Thursday, 26 November 2015

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Thursday, 12 November 2015



President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan is the first sitting president in Nigeria to be voted out from office since the country's independence in 1960. Mixed reactions trailed  the outcome  of Nigeria's 2015 presidential election as expected. For some, it was unthinkable for a sitting or incumbent president to lose an election to the opposition. For, others, the loss of the election by Dr Jonathan was not a surprise. To persons in this  school of thought, the failure or inability ofJonathan's government to fix the plethora of social, economic and political woes and challenges bedeviling Nigeria is more than enough reason to be voted out of office.

Government has many  functions and responsibilities. These functions and responsibilities can be reduced to two: protection of lives and property of citizens of state and ensuring  of their welfare. Everything a government does comes under these two functions and responsibilities. Any government that fails to live up to expectations as far as these two things are concerned does not deserves to remain in office. This is the thrust of Social Contract, between  persons in government and citizens of the state.

Many local and foreign political analysts and commentators have advanced various reasons behind the defeat of Dr Jonathan by General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) in the Nigeria 2015  presidential election. As to be expected, many of these analysts and commentators are of the view that the inability of Dr Jonathan to provide solutions to the myriad of problems plaguing Nigeria was the chief reason for his political fall. To some of them, the determination of the North to take back power, having lost it , following President Yar'Adua's death in May 2010 is the cardinal factor behind his defeat at the polls. There is no argument that the two reasons provided above contributed in no small measure to the political demise of President Jonathan. In the remaining part of this article, I take a critical look at these two factors that have been advanced by political experts as reasons for Jonathan's defeat and conclude with my own view as to why he lost the election.

It has been noted earlier in this piece, that the essence of government in a state is to ensure the security and welfare of citizens of the state. The Theory of Social Contract as propounded by Thomas Hobbs, a British political philosopher, has it that persons in government, are in a social contract with citizens of the state. According to Hobbs, government officials hold power in trust on behalf of citizens of the state. This implies that the consent to govern a state comes from the citizens and state officials should use power to harness and deploy state resources for the welfare and benefit of every citizen. Hobbs further opines that any government that fails to take care of the security and welfare of its citizens does not deserve to remain in power and should be  dismantled or uprooted  from power by citizens of the state.

To start my analysis, the problems and challenges bedeviling Nigeria are almost as old as the country herself. At the return of democracy in 1999, Nigerians were full of hope and expectations that all the countries woes under the military would soon be a thing of the past and that the country would be a better place for every Nigerian. General Olusegun Obasanjo (rtd), who was the first democratically elected  president of Nigeria, spent eight whooping years in power (1999-2007). H e was the first president to govern Nigeria under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Opinions differ regarding the achievements of Obasanjo as president of Nigeria for eight years. However, at the end of his tenure in 2007, the major challenges facing Nigeria: unemployment, insecurity (especially in the Niger Delta then), corruption, weak economy, energy and power sector challenge and so on, were still there.

General Obasanjo was succeeded by late President Yar'Adua, another leader produced by the PDP. Yar' Adua's government was short-lived as the wicked hand of death took him from mother earth.  Before his death however, late President Yar'Adua had the Seven Points Agenda as the cardinal state policy and road map for the development of Nigeria. During his short stay of about three years in power, Yar'Adua succeeded in instituting an electoral reform committee to reform and overhaul  Nigeria's electoral system in order to bring about the conduct of free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria. He also reduced the pump price of petrol from N70 to N65 and created the Niger Delta Ministry and initiated an amnesty program for former fighters in the Niger Delta region, with a view to bringing an end to the crisis in the Niger Delta and as well as bring development to the region, while also ensuring that there is lasting peace in the region for conducive atmosphere for oil production upon which  Nigeria's economy depends, to take place uninterrupted and undisturbed.

Dr Goodluck Jonathan formally became the president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on May 6th, 2010, following the formal announcement of the the death of his boss, Alhaji Musa Yar'Adua.

The circumstances behind the emergence of Jonathan as the president of Nigeria and the consideration that he was from an humble background made the expectations of Nigerians from him to be very high. As it were, he came to power at a time Nigeria was facing numerous challenges in every facet of the country's national life and many Nigerians had expected him to proffer solutions to most, if not all the daunting challenges facing the country.

