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D’banj performs and gives ‘Believe in yourself’ speech in Washington (VIDEO)

by Kolapo Olapoju

D’banj was recently in Washington, US, to speak at the TEDxWBG conference, which had ‘ending poverty’ as its theme.

The superstar was invited to give a speech about using agriculture to end poverty, and also about his work with the ‘ONE’ campaign.

The Kokomaster gave a good account of himself as he delivered to his audience a speech titled, ‘Believe in yourself’.

He started with, “I’m D’banj and I’m from Africa. I know when you hear Africa, you are thinking ‘Oh that dark continent.”

D’banj would also perform his hit song, ‘On Top Of The World’, after the end of his speech.

Watch:

For the record: Full text of Pres. Goodluck Jonathan’s 2014 Independence Day broadcast

- Below is the full text of President Goodluck Jonathan’s 2014 Independence Day broadcast to Nigerians.

Fellow Nigerians:
1. Today marks the 54th anniversary of our country’s independence as a sovereign nation. This is also the tenth month of our journey into a new century, having marked the centenary of our nation in January this year.

2. The first one hundred years were marked by triumphs and tribulations, benefits and burdens, opportunities and challenges. We made some far reaching advances in building a strong, united and prosperous nation. We also overcame the forces of disunity that culminated in a debilitating civil war. We have also renewed our faith in one another, and in our country. We have proven that we are truly a resilient nation.

3. In my address to the nation last year, I did emphasize that we were in a sober moment in our country. We are still in that mood in spite of the many accomplishments of our administration. Our sombreness has to do with the crises of nationhood occasioned by the activities of terrorist elements who have done the unimaginable to challenge our unity as a people.

4. On an occasion like this, it is important that we remember all the precious souls that have been lost in the unprecedented war of terror unleashed on some parts of our country by these individuals who want to compel us to live our lives their way. They will not succeed!

5. In their mission, they have maimed and raped. They have killed men, women and children, rendering many children orphans and several women widows.

6. They have made violence their ideology and are bent on destroying our country. Dear countrymen and women, we will not allow them.

7. Night after night, day after day, our security forces continue to engage the terrorists in battle. My gratitude goes out to our armed forces whose will has been greatly challenged by this insurgency more than any other time, since the civil war.

8. Yet, they have remained undaunted and unwearied in the face of constant challenge and mortal danger. Driven by patriotic zeal, they are turning the tide by their prowess and determination. As Commander-in-Chief, I will continue to do all it takes to enable them to keep on inflicting devastating blows at the heart of terror. Fellow Nigerians, it is our collective duty as patriots to avail our men and women in uniform of all the support they need to fight and win this war.

9. This Administration is committed to making Nigeria safe for all Nigerians, irrespective of our places of birth, how we worship God and our political persuasion. To all those waging war against our country, I ask that you lay down your arms and embrace peace.

10. To those who have genuine grievances, I affirm that Nigeria will listen to you, if you bring your grievances to the table of dialogue. To the good people of Nigeria, let me restate that our task of building a better and greater country must not waver.

11. While we continue to deploy our resources in the fight against the terrorists, we do recognize the great toll the conflict is taking on our people.

12. This is why, to assist the afflicted, we have launched the Victims Support Fund, an independent multi-sectoral charity, which will aggressively solicit resources to augment Government’s statutory intervention, in bringing succour to the injured, the displaced and the bereaved.

13. In partnership with Nigerian business leaders and international partners, we have also introduced the Safe Schools Initiative which is aimed at promoting safe environments for education nationwide, starting with the North East region.

14. The Presidential Initiative for the North East, a comprehensive programme to fast-track the economic restoration of this region, which has been the epicentre of terrorist activity, has been set up.

15. Our overall objective is to do all we possibly can, to sustain in the North-East, the momentum of economic advancement, which is on-going in other parts of the country, despite the machinations of the terrorists and their sponsors.

16. It should now be clear to anyone who was ever in doubt that these terrorists do not mean well for anyone, of whatever religion or dispensation. Their persistent choice of the weakest and most vulnerable in society, for gruesome attack, provides an insight into their abnormal mind-set.

17. I urge every Nigerian to put aside political, sectional or other parochial considerations, and support whole-heartedly the efforts of the government and the military, in checking this evil.

18. We are grateful to the international community, and especially our neighbours who are working closely with us in confronting this challenge, for their increased partnership and solidarity. Our steady progress in weakening the insurgency has certainly justified our cooperation.

19. Fellow Nigerians, in my independence anniversary address last year, I informed you that we had taken cognizance of the suggestion over the years by well-meaning Nigerians on the need to focus attention on rebuilding and strengthening the ligaments of our union. It was in that regard that we announced the convening of a National Dialogue on the future of our beloved country.

20. We have successfully delivered on that promise as we established the 2014 National Conference headed by Justice Legbo Kutigi. After months of deliberations, which did not come without its challenges, the conference concluded its assignment and has handed its Report to me.

21. I have made a firm commitment that we would act on the recommendations of the conference. This, I have started by setting up the Ministerial Committee headed by the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation to work out the modalities for implementing the Report. Every promise I make, God willing, I will see to its fulfilment. I assure you, we shall implement the report.

22. One major lesson which the 2014 National Conference has taught us as a country is that, a multi-ethnic country like ours, must learn to embrace painstaking dialogue until consensus is established.

23. To me, the National Conference is the greatest centenary gift to our country that we must cherish and sustain.

24. Fellow Nigerians, our 54 year-journey as a nation has not been easy. There have been tough periods, but the Nigerian spirit and the unflagging resilience of our people have seen us through. We will continue to march forward to greater heights.

25. We have been able to sustain a big, strong and influential country with a robust economy. We are currently in our sixteenth year of uninterrupted democratic rule, daily improving on the consolidation of our democratic process.

26. Our Administration has made a commitment to ensure that we build and sustain a democratic infrastructure anchored on free and fair elections. International and local observers have attested to the positive evolution of electoral credibility and we cannot afford to relent.

27. We will continue to ensure that the will of the electorate prevails so that political leaders would be reminded at all times that there is a day of reckoning when they have to go back to the people at the polls. Election days must not be days of violence and death. We must remain vigilant to ensure that our electoral process is characterised by peace, security and transparency.

28. I enjoin the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), all security agencies, politicians and the electorate to work conscientiously and peacefully, together, to consolidate on the gains of the recent elections. Free and fair elections have come to stay; nothing else will be acceptable to our people.

29. My dear countrymen and women, occasions such as this present an opportunity to thank God for our country and to report to you, on our journey so far.

30. Our power sector reform is on course with the ultimate objective of generating enough electricity to power our homes, industries and businesses. We are making giant strides in the Agricultural Sector which we are re-positioning to diversify our economy. We will continue to upgrade our infrastructure to make life easier for all and create an enabling environment for enterprise to flourish.

31. Over the last four years, the implementation of the Nigerian Content Act in the Oil and Gas Sector has ensured major increase in the participation of indigenous Oil and Gas companies in the industry. Several critical infrastructure projects have been commissioned and commenced. The level of indigenous asset ownership has greatly increased and utilisation of Nigerian-owned and built assets such as marine vessels and rigs is being progressively enforced.

32. There has been maximised local value addition by encouraging the manufacture of equipment components and parts within the country. There has also been massive growth in indigenous participation in the provision of goods and services to the upstream sector from 10% to 60% within the last four years.

33. Today, following the rebasing of our economy, every international monitoring and ratings agency now acknowledges Nigeria as the largest economy in Africa, with a Gross Domestic Product of five hundred and ten billion dollars ($510 billion) which also places us as the 26th largest economy in the world. This is progress.

34. Earlier in the year, we launched the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) and the National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP) with the stated objective of fast tracking inclusive growth, job creation, enterprise development and industrialisation.

35. The success of these policies is already evident in the increased value addition in the agricultural and manufacturing sectors.

36. In line with our objective of encouraging the production of made-in-Nigeria vehicles and making Nigeria a regional hub for the automobile industry, a number of foreign auto manufacturers have established plants in Nigeria, complementing the laudable efforts of our local vehicle manufacturers who have also demonstrated great innovation and competitiveness.

37. We have also launched a special support programme for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises with an initial intervention fund of two hundred and twenty billion naira (N220 b). This is in addition to the Presidential Job Creation Board which I inaugurated recently with the charge to create three million jobs annually.

38. In demonstration of our Administration’s commitment to addressing Nigeria’s housing deficit, we have commenced the new mortgage re-finance programme with the establishment of the Nigerian Mortgage Re-finance Company. It is expected that, in addition to creating additional housing units across the country, this initiative also represents a huge job creation opportunity.

39. We have recorded notable success in the social sector. Nigeria has been globally acknowledged for reducing extreme hunger by more than half, with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) formally presenting the country with an award for achieving the Millennium Development Goal on Hunger three years ahead of the 2015 target date set for the Millennium Development Goals.

40. This progress is as a result of the deliberate policy of government to increase capacity in our agricultural sector of which the first step was to address and eliminate the graft in our fertilizer procurement system and ensure that the product gets directly to the farmer. We are expanding our irrigation infrastructure to ensure that our farmers have sufficient water supply for dry season farming.

41. A benefit of these combined actions is that our national food import bill has declined from 1.1 trillion naira (6.9 billion dollars) in 2009 to 684.7 billion naira (4.35 billion dollars) by December 2013, and continues to decline.

42. Modern hybrid schools are being provided for less privileged children across the country, resulting in significant increase in the national school enrolment figure.

43. In order to further enhance access to education at the tertiary level, fourteen new Federal Universities have been established; and, to encourage persons of exceptional abilities, our Administration has also introduced a Presidential Scholarship Scheme based strictly on excellence and merit.

44. On infrastructure, we are building roads, bridges, and new rail lines to make it easier to traverse Nigeria and increase the integration of our people and our ability to do business with each other. In this regard, we have commenced the process of building the Second Niger Bridge. The Loko-Oweto Bridge over River Benue in Nasarawa and Benue States, will significantly reduce travel time by road between Northern and Southern Nigeria. The on-going dredging of the River Niger up to Baro in Niger State is opening up large parts of the Nigerian hinterland to maritime activity.

