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I am a political scientist by training but at heart I am a change maker with an insatiable drive to correct the injustices that plague Nigeria.
 
 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Embrace the #bringbackourgirls campaign while upholding integrity

Credit: Jerome Starkey of The Times UK Nov. 23 2012

While the support surrounding the kidnapping of the girls in Borno state Nigeria has been overwhelming and encouraging, there is something that I feel I must draw your attention to. The attached picture is being used to illustrate the lengths that Nigerian women are going to as a result of this kidnapping. This picture is actually misrepresentative. This photo is from a 2012 edition of the UK Times – “Women are bent on revenge against Tuareg rebels in Mali” by Jerome Starkey. See link - http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/africa/article3608925.ece

While I do not want to assume bad intentions, I want to make sure that individuals do not get caught up in misrepresentations. Not that this is the case with the original poster of this picture (referencing the post made regarding #bringbackourgirls), however there are some who do take advantages of horrific situations. Let’s be diligent in our #bringbackourgirls awareness campaign while ensuring that we maintain integrity and do not misrepresent.

#BringBackOurGirls #BokoHaram #Nigeria #BornoState #IslamicMilitantsInNigeria #bringbackourgirls
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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Goodluck Jonathan missing in action yet again

This is beyond ridiculous. It is so wrong that the Nigerian President has not taken an aggressive approach to rescuing the Nigerian girls that are being held captive after their kidnapping from school. It was announced this yesterday that the Nigerian government has agreed to accept assistance from the US and the UK with rescuing the girls. Why did it take this long for the Nigerian government to respond to needing global assistance? Clearly the Nigerian government lacks the infrastructure to rescue the girls. Their response to needing assistance, however, should not have taken this long. The girls are being held, the time is ticking, God only knows the conditions they are being subject to by Boko Haram. I am also concerned that Goodluck Jonathan has not met with the families, visited the site in which the girls were abducted, or taken an active role in finding the girls.




During the time that the girls have been abducted, the President has been touring around the country. He has been attended funerals, political rallies, and other social events. Yet he has not visited the site of the kidnapping or met with the families of the kidnapped girls. Does he not see this as a big concern? Maybe he should turn on the national media as this story continues to generate concern and interest.


Update on the girls from Government Girls secondary school Chibok, Borno state Nigeria. Abducted by Boko Haram Islamic militants.
#bringbackourgirls #BringBackOurGirls #Chibok #BornoState #Nigeria

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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Search response… epic disappointment

Picture by The Guardian Newspaper Nigeria

I continue to have deep concerns over the manner in which the Nigerian government is handling the kidnapping of 234 Chibok Government Secondary School girls (note: there are conflicting reports on the number of girls abducted). The rescue efforts have yet to start; the girls have been in captivity for 2 weeks. The latest step the government has taken is to form a committee (http://leadership.ng/news/369278/jonathan-sets-committee-abducted-schoolgirls) to determine how to rescue the girls. This is absolutely ridiculous. Why are they forming a committee? The government should be working with multiple law enforcement entities to coordinate a rescue effort. The rescue effort should be active and tactile. If the government doesn’t feel they have the proper personnel to complete the rescue, they need to reach out to other entities for assistance.

The government seems to be missing a huge opportunity to interview the girls that have escaped. By interviewing the girls they will be able to determine the location in which they are being held, the conditions they are being held under, the number of and types of weapons, the number of hostiles, etc. This information can serve as a critical base of information for the rescue efforts. Another source of information that needs to be disseminated is the identity of the girls that are being held in captivity. Law enforcement needs to coordinate with the school and the parents to deduce the identities of the girls.


This situation should force the government to assess their current practices and to make significant improvements. It is critical that the Nigerian government makes changes to their governmental response. The government needs to seek training and develop ongoing crisis response plans.
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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Yet Another Example - Islamic Extremist Crisis Management in Nigeria

Boko Haram Image - The News Chronicle

Jung Hong, South Korean Prime Minster, resigned late yesterday as a result of the government’s horrific response to the ferry disaster. While it is unfortunate that his reactions were reactive rather than proactive, at least he took responsibility.

Just recently we learned that 234 girls were kidnapped from their school in Nigeria. Those responsible for the kidnappings are Islamic Militants called Boko Haram. In response to this, the government of Nigeria released a news report regarding a rescue operation. When this story was exposed as erroneous, the government was quick to recant.

Statistically speaking the number of deaths in the ferry tragedy in South Korea is lesser than the number of senseless killings and kidnappings that have occurred within Nigeria at the hands of the Islamic militants. These militants are very active in the far Northern states of Nigeria. The actions of the militants have turned these peaceful communities into towns in which its citizens have fled out of sheer terror.

