Friday, 15 November 2013

Fix It or Let It Break: A Country Named NIGERIA

An article by Chikezie Nwaoha from Bangkok (chikezie.n@student.chula.ac.th)

Alone with my thoughts about my country, I became poised to put down a few lines and issues bothering over 160 million people with diversity in culture, religion etc, but enveloped under same struggle and challenges. I don’t know where to actually start, but a word begins a sentence, and a sentence begins a paragraph. Let me start from here:

My humble question to most of those people abusing ASUU for extending their executive meeting,  please 'if Prof. Iyayi was your father and bread winner of your family', what do you suggest should happen?. Secondly, we should learn to tackle issues using 'root cause analysis'. As a reference, if you have headache please don’t just take paracetamol alone, but go and find out what actually caused the headache and treat it accordingly. It’s time for the students to rise against this insanity and impunity from our so called governors, elected officers in several political offices etc. Issues like this should be used to correct some anomalies in the already decayed system. That was how the uprising started in some countries. Today, an average Nigerian wants to leave the country, but have we ever bothered to ask ourselves, how did most of these countries we want relocate to fix their country?

How much in trillions of naira was used to bail out some banks? After all that expenditure how healthy are the so called banks now? 2 billion naira got missing at NSPMC, what else have you heard about it.

How much in hundreds of billion naira that NNPC cannot account for, on an annual basis. Same thing goes to the SURE-P and all the parastetals under the federal goverment (dont forget Maina and Yusufu). At intervals the federal government sack top officials of NNPC on account of mismanagement of funds etc Please after the sack, what happens to the said mismanaged funds? So, it’s now a case of loot, get sacked, and you are free. What a story to tell.

$16 billion was said to be invested in the power sector during the Obasanjo era, how is the sector now? Yet people praise and laud him as an elder statesman. I'm yet to come to terms the yardstick for categorizing someone as an elder statesman. I stand to be educated here please. ..

Several hundreds of billion naira was used to launch the so called satellites in the space. Please, how is the internet and online services now? So embarrassing that a previously launched satellite (Nigcomsat) got missing in the orbit, after spending 40 billion naira. That’s a world record of fraud!

A complete vessel got lost in the shores of Nigeria, how possible is that? Even movie directors can't think of doing such in a movie. Did it enter the Bermuda triangle?

Several billions of naira have continued to be invested and siphoned to train the so called militants. The question is, is that the problem of Niger Delta? How does that affect the environmental, economic, social and health impact of oil and gas activities in that region?

300 billion naira was unaccounted for during Tony Anenih's time as the transport minister. Yet he's being celebrated. What of the 13 billion naira invested in mine and steel during Bola Ige's (RIP) time as minister? What of the 85 billion naira fraud during the time of Olabode George as Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Chairman? He only spent a few months in the prison and that’s ends the case. If you ask an average Nigerian, he will tell you, ‘give me 1 billion naira and I will spend 5 years in prison’. Will you blame such people that house this mentality?

It’s so unheard of, that even a serving minister will tell the country that the safety of the airline sector is in God's hand. Now, the question is, why didn’t she allow God to protect her? Yet she went ahead to procure bullet proof vehicles for personal use and safety.

The minister of Niger Delta Affiars, Elder Godsday Orubebe had the audacity to tell the country that 140 billion naira is needed to complete 35% of the remaining work on the east-west road, and 209 billion naira have already been spent on the 65% completed stage. Hmmm, does that road lead to fortunes and heaven? How are the Benin-ore road, lagos-ibadan expressway, and the lokoja-abuja road (that recently claimed the life of a patriot Prof. Iyayi). This is just to mention a few of the several federal roads that serves as death trap to traveler’s. Yet these politician’s have the guts to drive on such roads like 'I don't care people'. Of course, if they were actually voted in by the electorate, they wouldn’t have such mind to drive past them in such a manner.

A country where former governors are cleared of fraud charges against them. Ibori was cleared of 170 corruption charges by a so called reputable court. Yet he was convicted with the shortest possible time frame outside the country. What of the $500 million corruption charge against Dr. Peter Odili? In cases, where some of these funds were retrieved, it exchanged pockets to the people in the seat of power.

