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Jonathan’s Half-Time: Club Down, Manager Out By Nasir Ahmad El Rufai May 24, 2013

Posted by seunfakze in CHANGE, POLITICS.
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May 6th 2013 would make it 3 years since Goodluck Ebele Jonathan became president of Nigeria. As an elected government, the administration would be celebrating its second anniversary next week. It therefore is the right time to look at how well it has fared. Two years is sufficient time to examine what promises have been kept, what projects are on schedule and which have been dumped altogether.

With elections drawing closer, it is imperative that Nigerians know if the campaign promises made to them are being fulfilled, especially as majority of the electorate admitted to casting votes based on sentiments of a president from humble backgrounds who had no shoes. Others voted because they shared Jonathan’s ethnic and religious affiliations. Now is the time to reflect on whether our choices have translated into improved socio-economic conditions for Nigerians.

Assessing the government’s performance will provide valid basis for the electorate to make more informed decisions at the next polls and perhaps set the tone for questions like: does this candidate possess the leadership qualities required to govern a nation? Does he/she have a track record of delivering on promises made? Is he/she an achiever or able to make noteworthy differences in positions of trust?

Perhaps the process should begin by highlighting the campaign promises made by President Jonathan more than two years ago and subsequently evaluate these promises and the progress made on them. Incidentally, because candidate Jonathan did not have a campaign manifesto with targets and specific timelines, his campaign promises are vague and achievement almost immeasurable. For agriculture, he proposed the following:

On February 17th 2011, the president promised the people of Benue state a five-year plan to revolutionize agriculture and establish industries in the country as well as complete the Otukpo irrigation project; on February 9, in Bauchi and on March 20, in Birnin Kebbi, he assured that the Jada irrigation project and Kafin Zaki dam in Taraba, Adamawa and Bauchi would be pursued to boost agriculture and industrial development; In Lokoja on February 21, he promised to explore the agricultural potential of the state to boost food security; in Ilorin, also on Feb 21, he promised to grant loans to farmers and ensure the agricultural transformation of Kwara State and in Jos on February 17, he promised to build more dams and complete ongoing ones in order to boost irrigation farming in Plateau; he also promised to encourage the establishment of more agricultural research institutes.

Continuing with his campaign in Akure on March 2, Jonathan promised to provide funds for mechanized farming and agro-based industries, quoting him, he promised; “to open up the flank of semi and mechanized farming in the State to engender a paradigm shift from subsistence farming to reliable modern agricultural practices”; in Osogbo, he promised to enhance agricultural irrigation and provide farmers with adequate information; in Kaduna, he promised massive transformation of the agricultural sector through construction of large dams and distribution of fertilizers. At the Presidential Summit on Job Creation in Abuja on April 12, he promised to make Nigeria an exporter of rice.

On infrastructure, the president declared that roads and other basic infrastructure would be developed in four years; he said in Ibadan onFebruary 9 and in Bida, February 22 that road construction would take a new five-year structure, ending yearly budgetary allocations; in Aba he promised to provide facilities that would boost the enterprising spirit of the Igbo; upgrade the Enugu airport to international level; dredge the River Niger; build a dry port; complete the Second Niger Bridge; rehabilitate all the main roads into Abia and tackle the erosion crisis.

While in Uyo, he promised to build coastal roads and rail from Lagos to Calabar, in Awka he promised to construct all major roads which link Anambra with its neighbors and complete the Onitsha Inland Port. He equally promised to provide potable water to Onitsha and Nnewi cities and tackle erosion in the South-East; in Dutse, Jonathan promised to establish airports in all the states without airports, with Jigawa as his starting point; in Abakaliki, he promised the South East zone priority in fixing its dilapidated road network and to dualize the Enugu-Abakaliki road within one year. He also promised to establish a secretariat for ALL Federal government’s agencies and parastatals in Ebonyi.

In Lokoja , Jonathan promised to revive the Ajaokuta Steel Complex and the Itakpe Iron Ore Company; ensure the speedy completion of the Lokoja-Abuja road project, and dredge the lower and upper River Niger; in Ilorin he promised the rehabilitation of the nation’s railway system the Ilorin-Mokwa road; in Jos , promised to complete the Vom-Manchok-Jos road to boost economic links between Plateau and Kaduna states and in Abeokuta, he promised to revive the railway system; revive ailing refineries and build new refineries.

Promises were coming in thick and fast: In Osogbo on March 2, he promised to complete the Lagos-Jebba rail project right away and to complete the Ife-Ijesa dam; at the Northern Economic Summit, Kaduna, on March 19, Jonathan promised to spend N350 billion in building small dams across the North in the next four years to stimulate “massive irrigational farms”; in Benue, he promised that the Benue Bridge projects will be worked on in the next four years; also in Kwara State, President Jonathan pledged that the Jebba-Mokwa road and Jebba Bridge would be given adequate attention to ease transportation; in Sokoto, he promised to rehabilitate the abandoned Shagari irrigation project and fight the menace of desertification in the country.

On education, Jonathan made the following promises: in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, he promised a holistic review of the nation’s education policy; in Bauchi, he promised to establish two universities in the region and construct schools with modern facilities for 9.5 million Almajiris; in Birnin Kebbi, he promised to establish schools for Almajiris and ensure the take-off of the Federal University in Kebbi by 2012. In Lokoja on February 21, he promised to establish a new federal university in the state; In Lafia; in Gusau on March 15, he promised to establish a Federal University of Technology within one year.

Some of the promises made with regards to the economy are: in Ibadan, President Jonathan promised to “create jobs”; in Port Harcourt, he promised to build a petrochemical plant that will create job opportunities for the Niger Delta youths; in Plateau, he pledged to refocus on the solid mineral development and launch “a straight fight” against poverty; to create wealth by improving power and water supply; on February 24, Mr. President pledged to rehabilitate all ailing industries in Aba and make Aba the hub aircraft production in Nigeria; in Asaba, he revealed that “The NNPC is developing a new programme that will absorb about 5,000 youths in the state” and promised to unveil a five-year development plan; in Ondo, he promised the exploitation of the vast bitumen deposits; in Katsina, he promised to enhance the living standard of Nigerians through implementation of people-oriented programmes and in Kano, he pledged to encourage the development of small and medium scale enterprises; during the one-man presidential debate on March 31 in Abuja, he promised to expand and develop the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry to provide about one million jobs.

In Lagos on February 28, Jonathan promised to partner with Lagos State in the interest of its continuous growth and the nation’s economic buoyancy. “We have taken this period to study what we are going to do and by your mandate in May 29, we will hit the ground running,” he said. On Feb 21 in Ilorin, he promised to tackle poverty and revitalize ailing industries; in Abuja on March 21 at a meeting with leaders of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, he promised to build car manufacturing or assembly plants.

Concerning security, the president made the following promises: In Aba and Enugu on February 12, he promised to stamp out kidnapping; in Bauchi, he guaranteed that he would combat rising terrorism in the area; in Ilorin also on Feb 21, Jonathan promised to end discrimination along ethnic and religious lines. On February 7, in Lafia, he said he would clampdown on kidnappers and criminals; pursue law breakers to the ends of the Earth, and ensure there would be no sacred cows. In Ibadan, at the South-West launch of the campaign, he promised to: run a transparent government; treat all citizens equally and respect law and order.

To address the epileptic power supply in the country, President Jonathan promised the following: In Awka on Feb 26, he said the ongoing aero-dynamic survey of gas in the Anambra River basin would be completed, leading to increased power supply and a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) industry. He vowed that Nigerians would not be talking about generators after his four years in office. In Lafia, he promised to end chronic power shortages; in Minna on Feb 15, he promised to establish three power projects in the state at a cost of $2.1bn (about N315bn).

On Feb 25 in Anambra, he announced plans to build a power station in the state and on March 12, he promised improved power supply before the end of the year through the Integrated Power Project (IPP) initiative in Ogun state; in Bauchi on February 9, he assured that projects such as the Mambilla hydro-electricity would be pursued.

President Jonathan’s promises on oil and gas include: To revive ailing oil refineries and build new ones (Abeokuta March 12); to invest in petrochemicals, mining, research and development (Osogbo, March 2); at the launch of his South-South Campaign, he promised to commence “transformational changes” in the South-South; he said the NNPC had begun investing in the petrochemical industry in the region and that the people in the region would be given a voice in the oil and gas sector. He promised to make the Niger Delta region the hub of the petrochemical industry in Africa. He also guaranteed the implementation of Local Content Law and Petroleum Industry Bill (Port Harcourt, February 12); that oil revenues would be managed better and a refinery would be constructed (Lafia, February 7).

In Asaba on February 26 he promised to transform the Nigerian oil and gas industry and make it the destination of choice for investors in Africa; convene a stakeholders meeting across the country where communities will be able to determine their priority programmes; he promised to intensify oil and gas exploration in the North-East Zone (Bauchi, February 9); he pledged to build more refineries and encourage downstream activities (March 12, Ogun state).

Interestingly with the barrage of challenges in the health sector, not many of the promises were focused on health. Here are a few promises he made: In Abakaliki on Feb 25, he promised the South East geo-political zone priority attention in healthcare delivery and that the Federal Medical Centre in Abakaliki would be converted to a teaching hospital;

Next week, we would evaluate the fulfillment of these promises (partial or complete) within the two year period of the President’s tenure. We would also welcome feedback from our readers on specific promises made by the president to assess his performance. We can be reached on elrufaionfriday@gmail.com and 08142997922.

