What is New Nigeria?
The hope of an emancipated populace of Nigerians. That altered state that is a departure from the Nigeria of 1960 to 2000AD. The people of Nigeria that actively seek that new tomorrow, today
Who is a New Nigerian?
One who is Nigerian by conscious decision/choice and not just by birth, or legal process. A person who is proud to reflect the positivism in that identity [Nigerianism] in their conduct, and is not averse to declaring same in public.
What are the tenets of the New Nigeria(n)?
Love of GOD
Citizenship as Right and Responsibility
Integrity of Person and Citizen
Love for Country
Eschew of Violence
Respect for fellow humans
Perseverance in Work
Commitment to Social and Technological Progress
Tribal and Religious Tolerance
What is the old Nigera?
The remnant and descendants of the inheritors of the independence promise, and the 40-year trek from hope to desperation. All of us. Held fast by the spirit and the dust of that land that we call home, but living each day in a “Ground-Hog-Day”-esque nightmare. Legatees, one and all, of a great promise that has become a deep curse.
Who are the old Nigerians?
The Ancient Regime and their moral offspring; their names shall rot.
The cohort of bad leaders who aspired to, and usurped authority in the country, at the time of independence, and still hold sway today. The intellectually emaciated victims of the Ancient Regime, who having suffered abuse and rejection are now empty shells, a poor image of their selves, devoid of hope, living only for the day.
The disenfranchised and apathetic middle-classes, who in their timidity and fear have lost their own identities and have sold out on the hope of a future for their children. The masses of disadvantaged Nigerians who have exchanged the robbery of the colonial government for the thuggery and brigandage of nameless/faceless indegenes, to wit, the “Unknown Soldier”, and the “Anonymous Government”.
To Be [NewNigerian] or not to Be?
There is no middle ground. In the battle for the very soul of this great country, men and women must choose either to be for, or against their people. The complacency of the majority for the last forty years has brought us to this nadir of nationhood. We pray and believe that GOD’s time has come for the redemption of Nigeria. Will you join up and line up with the hope of GOD’s people for this country, or will you stay at home, and wait for others to save your country?
Time is now, to step forward and be counted.
Still standing up for the truth. “Otolorin” 28th February, 2003
The controversial comments of the traditional ruler of Eko, Oba Rilwan Akiolu has generated a lot of discussion among Nigerians; at home and in the Diaspora; online and offline. The Oba made the comments while meeting with Ndigbo representatives at his palace and threatened his guests with an encounter with the lagoon should they fail to heed his demand to support the APC candidate – Akinwumi Ambode. Those that understand the nature of rulership in Yorubaland will attest to the fact that an Oba hardly ever speaks contrary to the will of his council. The council itself is often a good reflection of the feelings and aspirations of the people at large. So, while it may have been politically expedient to discountenance the Oba’s statement at the point of a closely contested election, politicians will do well to take note. It comes as no surprise that, post-election, the governor-elect has prioritised a quick visit to the palace. Time cannot be lost in securing relationships as important as this.
However, we need to examine Oba Akiolu’s comments against the hope of a New Nigeria and the rights of indigenes in that new dispensation. For starters, what rights do communities have in a new Nigeria? Our laws do not distinguish between the person whose ancestry belongs in a place, and the chap who arrived yesterday as an employee or businessman. If for example, a small conservative village of 200 is overrun by an influx of city dwellers, whose values should prevail? Those of the villagers or their guests? Few question the economic value that non-indegines add to any population. Settlers tend to work harder, invest more, and provide services at a lower cost than indigenes. However, there is a social cost. So, there must be a melding of values and cultural accommodation on both sides, so that the economic benefits are not outweighed by the social costs.
The synthesis of a New Nigeria must take cognisance of these issues and begin now to articulate a model that drives synergy from diversity without stoking ethnic tensions. Such balance cannot be a simple case of majority, or right of law; because moral right is more powerful than legality and the use of force. Furthermore, the controversy in Lagos today may bear resonance in other communities across the nation and the country needs a solution that can be applied in every context.
One approach is to ask if there are inalienable privileges that should accrue to indigenes of a place. One could also examine if certain minimal responsibilities should be expected of settlers. The 1999 constitution makes no differentiation between indigenes and settlers, and while the intention is good, it is an omission that has led to many unresolved issues all over the country. The most critical and widespread being the conflicts between Fulani herdsmen and agrarian communities in their migratory path. In the middle belt there are problems between Hausa settlers and the native peoples, just as there are lines of tension between some southern business people and their hosts in the north central.
