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Messages - lionger

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From News Sources / Re: Terrorism in Nigeria.
« on: February 15, 2012, 12:25:54 PM »
But what does the US stand to gain from all the BH crises? That is my question.

Good question gogannaka.

Of course stranger things have happened, and it is not beyond the power of the U.S. to be involved in something like this. However, until evidence of this actually comes to light, it is better for us to consider simpler, and, to be honest,  more obvious explanations. In a region that has suffered sporadic outbreaks of Islamist militancy since the the jihads of the early 19th century, should American involvement really be the first thing that comes to mind? Lets consider internal factors first. Anything else, I daresay, is premature and even irresponsible.

General Board / Re: "Nzeogwu's Mentor" Spills the Beans (Col Conrad Nwawo)
« on: September 20, 2010, 10:42:53 PM »
Where is the the 'spilt beans' in this article? Naija journos sef.

I have very mixed feelings about the January 1966 coup and the men that carried it out. I'm not sure if they should be celebrated like Nwawo does for Nzeogwu in the interview, since their actions eventually engulfed the nation in terrible bloodshed and also began the military mis-adventure in politics. However, even if their actions proved disastrous, it seems like they had relatively 'better' motives.  I say 'better' in comparison to that of the military men who followed their footsteps, who can hardly be said to have been motivated by any greater ideal than revenge and self-advancement. In my opinion, the January 15 coupists made two critical errors:

1. The decision to shed blood. The implications of this error were further compounded to terrible effect by the second one:
2. The failure of the coup in the south.

Ironically the January 15 coup could well have been the best thing for Nigeria, if it had succeeded and led to the installation of a more responsible government. Today however, it serves as nothing more than a painful demonstration of how easily the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I reserve the greatest blame for Nigeria's subsequent descent into ignominy, however,  not for the overzealous 20-something murderers but the politicians that permitted these men an excuse to strike. The political immaturity and irresposibility of that era's politicians ensured that the rulership of the country has fallen to lesser men ever since.

General Board / Re: What will you change about Nigeria?
« on: July 28, 2010, 10:39:15 PM »
Corruption is an attribute of mankind and all it needs is a conducive environment for it to rear its ugly head. I have never heard of a 'corrupt free' nation; as a matter of fact it does not exist. The parameters that fuel corruption include (but not limited to) lack of repercursions/consequences as I have noted earlier. Who manages these instiutions that mete out justice? Your guess is as good as mine. The fact that Nigerians and indeed every human being on earth is prone to corruption is not the issue; the issue is containing corruption and dealing with it, which you will agree with me needs organisation and hence the important role that the leadership plays. That is what has failed because you cannot take out the corruption in human beings in my view. Corruption is only but a survival instinct carried too far.
Can accept this, ok. I said as much in my own posts.

Secondly, in your previous postings, you have mentioned the successes achieved by countries such as Singapore and the rest but I want to point out something about historical facts of movements that have changed people and Nations. I have not come across any successfull movement that was not led by an able, resolute, selfless and focused leader. 'Ka tuna fa in Allah ya so ya ceci al umma sai ya aiko musu da manzo'. Not that God in his infinite ability cannot change their hearts overnight.

Very true! My concern about Nigeria is that as presently constituted, such people will hardly ever smell the corridors of power.

Lastly I want to believe from your comments, that corruption has been as bad today as it was 10/20 years ago. Well I do not remember, in the 90's, buying fuel at a petrol station and the attendant stealing my change, as being the norm rather than the exception. Neither was it so rampant, the case of 'pass for favours', in our educational institutions. The argument is about the scale of corruption in the society and I maintain that in the last 10/20 years 'the exception then, has become the norm now', indicating a deterioration of our situation.

Your personal experience notwwithstanding, it is ridiculous to assert that, as far as corruption in Nigeria goes, the norm now was the exception 20 years ago, at a time when observers had already noted that corruption had 'penetrated virtually every agency in the [Nigerian] public sector" (Ebeh, 1994). Since this was demonstrably the case 20 years ago, arguments about the 'scale' of corruption then as opposed to now is at best a moot academic exercise, and at worst, indicates that one has not quite come to terms with the true extent of the problem. Corruption has been a big problem since independence days and until now no-noe has done anything about it.

