Blog, Diaspora Diary.

Diaspora Diary: Why You Should Emigrate.

We are not going to make progress. We are not going to develop. We will not be secure. We will remain poor. These are not curses. They are the most highly probable consequences of our social paradigms. Almost mathematically certain. No amount of prayers will stop this. ~Ayo Sogunro Before I write the 2nd instalment of American Wonder please permit me to do this important piece cum pitch. I know I shouldn’t be writing about politics in our Diaspora Diary, but let’s conveniently categorise this as a sociopolitical topic. The above quote from Dr Ayo Sogunro was part of his reaction to the debate over Tinubu’s certificate scandal, and you can read his entire tweet here. This story was specifically captioned to catch your attention, but I hope it will also persuade you to reflect and act. There are countless reasons why Nigeria will not make progress, but here is a poignant one, so read on. I recently met a wise guy in Vegas who aligned with the Sogunro’s position and illustrated it by analysing his experience in Nigeria before migrating to God’s own country. Here goes! The 62-year-old man holds a degree in Business Administration and worked as a banker for 22 years in Nigeria after about a decade of job hunting. He finally decided to check out like Andrew at 49 when he visited America in 2010. During that vacation, his interaction with old mates revealed that these guys were making steady progress while the reverse was his case back home. How you may ask. Here is the thing. Rising through promotions and salary increments in the bank, he attained a managerial position by 2004 and thought he had arrived. Who wouldn’t think so? A bank manager is an enviable achievement anywhere in the world. Well to the less ambitious folks, not necessarily our guy. While in the US, he discovered that his mates were able to set targets and meet them because they had stability in their chosen vocations. Consequently, they achieved more in terms of wealth, academics, and self-development. Particularly the last for this simple reason; Self-development doesn’t depend on money but if you attain a certain level of financial stability, you are more likely to start thinking about developing yourself and others. It was then that a stark realisation hit him like a ton of bricks. As he progressed in rank and salary, he was actually getting poorer in real terms because the combination of inflation and incessant devaluation of the naira continuously eroded his purchasing power. His situation was akin to the classic Fela hit ODOO ( Overtake Don Overtake Overtake) where the Afrobeat legend sang about a man who was saving to buy a fan. Go and look up the lyrics. Our guy told me that when he landed in God’s own country, he started as a gas station cashier in Atlanta while his wife did some courses and joined the healthcare sector. Having saved up some funds after 2 years, they moved to Vegas where he partnered with a friend to start valeting. Today, he owns a valeting agency and a vehicle salvage business. He said that in less than 10 years, he achieved more in America than he did in over 2 decades as a banker back home. When he finished his story he concluded thus; “Nigeria go survive is a soundtrack we started singing since childhood. Check am bro. The 70s was better than the 80s and the 80s was better than the 90s, it just keeps getting worse. Nigeria will not develop as it is PRESENTLY STRUCTURED. Anyone who tells you otherwise is deceiving you. It is better to go where you will make progress because you have only one life to live.” There and then I was reminded of another wise man, my good friend Tony Alika Igwebuike who told me in 2016 that the real value of the naira would be around N1000 to a dollar. That’s a story for another day but of course, he has been vindicated. Now it’s not as if there aren’t successful people in Nigeria, after all, Dangote, Otedola, Elumelu et al made it so why can’t you? The devil’s in the details if you ask me. But I can bet those three would have more than tripled their wealth if they put in the same effort and leveraged similar patronage in saner climes. The food for thought, however, is why the tech gurus who develop innovative solutions for real-life problems are now richer than merchants and bankers in the Western world. For my friends who will mockingly ask why I suddenly realised this after supporting Buhari. Well, some of us hoped that Buhari would at least start reducing the cost of governance, curb the insecurity, and improve our infrastructure. Those areas are supposedly his forte, or so they claimed. His record did not include economic prosperity. Unfortunately, he failed woefully in all areas. And yes including infrastructural development viz a viz the borrowing/implementation indices. Again I’m sorry to disappoint my other friends with an unpopular fact: If you give Peter Obi 16years he will not perform magic. The best he can achieve is some prudence in Aso Villa. I believe that the Peter I know will not sign off billions for Aso Rock kitchen and that’s actually a good start considering the rot in our system. But that’s about where it ends. He can’t possibly sanitise the entire executive controlled by a monumentally corrupt civil service. Then of course he wouldn’t dare the legislators because more than anyone he knows that would definitely end in his impeachment. You all know I’ve been an optimistic promoter of Nigeria. But who would have known that after 8 years of living abroad on earnings in naira, yours truly will need a job to sustain himself? Is €=N1056 a joke to you? My dear friend, I’m now satisfied to contribute my quota to the development of our country from the diaspora. I’m neither optimistic nor pessimistic rather I remain hopeful. If any administration delivers any form of progress in the future, I will rejoice