Our constitution may be silent on this issue, but African ethics and morality is not. A guest, as opposed to an invader, is expected to be deferential to their hosts. Over time, a guest who remains in a place, evolves to become a settler. This evolution must involve some socialisation/indoctrination of the guest with express aim of integration into the community. It is a two-way street though. The guest must desire it, and the hosts must be willing to provide the support or means. Both parties will change in the process. The hosts will have gained some empathy for their guest and built allowance for the guest’s values into their world view. The guest will need to do same, perhaps more so.
Moving on from the 2015 elections and the evidence of a polarisation of Nigerians, one must be careful not to take the results as a true reflection of the will of the people. The country is not as divided as the polls may suggest; but there are unresolved issues around tribe and religion. Nowhere is this more pronounced than in the metropolis where large numbers of Nigerians from varying tribes and religions congregate. Given an urban population accounting for over 30% of the total, balancing the rights and responsibilities of indigenes and settlers is vital. It may be useful to start by stating what is not a solution.
The leadership must not attempt to legislate accommodation, or to use the force of law and the instruments of coercion to impose the rights of one side over the other. Enforcing hospitality only widens the divide between hosts and settlers, accentuating differences, and entrenching hostility to those seen as “coming here to cause trouble”. Where there are significant numbers involved, this can be easily exploited by the politically savvy for electoral gain. History suggests that it is much easier to address extant issues that fuel alienation than to contain ethnophobia once it has blossomed. It is not possible to legislate against the emergence of far-right politics.
In the post Jonathan/PDP era, things are likely to get difficult before they get better. The perfidy of the past decades will take some time to recover. As the immediate resource pool shrinks though, the circle of identity of many will contract. There will be the temptation for politics and power gamers to exploit this myopia of consciousness for personal gain. Care must be taken to ensure that we find balance in our relationships, especially in our metropolises to ensure that the diversity which is our strength does not become a weakness.
Before beginning to proffer solutions, it is worthwhile to play some possible scenario to set the scene. (1) Abians discover large deposits of oil in their State. With prudent use of the additional revenue, the State really transforms the economy and wellbeing of its citizens. Within a few years, Abians no longer do menial or blue-collar jobs. Spotting the gap in supply, many Hausas migrate to Abia and begin to fill the jobs and to provide services that indigenes would not deign to touch. Such is the abundance of opportunity and the number of migrants that within a decade the new comers now constitute a majority. What will happen if a block vote by the settlers demands Sharia law as a condition to support candidates for governor?
(2) A radical governor revolutionises rulership in Sokoto State by making education mandatory till secondary level, and also financing it. The transformation in lives results in a huge explosion in demand for services. Over a few years, powerful interests from Yoruba land respond by moving offices and employees in large numbers. These families relocate and settle all over the state. On account of their economic significance and dispersal across the State, the settlers insist that a form of Yoruba customary law should operate side-by-side with Sharia. How are the indigenes likely to respond?
In each case there are legitimate demands, but are they appropriate? Would the first guests have been welcomed if they made such a request on arrival? Now, it is easy for the elite to dismiss these issues and obfuscate reality with sophisticated arguments and logic. However, they are often far removed, economically and socially from the trouble spots. The privileged do not have to compete with non-indigenes for survival opportunities. Neither do they live in localities where residents are directly impacted by the dress-code, social conduct, and religious practise of their neighbours. So to them, the problem is selfishness, in-hospitality, intolerance, or some other hidden agenda.
We should learn from the Europeans and the problems they have had with integration of migrants. The issues are real and cannot be wished away. What we see in some parts of Europe is a failure of the political elite to balance the economic benefits of migration with the social costs. The United Kingdom: England and the Eastern Europeans Federal Republic of Germany: The Turks in Germaney The French Republic: French identity and North Africans
Some of these “foreigners” were already resident in their adopted communities before Nigeria became independent! Leadership failure, though, has opened up an opportunity for far-right nationalist politicians to gain political relevance. These fringe parties offer themselves as vents for the concerns of threatened groups. In return, they gain bloc votes that put them in the limelight and the corridors of power. From there, they project a fulsome agenda on an unsuspecting but hitherto apathetic majority.