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Engendering Progressive Politics in Nigeria: Checklist of a Hard Road Traveler May 21, 2013

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Engendering Progressive Politics in Nigeria: Checklist of a Hard Road Traveler

Salihu Moh. Lukman

Growing up in Zangon Kataf, Ikara and Saminaka of Kaduna State between 1970 and 1975, it used to be extremely pleasurable to visit Zaria. Zangon Kataf, Ikara and Saminaka were then villages with no electricity, pipe-borne water and except for Saminaka none had tarred road. In all these three settlements, the only symbol of government were the local education authority primary schools, dispensaries, traditional councils, courts, prisons and again Saminaka had the exceptional case of having a Secondary School that was opened in 1974. Visiting Zaria and experiencing city life with the bubbly, busy but considerably organised traffic, seeing everywhere lit up at night, clean water flowing non-stop from taps, etc. was really heaven come true.

As one reflect on those formative years of human hood, it is quite tragic that Zaria (and by extension all our old cities such as Kano, Ibadan, Maiduguri, Enugu, Benin, etc.) have lost those attractions that used to characterise city life. Relatively though, Zangon Kataf, Ikara and Saminaka (also by extension similar villages of the 1970s) could have been argued to have catch up with the Zarias of the old, if we are only to look at the development of physical structures such as roads, schools, hospitals and generally modern institutions of government. If we however go deeper to investigate or assess the output of these institutions, the result might be shocking, if not scandalous.

Physical structures, institutions and human sophistication have considerably developed over the years. Correspondingly, in both the cases of villages and city life, standard of living has crashed. As individuals, especially those of us in our 40s and 50s, we have grown up, first as very confident, enthusiastic and proud kids but now sagged into frustrated and in majority of cases hopeless people. The promise of a better life as a result of education and the conferment of capabilities, which should ordinarily enable us to access opportunities, have proved to be the case of a desert walk and the common sight of mirages.

From a case where we dream and aspire to visit our old cities such as Zaria, many who possess the relative advantage of winning life and acquiring some comfort (although in most cases falsely so) avoid and dread visiting the old cities for the simple reason of having to experience the demise of our society at the ugly sight of decayed, non-functioning structures and disempowered people. All the old attractions have just vanished. Our old cities have regressed with the following main characteristics:

Ø Majority of our children are out of school. Those that managed to go to schools are poorly educated and when they finish they have no jobs. Many, if not majority, are in the streets living miserable lives.

Ø Our schools are real eyesores – dilapidated structures, no chairs, desks, instruction materials, etc. Teachers are degraded, de-motivated and debased. Yet, we expect them to magically train our children, prepare them for the challenges of the future and mould tomorrow’s leaders.

Ø Our hospitals are without drugs, facilities for treating many ailment and their workers are compelled to virtually become undertakers of the sickly for even the least of curable disease. About 25 years ago our dispensaries delivered services and attended to more complicated health problems than many of our so-called best equipped hospitals today.

Ø Water is today a precious commodity when the last 25 years witnessed a situation where pipe borne water was never a problem.

Ø Food was never a problem in the real sense of it in our society some 25 years ago. But the hunger of today has made the famine of 1973 child’s play.

Ø Our industries have either closed or are so sick that we can’t count on them for any productive activity and therefore we cannot expect them to provide jobs.

It is really sad and inexcusable that our societies have regressed and have continued to regress further and citizens are growing more and more hopeless. The combined effect of all these is falling standard of living. It is certain that incidences of child and maternal mortality are at their highest now, probably more than any period in the history of our society.

Our society came from a history of illustrious leadership at every level, from the family unit, projecting to other levels up to our national life. Most parts of the country have recorded exemplary and outstanding achievements and leaders who have inspired people into action and led processes of societal development. Today, Nigerians grieve that at all level of our society we are in dire need of such leaders. What happened that our society is unable to produce leaders of yesteryears? Is it a case that problems have overwhelmed leaders? Is it a case that citizens have grown to be stronger than leaders? Or that external factor has taken over both the citizens and the leaders? Should the later be the case, have Nigerian societies and citizens been conquered? How did that happened? What is really the problem?

The major reason for all these has been identified to be bad governance and it used to be fashionable to blame the military. Now about fourteen years under civil rule, are we getting back on course to rebound our societies en route to economic development and human progress? With the 2015 general elections approaching, are we about to have new governments and leaders at all levels that would serve as facilitators for development and improved service delivery?

That Nigerians are travelling on a hard political road cannot be contested. Also, that our Nigerian opposition politicians are making claims to progressive politics through the birth of APC is common knowledge. The challenge is whether citizens can expect APC to truly have progressive orientation and begin to revive the values of leadership and with excellent initiatives and foresights return Nigerians to times of dignified life with remarkably good living conditions. The predominant fear is that nothing will change as a result of which APC, like PDP and parties before it manage governance with a regressive lever and not progressive.

Can Nigerians expect a positive response from Nigerian opposition politicians through APC and on the strength of which expect that it can throw up strategies to bring about new leaders at all levels capable and competent to bring about programme of change in governance of the country. What will really be new in APC? How can we as a nation end our current unfortunate reality of misery? Will APC bear its name as a progressive party? These are fundamental questions given the context that all our parties are just election platforms without any policy orientation.

Engendering progressive politics is required to respond positively to Nigeria’s numerous and intractable political challenges. For APC to serve as the catalyst for engendering progressive politics here are some checklists. They are not exhaustive but combinations of assessments with reference to the checklists would confirm or negate any claim to being progressive by APC:

1. Rule Driven: Is APC being organized based on respect for rules by politicians who are members and functionaries of the party such that leaders relate to party members and Nigerian citizens with humility and based on the question, what do you want, as basis for their actions or is the party more governed by unconventional, unwritten, uncivil, authoritarian and illegal order based on the discretion of leaders? Being progressive require high measure of compliance to conventional, written, civil, consensual and legal order and less of leadership discretions.

2. Membership/Leadership Recruitment through Relations with Organized Groups: What is the relationship between APC and Nigerians represented by interest groups? Is there any? If yes, is the fact of such relationship formal or informal? Are there activities oriented to produce some governance/political engagement arising from such a relationship? What is the prospect of such activities on issues of membership mobilization and perhaps influencing the prospect for leadership recruitment and candidate’s selections for election? Being progressive suggest strong relationship with organized groups backed with regular activities.

3. Partnership to support the Development of Non Governmental Groups: Is there a strong recognition in APC for the need to cultivate collaborative partnership between APC on the one hand and especially women, youth, trade unions, informal sector groups, persons with disability, Diaspora organizations, etc. on the other? Is such a recognition oriented to, apart from governance, policy and legislative engagement, among others, include organizational development of nongovernmental groups? Does such recognition also come with some commitment to support the nurturing of development of non-governmental organizations in the country? Being a progressive party will require strong correlation with non-governmental organizations.

4. Promoting the Development of Nationally Organized Youth Structure: In particular, given the strength and effectiveness of youth voting population in the country with over 60 million voters, is APC coming with a strategy of ensuring that Nigerian youths are organized on a national scale? Will such a strategy cover the critical issue of challenging Nigerian youths to develop a national political mobilization strategy based on a charter of demands that would inform partnership between both the party and governments produced by the party, on the one hand, and partner youths organizations, on the other? The mark of APC’s progressiveness will be its link with a national youth structure that is driven based on a national campaign for socio-economic and political development of the country with a clearly articulated charter of demands.

5. Party Structures Stronger than Individual Leaders: Is APC structures stronger than individual party leaders or there are some party leaders that are stronger than the party on account of which these individuals can veto or nullify decisions by formal organs and members of the party? Being progressive require that the party structures are stronger than all members and no individual within the party should have the power to veto or nullify formal organs and members’ decisions.

6. Balanced and Representative Leadership: Is the leadership of the party balanced with respect to the merging parties, reflect the diversities of Nigerians and accommodate wide range of interests or is it a simple reflection of existing power configuration? Is the leadership of APC male dominated and comprised of almost exclusively older people (people above 40s)? Being balanced and representative of diversities of interests, gender and age will connote stronger progressive character.

7. Strong, Democratic Party with Competent Leaders: Are the structures of the party at all levels strong and democratic with competent leaders? Or is it that only the national structures are strong and lower level structures at states, local governments and wards are weak? Are there budgets and disbursement mechanism to cover the activities of structures at all levels or there are only budgets for national structures? Are there democratized funding sources or funding sources are only known to leaders? Strong, democratic and democratized funding sources are necessary requirement for a progressive party.

8. New Governance Reality through Mass Mobilization: Should Nigerians start expecting new governance reality from APC on the strength of a new approach to mass mobilization based on which it should be expected that APC will produce new crop of politicians? An indicator of APC’s progressive credential in this respect will be a strong campaign for membership mobilization. Weak campaign or operating dominantly based on inherited membership from ACN, ANPP, CPC and Okorocha-led APGA will simply mean that the party is contented with current crop of politicians and to that extent may be weak in bringing about new governance reality.

9. United Party: Is APC able to successfully unite leaders and members of ACN, ANPP, CPC and Okorocha-led APGA or the merger has generated sharp leadership contests with the threats of producing factions? Is APC coming with strong solutions to internal crisis of the merged parties? Related to this, is APC coming with strong and effective dispute resolution mechanism? Being progressive should suggest that as the party is announcing processes of constituting leadership, it is also rolling out an acceptable structure for dispute resolution.

10. Led by the Best among Members: Is APC being led by its leading light and best? Or is APC reserving its best for electoral contest? Being a progressive party will require that APC is led by its best and in fact the quality of leadership at all levels is as good as the quality of government functionaries it is preparing to install.

11. High Leadership Integrity: What is the integrity rating of APC leadership? Are they the same old politicians with cases unanswered? Were they in public office before? If so, what was their performance? To what extent can they be regarded as persons who demonstrated respect for citizens’ welfare needs? Should Nigerians on account of this assessment expect good respect by APC sponsored public functionaries? Being progressive should translate to relatively high integrity, no cases of unanswered charges, with recommendable records of services, etc.