Blog, Opinion Articles, Writers

Subsidy Brouhaha And The Way Forward by Solomon Ekoja

After the last general election that ushered in the Government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, I never for once thought the country would receive a surprise package during the inauguration speech. Since I wasn’t invited to attend the occasion at the Eagles Square in Abuja, I glued to my radio set and internet facility to catch a glimpse of proceedings. As I followed the salutation and other nitty gritty of the speech, this part hit me like a volcano… ”We commend the decision of the outgoing administration in phasing out the petrol subsidy regime, which has increasingly favoured the rich more than the poor. Subsidy can no longer justify its ever-increasing costs in the wake of drying resources. We shall instead, re-channel the funds into better investment in public infrastructure, education, health care and jobs that will materially improve the lives of millions.” This was not what the majority of Nigerians expected to hear. For me, the news hit me considering the economic situation of the time. After the speech, fuel stations in my town, which had been selling their products the previous day, shut their gates and stopped selling. When they later resumed sale, a litre of fuel skyrocketed to 500 naira to the amazement of many Nigerians. Although the removal of the subsidy on fuel has tremendous benefits to the nation’s economy, the manner in which it was done showed a lack of empathy and consideration for the common Nigerian. As I joined my peers to discuss the issue, the majority were of the opinion that it was an ill-timed policy while a few hailed the decision as a bold step in the right direction. On my path, I believe the removal of the subsidy was good but should have been done in phases to cushion the effect on Nigerians.  In phase one, public services like public transport facilities, government-owned pump stations and local refineries should have been first set up before the partial removal of the subsidy for six months. Thereafter, phase two would have involved the granting of friendly licences to business tycoons to woo them into the local refining of crude oil to create competition. With this achieved, fuel subsidy would have been removed completely without much hassle. The above idea would have created a balance in the economy and assisted Nigerians to seamlessly adapt to the change. Well, the bathtub is already dirty but we can’t afford to throw the baby away with the dirty water. Hence, the need to analyse the effects of the subsidy removal and proffer a way forward. Positive effects *The major gain of removing the subsidy is the freeing of resources for other sectors of the economy. According to the Presidency, Nigeria was able to save $1.32 billion since May 2023 after the subsidy removal. The fear among Nigerians however is whether the funds will be judiciously used to cater for the populace. *The subsidy removal also acted as an incentive for domestic refineries to produce more petroleum products and shift the attention of our economy from importation. *With each state earmarked to receive aid and other palliatives from the Federal government to cushion the effects of the subsidy removal, more job opportunities have opened up, especially in the transport industry. *Through the subsidy removal, there will be a reduction in the yearly budget needed to run the affairs of the country. This will help the country to cut down the cost of governance. *On a funny note, the removal of subsidy has increased the level of daily exercise among Nigerians. Before the subsidy removal, Nigerians especially those in the working class found it difficult to exercise themselves through trekking but with the subsidy removal, many are resorting to trekking and bicycle use for short distance trips. Negative effects *Due to the subsidy removal, there has been an exponential increase in the prices of petroleum products. A litre of fuel now goes for around 600 naira as against 185 naira. The ripple effect of this has caused inflation and reduced the purchasing power of consumers. *Social vices, crimes and protests have become the order of the day since the removal of fuel subsidy. With many Nigerians unemployed in the midst of the current hardship, they are tempted out of a quest for survival to be involved in activities capable of frustrating the peace of the nation. *The subsidy removal has reduced the standard of living of many Nigerians as many now scavenge to survive. *There is an increased rate of mortality among Nigerians in current times. Since people don’t have enough to pay for their health care, they succumb to death in the process. The way forward *Since the fuel subsidy removal increased the cost of living for many Nigerians, there is a need for the government and employers of labour to increase the minimum wage of workers to enable Nigerians to cope with life. *Friendly petroleum refining licences should be granted to investors to boost local production and make crude oil products readily available for all. This competition in the long run will lead to a reduction in the prices of petroleum products. *Government-owned petroleum station needs to be built across all communities in Nigeria to take the products closer to the common person. When this is done, the managers of these stations should be discouraged from hoarding the products but encouraged to sell at fair rates. *Alternative means of transportation like electricity and solar-powered cars and trains should be made available for Nigerians. This will help in shifting our focus from petroleum products to renewable energy thereby, reducing climate change and creating environmentally friendly jobs. *The provision of social amenities like schools and hospitals should become a priority for the government in this era of fuel subsidy removal. This could be achieved through the rechannelling of money saved from the subsidy to the above-mentioned areas to make life comfortable for Nigerians. *Since wants are insatiable, Nigerians should be taught about how to use limited resources to

Blog, Opinion Articles, Writers

Notes On Nigeria by Victor Oladejo

“The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. There is nothing basically wrong with the Nigerian character…” Chinua Achebe ( The trouble with Nigeria). Writing about Nigeria is a duty if not a burden for Nigerian writers, we do this at a point in our lives, at times with articles, discussions with friends at meetings, with our social media handles ( for netizens like me), whatever way we choose to tell the story of a land filled with honey yet plagued with unending mysteries called Nigeria, we are contributing to her stories, a map for patriots to seek out whenever they try to get a grip on their beloved country. This essay is my little contribution and I would try not to mix it with my sentiments as best as possible. Whenever the question: what is wrong with Nigeria comes up in my discussion with people, I love to pitch my tent with Achebe, hence the quote at the entrance of this essay. The leaders are the problems of the country, why? This question can only be answered by the archives of history. In 1914, the southern and northern protectorates formed Nigeria, this decision was taken by the then-British lords and a few native people, on behalf of a people from different backgrounds, religions, and ancestry. The question at this juncture is: was the regional system of government practiced before on a good course for the people? Yes, the evidence is there to serve as answers, the exponential growth of each region on their resources and pace. However, as I said earlier, the leaders of this land in their “wisdom” decided to create a new path, a journey filled with potholes and a marriage that shouldn’t have existed in the first place. Nigeria became Independent from British Colonial rule in 1960, the country became the envy of the world. Predictions poured in from all corners and a dream of a greater country formed in the minds of Nigerians. These dreams however became a nightmare when the military coup of January 15, 1966, took place. This coup however was interpreted differently by the citizens, the greater part of the populace agreed that it ended the corrupt leaders of the country, while the other parts believed it had another agenda which was tribe related. There is no doubt it was tagged an Igbo coup. Either way, it gave birth to other coups which eventually led to the civil war. The Nigerian civil war which lasted from 1967 to 1970 was a scene of casualties by military machinery and manpower, targeted destruction of properties, and the weaponized starvation of the Igbo people of the then Biafra. The war in its wake, became a dark spot on the already soiled dress of the relationship between the major tribes: Yoruba, Igbo, and Hausa. This spot would spread into the fabric of Nigeria and mould the trajectory of governance in the country. We would agree that the leadership system of Nigeria would learn from her dark past and seek out a new path of governance for her people, but the reverse was the case. Many will argue that Gowon tried to rebuild burnt bridges but how true is that claim? The payment of 20 euros to a part of the Igbo population who had just left the ruins of war is a great example of his failure, this in no measure slowed down the progress of these people as they struggled to start all over again. The Gowon government recorded a rise in corruption among the military officers which in many ways contributed to the emergence of Muritala Mohammed in a bloodless coup. The Murtala regime however was short-lived, and from here, there were changes from military to civilian rule as Nigeria strived to find a balance. I won’t dwell much on these changes because I prefer to discuss civilian governments that are relevant to where we are in Nigeria today. President Obasanjo was the first democratically elected president in 1999, the government based on projects and policies is said to be one of the most successful governments in Nigeria, however, there were flaws in this government, one of which is the response to the crisis of attacks by militants in the Niger Delta on oil installations. The Obasanjo in 2006 declared a state of emergency in the region and military actions that affected the civilians and the hunted militants continued until late 2009 when amnesty was introduced. The effect of the mismanagement of the crisis aside from crippling the economy to an extent contributed to a rise in militancy in the region which Umar Yaradua inherited in his government. The political climate during Umar Musa Yar’adua was a peaceful one save for the management of the militancy in the Niger Delta region admits other issues, the continuation of the amnesty program is a commendable part of his policies, the Freedom of Information Act also created a sense of transparency in his government, however, his reign was short-lived and we were ushered into a very dark rollercoaster. After the death of President Yar’ adua, his vice: Goodluck Ebele Jonathan took over, but his government was plagued with different roadblocks some of which were a fall in oil revenue, poverty, and corruption at its peak. It is this government that we witnessed the infamous Diezeni Allison-Madueke, the minister of petroleum who embezzled over $ 20 billion dollars based on missing funds from the oil sector, inflated contracts, and kickbacks from oil companies. This government’s weight on the Nigerians’ necks led to their call for a messiah party, which APC ( All Progressive Congress) tried to fill by contesting in the 2015 general elections. President Mohammed Buhari’s government lasted for eight years, which was characterised by a rise in poverty, insecurity, insurgency and corruption at its peak. The call for a savior arose once again and at this point, I participated for the first time in a significant political decision of this country.

