Political Path to Economic Transformation

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Kingsley Moghalu
Guest Columnist: Kingsley Moghalu
Guest Columnist 
By Kingsley Moghalu
 
With economic growth of 0.55% in the second quarter of 2017 Nigeria seems headed out of its recession, the worst it has experienced in 25 years. Make no mistake, however. That is only recovery in a technical sense: a recession technically happens when Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in an economy is negative for two consecutive quarters. This growth was driven by the oil sector, not the real economy, and remains fragile. If we continue to record positive GDP growth, even from our current very low base and no matter how small this growth may be, we will have started recovering from recession — technically. No doubt, some of our leaders will flaunt such a meager performance as evidence of progress.
Make no mistake also: we have suffered economic destruction on a massive scale in the past two years. From a GDP of $568.5 billion in 2014 we are down to $406 billion in 2016 — and that is if you are using the official exchange rate of about 305 Naira to the dollar. If you calculate with the parallel market rate of N366 to a US Dollar, our GDP today is well less than $300 billion. That is a massive erosion of our national wealth. Foreign investment into Nigeria was $5.16 billion in 2016, the lowest in seven years. That figure was $9.6 billion in 2015, and $20.75 billion in 2014. This means that we have had more than a 75% decline in foreign investment into our economy between 2014 and now.
Why did all this happen? And what should we as Nigerian citizens do about it?
This massive economic contraction has happened largely as a result of cumulative bad political leadership. We know, of course, the story of the sharp decline in oil prices starting from 2014, which is a major factor. There are two other important factors. The first was the depletion of the Excess Crude Account by the Federal Government and State Governments that insisted on drawing down from the account, from about $22 billion in 2007 to approximately $2 billion as of December 2014.This left our country with no protection for the rainy day as oil prices began to decline in late 2014. We therefore had no fiscal buffers to help us defend our economy from the implications of the oil price fall for the naira. The value of the naira depends on external reserves built on the back of crude oil price sales that bring in more than 90% of our forex earnings. 
The second factor is that of weak economic management by the present federal government. The government refused to make the necessary policy adjustments and has instead gone on a borrowing spree. We have increased our external borrowing by 46% (from $9.46 billion to $13.81 billion) in the past two years. We now spend over 60% of all our revenues, weak as they already are, on debt servicing.
We are where we are because of wrong political decisions that have prevented us from achieving real economic development. From the very nature of Nigeria as a petrostate on fiscal life support from crude oil sales for nearly 50 years instead of creating a productive economy with diversified streams of forex income, to the venal depletion of our savings by politicians who insisted, against the advice of technocrats, that we should not save for a rainy day because “the rain is already beating us”, and on to a rigid and statist approach to economic management for political reasons that have served vested interests but not the poor masses in whose name these misnomers were proclaimed as “policy”, our political leadership choices have kept our economy down. The policy response of the present federal government only bred corruption and arbitrage in the management of forex and negatively impacted manufacturing companies, leading to declining output and further job losses.
Our nominal GDP per capita, which is the best measurement of the inclusive nature or otherwise of the wealth of nations, is $2,260 as of 2016. That is just 19% of the global average. Our GDP per capita has averaged $1648.26 from 1960 to 2016 (a truly abysmal statistic). You get the picture. Malaysia’s per capita GDP is $9,360; Brazil’s is $8,727; South Africa’s is $7,504 and 54% of the global average.
As citizens, we must take our destiny into our hands and take the political actions necessary to ensure that we do not remain a poor country. This means that we must understand that the political choices we make in leadership selection matter a great deal. As I have demonstrated here, the decisions taken by political leaders determine whether we are rich or poor. There are three ways in which this reality matters.
First, the primary requirement of leadership is the character, ability and competence to create positive transformations, to lead a people or institution from where the leader meets them to a much better place. Second, an economy cannot make progress beyond the vision, capacity and competence of the political leadership, regardless of how many brilliant technical economists abound in a country. If the political leadership lacks vision, is venal and focused on other priorities, sound technocrats can’t achieve very much. Their full potential contribution will be suppressed by political decisions above them, usually taken in caucuses at night in places that are not offices. Third, the political and constitutional structure of Nigeria affects its economic management, in our case in a very negative manner because the potential productivity of the country’s component regions and states is suppressed by the rent-seeking politics to control absolute power at the center and dispense patronage. This is part of why constitutional restructuring for a true federalism is so essential.
When we vote to select our leaders, we must remember that these three issues are the ones that really matter for our welfare. It is not, as many of us are led to believe, falsely, ethnicity, religion or other primordial considerations (“na my broda”). We need to begin to elect competent Nigerians with leadership skills, a clear economic vision, and the capability to make such visions into reality. This is the only way Nigeria can become globally competitive.
Some African countries are achieving inclusive growth economies – Botswana, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Morocco, and Rwanda. They have not gotten it right because their elected leaders are angels. Rather, they have made real progress because their leaders are competent. They are competent because they understand how leadership can create a shared sense of nationhood amongst their citizens.  They are competent because they understand political economy and economic development at intellectual and practical policy levels. They are competent because they have a philosophical worldview you can identify.
As a university professor, one of my favorite reading assignments to students was a powerful essay in defense of industrial policy written by the late Ethiopian President Meles Zenawi. Despite industrial policy having fallen out of favor in contemporary economic orthodoxy, which favors unrestrained free markets and very little state involvement in national economies, Meles insisted, with sound intellectual argument, on his vision of an economy powered by industrial policy in which state guidance is combined with private enterprise to pursue inclusive economic growth.  He has applied that vision competently to his country’s economic policy. It is working in Ethiopia.  The country has had a growth rate of 8-11% for the past decade, and has one of the lowest rates of income inequality in the world. Leadership.
In Rwanda, Paul Kagame has led his country to some interesting outcomes, although the political space remains restricted. Like Meles, Kagame reads wide and deep, and is intellectually curious. He has a clear vision which he has been able to communicate effectively to his citizens, and utilizes performance contracts to ensure effective governance. Uniquely, Kagame has empowered women far more than is the case in most African countries, and women make of 56% of Rwanda’s parliament, the highest ratio in the world. His conceptual originality has led Rwanda’s ruling party to own and run profit-making business corporations. That’s better than stealing state resources to fund partisan politics. Leadership.
In Mauritius, President Ameena Gurib-Fakim is a former university professor who has done research and published tons of scientific papers. She is a leader who is an intellectual, and has argued that citizens get the leadership they deserve because it is their vote that selects and elects their leaders. Leadership.
In Botswana, the founding President Sir Seretse Khama, a British-trained barrister, instituted a superior culture of leadership grooming and succession that has assured the country’s stability and economic growth from 1966, when it was one of the world’s poorest countries, up till today when Botswana’s nominal GDP per capita, at $7,000, is one of the highest in Africa. Leadership.
We can therefore see a common thread of intellectually and technocratically competent political leadership in the successful emerging African countries. These leaders all recognize that ideas matter. They are therefore engaged with ideas, and with translating them into policy against the background of clear worldviews. The outcomes indicate successful economic performance.
To paraphrase a popular saying, the problem in our country is that many in power have no ideas, and those with ideas have no power. We once were led by intellectual politicians, the likes of Nnamdi Azikiwe and Obafemi Awolowo. Most of our politicians today don’t read. Many are Ghana-must-go bag-carrying characters or ethnic irredentists for whom politics is all about the self-preservation of the status quo.  They are more interested in peddling ethnicity, religion and other primordial factors as their passport to power. Naively drawn in by these sentiments, we are left with the short end of the stick at the end of the day. High poverty and unemployment rates have been our lot.
We have had enough. We should have had enough. When we continue to vote these kinds of compatriots into power, we are great accomplices in our continuing poverty. As citizens, we have the power to change our destiny. It is time to understand and to use that power. The path to economic transformation begins in our political choices.
• Dr. Moghalu is a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
  • Tunde

