Nigeria can survive as one country!

Adeola Aderounmu.

There are several Nigerians who will go along with this school of thought they we should divide Nigeria into several nations and there are millions who will not. Truly, the creation of a country such as Nigeria was a very abnormal amalgamation. That leaves us with a problem but what is wrong with overcoming this problem and transforming the diversities that exist in the entity called Nigeria into strengths? In my opinion, unity in diversity would be of monumental advantages to Nigeria and Africa. We must not forget that Nigeria earned the title of a giant a long time ago when she made so much money and didn’t know what to do with it. Many Africans came to Nigeria in the 70s and 80s to seek greener pasture the same way we herded in our migration in recent years to Europe and America. There was a time in Nigeria when the naira had more value that the dollar or pounds. There was a time in our history, we were told, when you arrived at Heathrow that the airport officials asked you “how long are you staying ma?” how long are you planning to stay sir?”

We know why and how we got to this point today that seeking self-determination or secession within Nigeria has become a major cry is several quarters in Nigeria. First, we allowed corruption to eat deep into every fabric of our societies. Secondly, we allowed and permitted autocratic governments in Nigeria. We allowed tyrants-absolute idiots and empty skulls, to rule over us. We did nothing to call to order the very undesirable elements in our midst. Rather we did all we can to encourage our fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sisters, uncles, nephews, cousins and neighbours to loot and destroy the system. Many of us were by-standers or chance spectators; we waited patiently to benefits from the gradual destructions of our nation or we didn’t have the voice to oppose oppressions as non-beneficiaries.

If Nigerians split up into several nations, what is the guarantee that these emerging nations will not have serious internal friction such that the subsequent splitting will occur and bring forth more problems rather than succor? We’ll never know until we allow the split anyway. We should not split Nigeria. Nigeria as a country represents the hope of many African countries. This unique country is not only an icon of a regional strength, it will come to symbolize a global power if we set our priorities right. If things didn’t get this bad, only heavens know the kind of paradise we would have gotten on our hands. We lost the paradise but the time has come to rekindle our hopes.

To move forward and make progress, Nigeria needs a drastic change. First we need a true and profound democratic government. The one bequeathed to us By Iwu and Aremu is a very serious disaster. Such cannot form the basis for the progress that we sought. This makes the call for genuine democratic dispensation very pertinent and highly desirable. Umaru should resign and go home! The kind of leadership we need in Nigeria is the one that prioritizes accountability and probity. We need a leadership that will immediately look into the immediate and remote causes of our retrogression and apply urgent measures to start curbing them. We need signs, we need answers to our problems, we need purposeful visions and plausible missions integrated. One major aspect of the steps forward is to demand for the immediate prosecution of all the people who have contributed to the destruction of Nigeria from 1960-2007. They should answer to crimes and shortcomings. That kind of procedure is a necessary ingredient to STOP the further abuse of a collapsing system.

Another way to move Nigeria forward is to seek by popular demand the utilization of the good brains in Nigeria. How have we as a nation benefitted from the likes of Achebe, Soyinka, Emegwali, Chimamanda, Nwankwo, Utomi, Odegbami, Okocha, Tuface, you, me, our good friends, our wonderful neighbors, our gifted children and wonderful scholars and professionals scattered around the face of the earth? The isolated positive efforts of the likes of Dora Akinyuli, Okonja-Iweala and Soludo can be harnessed and transform to a National trait. It is possible through our collective intelligence to fish out these men and women who can transform this great country back to glory. There are unused Ngozis, unused Doras and unused Soludos in Nigeria and in the Diaspora. Some of them are wasting away locally and internationally. Many of such people are waiting to be discovered and used. We have closed our eyes to intelligence and allowed nonentities to seize people and plunge our land into a state of economic depression and wanton hopelessness.

When we remove square pegs from round holes and put them in square holes where they truly belong, we will start to see and experience our movement forward towards the glorious paths that we derailed from. Then the groundnut pyramids will reappear in the North. The cocoa farm will come back to the South West; the coal in Enugu will be utilized. Ajaokuta steel will be run by our engineers, the people we trust. Agriculture will once again become the back bone of our economy. We will borrow less or not at all. Our banks will continue to be trailblazers not only in Africa, but worldwide. Our oil reserves will indeed become reserves and add to our wealth and success. We will eat and have enough to throw away or send to far away Ethiopia and next door Niger. There will be too much Ijebu garri from Ogun State and chicken will not come from one farm only. Yellow garri will come from Abia and Anambra. Egg will be abundant and yet avoided for fear of cholesterol. Milk will no longer be a poison but it will be given free to children. Out health sector will be first class in service deliverance and our life span will exceed 70 years with ease. We will bring back home as many as are willing from the Diaspora. Our educational institutions will be resuscitated to first class delivery service. As a country, we will make money again but this time we know what to do with it. We will not steal it! We will put it in use for common prosperity and posterity. Travelling abroad will once again be for pleasure. Our original naira and kobo will be back.