Blog, Opinion Articles, Writers

The Blame Game Analysis by Solomon Ekoja

Before independence from Great Britain, the majority of the blame regarding the turbulence of the country was directed at our Colonial masters. It’s been over sixty years since they left but our turbulence as a nation has continued unabated. Who then should be blamed for the turbulent journey of Nigeria? Bad weather, the citizens or the leaders. As a mathematician, I would like to approach this discussion by appropriating percentages in order to properly highlight the contribution of the players. Leadership In my analysis, forty-five per cent of the blame goes to the leadership cadre of the country. A leader is supposed to be a person who leads a group of people to achieve a common goal but unfortunately, this can’t be said about the crop of leaders in Nigeria. After our independence in 1960, the mantle of leadership was handed over to our founding fathers. Many countries envied our envisaged predicted progress but in a jiffy, the military staged a coup that dislodged the country. The coup happened because of corruption by officials, the Western Nigeria crisis, the intention to install Awolowo as the Head of State, the domino effect from coups outside Nigeria and the personal ambition of the coup plotters. One begins to imagine how corruption found its way into the system to the extent that the army had to conduct a series of massacres to oust their government. This stunted us because sanctions from the Western world limited our progress. When the military assumed office, many thought they would be saints capable of transforming the nation. Unfortunately, they were not. Seven months after the Aguyi Ironsi was installed, northern officers who labelled the previous coup as an Igbo coup coupled with the fear that “the Igbos were getting too big for their boots” staged a counter-coup. General Yakubu Gowon being in power stirred the affairs of the country during a crude oil boom. During this period, Nigeria made a lot of money to the extent the leaders did not know how to spend it. If the leadership was visionary, it should have taken steps to plan for the future like the Arab nations. Agitations from the Eastern region soon resulted in a civil war that claimed millions of lives and properties. This brought the country to a standstill and caused a great setback to our development. Gowon had promised to hand over power to civilian rule but started playing games with the handover. This prompted General Murtala Muhamed who felt cheated for masterminding the counter-coup to stage a bloodless coup. Immediately he took over power, he was regarded as but some power-drunk soldiers who also wanted to taste power, unfortunately, killed the reformer. General Obasanjo took over power and after conducting an election, Alhaji Shehu Shagari became the first democratically elected president of the country. During his tenure, he made agriculture, industry, housing and transportation the major economic goals of his administration. His “green revolution” increased nationwide agricultural productivity but due to staggering corruption, insecurity and indiscipline as claimed by Major General Buhari, his government was toppled. This move truncated the flow of democracy and landed us with sanctions. The military government of Buhari truly reduced the cost of governance, instilled discipline and fought corruption but it was marred by human rights abuses that negatively affected our development trajectory. This contributed to his overthrow by General Babaginda who conducted an annulled election that has continued to haunt the nation. When power was given to the interim government of Ernest Shonekon, General Abacha forcefully received power. His government was characterized by massive corruption, state-sponsored murder and assassinations. Historical records also reveal that there were full-blown cases of corruption during the reign of the military. This implies that only the khaki differentiated them from politicians in Agbada. After our return to democratic rule in government, the country has continued to enjoy trickles of progress accompanied by a windfall of corruption. Money meant for the upkeep of the public continued to be laundered by a select few occupying the corridors of leadership. The leaders who should have been servants have turned the table around to be served. No wonder, billions of naira are spent to cater for the National Assembly while ordinary citizens grapple to feed. When a country borrows money for development, they use the funds judiciously but in our case, our leaders borrow money for laundering purposes that keep generations unborn in perpetual debt. Citizens On the part of the citizens, I wish to apportion thirty per cent of the blame to them. Although these groups of people don’t occupy leadership positions where they can make impactful decisions, their daily activities have continued to hamper the progress of our dear nation. During election periods when credible leaders are supposed to be elected, many citizens join forces with greedy leaders to frustrate the electoral process. Thugs for instance who steal ballot boxes and cause mayhem during elections are from the citizen pool. Their activities continue to deny the country from electing trustworthy leaders with the capacity to stir the country in the right direction. Closely related to this is the issue of corruption among citizens. Many Nigerians engage in corrupt practices daily to the detriment of the country. Citizens for personal gain at the detriment of the nation, illegally mine natural resources like petroleum, gold and coal. This short change reduces our revenue and makes us resort to borrowing. As one flips through the international news headlines, it is not uncommon to hear about Nigerian citizens being arrested for crimes like smuggling, trafficking and cyber-crimes. All these activities give the nation a bad name and often discourage the foreign community from investing in Nigeria. During the last administration, there were reports about the vandalization of rail tracks in order to get peanuts to the detriment of the smooth running of the transport industry. In spite of the security architecture of the country, insecurity has continued to thrive because of the involvement of the citizens. Banditry and Boko