    The change you crave will be difficult as long as we continue to have such a high level of illiteracy. Subsequent governments since Obj have failed the country although none has compared with the last administration in profligacy (post 2019 discoveries may prove me wrong though I doubt that!). PMB still enjoys a cult-like followership amongst millions of uneducated and unskilled northerners who can’t read articles like these to make an informed choice. We do have a long way to go

  • Dele Awogbeoba

    This write up is interesting but lacks context. By 2015, it had become clear that the FG led by GEJ was borrowing money daily just to keep making payments of its day to day responsibilities. That much was admitted by NOI at the time. Oil prices had collapsed and Nigeria was descended into a recession. Nigeria was then being led (as it still is ) by Emefiele who was busy hiking Interest rates, increasing CRR, reducing money supply, introducing exchange controls and embarking on a system that gave rise to multiple exchange rates. Nothing dissuades foreign investment like Exchange controls and multiple exchange rates. It became inevitable that FDI will shrink considerably.

    https://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21656700-desperate-measures-bank-toothpick-alert

    Faced with an environment of lower oil prices and dried up external inflows..Nigeria needed to reflate the economy and mitigate the damage done by the CBN by either spending money it did not have through borrowing or selling off state assets. We all witnessed the outrage when Nigeria flouted the option of the sale of state assets. The other approach was to borrow to spend its way out of a recession. That was the way Nigeria then opted to go. Not my choice (as I had advised against it in the past). It remained the only other alternative when faced by an incompetently led CBN that was embarking of economically constricting economic policies in the midst of a demand challenged economy.