45. The Zungeru and Mambilla Hydro-electric power projects are on course, and the Kashimbilla dam which we started a few years ago, is nearing completion. The successful privatisation of our power sector will in the long run enhance industrial growth. Policies such as this and others have raised Nigeria to the enviable status of being the number one recipient of Foreign Direct Investment in Africa in the past year.

46. The result of this infrastructure drive is that two and a half million jobs have been created over the past two years. This is a record, which we are committed to improve upon to continue to provide jobs for our youth.

47. An unprecedented number of Airports across the country, are not only being reconstructed at the same time, but being re-equipped and reassessed with emphasis on maintaining global standards.

48. Fellow Nigerians, the goals we set to achieve for our country involve expanding the frontiers of economic freedom. Let us therefore unite with one heart and one mind. All our people must have access to the good things of life. All our people must be empowered to pursue the gift of life with happiness. This is our country; we must build it for our common posterity.

49. As we move into an election year, desperate moves to overheat the polity are becoming a regular occurrence. Our political leaders in particular must know that the contest for power should not translate to the destruction of the polity.

50. The contest for the leadership of our country must yield good governance, and not ungovernable spaces. The love of country should rank higher than our individual ambitions.

51. We must remain committed to a united and indivisible Nigeria within democratic parameters. The protection of individual rights, liberty, equality before the law, freedom of thought, and a progressive pursuit of a sound economy must be our goal.

52. I cannot end this address without commenting on the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) which was sadly brought into our country recently. My directives to the Federal Ministry of Health saw the ministry leading the charge in curtailing the spread of this deadly scourge and managing its impact. This is how it should be: swift, effective and comprehensive action in defence of citizens.

53. It must be pointed out that the Ebola battle is still raging elsewhere in our sub-region. I therefore enjoin all our citizens to continue to adhere strictly to all the guidelines that have been given by our health officials to keep Ebola out of our country.

54. I appreciate and welcome the spirit of collaboration, unity and partnership with which we confronted the threat of the Ebola Virus Disease. I thank all Nigerians for working together to prevent what could have become a major epidemic. I particularly thank the medical personnel, some of whom made the ultimate sacrifice.

55. This is the spirit which we must demonstrate at all times as we face up to our challenges as a nation: one people, united by a common resolve, in the pursuit of one common national interest.

56. As we look forward to another year in our national life, I am more than confident that our tomorrow will be better than our yesterday and today. Nigeria has got the human and material resources to excel and we shall lead the way in that journey to our manifest destiny.

57. Fellow countrymen, brothers and sisters, in all our plans, and in all our words and our actions, we must stand together in love and unity, as one people under God.

58. We are one people from the womb of one Nigeria. We are brothers and sisters. We are one family. We are Nigerians.

59. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Start your day right: 10 tricks to become a loving, positive person

by Anwesha Mittra

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It’s one thing to wax eloquent on positivity, but quite another to be a positive person at heart.

Despite believing to have a positive outlook, we invariably weigh the cons first, consider several times before sparing a compliment, and broadcast only the odds when someone counts on us for advice. What’s more, we prefer needless sarcasm for humour, manage a wry smile when something is genuinely funny, and believe deep down that the glass is actually half empty.

We live in denial of our inherent negativity for the most part, and often wonder why the world around is so mean and reckless. At work, we never fail telling our juniors how meeting deadlines can be a tough proposition, and not to think too ‘out of the box’ to impress the boss. In short, we never tire telling all concerned how tough things can be! Unlike dogs we may not be born eternal optimists, but positivity is something that can be imbibed even if a tad forcibly; such as by trying to tweak our sense of humour, the way we react to a given situation, by being more pleasant and believing others too have a mind, and by smiling each time somebody says ‘thank you’.

While positivity is a state of mind, the answer lies in our perspective. Clinical psychologist and lifestyle advisor Dr S.K Sharma shares his ideas on how to be a positive person everyday.

Have the desire:

First thing first, to become a positive person one must have a strong desire to be positive. And the desire will come only if you are convinced that becoming a positive person will enhance the quality of life. Positivity is like an aura, and you know you are a positive person when people start trusting you, random people become polite with you, colleagues at work start patronising you, and you start building rapport easily.

Be realistic: 

Do not try to become a saint. Becoming a positive person does not mean you can never have any negative emotion or encounter any negative situation. It is the overall attitude that matters. Don’t get bogged down by failure, and disappointed when your expectations are not met. Mentally, you should always be calculating a way out of difficult situations come what may.

Experiment:

Be a keen observer. Use everyday life incidents to see how you can manage them in a more positive manner. These will serve as perfect instances to turn your outlook more positive. For starters, contemplate how you could have better handled a situation by being less hostile and more indulgent. Come up with five ways that could have saved the day, and learn to take things at face value sometimes. Remember, your ability to trust the other person also reflects your genuineness.

Speech and body language: 

Try and make positive words a part of your daily lingo, and work on your body language in way that you come across as friendly and approachable. Look amused when something is amusing, laugh when something is funny, congratulate when someone’s bought something new, and give others a chance to narrate their side of the story. Never think you are the only interesting, knowing one around.

Company:

One way to becoming positive is to seek positive company as both positivity and negativity are infectious. If the people you spend most of your time with are grumpy or have a pessimistic standpoint, you’ll find yourself mirroring the same emotions before a different set of people inadvertently. In order to inculcate positivity it is imperative that your friend circle is a positive, energetic, and a happy bunch. You’ll find yourself carrying the same positivity everywhere you go.

Activities: 

Do not remain idle and brood. Take up positive activities with others or in isolation. Share a joke, narrate a pleasant incident, take part in sporting activities, go for a run in the evening after work, have healthy sex, and you’ll find yourself bubbling with positive energy.

Take it easy: 

Everyday life is bound to give you shocks. Be prepared to minimise impact and shrug it off. For instance, you may get too hassled everyday while driving to work or trying to park your car. When you accept the fact that certain things cannot be changed, you’ll be more at ease with yourself and those around too.

Learn yoga:

Says yoga teacher and nutritionist, Abhilasha Kale, “Do pranayam everyday as it lets you focus and meditate. Not only does it secrete happy hormones but also creates a sense of awareness within you.” With the help of yogic asanas you control your breathing, and by way of it, control your mind from wandering. Every time you do yoga, you feel a surge of positive energy through your body that calms your nerves, soothes your mind, elevates your mood, and not to mention enhances your level of tolerance.

Maintain a diary: 

Instead of recounting all events of the day, filter out only the positive ones and make a note of them. It could be anything trivial from your bus arriving on time, your mom cooking a delicious breakfast, to remembering to pay the bills on time. When we look for positivity in the little things that make our lives worthwhile, we leave no room for negativity. “Try consciously practising this for 10 days, and at the end of day ten when you read your diary back you’ll only have memories of all the good things that happened to you,” she asserts.

Say ‘thank you':

Thank god, thank your parents, friends, and thank yourself for all the hard work you did, for everything you achieved. Says Abhilasha, “Saying thank you frequently makes you humble, and a humble person is seldom cynical.”

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Read more in Times of India

 

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

Elnathan John: Let’s take a moment to consider King Ebele’s Confab speech

by Elnathan John

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Can our government amend our laws to include “kidnap and disappearance” as a legal method of law enforcement? Otherwise, can they stop making people disappear in 2014?

Our current, soon to be deposed King, Mr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, is a powerful man. As the only viable opposition candidate, I can barely get my 8,000 followers on twitter talk about my tweets for a full day. But my soon-to-be predecessor has been able to get almost 500 people talk about his 28-page national conference inaugural speech for close to three weeks.
At 3 minutes per delegate, the delegates were allocated the total talking time of 24 hours and 36 minutes in all to talk about what the President had already talked about. Growing up there was a reason why I didn’t like Indian movies. I enjoyed the dancing and singing and crying; but I almost always fell asleep during what seemed to me like six hours. Granted, nobody was paying me 12 million to sit through those Indian movies. But it shows how compelling Jonathan is as a leader and speaker. I may be smart and the strongest contender for the office of the president come 2015; but if 500 people between the ages of 30 and 100 are talking about a thing, then I might as well talk about it. Let us take a moment to consider the King’s speech. I will talk mostly about the parts of the speech I agree with.
(…) we set up the Presidential Advisory Committee (PAC) on the National Conference in October last year and charged its members with the responsibility of designing the framework and modalities for a productive National Conference. – King Ebele
And what better way to begin a productive National Conference than spending three weeks discussing the president’s opening speech, especially seeing that they have only three months.
The Committee which submitted its Report in December, 2013, was able to reach out to all Nigerians and various interest groups, socio-political groupings, regional and religious elements, professionals, civil society, the organised private sector, labour, youth, women and others to ascertain their views on the initiative. – King Ebele
I agree that they indeed reached out to all Nigerians. In fact, like I said before, they were even going to nominate me, an opposition leader, to be a member. But of course I proactively turned down that invitation, a decision I wonder about daily. The only people I know they didn’t reach out to, are Ifa worshippers and Okija shrine members, and we all know that Ifa and Okija know how to sort out their internal issues. So it’s not like they really need this conference anyway.
The National Conference is therefore being convened to engage in intense introspection about the political and socio-economic challenges confronting our nation and to chart the best and most acceptable way for the resolution of such challenges in the collective interest of all the constituent parts of our fatherland. – King Ebele
I know I said I will only talk about the parts of the speech I agree with. But being a feminist, I cannot sit back and let this pass. Why fatherland and not motherland when we refer to Nigeria – even in the national anthem and pledge – as a she and not a he? What if, after dressing up in his baggy male clothing and bowler hat, a foreign journalist refers to him as Her Excellency? Would he be pleased and nod in response? If he is not sure about the sex of Nigeria, he should ask. After all, the Hausa say that the one who has questions never gets lost. Or is this a case of the one who is lost never asking questions?
(…) in the truly democratic nation we are striving to build, we must never ignore the loudly expressed views of the majority of ordinary Nigerians. – King Ebele
Aha! And here was I thinking that he was insensitive to public opinion about my suitability to lead Nigeria in 2015 and his inability to tackle the problems that now exist. I respect what he is doing, because he knows the value of democracy.
In the 60s, our country was ranked along with some developing countries including India, Malaysia and South Korea. Today, those countries have moved far ahead of us in several areas. – King Ebele
Again I want to make a slight variation, using Nollywood, which was recently added to our GDP calculations and contributed to making us the largest economy in Africa. I would say that only India has surpassed us. I mean, Malaysia can’t even find a plane that got missing, whereas we are churning out hundreds of movies every week. That has got to count for something. And really, have you tried watching a South Korean movie? Pfff, please!
We must seize this opportunity to cement the cleavages and fault lines that tend to separate us. – King Ebele
Cement the cleavages? That sounds painful. This is why I will write my speeches myself. Before some frustrated civil servant will write nonsense like this and make me look like a pervert. Our King may be clueless. But he is not a pervert.
(…) there must be only one winner, and there can only be one winner if we do everything right, and that winner must be Nigeria. I urge you therefore to focus strictly on the Nigerian Agenda. – King Ebele
I agree with this wholeheartedly. But I must say that the leadership of the national conference is doing its best to truncate Jonathan’s hustle. Imagine, it took the former Deputy Governor of Anambra State to personally raise the issue of the absence of tissue paper in the toilets on Wednesday. I know it is in my favour for Jonathan to look bad; but I like to fight fair. In a case where people trying to move the country forward cannot conveniently empty their bowels, the only loser will be Nigeria.
I do not possess Ebele’s power to keep you glued for 28 pages so I will stop here for now.
Ps. Can our government amend our laws to include “kidnap and disappearance” as a legal method of law enforcement? Otherwise, can they stop making people disappear in 2014?
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Elnathan John blogs from www.ElnathanJohn.Blogspot.com