General Board / Re: What will you change about Nigeria?
« on: July 27, 2010, 06:28:37 PM »
Somehow a bit like the chicken-egg mystery here Who started it first? Was it the leadership that messed up the nigerian people or the people got corrupted and then gave birth to the present crop of leaders? Who's responsible for the mess, or put differently, who should be responsible for correcting the wrong? The masses or the leadership? Can we trust the leadership in Nigeria to just change itself for the better?

Well unless we really think our leaders fell from heaven, I think its pretty clear where the 'source' is.  I don't know how old Suleman is, but the claim that societal corruption was 'not as evident' 10/20 years ago is very shaly indeed. I already pointed out that Nigeria had already distinguished itself as one of the most corrupt nations in the world by the mid-90s. Now here is some documented evidence from an article written by Anthony Ebeh in 1994, which has been quoted by other scholars writing about corruption in Nigeria:

"In Nigeria corruption has grown alarmingly over the past two decades. During late colonial rule and the period of the first republic, corruption ran rampant first at the local and then at the regional and federal levels. It was perhaps most serious in the cocoa-rich Western region, where investigators found that the activities of a small clique of ruling-party politicians and businessmen had drained the Region's Marketing Board of more than 10 million naira, essentially bankrupting it in seven years. (One naira at that time was equivalent to approximately $1.35.) Throughout that period, government contracts, purchases, and loan programs were systematically manipulated to enrich political officials and the politically well connected."

I have have it in mind to post the entire artice if I can find it, just so that Suleman can be without a doubt that the problem of corruption did not suddenly creep up on us recently, but has been an every present concern as long as Nigeria has existed. This snippet that I have posted describes the explosion of corruption in Nigeria in its nascent stage. If we go back far enough into precolonial days, we will also find corrupt practices to be the norm of life - except that those complaining were of course not the Africans themselves, but European traders and explorers who were trying to set up trading relationships with them. It is wrong to claim that today's leaders are the primary cause of a problem that goes back long before their time.

As I said before, corrupt practises have existed within all cultures in the world from time immemorial, and in previous ages they were probably necessary for survival. But in this present age of post-industrial capitalism, such practises are deleterious to effective socio-economic growth. The solution as shown by countries like Singapore is strong, visioned leadership which will take the tough steps necessary in curbing corruption to manageable levels, as exists in the advanced nations.

General Board / Re: What will you change about Nigeria?
« on: July 17, 2010, 06:33:59 PM »
i am not one to go through lengthy posts, but are people still blaming d white man for our failures?

i recommend walter rodney's 'how europe underdeveloped africa', that book will clear any doubts we may harbour dat we r still under colonialism, we don pass dat stage i beg, any problems we have are ours, if we have help in creating those problems is bcos we allowed it.
besides i think d statute of limitation has expired on colonialism, come onnnnnnnnnnnn!

Walter Rodney was a brilliant man no doubt; however I think he got many fundamental issues woefully wrong in his seminal work. The idea that imperialist European machinations from the late 15th century onwards is largely responsible for the present African underdevelopment is a very bad argument. This presupposes that African societies were actually headed towards anything like 'development' before Europeans came and 'ruined everything' - such an argument is not sustainable, as much as some would like to believe it. It was wrong at the time Rodney wrote his book in the early 70s and it should be even more obvious now that it is wrong, when after several decades of independence many African nations are yet to get their act together.

General Board / Re: What will you change about Nigeria?
« on: July 16, 2010, 12:07:39 AM »
Husnaa abeg dis ya tori get too much unsubstantiated myth mixed with half-truths. With the sole exception of Patrice Lumumba, all the other leaders you mentioned were largely propped up and/or brought down by their own inadequacies and follies with little foreign input. I think it is high time we stopped consoling ourselves by blaming the West. Ffrankly it gives the West too much credit, and and in a childish way relieves us of too much responsibility. This is the sort of argument that our grandparents and those who came of age during the independence era held dear to their hearts. It was the result of anti-colonial zeal and was understandable then, but after 50 years of indigenous misrule that frankly dwarfs that of our formers colonial masters, perhaps the time is ripe for us to admit some painful truths about ourselves.

