2023 ELECTION: WHY NIGERIA’S CORRUPT POWERFUL ELITES ARE AGAINST CANDIDATE PETER OBI
By Ikenna Asomba
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and seventh-most populous country in the world is home to more than 200 million people.
In size, Nigeria is about 356,669 Sq Mi (923,768 Sq Km), slightly larger than the States of Texas and Minnesota in the United States.
Nigeria, a diverse multi-ethnic country with over 389 Ethnic Nationalities and more than 520 spoken languages is blessed with abundant natural resources, notably large deposits of petroleum and natural gas, including mineral resources such as gold, silver, coal, granite, iron-ore, barite, bitumen, gemstones, clay, feldspar, copper ore, zinc, dolomite, lead ore, limestone, phosphate, galena, gypsum, wolframite, kaolin, salt, magnesium, quartzite, tin ore, fluorite, manganese, tar sands, columbite, diatomite, titanium, marble, uranium, talc and silica.
Aside more than 35 mineral resources which Nigeria is abundantly blessed with; Nigeria produces daily over 1.8m barrels of crude oil.
The by-products contained in a barrel of crude oil (about 158.978litres) if judiciously harnessed can see Nigeria transmogrifying into a manufacturing and exporting hub as a barrel can produce a lot such as:
1. Wax for 170 birthday candles or 27 crayons.
2. Distillate fuel to give a large truck (five miles per gallon) for almost 40 miles, if jet fuel fraction is included, that same truck can run nearly 50 miles.
3. Asphalt to make about one gallon of tar for patching roofs or streets.
4. Lubricants to make about one quart of motor oil.
5. About four pounds of charcoal briquettes
6. Gasoline to drive a medium-sized car (17 miles per gallon) for more than 280 miles.
7. Nearly 70kilowatt-hours of electricity at a power plant generated by residual fuel.
8. Liquefied gases such as propane to fill 12 small (14.1 ounce) cylinders for home, camping or workshop use.
9. Enough petrochemicals to also provide the base for 540 toothbrushes.
10. 750 pocket combs.
11. 39 polyester shirts.
12. 23 hula hoops.
13. 135 four-inch rubber balls.
14. 65 plastic drinking cups.
15. 195 one-cup measuring cups.
16. 11 plastic telephone housing and 65 plastic dustpans.
17. The lighter materials in a barrel of crude oil (158.978liters) are used mainly for paint thinners and dry-cleaning solvents, and they can make nearly a quart of one of these products.
18. The miscellaneous fraction of what is left still contains enough by-products to be used in medicinal oils, still gas, road oil and plant condensates.
From the foregoing facts, it’s instructive to state that crude oil is indeed a blessing, not a curse to the Nigerian State, as it is a real industrial horn of plenty. But when you look at the appalling condition of lives of the Nigerian people, particularly, the Niger Delta Region which produces the crude oil, you will weep.
Worrisomely, in its November 2022 Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) disclosed that over 133million Nigerians are living in poverty, representing 63 per cent of the country’s population.
Let me also point that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria as of 2021 was $440.78 billion, far below the GDP of the State of Texas which was $2trillion in 2021.
Howbeit, of all frontline candidates for the February 25, 2023, Presidential Election, among whom are Bola Tinubu (All Progressives Congress, APC); Atiku Abubakar (Peoples Democratic Party, PDP) and Rabiu Kwankwaso (New Nigerian Peoples Party, NNPP), Mr. Peter Obi, former governor of Anambra State and presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) remains the only man deeply perturbed by the sorry state of Nigeria and Nigerians, despite the country’s abundant natural and human resources.
Critically examining Nigeria’s political firmament, it appears Obi is now on collision course with many of Nigeria’s notorious and powerful criminal elites because at various campaign stops, town hall meetings, media parleys and conferences with several stakeholders across Nigeria’s six geo-political zones, he has continued to reaffirm the determination of his administration when elected to office in February 2023 and assumes presidential duties on May 29, 2023, to dismantle structures of criminality preventing over 200million Nigerians from enjoying the full benefits and potentials of their country.