I would like for us to challenge the elected officials about why they refuse to do anything about this. Why are they not going to be held accountable for lawlessness in their constituency? It is frustrating that the government continues to provide funding to these elected officials for the communities they represent with seemingly no accountability. What is the money being spent on? How are the funds building and sustaining safe and desirable neighborhoods and communities? They need to hunt down these militants and bring them to justice. Stiff consequences need to be put into place. Laws against this type of behavior need to be enforced. Until this happens there will not be peace.
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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Child Bride kills her husband in order to end her marriage

Ref: Child bride forced to marry poisons groom
http://www.boston.com/news/world/africa/2014/04/10/child-bride-forced-marry-poisons-groom/8CjdeZt62N6WqWUxBrb8fN/story.html

This is an extremely tragic story. This is a perfect illustration of a true injustice. While I am in no way defending this young lady’s choice to commit murder, this is one outcome of forced child marriage. She is a child forced into an adult situation against her will. She was subject to a life of rape and most likely emotional and physical abuse. Let this case be the catalyst that brings about prosecution against those that engage in child marriage. The laws regarding this need to be strictly enforced and those that break the law need to face the consequences. Not only should those engaging in child marriage be prosecuted, but the parents of the child bride need to also be held responsible for allowing this to occur.

Nujood Ali a Yemeni 10 year old was in forced marriage.



Having laws on the books means nothing if they are not enforced. The only way this will change is for people to rise up against this action. They must beat down the doors of their lawmakers and let them know that this is unacceptable and that those that engage in this activity must be held accountable. This tragedy could have been avoided. This girl was forced into this situation against her will. She does not have the ability to process how to deal with this situation in an effective manner. She was placed into an awful situation with no exit strategy, plan or assistance. Shame on her family for subjecting her to this horrific situation and frankly shame on all of us for not taking a stand. 
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Monday, March 24, 2014

Pride of the Nigerian government…providing employment for other countries while our own citizens are unemployed and homeless

Map of Walvis Bay (Namibia)
Map of Walvis Bay (Namibia) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The President intends to partner with Namibia to build a joint refinery at the Walvis Bay. Laudable objective! My question however, is, where is the Walvis Bay?. If it is in Nigeria, well, that is quite encouraging. If however, it is in Namibia, then it is the same old story. Do we not have refineries built by Nigerians or Nigerians in government, scattered across the continents? When shall we come home? We are going there to create jobs for the Namibians while the best we can do is to swindle our own people in the guise of giving them jobs that never materializes. Would Nigerians be employed in this joint partnership venture? We always enter into joint partnerships that are lopsided in their composition, with Nigerians ending up marginalized. No matter the level of your investment in a business venture somewhere in Africa, you can never fill a position with Nigerians when there are indigenes of that country that can fill the position, never. What do we have here? The Chinese, Koreans, Indians, Lebanese etc, in the name of investing in our economy, flood our country with their nationals to fill positions that can be effectively filled by qualified Nigerians. We have immigration laws that should control this damaging influx of foreigners but the NIS seem not to be aware of this. We have organizations bring in people who do not speak English to supervise English speaking Nigerians in jobs where Nigerians have been adequately trained, and in English too. The law says any foreign professional must be understudied by at least two Nigerians within two years with the aim of taking over from these foreigners. Is this law working and what is the NIS doing to monitor compliance? There are organizations violating this law with impunity. The NIS just issues work permits without proper verification of claims of organization making application for expatriates. Expatriate quota is flagrantly abused by these organizations without the NIS living up to its responsibilities. In most cases temporary work permit has become permanent with an expatriate staying for as long as four, six or more years, without a single Nigerian trained. We all travel out and we see how immigration laws work. Nigeria, let us wake up. In the local lingo, "One day be one day, yawa go gas". We are selling our country to foreigners. "Quick fingers" in government are the reason for this sorry situation we find ourselves. NIS, please wake up.

Written: Paul Nwoko
Former University of Lagos Engineering faculty.