Here are some recommendations for change:
Engagement. As a nation, we need to maintain engagement between the elite, middle classes, and the lowest levels of society/economy at all times. Avenues must be created for the articulation of the feelings and concerns of the poor and the disadvantaged. This should be a regular exercise, so that dissatisfaction does not accumulate, or find vent in violence. The poor are less mobile, geographically, so issues need attention in-situ and on time. Townhall meetings with local government chairmen, State/federal officials, legislators, and governors should be part of the calendar for every locality.
Opportunity. Where there is more than enough, few bother with the identity of the person next in line. However, when the dearth arrives, suddenly, colour, religion, ethnicity and other consideration suddenly gain relevance. It is vital that programmes are targeted to conflict areas to provide opportunities that will engage as many idle hands as possible. This needs to be a deliberate action. The target needs to be persons between the ages of 15-35, as they are more likely to be involved in violent disputing.
Education. The CIA has identified that (ignorance + poverty = violence). This should be revised as; ((ignorance + poverty) * political-action = violence). There is usually a spark that ignites a fissile situation: the activist, terrorist, or other. In all cases, it is sufficient to eliminate ignorance, and the threat is largely eliminated. Boko Haram and other terrorists thrive on the uneducated. As a nation, we must cut off this supply line, as a matter of urgency and national security. Education should be a combination of formal instruction and targeted information (propaganda).
Orientation. The introduction of the unity schools and the NYSC by the Gowon government is laudable. However, it is time to review these initiatives in the light of our present circumstances. The unity schools are too few to have an appreciable impact, but their ethos can be extended to many other schools. Such schools should be supported by goal-linked funding. Similarly, the NYSC should no longer be a source of subsidised labour for the private sector or the public service. Neither should it be limited to graduates of polytechnics and universities. Instead, service should be diverted to key national need areas, and all Nigerians who have attained the age of 16 and have ceased schooling should be involved. NYSC should be divided into an initial 6-months military training for all. This should be followed by either of 6-month military, 12-month police/DSS, or 15-month community service.
Separation. There are some cases where the overlap will forever be contentious. There is no point forcing irreconcilables into union. In cases like Modakeke-Ife and other tribal rivalries, or the never ending conflict between nomadic herdsmen and agrarian communities, the government must help facilitate physical separation. For warring communities within the same geographical space, boundaries need to be established and enforced, in dialogue with affected parties and State authorities. For nomadic herdsmen, clearly mapped out grazing paths must be established by the federal government, across the country. This should be backed by law, just like the demarcation of games reserves. Herdsmen must be given preferential access along the migratory path, and affected landowners and communities should be compensated for their loss.
Kaizen. A hundred pages will not suffice to identify the problems, much less to proffer all the solutions in advance. Instead there should be a programme of continuous risk assessment and mitigation planning. Ongoing work should be commenced on the constitution to recognise the ethnic composition of Nigeria and our embedded nationalities. Provisions need to be introduced to recognise and validate these ethnic, cultural, and religious identities. No group should feel lost, marginalised or insignificant in a New Nigeria. The executive, and legislative arms of government should be organised for empathy to these considerations. The judiciary should strengthen and extend customary law at the State level, so that all groups have some representation and expression in the laws of the land. For all other considerations, our commitment to continuous examination and change will help our peaceful coexistence and prosperity.
We are entering a new phase in our nation’s history and being joined at the hip, we need to ensure that it works well for us all. We have lived in the shadow of north-south divide, and ethnic and religious tension for too long. It is time we ceased reaction and take the initiative to make Nigeria better for one and all. The argument here is that there is room for all of us in this New Nigeria. All we need to do is rearrange the chairs!
The Politics of Change and a New Nigeria Of those privileged to have visited the UK from Nigeria, many would have made a stop in London. The city is well worth the effort and time required to take in some of its many wonders. From the structures, castles and homes in the old town, to the glistening skyscrapers that adorn the new commercial and financial centres, as well as the various modes of transport available to the Londoners of today: river boats, buses, taxis, overground trains, underground trains and even driver-less trains!