Addressing Nigerians on October 29, 2022, during his campaign kick-off rally in Nasarawa State, North Central Nigeria, Obi averred that the state’s landmass is vast enough to provide food for the people of the state, pointing that Nasarawa is bigger than Israel’s landmass in square kilometers.
Assuring his readiness to invest in the Nigerian youths to help pull people out of poverty, Obi said: “Remember what I said, Nasarawa has 27.1 thousand square kilometers of land. It’s bigger than Israel with 22.1 thousand square kilometers. Nasarawa would feed itself. We’ll put money here to make sure that we pull the youths out of poverty.”
Obi was right. Nasarawa State measures 27,117 square kilometers, while the size of Israel is 22,145 square kilometers.
Having reeled out several by-products Nigeria can produce from 1 barrel of crude oil if properly harnessed, tie the information to the fact that Nigeria losses about 600,000 barrels of crude oil per day to oil thieves, you will weep for Nigeria, especially when compared in terms of growth and development to other oil-producing countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, China, Canada, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, among others.
Saddened by this development, speaking on September 12, 2022, at the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) Standing Committee Meeting, held at St. Matthias House, Abuja, Obi decried that of all 13 countries belonging to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), only Nigeria was not meeting its supply quota, whereas other countries were angling for more.
“In July 2022, Nigeria did not supply 717,000 barrels per day out of its 1.8million barrel per day quota. This amounted to lost revenue of $22,227,000 daily at the rate of $110 per barrel which in a month totaled over $2.4billion. Using an average exchange rate of N550/$1, this amounted to an excess of N1trillion lost in the month of July alone.”
Speaking further at the event, Obi revealed that N1.6 trillion was Nigeria’s January-April 2022 income, while the country incurred N4trillion in expenditures resulting to over N3trillion deficit.
“Every day you hear people are stealing crude oil. The oil is being stolen by people in government. Oil is not sweet (candy) you put in your pocket. For you to steal oil, a ship must come to your territorial waters and must be approved by the Navy. Every ship is registered, and everybody knows where the ship is going to, and the ship must have approval. So, the only people who can steal crude oil are the people in power,” Obi declared.
It would also be recalled that in 2014, the NBS disclosed that from 1961 to 2014, Nigeria had a crude oil production volume of about of 32.7 billion barrels valued at about N118.4 trillion, stating that since the return of democracy in 1999, Nigeria has had a crude oil production value of a whopping N116trillion.
Sadly, after over six decades characterized by several oil booms, Nigeria is yet to morph into a developed economy, even as it has been ravaged till date by endemic public service corruption, successive governments after another.
Countries like China, Indonesia, Malaysia and India that were at par with Nigeria at Independence in 1960 have left her still grappling with teething problems of nationhood, worst of all epileptic electricity across the country.
Of all frontline Presidential candidates, Obi of LP is one candidate who has continued to re-affirm his administration’s determination to dismantle the old order of endemic stealing, public service corruption and machine politics of patronages, nepotism and cronyism.
These among other reasons are why Nigeria’s corrupt powerful elites who are neck-deep in the old order are on collision course with Obi, who has wormed his way into the hearts of millions of Nigerian Youths.
Finally, it is instructive to point out that ahead of Nigeria’s 2023 elections, the country’s apex electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has disclosed that it registered a total of 9.5 million new voters, with 76.5 per cent of them comprising of young people between 18-34 years.
With young people between 18-34 years making up about half of the over 93 million people registered to vote in Nigeria next February, major polls conducted by globally recognized pollsters such as Bloomberg, Nextier and ANAP Foundation/NOI have continued to project Obi as winner of next year’s Presidential election.
This is a welcoming development for Nigeria and over 200 million Nigerians.
Ikenna Asomba is a Journalist and Post-Graduate Student of Political Science, Public Administration and Public Policy, Eastern Illinois University, Illinois, he writes from Charleston Illinois, United States.