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

Hit me if you can: Hillary Clinton attacked by shoe thrower in Las Vegas (WATCH)

by Zara Mustapha

HILARY

This should be categorized as one of Hilary Clinton’s most memorable speeches ever.

The former Secretary of State mounted the stage to speak before an Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries meeting at the Mandalay Bay resort, for a Las Vegas convention keynote speech when an individual threw a shoe towards her.

Clinton ducked the shoe and later joked about the incident to the amazement of the crowd who cheered as she regained her composure and continued her speech.

In the video, Clinton was heard saying: “Is that somebody throwing something at me? Is that part of Cirque de Soleil?” “My goodness, I didn’t know that solid waste management was so controversial, thank goodness she didn’t play softball like I did, ” she joked.

The security agents present refused to get the memo as they quickly had the shoe-thrower arrested and taken into federal custody.

Watch the video below:

Femi Fani-Kayode: The barbarians of Africa

by Femi Fani-Kayode

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They present no danger to us. They are as harmless and fearful as puppies and they only growl like dogs at each other and to no-one else. We will shame them, trade them, own them and rule over them forever.

Last week I wrote an essay titled ”12 Years A Slave and The Case For Reparations”. It was a historical account about the travails of the African and the black man over the last few centuries and, frankly, it was very moving.

I shed tears as I wrote that essay- tears for our people and their pitiable plight and tears for the challenges and sheer cruelty that our forefathers experienced in the hands of those that regarded us as nothing more than sub-human barbarians and chattel. Yet one wonders who the real barbarians were: were they those who found it so easy to treat their fellow human beings as thrash and vermin, worthy only of hate and fit only for servitude, suffering, hard labour and bondage or was it those that were the objects and victims of that pent-up hate, that were regarded as nothing more than animals and that were denied even the most basic right of being regarded as and treated like human beings? I rather think that the term ”barbarian” is better reserved for the former group rather than the latter. Today’s contribution serves as something of a follow up to ”12 Years A Slave and the Case For Reparations” and it is an attempt to explore the dark minds and thought-processes of those who honestly believed that they were doing God’s work by tormenting,enslaving, humiliating and attempting to destroy the black man.  Here we go.
One of the greatest and most respected modern historians that ever lived, an Englishman by the name of Professor Hugh Trevor-Roper of Oxford University, once described the history of black Africa as being “darkness, nothing but darkness”. As if that were not bad enough there was another even more indicting contribution from a famous and wealthy Arab slave trader (who lived in the 18th century) and whose name was Mehtma Mohammed.

He captured and purchased his slaves mainly from what is now West Africa and he transported them through the Sudan to the Arab world and to the Middle East where they spent the rest of their short and brutish lives as slaves. Mehtma Mohammed said the following about the black African:
“these black creatures were born to be in perpetual servitude and were ordained by God to be our slaves forever. They are lazy, greedy, stupid, godless, dirty and most important of all they are cowards. When you put the whip to them and hard they line up and will do anything for you. They and their African brothers who sell them to us have no sense of collective purpose and they think nothing of killing and selling their own kinsmen for a pittance. They have no god and they have no interest in dying for or fighting for anything which is outside their daily feeding. They are docile, lazy, dirty and stupid and that is why I have made so much money from selling them. The most gratifying thing is that even if one of the group shows signs of any potential or hope of being able to be a great leader to the others, they are the ones that will expose him, report him and destroy him just for a few morsels from my table. They present no danger to us. They are as harmless and fearful as puppies and they only growl like dogs at each other and to no-one else. We will shame them, trade them, own them and rule over them forever.”
These are painful and harsh words coming from this Arab slave-trader. Yet sadly such views about the African are not limited to the likes of him or indeed to the 18th century. Permit me to give you just one example.
The following is a speech that was made by former South African President P.W. Botha to his Cabinet. This reprint was written by David G. Mailu for the Sunday Times, a South African newspaper, dated August 18, 1985. It reads as follows:

“Pretoria has been made by the White mind for the White man. We are not obliged even the least to try to prove to anybody and to the Blacks that we are superior people. We have demonstrated that to the Blacks in a thousand and one ways. The Republic of South Africa that we know of today has not been created by wishful thinking. We have created it at the expense of intelligence, sweat and blood. Were they Afrikaners who tried to eliminate the Australian Aborigines? Are they Afrikaners who discriminate against Blacks and call them Niggers in the States? Were they Afrikaners who started the slave trade? Where is the Black man appreciated? England discriminates against its Black and their “Sus” law is out to discipline the Blacks. Canada, France, Russia, and Japan all play their discrimination too. Why in the hell then is so much noise made about us? Why are they biased against us? I am simply trying to prove to you all that there is nothing unusual we are doing that the so called civilized worlds are not doing. We are simply an honest people who have come out aloud with a clear philosophy of how we want to live our own White life.

We do not pretend like other Whites that we like Blacks. The fact that, Blacks look like human beings and act like human beings do not necessarily make them sensible human beings. Hedgehogs are not porcupines and lizards are not crocodiles simply because they look alike. If God wanted us to be equal to the Blacks, he would have created us all of a uniform colour and intellect but he created us differently: Whites, Blacks, Yellow, Rulers and the ruled. Intellectually, we are superior to the Blacks; that has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt over the years.
I believe that the Afrikaner is an honest, God fearing person, who has demonstrated practically the right way of being. Nevertheless, it is comforting to know that behind the scenes, Europe, America, Canada, Australia-and all others are behind us in spite of what they say. For diplomatic relations, we all know what language should be used and where. To prove my point, Comrades, does anyone of you know a White country without an investment or interest in South Africa? Who buys our gold? Who buys our diamonds? Who trades with us? Who is helping us develop other nuclear weapon? The very truth is that we are their people and they are our people. It’s a big secret.
The strength of our economy is backed by America, Britain, Germany. It is our strong conviction, therefore, that the Black is the raw material for the White man. So Brothers and Sisters, let us join hands together to fight against this Black devil. I appeal to all Afrikaners to come out with any creative means of fighting this war. Surely God cannot forsake his own people whom we are. By now every one of us has seen it practically that the Blacks cannot rule themselves. Give them guns and they will kill each other. They are good in nothing else but making noise, dancing, marrying many wives and indulging in sex.  Let us all accept that the Black man is the symbol of poverty, mental inferiority, laziness and emotional incompetence. Isn’t it plausible? therefore that the White man is created to rule the Black man?
Come to think of what would happen one day if you woke up and on the throne sat a Kaffir! Can you imagine what would happen to our women? Does anyone of you believe that the Blacks can rule this country? Hence, we have good reasons to let them all-the Mandelas and the others-rot in prison, and I think we should be commended for having kept them alive in spite of what we have at hand with which to finish them off. I wish to announce a number of new strategies that should be put to use to destroy this Black bug. We should now make use of the chemical weapon.
Priority number one, we should not by all means allow any more increases of the Black population lest we be choked very soon. I have exciting news that our scientists have come with an efficient stuff. I am sending out more researchers to the field to identify as many venues as possible where the chemical weapons could be employed to combat any further population increases. The hospital is a very strategic opening, for example and should be fully utilized. The food supply channel should be used. We have enveloped excellent slow killing poisons and fertility destroyers. Our only fear is in case such stuff came in! ! to their hands as they are bound to start using it against us if you care to think of the many Blacks working for us in our homes. However, we are doing the best we can to make sure that the stuff remains strictly in our hands.
Secondly, most Blacks are vulnerable to money inducements. I have set aside a special fund to exploit this venue. The old trick of divide and rule is still very valid today. Our experts should work day and night to set the Black man against his fellowman. His inferior sense of morals can be exploited beautifully. And here is a creature that lacks foresight. There is a need for us to combat him in long term projections that he cannot suspect. The average Black does not plan his life beyond a year: that stance, for example, should be exploited. My special department is already working round the clock to come out with a long-term operation blueprint.
I am also sending a special request to all Afrikaner mothers to double their birth rate. It may be necessary too to set up a population boom industry by putting up centers where we employ and support fully White young men and women to produce children for the nation. We are also investigating the merit of uterus rentals as a possible means of speeding up the growth of our population through surrogate mothers. For the time being, we should also engage a higher gear to make sure that Black men are separated from their women and fines imposed upon married wives who bear illegitimate children.
I have a committee working on finding better methods of inciting Blacks against each other and encouraging murders among themselves. Murder cases among Blacks should bear very little punishment in order to encourage them. My scientists have come up with a drug that could be smuggled into their brews to effect slow poisoning results and fertility destruction. Working through drinks and manufacturing of soft drinks geared to the Blacks, could promote the channels of reducing their population. Ours is not a war that we can use the atomic bomb to destroy the Blacks, so we must use our intelligence to effect this. The person-to-person encounter can be very effective.
As the records show that the Black man is dying to go to bed with the White woman, here is our unique opportunity. Our Sex Mercenary Squad should go out and camouflage with Apartheid Fighters while doing their operations quietly administering slow killing poison and fertility destroyers to those Blacks they thus befriend. We are modifying the Sex Mercenary Squad by introducing White men who should go for the militant Black woman and any other vulnerable Black woman. We have received a new supply of prostitutes from Europe and America who are desperate and too keen to take up the appointments.
My latest appeal is that the maternity hospital operations should be intensified. We are not paying those people to help bring Black babies to this world but to eliminate them on the very delivery moment. If this department worked very efficiently, a great deal could be achieved”.