12. Reduced Money Politics: Is money the main driver and stimulator of all APC initiatives or APC is coming with a strategic approach of reducing the role of money in political mobilization? How is APC approaching this challenge? Is it taking it as given? Being progressive will require some departure from the domineering role of money.

13. Constitution and Manifesto Aggregate Public Expectation: To what extent have the constitution and manifesto of APC met public expectation? Are there clear commitments with respect to education, health, agriculture, industry, housing, urban renewal, human welfare, etc.? How different are these commitments from what obtains today as provided by PDP and all the other parties? Do such commitments come with obligations imposed on elected representatives sponsored by the party? Are there monitoring and control structures within the party to guarantee delivery? In addition to affirming all of these, being a progressive party may come with strong milestones and sanctions on failing public officials.

14. Winning Public Support: Is APC designing and developing activities aimed at winning public support and based on that prepare to rollout electoral campaign programmes? How different will APC electoral campaign programme be? To what extent will it responding to issues of ballot box snatching, writing results of elections, voter intimidations, etc.? For our contemporary Nigerian reality, an excellent progressive electoral campaign programme will be one that is able to deal with all these problems and guarantee that all votes will count.

15. Enforcing Accountability in Governance: Is APC a project for enforcing accountability in governance or simply one of defeating PDP? Being a project for enforcing accountability in governance, APC should model the way through examples. A good example will be for APC to cost all its activities, organize a transparent funding mobilization and maintain good accounts of all its activities, compel leaders to respect such a tradition and popularize it among members.

16. Good Communication Framework: Is there good communication framework in the party? Are decisions taken at the right time and are there mechanisms for communicating party decisions to lower organs and members? A progressive party will have good communication framework which will guarantee that decisions are taken at the right time and communicated effectively to all lower organs and members.

17. Mass Based and De-Emphasize Ethnic and Religious Politics: Is APC just another election platform with politicians assembled under its banner to continue with divisive ethnic and religious politics? To what extent is APC leadership responding to the challenge of ensuring that the party is a mass based political organization and at the same time coming with a strategy to control and reduce the problem of ethnic and religious politics? Being a progressive party committed to national unity and non discrimination should be evident in the way the party conducts its activities including processes of candidates’ selections and electoral campaigns.

18. Regulating and Directing Governments and Elected Officials based on Policies: Will APC government and elected officials dictate to the party or will the party be able to regulate and direct the conducts of its officials and governments at all levels? Our today’s situation mean that a progressive party must be able to regulate and direct the conducts of all officials and governments, especially federal government.

19. Commitment to Performance Benchmarks: How is the party preparing to select candidates for elections? Are there efforts to set performance qualification benchmarks that are perhaps value driven? Are such processes being popularized among party members? And should Nigerians expect that APC will develop a culture of ensuring that the search for candidates is primarily among party members? The degree to which APC produces positive response will estimate the strength of its progressiveness.

20. Committed to Reduced Inequality, Poverty and Unemployment: How is APC responding to high and rising levels of inequality, poverty and unemployment in the country? How is APC outlining strategies for stimulating production in the country? How is APC mobilizing and organizing levels of governments around the need to achieve these governance benchmarks? To what extent is APC setting governance benchmarks for states and local governments on these issues? To be progressive mean the presence of well articulated strategies as well as clear governance benchmarks for states and local governments.

Issues raised here are primarily to focus attention of Nigerians on elements that highlight possible conditions to make APC emerge as a progressive party. The key message to the Nigerian opposition politicians is – the time to act and organise is now! The journey to addressing the socio-economic and political challenges facing our societies is a difficult one. It calls for stronger and unswerving commitment on the part of all those who genuinely seek and desire progressive change in Nigeria. It calls for strong commitment, consistency of action over a long period, selflessness and belief in Nigeria. It is no doubt A HARD ROAD TO TRAVEL!

Democratic Governance and Federalism in Nigeria: Measure of APC’s Commitment to Human Development Agenda by @smlukman May 10, 2013

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Democratic Governance and Federalism in Nigeria: Measure of APC’s Commitment to Human Development Agenda
Open Memo to Nigerian Opposition Politicians – 4

Salihu Moh. Lukman
smlukman@gmail.com

Popular sovereignty which stipulates, first, that people are the source of any and all governmental powers, and secondly, governmental powers are exercised only with the consent of the governed, is a fundamental principle of democratic governance. In the context of a federal system, popular sovereignty is constitutionally divided between a central authority (federal) and constituent units (states).

For us in Nigeria, this is supposedly the guiding philosophy today. As a nation, with all the imperfections, we have been a democracy since 1999 and perhaps since 1967, we have been federalism with so much distortions and aberrations. Combinations of imperfections associated with democratic governance, distortions and aberrations related to our federal system of governments have reduced democratic governance, especially at state levels in Nigeria into an empty vocation that means very little to Nigerian people.

A major reflection of the distortions and aberrations of our federalism is reflected in our nationally perverted notion of revenue sharing with very little concern about how it is generated or contributions of constituent units. Largely informed by powers to make laws not necessarily informed by any rational economic parameter, the federal government legislated to itself 52.68% of Nigeria’s revenue. State governments have 26.72% and Local Governments 20.60%. What informs the logic of this sharing formula? Is it based on contributions to the process of revenue mobilization?

Certainly, there will be some forms of justifications. They don’t have to be logical or rational. They are predominantly a reflection of crude power play. Largely because it has resulted in short changing Nigerians, the perception is that governments, at all levels, are today our main problem. The fact of short changing Nigerians is largely on account of diminished responsibilities of our governments to discharge basic functions of service delivery including opening up access for Nigerians to participate in the process of revenue generation. Therefore, the reality of oil revenue generation is unfortunately that of monumental fraud, corruption and shoddy deals driven almost exclusively by the federal government.

Given the huge resources involved, the functions of governments as facilitators of economic activities in the country are virtually suspended. By the accounts of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria has earned N8.875 trillion between 2002 and 2006. This has shot to N8.878 trillion for 2011 alone and in 2012, N8.117 trillion. Based on this revenue reality, on monthly basis, Nigerian federal government take over N200 billion, the 36 state governments receives about N100 billion and our 774 Local Governments receive less than N100 billion. With this, our governments have no incentive to stimulate economic activities.

As much as governments are our problem, given the huge resources at their disposal, they are also a necessary evil. Why is this so? How did we find ourselves in this bad situation? Answers to these simple questions could be multiple of our national headcount. They could also be easily clustered based on our ethno-religious diversity. Not even our so-called party system could change or alter this fact. If anything, it is more likely to entrench it. Depending on the audience and environment, the perspective of a PDP politician may be the same with that of an opposition politician. Objectivity would be difficult to discern. It is simply a reflection of our national paradox; one that promotes biased and convenient interpretation of governments and their responsibilities.

The result is that although under a democratic system of government and operating in a country blessed in every respect, human and natural resources, our citizens are poor. The fact of our citizens’ poor conditions is reflected in rising levels of poverty and unemployment. Contrasted against the background of geometric rise in oil revenue, poverty has increased from 54% in 1999 to 69% today. Unemployment rate has risen from about 17.5% in 1999 to 24% today.

Sadly, our partisan configuration has not been able to define and delineate our poverty and unemployment profiles. This practically means that our parties are completely blind to human development challenges, which produces a situation whereby high poverty and unemployment situations are also the characteristics of states controlled by non-PDP governments – governments controlled by opposition parties.

For instance, assessing profiles of the 11 state governments controlled by Nigerian opposition parties – ACN, ANPP, CPC and Okorocha-led APGA based on National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) 2010 Harmonized National Living Standard Survey (HNLSS) and NBS National Unemployment report, it gives a worrisome pattern, hardly progressive. Out of the 11 state governments, 6 were reported with poverty incidence higher than the national average of 69%. These are Edo (72.5%), Nasarawa (71.7%), Ogun (69.0%), Yobe (79.6%) and Zamfara (80.2%). This means that some of our ‘progressive’ state governments contributed significant to high levels of poverty in the country on account of inability to stimulate economic activities in their states. In fact, only Osun has been reported with poverty incidence of less than 50%. Reported to have 47.5%, it means that Osun is the only state with less than half of its citizens in poverty. Things being equal therefore, access to jobs and opportunities could be adjudged to be relatively easier in Osun.

Related to issue of poverty is that of unemployment. And like the case of poverty, 6 out of our 11 ‘progressive’ states were reported by NBS with unemployment rates higher than the national average of 24%. These are Borno (29.1%), Edo (35.2%), Imo (26.1%), Nasarawa (36.5%), Yobe (35.6%) and Zamfara (42.6%). Again, Osun was reported with the best record of 3.0% unemployment rate. In other words, with such low unemployment rate and less than half of its citizens in poverty, Osun could be rightly described as the most employment and people friendly state in the country.

What this means is that, with reference to both poverty and unemployment, the claim to being progressives by most of our 11 ‘progressive’ state governments could be contested. There may be the temptation to dismiss the NBS report as inaccurate. The source of inaccuracy can hardly be linked to political motive and to that extent therefore the report could have some legitimacy. The second plank of argument could be the fact of some of the state governments being young and therefore may just have inherited the high levels of poverty from preceding governments. Related to this second factor is the third consideration focusing on the level to which state governments’ policies could responsible to high levels of poverty and unemployment. In which case the dispute might not be about the legitimacy of the existence of high poverty and unemployment rates but simply about how much responsibility should our 11 ‘progressive’ state governments take?

Issues or responsibility calls to question the extent to which our parties as represented by the opposition have directed the policy orientations of governments they produced. The truth is that issues of directing policy orientations of governments produced by our parties are not a consideration. And since it is not a consideration, question of monitoring and directing resources towards common goal will just be academic exercise.