Blog, Opinion Articles, Writers

Nigeria’s Turbulent Journey: Who is to Blame? by Chukwuemeka Oluka

This journey traces a trajectory from ‘Yesterday,’ through ‘Today,’ with a sneak peek into a destination, ‘Tomorrow.’ It is a journey of the most populous black nation on earth with over 200 million people comprising ethnically diverse nationalities trying to define their existence. This work presents an inflective introspection, appraisal and interrogation of Nigeria’s journey from 1960 since it gained independence. What have been the milestones, the failures, and the lessons learnt? Is there any hope for a better tomorrow? These remain the burning questions the writer seeks to answer. Going down memory lane, Nigeria was formed in 1914 when Lord Frederick Lugard amalgamated the Northern and Southern protectorates. This merger brought together over 250 ethnic divides and tribes into a British colony, and the name, ‘Nigeria’ was birthed. In 1960, Nigeria gained independence from British colonization and in 1966, the country experienced military coups that inadvertently overthrew a democratic government. This led to a civil war between the years 1967 to 1970. The death of over a million people during the Biafran — Nigerian civil war would remain a scar on the country’s history. As we capture this event dotting our memory lane, Nigeria is still battling to maintain its unity, with various ethnic groups. While some seek secession, others call for the restructuring of the country. Another dark side of our history was the annulment of the June 12, 1993 Presidential elections and the takeover of power by General Sanni Abacha’s military junta. Afterwards, advocacies and the national feeling and empathy at the time was for the Yoruba tribe to produce the next president in order to assuage them or smoothen already ruffled feathers for the woes that befell their kinsman, M.K.O Abiola. So, the herald of democracy in 1999 brought on board President Olusegun Obasanjo. Deservedly, the return to civilian rule during Obasanjo’s second tenure brought a noticeable transformation to the economy of Nigeria. There were debt cancellations, the massive transformation of the telecommunications industry and also the banking sector. As a result, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country stood head and shoulders above the rest in Africa and some analysts attributed the economic successes to the favourable international (crude) oil market at the time. The same economic mileages were recorded during the late President Umar Yar’adua and his successor, Goodluck Jonathan. However, a myriad of problems which include, bad leadership, dwindling oil revenues, extreme poverty, pervasive corruption, insecurity, divisive politics, ethnic strife and feuds continue to threaten our collective journey as a country. Political observers believe there remain North-South tensions foisted from the British colonial era and backed by the allegations of colonial favouritism towards Northern Nigeria. To these observers, the North’s numerical strength and massive landmass advantage mean other regions would continue to cry and wail about marginalization. There is no denying that at no time has the nation been so divided along ethnic and religious lines than today. Economic, ethnic, cultural and religious tensions which were the precursor of the three-year bloodshed during the civil war still stare us in the face. Yet, it appears we are in a hurry not to pick lessons from the war. President Muhammadu Buhari during his inauguration speech following the 2015 presidential election had said, ‘I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody.’ This statement suggested a disposition to foster an inclusive government. The expectation was for Buhari to further unite the country, but to the chagrin of many, the reverse became the case. It’s alleged that since independence, no president has mismanaged Nigeria’s rich ethnic and religious diversity like Buhari. From visible lopsided appointments, which seemingly favoured a particular section of the country, to the treatment of the Fulani herdsmen crisis with kid’s gloves, one cannot but conclude that President Buhari’s government smacked of strong parochial sentiments. Tellingly, there has never been any time the call for a break-up and self-determination has been this rife. While the Yoruba separatist leader, Sunday Igboho champions the course for a Yoruba nation, Nnamdi Kanu the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has refused to back down on the demand for a Biafra state. Similar agitations can also be identified within the Ijaw Nation down South. Under Buhari’s regime and having risen to power on the campaign to fight endemic corruption and insecurity in Nigeria, this double-edged sword of a problem kept defying the odds and threatening our journey. From the Boko-Haram insurgency in the North-East, to rural banditry in the North-West; from unknown gun-men attacks in the South-East to militancy in the Niger-Delta to herdsmen attacks in the North-Central and South-West regions, the story remains unabated. Security sector corruption has inadvertently led to the rising insecurity facing the country; brought about by the secrecy, bribery and corruption shrouding most Arms deals. How about elections in Nigeria? They are rarely free, fair and credible. This is why there are a lot of post-election litigations to challenge electoral rascalities or to retrieve stolen mandates. One may ask; Are the courts rising to the occasion in this direction? The Presidential Elections Petitions Tribunal that just delivered a ruling on Wednesday 6th September, 2023 readily comes to mind. Our democracy is seemingly threatened if the Judiciary wittingly or unwillingly allows themselves to be used by desperate politicians to legitimise their positions. The processes from which our leaders emerge have therefore become fundamentally flawed. Voters complain of intimidation and suppression, and these are stoked by ethnic tensions. These were the hallmarks of what characterized the 2023 general elections. Against the odds, however, sixty-two (62) years of this turbulent journey means Nigeria can still lay claim to over two (2) decades of uninterrupted democracy from 1999 till date. An opportunity presents itself for the country to go back to the drawing board with a view to forge the future our founding fathers envisaged. The greater responsibility lies with the present government to work towards an inclusive government and participation. The task before President Bola Ahmed Tinubu (if he conquers finally in the

Blog, On This Day

Nigerian government forces attacked the breakaway Republic of Biafra

On this day 1967: Nigerian government forces launched an attack on the breakaway Republic of Biafra 5 weeks after its secession to trigger a 30-month armed conflict during which an estimated 3 million people perished in what is now known as the Nigerian civil war. Post-independence Nigeria remained divided by political, economic, ethnic, cultural and religious tensions. It came to a head with the 1964 election being marred with fraud. Violence erupted in the western and northern parts of the country forcing many to flee. On 15 January 1966, Majors Ifeajuna and Nzeogwu led others in a coup and killed leading public figures including Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa and the Premier of the northern region, Ahmadu Bello. However, President, Nnamdi Azikiwe survived as he was on vacation in the West Indies. But the coup was crushed by the leader of the military General Aguiyi Ironsi. And by 16 January 1966 most of the plotters except Ifeajuna who fled the country surrendered. Ironsi, however, failed to try them expeditiously according to military tradition. Ironsi’s delay further deepened the widespread belief in the north that the coup was carried out by Igbos to supplant the Northern-dominated power structure with him. On July 29 1966, northern soldiers struck in a counter-coup and killed Ironsi. Yakubu Gowon emerged the head of state but then came the pogrom in which thousands of Igbos were massacred in the north which still held resentment over the killing of their leaders. Gowon promised to secure Igbo lives but failed repeatedly as Igbos were continually killed in numbers. Consequently, on May 30, 1967, Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu and other non-Igbo representatives of the Eastern region established the Republic of Biafra. Many diplomatic efforts failed to reunite the country, and on & July 1967 Nigeria launched an offensive against Biafra.

Blog, Resources

In The Netherlands, You Get Much More Than A Degree.

Many do not know how beautiful The Netherlands is, I know much has been written about the Dutch capital city of Amsterdam with its fabulous red light district and their cycling culture, but there is so much more to that wonderful country and I can tell you that it is better experienced than heard. Now, why study in the lovely little kingdom? At an average of about €8,000 per annum, tuition for non-EU students is much lower than about €15000 which is the average in the United Kingdom. What’s more, some of the courses are taught in English. In addition, you get to study in a harmonious environment and one of the most culturally diverse countries in Europe. Additionally, the cost of living in the Netherlands is comparatively lower than in other western nations of the same standard. On average, a student will need between €800 and €1,000 per month. To fund this, you can combine part-time jobs and study finance. You can also enjoy discounted rates on many public amenities and sometimes there is free public transportation for students either during the week or at weekends. So you see, you get much more than a degree when you study in The Netherlands. You can explore further here or send a mail to with NETHERLANDS STUDY as the subject and we will be glad to assist you with the requisite resources. Now here is a bonus FACT: Norwegian, Swedish & Dutch are among the easiest languages for English speakers to learn. Many Universities in EU countries have free/affordable tuition but many Nigerian students don’t know this. You can learn any of these languages online and with a recent ruling by the EU Court of Justice that the European Commission cannot restrict the choice of a second language to English, German, or French in its recruitment process your chances of landing a job are even greater if you are proficient in any other European language.  