These are manifestly racist, demonically-inspired and utterly despicable submissions coming from malevolent, evil, dark, twisted, tormented and ignorant souls. They tell us exactly how many of our detractors view us, even up until today, even if they cannot afford to say so openly. And we must also accept the fact that oftentimes our own behaviour confirms these negative stereotypes. If anyone doubts that just look at the Nigerian example. The truth is that we take pleasure in persecuting, shaming, killing and destroying one another, we enjoy pulling down our brightest and our best, we willfully and consciously promote and celebrate compromise and mediocrity and we are simply not prepared to fight and die for any worthwhile cause or principle, even when it is in our interest so to do.

That is the difference between us and those from other parts of the world. They are ready to pay any price for a better and safer tomorrow for their children but we are not. They will always insist on the best, on enforcing their rights, on jealously guarding their civil liberties, on resisting evil, on fighting persecution and injustice and on preserving the integrity of their civil institutions whilst we are not. Instead we are prepared to settle for anything, compromise with anything and take anything from anyone or any institution. If we wish to progress we must change our attitude, we must discard this slavish mindset and thereby put to shame our detractors and enemies. We must be ready to stand up and insist on our rights and we must be ready to pay the supreme price whilst doing so if that is what is required.

We must dig deep and find the required strength and courage and we must, as a people, rise up to where we belong and become what God wants us to be: a great, beautiful, free, prosperous, educated, respected and strong people. We are no less than that and that is our due. To establish and confirm the glory of our continent and to bring honour, self-respect and dignity to every African: that surely is the challenge of our time. May God help us to achieve this in our generation and may He put the Mehtma Ali’s, the Hugh Trevor Roper’s and the P.W. Botha’s of this world to utter shame. God bless Nigeria. God bless Africa.

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Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

‘We will build a new Nigeria': Governor Fashola gives rousing speech at APC national summit

by ‘Jola Sotubo

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The Governor of Lagos, Babatunde Raji Fashola is one of the foremost members of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Governor Fashola is also one of the most popular governors in the country so its no wonder that he was chosen to give a speech at the APC national summit.

The governor gave a rousing speech and the full text is contained below:

This is a historic day not only for the APC but also for our nation. The work we begin today is the work that will build a New Nigeria; a future when there are jobs for everyone who wants to work; a future without leaders who deprive the very families they are supposed to protect; A future of peace and stability; a future when Nigeria can feed its families; a future when a Nigerian education is as good as any education in the world; a future when the high prices of food and fuel don’t undermine every family’s quality of life.

This is the future that we start to build here, today. This is why we have come from all parts of the nation.

From the Northwest and Southeast; from the North Central and the South South; from the Northeast and Southwest. We have come from all regions of our great nation to show our unity; to show our love for our country; to show our commitment to each other and to building a New Nigeria.

And while we come together today as APC members to support the mission, principles and work of the APC, we come together first and foremost as Nigerians.

The future we envision, the future we will build together, is not just for one political party; it is not just for one region; it is not just for one community, it is for all Nigerians. And that future is a future of change.

Our nation longs for change and the APC is committed to leading a movement for change. Look no further than how the party was formed; we in this room are the products of the first ever merger of political parties in Nigerian history and many of those who devised and directed that merger will talk with us today, telling us how it happened and what it will mean for the nation.Today,we’re just not going to talk about change; we’re going to embody change.

So today, not only will we get a look at our “Roadmap to a New Nigeria” in the afternoon, but this morning, we will start something maybe no other political party has ever done for a long time – we’ll present a Code of Ethics – a set of guiding principles that will be our common bond together and to the nation; a set of values that will direct our activities and actions.

If our values and our principles are shared, it will be easy to work together to implement our roadmap for Change and a New Nigeria.

The APC is a home for all Nigerians

It’s already happening. The turnout for membership registration exceeded even the largest projections. It was a turnout of Nigerians of diverse backgrounds all across the country who shared a belief in the need for change.

It was a turnout of Nigerians who shared a belief that together we can build a New Nigeria.It was a turnout of people who have had enough of division in our country; people tired of the politicians who turn one group against another for their own political gain. We’ve all seen it. We all know how it works. We all know how demeaning it is to our nation.

Look around our country, what has division brought us? Has it brought us peace? Has it brought us prosperity? Has it brought the future we’ve wanted for our family, for our children.No, it hasn’t. We must come together. We must work together. We must live in peace together. We must choose unity.

And today, we declare that we make it clear to the nation. The APC chooses unity.This room is a living testament to that choice and that commitment.This room is a celebration of the cultural diversity that gives our nation such great promise.

And while we embrace and honor those differences, what brings us together today is what we all hold in common. We are tied together by what we believe: we believe our nation must be economically and socially vibrant. We believe our nation must be peaceful, just and secure.

We believe that corruption must no longer be tolerated in any corner of our nation, not in political life and not in our business or civic affairs. We believe in investing in our people, because they are the most important assets of our nation. We believe every person deserves work that enables them to provide for their families, to contribute to the community and to have a favorable, quality of life.

This is what we believe.This is what brings us together.This is our mission, the mission of our party; the mission of our nation.No party in more than fifteen years has done what we’ll do today; publicly, and most importantly, together as a party, tell Nigeria what we believe in a meeting, not in a rally, not in the middle of a political campaign.

But systematically and transparently – we want people to know what we stand for, we want people to know about the change we are offering; we want people to join us in building a New Nigeria: A nation of progress, a nation of hope, a nation of opportunity. A nation together.

One Nigeria.36 States but one Nigeria;290 ethnic groups but one Nigeria;521 languages but one Nigeria. The new nation we want, the new Nigeria of our dreams. It is only possible through unity. It is only possible if we value each and every person and hold tight every child as our greatest asset. It is only possible if we respect every person’s choice of faith.

It is only possible if we commit ourselves to one rule of law for everyone, if we commit ourselves to fairness and opportunity for all; if we commit ourselves to a strong system of government at the federal, state and local levels. It is only possible if we bridge our inequalities and if we put our nation back to work.

There cannot be true freedom when there are not enough jobs.There cannot be shared opportunity when there are not enough jobs.There cannot be peace and justice when there are not enough jobs.These are the promises we must make to each other, the promises we must make to our brothers and sisters across our nation from Sokoto to Rivers, from Borno to Oyo, from Adamawa to Lagos.

These are the commitments that forge our mutual bond; these are our code of ethics.When times are tough, when our pathway becomes hard to navigate, when forces block our way forward, when challenges stand in the way of our vision, when hope seems just outside our grip, this set of principles must guide our path.

When people ask us, who we are,when people ask us, what we believe,when people ask us, what makes the APC different,we will tell them, we have a code of ethics.We will tell them we have a roadmap to the future.We will tell them that Nigeria is a great nation that has been misdirected.We will tell them that no nation, no people are more hardworking but that we need jobs.

We will tell them that our youth are ready to do great things, to make history, to lead our nation, to lead Africa, but they need opportunity.We will tell them that when we come together, celebrate our diversity, accept each other and stand together as one Nigeria, there is nothing we cannot achieve. We will tell them the APC is ready to build a new Nigeria.What we’re talking about today is our future.We can accept the Nigeria we have or we can build a new Nigeria.

We can accept a stagnant, jobless economy or we can build a new Nigeria.We can accept a Government that cannot account to us or we can change it and build a new Nigeria.

And let there be no doubt about the link between corruption and jobs. If we had a government that is serious about fighting corruption, there would be financial resources to create jobs. Instead of stopping this corruption, this government pardons those convicted of corruption and removes those who point out corruption.

Corruption has drained our national strength and we need change.

We’re here today because we’ve all made our choice. We’ve chosen a new Nigeria. Over the next year, let’s make sure the nation joins us and makes the same choice. The whole of Africa is waiting for us to play our leadership role and the rest of the world is watching.

The APC is not going to abdicate that responsibility. This is going to be an exciting and illuminating day together.

My fellow delegates, together, we will build a New Nigeria. God Bless you all, Long live the APC, And long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

For the Record: Full text of Dr. Oby Ezekwesili’s speech at the APC National Summit in Abuja

THE UNCOMFORTABLE TRUTH OF ELUSIVE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT- NIGERIA’S CENTURY OLD FAILURES AND PROSPECTS FOR A NEW NIGERIA

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The unwillingness of any group of political elite to understand this emerging power of the Office of the Citizen can only be a loss to the former and yet another missed opportunity added to our canvass of political tragedies

Protocols:
Good afternoon, chieftains and members of the Action People’s Congress.

Thanks for inviting me as your Keynote Speaker at your Unveiling of Road Map Summit. I do not know how you decided to take this high risk of inviting me to your gathering, knowing full well that my zeal for candor can be generally unsettling for some people of your class and occupation. Since you took the risk, I have assumed the liberty to speak boldly even to your discomfort especially considering that we live in a season of grim when our country is greatly troubled.

In perilous times like this, Truth is the absolute freedom. I shall be spurred on by the counsel of George Orwell who in honor of truth stated that “in a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act”. I further assume that if you wanted someone with the skills of deceit, it would not be me that you would have invited to your gathering. I therefore speak to you today not as a politician

Context and Fact are very important for me as both a scholar and practitioner of public policy. Context is the missing link that helps us to connect the dots between the visible and the hidden, and between the general and the specific. Fact or Truth is the evidence that never takes flight nor ceases to exist even where ignored for hundred years. So my speech in content and delivery will be hinged on context and facts.For context, nothing serves a better guide than History.