NAUB: MR PRESIDENT, WHO ARE THOSE PLANNING TO KILL THE ONLY FEDERAL UNIVERSITY THAT DOES NOT GO ON STRIKE? By Femi Oyewale
NAUB: MR PRESIDENT, WHO ARE THOSE PLANNING TO KILL THE ONLY FEDERAL UNIVERSITY THAT DOES NOT GO ON STRIKE? By Femi Oyewale
Sahara Weekly Reveals That Higher education in Nigeria, quite frankly, is facing immense challenges including but not limited to poor infrastructure, unrealistic academic calendars resulting in extra years against stipulated durations, lack of teaching equipment, social menace, poor funding, amongst others.
Interestingly, Nigerian Army University, Biu (NAUB) is quite unique from other federal universities in the sense that since inception, there has not been any issue of strike, cultism, protest, or anti-social conduct.
Rather, the university is reputed for its excellent condition of learning environment.
This was aptly covered by the Governor of Borno State, H.E Professor Babagana Umara Zulum through his deputy during the maiden edition of the convocation ceremony of NAUB on Saturday, October 28th, 2023 at the University’s main campus ( note not temporary campus within five years of existence) in Biu, Borno State.
The Borno State governor said he was physically present at the groundbreaking ceremony of the foundation laying stone of NAUB five years ago, and he is impressed by what he has seen adding that it must take military precision and focus to put in a full-fledged and functional university on a barren land in such a short period.
The Governor further thanked the Federal Government, the Nigerian Army, the traditional rulers, scholars and academics philanthropist, industrialists, associates and men and women of goodwill from within and outside Borno State for the selfless service of gradually re-modelling the future of Borno State in particular and Nigeria in general and for putting Borno State on the path of further greatness through the Nigerian Army university, Biu.
Why then do we plan to abort such a great independent institution of learning known as a barrier breaker and line crosser by merging it with NDA whose missions and visions are not in tandem with each other .
Why cut short the dreams of such noble ideas via politics?
Are there those who do not want a stable educational system in Nigeria?
Are there external forces or their agents at home trying to destroy a good foundation for a stable educational system in Nigeria?
Is NAUB in competition with the private universities?
Are there big shots who benefit from a chaotic educational system in Nigeria?
Are there some subterranean forces working within the system to achieve the Boko Haram objective that “education is sin”?
The words of Governor Zulum rings a wise bell when he said that Boko Haram insurgents have achieved their objectives if the university is scrapped.
“Therefore, we appeal to Mr. President to look into this issue so that the Army University Biu would remain a university… because of the importance of education in this part of the country, where Boko Haram is saying that education is forbidden. And I think that by allowing this Army university to be scrapped, they might have achieved one or two of their objectives,” he said.
The governor noted that, for over a decade, Borno State has been facing a serious crisis that has denied many children access to education.
“Therefore, this university is very important to not only the people of Borno State but our neighbouring states,” he said.
Look at the Western countries that started with military polytechnics that propelled revolution in military equipment development.
Many of these developed countries collaborated jointly through civil-military research.
The Swedish Defence University established like NAUB is Sweden’s leading resource in, and first choice for, education, training and research in the management of crisis, war and periods of tension in the leadership of both civil and military agencies. The Swedish Defence University is an accredited institution for academic education for military and civilian students and researchers where different experiences, approaches, and traditions come together. It has become a hub for both national and international students.
It might shock you to know that American Military University (AMU) and American Public University (APU). APUS is wholly owned by American Public Education, Inc., a publicly traded private-sector corporation that offers associates, bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees, in addition to dual degrees, certificate programs and learning tracks.
During my NYSC, I served in the Nigerian Army School of Education (NASE), Ilorin, which is a renowned military institution focused on providing high-quality education and training for Nigerian Army personnel and civilians. So why the proposed merger of NAUB?
Interestingly, the Nigerian Army University Biu provides such a platform for the Nigerian military towards technological innovation, research, and development in varied fields for national defence and security breakthroughs like many modern nations. In fact, instead of downgrading the Nigerian Army University, many more Army universities should be established in Nigeria. That is the way out for a caricature type of educational system that has failed to have stability over the years.
