Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Nigeria's Problem Is Leadership!

Senior Pastor, Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC), Matthew Ashimolowo could not have said it better. Please, read excerpt from his interview by DANIEL KANU.

The biggest problem is leadership. Unfortunately the Constitution, the birthing of Nigeria, the method of managing Nigeria, have already created a problem. Nigeria is like a package being delivered by DHL, but that package was damaged on delivery because so many tribes and people who have practically no cultural, traditional, spiritual, social similarity were amalgamated. They have been trying their best since 1914, but the challenge is there and enormous. They have not been able to create a system that evolves good leaders. Nigeria is suffering from leadership. In mineral resources, we are one of the wealthiest in the world; we are the second largest deposit of natural gas, we have the seventh largest deposit of petroleum. In human resources, Nigeria is one of the wealthiest in the world; the number of graduates in Nigeria is unbelievable. Nigerians have overwhelmed university system in Ghana, Britain, and they have the passion to read. Go to the rest of Africa, most Blacks don’t want to read. But here, young people are eager; they are fired up. We need leaders who have certain qualities. Two things are needed: credible, capable (leaders). Many of the people we have seen, some may seem credible in our society but they don’t seem to have the capability. Some who seem to have capability have credibility problem. So we are facing a dilemma. The day we find leaders who combine credibility with capability then we are on our way to succeeding as a country.

What do you think should be the agenda for Jonathan?
All men will be remembered either for the problem they caused or the ones they solved. It is my opinion that he should be a man of awesome leadership who has his heads in the clouds and his feet on ground – his heads in the clouds to be able to see greater dreams; his feet on the ground to be able to fulfil those dreams. Of all the needs confronting Nigeria, if I were Jonathan, I would focus two major things, one of which is energy. By energy, I mean electricity. If you solve the power problem, foreign direct investment will come in and Nigerians will be able to function. The amount of money wasted on diesel would be cut down. Power needs to be resolved and let him bring in major players. Let him tell them: I only have 14 months and I want to bequeath this nation energy. I have travelled widely. Even within Africa, there is no power cut. In Ghana, if there will be any, they will announce it, you could be there weeks and the light will not blink. Solving the power problem will create what in leadership principle is called the corridor principle. If you want to go through a corridor, once you open the first major door, other doors will begin to open. If the power problem is solved, industries will reopen, factories will start to work, prices will go down, other problems will be resolved, and more people will be hired. People are already hearing all over the world that Nigeria is one of the best places to invest, so you will be able to attract them. The second major area is security. The nation is insecure; people are just so afraid; armed robbers have a field day, and they kill at random. You can’t drive on Nigerian motorway during the day, not even at night, without being afraid that there will be armed robbers on the way.

Let me use an acronym LEAP for the kind of leadership that Jonathan should give us in 14 months. LEAP: L for leading. Let him not be afraid that some cabal, some oligarchy, may want to derail his government. Let him lead with confidence. The E stands for either equipping or empowering. Nigerians need to be empowered. The A stands for aligning. We are a nation of diverse opinions, visions and dreams; so he should not allow one geo-political location make noise and say they are the only ones. He should not be ashamed to help Niger Delta because he comes from there; the need is awesome. He should not be afraid to help the North because although a good number of people from the North have been in power but the educational level there is very poor. He should not be afraid to get involved in Yoruba land because that Obasanjo was once the President does not mean that he really helped Yoruba land. He should not be afraid to help the (South) East. We know great entrepreneurs come from the East; industrialists, people who can dream, people who can replicate technology. Then the P is for perseverance. He should know that leadership is tough, he should persevere and keep his focus, and he will do well.

What should Nigeria do to encourage Blacks in the Diaspora to think home?
Number one, solve the energy problem; number two, solve the security problem, number three create an enabling environment. Do you know that if you want to register a company in the United Kingdom, it takes five minutes online? In the United States, if you walk into a business office, you do it in seven minutes. If you want to register a company in Nigeria, there are 14 processes; each one of them horrendous. So create an enabling environment, a secured society. It is a complete contradiction, an anachronism, that a society like London and other great cities of the world that are so bereft of spirituality are more secured than our own where all of us are in church and mosque everyday.

You could not have said it better Pastor Ashimolowo. See Nigerian's Problem Is Leadership, for the interview in its entirety.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Dear Mr President,

My name is Nigeria!