Amongst the monstrous challenges plaguing Nigeria then (and even now) were/are insecurity (especially the menace of Boko Haram), unemployment, poor state of economy,  corruption on the part of state officials, challenges in power and energy sectors and so on. It is no longer news that president Jonathan has not been able, in the last five years to fix all these aforementioned challenges facing Nigeria.

Dr Jonathan's actions and in-actions regarding various national issues contributed to the failure of his administration. Chief amongst these were his inability to defeat Boko Haram, the kidnap of Chibok school girls, the Nigeria Immigration saga that led to the death of about twenty Nigerian job seekers and so on. To be fair to Jonathan, he put in efforts at fixing some of these challenges, but, his inability to fix them did not go down well with Nigerians and made many to vote against him in the last presidential election. I shall turn to the second factor, the resolve of Northerners to take power back.

It is not arguable that the North was instrumental to the emergence of General Olusegun Obasanjo as the president of Nigeria in 1999. As stated above, Obasanjo spent eight years in power. Under the zoning formula of the Peoples Democratic Party, a Northerner was supposed to spend eight years as president of Nigeria to balance the dynamics of ethnic and regional politics in Nigeria. It has also been noted above that President Yar'Adua, the Northerner who succeeded Obasanjo in 2007, died in 2010 in office. As required by the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, Yar'Adua was succeed by his then vice president, Dr Jonathan, a Southerner. The emergence of Jonathan as the president of Nigeria, as a consequence of Yar'Adua's death did not go augur well with the North. I do not intend to undertake a chronicle of the political  drama that played out in the Nigerian power arena during Yar'Adua illness and even after his death as that is known to even a casual observer of Nigerian politics. However, it is well known that the North felt short-challenged by the non adherence to PDP zoning arrangement, following the death of their kinsman and the the rise of Jonathan to the office of the number citizen of Nigeria. This was the beginning of Jonathan's political problem which largely culminated in his defeat in the last presidential election in Nigeria.

To buttress the point above, some northern leaders did everything possible to undermine Jonathan's person as president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the federal republic of Nigeria. This can be found in the hostile and unfriendly attitude and posture of some of them towards him. Most  notable act of aggression from the North was the threat by some northern leaders to make Nigeria ungovernable for Jonathan. It is believed also that the memo released by the impeached governor of Adamawa, Murtala Nyako,  was a handiwork of the entire North and that it was an indication of the non acceptance of Jonathan's government and show of hostility by the North to him.

To add salt to injury, Dr Jonathan, whom the core North sees as a USURPER, enjoying a mandate supposedly meant for the North, indicated his interest to contest in the 2015 presidential election with a view to be re-elected as president by Nigerians. This decision by Jonathan,  was to the North, the last straw that broke the camel's back.

The presidential election had come and gone. The election saw the defeat of Jonathan and the emergence of Buhari as the president elect of Nigeria. The question now is: Was Jonathan a scapegoat of PDP's 16-year misrule or victim of North's resolve to take power back?

Watch out for an answer to this question in part 2 of this article.

I wrote this article on 22, May 2015 and published it on my Google Plus account.



In attempting to answer the question as to whether Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is a scapegoat of PDP 16-year misrule or victim of the resolve of the people of Northern Nigeria to take power back, it is imperative and  appropriate to take a cursory  look at the meaning of scapegoat. After this, I shall  examine the last sixteen years of PDP rule in Nigeria, with emphasis on their inability to provide solutions to the myriads of challenges confronting Nigeria, as well as the loss of power by the North in 2010 as a result of the death of their son and kinsman, late Musa Yar'Adua, and how that uttered the balance of power in Nigerian politics in favour  of the South-South region of Nigeria, at the expense of the North.

Here are some of the definitions of scapegoat. Google defines scapegoat as ''A person or group that is made to bear the blame for others''.  Marriam Webster Dictionary defines scapegoat as ''A person who is unfairly blamed for something that others have done''.

As noted in part 1 of this article, the Peoples Democratic People (PDP), was the ruling party in Nigeria from 1999 to 2015. In 1999 when the PDP took over power in Nigeria, there were numerous social, economic and political challenges bedeviling Nigeria as a state. The essence of a government in a state is to harness and deploy state resources to bring about overall national growth and development, for the good and benefit of citizens of the state. Against this backdrop, at the return of democratic rule in 1999, there were huge expectations on the part of Nigerians from their government to solve most, if not all the challenges plaguing the country from independence through the military era, to the end of military rule in 1999.