Who is not interested in seeing that a federal university graduates its students within the regular course time frame?
Must programmes of all federal universities be easily disrupted. A course of 4 or 5 years ends up taking over 6 to 7 years to complete. The worst part is that many universities end up in a crash programme to be able to cover up for the lost times. The terrible damage to these universities’ products is the very low standard of graduates.
Who wants the Nigerian educational system to collapse completely? These are rhetorical questions the amiable president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and all stakeholders should ask those proposing the merger to answer us publicly, else should let the matter die forever in the abyss of hasty decision.
*Photo Story: Israel Ovirih, Alhaji Adam Nuru Pay Courtesy Visit To Hon. Minister for Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola*
Which Way Nigeria: The Imperatives of A New Economic Direction
*Which Way Nigeria: The Imperatives of A New Economic Direction*
By Dapo Otubanjo, a financial analyst & real estate entreprenuer
After eight months in the Villa, the clock ticking on President Tinubu’s administration has gathered enough time for us to start seeking accountability for his actions, and the delivery of his electoral promises to a Nigeria with an urgent need for national renaissance, and a new economic direction.
The realities of our lives today as Nigerians is gravely incongruous to the promise to renew hopes, and reinvent the economy for a new era of opportunities, and prosperity for all of us. The agony of excruciating economic stagflation is now more widespread, and tending towards a period of national economic depression.
Nigerians understand, and have demonstrated severally in time past, that when time and government change, so must we the people as “new challenges require new responses”. Unfortunately the economic pains of this era are like a disaster with no solution in sight, leaving most folks in the terrifying situation of inadequate household income for survival talkless of a decent living.
Given Nigeria’s precarious economic situation post Buhari’s government of destructive economics, there was no doubt about the need, and urgency for appropriate reforms to reorganize the country for economic recovery, and national security. And whilst the reforms of Tinubunomics are requisite liberal policy prescriptions, the executions are mired in premature timing, terrible implementation, and insensitive partisan gloating over the government’s audacity to introduce the reforms rather than a democratic tolerance for national discussions on the devastating consequences of its impacts as leverage to gauge acceptance, and gather citizens feedbacks for reviews, adjustments, and corrective measures in its areas of deficiencies, and ineffectiveness.
However the opportunity still exist, for correction and, to arrest our miserable spiral towards economic doomsday, and President Tinubu must hurriedly embrace the wisdom to do a reset, and refine the wrong elements of his reforms for the achievement of better outcomes in critical areas of job creation, reducing, and stabilizing both the value of the naira, and inflation, and attracting significant local, and foreign investments for the immediate task of economic recovery, and recreation of a vibrant middle class that was totally wiped out by the previous APC government, and long term goals of industrialization, and sustainable growth in the economy, and our export sector.
The best, and most imperative solution, and palliative for the rising cost of living is immediate wage increase across all sectors. The Federal government must seek to achieve wage increase of two hundred thousand naira for Federal workers, negotiate with the states for one hundred and fifty thousand naira for all state employees, and push the private sector towards fifty thousand naira as the barest minimum for the lowest set of workers to fuel consumer spending that was hitherto dwindling for obvious reasons, and improve households financial resources to minimally mitigate against worsening economic situation.
The inflationary effects of an unstable naira need a freeze otherwise the application of wage increase will be futile, and become a continuous demand. It is imperative for the government to return the provision of interventions in the FX market through partial exchange rates management until all foreign investors seeking full liberalization are willing to bring in their funds, and/or when the sale of government assets, and export earnings are sufficient enough to provide adequate supply for FX demands. The arbitrage gains of FX trading in the previous APC government made FX business highly profitable with devastating practices of round tripping, and speculative FX trading that continuously encourage a large number of folks to hoard, and hold on to a large pool of foreign currencies at the expense of a free fall in the value of the naira.
Through the CBN, the government need to urgently introduce appropriate monetary measures to curb these practices, and incentivize the release of more foreign currencies into the market.