Part of the problems that may undermine the capacity of our 11 ‘progressive’ state governments to drive human development agenda capable of reducing poverty and unemployment is the bandwagon culture mainly on account of huge oil revenue. It needs to be emphatically highlighted that the huge oil revenue is the main source of the distortions and aberrations related to our brand of federalism, which are traceable to our experiences under military rule. To be precise, under military rule, functions of governments related with providing services to the people became a subject of benevolent disposition of military leaders. It was not about discharging constitutional responsibilities but a measure of the kindness of military leaders. On account of this even basic function such as payment of salaries to government workers became a source of official propaganda acknowledging the ‘good work’ of military rulers.

In the circumstance, from a situation where our governments at all levels were ran based on some commitment to national development targets, at least up to 1980, we descended to a situation where propaganda is the development target. Unfortunately, with the rise of oil revenue and government being the sole producer of oil, services as requirement for revenue generation became no longer valid for us in Nigeria. Coupled with a situation where, sovereignty was anything but popular, mainly vested in the military command, oil revenue management under military governments became tailored to serve government functionaries, mainly military personnel or their appointees.

This was the reality that ushered in our democratic governance and it is a reality that has not change till today. All our governments have remained weak, deficient and blind to issues of services to citizens in varying degrees. Geometric rise in oil revenue has continued to serve as disincentives for governments to develop the needed capacity for service delivery. Thus the singular most important sector in Nigerian economy today is the oil sector. As a result, other sectors became neglected. Therefore, governance situation in the country has continued to regress and deteriorate from a situation where rulers are expected to serve citizens to a situation where citizens watch rulers serve themselves.

The sad reality is that we are not able to justify democratic governance or federalism with reference to any performance indicator whether with reference to federal or state governments. Our ‘progressive’ state governments have not so far produced any exception. Therefore, against the background of current APC merger negotiations, this needs to be highlighted so that our opposition political leaders are compelled to take some responsibilities and design a new governance template that can guarantee human development for Nigerian people.

There is no debate about the fact of our human development challenges. The question for our Nigerian opposition politicians is what is the response being presented to Nigerians? Should we expect such a response in the manifesto of APC? To what extent will it come with new forms of superior commitment by politicians who will be saddled with the responsibility of managing governments at federal and state levels? In any event, to what extent should Nigerians take it that there is a new consciousness among the leaders of our 11 state governments on account of the new progressive identity expect that poverty and unemployment rates will be reduced?

These are necessary question in order to focus Nigerian opposition politicians to issues of human development agenda. These are issues that border on service delivery aimed at enhancing the quality of citizens’ life. They border on the depth and scope of responsibilities of governments to citizens in the area of education, healthcare, social development, etc. Above all they border on the extent to which Nigerians should expect APC to emerge as a comprehensively competent progressive party managing all its responsibilities and not just that of nominating candidates and conducting political campaigns.

To be objective would be to take our bearing from facts that are steering us in the face as Nigerians. Combinations of huge oil revenue, domineering control of federal government, absence of services to citizens and worsening living conditions has created widespread crisis situations in the country. It is a condition that is provoking all sorts of national anger and hatred in varying proportions. Our opposition political leaders need to primarily demonstrate a commitment to create a new framework for the country. Such a framework should be definitive and should not just be simply about condemnation.

A definitive framework should regulate processes of candidates’ selection for instance. APC must have a strategy of sorting and sifting candidates such that there should be strong correlation between candidates’ selection process and the party’s policy commitment. Is it possible to expect a paradigm shift whereby issues of performance, knowledge and experience govern the process of candidates’ selection at all levels? This is important given that it will mean that performance on current and past responsibilities especially in terms of impact on human welfare issues will be considered. Such a strategy could generate positive competitive practices among our 11 governors aimed at enhancing service delivery. This will greatly eliminate circumstances whereby all candidates need is money and demonstration of loyalty to national leaders. Services resulting in citizens’ support would be the major consideration.

One of the condition that may potentially assist in ensuring that APC is able to come with some strong commitments to human development agenda could be through the conscious acknowledgement by our 11 state governments that the human development content of our democracy is feeble and require a major boost. On account of which they can set themselves some human development targets and design common policies that would drive service delivery between now and 2015. Practically, this can be achieved without having to wait for the finalization of the APC merger negotiations.

With the organized role of the 11 APC governors so far, it can be correctly argued that in fact the APC governors are the most organized section of the Nigerian opposition politics. The APC merger negotiation is able to make substantial progress on account of the organized role of the state governors. Left in the hands of the leadership of the merging political parties, issues of leadership and potentially candidates’ selection criteria for 2015 would have created dispute situation. Is the organized role of the 11 state governors going to be limited to pushing ACN, ANPP, CPC and Okorocha-led APGA to merge into APC? Or will the organised role of the 11 state governors be strategically expanded to address human development challenges such that their performances between now and 2015 become the moral beacon for APC and more fundamentally a source of APC’s governance and leadership credentials?

Such a moral beacon can also provide qualifying benchmarks for interested serving PDP governors for instance. This would mean that all current serving governors aspiring to join our new APC should meet some minimum human development targets. With aspirations to contest for political office being a major driving consideration and given the increasing levels of political insecurity in PDP, simple knowledge of such a qualifying benchmark may just be the needed incentives.

Interestingly, notwithstanding the role of state governments in the APC merger process today, public considerations about potential presidential candidate of APC predominantly completely ignore all our 11 state governors. Sparingly, Fashola and Adams get some mention but even then as running mates. Could this be a reflection of poor human development ratings of our 11 state governments? Could the facts of high poverty and unemployment rates in our states be responsible for such poor ratings? If high poverty and unemployment rates are responsible, why should anyone be contemplating GEJ as candidate for 2015?

Certainly, human development issues are not the driving consideration. The main driving considerations are factors that have nothing to do with performance in anyway. It is purely aspiration driven based on individual calculations with virtually zero human development content. This will continue to be so unless there is an organized response. The absence of organized response will continue to erode and undermine capacity for democratic response to distortions and aberrations related to our federalism. Perhaps the facts of our 11 APC Governors’ absence in the speculated list of potential presidential candidates for 2015 could be a reflection of the humility and personal loyalty to the leaders of the merging parties. In which case then, could our leaders of the merging parties be so insensitive as to be overlooking this reality and recklessly go out shopping for candidates from outside the merging parties? Could accomplishments bordering on human development delivery be the attractions?

Be that as it may, the APC merger negotiation need to provide an effective response to our current human development challenges through reinvention of government’s service delivery functions, starting with our 11 states. The confidence of Nigerians will be strengthened given a positive human development scorecard that translate in lower poverty and unemployment indices arising from policy commitments. This is the needed foundation for service oriented democratic governance and production driven federalism.

Will our organised 11 state governments mainstream this as part of the strategic political engineering for APC? Or will they just continue with the culture of business as usual? This is an opportune moment. The ability of our 11 governors to act with respect to issues of human development challenges facing Nigeria may be what is needed to give APC the progressive identity Nigerians are yearning for. Will our 11 organised governors write their names boldly in the progressive page of Nigerian history or will they simply write it in the common page? Will they place the country on the path of popular sovereignty or will they continue to undermine the power of Nigerians and promote monumental fraud, corruption and shoddy deals in the name of governance? Are they going to resolve our democratic imperfections, remove all distortions and aberrations associated with our federalism or will they continue with the unjust business of short changing Nigerians in the name of democracy and federalism?

Nigerians are watching anxiously, history is beckoning and the time to act is NOW!

SOLUDO’s SOLUTION OF ANGER AND INNUENDO by @elrufai May 10, 2013

Posted by seunfakze in CHANGE, POLITICS.
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Soludo’s Solution of Anger and Innuendo

Nasir El Rufai

Long before the publication of The Accidental Public Servant, I had decided to resist joining issues with whatever commentators wrote in response to the book by way of either attacking the author or its contents. It is a narrative of my experiences and views, and I would simply invite others to document theirs. Many of those that commented on, or ‘reviewed’ the book had not even read it in full. Others had decided long before it was published that they would attack El-Rufai and whatever he writes, while a few others were simply going to be unhappy with how they were presented in the book as being less than perfect. When one writes a 700-page book, one has to take a deep breath and allow others the slack to write a few pages in response, however disagreeable or abusive.

When I wrote The Accidental Public Servant, there were no illusions that its account would be uncontested. As I have said repeatedly, it is simply my account of the people and events that defined my years in public service. I took several precautions (such as double-checking from the copious notes and diaries of events that were taken after every major encounter – about forty seven note books in total) of ensuring that it is a truthful, balanced and fair account of my experience. I do not have a professorial memory, so kept daily journals of events including verbatim records of statements. I am delighted that I took the time to write it, and I once again encourage others who have been privileged to be in the public service to similarly record their experiences. Those who may choose not to write books can still contribute by responding to specific issues mentioned in my narrative on which they may have other information, however critical or contrary to my account.

Professor Charles (I have always called him Charles because that is how we were introduced. I have never gotten used to calling him Chukwuma) Soludo approached me at the end of the recent thanksgiving service for my sister, Oby Ezekwesili, to complain about some of the assertions in my book concerning him. He denied that he owed his consulting jobs with the World Bank and other institutions to Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. He denied being mentored or taught by her father. He added that he had not read the entire book but would send me two pages of his initial observations. I encouraged him not only to do so, but publish it and work on a book documenting his experiences. Knowing Charles as I do, I had no doubt that he was already doing that and the first episode has now been published in his fortnightly column in Thisday.