  • Don Franco

    Dear Dr. Moghalu,

    While I commend you for a well-written article, I need you to know that you cannot unring a bell; for you had all the time in the world to make a big difference while your were Deputy Governor at the Central Bank, but you didn’t. Professors Achebe and Soyinka both taught at Ivy League colleges, but their charities began at home. Come home and run for election in Anambra State and implement these fancy ideas you have elucidated in this op-ed.
    Your “insights” would have been better in “hindsight” had you not lacked the “foresight” of the “sights” you remonstrated about in this op-ed.

  • FrNinja

    Another powerful piece from moghalu. As an investment case the truth about Nigeria is that many were attracted by its population size and resources and poured in. But on ground the investor feels the rottenness of Nigeria at every turn. High corruption, an unreliable legal system, undisciplined and poorly educated workers, rubbish infrastructure. Many investors have abandoned ship or moved their core operations to far saner countries.

    All the mantra by Dangote that Nigeria is the worlds best investment destination is increasingly falling on deaf ears. Why suffer in Nigeria when there is Ethioppia, Rwanda, Ivory Coast, Morocco and South Africa. Investors can see from just the state of Dangotes fleet of rundown cement trucks that operating in Nigeria is akin to a warzone. They have learnt that banking in Nigeria is kneedeep in fraudulent transactions and uncollaterized lending. They read intelligence reports and know that Nigeria is run by a political class of fraudsters and thieves not serious about the change they preach.

    The sentiment on Nigeria today is decidedly negative as an investment destination. The investor sees Ethiopia making great strides to triple its power capacity and Nigeria perennially running on diesel generators. It sees Rwanda making great strides in achieving development goals while the number of poor and uneducated children in Nigeria multiply.

    For Buharis administration it has heightened investor apathy with its judicial lawlessness, and uncommitted approach to solving the serious structural deficits in the country.

    • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical

      Bravo
      The truth will always out in the wash

      • LagLon

        frninja…. you arent even on the half of it.
        indecision – 6mths for ministers
        political and economic infighting – senate vs executive, faction a vs faction b, executive vs judges… what policy plan does the apc have… what is it?
        appropriation – mth fine. other tax chases.
        reversals – power sector. some concessions.
        state vs private sector
        party shift – pdp to apc. shift in necessary financial and political connections.
        faith/ regional shift – christianity to islam. shift in necessary financial and political connections.
        lack of information – pmb lies. pmb does not understand economics. his min of finance and cbn governor are crappy and regularly undermined.
        fiscal profligacy – 11 jets. mad borrowing for consumption. no cost cutting bitter pill.
        social instability/ tensions – islamic vs christian, ethnicities.. no political dousing.. just escalation.
        inverted interests – why not produce more oil. we cant because pmb doesnt want the SS to benefit!!

        • FrNinja

          The guy is just there for power. You said it all. Just like Trumps MAGA – Make aboki great again.

        • William Norris

          Like it or not, APC will win the next election.

          Nigerians have NO CHOICE in the matter. Look back to 2011 and then do a rethink.

          APC lose the Presidency? Please don’t make me laugh, even 25 years from today APC will still be in Aso Rock and the naira will still be fixed at 305/$, hell maybe back to 199

          • LagLon

            lol bro.. are you educating me!
            its hammer time – the whole east sees this.
            restructuring is diversionary and may slow it down.
            but it’ll kick off proper in 2027 (if a new northerner wins and claims an 8 year mandate).. if not 2023 (pmb holds on)… when the true democratic test of a second power exchange is failed by the north…
            thats why i would vote FOR pmb in 2019.. it brings it all forward with an unlikable idiot in charge.
            i disagree with apc and 25 years… seriously. they want to stay for 25 years but it cant happen.

            1. nigeria is broke – weve already started printing money. so another oil shock would send us over the Venezuelan edge. nigeria couldnt tolerate hyper inflation. the centre would collapse and it would be ugly. also the bunkerers would still be making usd and buying arms. that would be the game changer. you cant send poorly equipped federal troops to meet mad militants. it would end after the first nigerian defeat.

            2 – the military will unravel. its only good against unarmed civilians. if you read the US report on the breakup of nigeria. they kindly outline in detail our military strength. its crappy – anyone with usd1bn can cause mayhem and take it down or achieve a stalemate – especially if a no fly zone is created. nnamdi kanu is an idiot – honestly reckon that if he was more patient …and armed 20000 guys (either as a unit or distributed militia).. the nigerian military just couldnt do anything about it.

            re leaving in 2019 – inec blah blah. it’ll be strange. its all about the candidates. i am like you but believe that saraki/ atiku can actually beat pmb [ the south would unite and the north would be split ]. the apc would attempt to use violence and other means.. but do not mistake the quietness of the opposition as subjugation…

          • obinnna77

            Spot on.

  • anthony oguejiofor

    Thank you, Kingsley. I have my voter’s card and I hope my vote for a new Nigeria would make a difference.

    • taiwo

      That’s not enough. Educate, persuade and influence others to use their votes wisely.

  • American Abroad

    Knock me down with a feather.