Our national challenges cannot be resolved by government alone but the government have a crucial role to play in setting the agenda, and transforming the private sector into a pivot for growth, and national development. President Tinubu should as a matter of national emergency deploy all presidential support for the Dangote, and other refineries to achieve refining capacity sufficient enough for local fuel consumption, and make provisions to export excess supply to the West African sub region. And use the support, and other regulatory instruments to negotiate a stable fuel price over three to five year period as further safeguard against inflation, and forex pressure on the naira.
So many of our Federal assets are wallowing in the inefficiencies of terrible operations, corrupt government practices, and nepotistic managements delivering inadequate, and unreasonable returns for the Nigerian state. There should be an urgent consideration for their privatization, and sales to generate requisite, and significant revenues to shore up the economy, and engineer a long term foundation for sustainable growth, and national prosperity.
Our demands, and exploration for foreign investments must seek prospects in the Middle East, and some parts of Asia where there are abundance of liquidity for investment capital, and great probability for immediate result. The president should constantly deploy his most brilliant envoys to the region for continuous negotiations, and schedule all presidential investment travels around the region for closing of appropriate investment deals.
Recently, the government launched over a hundred billion naira housing programme. As good, and commendable that is, it is still a drop in the ocean, and too meagre for any significant social, and economic impact for a nation of over two hundred million population. We must seek to raise trillions of naira within a short term for the substantial growth of the sector, and its exponential impacts on the economy, and provide complementary infrastructure for urbanization, rural connections, and the financial reform of our mortgage system to reduce interest rates, increase period, and affordability, and expand access to more households. We have a large pool of idle funds in various pension schemes, and must explore a viable government means for these funds to find profitable returns in real estate business opportunities.
The erosion of value in our banking sector capitalization levels are critical challenges for our national ambitions, and obviously needs urgent rounds of renewal towards the trillions of naira capitalization threshold to adequately fund the expansion of national productivity, manufacturing, sustainable large scale credit industry, and a new middle class.
And those super highways (SHW) the president promised us need to start coming alive in urgent, and huge contract awards, and accelerated construction works as credible means to connect communities, and states across the country, and ease the movement of people, and products. Our rail networks need significant improvements, and expansion with appropriate security measures to complement the comprehensive renewal, and expansion of our transport means, and its impact in the boosting of trade, and commerce.
Generations of Nigerians have endured economic crises at different times of bad governance often with the deceptive cliché that the situation will eventually get better. President Tinubu must make a departure from that decades old political narrative, and explore credible means within the limitless possibilities of our potentials to stimulate immediate economic recovery, and long term sustainable growth, secure, and unite the country, and deliver the promise of a developing nation.
Today’s worsening economic situation is not a new territory for Nigeria as we have often travelled through tough national periods of economic stagnation, and recession, widespread poverty, and underdevelopment. The president should reasonably review thoroughly the economic reforms of the democratic government of 1999 – 2007, and draw appropriate economic lessons from the successful economic reforms of that era in reasonable FX market, and inflation management, naira stabilization, privatization, bank consolidation, the commencement of a credit system that was subsequently unscaled, a widening middle class, and amazing economic growth that put Nigeria at the forefront of the globally acclaimed narrative of Africa rising. And essentially gave a national rebirth to the audacious can do spirit of the Nigerian folks. It was an era of incredible demonstration of what we can achieve together through collective actions, and visionary leadership, and we must seek to replicate the same economic results as a navigating path out of our current economic downturn.
The current generation of Nigerians possess all that we require to transform ourselves from a nation perpetually travelling in the wrong direction into a developing country of proud citizens. The onus is essentially the president’s to lead from the front, and set forth a clear vision with opportunity for everyone to make appropriate contributions towards sustainable growth, and national development.
Tough times define great leaders. And time, and chance they say happen to all of us. There is a great moment for the president to seize, and more importantly for the sake of our nation, we hope he takes this period as an incredible chance to cement the foundation of his legacy, and unfold the greatness of Nigeria.
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