The philosopher and novelist George Santayana famously said that “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. Winston Churchill reinforced Santayana by counselling, “Study history, study history. In history lies all the secrets of statecraft.” I am compelled even further to tread the path of history by our Centenary celebration and shall therefore use – Nigeria’s political history as the context for this speech.

The Political trajectory of Nigeria much like her entire history is checkered. In the book, This House has Fallen, “Nigeria was the focus of great optimism as a powerful emerging nation that would be a showcase for democratic government”. Sadly the optimism was frittered over the years. I shall take the excerpts from my University of Nigeria lecture in January in this regard. “If you traced the political history of our country since independence in 1960 and you will better understand the horror of our faulty political foundation.

The first democratic government ushered in an independent Nigeria but was cut short by a coup in 1966, a counter coup in 1967, civil war from 1967 to 1970, military rule from 1970 at the end of the war until another coup in 1975, another unsuccessful coup in 1976 the then Head of State was murdered, continued rule of the military until 1979 when a successful political transition ushered in the second republic but it became a democratic process that did not leave a good mark on governance until it was cut short in 1983 by yet another military coup but the discipline instilling but draconian regime was itself sent packing in 1985 through yet another coup.

The succeeding regime ruled from 1985 until 1993. The hallmark of that regime was procrastinated conduct of a transition to democracy. When it finally, reluctantly started the transition process, it regrettably went ahead to thwart the political rights of citizens who had elected a democratic president by annulling the elections. The regime then responded to the public disturbance and agitation that followed by installing an interim national government that lasted only three months following yet another military intervention. The regime that followed was more heinous than ever imagined possible by Nigerians until 1998 when by divine providence, it was cut short. Never again! A new season came but it was yet one with the military still in the saddle.

That regime however surprised skeptics when it successfully conducted a transition that ushered in democratic governance in 1999 ending the long sixteen years of militarization of governance that materially defines the psyche of government in Nigeria. Cumulatively, from the time of our independence in 1960 to 1999- the military governed for about twenty nine years while two flashes of pseudo democracy had a little more than ten years in all. The common theme in our extremely unstable and volatile political history was that each regime truncation mirrored a Russian roulette with justification for regime change being the “necessity to rescue the country from bad governance and corruption”.

Compared to the mere six years of 1960-1966 and the even shorter four and a half years of 1979-1983, the period of 1999 to date under democratic rule has been the longest ever season of such political system in Nigeria. An objective assessment of our democratic journey since the last fifteen years by May of this year, will return the verdict that we are very much still in the nascent zone of democracy as a political system which despite all its short comings trump all other alternatives.

Fifteen years has given us more of civilian rule than democracy. The quality of the military/political elite and the depth of undemocratic culture, practices and nuances have worked to produce very disappointing results of governance to citizens. Yet, we must temper our disappointment with the cautious sense of accomplishment that the subordination of the military to the constitutional will of the people of Nigeria in the 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011 elections is perhaps the very tiny ray of light in what had for more than five decades been a canvass of political tragedies.

“Today is Independence Day. The first of October 1960 is a date to which for two years, Nigeria has been eagerly looking forward. At last, our great day has arrived, and Nigeria is now indeed an independent Sovereign nation. Words cannot adequately express my joy and pride at being the Nigerian citizen privileged to accept from Her Royal Highness these Constitutional Instruments which are the symbols of Nigeria’s Independence. It is a unique privilege which I shall remember forever, and it gives me strength and courage as I dedicate my life to the service of our country.

This is a wonderful day, and it is all the more wonderful because we have awaited it with increasing impatience, compelled to watch one country after another overtaking us on the road when we had so nearly reached our goal. But now, we have acquired our rightful status, and I feel sure that history will show that the building of our nation proceeded at the wisest pace: it has been thorough, and Nigeria now stands well-built upon firm foundations.”
These were the very gushing and giddy words of the first Prime Minister of Nigeria Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa on October 1, 1960.

According to history books, prehistoric settlers lived in the territories that make up the area today known as Nigeria as far back as 9000 BC. According to Wikipedia, the period of the 15th century saw the emergence of several “early independent kingdoms and states” that made up the British colonialized Nigeria – Benin kingdom, Borgu kingdom, Fulani empire, Hausa kingdoms, Kanem Bornu empire, Kwararafa kingdom, Ibibio Kingdom, Nri kingdom, Nupe kingdom, Oyo Kingdom, Songhai empire and Warri Kingdom. Each Kingdom was composed of dominant ethnic nationalities with unique language, custom, culture, tradition and religion. ”

These kingdoms independently traded among themselves and with the rest of the world especially Great Britain. It was however by 1886 through expanded trade with the territories under the charter of the Royal Niger Company that the mercantilist root of that influence became established. The handover of the company’s territories to the British Government followed in 1900 leading to the areas becoming organized as protectorates that helped extend the great British Empire of that era. In 1914, Nigeria was formed by combining the Northern and Southern Protectorates and the Colony of Lagos. For administrative purposes, it was divided into four units: the colony of Lagos, the Northern Provinces, the Eastern Provinces and the Western Provinces.”

One could say that considering the way Nigeria emerged it was no more than an artificial creation purely intended to serve the administrative convenience of the reigning colonial power. In fact, no one better conveyed this perception of Nigeria as artificiality than Chief Obafemi Awolowo who once described Nigeria as a “mere geographical expression”. It is common for Nigerians across the territory in moments of deep despair at the failings of this union of multiple diversities to loudly rue the fact that a certain Lord Lugard and his fiancée – Ms. Shaw -were the “creators” of Nigeria.

The forty six years that followed the creation of Nigeria until her independence in 1960, saw varying degrees of mutation in the relationship between Britain and the people of the territory. The journey of governance commenced among the three dominant regions that made up the Nigerian territory- namely the North, the West and the East. There were understandably, deep mistrusts and suspicions among the ethnic groups with each one seeking to advance their own cause and interest but their leaders managed to forge a united front in the struggle to attain self-government.

Their successive negotiations and constitution building processes among them and acting jointly, with colonial Britain- helped to achieve one of the most anticipated political independence of a country in Africa. It culminated in the successful agitation for self-government on a representative and ultimately federal basis. The great Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe who was first the Governor General at independence in 1960 and later ceremonial President when in 1963 we became a Republic, succinctly captured that feat of the Nationalists in gaining independence.

He wrote in 1966 that, “We talked the Colonial Office into accepting our challenges for the demerits and merits of our case for self-government. After six constitutional conferences in 1953, 1954, 1957, 1958, 1959, and 1960, Great Britain conceded to us the right to assert our political independence as from October 1, 1960. None of the Nigerian political parties ever adopted violent means to gain our political freedom and we are happy to claim that not a drop of British or Nigerian blood was shed in the course of our national struggle for our place in the sun. This historical fact enabled me to state publicly in Nigeria that Her Majesty’s Government has presented self-government to us on a platter of gold.”

Ladies and gentlemen, the Great Zik of Africa who had profound influence in the philosophy of life of late Chief Ben Nwazojie whose family has gathered us- had great hopes that the successful struggle for independence would bequeath to us as a people; “our place in the sun”. And yet, even though that entity created in 1914 will become one Century years old in the next three months and had only a few days ago became a relatively old country of fifty three years, its present state is anything but sunny for majority of her citizens.

For the fact is that whether of the North, South, East or West of the present day Nigerian territory we know that most Nigerians feel but a deep sense of disappointment at what has become of the dream that our founding fathers dared to imagine was possible. That deep internal threats to Nigeria’s territorial integrity remain part of core issues of our polity in 2013 menacingly brings into sharp focus the wide gulf between what it means to be a country as different from the higher order state of being a nation.

Thus, the phrase, “an independent Sovereign nation” that Sir Tafawa Balewa used in describing Nigeria in his sweet poetry of a speech at independence remains under doubtful scrutiny and is constantly under threat through various cycles of our political history. For if there is one construct that remains the sticky point in our COUNTRY today, it is whether indeed there is yet a NATION called Nigeria? Or put differently, what happened to the COUNTRY that held so much promise on that morning of October 1, 1960?

After all, nothing makes the point of the failure to successfully transition from country to nation than the fact that a only week ago, the current government as a response to heightened socio-political tensions in the land announced yet another National Dialogue that is “aimed at realistically examining and genuinely resolving, longstanding impediments to our cohesion and harmonious development as a truly united Nation”.

What happened? How come a country which at independence was enthusiastically described by our first leader as an independent sovereign nation is at fifty three years hosting another “national conversation” to determine whether it is a worthy union for everyone? Was it also not only a few years ago in 2006 that the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo had hosted as similar gathering? Who were the people that discussed at that time and what did they resolve?

What seems to be the intractable issue that almost every administration –military and civilian alike- have not managed to settle on whether we do indeed have a common destiny or not? How come that despite the oft expressed “sincere intent” of each cycle of ruling class (mark my choice of word as distinct from leadership); that each hosted some sort of national dialogue, conference, conversation, forum etc. (choose your pick), we are nowhere closer today to our destination of nationhood. To imagine that our founding fathers mistakenly assumed that we became a nation because the various nationalities worked collaboratively to secure independence from a common external “foe” in 1960? How could it be that this journey has thus far turned out agonizing for almost every one of us?

Even following the most traumatic civil war that ended in 1970, the reemergence as one country provided a context to rally the entire citizenry to build from country to nation. Sadly, that was a missed opportunity. Is it therefore not heartrending that the present state of our country nearly questions our status as a Country? The pain of this truism is that we are in 2014 faced with exactly the same types of ethnic issues that dotted our union in the 60s. How was it that for over fifty three years, we never went beyond the amalgamation process to becoming a Country and subsequently transforming into a Nation? The simple answer to the lamentation and question is that elite failure happened to Nigeria! A little more political history following the events of October 1, 1960 will help clarify my answer, simple as it may sound to those who thrive in confounding complexity.