Thus, his rebuttal did not come as a surprise; given that I encouraged him to do so as I have nothing to hide. Even so, it is shocking that he chose to sensationalise his version of events by describing The Accidental Public Servant as intellectual fraud. There is a question mark in the title of his article, but the last sentence of Charles’ diatribe restated his magisterial conclusion. He went further to provide his own definitions of fraud as “an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual” or “as course of deception, an intentional concealment, omission or perversion of truth”; only to stop there! Fraud has a technical and legal definition and if Charles had bothered to consult his lawyer, he would have gone beyond the ‘online definition’, but that is another matter for now.

It is illogical to contest someone’s CV with him in the absence of contrary and superior information. I therefore concede to Charles’ account of his professional odyssey prior to his being introduced to us in 2000 by Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, long before joining the Obasanjo government in 2003. The logical question therefore is how any of the examples he gave of the errors in his resume would without more, rise to the level of fraud? Why would I intentionally deceive the world that Soludo’s tenure as governor of CBN started in mid-2005 rather than May of 2004? This only occurred when one of the book’s editors thought the 2004 date was wrong and ‘corrected’ it but that escaped subsequent editorial reviews. What is the personal gain to me in describing Soludo as a protégé of Professor Okonjo or how did the description damage him when he just referred to the same Professor Okonjo as “respected”? So, Charles needs to substantiate how any assertion, error or omission in the book amounts to “fraud” per his definition.

After that, I do not see much that is significant to warrant a clarification from me. One friend on Twitter observed that Charles’ polemic had so much anger and little substance that he truly sounded as angry as a woman scorned! Much of Charles’ response is enlivened by innuendos. He repeats the frequent charge about my ambition for the presidency in 2007, a charge that is untrue but that is often echoed as if that ambition, if it existed, is akin to treason. Charles knows that I do not consider illegitimate his desire to be governor of his state or his current hopes to be a presidential running-mate. But he should know better than most that ambition for office is not the only reason for being active in politics. Since Charles has claimed that I ‘schemed desperately’ to succeed Obasanjo, he should please tell all – inform Nigerians what I did, who was involved and spill the beans! Virtually all the narratives in The Accidental Public Servant about Charles involved others that are still alive, and if he said I made them up, perhaps he should state his version and invite others mentioned to invalidate my claim instead of calling anyone a liar just because he did not like the way his conduct appeared in the book.

Charles was introduced to me by Ngozi, and that was the foundation of our professional relationship and friendship. As far as I know, it was also Ngozi who proposed his name for economic adviser and Oby (and her husband) took him to Obasanjo several times before he was appointed. If Charles is denying that this happened, that is fine. It does not change the facts, and those that did what they did know what they did or did not do! Why is Charles so hurt that others have helped him? Is he suggesting that he had won the Nobel Prize in Economics and that is how Obasanjo got to meet and appoint him?

Charles presented his jaundiced interpretations of what I wrote in clear language as my views in his piece. For instance, there was nowhere in the book that I wrote that ‘Ngozi was power hungry.’ She was pragmatic and realistic about power relations. How does that equate to being power hungry? Charles is playing with words in a patently dishonest way, knowing that many that will read his piece have not read the book, but he is not the intellectual fraud! Charles also asserted that I forced myself on the economic team and “destroyed it”! Was it El-Rufai that composed the membership of the team? When and how was the team single-handedly destroyed by me? As far as I know, warts and all, the economic team kept on working till May 29, 2007. Again, I invite Charles to educate us all now, bearing in mind virtually all the team members are still alive and around, even after he stopped attending its weekly meetings.

In the book, I wrote that Charles did many things to ingratiate himself to Obasanjo, one of which was to attribute every good ‘idea’ to the latter; not actual achievements, since there were few in the early days. Charles’ response was to misrepresent what was written, just as he knows that there is no weight to the claim that appointees under a presidential system cannot claim credit for their work. To acknowledge the opportunity President Obasanjo gave me to serve, and the support he provided to help us succeed at the FCT is very different from pretending that only the boss had any ideas on how to administer Abuja, or that he oozed perfection, presidential system or not.

Charles also came out guns blazing questioning my narratives of events involving his new mentor Atiku Abubakar, and Nuhu Ribadu and Obasanjo. In Charles’ views, these three people made me tick in government and I should be eternally grateful. Charles has not read the book. If he did, he would have come across all the instances in which I gave each of them credit for what they did right and how they contributed to the work I did. Unlike Charles who makes people believe they are perfect when he needs them, I was consistent in and out of office in pointing to those I worked with where I believe they went wrong Just as I was self critical of my own shortcomings. In Charles’ vocabulary, that is ingratitude. In mine, it is simply utilitarian sycophancy to attribute perfection to imperfect mortals because they are likely to help one’s career next week!

Charles claimed that I pleaded with him to provide technical assistance to BPE. That is false. That conversation just never happened. Those familiar with BPE know that we hired people either as regular public servants, individual consultants called ‘core team’ members that work full time in the organization or investment bankers and consulting firms like lawyers and accountants that provided periodic transactional services as needed. Charles and his economic consulting firm did not fit into any of the three categories. I appointed him to the membership of two reform steering committees – Competition and Anti-Trust and the Industry and Manufacturing Reform Committees along with persons of the calibre of Pat Utomi, Oby Ezekwesili, and Aliko Dangote. I was the coordinator of both committees as DG of the BPE, with Ibrahim S. Njiddah, now a presidential assistant doing the day-to-day management. I am now learning from the Charles’ piece that he single-handedly did the work of the Competition Reform Committee for free. I did not realize that all the other notable members did nothing! Well, thanks Charles, but Steering Committee members got hotel accommodation and were paid sitting allowances by the BPE, so I do not quite understand what was meant by asserting that you did the work free of charge.

That leaves us with asking Charles to detail the fraud he alleges was attendant to the efforts we made to restore the Abuja master plan. He claimed that my ‘vindictiveness’ nearly ruined the exercise. Really? There is need to say more right on this away. I am challenging Charles to substantiate these innuendos with names and details of my alleged vindictiveness in his article since everybody knows that my service at the FCT is a matter of public record that has been investigated by several institutions unsympathetic to me, and all Abuja residents know about and still comment upon it.

The rest of Soludo’s article was spent blowing his trumpet of banking consolidation with his characteristic modesty! The dismissal of Charles’ over-hyped banking consolidation in The Accidental Public Servant therefore appeared to upset him more than anything else. He is still under the illusion that his ‘revolution’ changed our lives the way GSM licensing did! No one needs a single 234Next to see through the hype and the disingenuous comparison. Banks like First Bank, UBA, Union, Zenith IBTC, and GTB needed no consolidation. They had sound business models and were doing well without it. Soludo’s consolidation abolished investment banks and regional banks, while creating a few ‘big’ banks with funny names many of which were either comatose by 2009 or had to be subsequently saved by the Sanusi Lamido Sanusi rescue exercise. It is pathetic to measure the success of consolidation by the number of banks in the top 1,000 banks in the world. Did that ranking translate into increased lending to the real sector, greater employment opportunities for our people and intensified mobilization of savings in the way the GSM revolution did? No way, only massive margin loans to create a stock market bubble, engender insider lending and incestuous relations between regulators and operators in the industry.

The kind of targeted interventions needed to fill the gaps sustained by some of such policies were opposed by Soludo unless the ideas originated from him. As CBN governor, Charles did all he could to frustrate the attempts to establish a national mortgage system and was openly critical of Ngozi’s drive and contributions in getting the Paris Club debts written off for the simple reason that the the credit might go to others not Soludo!

Charles is free to beat his chest and claim that the deformed baby called consolidation was a revolution, but today many of the the poster-children of the policy like Intercontinental, Oceanic, Finbank and Spring Bank are history, the banking-stockbroking rock stars are facing prosecution, and with N4 trillion spent to prevent the collapse of his revolution. When Charles’ memoirs are published, those that either witnessed it or had to clean up ‘the world’s fastest growing financial system’ will have their own views. And it will be good for the country. After all, it has been said that every story has at least three sides, my version, your version and the truth which lies somewhere in between the two. If one refers to a book one finds disagreeable as intellectual fraud while insisting that a cancer one created that has cost nearly the annual budget of the federal government to treat, so far, as a resounding success, then what more is there to say? It simply points to the moral and psychological mind-set of such a person.

@elrufai’s YOUNG VOICES – WHINE OR RISE: A CHOICE by @seunfakze May 9, 2013

Posted by seunfakze in CHANGE, POLITICS.
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YOUNG VOICES – SEUN FAKUADE

‘Trained as a Microbiologist from Obafemi Awolowo University, ‘Seun Fakuade is Founder at Bedazzle Media; a Brands, Multimedia and Publishing firm; Executive Director of Beacons Development Foundation Nigeria – a non Governmental organization that uses mentorship and community services to develop the human capacity and leadership core values of young people; and Team Lead at The BOOTCAMP.

Through his network and platforms, he has devoted himself to inspiring young Nigerians and believes that with integrity and diligence as virtues all Nigerians can collective guide Nigeria back to the path of growth, development and sustainability.
As he turns 30 today, ‘Seun writes reminding Nigerians that we are the Beacons of Change Nigeria needs for its rebirth and challenges us to respond to this patriotic call. 

WHINE OR RISE: A CHOICE! By Seun Fakuade

“Those who oppose change, those who benefit from an unjust status quo, have always bet on the public’s cynicism or the public’s complacency”. – Unknown

What is the future of Nigeria: With its two types of law – one for the Elite, the other for the Poor; with 10.6millon out-of-school children, many hawk on the streets and expressways. What is the future of Nigeria with the high rates of child mortality; with the prevalent poverty rates; with the disparity between the rich and poor; with the conflict of interests between leaders and followers; with the incessant terror attacks from home grown organizations springing up across the regions; with deliberately corrupt or developmentally disinclined leadership; with the best, brightest and fittest amongst our citizens disenfranchised and shying away from partisan politics?

