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Common Errors about Nigeria (II)

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May I seize this opportunity to ship my deepest sympathies in advance to whoever succeeds President Muhammadu Buhari in May 2023. The subsequent president goes to inherit an agelong and entrenched false impression in Nigeria: that the progress of the country rests solely on his shoulders. That is what I have noticed since we transited to democracy in 1999. I don’t know what’s chargeable for this notion, however I usually attempt to pin it on our long historical past of navy rule in which the omnipotent head of state, presiding from Dodan Barracks or Aso Rock, appointed and teleguided state governors and enforced his agenda. They wanted the top of state’s approval for many issues.

In my earlier article — the first in a collection on 5 frequent errors we make about Nigeria — I sought to dispel the favored notion that Nigeria is wealthy. No matter the factors we use — GDP, GNI per capita, oil income or particular person wealth — Nigeria can’t be categorised as wealthy. Even if all our public revenues are spent judiciously and never one kobo is stolen or wasted, we nonetheless don’t generate sufficient wealth to satisfy the crucial wants of a country of 200 million people. The greatest compromise we are able to attain is to say that Nigeria is doubtlessly wealthy — primarily based on the human capital, arable land and untapped sources. Only all-round good governance can translate the potential to wealth, I argued.

Today, I intend to dispel the notion that the president is solely chargeable for the progress of Nigeria and if issues are usually not going effectively, all of the blame must be positioned at his doorstep. I suppose it’s this notion that makes us savage each president, particularly because the return to democracy in 1999. A year after President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua took over from President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2007, we said: “Obasanjo was not this bad…” With President Goodluck Jonathan in charge in 2010, we said: “Yar’Adua was not this bad.” After Buhari got here on board in 2015, we said: “Even Jonathan was not this bad.” I’m absolutely braced up for “even Buhari was not this bad” by this time subsequent year.

First, a clarification and a definition of idea. I don’t intend to recommend that the president performs no role in the event of Nigeria. Not in any respect. In reality, he sits atop the hierarchy. He is chargeable for the broad insurance policies that form the economy — macro, commerce, industrial, and so on. He is also chargeable for inside safety. If we’re on the mercy of robbers, kidnappers, bandits and terrorists, he has a bit of the blame. What I need to disprove is that this ingrained notion that the president must be held chargeable for many of the issues affecting the lives of extraordinary Nigerians and stalling our general progress as a nation. Here, I’ll attempt to show that there’s sufficient blame to go spherical.

I have taken time to survey extraordinary Nigerians, by which I imply these I work together with day by day on the streets and in different frequent locations. I may very well be sensible with my questions. I might give out sheets of paper or chat people up on WhatsApp and ask them to checklist what they might like to get pleasure from in Nigeria that may make them not think about relocating to Canada. I have seen that the majority people would checklist reasonably priced meals, jobs, colleges, roads, healthcare, safety, protected water and a clear atmosphere. “If the president can provide all these things,” somebody said, “I won’t relocate.” Please undergo that long checklist once more and let me know while you see what I’m speaking about.

During Obasanjo’s first term in office, I used to be told he held a gathering with the governors and told them agriculture and meals safety have been key to his improvement agenda. One of the governors reportedly reminded him that agriculture was not the only real enterprise of the federal government and that, in reality, the only land the federal government owns is the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The states are in charge of the lands by advantage of the Land Use Act. Constitutionally, agriculture is on the concurrent checklist, so it’s a shared jurisdiction between the nationwide and subnational governments. Thus, Obasanjo was not in a position to be legislating about agriculture to them, the governor reportedly told him. 

Undaunted, Obasanjo inspired the states to select crops and promote them. Let each state be identified for one thing in agriculture, he implored the governors. If I bear in mind effectively, Cross River state picked pineapple, oil palm and cocoa and Governor Donald Duke pursued the agenda with ardour. He proposed a pineapple manufacturing facility on the Calabar free commerce zone, which he said would require a minimal of 80,000 fruits for processing per day. He instituted a money prize of N100,000 for one of the best kept pineapple farm in the state as he cultivated outgrowers to be a part of the venture. He was making actual progress before he left office, though there have been many challenges in the method.

Let us now get to the nitty-gritty, utilizing simply the pineapple case. The first factor I can see is job creation for semi-skilled and unskilled staff. But once we focus on unemployment in Nigeria, it’s the president that all the time takes the blame. The second factor I can see is value creation — and more jobs. A pineapple manufacturing facility will, no less than, produce juice. People will work in the manufacturing facility. Companies will produce the packaging. Many professionals will benefit from jobs created by such a large venture: civil engineers, electrical engineers, industrial chemists, accountants, HR managers, and so forth. The notion that it’s only the president that may make insurance policies that may create jobs is extremely misplaced.

On unhealthy roads, the notion is that the president ought to take the blame. I have told this story 1,000,000 occasions: in 2013, an uncle came around and we got into a gentle argument over Jonathan’s efficiency as president. I said Jonathan was not doing badly, insecurity apart. I listed some bodily tasks he had executed throughout the country, in addition to the non-tangible feats. My uncle interjected: “Until he does the road in front of my house, I don’t believe he has performed!” I said: “Uncle, but the council is responsible for the road in front your house!” We laughed it off, however then that simply sums up our understanding of the remit of a president. Most of our roads belong to states and native councils.