Travelling on the London underground, or Tube as it is sometimes called, it is common to hear the announcement “all change, this is the last stop for this train …”, or something to that effect. On hearing this, all commuters are required to abandon the affected train and seek other means of reaching their destinations. Should we be asking ourselves if the time to change trains here in Nigeria, and to ponder if the train we are on now can take us any further in the direction that we want to go? Have we traveled for so long on the PDP train that we have forgotten that we are now going round and round like the Circle line on London’s underground? Could it be that we need to abandon the train because, even though the engine is still running, movement has ceased?
But a change to what? A person who is considering choices for lunch must have the ready access to more than one type of food, i.e. he/she has access and can afford the choices. Therefore, if we are to contemplate change in Nigeria today, there must be an option or alternative, and such alternative must be viable. Most Nigerians will agree that the nation is broken in a fundamental way and that major change is necessary for our corporate survival. It is also clear that time is short to effect the needed changes. So, the only disagreement across the nation is the modus or nature of the change.
Politically speaking, Nigerians have only two choices for driving democratic change. It will have to be either of the PDP or the APC, as neither of APGA, Accord, Labour, or the other peripheral parties, are national in terms of support or outlook. So, if Nigerians discount the PDP, the most likely beneficiary of a new mandate would be the APC. If change will come to Nigeria, this is probably the best opportunity for an opposition victory.
While there is definitely a widespread dissatisfaction with the PDP and Dr Jonathan, this does not automagically translate to support for the APC. Unless the APC can articulate a clear linkage between Nigeria’s present problems and the failures of the ruling party, the party may struggle at the polls. The APC must be alive to the reality that people and parties lose power, they do not relinquish it. Another big challenge for the opposition is the fact that the electorate is mostly poor, uneducated and/or young, and will be easy prey for misinformation and monetary inducement. Voters must be persuaded that the APC is a live and beneficial alternative to the status quo; “live” here means that an APC vote could transform into electoral victory, and “beneficial” indicates that there is a clear potential of new or increased gain that would accrue to the voter on account of an APC victory. Elections are emotive and relational; both the message and the messenger must be appealing to secure loyalty of the voter right up to the polling booth.
Strategising for Electoral Victory: One area in which previous APC candidates, and the party as a whole, have been incredibly short-sighted is in the planning and execution of electioneering strategy. It is vain to complain about rigging when it is clear that manipulation of votes is a primary device of incumbents in Nigeria. Rather, opposition parties must prepare and articulate a clear electioneering strategy to a core caucus within the party. The strategy must be very confidential, so that a DSS raid does not land the crown jewels in the hands of the PDP. It should lay out detailed plans that the party has for securing the majority of popular votes, as well as counter-plans for thwarting the rigging machinery of the ruling party.
Opposition parties must be very careful in building an electioneering strategy team. The team must be a mix of strategists, party executives, and street-level activists, so as to attain a balance of intellectualism, political sophistication and street-wisdom. Each member must have strong loyalties to the party or the success of the strategy, i.e. there must be a direct benefit/loss for every member should the party win or lose the election. This team will be the equivalent of an elite special-forces unit in an army. While most of the team will be card-carrying members of the party, it may be wise to bring in some external consultants with innovative ideas that will help distil/energise the strategy.
Having come up with the electioneering strategy, the next thing will be to prosecute it with vigour, determination, and agility. It would be credulous to believe that everything will go according to plan, but a bloc of supporters that are chaperoned by activists, who in turn are directed by a strategy team, have a much higher chance of success than a rabble of thugs and paid-per-day voters. The strategy and a significant part of its execution occurs pre-election, on election day the icing should be put on the cake, the party that wins would normally have gained an advantaged position before election day.
Before elections the priorities are mobilisation, risk assessment, and the pre-emptive deployment of consolidation or mitigation plans. This will involve detailed analysis of voting history, demographics, reconnaissance and logistics; the goal being to assess the opportunities and threats and to deploy resources appropriately in terms of type, time and proportion. On election day the priorities shift to mobilisation and facilitation of voting, execution of locational psychology, and the gathering of evidence. Win or lose, the gathering of evidence is key at every polling station, it is the only way that a party can independently satisfy itself of the veracity of any pronouncements made by the INEC. The evidence will also provide invaluable data for future strategy, and fuel for a post-election strategy. However, a detailed electioneering strategy is out of scope here, but all aspiring candidates need one, especially when in opposition. A word here though will suffice for the wise: election victory will not be served on a plate; only those that contest it can win it!