What is the future of Nigeria: with the undying rape on our value system; where our concern for embezzled funds is higher than our concern for the loss of lives; where our focus is more on infrastructure than those who will sustain them? (young people). Nigeria’s young people are angry, and they have a reason to be. At the high rate of unemployment, crime and violence are alternate resolves for many. What are we doing about our young people? How are we bringing them up? Have our elders given up on the young, or they are simply in a hurry to leave the stage?

Nigeria’s leaders are mostly interested in quick projects that can facilitate their win in the next election. Without citizens, most importantly young people, who are highly driven enough to engage in the political system through which an economic powerhouse/institution can be born; Nigeria’s residence in the doldrums will be long!

Political institutions birth economic institutions, which; alongside good governance, public infrastructure, propriety rights and good judicial systems; allow for a vibrant nation. Good Political institutions enable good economic institutions with the practice and right incentives for growth and development. A lack of the aforementioned are reasons Why Nations Fail. So what will give rise to the appropriate political institutions? Amidst the prevalent cries of “politics is bad”, how will Nigeria change the course of its erratic and epileptic growth curve?

For evil to stop, good people must be driven enough, with the will to fight and the right tactics to emerge a dynamic/robust system that checkmates that evil. The idea that politics is bad has been sold to us from time infinitesimal. I do agree to an extent: for good people, by shying away from politics, leave it to rot and to waste. Nigeria is typical of this. Who are the leaders of the 774 Local governments? The Governors? The head of institutions? Mainly ignorant bunches! Look at the Lawmakers: what are their interests – themselves or the people? Some thugs, some aching thieves!

Consequently, these decision makers repeatedly make decisions that insulate them from consequences that the larger society is much predisposed to. They live in gated compounds with massive security; they drink from refined water; they enjoy foreign health treatments; send their children abroad for; and enjoy other unprecedented benefits that consistently make them insensitive and unreasonable on a large scale.

If Nigeria must change, good people (importantly young people) must fight through the political systems, through the political parties, to win through and through. When we enable our political institutions with sound men, with the Character, Capacity and Competence to bring about change; other things will follow. The much needed national ideology of our nation, our identity; and the accompanying rise from the under-development rubble will only be consequential.

Our parents were sold the same lies: politics is bad. Look at Nigeria and the result of that lie! By constantly believing and living this lie, we perpetrate the status quo. Good people in those days ranted too, the newspapers and other forms of old media were their field of expression; but politics: No! they stayed away. It is the same today: our media is Twitter and Facebook. We are doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result! Madness!

The challenge to “how we can birth a great nation despite the rot in which it exists” is the consideration. Good people must go into politics as a cluster group of Change agents. We must be decisive to do it, even though we differ, in our color, religious inclinations, cultural orientation, and ideological beliefs.

We know many things: We know that our nation will arise when its citizens are brought up with high standard in education that creates many science and medical breakthroughs, many technological innovations that eventually liberate our nation by creating jobs and wealth and a solid economy. We know Nigeria will be a greater place if more people could get and acquire technical and resourceful skills and training that employers are looking for today.

We know we would be a greater nation if we stopped accommodating corruption, frolicking with corrupt men or granting them undue pardon. We know we are better off when women are treated fairly and equally in every aspect. We know these things and more to be true. We know that our challenges are humongous and incredibly daunting but we admit that they are within reach, they can be solved. I call you friends to rise and build this nation, destroyed after years over years of lethargic, tenacious cycle of selfish greedy leaders; of expropriation, shedding of blood, murders, killings, needless bickering and incredible animosities.

When we fix our political system, we can fix other things; importantly our constitution with its flaws. We must rewrite it and input the essence of our unity, OUR IDENTITY- the true meaning of being a Nigerian; not the poster face littered over the world, of corruption, of crime, of violence, of fraud, of poverty. We must redefine our nationhood, borne out of deep resolve and deliberations; and craft out extraordinary charters which our nation, its citizens and posterity will live by.

We must refuse the “we are the future” slogan. Now is that future. It is up to us to stand up, to be heard, sit-in, to protest, to dialogue, to discus, to lobby, to march, to organize, to vote. We won’t be content no more, to just sit back and watch. This is OUR nation, as much as its theirs. We have the same inalienable right to it as those who lead it do.

We must define and determine when that cynicism and complacency ends. Its why WE CANNOT WAIT ANY LONGER. It won’t be easy. Nothing worthwhile is easy. Martin Luther King Jnr didn’t have it easy. Neither did Mandela. No one of achievement has avoided failure — sometimes catastrophic failures. But they keep at it. They learn from mistakes. They don’t quit.

Will we allow the destruction and ultimate implosion of Nigeria continue? Will we allow our young ones grow up without the assurance of and for a better future? Will we arise to erase the poster dent that has plagued our nation for decades? Or as usual, restrain from politics, or bow to the pressure of the status quo, to the altar of corruption and repeat the same!? Will we dare to be that breed without greed or corruption that will, united with others; bring forth a new Nigeria? What will happen to those boys and girls if we don’t? Who will fight for them if we don’t? Who will give them a fair shot if we don’t fight?

Whilst we join PINigeria to relieve our nation of several years of being pinned down; or Enough-Is-Enough because we have certainly had enough; or Sleeves Up Nigeria for all hands are needed to work Nigeria to breakthrough; or the Future Project because we are the Future of Nigeria; or Beacons Nigeria for truly, we all are the Beacons of Hope and Change Nigeria needs. These movements are good but their impacts are limited compared to the diverse and vast role of government. Hence, we must also participate in the political process for a more robust and engaging fast track to Nigeria’s, and ultimately Africa’s renaissance.

Nigeria needs that new breed, without compromise, with the Character, Competence and Capacity to function effectively; with the moral reprieve and the restraints to become corrupted along the process. Nigeria requires you: the icon of integrity to engage and stand firm, participate and confront the political system and its machineries, with knowledge, with courage and grit to fight for your rightful place. Nigeria’s greatness is only known potentially. Her greatness will never materialize until those set of sound incorruptible and unflinching young men and women arise to birth it.

You are that Beacon of Change Nigeria so need for its Rebirth.

God Bless Nigeria

DEAR MR. PRESIDENT (2) by @seunfakze May 8, 2013

Posted by seunfakze in CHANGE, EDUCATION, MORALITY, POLITICS.
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Hello Mr President,

It has been a while since we last communicated. I have watched, the months passed, with depressing emotions, with overwhelming exasperations, with unhidden bewilderment, with unrestrained dismay how gradually we are descending into the horror of a dream: a nightmare. The spate of attacks on our land ( – morally, mentally, physically to say the least) in the past six months has left most of us speechless. What is more chilling: others are growing inured to the “new plague” and you sit, so it seems; less concerned if we live, if we die.

Many called you clueless, I joined that bandwagon for a while. I have since rescinded that statement. I duly apologize. You know what you are doing sir. You are deliberately indifferent or dangerously a wicked man discerning Nigerians should be scared of. Sometimes, I wonder how you sleep through your decisions. I wonder why you have advisers since your decisions have been bereft of one who has critical thinkers let alone objective counsellors. Your cronies love your reign, they cannot be bothered as your citizens are an hypnotized lot: always talking, never acting.

Lest i forget Mr President, you pardoned Alamieyeseigha. One wonders if you know the weight of debt he owes the people of Nigeria, of Bayelsa state descent. Mr. Alamieyeseigha through his thieving channels and wanton greediness sent many Nigerians to their early graves: massively under-developed Bayelsa – the untarred roads many with gaping holes; the wobbled and destabilized educational institutions; the various hospitals that could have been build and the very many ones without required infrastructure (many women bled to death). I will be right to call you his conniving partner since you were his loyal Deputy then, even now.

Your friend, and erstwhile leader Mr Alamieyeseigha bled that state. His reward for this shameful onslaught on the Nigerian people: a state pardon. Mr Alamieyeseigha is a corrupt and crooked thief; many who stole $1 worth of food to survive in OSUN state are dying in jail cells. Repeatedly, your moral flexibilities and decisions have shown how you enforce the dual Rule of law in Nigeria: one for the rich, the other for the poor. Double standards.

You passed a security budget that has been the highest in our nation’s democratic history, yet your administration has presided over the most unprecedented carnage in our history by home grown terror groups. I cannot blame the rise of terror solely on you, your predecessors policies, and misguided decisions brought us here. However, your decisions have exacerbated the situation than relieve it. One would assume your administration, with it’s rich security budget to checkmate the growing terror situation but your proposed harangue with them shows how weakened your position is.

The high jobless rates in Nigeria are repeatedly being met by a disgruntled, restless, cynical young who can’t wait to steal or make life unbearable for others. Truth be told Sir, I am getting tired. Tired: of sleeping with my eyes alert each time my gate door opens; of the deliberate disparities brought upon my community by decisions and policies you make; of the constant image of our young who hawk on our expressways; of your promises; of your insincerity and insensitivity.

A leader cares, has empathy, speaks from the heart to those he serves. We listen to your robotic lines from Mr Abati, the chameleon. They are without soul, without emotions: cold. You don’t even care anymore when lives are lost! In April, The US lost 3 people in Boston, days later, we lost hundreds in Borno. The US never rested till those hoodlums were captured; no amnesty or respite for those who deliberately kill its citizens. In Nigeria, that is a depressing contrast. Look at Baga, look at Bama. Our brothers and sisters in the north are blown up everyday; what do you care! At least they are not your people, right!

Dear Mr President, with due respect, you have no moral right or character to lead this nation. You lost that right when you sold your conscience. If it is possible within your remaining being, kindly resign. We are truly better off without you as our President.