Blog, Essays, Opinion Articles, Writers

The Igbo — Yoruba Mistrust by Chukwuemeka Oluka

There is no way one can write on the Igbo — Yoruba mistrust without opening some healed wounds. Sadly, this is what the essay will do. In the end, however, the writer provides enough collagen to help the wounds heal and then help to avoid the sustenance of more wounds. Highlighted in this essay is the role of principal actors (between the Igbo and Yoruba) in the civil war, and how previous working agreements and the attempts to have a ‘handshake’ between the two tribes collapsed. The essay also explores how ethnicity was used in the 2023 general elections in Lagos to widen the growing mistrust between the Igbo and Yoruba. There is always a complicated blame game between the Igbo and Yoruba, and one that is as old as pre-independence. History witnessed the intrigues and drama. This blame game has inadvertently led to a level of mistrust that has continued to alienate the Igbo and Yoruba, making the prospect of any beautiful political marriage a mirage. The fallout of Biafra — Nigeria civil war meant that the Igbos are always in a hurry to describe their southern brothers, the Yoruba as betrayers. There is the allegation that the Yoruba failed to secede from Nigeria as purportedly agreed during a meeting between Obafemi Awolowo and Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. These two arguably were the symbolism of the Yoruba tribe and the Igbo tribe. That allegation held that instead, Awolowo joined forces with General Yakubu Gowon the then Head of state to fight Biafra, as he (Awolowo) was the brain behind the use of starvation as a weapon to destroy Ndigbo during the war that occurred from 1967 to 1970. This is one side of the coin. Another side of the coin maintained that during the meeting between Awolowo and Ojukwu, what the premier of the Western region said was that “if the Igbo were ‘driven’ out of Nigeria, the Yoruba would take it seriously and reassess their own position.” With this, the Yoruba would absolve themselves of any accusation of betrayal. Yet, what is certain was that Awolowo came to Enugu, after which Ojukwu declared Biafra, which later led to the civil war. The Yoruba would also turn around and accuse the Igbo of first betraying them, laying pointers to the 1965 elections of the first republic. In that election, the Yoruba alleged that the West and the East had agreed to boycott the election. While the Yoruba kept to their side of the bargain, the Igbo went ahead to vote. However, some political observers say that the National Council of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC) which were in power at the time in the East faced a dilemma, which was either to boycott the election — (that saw the Federal Government-powered Nigerian National Democratic Party NNDP of Akintola which was opposed to the then mainstream Action Group AG) — and lose power or to play along and stay in power. The observers said the Igbo looked at political reality and then chose to hold on to power. This, according to the observers should cut the Igbo some form of slack in the blame game. In another twist of blame, the Yoruba have accused the Igbo of never trusting them. They say the South-East always preferred to form an alliance with the North, even when the Yoruba extended their hands. The Yoruba would site an instance where a joint government between Zik’s NCNC and Awolowo’s AG, offered by Awolowo was jettisoned by Zik. In that arrangement, Awolowo conceded for Zik to be the Prime Minister while he would become the finance minister. Recall also that the Sardauna (Sir Ahmadu Bello) had also offered an alliance to Zik. This deal eventually saw (Tafawa) Balewa become the Prime Minister while Zik became the President. In the defence of Zik’s decision, it is opined that he had more of a Nationalist inclination and disposition in his decision, in that he felt that an alliance with Awolowo would be judged as a Southern alliance. Another defence was that Zik sensed some form of double play by the Yoruba because at the time Awolowo, who was the Premier of the Western Region offered the alliance to Zik, a principal actor in the West (AG) Ayo Rosiji, was also patronizing sir Ahmadu Bello in the North (NPC). Some would wonder, why would an alliance even work when in the 1951 Western House of Assembly election, Zik aspired to be the premier but some Yoruba allies in the NCNC dramatically cross-carpeted and teamed up with Awolowo’s AG leading to him becoming the Premier. These interplays of accusations and allegations meant that the two tribes would continue to demonize each other and the consequences of the hate-filled exchanges continue to haunt the two tribes. Just in the recently concluded 2023 general elections witnessed in Lagos, we all saw how ethnicity was deployed as a weapon to execute the elections. Hurtful and hateful words became catchphrases used by miscreants on the streets of Lagos and the ‘vawulence’ streets of Twitter. The zenith of it all was during the 2023 governorship election. Lagos became the centre of attention for its attempts at vilifying Ndigbo for holding contrary political positions. Social miscreants known as ‘Area Boys’ allegedly instigated by certain political heavyweights, attacked Igbo-dominated areas of Lagos. It was alleged that their grouse against the Igbo was their inability to vote for the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Recall that Tinubu, the godfather of Lagos politics lost at ‘home’ to Mr Peter Obi the candidate of the Labour Party (LP) during the February 25th, 2023 Presidential elections. It was unheard of because many didn’t imagine that such a feat could be reached by Obi. After Tinubu lost to Obi in Lagos, barely five days before the gubernatorial election, nine governorship candidates stepped down and declared support for the incumbent Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of the APC. Political analysts say the Labour Party may have instilled some level of fear into the ruling APC. Somehow, Mr

Blog, Diaspora Diary., FEATURES

Diaspora Diary: Creating The Spiderweb.

It only takes one person to mobilize a community and inspire change. Even if you don’t feel like you have it in you, it’s in you. You have to believe in yourself. People will see your vision and passion and follow you. ~Teyonah Parris   Scene 1: We gathered for a BBQ at a friend’s stately new home at a quiet estate located in the northwest region of England. Seated in the garden on the day were 7 Nigerian men. Some had flown in from other European cities while others drove down from other parts of the UK. While we feasted on the barbecue and drinks the conversation shifted to the usual topic about happenings back home. Following the usual lamentations one of us stated that he may NEVER step into Nigeria again. He wasn’t alone in that line of cerebration. Another friend echoed his sentiments and added that he had instructed his uncle to sell off his village land and share the proceeds with his cousin. I was a little perplexed. Not because this was new to me but because I usually hear it from struggling diasporans and JJCs. My guys are none of these. They are worthy and successful professionals in their respective fields. Why would they say this? I always believed that prosperous Nigerians in the diaspora owe the country the duty of regular visits. Either to see relatives or to contribute to her development. This should be more so for those of us that lived there during our formative years. My friends would go on to explain the reasons behind their decision and of course, the rising insecurity topped the chart. One told of his harrowing experience in the hands of kidnappers along the notorious Benin axis on his last visit back in 2017. Another narrated how a police officer threatened him at gunpoint over vehicle particulars. Insecurity, insecurity, insecurity… Scene 2: A few days into the new year and my phone rang one early morning. My friend who lives about 90 minutes away wanted to visit later in the day. He has just returned after his late mum’s funeral in Nigeria. I ran off to the local African shop and bought pounded yam for the Nsala soup my wife had made the previous day. So when he arrived we got into you guessed right; the usual discussion! He decried the worsening situation since his last visit 5 years ago. I heard about how the funeral had to be fixed in a hurry and so soon after his mum’s demise because of the uncertainties that often mark our general elections. They had to mobilise personnel from the police, DSS and the navy to ensure adequate security for the duration of their stay in the village. There was frustration with the funeral organisers while some of the locals extorted the family not minding their bereavement. At the bank, a cashier wasted over 30 minutes on a transaction and added to his indignation by asking him to “search for a superior who may have gone outside”. By the time he was leaving later in the evening, my friend divulged that his itinerary in the coming weeks involved two house-hunting trips to southern France and the Andalucian region of Spain. A befitting retirement home will have to be somewhere warmer that the temperate British Isles where he had lived all these years. Scene 3: While writing the first two scenes I remembered another US-based friend who started a business back in 2016. Before then we had discussed investing in Nigeria to create employment with another stream of income that can be efficiently and remotely run. The business can then grow into branches nationwide. He actually started before me and opened the pharmaceutical store in the federal capital. However, he was forced to close down after what he termed as “too many stories from his staff”. Employees entrusted with running the business were lousy and repeatedly made little or no returns. My guy just closed shop and focused on his hustle abroad. In my own case, I believe that my extensive business experience in Nigeria and perhaps lady luck are factors that have kept my shop open since 2019. But of course not without the challenges. I had to temporarily close down twice in the first year while the search for a salesperson lasted and subsequently for the pandemic lockdown. There are countless examples like these when the good intention of our brethren abroad are met with frustration that discourage visits and the attendant investment. But we cannot give up on Mama Africa. We must continue to do what we can. Those who may not want to visit can still assist by utilising the power of the internet in providing the opportunity for young Africans to acquire marketable digital skills. By so doing we can create multiple talent pools that diasporans can avail of to invest back home. So you see, it is actually a win-win approach. In the past, I have written about how Africans in the diaspora can help to improve productivity in our homeland. And before then I already started a weekly essay competition to revive a waning literary culture and encourage budding writers. I also created a weekly #SundayPuzzle on Twitter for young people to exercise their brains. To date, we have published more than 1,000 essays from over 50 writers and paid out over N3 million in cash prizes as tokens of encouragement. We now have a growing audience of over 10,000 followers. All thanks to your magnanimous contributions. Beyond these, we have other e-tivities/training on digital skill acquisition and self-development. Some testimonials of our writers can be found here. We are still pushing and we solicit your support/collaboration to reach more youths with this noble initiative. You can become our Patreon or donate via Paypal.  Thanks for reading. Please if you like this story feel free to peruse and share our free content at or follow us on Twitter and Facebook. You