So What Happens If the Opposition Wins? An APC/opposition victory would be a seminal moment in the history of Nigeria. But could it be more than that, could it be more than another flash in the pan of African and indeed black history? The desire for positive change in the social economy of the nation has never been so high. Nigerians have been pressed beyond endurance these last two decades. While the rest of the world has advanced, Nigeria has regressed. Many lives have been blighted, many lost, and large numbers living as though dead. The weight of expectation on any new government will therefore be very high. Unfortunately, these are inauspicious times, there are monumental infrastructure deficits across the country, oil prices are falling, record numbers are unemployed, and the security situation is so bad that Boko Haram may be approaching Abuja by the time the next president is sworn in this May.
There is so much work to do; the question would be where to start? In addition to a plethora of other issues, it is vital to sanitise the judiciary, else not much traction will be gained against corruption; in tandem, power and transportation must be addressed as matters of national emergency, and of course security must be prioritised. There are others such as education, health, etc. that are also important, but these can wait until the fundamentals have been stabilised. In the celebrated case of Lakanmi and Kikelomo V The Attorney-General of Western State of Nigeria and Ors (1971), the Nigerian Supreme Court held that the voluntary transfer of power by the civilian government to the military in 1966 was justified under the doctrine of necessity. Since then, governance in Nigeria has had to resort to the same doctrine to navigate tricky strictures on the democratic path. Given the present state of the judiciary, EFCC, DSS, and police, it is most probable that a new government will have to be imaginative in the extreme to use the deformed instruments of state to fix the very state itself. Will they have to push the limits of this same doctrine past its limits?
If that path has to be resorted to, said government must be careful; power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It is a lesson more so for the retired General who may be leading such a government. Corruption is the elephant in the room, and it goes without saying that a failure to seriously curb corruption will result in ultimate failure to move Nigeria forward. Ribadu it was that said, “when you fight corruption; corruption fights back”. However, care must be taken to ensure that Nigerians do not become the collateral damage that results from the fight between government and the agents and machinery of corruption. Good Zen is to be rid of sycophants and PDP fifth columnists; these two are more dangerous to a progressive government than corruption and all other ills – once you get rid of the rats, the snakes will also disappear.
Could this be a New Nigeria? With the likes of Nuhu Ribadu as gubernatorial candidate under the PDP and Osinbajo as running mate on the APC presidential ticket, it should be clear to discerning observers that all the good eggs are not in one basket. For all the failings of the PDP leadership and Jonathan, there are still distinguished Nigerians in the rank and file of the party. Similarly, the presence of the likes of Buhari et al should not detract from the fact that the APC is not a church of saints. Nigeria though is served by the process that has brought these persons, and the coalition, to the forefront of Nigerian politics.
A win for the APC is likely to catapult many more progressives to the high table. Influence from the top will percolate downwards and progressives will be encouraged to come out of hiding and join the rebuilding. Similarly, as rats flee the sinking PDP ship, the original crew of visionary Nigerians that formed the party may glean an opportunity to retake the helm. If such things happen, it could usher in a truly new country; a New Nigeria that millions have dreamt of for many years, and for which several have given their very lives. It could be even much more than that. This could be the foundation for the first, truly great, black nation of the modern age. A nation led by black people, run by black people, and populated by black people, and a nation that begins to do those great and good things that hitherto have been associated with the Caucasian, the Latino, the Indian, the Chinese and the Arab.
A nation where there is rule of law, where the police is a service and not a force, where the army’s ire is felt by invaders and not defenceless citizens. A country where schools and hospitals are run by civil servants and not part-time mercenaries, a place where energy plants serve a thriving manufacturing and services sector, where roads are built and maintained, and that by Nigerians. A land in which the vote of the citizen counts and the lines of tribe and religion have been erased by shared values, aspirations and achievements. A New Nigeria that sets an example for the whole of black Africa and pulls hundreds of millions out of their nightmares and into the light of a progressive co-existence and the infinite possibilities available to all in a land so rich in every resource salutary to human existence and prosperity on this earth.
It is the prayer of all Nigerians that the forthcoming elections are credible, free and fair, and that such candidates as represents the best value for the present and future of our great nation wins. We wish all contestants every good fortune within the bounds of our laws. May God bless us all and usher in a New Nigeria in our own lifetimes; amen.
