Nigeria1999-2012: The Years Of Failure

Nigeria1999-2012: The Years Of Failure.

Tony Marinho, The Nation



Nigeria1999-2012: The Years Of Failure

What a burden Nigerians are placed under? The burden is too high, the price too great, the benefit too little of being in Nigeria under a ‘unity’ without justice. Our political and economic criminals, like Ibori, have to be exported to London to be convicted. But there are Iboris everywhere in Nigeria, unpunished. Only the Nigerian people pay and are punished for this theft. Instead of taxes, Nigerians deserve ‘citizens’ bonus’ for the stolen money.

Name one benefit of being a Nigerian. O yes, Nigeria buries you well like Dim Emeka Ojukwu-a really great Nigerian. We praise the dead having oppressed them while alive. Where in Nigeria is Ojukwu Highway or university, named while he was alive? It is a strange country where you have to die to live on, while identified criminals and those of questionable character have boulevards, barracks, banquet halls and stadia abused with their name!

Well, Ojukwu is dead of natural causes, RIP. Will the first Nigerian Civil War be finally declared over? Will the victors finally hands off the strangled federation and allow strong regions with a weaker federal centre run with 25%, not 52%, of the budget? The activities of Boko Haram, bombing civilians and destroying schools, are truly instructive and destructive. When all the money given to each state and LGA is added since 1999, every state and LGA received far more than audited infrastructure accounts for. Too much money goes back to the political party hierarchy as direct payments and as inflated, often unexecuted, contracts, in mafia style compulsory gratitude party loyalties like ‘party royalties’ for being in power and election engineering.

The poverty in the North has nothing to do with poor budgetary allocations. During the last 30 years the lopsided state and LGA fiscal allocations and PTF and ETF allocations have guaranteed large excess funds for the North from ‘ethnic’ fiscal mischief. The poverty is from systematic institutionalised theft, not a shortage of funds, with diversion of state and LGA incomes from the federal government by party cadres and government functionaries. Educational, health and agricultural infrastructure and salaries/pensions suffered and they refused to employ and empower indigenous manpower.

Is Boko Haram partly a reaction of this chronic underdevelopment and theft compounded by political mischief? Now schools are now being vengefully destroyed by Boko Haram. Of course, mega-theft is universal, cross-party and cross-ethnic in Nigerian politics.

National Conference – Sovereign or not-, a return to regionalisation, rewriting the military imposed constitution and even splitting and balkanisation beckon as the centenary of Nigeria’s colonially enforced imposed amalgamation approaches in 2014. Disenfranchised Nigerians ask ‘What is so good about Nigeria and being Nigerian that Nigeria should continue?’ Football? The nearly 500 or so ‘elected’ politicians in NASS, to remain relevant in the renewed political debate, must each engage in this new democracy dialogue as participants and not as political masters listening to the ‘stupid people’ or they may soon have no NASS to go back to.

This is not the time for the routine political arrogance of Nigeria’s political class. If so, they risk being sidelined in the coming ‘evolution’ in Nigeria. The old ways are dead and cannot be resurrected. For every Boko Haram person, there are thousands silent but demanding change. Military unity may have forcibly held Nigeria together but it has failed Nigeria by ruining its economy, education and infrastructure and strangled its potential. Now, 13 years of military-led political monopoly, democracy has also almost failed. There must be a new approach to how ‘To Keep Nigeria One’ using love, justice and anti-corruption, not laws or force. Almost every Nigerian of every age is asking if ‘To Keep Nigeria One’ is really a ‘Task that Must Be Done’ in 2012. Of course, your thieving LGA chairman or state governor is not an ‘ethnic foreigner’, so there is trouble ahead, whether Nigeria stays together or is forced apart. The enemy is within your ethnic group. Most Nigerians encounter corruption not in Abuja but in their LGA and state secretariat by their own ethnic group. So breaking up Nigeria will not kill the corruption monster in your LGA. But the threat of a breakup may bring about an equitable Nigeria. It takes 13 years to give us just 4,000Mw when Japan got replacement power for its nuclear plant losses in three months. Nigeria is in permanent crisis but is treated with levity by government which reject internationally available short term emergency measures like solar power to alleviate our suffering.

All Nigerians, especially the truly suffering poverty-struck 112m living on less than $1/day, should please note that the current oil price is light crude $108 and Brent $126/barrel. This is 40- 70% higher than the budget price of about $70/barrel. At 2.5+mbd that is an extra earnings of $33-51/barrel or $82-127m/day nearly an extra dollar a day per Nigerian. Assuming a 10% cost of oil extraction/production Nigeria should make an extra, unbudgeted, $70-110m/day or N10.5- 16.5 billion/day. Nigeria is not poor. If it was poor could Abacha, Ibori, the N16b pension thieves and 10,000 others ‘thieving Fellow Nigerians’, all sworn to service, steal or mismanage 50% of the budgets at all levels and Nigeria still survive? God keeps making us wealthy but the ‘Thieving Fellow Nigerians’ keep us poor. So why is Nigeria borrowing from the WB or IMF? Let Nigeria lend itself this new ‘Third oil windfall’ money before the money disappears again.


Tony Marinho, The Nation


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