Whenever we are saying public colleges are usually not good, the place to begin has to be primary education. How many primary colleges are run by the federal government? Nil. Of all of the secondary colleges in Nigeria, the federal government owns only 112, called “Unity Schools”. It is on the primary degree that we decide what number of kids are out of faculty. We also analyse the standard of literacy and numeracy primarily based on primary education. Most public colleges are under states and councils. But you hear issues like: “Under Buhari, 20 million children have dropped out of school.” Why? Because of the deep-rooted perception that the whole lot incorrect with Nigeria must be blamed on whoever is president.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 2022 classifies 133 million Nigerians as “multidimensionally poor”. Commentators went to city about how hundreds of thousands of Nigerians had turn into poorer under Buhari. Fair remark. The only downside is that by the time you learn the report, the blame isn’t on one individual. There have been 15 indicators under 4 broad areas: health (diet, meals safety, distance to healthcare); education (faculty attendance, years of education, faculty lag); living requirements (water, water reliability, sanitation, housing supplies, cooking gasoline, belongings); work and shocks (unemployment, underemployment, security-shock).

Have you seen that yearly, newspapers report how a lot Aso Rock has budgeted for meals? Nobody talks concerning the budgets for meals and spoons in the 36 state government homes. We focus only on the president — as a result of we unconsciously suppose that’s the place issues begin and end. We complain about funds padding (the inflation of budgets by lawmakers with the understanding that the surplus can be “kicked back” to them) only on the federal degree. You would suppose it doesn’t exist in states. We report how a lot a federal lawmaker earns per month and pay little or no consideration to state lawmakers. We are wired to debate only the severance packages of the federal lawmakers.

What is my level? I agree that the president ought to take the lion’s share of the blame for the underdevelopment of Nigeria. But it is rather unhelpful to suppose all the issues of Nigeria begin and end with whoever is president. There are limits to presidential powers in a federal system. If we have been operating a unitary system or navy regime the place all of the powers belong to the centre, the notion can be excellent. But powers and obligations are shared in a federal system. They are outlined in the structure on the exclusive and concurrent lists. Nigeria can be much better than this if the governors and council chairpersons do effectively. They want as a lot scrutiny because the president.

In abstract, I concede that the president could be very {powerful}, each legally and symbolically. But his latitude to get a lot completed is constrained if the others are usually not doing their elements or not doing sufficient. We want all to place in a superb kind in any respect tiers if Nigeria is ever going to alter. And for that to occur, we have to splash consideration on governors and council chairpersons as effectively. If the president says his improvement agenda is to deal with the problem of out-of-school kids and the governors say their own precedence is to build airports, what can the president do? In a federal democracy, the president has an uphill activity getting the governors to sing from the same hymn sheet with him.

Of course, someone is studying me and saying: what concerning the structure? Doesn’t it constrain the governors with its prolonged exclusive checklist? How about income sharing? How can Nigeria develop under an “evil constitution”? We shall be discussing these questions in the third instalment of this collection. Before then, although, I would like us to chew on this: Nigeria is basically 36 international locations in one country. Every state has a CEO and a legislature. Every state prepares its own funds and spends its own cash with out president’s interference. Every state has duties to discharge in education, highway, jobs, healthcare, sanitation, protected water and safety. Let’s ponder on these items time and again.




Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the APC presidential flagbearer, opened fireplace on “hypocrites” at his campaign rally in Abeokuta, Ogun state, on Wednesday. He insinuated that some people (in government, I presume) have been making an attempt to sabotage his possibilities with the lingering petrol disaster and naira redesign. Ordinarily, the dual crises ought to harm APC in the overall election and will quantity to wilful suicide. His campaign group has tried to minimize his weighty outburst, however it’s not a lot of a secret that Tinubu has not been getting strong assist from a government managed by his party. Perhaps, he also desires to distance himself from the hardship going through Nigerians. Counterattack.


I have to be one of many few Nigerians who didn’t buy the fable that N89 trillion stamp obligation income was stolen between 2016 and 2022. When the declare began trending, I didn’t must do a lot investigation to know that it’s not true. We are so gullible and cynical in Nigeria that we consider something, as long because it feeds our biases. How a lot was our whole income from 2016 and 2022 out of which N89 trillion can be stolen from stamp obligation only? According to the CBN, the full stamp obligation income collected from 2016 to 2022 was N370.7 billion only. This appears far more practical. We can probe if we would like, however we have an ethical obligation to cease spreading outrageous fantasy. Reckless.


To those that could not know the importance of the simply inaugurated Lekki Deep Sea Port, let me simply say it’s a main milestone not simply in the maritime sector however in our financial improvement trajectory. When it takes off, it can turn into the first absolutely automated port the place human involvement can be minimal, as it’s completed in trendy international locations. Globally, focus is shifting to massive vessels which might freight 4 occasions the dimensions of standard ones and reduce the cost of delivery. Only Lekki will be capable to deal with such vessels. Also, because the deepest in sub-Saharan Africa, it can function a trans-shipment hub for the area. In case you have been questioning why it’s such a giant deal, that ought to assist. Progress.


The music instantly stopped for Senator Ademola Adeleke (PDP) on Friday when the election petitions tribunal sacked him because the governor of Osun state and declared Mr Adegboyega Oyetola (APC) because the one duly elected. The plank of the judgment is that there was overvoting in a number of polling models. With the votes from these models cancelled, Oyetola was deemed to have gained with the lawful votes. Adeleke will certainly enchantment. He would also suppose the tribunal chairman dropped “another banger” by saying Adeleke “cannot ‘go lo lo lo lo’ and ‘buga won’ as the duly elected governor of Osun state”. It sounds like a joke, however I believe these judges must “calm down”. Banters.


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