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Nigeria: Blackout Giant

Madukar Orji

Growing up as a teen in the 1970's in the coal city of Enugu was hilarious; a pride in a nation that bestowed so much hopes, so much dreams, so much aspiration, unlimited enthusiasm in her then emerging next generation of nation builders; dreams were dreamed by young men and women, achievable dreams; hopes became brightened by starring stars of the night. As it was true then in the hearts of many young men and women not to ask much of their country but to give their best to their country with the hope that their commitment would challenge their country to fulfill her social responsibilities, so is true now that Nigeria has failed her young men and women to sustain hopes and dreams they once had. It was true then that the nation indeed provided for her young; prospective graduates got employed while in final year of higher education, before ever called to national youth service. The wealth of the nation ushered in new brand of Westernization; Western diplomats flocked and clustered the nation's shore in a renewed spirit of neocolonial fraternity; multinational industries and oil companies sprouted everywhere like germinating seedlings in a season of plantation to scramble for bounties of a new prosperous nation. The West sleeved in disguise of neocolonialistic agenda, began the scavenge of a nation. Nigeria gave the world so much hope, lavished so much wealth, bragged so much about her wealth, and hosted the world in a festival of African arts and culture (FESTAC) in 1977. Regrettably, the nation did not outlived her glorious moment; in default, the hopes and aspiration gradually began to melted away. Today, Nigeria has become a scorn among comity of nations; she has left tainted frustration in her citizens, and forced her young to flee her suckling palms to foreign lands in search of new dreams, to rediscover lost dreams, and to rekindle faded hopes. Infrastructures have become alarmingly dilapidated, and in most places, none existent; electricity, the center point of this essay, has become so epileptic to become a badge of dishonor of a wealthy nation; citizens are left in blackouts for weeks and/or months depending on area one lives - a ritualistic way of daily life in a country that still, deceptively, self-acclaims herself as a "giant of Africa". A nation without electricity is like a blind man walking unguided in an unguarded street - a trademark of a failing nation.


Does it mean that politicians who find their way to elected office do not articulate economic and social issues in the country, which should be their primary reason they were 'elected'? Why has Nigeria remained a weeping nation year after year, regime after regime? I remember in 1999 when Olusegun Obasanjo assumed political office, he vowed alongside his minister for mines and power, Bola Ige, that electricity interruption would be a past by the time he ended his tenure. He came flamboyantly like a comet. He assumed the messianic personality of a 'Mandela', from prison to presidency; Nigerians thought that the prison incarceration had revisioned in him the lesson of humility and service. Regrettably, he became another disappoint the nation had; he was not the Chinua Achebe's 'Man of the People' wrongly presumed', a man hoped would bring renaissance of renewal; he was a symbol of institutionalize corruption like those before him, those that came after him, and those that will come. The promise became a lying tongue of a man drunk in grandiose of political power. The blackout darkness of a nation degenerated. By 2010 Nigeria had an operational electricity generation capacity of 4 Gw, an unimaginably low number for a country size in scope and population of about 165 million people, comparable to 160 Gw generated in an industrialize nation. It's true Nigeria does not have the industrial capacity to utilize such comparative huge electricity generation capacity as in industrialize West but one-fourth of the capacity would put Nigeria on footpath of a developing nation and rekindle life anew for her citizens. In light of the country's predicament, Goodluck Jonathan says he wants to build made in Nigeria cars. If to ask: is the auto factory going to operate with generator sets, generators fueled by crude oil? How could a nation that could not successfully assembly Peugeot cars or Mercedes trucks least build one? Or is the Nigeria 'dream' cars going to be built by Nissan and Stallion car makers as president Goodluck met at the 2014 World Economic Forum with their chief executive officers. Another man with a lying tongue, lust in illusion and deception of leadership. Yet, given the country’s vast crude oil and natural resources, a larger proportion of the population is stuck in a trap of poverty, a recycling dance of death that subjects 60.9% Nigerians to absolute poverty. According to 2010 National Bureau of Statistics, this figure represents 112.47 million Nigerians. The bureau predicts likely continuation of the rising trend.


