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Showing posts from November, 2015

GLOBAL TERRORISM: LIVING THROUGH THE THIRD WORLD WAR

Last year , I wrote an article titled "Alqueda, ISIS, Alshabab  & Boko Haram: Different manifestations of the devil set loose" in which I opined that the extreme Islamic Fundamentalism that we were witnessing in many parts of the World was nothing but the end time manifestations of the devil as predicted in the Holy Bible . But last week after the Paris multiple terrorist attacks that took more than 129 lives ( now risen to over 180), the Pope brought home to me the reality when he declared that was happening was akin to a Third World War . This categorization resonated with me so much and I presume with many other people. The French President called it a war against France but in reality  it is much more than that. It is a global war.    Looking back now, we can see that the war started on the 11th of September, 2001 in the United States of America with Alqueda leading the war. In that first shot, over 2000 citizens of many Nations were killed. Before now, the group was…

QUICK WINS FOR THE NEW MINISTERS

After nearly six months of being sworn in as President, Muhammadu Buhari in turn swore in 36 ministers last week. Thus ending his reign as a kind of sole administrator and setting a record as the President that took the longest time to swear in his ministers in the history of our 55year old Nation and perhaps competing for the top position globally. From all indications, it was clear that the President took all this time because he did not seem to fully appreciate the value these ministers will bring into his governance, or as was speculated, he was searching for " human Angels" to populate his cabinet. When he released a partial list at the last minute of the end of September in order not to fail his own chosen time limit, and then the second list early in October, Nigerians did not see any 'Angel'on the list. Except for a few exceptions, all the ministerial nominees were regular human beings, some previously recycled- past governors, past ministers, past senators…

PRESIDENT BUHARI AND THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH

Where I grew up in Portharcourt, there was a woman fondly called "Madam Ho-Ha". She was not one to hold back on any information and she expressed her mind freely. She would call a spade by its name, not an instrument for digging because as we all know, several instruments can be used to dig a hole, including one aptly called digger, which of course is completely different from a spade. "Madam Ho-Ha" suffered no fools and did not understand the concept of diplomatic speaking or double speak. Many people liked her for her forthrightness, because she would say what many knew but were afraid to say. She was fearless and those who really did not like her, were those she freely commented on their follies or escapades in the community, some of which were done in the cover of the night, when they thought no one was watching. Of course some of those who did not like her, included those who liked her before, when she commented on or castigated other people, but started to …

CBN INTERVENTION FUND: DISMANTLING ROAD BLOCKS FOR SMES

As at February this year, only 40.3 Billion naira out of the 220Billion Naira intervention funds of the Micro,Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund( MSMED) launched by President Goodluck Jonathan in 2014 has been disbursed. What is worse is that only 814 million had been released to the commercial banks to fund only 21 Projects, while 2 billion Naira had been released to Microfinance Banks( MFBs) and 100 million to Finance institutions. According to CBN, they were hoping that by the end of this year, they would have released up to half of the fund. But evidence on the ground shows that not much has improved since February when the above information was released. And before the MSMED there was the Real Sector Fund of about 500 billion Naira, more than half of which is still not disbursed and from which very few SMEs have benefitted.
STATUS OF THE ECONOMY
  The year started rather slowly because of the pending elections which eventually were concluded in April. Then we entered in…

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE RESURGENCE OF THE BIAFRA MOVEMENT

In the year 2001 or 2003, I can not quite remember exactly, I was on the road traveling between Umuahia and Aba in Abia State when we were forced to make way for a convoy of vehicles, mainly buses carrying young men, many literarily standing on the doors and roofs of the vehicles. I was wondering who these 'crazy' people were who pushed us out of the road as they blazed their siren and horns. I was startled when I saw in each of the vehicles, fluffing in the wind, flags bearing the Biafran coat of arms- the rising sun. I shook my head and told myself that these men were crazy. What the hell did they mean by flying the flags of the defunct Biafra brazenly in the face of all of us. When I enquired who these people were, my driver told me that they were the MASSOB-the Biafra boys. I shook my head again, and told my self that these guys did not know what they were doing. If they knew what we suffered in trying to actualize Biafra between 1996-1970, they would not be searching fo…

SHOCKING THE ECONOMY BACK TO LIFE

That the Nigerian Economy is in dire straits is pretty obvious to all. What may be in dispute is who or what caused the malaise. A section of the Nigerian People blames the last government. For them, the last government did nothing but ruin the economy. Another section blames the incumbent government. They accuse the President of having no idea on how to run the economy and that his inexcusable delay in constituting his cabinet has dragged our economy down.But irrespective of which side of this largely uninformed debate any one may belong, the signs of a struggling economy are evident. Blaming anybody or passing buck will not help.We have a national economic challenge which we must confront speedily.
 National income has dropped by half or so, Gross domestic product(GDP) has declined to 2.34%, the lowest in nearly 10 years, and analysts( including the CBN Governor) predict a recession in 2016, inflation is almost at 10%, the Naira continues to decline against the dollar at the parall…

TOUGH ECONOMIC CHOICES: CONTROL VS LIBERALIZATION, REGULATION VS DEREGULATION

Once upon a time, an Afro Beat musician named Fela Anikulapo Kuti wanted to travel with his band Egypt 90 to a foreign country to perform his trade. He was arrested at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport for trying to smuggle some foreign currency out of the Country. Then the Country Nigeria was under  military rule and the exportation of foreign currency was under severe control. Much much later when Military rule ended, things began to change in Nigeria and gradually the importation and exportation of foreign currencies was liberalized. People were allowed to take out and bring in any amount of dollars they wanted, provided they declared the amount. 
   Soon after, Nigerians were allowed to open domiciliary accounts in the country in foreign currencies and they we were also allowed to use their dollars and pounds any how they liked as far as they were doing legitimate business. They could pay for imports and other sundry bills. It became really easy to bring in and take out f…

NIGERIA @ 55: KEY MATTERS OUTSTANDING

Last week, Nigeria commemorated 55 years of freedom from colonial rule. As has become our routine in the last five years or so, the celebrations were low key. I believe the last boisterous celebration was in 2010 which ended tragically as a result of bomb blasts at Eagle square. Since then, the government retreated to the safety of the Aso villa for the commemoration of the independence anniversaries. To be true, I was shocked that this year's event was done 'indoors'. Given the well advertised victory over Boko Haram in the last four months, the military and fearless personality of PMB and in line with the change mantra, I had hoped we would resume at Eagle square this year. Certain realities change slowly!
  All these are indications that things are not well with Nigeria. And my question is how long will we remain 'caged' even when celebrating freedom. Indeed, it was the fear of Orkah and his MEND that drove us from the Eagle square, but it is now the fear of She…

THE CONCEPT OF MINISTERS AS ONLY NOISE MAKERS

That President Muhammadu Buhari( PMB) would prefer to run his administration without ministers is no longer in doubt. When on assumption of office, he failed to name his ministers at the time many other Presidents would normally do so, many of us thought that it had to do with the apparent division in his party, exemplified by the imbroglio in the National Assembly. Later on, people concluded that it was because he was searching for 'human angels' to appoint as ministers. Some even said, it was because of disagreements on the list between him and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. All sorts of reasons were being adduced to explain what has become a major abnormality in democratic governance . 
  But speaking from France a few weeks ago, all the doubts disappeared. PMB does not find much use for ministers. According to him, all that Ministers do is to make noise. They do little or no work, as actually the civil servants do all the work. To prove it, he has run the country for 4 clear months …