This is not a dream. The developed countries in the world today do not have super humans or extra terrestrial beings. Living with them has allowed us to see their mortality, their weaknesses and strengths. Ironically, it takes a handful of responsible individuals to build these strong nations just the same opposite way that it has taken a few undesirable elements in Nigeria to destroy our common heritage. It is possible that only one thing has changed from the time we were true giant to now that we are a sleeping giant. That one thing is mismanagement aided by greed, corruption and selfishness of the people we know so well. We must remove these people and their vices for all time as I have suggested above. The other things that have not change are the natural resources, the human resources, the intelligent pool, the intelligent minds, the abundant land for farming, the oil reserves, our creativity and all the other ingredients that we can put together again and use in the way they should be. My fear is that Nigeria should not allow external influences to continue to hamper her progress. It is to the benefits of the other great nations that we remain underdeveloped thereby posing no threat to the current world order. We must break away from this kind of yoke, this kind of burden. It is true that some of us in the South have never been to the North of Nigeria. The reasons are obvious. When we have created or re-created the Nigeria of our desire, the hindrances to free movement of association and trade will be removed. Nigeria can work. We have all it takes to make it work. We should all contribute our voices, actions, positive attitudes, courage, and everything that we have, no matter how little or big, that can make Nigeria work.

Finally, indeed the creation of Nigeria came with some obvious problems. At this point in our history we cannot solve those problems by the logic that supports our breaking up into several nations. We must live with these problems, solve them and enjoy the benefits that will accrue from the solutions. How can we start? Let us seek a positive and radical change. The orange revolution is a desirable reference point. In it, there was a non-violent persistent resistance by the people. They stood their ground even against external influences. The orange revolution in Ukraine rested power on the people. The people made a choice and Ukrainians are living today with the consequences of their actions, the choice that they made. Let us make our own choices, let’s see where we go from there. Let’s arise and take control of our lives and secure the future of our children! Let us try men and women of honor and integrity at the helms of affairs with the power to remove and replace resting squarely on the people. This will bring change and progress.

I believe!  

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Vällingby-Sweden: The beautiful side of Life

Adeola Aderounmu.

I am compelled to write today about Sweden. The nearest shopping centre to where I live is called Vällingby Centrum. This centrum is gradually becoming one of the biggest centrum in Sweden at the community level.

valby.jpgA section through Vällingby Centrum with decorations of Christmas Lights.  http://www.vallingbycentrum.se

It is amazing the degree of changes and construction that have been going on at this centrum since 2003/04. The construction and expansion will continue well into 2008.

I look at the changes, the investment and the transformation that have taken place right in my presence as I walk to this centrum daily-it is simply AMAZING. There is a big difference between when you just go to a place and find changes and when you see the changes taking place right there in your presence.

Another view of Vällingby

I love Stockholm, Sweden is great!

Terrible Learning conditions:Where was Tinubu? Where is Fashola?

By Adeola Aderounmu.

LOOK AT Lagos State Primary Schools!

The Punch Newspaper has done it again. Giving us pictures that show the kind of governors that we have in Nigeria. Please look at the pictures of some primary schools in Lagos.

 All pictures are courtesy of the Nigerian Punch Newspaper, Friday 23rd Nov 2007.

Picture 1.

school_1.jpg

This is the inside of a classroom where knowledge is supposed to be given and taken. This is the 21st century and this is what Tinubu bequeathed to Lagosians. Outstanding lagacy! That there is still one school in Lagos or several of them that are under this kind of condition is a BIG Shame. Where was Tinubu? Who was the shameless commissioner for Education? Where is the new governor? Where is the new commissioner? Does Tinubu’s children go to this kind of schools? Is Fashola’s child in this school?

Picture 2:

school_2.jpg

Seeing this picture reminded me of what I went through in 1985/86. Just like this kids, I found myself becoming a carpenter overnight. I had to make my own desk and bench from broken woods scattered around my school then. In Festac Grammar School, the Lagos State Goverment hypocritically built the first storey building in the (then) Ojo Local Government. That was like in 1985 or 86. Afterwards, they abandoned Festac Grammar School and never built anything more. I am not sure that they have built any more storey building as I write this. If they have, it must be new. If they haven’t, true to type, dirty hypocrites!