I need Re-Building and not Re-Branding.

I am Nigeria!! I am divided into 36 unequal states, plus my capital territory, christened ABUJA. I have millions of acres of arable land and billions of cubic litres of water, but I cannot feed myself. So I spend $1 billion to import rice and another $2 billion to import milk. I produce rice, but don't eat it. I have 60 million cattle but no milk. I have the capacity to feed the whole of Africa but I import most food instead.

I am hungry, please help and re-brand me.

I drive the latest car in the world but have no roads, neither can I boast of
manufacturing a bicycle's tyre. I lose family and friends everyday on my roads for which funds have been allocated to build and rehabilitate but the fund has been looted. I lose my young, my old, and my most brainy and productive people to the potholes, craters and crevasses they travel on everyday.

I am in permanent mourning, please re-brand me.

My school has no teacher and my classroom has no roof. I take lecture notes through the window and live with 15 others in a single room. All my professors have gone abroad, some of the rest are awaiting visas. Those that remain, depend on money raked from the sales of hand-outs to students.

My students receive lectures for a maximum of 3 months in a year due to lecturers' strike or students' boycott of lectures because of lack of better condition of service and deplorable condition on campus. That explains why I have university graduates, who are semi- illiterates.

I want a future, please re-brand me.

Malaria, typhoid and many other preventable diseases send me to hospitals which have no doctors, no medicines and no electric power. So my wife gives birth by candle light and surgery is performed by quacks. All the nurses have gone abroad and the rest are also waiting to go. I have the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world and future generations are dying before me.

I am hopeless, hapless and helpless, please re-brand me.

I wanted change so I stood all day long to cast my vote. But even before I could vote, the results had been announced. When I dared to speak out, silence was enthroned by bullets. My rulers are my oppressors, and my policemen are my terrors. I am ruled by men in mufti, but I am not a democracy.

I have no verve, no vote, no voice, please re-brand me.

I have over 50 million youths with no jobs, no present and no future. So my sons in the North have become street urchins and their brothers in the South have become militants. My nephews die of thirst in the Sahara and their cousins drown in the waters of the Mediterranean . My daughters walk the streets of Lagos , Abuja and Port Harcourt, while their sisters parade the streets of Rome and Amsterdam .

I am inconsolable, please re-brand me.

My people cannot sleep at night and cannot relax by day. They cannot use ATM
machines, nor use cheques. My children sleep through the staccato of AK 47's, see
through the mist of tear gas, while we all inhale Carbon Monoxide, poisonous
CO-2 from popular 'I better pass my neighbour' (portable generators) and 'Okada' (motorbike taxis)

The leaders have looted everything on ground and below. They walk the land with haughty strides and fly the skies with private jets (28 of which were bought in the last 12 months). They have stolen the future of generations yet unborn and have money they cannot spend in several lifetimes, but their brothers die of hunger.

I want justice, please re-brand me.

I can produce anything, but import everything. So my toothpick is made in China; my toothpaste is made in South Africa; my salt is made in Ghana; my butter is made in Ireland; my milk is made in Holland; my shoe is made in Italy; my vegetable oil is made in Malaysia; my biscuit is made in Indonesia; my chocolate is made in Turkey and my table water made in France.

My taste is far-flung and foreign. I no longer cook at home but take pride in eating at take-away outlets fashioned after the Western style of living.
Anything made in my land is inferior; I prefer those made in England , America or Europe . To crown it all, items made in my land but specifically sent abroad with made in England labels are brought back from 'Oyinbo' land at 5 times the original price it would have gone for had it been sold as home made.

Please re-brand me.

My people are cancerous from the greed of their friends who bleach palm oil with chemicals; my children died because they drank 'My Pikin' with NAFDAC
numbers; my poor die because kerosene explodes in their faces; my land is dead because all the trees have been cut down; flood kills my people yearly because the drainage is clogged; my fish are dead because the oil companies dump waste in my rivers; my communities are vanishing into the huge yawns of gully erosion, and nothing is being done. My livelihood is in jeopardy, and I am in the uttermost depths of despondence.

Please re-brand me.

