FEATURE ARTICLE

E O EkeSunday, May 25, 2014
eoeke@aol.com


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he Nigerian boko haram problem is not as complex as some people are making it out to be. The root cause is in the ethnic and religious mistrust in Nigeria, the attempt by some elements from north Nigeria to impose Islam on Nigeria and the incompetence, inept and visionless Nigerian leadership, which is nothing but a kleptocracy. In the last four years, Nigerian defence budget and security votes, which are large sums of money which the governors and president can spend on security without accountability, have ballooned. Instead of providing the security personals the training, equipment and facilities they need to do their job, the leaders have siphoned the security votes and defence budget into their private pockets.

This is in spite of the fact that Nigerian legislators earn more than three times the salary of Barrack Obama and the Nigerian president one of the highest paid democratic leaders in the world. Many Nigerian politicians and military officers, police chiefs and senior civil servants retire as millionaires from the proceeds of their corruption while in office. The result is that the resources the military and police need to do their jobs are not provided, just like many roads and many capital projects in Nigeria whose contracts have been awarded several times and paid, for remain uncompleted.

Boko haram is the tip of the iceberg. Fulani herdsmen are carrying out Janjaweed style ethnic cleansing in Nigeria’s middle belt and the government has simply turned a blind eye. They want to impose their needs on all as if it the responsibility of the communities they are attacking to provide them with grazing grounds. There is no attempt to bring them into the twenty first century like many nomadic tribes in other countries who are being encouraged to abandon Stone Age way of life and seek settled existence. Instead, many politicians in the north have made the provision of grazing ground for Fulani a national issue. It should not be, the Fulanis have enough money to buy grazing grounds and it would be unjust to compel communities to part with their land as grazing ground for Fulani cattle under durance. One wonders what advice the national security adviser gives to the Nigerian government. Years of neglect and lack of social investment in Nigeria has created an army of unemployed educated and uneducated youth, who have found justification for criminality and they are now engaging in kidnapping, armed robbery and terrorism with the collision of unscrupulous members of the police and security forces.

Underfunding of police and institutionalised corruption in the army and police, which allows senior police officers to misappropriate departmental budgets and send police men to road block to extort from the people has eroded whatever confidence people have in the Nigerian police. In the Nigerian army, the senior army officers simply collude with defence contractors who are mostly retired Nigerian army general to make the military budget disappear. Nigeria is a country in serious need of honest and purposeful leadership, if it will not continue as a cesspit of extremism, criminality and ethnic and religious bigotry and chaos.

The government has to prioritise social investments, rule of law, institutional reforms and war on corruption to give Nigeria a chance. In addition, the people must be support to defend them against terror by arming reasonable members of the public in addition to resourcing the security agencies adequately. Without this, the fracture of Nigeria along ethnic and religious fault lines and endemic and institutionalised corruption will turn into Balkan style gulf, which cannot be bridged. We may well be in the last days of Nigeria, unless we elects a leadership that has what it takes to respond to the herculean problems. This is a very dark hour for Nigeria and we need to do more than praying.

In addition, the government must implement a radical economic programme to stimulate the Nigerian economy, create jobs and put it on the path to recovery and development. In that wise, there is urgent need to reposition the Nigerian oil industry to serve the country and create an internal sustainable oil economy that will benefit the country.

The Nigerian energy sector is the most corrupt and underdeveloped. The Nigerian oil industry needs to be developed first to meet the domestic demand. It is criminal to be flaring Nigerian natural gas, when the government can pipe it to homes for domestic uses and end the burning of kerosene, coal and wood. This lone will create an internal energy market that can power the Nigerian economy and create millions of jobs for the people. Just imagine the number of jobs that will be created in the oil and energy sector in Nigeria, if the Nigerian internal energy market is developed.

The attempt to export Nigerian gas as liquefied natural gas, instead of first developing an internal market for it in Nigeria and within the West African sub region and then the rest of Africa, is another example of the ignorance, lack of imagination and strategic thinking that has bedevilled the Nigerian leadership since independence. Developing a country is not rocket science; it simply requires common sense and honesty of purpose.

The same thing can be done in health, agriculture science and technology. Nigeria is a virgin economy; there is no reason why it should not be the fastest growing economy in the world. If I am given four years, I will turn Nigeria into the fasted growing economy in the world at half what president Jonathan is being paid. Nigeria has one problem, corrupt ethnically and religious prejudiced leaders, who lack what it takes to solve her problem.

At the moment, not a single oil refinery is working in Nigeria. Successive government have allowed the refinery to close through deliberate mismanagement because they would steal more money, if Nigeria,s oil is refined abroad and the years that has followed the demise of the refineries, many of them have made a killing in what they call oil subsides and oil blocks. The reality is that Nigeria imports petrol, kerosene and aviation fuel, even though it produces the crude oil from which all these fuels come. This is yet the greatest example of the idiocy of the Nigerian leadership. One wonders if a person who produces ground nut will be happy to continue to but groundnut oil from the person he sales groundnut to. Is it not common sense to at least, use some of the ground nuts to make groundnut oil.

Education.

The promise of free education by APC is not enough. What Nigeria needs is a solid foundation for the take-off, of sustainable universal education with very transparent and economic way of paying for it. In this wise, the Nigerian government under partnership for change PNN, will set up through the reformed Ministry of education an education foundation into which the government will contribute 10% of the budget and every working Nigeria adult will contribute equivalent of one pound every month. This fund would be used to provide world class education with very strong research base in universities. Every single Nigerian child will be required by law to remain in education until 18 years of age and to undergo some kind of skill acquisition training between 18 and 22 if he or she is not going to universities. Good career advice and mentoring will become a common feature of Nigerian education. This alone will eliminate the pool from which boko haram and the criminal fraternity recruit young people into their fold.

Education will be split into three. All universities in Nigeria will be under a reformed university commission which will accredit all universities and maintain standard. Admission into national universities will be strictly based on academic ability and all Nigerian graduates, irrespective of the university they attended will be required to take a university excite examination in there are to determine if the education they received is on world class. The university commission will liaise with Nigerian universities and world class universities to determine the standard that would be required.

PNN plans to rebuild Nigeria as a modern secular and democratic country under the rule of law where all, irrespective of religion or ethnicity or any difference would be free to pursue happiness. Nigeria is not beyond hope, what she is need is men and women who are willing to help her achieve her great potential. I am in, what about you? Contact PNN to be a part of the new Nigeria. There is room for all.

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