Concerned Citizen
Oluwaseun Fakuade
8th May, 2013

Progressive Lethargy: APC and the Task of Refining Nigerian Politics (Open Memo to Nigerian Opposition Politicians – 2) @smlukman May 3, 2013

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Progressive Lethargy: APC and the Task of Refining Nigerian Politics
Open Memo to Nigerian Opposition Politicians – 2

Party politics in Nigeria is for all comers where identity and values mean nothing. Members don’t need to have any special attribute. As a result, for instance, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is for everybody including the corrupt, ex-convicts, questionable Nigerians, etc. just as it also has a good mix of some of the good and positive citizens. The party doesn’t have to respect its members and make itself available to the Nigerian people. Democratic values mean nothing to the party. Elections hardly take place and when they do, the results can be vetoed by party leaders. It has gradually emerged as a party without democrats and permanently antagonistic to Nigerian people. At the same time, it proudly bears the name Peoples Democratic Party.

The fact of PDP’s control of the Federal Government and most state governments, which conferred on it the commanding control of the resources of the country since 1999 mean liberalised access by corrupt Nigerians and geometric rise of the problem of mismanagement, looting and theft of public resources. The outcome is that virtually every PDP functionary at party or governmental levels is contaminated with varying degree of the public treasury loot allergy. The absence of democracy and being antagonistic to Nigerian public has also resulted in very high membership turnover. The consequence is that the Nigerian political landscape at all level is littered with ex-PDP. Sadly, Nigerian politics is yet to acquire any capacity for healing or quarantining ex-PDP members, especially those that have proven cases of public loot allergy or public evidence of authoritarian amity.

Largely on account of combinations of lack of internal party democracy, high membership turnover and absence of values in our polity, almost all our parties have been infected with the public loot allergy in varying degrees. As a result of which both in terms of the different parties and the government they produce, poor services and contempt by officials to public outcry for good governance is a recurring characteristic. This is the progressive lethargy that today represents a major source of public frustration, cynicism and democratic inertia. It has in significant ways reduced democratic governance in Nigeria to a state of joke and clamour for national development to rhetoric. Nigeria is therefore a country without national development targets, a country where public officials govern with impunity, where citizens’ lives are at best statistical expressions, where the rise of anarchy and relapse to Hobbesian state of nature is the commandment.

Is this our national destiny? Is there any way to remedying this ugly situation? Do Nigerians have any hope that anything positively different can come out of any of today’s initiative? In terms of politics, is there a way to introduce some values and character to any of our parties? Can the effort towards introducing values and character also take on board the need to cure the public treasury loot allergy?

Almost every Nigerian is asking these questions with special interest mostly based on the hope that Nigerian politics can be refined such that public frustration, cynicism, democratic inertia, absence of national development, culture of impunity, loss of lives and property, anarchy and relapse to Hobbesian state will no longer be our defining feature. In response therefore our Nigerian opposition politicians have taken up the challenge and since January this year (2013) commence national negotiations to merge our opposition parties, notably ACN, ANPP, CPC and Okorocha-led APGA and have since February 6 announced agreement to form All Progressives Congress (APC). While for many Nigerians this is a welcome development, it is also being received with doubt given that many leaders of these parties involved in the merger negotiations are to some extent ex-PDP with varying levels of contamination and public treasury loot allergy.

This may only serve to reinforce public frustration, cynicism and democratic inertia. It demand for a conscious response from the merging parties, at least to stimulate public confidence that the new party, APC, will be founded with the capacity to, at the minimum, to provide healing for public treasury loot allergy and/or authoritarian amity. Somehow, perhaps on account of over confidence arising from the perceived high public support for the merger, our opposition leaders have almost ignored this expectation completely. Issues of leadership selection process for the merger, at best, insult public sensibility given the decision to vest the leadership of the merger negotiation in the hands of Chief Tom Ikimi.

Not even the choice of the name, All Progressives Congress (APC) and the fact that by any parameter, Chief Ikimi will never qualify as progressive moderated our opposition leaders. If anything, he is a conservative through and through who never hid his preference for private accumulation, private enterprise, capitalism, etc. Although, it can be argued that given the state of things in Nigeria, private accumulation, private enterprise and capitalism if founded based on application of rules, liberalised environment and equal access could represent progress. However given the antecedent of Chief Tom Ikimi, it is doubtful if his choice of private accumulation, private enterprise, capitalism, etc. is located in application of rules, liberalised environment and equal access. Besides, his democratic credentials as the foreign Minister of Gen. Sani Abacha’s administration and his role in the international defense of the criminal state murder of Ken Saro-Wiwa in 1996 were certainly a huge mark that meant anything but progressive. Perhaps his role as PDP returning officer in the sham contest between Chief Obasanjo and Chief Alex Ekweme in 2003 is progressive credentials.

Nigerians have lived with this ‘progressive’ assault for about four months. Some commentaries, critiques and public opinions have drawn attention to this. In virtually all cases, the response is some subtle rationalisation, stubborn silence and meek arrogance. This could be a way of highlighting the prerogatives of our political leaders to take all decisions without worrying about public expectations including wrong choices of party leaders. This can only further fuel public frustration, cynicism and democratic inertia and consequently make APC to emerge only as a vehicle to entrench our progressive lethargy. With this kind of disposition, conservatives with strong authoritarian streak such as Chief Ikimi or any other person can emerge as leaders of APC.

Therefore, instead of emerging as a progressive party, one founded based on a commitment to social welfare services especially education and health, like the case of ‘people’ and ‘democratic’ in the name of PDP, ‘progressive’ identity will just be another taxonomy meaning virtually nothing to APC. With the presence of many ex-PDP, some with advanced signs of the public treasury loot allergy, problems of national development targets, impunity, anarchy and relapse to Hobbesian state of nature will remain our national commandment.

Our leaders in the Nigerian opposition parties negotiating the APC merger need to take urgent steps to redirect affairs so that APC truly emerge as a progressive party. Progressive loosely defined based on a strategy to develop APC as a party that can guarantee steady incremental positive changes in our political life. These incremental changes should take their bearing from good demonstration of commitment to develop a party that can regulate the conduct of every member. The starting point may have to proceed with strong commitment to guarantee fairness within the party. Progress in this respect will assume a reverse order and the calamity facing the nation will continue.

What should our opposition leadership do in order to guarantee fairness? There are three principles that can be recommended to guide APC negotiations especially the process of leadership formation. The first should be the need to address problem associated with combination of treasury loot allergy and authoritarian amity. The second will be the need to ensure fair representation of the parties in the merger process. And the third is the need to come with strong commitment to ensure equal representation of all parts of the country and interests in the leadership of the party.

It is important that the party begin to use the issue of principles as a guide moving forward given that by May 11, once ANPP and CPC successful hold their merger conventions, the next stage will be that of leadership formation. Given the reality of Nigerian politics largely being driven by personal aspirations, the democratic and progressive outlook of APC risked being sacrificed. This underlines the need to urgently appeal to our opposition political leaders so that they don’t recklessly squander the huge democratic opportunity the APC merger process present.

With respect to the principles highlighted above therefore, the first task before our opposition leaders is to take all the necessary steps to ensure that as much as possible all those holding principal position in the party can be adjudged to have tolerable levels of ex-PDP symptom, public treasury loot allergy or authoritarian amity. Principal Officers in this case should include National Chairman, National Secretary, National Treasurer and Chairman BOT. The process of leadership formation must factor a strategy for comprehensive due diligence, including public scrutiny. A situation where the approach is blind to ex-PDP symptom, public treasury loot allergy and authoritarian amity, can only result in creating a shadow PDP in APC.

The second issue is that once the principal offices are agreed, fairness requires that these offices are equitably shared among the merging parties. The factor that should determine equity must take into account the need for every party and all members to make sacrifice for the good of the country and enhance the electoral prospect of APC. To that extent therefore it may require the need to have an attitude of let go just so that unity is achieved.

The third bordering on the need to come with strong commitment to ensure equal representation of all parts of the country and interests in the leadership of the party demand that all parts of the country are reflected in the leadership. Given current perception whereby ACN is perceived as a South West party and CPC as a Northern party, and against the background of cynicism that the merger is mainly between the North and South West and ANPP is being relegated to a junior status in the merger, there will be the need to take conscious measures to factor a strong presence of all parties and all parts of the country among the principal officers of APC.

All things considered, it will appear that options before our oppositions politicians are limited. Unless our APC want to opt for a complete gamble with untested individuals for the positions of National Chairman, National Secretary and Chairman BOT, it will appear that based on current leaders of the parties, the best choices that would meet all the three conditions are Gen. Buhari, Asiwaju Tinubu and Chief Ogbonnaya Onu. All the three can be adjudged not to have ex-PDP symptom, no proven case of public treasury loot allergy and in many respect tolerable levels of authoritarian amity. Controversial as the assessment of these leaders would appear to be, it represented about the best in relations to other possible candidates within the merging parties.

Weighed against the advantage that with these three personalities – Gen. Buhari, Asiwaju Tinubu and Chief Onu – in the leadership of APC, three critical parts of the country are already reflected. The challenge then will be to proceed to recruit good leaders with, at the minimum, tolerable levels of ex-PDP symptoms, low cases of public treasury loot allergy and authoritarian amity from other parts of the country and interests.

Some of the areas that attention must be paid in constituting the leadership of the party include the issue of recruiting youths and women leaders. The way things are, if care is not taken, leadership negotiations leading to the emergence of APC leaders may reflect dominantly older people and mostly men. Since it is only logical that the leadership of APC will be constituted from among current leaders of the merging parties, APC risk coming up with a leadership whose youngest will be in his/her 50s. And since no age limit has been placed so far in the harmonised APC constitution for the APC Youth Leader and Deputy Youth Leader, people in their 60s or 70s may emerge as Youth Leader and Deputy. There is therefore the urgent need for our opposition leaders to consciously take steps to ensure the representation of youths (those under 35 years) and women in the leadership of APC.

