while only 25percent makes it to 15 years or more.

In Nigeria, MSMEs account for 48percent of the Gross Domestic Product, (GDP), 96percent of businesses, 84percent of employment in the the country, according to a pricewaterhousecoopers report, and also the three CCCs which are concept, capability and capital. So it’s worthwhile to make sure that before engaging in any business that you make sure you have the basic concept, capability before investing your capital.

As a matter of fact and emergency, beyond the rhetorics, there are practical ways government can create the right environment for businesses to thrive increase, the ease of doing business, eliminate multiple taxations of MSMEs, encourage public-private partnerships, improve power supply, tackle the issue of foreign exchange hike, because with the rate of inflation in the country many businesses can’t survive.

The government and other necessary authority have to take measures to save the country before it’s too late, and the time is now especially as we prepare to elect another president in less than 40 days from now that will take the baton of leadership from President Buhari.

Umar Isa is a business writer and analyst. He writes from Kano and can be reached via issihbaba@gmail.com

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Opinion

What Axe Does Governor Yahaya Bello Has To Grind With The Ohinoyi?

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By Ozumi Abdul

I read in bathed breath the query letter issued by the Kogi state government to the paramount ruler of Ebira Kingdom, The Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, Dr Ibrahim Ado dated 5th January 2023, wherein the revered and venerated traditional ruler was indicted and inculpated for his failure to come out of his Azad Palace to welcome President Muhammadu Buhari during his last year December’s visit to Okene to commission the legacy projects of Governor Yahaya Bello’s led administration in the place, particularly the newly built Okene Reference Hospital and the refurbished official Ohinoyi palace.

Therein in the query letter signed by the state’s Director of Chieftaincy Affairs, Enimola Eniola, the Ohinoyi was shotgunned and impelled to reply to it within the 48 hours from the day it was issued, being on the 5th January, 2023.

As a concerned and full fledged son of the soil, I became seriously concerned, perturbed and disturbed, hoping for the very best way these two illustrious sons of Ebiraland can diplomatically meander through the egoistic duels that has subtly been marring their relationship since the coming on board of this Kogi state’s government.

I fervently prayed for the abatement of the seeming gloom of doom that is looming large, if the relationship between the Ohinoyi and the governor gets deteriorated, and breaks down beyond repairs.

God forbid, I dreaded, and still dreading the unfortunate Kogi version of Ganduje versus Sanusi debacles and faceoffs in Kano state, the one that led to Sanusi Lamido Sanusi || being deposed as the 14th Emir of the ancient city of Kano, by the Abdullahi Ganduje led Kano state government.

I dread the fact that the relative peace Ebiraland has been enjoying since the coming on board of the Yahaya Bello’s led administration might soon be stymied and once again shrouded in the tumultuous state of yester years, when in Ebiraland life was “Nasty, Brutish, and Short”: Yes, that you can’t take that away from this Yahaya Bello’s administration in Kogi state, because his administration stemmed the tides everything insecurity in not just the Kogi Central alone, but the entirety of the state; he came and restore parity and sanity in the state that was hitherto ravaged by the activities of different cells of gun-trotting and gun-fighting non state actors.

Worryingly though, one thing that is, and will surely be of great concern to every Ebira son and daughter, is the umpteenth running subtle battles between the Ohinoyi and the governor; the battles rumours have it in some quarters that are more of “patriarchally historical” than egoistical; because one will surely be mystified to know that the Ohinoyi can be served a query letter for his failure to come out of his palace to welcome President Buhari during his visit to Okene, without a prior official letter noticing him of the president’s purported visit to his domain from the state government, coupled with the fact that bomb went off right in front of his palace on the scheduled day of the President’s visit, where about four people lost their lives, as well as the destruction of the barricading fence of his Azad palace.

In other northern states for instance, particularly the core northern states like Kano and Zaria Emirates, where reverence and veneration for their paramount rulers (Emirs) are given unequal premium, whenever a president goes visiting to their (the Emirs) domains, he is usually led by the governors of the states to their palaces, where he (president)pays homages to them; then proceed together to the venue(s) of the event(s) in which purpose(s) the president goes to the state. Then, why is ours different and have become embarrassing subject of discourses in both conventional and social media?

Why is Governor Yahaya Bello exuberantly dancing to the sound of the destructive drums of sycophantic naysayers who don’t mean well for him and his government? Why is he being lulled by the metaphoric lullaby and mendacity of power, power that is only transiently tenure-bound; believing he has an axe or axes to grind with the Ohinoyi, a nonagenarian at that who is old enough to be his grandfather?

Governor Yahaya needs to halt these dances that may hurt and haunt him even after the expiration of his tenure as a governor. He needs to thread with caution so that he won’t walk the tight rope of life after the conclusion of his tenure as a governor.

The fact that the Ohinoyi responded to the query, though days after the 48 hours the Kogi government impelled him to answer the query, with sheer wisdom, maturity and equanimity does not necessarily mean that the nonagenarian is overtly contended with being maligned and contemned by the state government in such a ridiculous and ludicrous manner.

A proverb in my native Ebira parlance has it that when a dog is on the cusp of public-glare disgrace, he will be all of sudden be inflicted with sores right at the back of its head, and out of the reach of the leaking of its tongue, because leaking the sore will endear the sores’ quick healing. May Governor Yahaya Bello never be such proverbial dog.

Ozumi Abdul is a staff Columnist in Arewa Trust.

He can be reached via Abdulozumi83@gmail.com

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Opinion

Nigeria Inflation And Its Effects-Usman Isah

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Usman Isah

 

By Usman Isnaila Isah

In 2021, the country’s inflation rate stands at 17 %, even though it fluctuated substantially in recent years. It tended to increase through 2002 – 2021 period ending at 17 % in 2021.

The only question begging for billions of answers is why inflation in Nigeria skyrocketed so high. According to the national bureau of statistics (NBS), the rise to a sharp increase in demand ahead of the Christmas season, import cost hikes due to the depreciation of the naira currency and a rise in production cost.

the NBS explains that the rising inflation rate was caused by soaring food prices disruption in food supply chain, rise in import cost due to the currency depreciation and increase in the cost of production.

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Inflation is a a serious problem for a country like Nigeria grappling with sundry issues like insecurity and poverty.

For instance, unlike in advance nations such as the US and Japan where some levels of inflation is tolerable to stimulate economic activities, Nigeria inflationary trend is detrimental to its growth due to its structural deficiency, logistics problem and insecurity among others.

High inflation tends to worsen inequality and poverty; because it hits income and savings harder for poorer or middle income households than wealthy households that have recently escaped poverty could be pushed back into it by rising inflation.

Problems Of Inflation In Nigeria

Inflation is a major drive of poverty in Nigeria, and other several macroeconomic problem such as insecurity, inadequate infrastructure, exchange rate hike, poor economic policies and debt upsurge. In an inflationary environment unevenly rising prices inevitably reduce the purchasing power of most consumers and this erosion of real income is the single biggest cost of inflation.

It also hurts the economy and consumers in 3 major ways, such as less purchasing power, less savings, loss of goods and services.

Basically, there are two main types of inflation, which are, Demand pull inflation and Cost push inflation. These two types of inflation usually cause an increase in the overall price level within an economy. Inflation high rates can be curbed via effective monetary and fiscal policies, and this implies that the government must manage the exchange rate via an effective monetary policy, encourage exportation, encourage and improve made in Nigeria if possible subsidized the dollar, and encourage the marketers.

Government must as a matter of fact show sincerity of purpose and real political will if it desires the country to pull out of the current inflation rate that the country currently finds itself.

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