The Elite of every successful society always form the nucleus of citizens with the prerequisite education, ethics and capabilities operating in the political sphere and the public service, providing the great ideas to build the nation and possessing the moral rectitude to always act in the public interest. Access to quality Education ensures that the elite group evolves constantly in every society. For as long as nations have public education systems that function, the poorest of their citizens is guaranteed to move up the ladder and someday emerge as a member of the elite class through academic hard work, strenuous effort and ultimate success at the higher levels of education.

For every society that has succeeded therefore, it has taken such progressively evolving elite class to identify the problems, forge the political systems and processes, soundly articulate a rallying vision and use sound Policies and effective and efficient prioritisation of investments (both public and private) and requisite actions to over time build those strong institutions that outlive the best of charismatic and transformative individuals. But it always does start with quality leadership in the public space investing in a sustained manner for lasting institutions to eventually emerge over time. Institutions do not just happen. In the same manner, nations do not just happen out of multi-ethnic countries.

The globally adopted definition of a country is “ An independent State or country must meet certain metrics all of which we did on that date:
• Has space or territory which has internationally recognized boundaries (boundary disputes are OK).
• Has people who live there on an ongoing basis.
• Has economic activity and an organized economy. A country regulates foreign and domestic trade and issues money.
• Has the power of social engineering, such as education.
• Has a transportation system for moving goods and people.
• Has a government which provides public services and police power.
• Has sovereignty. No other State should have power over the country’s territory.
• Has external recognition. A country has been “voted into the club” by other countries.

Sadly, Nigeria came to simply equate our statehood with nationhood when our founding fathers used those terms almost interchangeably forgetting that a State is not always necessarily a Nation. True, we had becoming a self-governing political entity that negotiated a federal structure that was cognizant of the near autonomy of each of its constituting group of people, but although an independent; we were not and have never acted like a Nation!

Nations are “culturally homogeneous groups of people, larger than a single tribe or community, who shares a common language, institutions, religion, and historical experience.” Each of our then three dominant groups though having their own internal multiple sub-groups and diversities to resolve still saw themselves as stand-alone nations. However, once it related to the territorial construct known as Nigeria that it shares with the other two groups, no group particularly acted as though the union had forged a “Nigerian nationhood” in that broader sense. Hence, although we continued to be a Country, we however did not attain to the definition of a nation which is “a tightly-knit group of people which share a common culture”.

The people of a nation generally share a common national identity, and part of nation-building is the building of that common identity. There were so many fundamental issues that our country which is unlike France of Germany or even Egypt needed to resolve among its multiple divides if it wished to make that profound jump from country to Nation in order to attain the status of a nation-state.

The Elite in those instances are required to lead the rest of the people in a deliberative process of nation building- of forging that common identity that all will defend. It is the visionary power of the elite to move a people of diversity beyond the lowest common denominator of mere citizens of one country into a nation of people that makes the United States to stand out as a model multi-cultural society.

Hence, even “with its multicultural society, the United States is also referred to as a nation-state because of the shared American “culture.” Some people may of course dismiss this crave for evolution from country into a nation and say it does not matter. For those ones, I recall the wise words of Carolyn Stephenson, a Professor of Political Science at the Univ. of Hawaii-Manoa. Her words could have been written with our country in mind. Professor Stephenson states that “ Nation-building matters to intractable conflict because of the theory that a strong state is necessary in order to provide security, that the building of an integrated national community is important in the building of a state, and that there may be social and economic prerequisites or co-requisites to the building of an integrated national community” Simply put, if a people of diversity in a country truly wish to succeed, they must forge a shared vision and values to realize their goal.

Our failure to immediately use the early days of independence to commence the nation building process is what I consider the biggest missed opportunity in the history of Nigeria. It is the reason as Professor Stephenson asserts, we find ourselves in “cyclical intractable conflict” So, it was not surprising that shortly after the novelty of our political independence wore off the troubling underbelly of our nascent democracy was revealed in the rather prescient reading of the situation at that time by the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States in one of its memorandum of 1966.

It wrote “Africa’s most populous country (population estimated at 48 million) is in the throes of a highly complex internal crisis rooted in its artificial origin as a British dependency containing over 250 diverse and often antagonistic tribal groups. The present crisis started” with Nigerian independence in 1960, but the federated parliament hid “serious internal strains. It has been in an acute stage since last January when a military coup d’état destroyed the constitutional regime bequeathed by the British and upset the underlying tribal and regional power relationships.

At stake now are the most fundamental questions which can be raised about a country, beginning with whether it will survive as a single viable entity. The situation is uncertain, with Nigeria,……is sliding downhill faster and faster, with less and less chance unity and stability. Unless present army leaders and contending tribal elements soon reach agreement on a new basis for association and take some effective measures to halt a seriously deteriorating security situation, there will be increasing internal turmoil, possibly including civil war”.

The failure to build a nation out of the country it was bequeathed did in fact change the course of Nigeria’s history. It meant that our foundling political elite could not speedily and “sincerely act” on the lofty ideals. The nation building process could have benefitted from their nationalist campaign for independence when they had successfully united against a common “enemy” and brought us our independence.

Instead, our political elite turned backward on the supposed “independent sovereign nation” and resorted to lethal ethnicity in playing a brand of politics mostly devoid of altruism. So much so was this prevalent character of the political elite across board that they collectively failed to retrace their steps from the precipitous slide. It was within this context of elite failure that the 1966 military coup struck unleashing a canvass of governance instability that only abated in 1999 when the fourth Republic commenced with the successful democratic transition currently running for the last fourteen years.

No wonder, empirical evidence points to poor governance –especially corruption as the biggest obstacle to the development of Nigeria. Understanding the cancerous impact of understand how come a country with the potentials hardly available to more than other one third nations of the world has remained at the bottom of socio-economic ladder as a laggard. Economic growth rate and ultimate development of nations are determined by a number of factors that range from sound policies, effective and efficient public and private investments and strong institutions.

Economic evidence throughout numerous researches proves that one key variable that determines how fast nations outgrow others is the speed of accumulation of human capital especially through science and technology education. No wonder for these same countries by 2011- South Korea of fifty million people has a GDP of $1.12trillion, Brazil of one hundred and ninety six million has $2.48 trillion; Malaysia of twenty eight million people has $278.6Billion; Chile of seventeen million people has $248.59Billion; Singapore of five million people has $318.7 Billion. Meanwhile with our population of 165 million people we make boasts with a GDP of $235.92 Billion- completely way off the mark that we could have produced if we made a better set of development choices.

More dramatic is that this wide gap between these nations and Nigeria was not always the case as some relevant data at the time of our independence reveal. In 1960 the GDP per capita of all these countries were not starkly different from that of Nigeria- two were below $200, two were a little above $300 and one was slightly above $500 while that of Nigeria was just about $100.

For citizens, these differentials are not mere economic data. Meanwhile by 2011, the range for all five grew exponentially with Singapore at nearly $50,000, South Korea at $22,000, Malaysia at $10,000, Brazil at $13,000 and Chile at $14,000. Our own paltry $1500 income per capita helps drive home the point that we have been left behind many times over by every one of these other countries. How did these nations steer and stir their people to achieve such outstanding economic performance over the last five decades? There is hardly a basis for comparing the larger population of our citizens clustered within the poverty bracket with the majority citizens of Singapore fortunate to have upper middle income standard of living.

Again, how did this happen? What happened to Nigeria? Why did we get left behind? How did these nations become productively wealthy over the last fifty three years while Nigeria stagnated? How did majority of the citizens of these nations join the upper middle class while more Nigerians retrogressed into poverty?

There are usually as many different answers to these sets of questions as there are respondents on the reasons we fell terribly behind. Some say, it is our tropical geography, yet economic research shows it has not prevented other countries like China, Australia, Chile and Brazil for example with similar conditions from breaking through economically. Others say it is size, but China and India are bigger, and yet in the last thirty and twenty years have grown double digit and continue to out- grow the rest of the world at this time of global economic crisis. Furthermore, being small has not necessarily conferred any special advantages to so many other countries with small population yet similarly battling with the development process like we are.

Some others say it is our culture but like a political economist posited “European countries with different sorts of cultures, Protestant and Catholic alike that have grown rich. Secondly, different countries within the same broad cultures have performed very differently in economic terms, such as the two Koreas in the post-war era. Moreover, individual countries have changed their economic trajectories even though “their cultures didn’t miraculously change.”

How about those who plead our multiethnic nationalities as the constraint but fail to see that the United States of America happens to be one nation with even more disparate ethnic nationalities than Nigeria and yet it leads the global economy! As for those who say it is the adverse impact of colonialism, were Singapore, Malaysia and even parts of China like Hong Kong not similarly conquered and dominated by colonialists?

That Nigeria is a paradox of the kind of wealth that breeds penury is as widely known as the fact that the world considers us a poster nation for poor governance wealth from natural resources. The trend of Nigeria’s population in poverty since 1980 to 2010 for example suggests that the more we earned from oil, the larger the population of poor citizens : 17.1 million 1980, 34.5million in 1985, 39.2million in 1992, 67.1million in 1996, 68.7million in 2004 and 112.47 million in 2010! This sadly means that you are children of a nation blessed with abundance of ironies.

Resource wealth has tragically reduced your nation- my nation- to a mere parable of prodigality. Nothing undignifies nations and their citizens like self-inflicted failure. Our abundance of oil, people and geography should have worked favorably and placed us on the top echelons of the global economic ladder by now. After all, basic economic evidence shows that abundance of natural resources can by itself increase the income levels of citizens even if it does not increase their productivity.

For example, as Professor Collier a renowned economist who has focused on the sector stated in a recent academic work countries that have enormously valuable natural resources are likely to have high living standards on a sustainable basis by simply replacing some of the extracted resources with financial assets held abroad. Disappointingly, even that choice eluded our governing class who through the decades has spent more time quarreling over their share of the oil “national cake” than they have spent thinking of how to make it benefit the entire populace.

The coup of 1966 anchored its justification on the failure of the political class to provide good governance. In the exact word of the leader of the coup; “Our enemies are the political profiteers, the swindlers, the men in high and low places that seek bribes and demand 10 percent; those that seek to keep the country divided permanently so that they can remain in office as ministers or VIPs at least, the tribalists, the nepotists, those that make the country look big for nothing before international circles, those that have corrupted our society and put the Nigerian political calendar back by their words and deeds.”