The first beneficiary of power in Nigeria, at the return of democracy in Nigeria, was Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. He was in power under the umbrella of the PDP, for two consecutive tenures of four years each from 1999-2007, that was for a period of eight years. Many local and international analysts and commentators on Nigeria still differ on Obasanjo's achievements in eight years. However, amongst other things,  it was under him that the telicom sector was privatized and this saw the coming of private telicom companies like MTN, ECONET (now AIRTELL), GLO, and so on, into the Nigerian telecommunication market. Telecom services are now available to almost  70% of Nigerians and the rigours and difficulties associated with access to telecom services during the days of Nigerian Telecommunication  Limited (NITEL), a monopoly telecom company that was owned by the Nigerian government are no longer there. Chief Obasanjo was also said to have left about $45 billion in Nigeria's foreign reserves as at the time he was leaving power in 2007. However, at the end of his tenure in 2007, the challenges of unemployment, corruption in government, insecurity (especially in the Niger Delta), energy and refineries,  power sector failure (even after claiming to have spent over $16 billion on power generation) and impunity were still very much high in Nigeria.

Late President Yar' Adua, who succeeded Chief Obasanjo in May 2007, had a short-lived government of less than three years. He became incapacitated in November 2009 and  died in May 2010. He was however, able to reduce the price of petrol from 70 Naira to 65 Naira, set up amnesty programme for former fighters in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria; create the Ministry of Niger Delta to bring about economic and social development of the the oil producing region of Nigeria, amongst other things.

Dr Jonathan succeeded late Musa Yar'Adua in May 2010 following the former's death. The challenges of insecurity, corruption, power/energy  sectors failure,  weak and mono-product economy, and so on were very much alive at the time of Jonathan's ascension to power in 2010. He completed late Yar'Adua's first tenure and contested in 2011, emerging victorious. It would not amount to an exaggeration to say that there were high expectations from Nigerians for Jonathan to fix Nigeria in view of the numerous woes confronting the country and the circumstances surrounding his ascendancy to power. The Jonathan administration will come to and end on May 29, 2015. That Nigeria now faces more troubles in every area of her national life than she did in 2010 is a pointer  to the fact that Jonathan's government has not been able to fix the country in the last five years. As it were the challenges of insecurity (Boko Haram), corruption, power/energy crises, impunity in our national life, unemployment and so on, still display their ugly heads in Nigeria now, more than ever before. I now turn to the northern factor.

Some political experts have said that Dr Jonathan lost the 2015 Nigerian presidential election to General Buhari (rtd) because of the resolve of the core Muslim North of Nigeria to take power back having lost it in 2010 as a consequence of the death of their son and kinsman, Musa Yar'Adua. This created room for Dr Jonathan, a Southerner, to become the president of Nigeria. The rise of Jonathan to the office of the number one citizen of the federal republic of Nigeria did not go down well with the core Muslim North of Nigeria. The North had argued that another Northern be made to continue as president of Nigeria in fulfillment of the purported PDP's zoning agreement, which provided for power rotation between the Northern and the Southern parts of Nigeria. Unfortunately for the North, the Nigerian constitution, the supreme law of the country, stipulates that the vice president of Nigeria should be swore in as substantive president of the country in the event of the death of the president and commander-in-chief of armed forces of the country. The constitution held sway and saw  the emergence of Dr Jonathan
 as president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the federal republic of Nigeria. This did not go down well with Northerners, who felt short-changed and also saw Jonathan as an usurper and an illegitimate president enjoying a mandate 'SUPPOSEDLY' meant for the North. This the beginning of Jonathan's political problem as president of Nigeria.