    Reading almost anything, especially from our lettered elite- and they are legion, both literally and biblically, as in the well-documented cognitive dissonance in the gnostic gospels- makes me depressed. Of course, the economic analysis provided by the writer is spot-on. Of course, knowledge always precedes performance. Of course, any political construct that unleashes the innate human potential, which is presently subsumed by a rentier mindset in today’s Nigeria, is vastly superior to what we now have. Of course, everybody is tired of mediocrity (as I had previously remarked in another contribution, Buhari’s present cabinet is a collection of the very best of the third-rate). Of course, every nation needs a philosopher-king, at the very least, at its founding or at times of crisis. America got thrice lucky in that regard: George Washington, at Independence, when he could have been King, had he wished for it, and followed by Jefferson, Madison, Adams and other original thinkers as the young country defined its ontogenic attributes; Lincoln during the civil war, setting a template for national morality, reconciliation and reconstruction, an idea which Gowon understood, but only too superficially; Franklin Roosevelt during the War To End All Wars, saving his country, Western Democracy, and indirectly, our very world. Imagine the lot of Africa under Nazi recolonization? Of course, it is scandalous that our leaders do not read (Obasanjo famously gloated that he NEVER read newspapers, this in a post-industrial world where intellect is not just essential human capital but is the only reliable predictor of personal and communal success? Can you imagine Buhari – or even Jonathan, allegedly a PhD, no less- reading a novel, philosophical text, or simply for pleasure?), but do we recall once having the opportunity of electing a philosopher-king (Awo, if you might recall), but collectively turned our noses? Now, make no mistake about about it, Awo was a deeply flawed candidate (introducing blatantly ethnic politics to our polity via his Egbe Omo Oduduwa platform, masterminding the first coup attempt which led to the treasonable felony trial, adopting a less-than-honest role during the civil crisis of 1967, excusing starvation of innocents, including children, as a legitimate instrument of war … the list is, sadly, very long) but he was the best we ever had. We have always had men of power, but rarely ever men of principle. Sadly, principle without power is always barren, and power without principle is always futile.

    Even today, the APC ruling party is sharply split into two evolving factions: those who want to stick with Buhari (presently fronted by Mr El-Rufai, at least for now), and those who want to stick it to Buhari (led by Mr Atiku, one presumes). Each cohort has a large crowd of supporters. Yes, despite all the noise, and there are still a lot of decibels forthcoming, the relationship between power (as represented by Buhari) and followership (as depicted by the APC rank-and-file) is transactional, not transformative. Buhari will never be all that he can possibly be within that environment, his followers will always be less than they might actually aspire to. It is a Lose-Lose proposition, which this article darkly hints at, without further scrutiny. The only thing that could be described as rich amongst our Aso Rock elite is their collective hypocrisy. Which is why I find this article troubling.

    The problem here is that Mr Moghalu, a former Central Banker, had a bully pulpit to propagate these same important ideas, but he conspicuously failed to use it. If restructuring (or federalism, or even outright secession) is the right thing today, it also was undoubtedly the right thing in 2012, 1999, 1966, practically at any other time. What took you so long? This is exactly my beef, at least qualitatively if not quantitatively, with all the other “Yesterday’s Men”, including the increasingly strident Abati, and all the recent converts to political idealism in Nigeria. Sure, my country of birth needs the dissenters, which is why I always pay close attention to Jon West (without the venom), Shaka Momodu (without the stridency), Fani-Kayode (without the dissembling), Abubakar Umar (without the baggage of history), and lately, Madam Alhassan (who should now do the honorable thing and resign). It is largely because though we often find their opinions troubling- or vexatious- they conspire to free us from the thrall of conformists and praise-singers, granting us permission as aptly illustrated in Hans Christian Andersen’s moral fable of the Emperor’s New Clothes, to finally believe the truth we can all clearly see but refuse to intellectually accept. As Louisa Ajiyor instructs us, there are five things that once lost you can never recover: the stone after it is thrown, the word after it has been spoken, the occasion after it is missed, the time after it is gone, and a person after they die.

    May those presently walking the corridors of temporal power in our much-abused country have the sense to look beyond their noses.

    • power

      American Abroad. Where Have you been? I miss your insightful comments. Welcome back bro.

      • American Abroad

        Thank you, my brother. Just crying into my beer, each time I contemplate the slow-motion recurring tragedy that is Nigeria.

        • power

          Please continue writing and making comments here. One day. God will use you to bless Nigeria. Apart from this forum, do you write elsewhere? Do you have a blog?

          • American Abroad

            I do write an occasional column for a very narrow field of study, which is my specialty. But trust me, it is too arcane to remotely interest almost any one. However, I do try to follow Nigerian news (somewhat erratically) through the newspapers, primarily Vanguard, ThisDay, and when I really want to feel near-suicidal, Sahara Reporters. It’s all very depressing.