Blog, Opinion Articles, Writers

Climate Change And Nigeria’s Economic Development: A Letter To The Incoming President by Solomon Ekoja

                                                                              78 Shima Gyoh Street,                                                      Gboko,                                                               Benue State.                                                                            Incoming President, Federal Republic of Nigeria. Sir, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NIGERIA’S ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Let me start by congratulating you for the tremendous effort you put in during the campaign period to convince Nigerians about your desire to transform the nation. Your emergence as the president is proof of trust and a testament to the prophecy that “Nigeria will rise again from her slumber to take back her position as the giant of the black race”. Your Excellency, as a concerned youth in the grass root witnessing the travails of Nigerians, I wish to draw your attention to the issue of climate change and its effects on Nigeria’s economic development. According to the World Bank, climate change refers to the significant variation of weather conditions becoming for example warmer, wetter or drier- over several decades or longer. Economic development on the other hand refers to the process by which a nation improves the economic, political and social well-being of its people. Agriculture is one of the most important sectors in Nigeria because it employs over 60% of our citizens and contributes 35% to our GDP. In spite of these revelations, climate change poses a great threat to our economic stability and development. The recent flood across the country for instance led to the loss of thousands of hectares of rice farms and other crops. Statistics from the Federal Government reveal that about 2,504,095 people nationwide were affected. Out of this number, 1,302,589 were displaced, 2,407 were injured and about 603 lives were lost. For farmlands, 108392 hectares were partially damaged while 332327 hectares were damaged. Due to these damages, many businesses were shut leading to economic decline. Workers and professionals too who should have been productively engaged are wasting away in IDP camps. These losses will definitely reduce the income of many Nigerians, exacerbate food scarcity, increase the cost of living and push the country to divert funds that should have been used for developmental projects to import food. In recent times, the unpredictable rainfall patterns across the country have continued to disrupt the supply of electricity. With the economy, depending upon hydroelectricity to operate smoothly, the erratic supply of electricity is frustrating the economic development of the country. In Northern Nigeria, prolonged periods of drought and desertification affects the yield of crops, decreases livestock production, discourages people from working and also fuels wildfires while dust causes respiratory illness that causes deaths annually. This consequently leads to reduced productivity from the region. Nigeria’s wide biodiversity once contributed greatly to her GDP in the past but due to climate change, the reverse is the case presently. Security concerns have heightened over increased competition for natural resources because of climate change. For instance, the shrinkage of the Lake Chad and other water bodies that once provided water for cattle in the North stimulated the transhumance migration of herders towards the Southern part of the country. As they clashed with farmers, it gave rise to the farmer-herdsmen crisis that claimed the loss of lives and properties. Job opportunities that thrive upon good climatic conditions like fishing and beekeeping have decreased in recent times because of climate change. In the riverine areas for instance, many inhabitants depend upon fishing for livelihood but due to the shrinkage of water bodies and ocean heating, the unemployment rate in these areas has risen due to the loss of jobs. The consequent scarcity of labour leads to the mass migration of Nigerians to areas with higher economic fortunes. Climate change also increases the burden of diseases like malaria and cholera, thereby, stretching the limited resources available for the nation’s health sector. For instance, there is a multiplication of tsetse flies within the Southern part of the country. According to the World Health Organization, about 7000-10000 new cases of African trypanosomiasis is recorded annually. It, therefore, means these victims will be unproductive during their illness resulting in the loss of revenue for the country. The abnormal increase in temperature often makes sea water level rise beyond the banks to cause flooding and the death of aquatic organisms. Heat waves according to researches, makes plants like vegetables to misbehave during the production cycle. Tomato for instance contributes greatly to our GDP but due to excess heat because of climate change, the flowers wither and become brittle before falling off the plant. High temperature also impedes the activities of pollinators like bees and butterflies, which contribute greatly to food production yearly. With the average pollination temperature range between 60°F to 90°F, excess heat slows down pollination and makes plants produce deformed yields. For Nigeria to overcome the numerous challenges posed by climate change to the agricultural sector, which employs over 120 million Nigerians, breeders and agricultural scientists across our higher institutions of learning, should be supported to breed crops with the potential to tolerate droughts, resist the impact of flooding and withstand the negative impacts of climate change. Livestock shouldn’t be left out of the breeding programme. Tsetse fly-resistant animals should be bred to boost productivity and increase the nation’s GDP. Furthermore, there is need for dams to be built as reservoirs for excess water in regions where flood persists to