If children spent their valuable time trying to make tables and benches, when do they learn? where is the motivation to learn? Can Tinubu or Fashola allow their own kids to make benches and tables? I mean, when it is not part of the Technology scheme, it is simply child labour!!!

Picture 3:

school_3.jpg

If you keep chicken in this type of a house, it is wickedness! But you know what, this is where some kids, the future leaders of Nigeria are being trained by the Lagos State Government. When it rains, it is worse than hell.

What kind of people are ruling in Nigeria??? Do they have brains? Do they think?

EFCC, Don’t deceive Nigerians, Just do it!

EFCC may probe Obasanjo

By Geoffrey Ekenna Punch Newspaper, 23rd Novermber 2007

There were indications on Thursday that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission might have started investigations into the activities of former President Olusegun Obasanjo while in office, following a petition submitted by a non-governmental organisation, Coalition against Corrupt Leaders on November 14.

Our correspondent gathered that the EFCC on Tuesday, November 20, invited the Chairman of CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran, to give a statement on the petition submitted by his group. According to Adeniran, when he arrived at the Awolowo Road office of the agency, he was ushered into room EG 4, where he tendered a written statement to the agency.

He said on his delegation were the acting Secretary General of CACOL, Mr. Declan Ihekaire, the Director of Mobilisation, Mr. Samson Olayiwola and the Director of Finance, Mr. Kola Odepeju, among others. In a statement made available to our correspondent on Thursday, Adeniran said, ”The offic er in-charge who pleaded anonymity assured the delegation that the petition was being given a priority treatment. He said a file had been opened on the case and that every allegation contained in the petition would be thoroughly investigated in order not to leave room for reasonable doubts that may lead to the case being thrown out of the court” Adeniran said he reiterated the group‘s position that the former president used his office to acquire fund illegally.

He said, “part of the statement to the EFCC reads, ” Chief Obasanjo was indicted in the PTDF scandal by the Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba led committee; Chief Orji Kalu (former Governor of Abia State), confirmed that he gave the former President One million Dollars for his campaign in 1999, while the NEPA/PHCN gulped over N521bn and none has anything to show for the money invested in them” The group further informed the EFCC to investigate the state of businesses of the former President before he mounted the saddle in 1999 and when he left office in 2007. Efforts to reach the EFCC spokesman, Mr. Osita Nwaja to confirm if the investigation had actually started proved abortive.

After calling him several times on his mobile phone, a text message sent to him by our correspondent was ignored to as at press time. But an official of the agency, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, confirmed to our correspondent that Adeniran made a statement to the agency on Tuesday. When asked if he was aware of Adeniran‘s invitation, he said, ”I am aware he made statement of Tuesday. But I think you should call Mr. Nwaja to confirm.”  

95th out of 100: Is Nigeria that bad for global business?

Adeola Aderounmu


My interest in economics and business is growing by the day especially since I found myself on the naïve side after the attempted soludization slash dollarization of the Naira. So, you can imagine my enthusiasm when I received my weekly dose of TIME Magazine (November 26 2007 Europe Edition) with a special report on The Best Countries For Business*. Since I live on a Scandinavian Island, I am always quick to look out for Scandinavian countries anytime a world rating is done on anything at all. Incidentally, on page 14-15 of this same Europe Edition of Time Magazine, there was an outline of 128 countries on the basis of gender equality. The first 3 countries are Sweden, Norway and Finland. They are Scandic countries. The UK is 11th while the US is 31st. Nigeria occupies the 107th position. It is the same Swiss-based World Economic Forum (WEF) that gave us the gender equality ratings that has also given us the list of the best countries to do business and Nigeria is number 95 out of the listed 100 countries.

The WEF has what is called Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) which was developed by a professor named Xavier Sala-i-Martin. The GCI is based on economic statistics and extensive polling of international business leaders. In the actual report released by WEF, 113 factors that contribute to an economy’s competitiveness were tallied for all the countries used in the study. Of interest among the range of index includes the quality of a nation’s roads to the independence of its judiciary to the incidence of certain diseases to how it is easy to hire certain labor (an engineer for example). I thought I would be able to read extensively on Nigeria when I learnt that 37 key countries were analyzed in-depth. Alas! Nigeria, the supposed giant of Africa has not been discussed as a key country where anyone can do business; she is ranked 95th out of the 100 on the list (same position as last year). With a population of over 140m people and abundant engineers in the labor market, can Nigeria be that bad for business or is this a make believe kind of story? Perhaps there are more issues to doing business or in investment than the anticipated market and labor sizes? I must learn.