I have genuine leather but choose to eat it.. So I spend a billion dollars to import fake leather. I have four (4) refineries, but prefer to import fuel, so I waste more billions to import petrol and diesel. I have no security in my country, but would rather send troops to keep the peace in another man's land. I have 160 dams, but cannot get water to drink, so I buy 'pure' water that broils my inwards. I have a million children waiting to enter universities, but my ivory dungeons can only take a tenth (10 %). I have no power (electricity) , but choose to flare gas, and vote billion of dollars every year to generate electricity but not a single watt has come from it. So, my people have learnt to see in the dark and stare at the glare of naked flares.

I have no direction, please re-brand me.

My people pray to God every morning and every night, but commit every crime known to man because re-branded identities will never alter the tunes of inbred rhythms. Just as the drums of heritage heralds the frenzied jingles, remember - the Nigerian soul can only be Nigerian - fighting free from the cold embrace of a government that has no spring, no sense, no shame. So we watch the possessed, frenzied dance, drenched in silent tears as freedom is locked up in democracy's empty cellars.

I need guidance, please re-brand me.

But then, why can I not simply be me, without being re-branded?

Or does my complexion cloud the colour of my character?

Does my location limit the lengths of my liberty? Does the spirit of my conviction shackle my soul?

Does my mien maim the mine of my mind? And is this life worth re-branding?

Is it re-branding that I need or complete re-building?

Others blame my calamities on the colonial master that has left my shore some 49 years ago. Without deceiving myself, I know I have problems, who will deliver me?

Maybe what I need is to be re-born, Christians call it being born-again.

Turning to a higher authority or changing direction. I mean to sincerely own up and turn to the man up-stairs, maybe, just maybe solution will come from there.

To re-build a wobbling structure, there is need for dismantling of an existing one (remember, if the foundation can be destroyed, what can the righteous do?)..
Shall I then consider the idea muted by some of my own who have fled abroad?
Some call for 'Separation for Co-operation' , others call for true Federalism - while others are yet asking for the return to a Parliamentary system.

Which way do I go? On October 1, 2009, I celebrated my 49th birthday.

I doo't want to enter my golden age without direction,

... so, please, help me God. Re-mould and Re-Build me.

Please Mr President, re-mould and re-build me!!!

(Disclaimer: I received this piece as a forwarded message so unfortunately the author is anonymous.)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dear Mr. Goodluck...I need some answers

Dear Mr. Acting President, what's your gameplan? Please help this young Nigerian mind understand a few issues that discourage me about the future of my beloved country:

· I understand that the flexibility of the exchange rate is a key shock absorber for the economy when foreign reserves are declining. Since the national budget depends heavily on a benchmark oil price, I am curious to know what benchmark oil price was used to set the 2010 budget considering the fact that oil prices have risen again. What are you doing to diversify our economy considering the global push for green energy and a declining oil reserve?

· The violence in the Niger Delta was quelled by an amnesty deal, and although tensions are rising again, it’s important for the government to ensure that the situation is resolved so that crude production capacity may increase. $6.3 billion in stolen oil and another $28 billion in shut in (deliberately not produced oil) obviously impacted the economic growth back in 2008. How will you deal with the rebellion and how will you ensure that the poor people of Delta (your native people) that provide our nation with such great wealth are not living in decrepit conditions?

· Electricity shortage is a major drain on the economy because of the $13.4 billion spent each year to power electricity generators. Privatization of the telecommunications industry proved successful and it is safe to assume that privatization of the power industry will yield positive results. Can you outline the steps you’ll take to resolve the electricity dilemma that demoralizes the Nigerian people? The manufacturing sector could obviously benefit from the cheap labor market but electricity will need to be consistent to entice investors and companies.

· Banking sector regulations need to be forward thinking to prevent similar scandals that involved artificially inflating the capital market (e.g. by lending money to people to buy bank stock). What financial and monetary reforms do you intend to pursue to ensure that Nigeria’s banking sector begins to flourish again? In 2005, Goldman Sachs suggested that Nigeria could become one of the 20 largest economies in the world by 2025. At this rate, I need you to convince me that they were not crazy! Can I expect us to at least make the top 100? Why?

· The federal government should cooperate (not antagonize) with Lagos state to ensure that policies are beneficial for the state but not a hindrance to the overall national economic health. Being the commercial center of the country, success in Lagos has benefits to the entire nation. Neighboring states should also begin to capitalize on Lagos’ successes so as to develop their own economies and reduce overpopulation in Lagos. How are you going to develop other areas of the country? Lagos currently houses 60% of Nigeria’s industrial investment and commercial activity. What are they doing right that you can implement around the nation?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Well Done President Jonathan, Oops Acting President!