In conclusion, the failure of the Peoples Democratic Party leadership to fix Nigeria in sixteen years and give better and quality life to Nigerians contributed immensely to their defeat in the last general election in Nigeria. From the definitions of scapegoat above, it would not be completely right and accurate to submit that Dr Jonathan is a scapegoat of PDP's misrule. This is because scapegoat suggests innocence and non involvement on the part of the person that is been blamed for what other have done. In the case of Nigeria, Jonathan was a president under the umbrella of PDP  like Obasanjo and late Yar'Adua. Altogether, the PDP spent sixteen years in power without been able to fix the woes facing Nigeria. It would be more sensible to talk about the collective failure  of PDP as a party than to talk about Jonathan as a scapegoat of PDP's misrule. The reality is that Nigerians were fed up and frustrated with the PDP and resorted to an alternative, the All Progressives Congress (APC). Now, on whether Dr Jonathan is a victim of North's resolve to take over power at the centre,  the reality as has been noted earlier, is that the North was not happy about Yar'Adua death because it made them lose power and ultimately saw the emergence of Jonathan as president of Nigeria. The North that had spent about forty years in power, since Nigeria's independence, fifty five years ago, only had access to it for a paltry three years (Yar'Adua's short-lived tenure) in the last sixteen years. It is imperative to note that the northern part of Nigeria has never joked with power since Nigeria's independence in1960, in view of the economic challenges faced by the region  as a consequence of natural factors. This is because power grants them unlimited and unfettered access to Nigeria's oil and other resources and northern politicians control about 85% of oil blocks ownership in the Nigeria. More so, Northerners believe that only 'ONE OF THEIR OWN' can and will protect their political and economic interests in Nigeria. This explains their hostile disposition towards Jonathan's government since 2010. It  is my candid opinion that the 2015 presidential election was a 'now or never' moment for the North. Therefore, I am constrained to conclude that the determination of northern political elite to take back power was a more decisive factor that led to the defeat of Dr Jonathan. Put succinctly, while I agree that inability of Jonathan to fix the catalog of woes  in the Nigerian social, economic and political sectors led to his defeat, I am of the strong opinion that North's resolve to take power back at all cost was the key factor behind his political fall.

Frank, Chukwuka Osimi is a Historian, HMO Officer/PRO, Blogger, Analyst and Commentator on national and international affairs. The views expressed in this article are exclusively mine. I take responsibility for any form of errors that may be found in the article.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015


frankwash: NGERIA: FAILURE OF AN OIL-BASED ECONOMY AND CONFUS...: The choice of  topic of this article is not to raise unnecessary alarm about the current economic uncertainty in Nigeria  or to make a mocke...


The choice of  topic of this article is not to raise unnecessary alarm about the current economic uncertainty in Nigeria  or to make a mockery of the appalling situation . The article has two aims or objectives. First, it seeks to  draw attention to the economic quagmire Nigeria finds herself as a result of the dwindling fortune of crude oil, which is her major foreign exchange earner. Second, the article also attempts to proffer solutions to the economic misfrtune the country finds herself as a direct consequence of the fall in prices of crude oil in the global market. 

In May 2015, I wrote an article, titled: 'Nigeria: The Practice of Feeding Bottle Federalism and Financial Misfortune of Component Parts'. I had argued in that article that a country that relies heavily on the export of  single commodity for her foreign exchange earning to service her economy and attend to other affairs of state was doomed to face serious financial misfortune once the commodity suffers a dwindling fortune as a result of vagaries surrounding its sales. I went further and submitted that Nigeria's financial mess would not have been that appalling had she diversified her economy with the money earned from sales of crude oil sales for decades. I also opined that inability of many state governments to generate revenue internally which made them overdependent on the central government; coupled with corruption on the part of those in power made the financial situation of the country worse than it would have been. It was also my candid submission in that article  that the inability of the federal, state and local governments in Nigeria to pay salaries of their employees and also attend to other affairs of government financially, would continue so long as the country continued to rely on crude oil as the only key foreign exchange earner, with corruption still in the system.  I concluded the article by positing that every state and local government in Nigeria must begin to get involved in revenue generation and depend less on monthly financial allocations from the federal government.

Five months after President Mohammed Buhari came into power as the President and Commander-in- Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the economic misfortune that befell Nigeria, over a year ago, as a direct consequence of the  drastic fall in the price of crude oil has remained unabated and aggravated instead. A pertinent question to ask is: Does Nigeria not know that this mono-product or oil-based economy is not working?

For about five decades, Nigeria had earned hundreds of billions of US Dollars from export of crude oil to other countries, especially during periods of oil booms. Unfortunately however, successive governments in Nigeria did not use the humongous amount of money realized from sales of crude oil to fix and diversify the economy, fix infrastructure, build new industries,  fix power and many other critical areas relevant to the survival and prosperity of the country and her citizens. What happened instead, was that persons in government, at the federal, state and local levels, looted the billions of dollars the country made from sales of crude oil for their personal aggrandizement and luxuries, with billions of dollars of stolen Nigerian money kept abroad in unknown foreign accounts serving the economic interests of the host institutions and countries.