The report stated that GCI is widely watched by countries that want to ferret (search about) out weak spots and by companies deciding where to invest. These observations bring serious questions. When Obasanjo was travelling around the world for 8 years to woo investors, did he or the Minister for Economic planning know anything about GCI? Was anyone taking note of our position on the scale and our weak spots and how to adjust in those areas? One thing is sure; the investors would have been watching the GCI because they would like to know where to locate their next investment by taking the index of the rankings into considerations. Doesn’t it make sense now that the many travels of Obasanjo didn’t yield much? The travels must be travails indeed! I am convinced that all the travels and the unnecessary wastage of tax-payers money would have been avoided if the economy monitoring team in Nigeria has been wary of this kind of index. Maybe they knew but the president still chose to be on his own trail rather than work on our weak spots as a prerequisite to natural wooing of investors.

Perhaps Obasanjo was out based only on Nigeria’s nascent democracy. That would have drawn some pity and ridicule from International Investors. According to Sala-i-Martin, the data used in arriving at the GCI show that democracy in the developing countries is a wash. Though democracy is desirable, it just doesn’t help economic growth. What I can make from this is that democracy is the more acceptable form of governance but basic infrastructure and whatever makes up the remaining 112 factors are equally important in attracting investors. Fundamentally, Nigeria has a very bad power supply system which can knock down the benefits of being democratic. There are several other factors that make Nigeria investment unfriendly. It is not a secret that several Nigerian businesses now operate from neighbouring African countries. This means that a true legitimate government in Nigeria would have to first of all do its homework and put things right such that indigenous investors and industrialists would feel at home to do their businesses. Then it would not be too stressful if there is a need to attract foreign investments.

In the overall GCI ranking, the US finishes first not because it was perfect on all fronts but because it grabs the number 1 slot for 10 measures (out of 113 factors). The US did badly in primary school enrollment, in her ability to ward fend off organized crime, in macroeconomics, debt deficit and savings rate. Yet, it tops the list on the GCI ranking. This is a big lesson for Nigeria sinking at 95th position. Perfection is not the key word but setting the priorities right. Quite naturally, the Scandic countries were up in the ladder: Denmark-3, Sweden-4 and Finland 6. The 2nd and 5th spots went to Switzerland and Germany respectively. The report was quick to point out that the nature of the ranking could masks certain economic realities of a globalized world. Indeed, it further stated that the ability of countries to raise their citizens’ standard of living is not a zero-sum game.

Still, why would certain countries rank abysmally? The example of Kenya which ranked 99 overall was cited. In Kenya, favoritism in decisions of government officials and the business impact of malaria were major obstacles. However, this East African country enjoyed some good runs as well. Kenya is remarkable for legal rights tied to the financial markets and she boasts of a very high quality of scientific research institutions. Kenya must have skipped the basics and therefore lacks the foundation to make her a competitive place for business. Mauritius ranking 60 is the only African country to have eradicated malaria or provided free education and health care and HIV/AIDS infects just 435 people a year. There have been no coups and its ethnicities are a model of integration.

Without repeating the obvious, we should just ask ourselves: In what ways can Nigeria sharpen things up so that in the nearest future, she can truly claim her place as the giant of Africa? How can Nigeria place herself strategically so that she can be a major beneficiary of the anticipated growth that Africa will encounter before the turn of this particular decade? What is the quality of Nigerian roads? How has corruption in Nigeria deterred genuine investments by her own citizens and international investors? What is Nigeria doing about her power supply system? How independent is her judiciary? One thing that Nigeria must avoid or urgently get away from is the Angola model or pattern of bad Africa described in this Time report as a ship heading for the reef of authoritarianism, corruption and popular discontent (you can say this again).

*References:
1. Best Countries for business, getting to the top by Barbara Kiviat. 2007 Time Magazine Report
2. Online version The Best Countries for Business

All Nigerians should join and support Coalition against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL)

Adeola Aderounmu.

 

CACOL is an organisation that all Nigerians should belong to. This is the kind of association that should not be undervalued or underestimated. It should be supported by all and sundry.

Whoever the brain is behind this organisation gets my highest recommendation. I hope you stay on course. I hope you’ll never derail. I hope you’ll never become or that you are not yet a tool in the hands of some crazy politicians or socialite seeking vengeance.