How is it that Western interests are hell bent on putting us down, while at the same time hauling other nations from the gutters into modernity? For example, has Nigeria suffered more from world powers than Vietnam? By 1975, Vietnam had spent 116 years fighting brutal wars of survival  against the British, French, Japanese, Chinese and American goverments'. By war's end, 90% of its infrastructure was destroyed. But look where they are today - a nation that was facing food shortages 30 years ago is now world's second-largest exporter in rice. Its agricultural sector contributes 20 % of its GDP, has a growing service economy, and is rapidly industrializing thanks to growing FDI. I don't need to tell you where we are in comparison, though from natural observation we ought to have long been a industrialized food-basket. There is also the examples of South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, India, Singapore - nations that also suffered under colonialism and have their own tales of woe concerning Western exploitation, but are not the basketcases that we are today.

We are not the only nation that has subscribed to IMF - infact, last time I checked, hardly any African nations are among the top borrowers. Top borrowers such as Vietnam, Mexico and Brazil are forging ahead. Many countries borrow from IMF and some have been able to turn their economies around (Trinidad and Tobago comes to mind) - yet African nations who borrow less are the ones screaming the loudest. Why? Of course if IMF had denied us loans we would be screaming racism, yet now we are complaining that they forced loans down our throat to destroy us. Do we really have anyone other than ourselves to blame for the fact that we railroaded ourselves into a last resort scheme via economic mismanagement (and that is what the IMF is, a last resort lender), then we chopulate the money and find ourselves sinking in a bottomless pit of debt? Sometimes such complaints smack of childish naivete and ignorance about how the world works.

We are also not the only ones to have an 'alien' democratic system 'forced' on us -  if that statement is even correct. It happened to Japan after WWII - but do you hear the Japanese complaining today? Something similar happened to the Germans at the same time - are they crying blue murder as well? Ironically it is here that I slightly agree with you, in the sense that strong-arm rule is better placed in making the difficult decisions necessary for industrializing societies than classic Western-style democracies. But when we switched in the 60s to a military dictatorship, what happened?

The difference between Nigeria and all the other nations I have listed is that the latter have leaders with vision and hardworking technocrats at critical levels. We have not yet achieved that in Nigeria. Take the issue of corruption, which BakanGizo has again brought back to the forefront as our biggest problem. We frankly have not done enough to curb it, and there is hardly a point in our post-independence history that it seemed like we were. And as I said before, the roots of corruption go far beyond independence to precolonial times. As the British began to hand over power to Nigerians post WWII, corruption began to explode. There was a further explosion during the Gowon and Babangida regimes to the the sorry state we now find ourselves in. But the fact is that all industrialized nations - including Western ones - at some point in their history noticed the inhersent corrupt nature of their societies and took serious steps to curb it to manageable levels, and some like Singapore were able to achieve that withing a generation. We will have to bite the bullet and take similar steps to do the same. Nobody else will do it for us.

We had better grow old and  up to the way the world works. In this global village, no nation is an island. We are all connected and dependent on each other to survive. We need Western investment in order to develop our societies, whether we like the West or not. That investment isn't simply going to come out of the goodness of Western hearts - we have to create the conditions for that to happen. So we can either follow the examples of other nations that I listed or remain the footmat of the world. It is that simple.

Sports / Re: World Cup 2010
« on: July 07, 2010, 02:21:42 PM »
That Suarez of Uruguay should be banned from ever playing football. FIFA should come up with a rule that if a player intentionally handles a ball that is surely going inside the net with his hands then the player should be given a ban and the goal allowed.

You echoed my thoughts. In fact I've heard several people voice the same opinion. And the guy keeps on celebrating the act shamelessly. Ba laifin sa bane. FIFA ne shirme. They are always very slow to react to situations. What he did was very bad for football. Now he's telling everybody to catch the ball with his hand the moment it's heading inside the net.

As painful as watching Ghana's exit was, I think the rules are fine as they presently stand. Awarding goals for balls that do not cross the line because they are 'adjudged' to be heading in that direction b4 illegal stoppage simply opens pandora's box to a nightmare of officiating decisions. The immediate red card and penalty award would be enough in most cases. If Gyan had put away his penalty we would not even be talking about this now. Kudos to Ghana though; they fought hard but ran out of luck in the end.

