Thursday, April 17, 2014

Some good news

Waking up to good news around these parts is something rare, and to be cherished whenever it happens. So it is with some pleasure that above the din of the generator symphony, I read about the rescue of all but eight of the young ladies who were forcefully taken from their school the day before yesterday. It indeed gladdens the heart to say the least, that something is being done, and high fives all round, to everyone involved in the rescue, and a quick prayer for the recovery of the remaining eight.

Still on the good news train, new power plants are on the way, courtesy of Transcorp. According to a NERC suit, that will deliver maybe 700 MW, in a few years time. We need 200 times that in generation and 400 times in transmission, distribution and fuel supply capital investment just to meet today's demand. But, and this is crucial, it is a start.

Still on the good news train, and assorted APC agbadas have provided the right kind of guiding light for their PDP contemporaries, who still insist on being very naughty. Straight from swaying into the hospitals to visit the victims, the APC honchos announced the setting up of a fund, to take care of those left behind. Let's give another high five, this time to the APC.

Bits and bobs
  • "The nature of promises is that they ought to remain immune to changing circumstances." Can someone kindly tell that to the governors of the northern states?
  • At the Happy Day Hotel in Orile, the only way Tosin, 18, could make Ebuka, Chimudi, Williams, Victor, Joshua and Kojo happy was by dying.
  • N30,000. Mr Onwuka, 37, will pay this fine and hopefully be discouraged from raping more 13-year-old girls in Abuja.
  • Wednesday, April 16, 2014

    Our women and girls

    "To educate a man, is to educate an individual. To educate a woman, is to educate, and liberate a nation." - Malcolm X

    I'll have to admit that this daily diet of not-so-palatable news was not the idea one had when this morning tonic started two years ago now. But the land we live in has forced that on us, and to be honest, some of the, frankly, rubbish, going on, are not the kind of things we, as a people can afford to ignore. For those of us in Abuja, the rubbish that has been happening 900 odd kilometres away in Maiduguri and environs hit home on Monday with the Nyanya Bomb Blast. For those of you in Lagos, a further 700 km away, do not think that things are rosy and dandy. The truth is that when more than a hundred young Nigerian maidens are kidnapped, very possibly to go and serve as comfort women, and the state thinks it is better to make accusations at an opposition babariga for whatever perceived slight, then, you begin to feel really apprehensive about our future.

    Meanwhile two boys were kidnapped yesterday. They happen to be the kids of Kogi state's gavel. I pray for their safe return. To Lagosians, I want to stress that Lokoja is 210 kilometres south of Abuja.

    Bits and bobs
  • Some people believe that the problems of the manufacturers at Aba started with the issues of power that we currently experience. Some others know better. It all started when Nigerians branded those products as Igbo-made, and refused to patronise them.
  • For those of you who have been queuing for petrol like good Nigerians, worry no more. The petrol subsidy has gone out the window with immediate effect.
  • Someone mentioned the word "bomb" in our hallowed chambers yesterday, cue, pandemonium.
  • Tuesday, April 15, 2014

    Parroting uber alles

    Typically, Monday is a day on which most of us struggle to do anything more complicated than getting out of bed in the morning. Having overcome that first hurdle in the week, Babangida Muhammad, Nigerian citizen, reached the Nyanya Bus Park, only a 15 minute drive as the crow flies, from Nigeria's seat of power and boarded a bus in pursuit of his daily garri. A few minutes later, himself and tens of others were dead as a bomb ripped through the bus in which they were sitting. May the Almighty grant him, and the other victims of yesterday's blast, eternal rest.

    Looking at a map of Nigeria plotted against insurgent attacks show an uncomfortable truth: these attacks are moving, almost inexorably, South. In normal conditions then, an incident such as this presents an opportunity for the nation to come together. Not so in Nigeria, where the people in charge have a tendency to play a game of numbers with the lives of their citizens. Thus it was, that while the Prez, to his credit, cancelled a pre-scheduled trip to Ibadan to go and visit the site of the blast, the PDP's parrot, Olisa Metuh, could not even wait for the corpses of the victims to grow cold, before unleashing what will in future be counted as one of the most irresponsible statements to come out of the mouth of a Nigerian politician, and blamed the opposition APC for the blast. Mr. Metuh's outburst is very unfortunate by all standards. At this point, one would have been expecting him to rally all Nigerians behind the President, because that's what needs to be done. But coming from a man who once invaded his son's school with men-in-black because a teacher had the nerve to discipline his son, this should not come as a surprise.

    The blame game, sadly is the only thing that so many who occupy political office in this 'ere land seem to be proficient in. So, fresh off the blasts, someone, somewhere,is sourcing for N79 billions, with which to complete a 30 year old project, that was built on faulty foundations in the first place. I wonder who will shoulder the blame when said amount makes its way into someone's account. Maybe another Prez? Well, one has to give Kano's head honcho, Rabiu Kwankwaso, for keeping his eye on the ball while the rest of us, have in typical Nigerian fashion, moved on.