Blog, Opinion Articles, Writers

The Race To Aso Villa: Projections by Obi Trice Emeka

The 2023 election is shaping up to be the most competitive since the return of democracy in 1999 and for first the time, Nigeria is having a valid strong 3-man horse race that might end in a photo finish. The three candidates have what it takes to win the election. Regardless of who wins, motivational speakers will have a lot of lessons to draw from it. A victory for Atiku will speak on persistence, a Tinubu victory will teach long-term planning while Peter Obi will be on the powers of the citizens to make impossibilities possible I have read so many polls for the election predicting different winners. I agree and disagree with some of the contents in the poll. I have gone ahead to conduct my poll, sampling my friends in different states and using my understanding of Nigerian politics. Here is my analysis Runoff I have read many analysts’ project that the election is likely to go to a runoff. Section 134 of the Nigerian constitution spells out the ground for a runoff. For a candidate to win at the presidential poll he or she must score 25% of votes in 24 states. The only candidate I had fears that he might not be capable of winning 1/4 of the votes in 24 states was Peter Obi. But his recent foray into the North Central and also into Christian communities in North East is aimed at eliminating that disadvantage. The candidate of the APC and the PDP will have no problem with getting 25%. Atiku will get 25% in all SS states and also in the 19 northern states. Tinubu will get 25% in SW and all 19 northern states. Once any candidates get 25% of the votes cast in 24 states and get the highest single vote, that candidate is declared the winner. Atiku’s path to victory Atiku has concentrated his election strategy in the north. His strategy is simple: get the bulk votes of Northern Nigeria and grab whatever he can from the South to emerge the winner. Atiku is competing fiercely in the Northwest and may likely win that zone. In the NE he is likely to win Taraba and Adamawa and have a fierce battle with the APC in Bauchi. In the North West, he is being tipped to win Kaduna but will be locked in a fierce battle with the APC in most of the states in North West. In North Central, the only state he might win is Niger state. He will do poorly in the South East. I do not expect him or any candidate to get 25% in the SE. He will also do poorly in the SW except for Osun state. He will not get 25% in all SW states except Osun and Oyo. Atiku will do well in the South-South which is a traditional zone of the PDP. If the South-South turns up for him and he gets the bulk of votes in the North as envisaged then he is on his way to becoming the president of Nigeria Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s path to victory All Tinubu needs to win the 2023 election is to maintain the same path of victory that has worked well for the APC since 2015. Get the chunk of votes in the North West and North East and consolidate with votes from South West. The only problem is that Atiku is driving a northern agenda making victory in the north much more difficult. The obedient movement appears to be strong in the southwest. However, Tinubu is expected to win South West with about 55%. He needs to win by 70-75% to cover up for losses in other zones. He will win all Southwestern states with no problem except for Lagos where he might lose or marginally win. He is expected to do well in North Central, winning Kogi and Kwara. He will come second in Benue and Plateau and will compete to win in Nassarawa and Niger. In the North East, he will take Borno and Yobe with not much stress, and compete fiercely in Bauchi. Gombe and Taraba will be anyone’s game. In the South-South, he will get 25% in Delta, Edo, Bayelsa, Rivers, and Cross Rivers. In the South East, he will not get anything significant. Peter Obi’s path to Victory. For Peter Obi to stand a chance of winning he has to follow the GEJ 2011 strategy; win comprehensively in the South and take whatever he can from the North. However, this will be a difficult task. The southwest is already taken by Tinubu making it a compulsion that he must win the South-South convincingly to stand a chance. The old PDP war horses in the South-South may throw up a surprise. While Peter is expected to win the South East by 95%, he needs to win the South-South by 60% to make the victory in SE count in numbers. Peter is also expected to win Benue and Plateau. He will do well in Nassarawa and will win FCT. However, he is yet to crack North West and the North East. He might get 25% in Kaduna. This is the best I think he can go in North West. In the North East, he has Taraba and Gombe to hope on due to their strong Christian population but I don’t know how far it will go as the other two candidates are expected to do well in the two states. Despite Adamawa having a large Christian population, I expect Atiku to triumph there even within the Christian population. I expect Obi to win Lagos or if he is to lose, marginally Kwankwaso factor Kwankwaso can’t get 25% of the votes cast in 24 states. I am certain that he will not get 25% in any southern state. However, he will win Kano and ensure neither Atiku nor Tinubu gets the Buhari figures in the North West. Traditional Structure v New Structure For years, I have been an advocate of

Blog, Creative Essays, Essays, Writers

A February In Crisis by Chukwuemeka Oluka

February is the month of love, and it is in crisis in Nigeria. Do Nigerians still know what love is all about? Many didn’t even realize the Valentine’s season tiptoed away from them unnoticed. Some would say love is bright; but today, love wears a dim and dull colour in Nigeria. Yes, the naira scarcity and the hike in fuel prices have painted love dark in the hearts of many. Nigerians seemingly did not know what it means to love or to be loved either. The phasing out of some naira notes took effect after January 2023 and the unfortunate economic crises it brought were situated in February — the season of love. Money became scarce. How do you even love when there is no money? So, it was pretty interesting to see how Nigerians expressed their love in the period. How the petrol and naira hardships altered the dynamics remained a wonder anyone would be in a hurry to know. Just like in the iambic pentameter of a typical Shakespearean sonnet, my feeble mind wobbled between bouts of rhythmic uncertainties. I brushed aside these uncertainties that hung lazily in the atmosphere like the harmattan haze. I was determined to begin preparations on time just so I could give my love a valentine’s treat that would live rent-free in the mind. Yes, the valentine’s season was gently creeping in. Banks had started sending me Valentine’s Day texts but wouldn’t give me my money. Yet as the crises generated by the naira redesign policy and fuel price hike deepened, my relationship with her was threatened. Communication between us gradually saw a decline. While I struggled to survive, I was ready to go against the odds to express love. The countdown moved from weeks to days. The love season should never happen to me out of the blue. So, discarding any negativity, I planned to defy the odds to visit the commercial bank in my area. I had heard unfortunate stories linked with the naira scarcity and customers’ experiences with their banks. But I needed money, so, I was to make a cash withdrawal at the automated teller machine (ATM). I knew the naira had morphed into a crunch state, but I was optimistic I would find the naira. When I got into the premises of the bank, I was greeted with a long queue. Everyone looked stressed and tired. Pockets of people were seen discussing as they waited for their turn to either gain access to the banking hall or make a withdrawal at the ATM. Some were on the premises as early as 5:30 am. By merely sweeping my eyes across their faces, I could read their body language. Frustration! Bank customers have stood for hours waiting for one transaction or the other. I learnt the queue had grown long enough before the ATM was eventually pampered to begin dispensing bank notes. I joined the queue notwithstanding. No sooner had I dissolved into the queue than a young lady walked up to me and asked how much I wanted to withdraw. At first, I didn’t give her a face. My mind sprawled through many spaces, racing through distances as I was lost in thought on the tragedies and pain the redesign of the naira notes has brought upon Nigerians. I was doing a mental calculation on how far a daily cash withdrawal limit of N20,000 would go. I needed to fuel my car, pay for some utilities, feed myself and have some reserved in preparation for Valentine’s Day celebration. According to some financial experts, the redesign of the naira notes was a policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to frustrate moneybag politicians who were set to buy votes in the coming elections. Others maintained it was to compel the Nigerian public into cashless transactions. But whether the country’s hugely informal economy will survive the cashless policy remains a topic for another day. Still standing in the queue, I didn’t give the lady any attention at all, not until she said, ‘I over withdrew money and I’m looking for someone to help with some cash in exchange for a mobile money transfer. I was supposed to withdraw N2,000 but I mistakenly punched N20,000 on the ATM button’ She would give me N18, 000 cash and I would transfer the amount to her account. I was shocked! I never knew miracles do happen. Without blinking an eyelid, I obliged her immediately and she handed me eighteen pieces of the newly redesigned N1000 bank notes. I took a dash immediately to the petrol station to fuel my car. I jettisoned other petrol stations for MMPC. They were selling at a far cheaper rate and the possibility of altering their metering unit was minimal. However, the opportunity cost there was a long vehicular queue. It was the weekend. This meant I had no official schedule, no appointments and no assignments of any sort. I had been condemned to spending my day chasing the scarce naira and exorbitant fuel. So, I had no option but to join the queue. Vehicles were moving languidly at a pace slower than a snail’s, with the queue stretching into the adjourning street. I wore patience like ‘agbada’ while I waited for my turn. Black market sellers had a queue as well for their gallons. Little wonder vehicles moved at such a pace. Finally, it reached my turn and the petrol nozzle was thrust into my car. I requested N10,000 worth of fuel and then flashed the attendant ten clean pieces of the newly redesigned N1000 bank note. I had started the ignition of my car when I was called out. My car tyre was clamped down immediately. What was my offence? I paid with fake naira notes. ‘How can…?’ I was ready to throw punches not until the station manager made me realize that all ten pieces of the naira notes I handed to the attendant had the same serial number. I froze! It happened at the banking