As for Suarez, he got his due punishment. I wouldn't go overboard in bedeviling his character. Think about it: its the last minute of a hard-fought game, your goal is under siege, your keeper is out of position, and the ball is heading into the net, effectively knocking ur team out of the World Cup and you can't stop it by any legal means - wetin you go do? The guy instinctively took a giant gamble and unfortunately for Ghana it paid off in the end. What I don't like is his excessive celebration of the act and insensitive comments about "the hand of God and virgin Mary'. Frankly the Uruguayans should have been much more sober about winning a match in such an awful and arguably undeserved way. But in any case, I'd rather get a red card this way than our kaitastrophic way.   >:(

General Board / Re: What will you change about Nigeria?
« on: June 10, 2010, 07:39:47 PM »
Well said bakangizo. Producers of finished goods will always have the upper hand over mere consumers, even those who possess vital raw materials. The sooner we realize this and take the steps needed to create an industrial society the better for us.

Barring the recent recession, sub saharan economic growth in the past decade has long been reported by observers. But all is far from rosy. For one thing, economic growth is not keeping up with population growth. Moreover, we have serious issues with financial mismanagement and corruption. The end result is that though we have more and more money pouring into our economies, the overwhelming majority of our people are not seeing this money and as such are actually getting poorer. So by all means we must keep hope, but let us not lose sight of the magnamity of the task ahead of us. Development is not a given!

Examination malpractise is part of the wider problem of our poor code of public ethics. I don't think our love for paper qualifications is the genesis of this particular problem though. After all, people are crazy about paper qualifications in the West as well. The difference is that the insititutions in the West are set up such that it is much harder here to obtain such things thru wayo. Also the people  in the West are far more intolerant of this kind of behaviour. I like what you say here and I think it will help propel Nigeria to the same level:

Which way out of the woods? First, there is the need for a concrete and comprehensive social re-engineering that will salvage what remains of our societal norms and values. Second, the Examinations Malpractices Act No. 33 of 1999 which provide penalties: imprisonment, fine or both for persons and bodies found guilty of involvement in aiding, abetting, negligence or dereliction in the conduct of examinations need to be activated. Perhaps, seeing the law in action may stem the tide.

General Board / Re: What will you change about Nigeria?
« on: June 04, 2010, 04:56:58 PM »
The creation of the EFCC, ICPC and the whistleblower protection bill are all steps in the right direction. (We hardly have a 'whistleblower' culture in Nigeria, but we gotta start somewhere. That is part of our problem anyways).

Another suggestion is that the government decide on a sound economic development program and hold fast to it for a significant period of time(> 10 years). Things take time to work. Part of our problem is that we have simply failed to commit to economic policies, let alone implementing them properly. Every new government heralds their magic formula, does barely anything with it and then we find ourselves still in square one with the next government. Witness Yar'Adua's seven point agenda - where's the beef? It is because things like this that Nigerians have become some of the most cynical people on the face of the earth.

I have already talked about trimming our unnecessarily cumbersome government structure, but sadly this will probably never happen in Nigeria. But in any case the key to progess in Nigeria as others have mentioned is sound visionary leadership. How such leaders will get in there I don't know, but it will have to happen. Otherwise, the only other recourse I see is cataclysmic destruction that will wipe the entire Nigerian slate clean, upon which a more sober people can begin to build a better society.

General Board / Re: What will you change about Nigeria?
« on: June 02, 2010, 07:07:06 PM »
I don't suppose the other 10% is disagreeing with his view that our culture supports bad conduct? I don't think that is the complete picture.
1. I never said cultural defects painted the entire picture of our predicament; it does not. But I am saying that it is a key factor that ought not to be ignored.

2. I am not merely trashing our culture for the sake of it. Remember what I said in my first post on this topic:
Corruption is a base instinct of all peoples, and all the advanced societies of the world have had to work hard against it. We in Nigeria have not worked nearly hard enough in the fight against corruption and other societal evils. Until we do that, there will be no relief for us.

There are countries like Singapore that, among other things, recognized the inherent corrupt aspect of Mandarin culture and took tough steps to curb it. It wasn't easy, but in the end they succeeded in turning Singapore from a third-world backwater in 1965 into a financial capital in the 90s. What did Nigeria achieve in that period of time?