          • power

            where can I have the chance to read about your “Narrow field of study?” Do you mind sharing? It does not matter if it’s arcane or not. No knowledge is lost at all. The brain is unlimited and it can adapt to anything. I hardly focus on Nigeria’s Issues. I try as much as possible to keep it simple. Like you said moments ago. They can be depressing

          • FrNinja

            Keep trying to flatter your way into uncovering american abroads identity you mischievious devil.

          • taiwo

            You wicked o!

          • power

            Fr Ninja. You need to have your head re-examined. You are obviously sick and suffering from enuresis and Encopresis and have lost touch with reality. I pity your worthless generation who are so envious and full of “toilet brains” that they have failed beyond human comprehension to acknowledge a great writer like American Abroad. Envy, jealousy, and hatred will consume your life. I asked American Abroad if I could read his blogs, he only said what he writes are “Arcane” which I reply that i do not mind. How is that “uncovering?” Did he continue to say that he won’t allow me read his blogs then I Insisted on reading it? The answer is NO! He only said that they are “Arcane” and I politely said I do not mind. People like are so inherently evil that they dwell on sowing the seeds of discord. You better go back to the gutter because that’s where you belong. Insolent bloody nuisance.

          • FrNinja

            You are either like a used piece of toilet paper begging to be used once more to clean someones stinky bum or you are an intelligence agent.

          • power

            Yes, because I like intelligent comments and conversations. Jon West and America Abroad are people I love to read their articles or comments. I am sure a lot of people can attest to this. (I hardly read articles here), hence I asked him. And when Jon west said he does not have any Facebook page. Did I go further on the matter? NO. I do not even live in Nigeria for your information.You are a worthless loser, a senile faggot, a stinking scumbag who is very envious of intelligent people. You should go to your fathers low sperm count and come back through vitro fertilization because it is very obvious that you are brain dead.

          • LagLon

            stop nah!!

          • remm ieet

            You’re very smart

          • LagLon

            tried it with me the other day… give your details then get your disqus account shutdown…

          • taiwo

            Lol. Near-suicidal with Sahara Reporters exposes? Tell me about it!

          • LagLon

            guardian is total xxxxx

    • Michael Kadiri SocioPolitical

      Sir, the reason that we continue to agitate, get upset, ‘cry in our beer’ is because we also refuse to see the bleeding obvious. Our political leaders must surely know by now that you will never enjoy your wealth when it is placed in the midst of the angry poor. They must surely know by now that their vast wealth at home and abroad does not get them the respect they feel they deserve. That is because the Oyinbo man that helps them warehouse the money, sells them the multi million pound homes sees them the way I do.

      I have long argued albeit unsuccessfully for now (time is my friend) that, those who engage in self harm may be suffering mental illness. The NIgerian political wealthy actually engage in self harm – permit me to explain. They live in large mansions with high walls and soldiers and armed personnel surrounding – looked at another way – in wealthy prisons. They go back and forth in large convoys surrounded and escorted by armed security personnel who hate them. The art of concealing stolen money in today’s world is a very involved financial enterprise – like running a fairly decent sized corporation with bankers and lawyers and foreign partners to help you fritter away and hide the money – as these people are not intellectually blessed, they get cheated or scammed and they know it, leaving them with a sense of not being worthy or smart. Like the mad man you see on our streets, who is noticeable because he wears many clothes, one on top of the other, these people become glutinous – can’t stop eating unhealthily, drinking alcohol, taking drugs and in the process become overweight and unhealthy with high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, liver and kidney problems (basically big man diseases). In the end spend their final years running from one doctor to another. The men amongst them sleep with their friend’s children (both boys and girls) and prostitutes (victims of one rape or the other) from all over the world. On Sundays they go to church and on Fridays worship at the mosque.

      When your lie consumes you totally and you live it everyday, you cross the line from the sane to the insane!

      Look closely at their faces. Look into their eyes when you can. Hear them speak and you will notice a mixture of fear and anxiety. Like most mad people, when they are on their own and look in the mirror, they must feel a sense of loneliness and confusion. Those that started off sane, must ask themselves how they got here. The true wealthy have always warned us that money does not bring you happiness. These politicians only smile and seem happy when they are in each others company – in the asylum where they can reside in their own make believe world. It is why the Nigerian politician first effort on winning election is to distance himself from the people who are to become victims of his crime or beggars to his ill gotten fortune.

      When I look at the political landscape, it is populated by illiterate, criminal and the mentally displaced socio-paths who cannot even seem to develop self preservation instincts. You don’t fix the roads that may sometimes kill you. The hospitals that cannot save you in an emergency, the schools to breed intellectuals that can upgrade and elevate you, the light that will help stop the pollution in noise and fumes that generators bring.You become the mentally retarded criminal who does not even know that he has to hide his wealth but instead you flaunt it.