In effect, what we today confront as systemic corruption only metamorphosed to gigantic proportion through the over nearly fifty decades of the speech given to justify the first truncation of the will of the people for democratic governance. As a matter of fact, anyone who will find and read all the justification statements for coups and the inauguration statements for democratically elected governments in our fifty three years of being a country will assume that each group merely modified the speech of their predecessors. Perhaps the only differences were the locations of the punctuation marks, the commas, the semi colons and the full stops in each statement that followed this excerpt from the statement of 1966.

The substance is the same – indignation at the grand corruption that has persistently undermined the effectiveness of governance since our political independence. The instructive feature of the dramatis personae that made up the military and political elite class at various times is their uncanny national spread and the unity of purpose they managed and have continued to manage to forge among them in the ignoble business of committing grand larceny against the country. Ethnicity was hardly and still is not a constraining factor once the political elite of Nigeria- whether from the North, South, East and West gather at the altar of corruption to execute their unifying purpose of “transactions”. They are united in “extracting” from Nigeria because it does appear in the minds that the country can never move beyond a mere artificial political construct.

Of all the obstacles to our greatness, there were two on which citizens irrespective of their affiliations seemed to have forged a consensus as the priority agenda issues for their governments to mobilize every sector, level and individual; to unite, fight and defeat. The two issues are systemic corruption and pernicious poverty. However, in the last one year with escalations in insecurity wherein we are now faced with more immediate life threatening scourge of terrorism within our land those two priorities are overtaken in ranking. That we now experience regular terrorist killing of the innocent in our land has pushed the twin issues of poverty and corruption to second and third priorities of citizens. These recent killings have joined with the civil war of the 60s to pollute Nigeria with fresh blood of our children- our daughters and sons, the blood of our women, the blood of our men, the blood of our young and the blood of our old.

Citizens who had assumed that the worst possible was the many decades of being trapped in intergenerational poverty in an ironically “oil wealthy” are now exposed to deadlier acts of terrorism. Terrorists became emboldened by the absence of our political class across the entire spectrum of political leadership who decided to “play their normal politics” with the blood of the poor. The blood soaked land is convulsing.

Do we not hear the cries especially of the young children and women killed for a cause they know nothing about? I read the fear laden articles and tweets of many young Nigerians asking “when this carnage will end?” I hear them lash out angrily that it is the cumulative failure of older generations of us all in this gathering that is bequeathing to them- a country so broken and mortally bruised that again we need divine intervention to heal the land and people.

Is it therefore not unconscionable that in the over nearly three years of rising trend of terrorist attacks against whole communities in the central and north eastern states of Nigeria where our kith and kin have regularly been slaughtered in cold blood; the milk of empathy has not yet flowed from our Elders in the Land in the entire political spectrum to suspend “transactional politicking” and build a united front against this newest common enemy? Is it not unconscionable that despite the massive public resources committed to security spending, the government has failed to inspire confidence in communities and the large public that feel excluded from the more secured lives of the political elite?

In shock, Nigerians have wondered whether our political class which carries on with politicking to “capture or retain power” is comfortable to govern dead communities. Is it not time for all of our political leaders to pay that utmost sacrifice of leadership- lay down their personal gain for the good of the people they wish to lead. Leadership is not the office, the title, the authority, the mansion one occupies. Leadership is the sacrifice offered that others may thrive. There are three grades of leadership- Transactional, Transformational and Transcendental leadership. What our nation asks all of you irrespective of the acronyms that thread together to make you a political party in this land today, is that you must immediately “transcend” and mobilize all of Nigerians against the immediate common enemies killing our own within our territory.

Your act of transcendental leadership across your various divides in Nigerian politics of today, will not only end this fatal insecurity in our country, but will actually start the process of healing of land and the people.

The healing of our land and people will in turn begin the process of rebuilding the eroded social capital that we must have for nation building process. John Jacob Gardener a professor of Leadership defines Transcendental Leadership as follows: “A new metaphor, transcendent leadership, answers a planetary call for a governance process which is more inclusive, more trusting, more sharing of information, more meaningfully involving associates or constituents, more collective decision making through dialogue and group consent processes, more nurturance and celebration of creative and divergent thinking and a willingness to serve the will of the collective consciousness as determined by the group – in essence, a leadership of service above self” Nothing in any political party manifesto in our present Nigeria realizes how fundamental it is to first accomplish this at this time in country.

Economic research has proven that there can be no development without peace. The under-performance of our country as a result of the volatility of regime changes and truncation of democracy direly cost us the opportunity to build vibrant institutions, to pursue on a sustained basis sound macroeconomic, microeconomic and structural policies and finally to implement quality, effective and efficient public and private investment like other nations.

Every country is fundamentally composed of three sectors- the public sector or government, the private sector or business and civil society. Worse than political instability however is the growing sense of our current reality that we are “at war”. In a season of war, ladies and gentlemen, no road map for economic development is viable- no matter how sound its articulation. I advise that 2014 offers all political actors in Nigeria, the opportunity to immediately unite and decisively take our country back from terrorists. This is my most important economic message for your gathering. As the leading opposition party in the country, your leadership must be visible in demonstrating a commitment to reaching out to the Government to commence a united fight to preserve the lives of all citizens.

Of all the obstacles to our greatness, there were two on which citizens irrespective of their affiliations seemed to have forged a consensus as the priority agenda issues for their governments to mobilize every sector, level and individual; to unite, fight and defeat. The two issues are systemic corruption and pernicious poverty. However, in the last one year with escalations in insecurity wherein we are now faced with more immediate life threatening scourge of terrorism within our land those two priorities are overtaken in ranking. That we now experience regular terrorist killing of the innocent in our land has pushed the twin issues of poverty and corruption to second and third priorities of citizens. These recent killings have joined with the civil war of the 60s to pollute Nigeria with fresh blood of our children- our daughters and sons, the blood of our women, the blood of our men, the blood of our young and the blood of our old.

Citizens who had assumed that the worst possible was the many decades of being trapped in intergenerational poverty in an ironically “oil wealthy” are now exposed to deadlier acts of terrorism. Terrorists became emboldened by the absence of our political class across the entire spectrum of political leadership who decided to “play their normal politics” with the blood of the poor. The blood soaked land is convulsing. Do we not hear the cries especially of the young children and women killed for a cause they know nothing about? I read the fear laden articles and tweets of many young Nigerians asking “when this carnage will end?” I hear them lash out angrily that it is the cumulative failure of older generations of us all in this gathering that is bequeathing to them- a country so broken and mortally bruised that again we need divine intervention to heal the land and people.

Is it therefore not unconscionable that in the over nearly three years of rising trend of terrorist attacks against whole communities in the central and north eastern states of Nigeria where our kith and kin have regularly been slaughtered in cold blood; the milk of empathy has not yet flowed from our Elders in the Land in the entire political spectrum to suspend “transactional politicking” and build a united front against this newest common enemy?

Is it not unconscionable that despite the massive public resources committed to security spending, the government has failed to inspire confidence in communities and the large public that feel excluded from the more secured lives of the political elite? In shock, Nigerians have wondered whether our political class which carries on with politicking to “capture or retain power” is comfortable to govern dead communities.

Is it not time for all of our political leaders to pay that utmost sacrifice of leadership- lay down their personal gain for the good of the people they wish to lead. Leadership is not the office, the title, the authority, the mansion one occupies. Leadership is the sacrifice offered that others may thrive. There are three grades of leadership- Transactional, Transformational and Transcendental leadership. What our nation asks all of you irrespective of the acronyms that thread together to make you a political party in this land today, is that you must immediately “transcend” and mobilize all of Nigerians against the immediate common enemies killing our own within our territory.

Your act of transcendental leadership across your various divides in Nigerian politics of today, will not only end this fatal insecurity in our country, but will actually start the process of healing of land and the people. The healing of our land and people will in turn begin the process of rebuilding the eroded social capital that we must have for nation building process. John Jacob Gardener a professor of Leadership defines Transcendental Leadership as follows: “A new metaphor, transcendent leadership, answers a planetary call for a governance process which is more inclusive, more trusting, more sharing of information, more meaningfully involving associates or constituents, more collective decision making through dialogue and group consent processes, more nurturance and celebration of creative and divergent thinking and a willingness to serve the will of the collective consciousness as determined by the group – in essence, a leadership of service above self” Nothing in any political party manifesto in our present Nigeria realizes how fundamental it is to first accomplish this at this time in country.

Economic research has proven that there can be no development without peace. The underperformance of our country as a result of the volatility of regime changes and truncation of democracy direly cost us the opportunity to build vibrant institutions, to pursue on a sustained basis sound macroeconomic, microeconomic and structural policies and finally to implement quality, effective and efficient public and private investment like other nations. Worse than political instability however is the growing sense of our current reality that we are “at war”.

In a season of war, ladies and gentlemen, no road map for economic development is viable- no matter how sound its articulation. I advise that 2014 offers all political actors in Nigeria, the opportunity to immediately unite and decisively take our country back from terrorists. This is my most important economic message for your gathering. As the leading opposition party in the country, your leadership must be visible in demonstrating a commitment to reaching out to the Government to commence a united fight to preserve the lives of all citizens.

On the twin enemies of corruption and poverty, those among us who still need proof to believe that indeed the two severest maladies from which Nigeria must heal are poverty and poor governance must not have seen the 2013 Global Corruption Barometer 2013. Poverty and corruption are two things that rob Nigerians of their dignity; Poverty deprives one of the basic services they need in order to preserve their self-dignity. Poor governance on the other hand is what poverty helps breed.

Thus, academic research shows that countries which have tended to poor governance end delivering not delivering the basic social services that citizens need in order to lift themselves out of poverty and where they do at all, it is too little and too poor a quality to make a difference. It is the capacity to constantly deliver equality of opportunities for better quality of life to all citizens that distinguishes one government from another. Throughout our fifty three years of history following our independence in 1960, we sadly have not recorded one stellar record of performance in this regard by any government. Today, our 69% poor in the land which in real number is over 100 million of citizens trapped in poverty is the key scorecard of our five decades of failure.