The failure to generate uninterrupted electricity for Nigerians stems from the fact that Nigeria has lost the threshold of decorum of a nation whose eyes should be glued to the future. Electricity blackout has become daily occurrence in homes, in businesses, in every part of the country - and this, is increasingly worrisome. As a way out of the predicament, businesses and households purchase electricity generating sets to light their homes and offices, power machinery and equipment. These generating sets do not only increase cost liability, they also emit carbon monoxide into the atmosphere - health consequence resulting from this is polluted and poisoned air. Everybody suffers the consequence, whether it is the politician in glass-sealed mansion in Abuja, or the downtrodden streaming for space in slums of Ajegunle. Again, fuel and gas are needed to power these generating sets, thus profit margins are reduced, cost increased, and prices hiked. In spite of 10% increase in 2013 budget allocation to electricity generation, streets, homes and businesses are still littered in blackout - an affront to human dignity. Nigerians would have lived healthier has there been uninterrupted electricity to power fans and/or air conditioners in homes and offices that would provide habitable room temperatures, thus deny mosquitoes the privilege of transmitting malaria parasites, which simultaneously comes with illnesses that could disable functionality of human body. Electricity blackout could not permit hospitals to perform medical procedures on patients; women could not give successful birth delivery, hence increasing risk of accidental death and complications. The risk of human error of professional negligence by doctors and nurses no doubt worsens the already health havoc; human life in the hands of doctors becomes like a chicken ready to be slashed for a pot of stew sauce without recourse to responsibility. Again, children cannot appropriately learn in schools because blackout is everywhere; science and computer laboratories have become storage spaces when there is no electricity to experimentally utilization the equipment. The result is turnout of half-baked graduates who litter the streets in search of jobs, in most cases unqualified. The consequence is a nation of band of unemployed young men and women with deficient tools to compete and excel in modern techno-society - these are young men and women who constitute the quantum of Nigeria poor. Some of the unemployed have broken bounds with societal norms and decency to engage in armed robbery, human trafficking, prostitution, kidnapping, terrorism, and most have been frustrated to flee. Besides, the level of poverty has led to various regional agitations across the country. For example, In the Niger Delta, the youths years ago vowed to riffle the economy of the nation, they vandalized oil pipelines, kidnapped oil workers, and almost crippled the national economy. The nightmare they unleashed resulted to horrifying mayhem in the region. In the midst of delusion and passion for regional autonomy, the movement for emancipation of the State of Biafra resurrected in the East, across the beds of River Niger. In the North, Boko Haram began a campaign of anarchy and annihilation that is terrorizing the North, from the banks of River Benue toward the deserts of the Fulani caliphate. These regional resentments reflect continued scourge of poverty, undevelopment, and frustration across the regions of the nation.



Privatization of power sector or any other government sector is not panacea for development in Nigeria because the endemic corruption that has rippled democracy and fabric of the society makes nothing transparent, and nothing gets done with due administrative process. Besides, there is a level in development theory that a country can attain to provide and sustain its citizens before it embarks on privatization of its economy; certain structures must be in place, and these are not yet in place. Nigeria has a political system where the rich circumvent the law of the land in ridicule and intimation of the poor; a nation where those that are caught stolen are rewarded, released from prison, given amnesty, and/or appointed to serve same government he or she stole from without minimum regard to national conscience and consciousness. Is this a country to be celebrated and hoped to have a future? To turn things around, first, full scale electricity generation and supply must be vigorously pursued to raise industrial production and productivity, bring peace of mind and certainty to homes - these, no doubt will close the recycling trap of poverty and rekindle life anew in the citizenry. For this to come true requires effective governance, effective laws that are time-tested, and effective enforcement. Until corruption is controlled the problem of electricity, like many numerous problems confronting the nation, remains dreamful. As I look beyond the horizon, Nigerians are not yet ready to give away privileges of corruption and indiscipline, to sacrifice the present for the future - for this, Nigeria remains standstill. It's not a matter of debate but a matter of what has been seen, what is seen, and what is hope to be seen; it's the reality, not illusion of fantasy of imaginary 'Alice Wonderland'. Like in economics, politics projects same for the future. A handful of politicians cannot decide the faith of a nation; cannot decide a national conference of a people for a free people, choose who attends, or set its agenda. Nigeria is still run like an enterprise owned by a clique of investors whose sole interest is profit. Unfortunately, this is not the new Nigeria many illusively nurse the hope would still come. Though, things can still turnaround for better 'ONLY IF' Nigerians must massively determine the kind of nation, the kind of government system they want, and those who participant. Like in every meaningful nation where citizens rise up, and are still rising up, stand up for justice and corrupt governance, Nigerians must wake up from slumber; Nigerians must wear off the 'complacency of 'who cares attitude' and take fate in their hands so that their children's children yet unborn will still have a nation called Nigeria. It bemoans that the generation that my father was born into waited patiently, like vultures, to see a better Nigeria, my father died with hopes unfulfilled, dreams drowned. My generation is about to extinct, yet Nigeria still crawls like a colorless chameleon - my generation will soon die leaving our children's children go same way as our fathers. For those that still sleep in fantasy, know ye thee that neither miracle nor prayer brings about societal change. Rather, public opinion and people's deeds change a society. Responsible nations do not bruise their knees in endless prayer, wishfully waiting for a miracle that would never come; nations take their faith in their hands ready to rediscover their fate anew.

Written By Madukar Orji
Author: LUST FOR CORRUPTION THE AFRICA YOU DON'T KNOW
Author: THE MYTH OF NATIONAL RECONCILIATION AND ECHOES OF IBO NATIONALISM

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