      Take the mad man off the streets, put him in agbada and surround him with armed escort and place him in amongst the legislators and tell me in all honesty that there would be a big difference with what we currently have there. Dishonorable bunch, calling themselves honorable. Like the one was seen recently dancing in the London carnival singing his infamous song and embarrassing all his future generations. Or the ones that went to the US and tried to molest female guests and chamber maids, begging the concierge to procure them prostitutes. Or the lot of them who can’t stop appropriating themselves more of our commonwealth and cannot even pass a budget.

      At the end of their term of office, they re-spend the rest of the money fending off investigation. Paying not to be questioned and not to spend time outside the wealthy prison but in society’s prison. Some of them don’t succeed and spend time in prisons abroad, come back and rather than hide their heads in shame and repent, they do the exact opposite – and then they go to church on Sunday. If we stopped worshipping money, big houses and outlandish lifestyles, we may begin to understand what true wealth is.

      At a time when some others are seeking new planets for human habitation, designing driverless cars and the wonders of artificial intelligence, we still do not have light – and we say we no dey craze.

      • LagLon

        classic. ive noticed this, but actually wanted to relate it to freudian classes and structures. the men we watch are boys.. really emotionally ravaged children. i find it funny when arriving in my small car but huge education and excitement amongst the expenditures of a party – gwagons, rolls royces etc. like it makes them better, important…
        ..its really sad to see these paper thin guys act that way… and it says a lot.

      • FrNinja

        Those in power are not mad. They are frightened every day they get away with stealing so much and creating so much hardship for people.They see the Nigerian wretchedness through their tinted windows and wonder who among the masses will point an ak47 or rpg at their convoy as they rush by. When they go to public gatherings they wonder which person enraged by hunger will pull a knife and stick it in them in anger. So they cower in fear behind police and soldiers and thugs hoping the common man will not say enough is enough and explode in revolt.

        • William Norris

          No Nigerian has the courage to assasinate any public official.

          Do I even need to explain?

          • FrNinja

            Not yet they dont. But with the way things are going they will.

          • William Norris

            It will never happen. NEVER.

      • William Norris

        But all those leaders are very representative of the Nigeria populace from whence they come. So too is American Abroad, whose complex and insightful thoughts on Nigerian history led him to endorse the election of Buhari as President. Like Mr Moghalu that he criticized, so it is with American Idiot Abroad…..long on beautiful writing, probably a bagful of PhD’s, but completely unable to translate any of that into usable directives.

        No different from Buhari besides the Dullard’s lack of a Certificate.

        • LagLon

          its weird.. small gaps in historical knowledge and a certain self righteousness, impatience with the grand project and envy can lead to the buhari mistake. i forgive him. but sadly men that learn at age should not lead as errors of judgement that can be catastrophic for societies…
          ..for a period they should reflect on their characters and try to understand what impulses allowed them to fail the barabbas test.. (to be sold pmb as a democrat/ to allow a coupist to run a democracy)… they should look inward and defend their families (that funky uncle around your kids aint cool), harden their thinking (somethings are NEVER… not maybe NEVER).. and if they can do that and their sophistry allows them to find a clear voice.. what they will realise is that you can never be tolerant of the intolerant.. and that democracies have a tendency to vote themselves out of existence. that was the existential threat we saw in the shape of the last election and the result is what we are seeing now…

          about to launch a large farm now… the profitability especially as an export crop is stunning and will only get better…..

          2019 ..buhari/ kanu they must run and win. only this pair can finish the job.

          • William Norris

            Why did Transcorp divest from the Agro business?

            I hope you’ll do well. I hear cashews are doing OK. Agric should be a logical biz for Nigeria, including export. The biggest problem is the over valued naira.

            All the best.

          • LagLon

            transcorp never really had the liver. power is easier.. hotels are easier. you cant leverage a farm.
            tony is a quick money govt chop guy. agric is hard and the locals can be restive.
            to be honest he should be doing property and bonds only…

          • LagLon

            cashews.. export crop and mad demand. know a few guys into it.
            agreed re the naira but its slipping and in real trading terms the black market value is used.

    • LagLon

      bro.. sit with kingsley.. he really gets it. we disagree on a few things but he is sharp. if not for jim and kingsleys independence of mind (which is a negative for thieves).. we would have a different cbn governor….

    • taiwo

      AA: Excellent & thoughtful contribution as ever. It appears your view of Nigeria, going forward, generally tallies with mine. Restructuring can further aid Nigeria in providing the greatest good for the greatest number but the emergence of a Philospher-King, in my mind is the single most important ingredient needed to transform Nigeria. In any case, such person stands a better chance of pushing through political reforms/restructuring with his powers, influence, goodwill, engendered trust, vision & intellectual competence.

      Also, Is it not ironic that Obasanjo, Nigeria’s most intellectual Head of State to date and arguably most successful, would confess that he does not read (Nigerian) Newspapers.