With the kind of courage shown so far by CACOL, the people’s revolution is not far. This action by CACOL should symbolize what lies ahead for the corrupt leaders /politicians in Nigeria. The clock is ticking on them and their time is almost up. The people will rise up and take what is theirs. It is a function of time, it will happen.

Evil will not prevail for too long, voices of reasoning are emerging and coalitions upon coalitions will emerge. The people will seize power on the long run and their votes will count-in a time not too long again. It will come to pass…the people’s revolution is looming.

Nigeria Nov 14 2007.

Youths this morning under the aegis of Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, (CACOL), stormed the office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) in Lagos to demand the immediate arrest and prosecution of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. The youths, carrying placards and chanting songs, alleged in the petition they submitted to EFCC that the ex-president illegally accumulated billions of naira while he was in office.

They said that there are at least three main reasons why the EFCC must arrest the former president who is no longer covered by immunity.

Among the reasons cited are the setting up of the Bells University of Technology, Ota, with the sum of N40 billion; the lunch of his “private” library during which N6.5 billion was donated by Nigerian businessmen and top government functionaries while he was still in power and the Obasanjo Farms in Ota, worth billions of naira.The petition reads: “The Bells University was established between 2001 and 2007 when Obasanjo was the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.“The university has a gross asset of about N40 billion. The former president is the sole owner and financier of the library located in Abeokuta, the Ogun State Capital.

 

“For eight years, while he was in power, Chief Obasanjo sustained a devilish desire to strengthen his chicken farm while exploiting the power of his office to mortally destroy his competitors.”

 

The chairman of CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran, said that after the petition, if Yar’Adua and Ribadu did not summon enough courage to arrest and prosecute Obasanjo, they will be telling the world that some people are above the law.

 

The youths were singing “Obasanjo lo so ra, Obasanjo be careful o, iku to pa Sani Abacha lai yo kondo, ko ma si eni ti ko le pa.”

 

CACOL added that if these main reasons are not enough for EFCC to begin investigating Obasanjo, they must look into the claim by the former Abia State governor, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, now standing trial for alleged corruption, that he gave the former president $1 million for his 1999 presidential campaign or ask Obasanjo to explain how the N521 billion given to the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) was tilized.

To help the EFCC not to mistake the former president for another person while effecting his arrest, the group described Obasanjo vividly as follows:

“Obasanjo currently lives in Ota, where he could be found and apprehended. He spends most of his time in the day at the Obasanjo farms in Ota and could be seen at home in the evenings with his friends, most time playing draft.
“He is dark, 5.9 feet tall, stocky, with brown eyes. He is easy to anger, pugnacious, infuriated easily by logical arguments in almost every encounter and easily provoked by the least of matter.” 

Copied from http://www.thenewsng.com/modules/zmagazine/article.php?articleid=20459(The News: Nigeria’s Leading Weekly News Magazine)__________________________________________________________________________

This group, CACOL, not only stated what they wanted, they also followed it up with action. This is similar to the monks’ protest in Burma. It will be nice to know more about CACOL, their contact information, website and membership requirements.

In the future, CACOL should make public announcements to sensitise more people to join their protests, they should send sms to several mobile phones and do all they can to involve as many people as possible. If the ountry stands still for several days just to bring corrupt people to face the law, it is more than worth it! They should make it a massive protest, sustain it for several days (depending on several factors of course), stay focus on their demands and make things uncomfortable for the administrators until they start to yield to popular voices.

 All Nigerians should join in the course of bringing corrupt politicians to judgment. Not only Obasanjo, the list is endless and very long. Ibori, Odili, Atiku, Lucky Igbinedion, David Mark…..I am sure CACOL have a list they are working on. This should just be the beginning and you have my full support.   

….. AND I hope the EFCC will start to act on this impulse they have received. To do nothing means that we can start to ask for the scrapping of the EFCC and then we will find alternatives to bringing looters to judgment.

……We have no trust in Aondoankaa, his mission is clear enough: Emphasis the rule of law to save corrupt politicians! We all know why he is doing this. It’s so obvious. Protect the people you served while you were a nobody. Protect the people who nominated you for AGF. Very useless attitude but for a good personal reason. A very irresponsible human being is made the AG for personal reasons. Where is the reason that would serve the benefit of the down-trodden, the hungry people, the helpless masses who cannot spend 100 naira a day as individuals or as a family? The fake attorney general will soon realise that:

The voices and actions of the people remain the strongest influence in governance. Now is the time to act, Arise O compatriots!