    Bits and bobs
  • Following the tragic incident of yesterday, the APC has suggested a national jaw-jaw on security. A bit rich coming from chaps who rejected the ongoing scrabble games.
  • We've just been told that Nigeria's crude refining capacity has gone up 26%. This is being typed on a computer while sitting in a petrol queue.
  • Creativity or unemployment? Seven young chaps have been nabbed for, err, computer related activities. Full list here.
  • Lagos, according to a Lagos suit, has become a victim of its own success. I'm sure the millions of Lagosians reading this from traffic will like to have what he's having.
  • Monday, April 14, 2014

    Listening to good advice

    Sometime last week, Georgia's former Prez, Mikheil Saakashvili was in Lagos to talk down on us about economic success. One of the things he mentioned, was something about sacking the entire police force of the Republic of Georgia for three months while trying to build a new one. According to Saakashvili, crime did not go up in those three months. Now, I'm no fan of Saakashvili, seeing that he, in my view, left his people in a major geo-political mess. But that's their problem, not mine. What interests me in the man is that he brought down corruption in his country by a significant amount. That achievement cannot be sniffed at no matter how much one may dislike the man, and maybe, just maybe, we should borrow a leaf from him and sack all our men-in-black, starting from the chaps who want to go on strike in order to force a mass promotion.

    Another use that we may have of Saakashvili and his rather, err, unorthodox methods, will probably be in the NNPC, who are quite fond of telling our gavels just who is really in charge. The NNPC has as a matter of habit, refused to submit documents to the Senate that will help in investigating various misdemeanours, and the gavels have taken the only option available to them - to moan about it, and make ineffectual threats. Kinda like their compadres in the lower house, who in a moment of hubris are making threats at both the NNPC and a rather pretty lady.
    Threats, which we all know, carry no weight. After all, they must "live her alone".

    Still on that rather great Georgian, fuel shortages used to be the in-thing in Georgia until he put a stop to them in a manner of speaking. So maybe, just maybe, we need Mikheil Saakashvili to come and help us sort out the problems with fuel subsidy. Failing that, queues may return soon. You see, for some reason, the FG has failed to pay N100 billion to oil marketers, who have stopped importing the stuff in reply. Get ready for fuel queues to return. And oh, I know where the N100 billions went. A significant part of it went to pay the Ghananese off, because, well, we brought NEPA to them.

    Yes people, Nigeria has in the last few weeks plunged the entire West African coast, from Eket to Monrovia, into darkness because of a failure to supply gas. Benin for one, have shown Nigeria what to do with the heads of under-performing utilities, shoving two out of the office window this year alone. In Nigeria, since people tend to sit tight because we don't like our sons being fired, our banks will have to make do with losses amounting to N1 trillion, while the average Lagosian will continue to sleep with the generator symphony in his ears.

    Bits and bobs
  • Not a few Nigerians had a laugh over the 9-month old boy who was arrested in faraway Pakistan for murder, then took to their heels as a chicken which had the effrontery to speak Arabic was detained at a police station in Makurdi.
  • The price of rice may fall soon as the FG will be reviewing its import policy.
  • Despite resistance in some quarters, the FG will be extending the state of emergency in some northern states, a move I fully back.
  • This is the reason I back that move.
  • Friday, April 11, 2014

    I feel ridiculed

    I slept with NEPA for the first time in a long time yesterday, and she was ridiculously good. But not nearly as good as the kick I got from listening to the APC parrot parroting something about governments, GDP and ridicule in far away Washington.

    You see, Nigeria's last GDP re-basing was done in 1990. What this means is that the data being used to make policy in our country, up until last Sunday at least, was 24 years old. Think of it, a man, or woman, born 24 years ago, will be quite ready to have kids of his own, and will definitely not be the same infant he or she was when he or she was born. As a people, we need the updated figures so we can have a shot at development. Bear in mind that development always comes after growth. But there is no need to go into the grit of how the GDP re-base happened, more qualified people than me have already handled that. And that is the crux of my advice to the APC brass. Next time you guys looking for a parrot, try and find an economic literate.

    Speaking of economic literates, the IMF blouse is no doubt one, lest she will not be in charge of so distinguished a body. What one wonders about is her honesty. You see, yesterday, Ms. Lagarde informed the world that the IMF will not enter into deals with countries that have "proven" cases of corruption. That list without a doubt includes Nigeria. “There have been instances under my watch where we have said, sorry ... we cannot work together," shrilled Ms Lagarde while miles away, Nigeria's 170 millions wondered what happened to various oil windfalls dating back to the First Iraq War.

    Speaking of oil windfalls, and Seun Ogunbambo, who partook in the fuel subsidy windfall of 2012 has high-tailed it back to his country. His much adjourned case came up for hearing yesterday, and Emma Jackson, the EFCC's wig, stood up in front of the gavel bearing wig and announced to the nation that Ogunbambo has "abused the liberty of being granted bail and his action is making the criminal law to look like a toothless bulldog".

    I'd have made a comment about the toothless bulldog, but the last time I did, not a few, err, toothless bulldogs sent an awful lot of barks in my direction. So I'll pass.

    Bits and bobs
  • Unhappy with her father's disobedience of the Child's Rights Act, Wasilu, 14, took matters into her own handsOtapiapia solved her problem.
  • When next I'm in Lagos, I will not have to sit in three hours of traffic to go to the market to buy my paraga. An online retailer can handle that for me apparently.
  • It appears that said online retailers are booming despite assorted ratings agenciestelling us otherwise about this, err, ridiculed economy.
  • Problem is, as previous story pointed out, most of those online retailers have huge foreign ownership. Why is that? Because the foreigners can access loans at low interest rates that our entrepreneurs can't. Which is why I wonder why more peopleare calling for more young Nigerians to become entrepreneurs. With spittle?
  • Another thing that stands in the way of young entrepreneurs is that they are not indigenes most of the time. How can you do well for a place if you are not an indigene?
  • Who knows, maybe the non-indigenes will be the victims of the coming purge of NEPA establishments in Ibadan and Jos?