      Lastly, aside Shaka Momodu’s stridency, you could have added his clearly PDP partisanship (PDP Media Strategy Team for 2015 elections), which he has failed to disclose, at least to my knowledge.

      • Don Franco

        Dear Taiwo,

        You made so much sense until you disparaged Shaka”s contributions to intellectual discourse on this forum. I’m sure you haven’t written off Kongi and American Abroad for their overwhelming support of Buhari, and how the intelligentsia came out enmasse to vote APC in consequence of their intellectual acrobatics in justification of how Buhari is the best reformed democrat since Pericles.
        To date, everything that Shaka foretold about Buhari and the Zoo has come to pass. Your apologies to him should be in order.

        • taiwo

          The Don: Sorry, I owe Shaka “nada” apologies. If I recollect, the persons you mentioned don’t have deep-seated association with APC before & during the elections. Shaka did with PDP and probably still does. Has he made such known till date? I haven’t seen any evidence he has.

          Morally & professionally, Shaka ought to have been upfront with this very important info. He has every right to support whoever he wants. Obviously he failed to declare his interest in the PDP. If that is not deceitful to his readers then I wonder what it is.

          I campaigned on Disqus for APC & Buhari, donated to his campaign and its here somewhere in a previous post. I haven’t hidden that fact from anyone. Things he has done well, I have applauded, those he hasn’t, I have knocked. In my mind, he has performed below 50%.

    • benedict chindi

      Near Faultless piece. The only problem (and it is a very big problem) being that our electoral system cannot produce the kind of leaders you (and Michael Kadiri) have described. You cannot expect mangoes from an orange tree; at least not without grafting. The system is in fact organized to keep the “philosopher king” out of elective office.

      Our electoral system favours the incumbent (who can pillage public funds for personal campaign finance), the political godfather (with mostly ill gotten money to burn), those who control the security agencies, those who can give the most bribe to the INEC REC and those who control the thugs. Its almost impossible to get good leaders in Nigeria without complete electoral reform which must first take the financial benefits out of elective office.

      Perhaps I should also add that all the major security problems we have had since 1999 are easily identifiable within our election cycles. The Niger Delta Militancy as we know it today is a fallout of the 2003 elections in Rivers, Delta and Bayelsa States; the Boko Haram insurgency was started by youths armed by the different factions who contested the 2007 elections in Borno State, while the armed Fulani herdsmen as we know them today were armed preparatory to a negative outcome for the APC in the 2015 elections.

      Its a fairly big mess.

    • Dele Awogbeoba

      For the benefit of readers only, How depressing it can be on one reads people pontificating on what can best be described as nonsense. Egbe Omo Oduduwa was a cultural organisation started in 1945. It was similar to the Ibo state assembly and other ethnic based cultural organisations that existed throughout Nigeria at that time.

      Nnamdi Azikiwe (as head of the national NCNC) in 1949 gave a speech advocating ethnic based states as the strcutural component of the Nigerian nation. For those intent on the acquisition of knowledge see the speech below

      http://www.blackpast.org/1949-nnamdi-azikiwe-address-ibo-people

      The Zik speech to the Ibo state assembly advocating an ethnic based state structure was given before Egbe Omo Oduduwa morphed into a political party called the Action Group in 1951. Secondly, Once Biafra was declared, one of the first steps taken by Ojukwu was to stop payments to the Federal government from oil revenue from the Eastern region. Biafra also ordered oil companies operating from Biafra from paying dues to the FG but will be required to pay the same to Biafra. Nigeria on the other hand stopped Nigerian produce from going into Biafra after it became clear that the food was not reaching the civilian population but was going to feed hostile soldiers. It is not and never was Nigeria’s responsibility to feed civilians under the control of Ojukwu. All igbo towns and villages captured by Nigerian forces were fed by the Nigerian government. Thirdly, I am not sure what this ignorant person terms ignoble role during the civil war. Awolowo pre-joining the Gowon Govt acted as the mouth piece of the Yoruba nation which at that time was sandwiched between two hostile and erstwhile allies (North and East). Awo’s interest was to find the best outcome for the Yoruba nation and he handled the situation in the best way for the Yorubas. His actions ensured that the war was not fought on an inch of Yoruba territory, that the Yoruba discontinued the marginalization of the Yoruba by the preceding NCNC govt where most of the bureaucratic jobs in the federal government went to igbos. Thirdly, ensured the Yoruba consolidated its control of middle class jobs and the Nigerian economy from that time onwards.

      • FrNinja

        Keep revising history imbecile. Using food as a weapon of war cost the lives of over 1:million children in Biafra. It was against the Geneva Convention and by definition Awolowo was a war criminal who perpetuated genocide. He is surely rotting in hell for his evil deeds.