I would like to ask if corruption was as bad 20 yrs ago as it is now? My answer is no, not at all.
Er, Sule, 20 years ago would be 1990, and by then Nigeria was already recognized as one of the world's leading corrupt nations. Moreover, it was in 1996, that Nigeria gained the inglorious distinction of being the world's most corrupt nation, courtesy of Transparency International.

It has more to do with our "circumstance" rather than our culture. Our circumstance in this case being extreme poverty and lack of exposure/experience.
Ok, but what is the cause of this our 'extreme poverty and lack of exposure/experience'? Isn't this what we're discussing here? It is not that straightforward to determine whether poverty leads to corruption or vice versa. And if we accept that poverty is a cause (fine to me), then it is still not enough in explaining our situation. Why then do we observe corruption among the wealthier upper classes? And why do we not see the same behaviour among the lower classes in the West? Norms and values count for much more than we think.

Notice that I intentionally did not use the word "illiteracy" as many would have put it. Many of our people may not genuinely be aware that things can be done, and indeed are done differently elsewhere.
Illiteracy should be mentioned, as it is undoubtedly a factor in our predicament. In today's world, an educated populace is critical to taking the next step forward. This was one of the ways by which South Korea lifted itself from the gutter. It is striking the we fared far better on this issue with regional governments of the precolonial and early independence days, who had far less resources than the Nigerian government had from the 70s onwards.

General Board / Re: What will you change about Nigeria?
« on: June 02, 2010, 04:11:19 PM »

Well said. I am 90% with you there. I too see no reason and no point in scrapping states. Leave states as they are but, to me, local governments should be did away with. Why? They are the roots of corruption, nepotism, favourism, embezzlement and all other filthy acts.
Muhsin, eliminating the LGAs will solve next to nothing in a country where corruption is pervasive at ALL levels of government and society. How exactly will eliminating LGAs stop federal and state goverment officials from enriching themselves off the treasury, or 'big men' at all levels sitting on other peoples' salaries, or policemen manning 'checkpoints' to extort bribes from people off the streets, or secretaries and clerks who won't pass on your file or allow you to see oga until they get their cut, or lecturers who won't pass you unless you grant sexual favors, or other petty officials and 'middlemen' all over Nigeria who won't perform their obligatry services without extorting bribes? My friend, we need to think harder. This disease runs far deeper than the present dispensation into pre-colonial times, and that much is obvious from examing the records of the first Europeans that made contact with us.

lionger has initially highlighted our major problem(s) that if
we can be able to deal with, all other things will be fine.

What needs to change in Nigeria are its inhabitants.
Corruption has already been mentioned and is an obvious example.
there is nothing wrong with the present system if corruption
and unpatriotism can be reduced to its minimum level.

another interesting issue is, does the unity of this country ever
helped matters?

Dan Borno there is plenty wrong with the present system. Among other things, goverment structure since the 60s has grown into a bloated and awfully wasteful enterprise, with the dubious 'benefit' that more people than before can now take their 'cut' from the national cake. Personally I think it might be better to drastically cut the number of states and LGAs back to the 1976 levels. Of course, this is totally against the current trend of thinking, as the National Assembly recently announced the impending creation of ten new states by next year. No doubt most of these new states will be anything but economically viable, hanging on to the Federal government for dear life. Yet a nation like India, far larger in population and geographic size and with twice as many linguistic groups has only 26 states. Is there any evidence that we know something about this that they don't know? My fellow Nigerians, I say it again: we need to THINK HARDER.

General Board / Re: What will you change about Nigeria?
« on: June 02, 2010, 11:49:40 AM »
Lionger, we are viewing the same point but from different angles. Its a bit like the chicken and egg question. I am of the view that our structure is fundamental to the progress we will make. We are a country of many Nationalities. I believe, and I stand to be corrected on this one, that the states were created to bring government closer to the people, but most importantly, to suppress any more urge for seccession ala Biafra. Having more states, in my view, has been a very binding factor on us as a Nation, as it is more difficult for say, 6 Ibo states to put heads together and talk about seccession; during Biafra it was only the Eastern region governed by one man. If I am right on this one, then surely having 400 LGs will even be more binding cause then, even amongst the same tribes, every one shall answer his Papa name as they say. I would like to think our problem is more to do with how much power is concentrated in an office rather than the number of offices.