When asked by citizens why they think they have been constantly failed by their governments, they mostly respond that the failure of the state to effectively function is corruption. This much they said to Transparency International which invests heavily in surveys around the world. The result of the most recent survey, tagged ‘Global Corruption Barometer 2013′, (the biggest-ever public opinion survey on corruption) was recently released all over the world. It showed that 75 per cent of Nigerians say the government’s effort at fighting corruption is ineffective. Only 14 per cent of those surveyed say the government’s effort is achieving results. Also, 94 per cent of Nigerians think corruption is a problem with 78 per cent saying it is a serious problem.

Over the past 12 months, the report says, 81 per cent of Nigerians say they have given a bribe to the police, 30 per cent of those surveyed say they have paid a bribe for education services, 29 per cent have given a bribe to the registry and permit services, same for utilities, and 24 per cent have given a bribe to the judiciary. The survey shows that 22 per cent of Nigerians have paid a bribe to tax revenue, 17 per cent to land services and 9 per cent has paid a bribe for medical and health services. Transparency International had last year rated Nigeria as the 35th most corrupt country in the world. Whether we choose to accept it or not, we are a country engulfed in systemic and endemic corruption with its attendant cancerous – wasting away, corrosive effect- on what is legendarily called our “huge potentials”.

Take the natural resources sector to which we have willingly and disastrously mortgaged our lives to as a result of failure of leadership to embrace hard work, effort and productivity as national values. Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil exporter, and the world’s 10th largest oil producer, accounting for more than 2.2 million barrels a day in 2011. Oil revenues totaled $50.3 billion in 2011 and generated more than 70 percent of government revenues. However, for a sector that sadly determines our rise and fall in the last fifty three years, Nigeria’s Performance on the Resource Governance Index (carried out by the global NGO- Revenue Watch Institute of the Open Society Foundations) – Nigeria received a “weak” score of 42, ranking 40th out of 58 countries.

We stood out among the 80% of countries which fail to achieve good governance in their extractive sectors. The insalubrious performance of this dominant revenue source seems to be one we have decided to wear elegantly with a mindset that refuses to embrace the kind of fundamental change that will set the nation free.

A read of the now famous in the breach, PIB shows that we have refused to surrender and subordinate the huge power of discretion exercised by the President in all matters concerning oil since the last many decades. Surely, for what we know of the huge benefits of transparency and competition it does indeed stir the minds of those that have no interest in oil blocks but who care for the maximization of value for the aggregate social good of Nigeria that we walk the provisions of our NEITI law.

The pervasive hold over our economy by oil shows up in everything. In our Sovereign credit rating recently, poor governance, low per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and reserve cover were identified as Nigeria’s biggest challenge to joining other Emerging Markets (EMs) according to Richard Fox of Fitch Ratings. According to him, these areas represent Nigeria’s biggest challenge to improving its rating, as highlighted in Fitch’s previous research. Of the three, reserve cover is the most susceptible to rapid improvement, particularly at current high oil prices. This is because although at that time of his comment, Nigeria’s reserves had risen by around $2 billion they are not rising as fast as in the majority of big oil exporters”. Comparisons always help convey these kinds of information better.

During the period, 2009 to 2011 Algeria expanded her savings from current oil boom by at least 30% to build up its reserve and invest in critical infrastructure. The new comer Angola nearly doubled its reserve while simultaneously implementing a huge public investment program to build diversity of critical infrastructure. Sadly, whether it is building up reserves/saving or in building critical infrastructure and human capital our own trend is in the reverse. For even though crude price rose or has held steady at different time, the quality of governance continues to hobble our capacity to strike out onto the path of success.

WHAT PROSPECTS FOR THE FUTURE THEN?
In what and whom do I place my confidence that a New Nigeria will emerge? What is it that engenders my confidence that our five decades of failure is not sustainable: First is the rising crescendo of dissatisfaction with the concept of Failure by the over 50% percent of our population that are young. That daily the young people of Nigeria- educated or not are anxious to path ways with Failure is a source of optimism.

Today, more than 40% of our young people may be unemployed and requiring a major intervention that matches skills with economic structural change but they represent strength for any leadership that “transcends” in the way it allocates public resources to priorities. They insist by the words and action that they know we can do better than we have done since our independence. The Women who constituting about 50% of our population are by the records of present accomplishment, the most visible secret weapons of our economic, social and political development. The entrepreneurial and “can do” spirit of just these two groups- the spirit that seeks to compete even with the rest in the world by first conquering the uncertain and disabling context in which it operates is emerging as the counter cultural shock to an elite class that entrenched contemptible wealth based on ignoble ease as a national creed.

The return of the values of hard work and the reward of creativity and innovation are the New Normal that Citizens want to engage their governments on. Citizens question the things and values we reward. They question the perverse incentive that rewards abhorrent behaviour while punishing what is right. They are perplexed when they watch the elite class destroy the potency of sanctions regime in every just society by acts that fail to demand the cost of bad behaviour from big offenders .

Citizens wish to unleash their talents and be facilitated by a capable and service oriented public service to identify new sources of growth forcing the diversification rhetoric into reality finally. We must think through how to expand the revenue base of the country and manage it efficiently. Nigeria’s revenue cannot cater for the size of the population that we have and we seek to exploit other creative and natural endowments of nature which primarily is our huge population of people with diverse capabilities.

The generation of human capital through education- access to quality basic, tertiary education expanded and well costed with access for the poor and entrepreneurship education relevant to the needs of the economy is priority agenda for a country that has grown over more then a decade now without significant structural change.

The structural transformation that focuses on growing indigenous enterprise and deliberately removing obstacles on the path to economic growth for the women and the young with ideas is what a results oriented government owes Citizens. According to data from the World Bank, it is clear that 74% of our revenue comes from non-oil (mainly agricultural exports) as at 1970. We have sadly reversed that suffering the pernicious effect of oil, as currently oil account for 74% of gross national revenue reversing the trend. While Nigeria exported 502 Metric tons of groundnut in 1961 which was 42% of global production as at that time, we currently export almost nothing with the pyramids now invented in stories told to our children.

Citizens are redefining what true attributes of leadership are by demanding that those who shall lead must be all possessing of – competency, character, competency and capacity. Neither of the three can substitute for the other, The political and technocratic class have no choice but to commit to redeeming our public institutions and the human resources that run them. The redemption starts with a true commitment to addressing today’s egregious cost of s the mantra of today’s citizens.

Citizens want to see real commitment to addressing the egregious cost of governance that constitutes massive opportunity cost for equitable economic development that benefits the larger number of citizens currently excluded from the benefits of the growth of the last fourteen years of return to democracy.

Citizens associate our meagre revenue which pales when compared to our prospective peers known as MINT, with wastes, gross inefficiency and corruption. Currently, we have N1.7tn paid out of salaries, N721bn for debt servicing and other recurrent items which puts our capital expenditure around N1.1tn. How then do we expand the economy, build the modern infrastructure if for every N100 that we spend in actual terms, over N80 goes to recurrent items. Those are the issues which to engage leadership on resolving.

Citizens can now better link public resources and results in their outcry for value-for-money and in the exercise of their right to demand for accountability. They know that our power problems all these years are not merely technical- it is governance failure. Our transportation problem are not technical, it was governance failure. Our poor production and productivity in agriculture is not merely technical, it is governance failure. They know that our health and education and over all under-performance in humans development score are not merely technical, it is due to governance failure.

It cost $148bn dollars in today’s value to rebuild Europe after the World War II. This is less than half of the funds that was attributed to have been stolen from Nigeria since independence. The expense of such funds transformed the manufacturing, service industry and competitive factors of Europe. It cost $2bn ($349bn in today’s value) to rebuild Japan after the nuclear attack.

By conservative estimate, our country has earned more than $600billion in the last five decades and yet can only boast of a United Nations Human Development Index score of .4 out of 1 proximate to that of Chad and maternal mortality rate similar to that of Afghanistan! Nothing reveals the depth of our failures than such performance indicators considering the vastly greater possibilities that we have been bestowed.

Above all, and finally, Citizens now seek to fully participation and make demands for democratic accountability- they are not afraid to scrutinise all public institutions and to demand better results of governance. The unwillingness of any group of political elite to understand this emerging power of the Office of the Citizen can only be a loss to the former and yet another missed opportunity added to our canvass of political tragedies……. But God forbid!

Obiageli (Oby) Ezekwesili
Keynote Speaker
APC SUMMIT, Abuja- March 6th 2014

Omawumi

Meet Omawumi & Seun Kuti today! Enough is Enough Nigeria celebrates freedom of speech with concert at Freedom Park

by Oge Okonkwo

Enough-is-Enough

“The man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny” – Wole Soyinka

Enough is Enough Nigeria hosts an evening of music, spoken word and short talks to celebrate the freedom that social media provides Nigerians on Saturday, February 22, 2014 at Freedom Park, Lagos Island, Lagos by 7pm.

SMW is a global week-long event now in its 6th year with events happening simultaneously in 8 cities across the world with the mission to “capture, curate and share the most meaningful ideas, trends, and best practices with regard to technology and social media’s impact on business, society and culture.”

Omawumi

As a centre of innovation, it was only natural that Lagos became the first African city to play host last year and its back again this year joining events in Barcelona, Milan, New York and Tokyo. SMWLagos attracts some of the continent’s most forward thinkers, brands, learners and creators. Recognizing the importance of a connected continent, while aiming to encourage collaboration, the 2014 conference theme is, “A CONNECTED AFRICA IS THE FUTURE.”

As the grand finale event, Enough is Enough Nigeria is hosting an evening of music, spoken word and short talks to celebrate the freedom that social media provides Nigerian citizens despite significant censorship in traditional media – print, radio and TV.

Seun Kuti

The evening will be hosted at Freedom Park with performances by Omawumi and Seun Kuti; spoken word by Efe Paul and short talks from journalists, radio personalities and online influencers.

Details:

Saturday, February 22, 2014

7 pm – midnight

Freedom Park, Lagos Island, Lagos.

 

This event is supported by YNaija, SaharaReporters, Metro Taxi, Edo, Ekiti, Kwara and Oyo State Governments.