Blog, Essays, Writers

Letter From The Future by Folarin Oluwatimilehin.

The President,  Federal Republic of Nigeria.    Dear Sir,  LETTER FROM THE FUTURE  It might seem weird when you see the date on this letter. My intention is not to scare you, but to pass across a vital message that will be crucial to the nation. I am writing to you from 2035. Nigeria is in stern danger and we need your help. You might probably want to ask yourself what you have to do with that. It is not a big task; your decisions tend to be creating an unbearable problem for us. I will like to quintessentially break down the problem so that you can position yourself well to understand the next series of actions to take.  Presently in 2035, foreign debt has proven to be one of the foremost challenges facing us in the land due to the accumulated budget deficit, the inevitable desire of previous leaders to embezzle the nation’s fund, and most importantly, the politics behind infrastructural projects experienced in the first three decades of the 21st century in the country.    Without any iota of doubt, the major factor that distinguishes developed nations from the under-developed or developing ones is the ability to comprehend actions that can foster their economic growth, national development and eliminates poverty. In this regard, developed nations take the bold step of improving the state of their infrastructures. In fact, without a second glance at their airports, road networks, power lines, and the likes, a visitor will definitely fall in love with the serene environment. These infrastructures do not only provide a befitting atmosphere but also responsible for the booming of the economy. I was very happy to discover that Nigeria is learning from the super-giants, and inviting foreign nations to help her redefine the state of her infrastructures. However, it is disdainful that Nigeria is now looming in the ocean of financial debt as a result of some concealed happenings among the leaders.  Sadly, as I was going through the social media a few days ago, I discovered that Dr. Bongo Adi, the Director of Centre for the Infrastructural Policy Regulation and Advancement (CIPRA) said, “Nigeria lacks accountability, transparency, and responsibility to refund its loan.” [1] This is nothing but the truth. Digesting the words of Dr. Bongo, you will acquiesce with me that the government is causing great damage to future generations.   With China being Nigeria’s leading partner for the execution of infrastructural projects, statistics behind the scene is not encouraging. “Nigeria owes China about $3.1 billion, representing more than 10% of the nation’s $27.6 billion external debt stock,” Minister of Finance disclosed in February. Can Nigeria refund the extravagant loans from China and other foreign countries if the rate of borrowing keeps aggravating? This is a question that bothers me. Sadly, while taking a survey on the root cause of this revolting debt, I realised that most of the citizens erroneously think that it is due to the gigantic exceptional infrastructural projects being executed in Nigeria by these foreign countries. This is absolutely wrong I must profess and confess!  In contrast to people’s belief about foreign countries delivering quality projects in Nigeria, Peter Adebayo rendered such supposition invalid. He said, “It depends on how we perceive success.” Reinforcing that, Engineer Adejimi Lanre, a civil engineer disclosed to me during one of my visits to a construction site. He revealed that “the Nigerian government pays foreign contractors massively for their services which are sadly below par compared to what they are constructing in their respective countries.” He further added, “It is quite disgusting that foreign companies are paid almost 10 times greater than indigenous ones.”   Also, we need to learn from Dr. Labiran, a Nigerian Structural Engineer who did his Master’s degree program at Imperial College, and later bagged his doctorate degree from the University of Ibadan. He once said, “The government should start coming to Nigerian universities and see outstanding innovations by young brains. Students are making discoveries, and designing sky-scrapers, dams, bridges, drainage systems, magnificent road networks, among several other mind-blowing developments with 100% structural analysis success when examined, and tested with software. Why is the government not exploring these great minds, but rather finds pleasure in dishing out funds to people with white skins?” The answer is not far-fetched!   Corruption is the bedrock and one of the leading causes of infrastructural politics in Nigeria. Even if the nation is confronted with a financial dilemma, with no other option than to turn to International Financial Institutions for help, nevertheless, the government must not concede too easily to yield in the direction of taking depraved steps that could have been curtailed if things are done without bias, and there is the absence of hidden desire to loot funds. It is sad to even discover that the youths and aged men who are craving to taste out of money from corrupt practices are more than the cabals presently siphoning the government reserves. Dangers looming over dangers! This is a critical challenge facing the nation that must be addressed.  I would be glad if there is a turnaround and the financial risk associated with infrastructural projects is put under check. The state of infrastructure in the nation has called for aggravated worriment in the heart of all. Even though it is evident that the accessibility of functional infrastructures like roads, uninterrupted water supply, bridges, among several others seem to be fundamental, nevertheless, there is an observed public display of exasperating political show in that aspect.    It is no more news that infrastructure has connections capable of having precarious financial implications on the economy due to the enormous funding it commands. This is the reason the government must be cautious of the financial implications of borrowing. [2] I must have to reiterate it again at this point that the Federal Republic of Nigeria is in danger. The government is not taking cognizance of the increasing rate at which loans are being collected from foreign countries, without recourse to the future!  Interestingly, the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed that all countries need to equip their economy with vibrant labour force capable of dealing with internal affairs. Just as the cry for the government to shower the health sector with funds because there is no foreign country that will want to welcome a sick person into their land in this perilous period no matter how severe the case may be, it is high time such ideology is incorporated into the infrastructural industry. In light of this, if employees in indigenous companies are groomed, exposed, adequately trained, and are given projects to handle, then the need for inviting companies from foreign countries will dwindle drastically.  In conclusion, I will end with the word of James Lendall which says, “A man in debt is a man in chains.” We are not building a nation that will last for 4 years or two tenures. Rather, we are raising a country that will forever be a testament to the coming generations. The time to stop receiving loans that will injure the mental state of the future inhabitants is now.  I believe in Nigeria. I believe that there are people who are capable of cascading the nation into greatness. Together, we will fight and conquer the enemy called ‘foreign debt’ that is disturbing the peace of the land in the name of infrastructure politics before things get out of

Join our essay competition.

This will close in 13 seconds

Solverwp- WordPress Theme and Plugin

Scroll to Top