Yes, perhaps it can be argued that the creation of states have made us more 'unified' - well it is probably more accurate to say as you did initially that it had made secession more difficult, because it is clear that many still want out of Nigeria - but lets humour you on this one. Unification at what cost, however? Has this 'unification' led to an improved standard of living for our people? It should be possible to have the basic social amenities available even in a country that ultimately fails as a political unit. Why is this not the case in Nigeria, where a fraction of the oil revenues would have achieved the said goal?

To be sure, political structure is fundamental to our progress. However, we need to think carefully about this, because it is not all about political setup or even economic policies; among other things, culture and values also count big time. If we go about radically restructuring our government without giving heed to other attenuating factors, we may end up with diminishing returns, as some have discovered.

On this note, lets look at your proposed solution again. While it is questionable that increasing the number of LGAs will 'unify' us more, it should be altogether obvious that it will not improve the socio-economic lot of the people. Why? Because that is precisely what has happened! Nigeria has grown from 19 states and 300 LGAs in 1979 to 36 states and over 700 LGAs at present.With all the conflagrations that have flared up in that period of time it is difficult to say that we are any more 'unified' now than we were 30-40 years ago - and some of these conflagrations have been over LGA creation/edition. It is even more impossible to say that we have improved in terms of public services, because we clearly haven't. Infact, if anything, we have regressed. And yet in the same period of time, Nigeria has actually gotten richer! Worse, part of the rationale behind state/LGA proliferation as you also identified is the creation of more ethnically homogenous mini-entities, which is supposed to mitigate our apparently disavantageous ethnic heterogeneity. So why then are we still in the gutter? How come 'Papa' still dey 'chop and quench', even when it concerns his kinsman?

The reason why I've zeroed in on our poor code of public ethical behaviour is that I have come to believe that it is deeply ingrained in our culture, and predates contact with the imperial Western powers. So while colonization brought its own share of problems, it alone does not explain our present predicament.(And lets be honest folks, we would be much worse off without colonization, but that's another argument). Other countries like South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Brazil and India were also colonized, but they are not the basket cases that Nigeria is today. Ironically some of these nations were in worse conditions than Nigeria 50 years ago. A common denominator with some of these nations is that they have fought a hard fight against corruption. In Nigeria, we have done NOTHING.

General Board / Re: What will you change about Nigeria?
« on: June 01, 2010, 07:42:38 PM »
What needs to change in Nigeria are its inhabitants.

We are a people bound to far too many deleterious cultural habits that cannot be tolerated in progressive societies. Corruption has already been mentioned and is an obvious example.

I see little wisdom in the elimination of the state level leaving only the the federal and LG level, as it only further compounds the present folly of state multiplicity. Perhaps there is more wisdom in drastically reducing the number of states and returning, in a sense, to the regional era of the First Republic - but then again, that didn't end so well either. In any case, no system will ever work as long as you have a people that do not have the basic disciplines and values that make any progressive societies tick. As long as public service is viewed as largely as a means of self-aggrandizement then nothing will ever work. Should it then be a surprise that the multiplicity of states and LGAs since 1967 have met with inadequate progress?

Corruption is a base instinct of all peoples, and all the advanced societies of the world have had to work hard against it. We in Nigeria have not worked nearly hard enough in the fight against corruption and other societal evils. Until we do that, there will be no relief for us.

From News Sources / Re: Umaru Musa Yar'adua.
« on: May 20, 2010, 10:11:48 PM »

For instance in my own faith and view one should not utter anything like “This end may have been entirely avoidable” that obviously questions God’s act, i.e. taking the soul.

Really? So if Yar'Adua jumped off a cliff to his death, you cannot say "this end may have been entirely avoidable' without questioning God's act? Yeah, right! ;D

More-over, I didn’t come to that conclusion that not only you wrongly think that way until I read one write-up by The Punch editor, where he clearly says ‘Yar Adua’s death could have been avoidable. Avoidable my foot! Nothing could have been avoided, nothing, I reiterate.

You came to conclusions on my post based on another man's article, which I haven't even read? How wise!

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