Governors pay monthly salary of state workers, and they publicize it as an achievement. It’s unthinkable.

What have happened to those indicted by USA on the $18 million Halliburton bribery case? Some of them have even received national honors in such regards.

I wasn’t surprised either when America’s Wall Street Journal revealed the mind-boggling million dollar sums that the Nigerian government has been paying Niger Delta warlords to keep them off the oil pipelines; Mr. Dokubo Asari collects $9million every year, ‘General’ Ateke Toms and ‘General‘ Ebikabowei Boyloaf Victor Ben collect $3.5million apiece while General Government Tompolo Ekpumopolo gets $22.5 million yearly. Hmmm

A certain developing country imports 85% of their consumed crude oil and have a refining capacity of 1.007 million barrels of crude oil per day, with 6 functional (100% capacity) refineries. Yet a country that produces an average of 2.3 million barrels per day have only 445,000 bpd refining capacity, with just 3 refineries (0% capacity). Mrs. Petroleum minister keep telling us that refineries are not profitable. May be she feels that all Nigerians are not informed. If that's her feeling, then the reverse is the case. If refineries are not profitable, why is the global refining capacity on the increase? This year alone Total (which exists in Nigeria) commissioned a 400,000 bpd (full conversion) refinery (Jubail refinery) in Saudi Arabia, a joint venture with Saudi Aramco, the national oil company of Saudi Arabia. Why is everything so different when it comes to Nigeria?

Crude oil is constantly siphoned on a daily basis from oil trunk lines. Yet there's no end to it. Of course I wasn't surprised too when I was informed by a credible source that these siphoned oil is tagged 'Federal' in the oil stock market. And for sure it sells cheaper than the supposed price. I have mentioned this in my previous updates, and YES it now been confirmed by the current leak that the NNPC in connivance with major Swiss oil trading companies, was draining Nigeria of billions of dollars ($6.8 billion) of revenue through the sale of crude oil below the market value. The case is as good as ended. At the worst case, some people might get sacked and they are free. Fresh people appointed and the looting continues.

The national assembly consumes 25% of the nation’s total overhead budget as rightly stated by the current CBN governor. An association of not up to 600 persons consumes 25% of the budget meant for over 160 million people. This is where the change should start. Being in the state and national assembly should be a part time work and not a career (as it’s currently done in Nigeria). STOP CONSTITUENCY ALLOWANCE, SITTING ALLOWANCE AND PLACE THEM ON MINIMUM WAGE!!! If the people own a country, then they should be better positioned to dictate what happens there in. 1 Million naira gross income per month for Senators, 750,000 for House of Representatives and 450,000 for State House of Assembly members!!!!!. If and when this is implemented, then we will definitely see and feel the change in all facets of nation building.

A member of federal House of Representatives packs several hundred thousand dollars under his mallam cap, yet he walks tall and freely. I won’t be amazed if some people call him a statesman too. After all, some certain individuals who breathe same polluted air with us could say that DSP Alamieyeseigha should be pardoned and allowed to contribute to nation building. Some even said he’s now remorseful. This sounds just like comic relief, but it actually happened. Of course, he was pardoned by the type of government we have. Please, don’t be surprised if you see him in the political scene soon.

A country where it’s financial watch dog EFCC and ICPC have turned to mere spectators to the happenings in all sectors of the country.

These days we celebrate rogues and people who have generally failed to impact positively in our country. National honors are shared between the rogues and failures, except for a very few. Have we immortalized 'Taiwo Akinkumi', the man that designed our national flag? What of John A. Ilechukwu, Eme Etim Akpan, B. A. Ogunnaike, Sota Omoigui and P.O. Aderibigbe, those that their lyrics were used to compose the national anthem? This is just to mention but a few. Yet when certain self-centered people die, some funny people shout ‘immortalize them’.

Several billion naira is annually allocated to the governors etc as security vote! The real and bitter fact is that, once these security votes still exist in the country for all level of political office holders, the entire nation will NEVER BE SAFE for the average and common Nigerian!!!!

Please, everybody should ponder over these and many more devastating issues we currently encounter and face in our dear and beloved country Nigeria.

Once again, FIX IT or LET IT BREAK.

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