The fall in the price of crude oil in the international market over a year ago, led to serious economic shock waves in the Nigerian economy and the country lacks that necessary economic infrastructures and shock absorbers to receive and withstand the shock waves. What we are witnessing  therefore, in Nigeria, regarding current economic misfortune of the country is an accumulated or long time negative effect of the refusal of successive Nigerian governments to use the money earned in the past to fix the country's economy with a view to reviving and revamping its various facets   such as industrialization/manufacturing, agriculture, tourism, mining, power and so on. This is compounded by the presence of an endemic, contagious and seemingly incurable corruption that has eaten deep into every fabric of Nigeria's national life.

The chickens have gone to roost. The mono-product or oil-based economy has failed Nigeria because the country's political leaders in the past five decades were carried away by the billions of dollars earned from the commodity, refused to develop the economy, looted for their generations unborn and had thought (perhaps erroneously), that the oil economy would remain buoyant forever. Now, the entire country, especially the poor masses are  suffering years of accumulated  consequences of the wickedness and lack of focus and direction of persons who arrogated to themselves 'leaders of Nigeria'.

There is a saying that a blind man does not need to be told that a building where he, is burning. The die is cast as far as Nigerian economy is concerned and all the negative indexes of a sick and failing economy are evident everywhere in the country. To add credence to the fact that the Nigerian economy is sick, the president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, recently raised an alarm that the country is broke and that his government would not be able to sustain 37 ministers/ministries and pay workers. To buttress President Buhari's alarm about the poor state of the economy of Nigeria, a former military head of state of Nigeria, General Yakubu Gowon (retired), had also said, a few days back that the country is siting on a keg of gun powder, waiting to explode, as a result of the danger of youth unemployment caused by corruption on the part of Nigerian government officials. Gowon had won that something urgent must be done to curb corruption in government and provide jobs for teaming unemployed millions of Nigerian youth before it was too late.

The economic misfortune being experienced in Nigeria is as a result of the dwindling fortune of oil, her major export earner, and failure of successive governments to diversify the economy, save for rainy days and plan for the future. We now face manifestations of current economic and financial misfortune in Nigeria in forms of massive job losses or retrenchment, rise in robberies and other violent crimes, kidnappings,  salary and pay cuts, closing down or folding up of companies, resurgence of fuel scarcity in some states of the federation, sale of petroleum products above government pump prices and so on. The overall negative consequence of all these is poor quality life and hardship for ordinary Nigerians. Without an iota of exaggeration, there is economic confusion, uncertainty and anxiety in Nigeria. Many employers of labour, including federal, state, local governments and even private organisations, either decline to pay salaries of their workers or pay them late. Things are really difficult for many Nigerians now as many cannot even afford their normal bills and other financial responsibilities. However, it must be admitted that most of the challenges facing Nigeria today, were there before Buhari became president. What matters, is his ability and capacity to stop them from aggravating and ultimately fix them .

As I conclude, I wish to state that Nigerians are aware of the poor state of their economy. This was caused by decades of over dependence on an oil-based economy and inherent corruption in government. Elections and campaigns are over and it is time for work; not talk. President Buhari was voted into power by over 15 million Nigerians based on his promise to fix the economy and other challenges facing Nigeria. What is paramount now is the need to put in place,  immediate, holistic and long lasting economic measures and strategies to rescue the economy. That  President Buhari has admitted to the sad economic reality when he declared a few days back that  Nigeria is broke and cannot pay salaries of workers and attend to other affairs of state, is not enough. He MUST roll up his sleeves  for the job for which he was elected to do. He and his newly constituted economic team of ministers MUST swing into action and begin to fix the country and its economy.There is need to present a holistic and workable economic strategy and blue print for fixing the economy. His government- must, without further hesitation, swing into action and tackle Nigeria's challenges head on. Now is the time for the government to begin to shift attention from oil and embark on urgent diversification of the economy and develop other aspects of it with a view to generating more jobs and creating other sources of revenue generation from agriculture, tourism, industrialization, service delivery, education and so on. It is also imperative to block all the leakages in government, thereby stopping officials of government from stealing public funds meant for development. There is urgent need to fix the power and energy sectors and create conducive economic environment for businesses to thrive in the country. The President has to adopt a positive and encouraging attitude in his official statements and reactions to issues of state. The adoption of true federalism would also go a long way in bringing an end to the economic woes of the states and local governments in Nigeria, as it would empower them with the constitutional capacity to harness, tap and utilize resources in their domains for development. Above all, all Nigerians must join hands with the government in fixing their country for their collective benefit.