        • Dele Awogbeoba

          Shut up. How much food produced in biafra did Biafra send to Nigeria? No country on earth is obligated to feed the citizens of another country. It was Ojukwu’s responsibility to feed his own people not the obligation of Nigeria to feed Ojukwu’s citizens. FOOL. Lazy leeches. you want to kill us and you wantu s to feed you as well during your murderous on slought!

          • FrNinja

            You are a fool and may your ethnic prejudice bury you. Wars are fought between armies not against civilians. Gowon declared Ojukwu and his army REBELS so blockading food entering Biafra to innocent civilians is called a war crime. There has been no war even fought on the African continent that has seen the kind of starvation of civilians that was witnessed during Biafra. Not the war in Ivory Coast or Somalia or Sudan or Congo. That Awolowo could conceptualize such evil that led to the deaths of 1 million children in a part of the country that had less than 10 million people was genocide on a massive scale. May Awolowo rot in hell.

          • Dele Awogbeoba

            Nigeria can decide to allow planes to fly over its territory and it can deny them that right. No country has automatic flying rights over a sovereign country. If Ojukwu was too stupid to secure his food supplies before declaring Biafra then he must and did suffer the consequences. Ojukwu had a starving population and wanted to dictate to Nigeria how the relief should come into the country. Sorry but no. Nigeria said it would allow supplies in by road only. Ojukwu (the beggar) was insisting on it being flown in. Beggars have no choice. The fool was playing politics with his starving people and many of his people died in the process. Their funeral as I could care less.

          • FrNinja

            Those who justify evil against the innocent should expect evil to visit their homes.

          • Dele Awogbeoba

            Joker. Next time get your leaders to plant their own food. You will not rely on Nigerian food to feed you so that you can kill Nigerian soldiers. Now get lost.

    • LagLon

      sorry o.. i just un-upvoted you. rule: stop half reading stuff uber quickly.
      ive been with him personally raising capital into nigeria, selling the story.. trying to make organisational changes. he was drafted in as a consultant.. he came in from switzerland… happy independent and not huungry.
      AA you dont know kingsley at all.. or have read his book or you are really that naive and stupid huh… wow!! nice words but actually dumb…. and dumb from afar i guess!
      kingsley came, saw and when he couldn’t be mentally compromised was bounced out of CBN.
      KM did dissent at the right time and that is why he is exactly why he is teaching in america!!
      the system doesnt allow his type to thrive… but he has to hold his position and await political change and he will/ may get his chance..
      remain hopeful. he is a good one.

      • Darcy

        ” await political change ”

        Problem with Nigeria. We’re all awaiting political change, at what point will stop waiting and perhaps, do?

        • LagLon

          i meant the political pendulum swings… sadly in 2015 we decided to be regressive… away from the likes of moghalu and co.. things are changing.. back to how they were before. its just not modern or sustainable. we hope itll one day swing back….

      • FrNinja

        Moghalu shouldnt bother. Nigeria is set up to disgrace the educated, refined the intelligent. See how Okonjo Iweala was demoted from Finance Minister to Foreign Affairs under Obasanjo and then came back for the ultimate disgrace – calling herself one long Coordinator title while the real coordination of corrupt contracts and big money was happening at Diezani, Namadi Sambo and Dasukis parlours.

        I say the intelligent Nigerians like Moghalu should stay in the US and watch as the fraud that is Nigeria massively implodes. For its only a matter of time that a state built on large scale theft will ultimately collapse. In fact we are now in countdown mode. 10 years is all Nigeria has left.

      • William Norris

        If Mr Moghalu dissented on bad policy or tried to implement the good ones, I certainly didn’t hear of it and I’m an avid follower of Nigeria policy. The LEAST he could have done is to make his policy advocacy LOUD & CLEAR.

        It’s like Segun Adeniyi who comes to lecture us on good government when he said or did NADA about the Yaradua succession crisis.

        Mr Moghalu is just another status-quo Anambra opportunist trying to play both sides of the Neo-Colonial divide.

        • LagLon

          WN – if they put you in CBN for a day.. you would get 20% of your agenda done and naysayers would say the same thing about you. he isnt like that. honestly. on this one you are wrong.
          cbn is a sh*t show. sometimes the heart is kinda in the right place … but implementation.
          theyre actually too many dumb and partially motivated guys around.
          its impossible to develop sane multi-year policies with greedy ignorant tomorrow chop dudes in the mix.
          when was the last time you sought a financial plan when you went to an ATM?
          thats what it is….

        • LagLon

          WN – if they put you in CBN for a day.. you would get 20% of your agenda done and naysayers would say the same thing about you. he isnt like that. honestly. on this one you are wrong.
          cbn is a sh*t show. sometimes the heart is kinda in the right place … but implementation.
          theyre actually too many dumb and partially motivated guys around.
          its impossible to develop sane multi-year policies with greedy ignorant tomorrow chop dudes in the mix.
          when was the last time you sought a financial plan when you went to an ATM?
          thats what it is….

  • 0swal0

    Well said, Prof.