As Youths burdened by the downward spiral of the positive indicators that depict a working nation, strode or should i say peacefully matched down the tarred roads that clad the vicinity housing the national assembly, Abuja in a bid to send a message of hope to the citizens who have almost thrown in the towel and that of fear to the Cabal that have for years dragged the destiny of our country in the canals of dread and depravity; they hoped that somehow nations were watching, people listening and actions taken to begin the rebuilding of a frail and fast failing state.

Being one of the hopeful youths, my sights were set on the Vice President cum Acting President to set into motion a mechanism that would not just make Utopia a reality in the minds and fantasies of Nigerians alone, but make such hopes and dreams a reality. This awakening could not have come on a better day, March 17th, my birthday and a day after youths took to the streets to air their frustrations and to request accountability from our leaders: The dissolution of the cabinet of the ailing and inconspicuous president Yar A'dua.Way to go Sir!

I however am not getting drunk on this new development yet until an agenda targeted at easing the distress of the Nigerian citizenry is put in place, A cabinet that respects the rule of law,genuinely cares about the populace and would be accountable to the people they are suppose to "Serve" and "Lead" as oppose to putting their selfish ambitions in the forefront, are instituted. I am an optimist and i see change beyond recognition but first Nigerians have to continuously demand accountability and shun corruption at "ALL" levels.

Hat tip once again to Dr. Goodluck Jonathan on achieving such a feat, but we plead with you that you do not tread the same path of your predecessors, but that you set yourself apart and be a vehicle and vessel that would take Nigeria to her Eldorado. Well done once again!

Seleipiri Iboroma Akobo

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Enough is Enough: March 16th is HERE, We Support the Cause, Do You?

Please Retweet and Share this message:

March 16
is the date that young Nigerians will march in Abuja to say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

Time: 11am

Venue: National Assembly, Abuja (We gather at Eagle Square at 11am PROMPT)

1) President Yar’Adua should resume, resign or be removed
2) The promise of 6000megawatts must be fulfilled
3) The 5-month fuel crisis needs to end now.

· From wherever you are in Nigeria, come too Abuja and join the rally – if you book early on many airlines, you get cheaper tickets, and you can return on the same day!

· If you are in Abuja, attend the rally with an average of TEN of your friends/family.

· If you are in any of the neighbouring states - Plateau, Kaduna, Niger, Nasarawa, Kogi – attend the rally with an average of FIVE of your friends.

· Get at least FIVE of your friends and family who live or work or school in Abuja to attend the rally.

· Get at least FIVE of your friends and family who live or work of school in neighbouring states – Plateau, Kaduna, Niger, Nasarawa, Kogi – to come to Abuja and join the rally.

· If you cannot attend yourself and you can afford it, sponsor at least one other young person to attend on your behalf. To get more information about how you can do that, call 0702.810.1959 or mail

· On your Facebook (groups and profiles), Twitter, and BBMs, update DAILY with the date and time of the rally, as well as the website
www.enoughisenoughnigeria.com until the 16th of March so that people do not forget.

· Join the Facebook group
Enough is Enough Nigeria and invite your friends and family to join. Our target is 10000 members by the end of March. We need more people involved!

· Put up information about the rally daily on your website and blogs to sensitise young people so they don’t forget the date, venue and time.

· There are plenty of logistics that we have to deal with – buses, water, legal, media & publicity, crowd control, mobilization, distribution of publicity materials etc – if you have experience or resources in any of this, please call 07028101959 or email
info@enoughisenoughnigeria.com to offer your help.

· SUPPORT the rally. There is so much to do in so short a time and we NEED the support of as many young and older people who are fed up with Nigeria’s situation. If you are ready to support, please call
0802.222.6712 or 0702.810.1959 NOW!


www.enoughisenoughnigeria.com, www.whereisyaradua.com

Post Credit: Ore's Notes

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Voices of Jos: Top 10 Photos from Around the Globe (Naija Mondays)

Although we may pretend, the voices of Jos are crying out

So we will cry out with them today

These are the top 10 photos we've gathered from around the globe.

Reuters photo

Leero Photo

Elombah.com Photo

Article.wn Photo

www.welt.de Photo

2daynewsupdate Photo

Operationbrokensilence.org Photo

ITN photo

BBC Photo

Vanguard Photo

Jos, you are not alone.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Naija Mondays Post: A Letter to the New President, "Dear President Goodluck Jonathan, Please Restore Our Sanity!"