Once APC is able to handle the task of leadership formation based on respect for principles; public frustration, cynicism and democratic inertia will begin to give way to confidence, support and participation in party activities. This is the only guarantee for electoral success in 2015. This demand that, first thing first, the process of APC leadership formation must get certain things right. It is must not be driven by purely personal aspirations of individuals, pure exercise of leadership prerogative, blind recognition for our diversities both with respect to identity and interests, etc. Our Nigerian opposition leaders must act based on principles as the qualifying credential for being a party of progressives!

@elrufai’s YOUNG VOICES – THESE COWARDS by @dolusegun May 3, 2013

Posted by seunfakze in CHANGE, POLITICS.
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YOUNG VOICES – Introducing ‘Dada Olusegun

The rising popularity of social media among young people has become
such a nightmare for Nigeria’s rulers that are afraid of openness and
information symmetry, that the Jonathan administration is spending a
whopping $40 million to read their emails, romantic exchanges and other
‘subversive’ exchanges. Interacting regularly with young people on
Twitter and Facebook gives the older generation both hope and concern.

‘Dada Olusegun is one of those young people that have been making
positive contributions in cyberspace. He is just 25 years old! He
attended Awori Ajeromi Grammar School in Lagos and graduated from
Ladoke Akintola University of Technology Ogbomosho with an honours
degree in Pure and Applied Chemistry! Yet like many of the
multi-talented youths we have introduced on this column, Dada writes as
if he studied humanities, the social sciences or even literature.

Dada was very active along with Yemi Adamolekun, Japheth Omojuwa,
Chinedu Ekeke, Seun Fakuade, Zainab Usman, Momoh Adejoh and Amina Saude
Mohammed and numerous others during the #OccupyNigeria movement that
successfully resisted the imposition of the surreptitious Jonathanian
tax called ‘fuel subsidy removal’. He is a talented writer cum social
change advocate. He is a regular political columnist on #EkekeeeDotCom
and contributor on numerous online blogs and newspapers. He is a gifted
public speaker who is also involved in youth empowerment and
enlightenment.

Today, Dada issues a call to action and appeals for Nigerian citizens
to end their lethargic acceptance of bad governance, looting and
impunity by claiming to be neutral. Indeed, Dada thinks such people are
simply cowards. Do you agree? It is my honour and privilege to
introduce another vigorous young voice, Mr. ‘Dada Olusegun for your
weekend enjoyment.
– Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai

‘THESE COWARDS’ – BY OLUSEGUN DADA.

Let me put it this way: I have seen many things in my life. I have seen
certain people who treat passivity as some kind of heroic action. There
are people who say, “I just want my job, my family, and my religion and
I will leave politics out of my life.” Passivity isn’t heroic, it’s
cowardly! It’s the lazy man’s easy way out. But I see it beyond
laziness.

Let me say this to those people: you’re idiots! While you’re asleep in
front of your own life, they are screwing you. While you shut your mind
to national issues, they are mentally gang-raping you. While you’re
living out your life, they are ripping you off; they’re pulling the
carpet from under you, tripling national debts that your children and
grandchildren will not be able to pay till they die.

You’re idiots for closing your eyes exactly when your eyes should be
open. You’re morons for thinking that the present day government will
take care of the people if not put on their toes and forced to do so.
You’re blind for thinking that the corruptly rich will not do
everything in their power to keep their stranglehold on you; you cannot
be passive while the missiles of corruption fall on your head and the
heads of your children. You cannot be passive while they destroy your
life and the lives of your children. You cannot sit there and pretend
to be neutral. You cannot be passive when people thousands daily die
due to negligence of government. You cannot be passive when the
military sworn to protect your lives and properties kill and maim you
and your children on the altar of the war against terror. You cannot
afford to be passive. No you cannot.

Your destiny is in your hands, the destiny of your generation and the
generation after yours. Let me tell you this: it’s either you become
politically active or you risk a complete destruction by those in
power. You either become politically active or your unborn children and
grandchildren will curse you even in your grave because politics is too
important to be left in the hands of “the politicians”. It is even
worse to leave it in the hands of criminals who know no difference
between state purse and personal pocket. Who will loot the entire
treasury, in the drop of a hat.

Our direct participation in politics both now and during and after
every election is compulsory for the growth of the society and the
welfare of the humans living in it. Our contract must never stop with
voting anyone into power, but prevailing upon them to perform. Only
with our direct participation in politics will power truly belong to
the people.

Enemies of Nigeria are on the prowl, only our combined voices can throw
them out. The Edo and Ondo state gubernatorial elections have shown
that it is possible for us as a people to resist all forms of electoral
malpractices.

I also understand that your ilk, the Mister-mind-my-business, didn’t
participate in the Edo election. Your church and family and job and
business and holiness and righteousness were all more important to you
than the good of the society you live in.

When the vigilance of those you call fools now cause those in power to
get responsible and build roads, you will want to drive past them. When
they build good schools, you will want to pull your kids out of the
low-quality but unreasonably expensive buildings called private
schools, to put them in the government owned ones.

We saw how your ilk in performing states pulled their kids out of those
private schools when they saw that a responsible government can
actually build good schools.

You sit under your religious leaders who enjoin you to honour thieves
in government with their silence and you swallow such messages without
thinking them through. What they fail to tell you however is that
without the Reverend Martin Luther Kings’ of yesterday, there could
never have been a Barack Obama today.
You are an enemy of this country.

But the country must move on with or without you or your cowardice
masked in passivity. We will defeat all the enemies and put our nation
back on the path of growth and change.

Did I hear you say I insulted you? Well, whatever I say here will be
better than what your great grandchildren will say on your grave, if
this nation fails.

Wake up, my friend, wake up!

Invite to THE BOOTCAMP May 1, 2013

Posted by seunfakze in CHANGE, EDUCATION, POLITICS.
1 comment so far

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Dear Friends,
It is my pleasure to invite you to the inaugural BOOTCAMP conference, which also serves as the platform for the formation of the Community service club across schools. With this initiative and your invaluable support, we hope to actualize many of our key value projects in the communities across Nigeria.

The BOOTCAMP program is designed to ensure citizens civic engagement in the democratic process, by building core leadership values and strengthening of democratic values through mentorship and social entrepreneurship amongst young Nigerians. Starting in 2013, across schools, communities and in partnership with other philanthropic platforms, civil organizations and well meaning Nigerians; The BOOTCAMP platform hopes to re-invigorate and energize young people across Nigeria to participate in inclusive democracy using mentorship and social entrepreneurship as strategic tools.

We recognize that building Active Citizens will go beyond the electoral process, hence The BOOTCAMP. Actively engaging them in debating key issues that have a direct bear on their lives, including Policies & Good Governance (including ways to demand accountability and transparency in government spending), Education, Infrastructure & Sustainable Development, Health, Human Rights; etc will ultimately enable them have pointers for debates, discussions and deliberations between themselves; during and after the electoral process.

The proposed establishment of the BEACONS/COMMUNITY SERVICE CLUB and LEADERSHIP EXPO/FUTURE LEADERS FORUM respectively across schools makes this summit a pragmatic platform for grooming and mentoring young Nigerians. Young ones in attendance from different Nigerian schools across the country will long for, and be motivated mentally, physically, psychologically and spiritually for a New Nigeria.
Speakers include Dr Oby Ezekwesili (Fmr Min. of Education & Fmr World Bank Vice President); Dr Tunde Bakare (Intl Centre for Reconstruction and Development); Malam Nasir Elrufai (Fmr Minister FCT); Mr Salihu Lukman (People & Passion Consult); Mr Gbenga Sesan (PINigeria); Mr Akin Oyebode (Stanbic IBTC); amongst many other inspiring young voices.

MENTORSHIP: Young ones are encouraged through a Mentor-Mentee process through school clubs to foster diverse character set values amongst themselves. The establishment of BEACONS Community Service Clubs (CSC) across secondary schools to help facilitate these discussions amongst young ones will be the characteristic hallmark of the BOOTCAMP platform. Mentors, as facilitators of these clubs, will teach and impart directly on leadership values such as Honesty, Integrity, Transparency, Accountable spending, Dignity in labour, Empathy; amongst other noble virtues in want in today’s leadership. We hope, through our platform, to encourage inclusive debates, discussions and development of pointed charters/blueprints on issues and challenges facing each citizen of Nigeria.

SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP: The core civic engagements in social entrepreneurship will help us deepen social interaction amongst young ones, expand youth participation in democracy, strengthen democratic culture and values, and ultimately hold public institutions accountable. Ultimately, by raising these discussions across pockets in Nigeria, we will be able to build grassroots democratic engagement amongst young ones. This implies that young people are not only engaging in discussions but are enabled in addressing societal challenges by using core leadership values to deliver vibrant and transformative solutions to their communities. These CSC platforms help to build discussions and allow them practice lessons learnt with the provision of start-up grants (N50,000) for each participating school. This way, young people not only learn in an interactive engaging club but also have the required funds that will help them deliver any transformative idea/change they so desire.

These two key attributes of the BOOTCAMP platform will enable us build a capable and competent Replacement Generation as the next set of leaders in our nation. Our goal is to RAISE A REPLACEMENT GENERATION by strengthening values, culture and an engaging process in democracy amongst young ones; with keen strategy on mentoring and social entrepreneurship as tools for engagement. We believe these are key points to building an engaging young platform that will help develop young people across grassroots towards building a strong and vibrant future for our nation.
We ask you to join us on May 25, 2013 at the University of Lagos Main Auditorium in our quest to build a strong and New Nigeria.

For Registration; please visit http://www.bootcampnigeria.eventbrite.com or send an email to info@bootcampnigeria.com or call 08186009019/08088645453

Thank you

‘Seun Fakuade
Founder and Team Lead,
The BOOTCAMP NIGERIA

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