Dear President Goodluck Jonathan,

We crown you as president, since we don't want to be a "headless" country. We rejoiced when we observed Dora Akunyili's courageous memo where she suggested power should switch hands to you, and we saw the boldness in your grasp of power after almost three months of absence of our former (now ailing) president Yar'Adua. Thanks for firing some folk immediately you got to your throne. We understand that many political insurgents have been debating about whether or not what the senate did was constitutionally right, elevating you to your rightful position like that. But you know what, this is not our plight today. We have looked at section 145 of the Nigerian constitution which says that the president must send in a vacation letter to the Nigerian Senate, which former president Yar'Adua did not do (a major political crime with all due respect).

So, this is where we stand today: the younger generation cares more about the stability of the country, and yes our heads are nodding away to your boldness and courage. Your elevation has indeed saved the green-white-green flag from descending into the abys of socio-political conflagration and the shame of the international community.

So dear president Jonathan, please let us speed things up a little bit. It is getting rather slow at your end as we write. These are some things the country requires of you right now:

1) Remove the fear and anxiety in the international world and begin to have "real intelligent conversations" about Nigeria. Presidents talk all the time, or they make sure the Minister of Information and Communications (in this case, Dora Akunyili) is armed with powerful information about the country. Hillary Clinton blames Nigeria for extremism and radicalization (because of the Christmas day bomber maybe?); On January 4th Nigeria was added to the U.S terrorist list--there's nothing you can do about this other than to improve the security of Nigeria. You may want to start from the airport where the bomber took off. Maybe make the international airport(s) more presentable, appealing, and with consistent air-conditioning to liberate the brains of security officials.

2) Bolaji Aluko raises some very interesting points in his USAAfricaDialogue, and they actually make sense: "Abandon Yar'Adua's 7-point agenda," he says. After all, you are the new acting President, you need to sit down, prioritize and act fast.

This is his excerpt:

[President Jonathan] should abandon some of PDP's/Yar'Adua's 7-point agenda items.* [Power & Energy, Food, Security and Agriculture; Wealth Creation and Employment; Mass Transportation; Land Reform; Security, Qualitative and Functional Education] and Two Special Interests [Niger-Delta and Disadvantaged Groups] and concentrate on Five Priority Areas - Electoral Reform, Security, Power & Fuel, Major-Roads Infrastructure (East-West, North-South routes) and the Niger-Delta. Electoral Reform should really be TOP on his agenda, with a focus on implementing the Uwais Report, adopting some of the recommendations even by Executive order. He should abandon all constitutional reform not related to electoral reform for later. With regard to security, he could choose investigations into the heinous Dipo Dina murder in Ogun State, and the recent Jos riot in Plateau State as templates for future action. The Amnesty program of the Niger-Delta in all its social and economic ramifications should also be an important focus point.

3) Be transparent to the people. It is a democratic country. Yar'Adua did not put that into consideration when he took off, and obviously when he returned the news was heard first from Al Jazeera. We no longer want "he said, she said" rumors. Talk to your people. Please at least show Nigerians that you care. Have you heard of the #LightUpNigeria campaign?

We don't expect you to do all these in one day, but you need to speed it up because there's a lot of work to be done.

Thanks for reading our letter.

Humble regards,
The N4C team.

Monday, February 22, 2010

154 Million Nigerians: LIGHT UP NIGERIA (Naija Mondays)

154 million Nigerians
From 36 states
Farmers, business men, teachers
Wake up to the possibility
Of no electricity
And generating their own power
Being an only option
Whether they can afford it or not
No be like that e suppose be
From village wells to street lights
Darkness covers our sights
From Lagos to Kaduna
Enugu to Cross Rivers...
We all feel the pain it brings
And in that moment dreams start to fade
As our pockets count the costs
As fragile lives continue to be lost
We dey suffer everyday
Hospital operations by candle light
Armed robbers in the moon light
We don tire for this darkness
A Complex problem with a simple solution
Your voice can make a difference

154 million Nigerians
From many cultures
Men, women, and children.
Woke up this morning with a common dream
Join us in one united voice
Make we all come together
As we say

If you're on twitter, light up Nigeria with a hashtag: #LightUpNigeria. Thanks.