I join my fellow citizens this morning to welcome and celebrate the New Year 2018. This year promises to be pivotal in our quest for CHANGE.
Unfortunately, I am saddened to acknowledge that for many this Christmas and New Year holidays have been anything but merry and happy. Instead of showing love, companionship and charity, some of our compatriots chose this period to inflict severe hardship on us all by creating unnecessary fuel scarcity across the country.
The consequence was that not many could travel and the few who did had to pay exorbitant transport fares. This is unacceptable given that NNPC had taken measures to ensure availability at all depots. I am determined to get to the root of this collective blackmail of all Nigerians and ensure that whichever groups are behind this manipulated hardship will be prevented from doing so again.
Such unpatriotism will not divert the Administration from the course we have set ourselves. Our government’s watch word and policy thrust is CHANGE. We must change our way of doing things or we will stagnate and be left behind in the race to lift our people out of poverty and into prosperity.
My address to fellow Nigerians this morning is devoted mainly to informing you about the intense efforts this Administration is putting to address our country’s huge infrastructural deficit.
We are going to make significant in-roads in advancing road, rail and power projects across the country.
The Ministry of Power, Works and Housing is one of the drivers of this Government’s commitment to renew and increase Nigeria’s stock of infrastructure in order to achieve global economic competitiveness as targeted under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
With regards to Railways, we have set ourselves ambitious targets. Already in construction stage is the Lagos-Kano Standard Gauge Railway.
The line should reach Ibadan from Lagos by the end of 2019 and will carry two million passengers per year and five million tons of cargo will be transported every year giving a substantial boost to the country’s economy.
Construction of the Kano – Kaduna segment is expected to commence this year and reach Kaduna by the end of 2019. By the end of 2021 the two ends will be joined so that we will have standard gauge railway across the main North-South trading route.
The Abuja – Kaduna route will be boosted by additional rolling stock next Thursday and will be able to handle one million commuters annually.
At the same time I have approved and negotiations will be concluded in the first part of this year for the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri line covering Aba, Owerri, Umuahia, Enugu, Awka, Abakaliki, Makurdi, Lafia, Jos, Bauchi, Gombe, Yola and Damaturu. The Abuja to Itakpe line will go through Baro and terminate in Warri with construction of a new seaport at Warri.
Negotiations are also advanced for the construction of other railway lines, firstly from Kano to Maradi in Niger Republic passing through Kazaure, Daura, Katsina, Jibia to Maradi.
Secondly, Lagos to Calabar the “Coastal Rail” through Ore, Benin, Agbor, Asaba, Onitsha, Sapele, Ughelli, Warri, Yenagoa, Otuoke, Port Harcourt, Aba, Uyo and Calabar. In the next few years, all these Nigerian cities will be linked by functional modern rail systems, giving enormous boost to the social and economic life of our people.
With respect to the Abuja Capital Light Rail, progress has reached 98% completion, as at 64% completion when we assumed office. Only test runs remain before start of operations.
This train service will stimulate economic activities in the Federal Capital and provide residents with an efficient and safe transportation system. Twelve railway sub-stations around the capital over a 45.2 kilometre route will serve as a catalyst and a pull factor to the economy of the area. The Light Rail System will reduce traffic congestion and carbon emission in line with the Administration’s policy on climate change.
Management of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) has been reconstituted and has been charged with a 12 week rapid intervention in road repairs to cover all the geo-political zones. Government is undertaking repairs and maintenance of 44 roads within the six geo-political zones.
Twenty five major highways will be funded under the N100b SUKUK facility. Each geo-political zone will benefit by an equal amount of N16.67b. The following major highways are to receive special attention:
a. Oyo – Ogbomosho,
b. Ofusu – Ore – Ajebandele – Shagamu,
c. Yenagoa Road Junction – Kolo Otuoke – Bayelsa Palm,
d. Enugu – Port Harcourt Dual Carriage Way,
e. Onitsha – Enugu Expressway,
f. Kaduna Eastern Bypass,
g. Dualization of Kano – Maiduguri Road,
h. Dualization of Abuja – Lokoja – Benin Road,
i. Dualization of Suleja – Minna Road.
In addition, Government has approved work to start on the re-construction of Abuja – Kaduna – Zaria – Kano road which is in a state of disrepair. Work will soon start and is expected to be completed in 2019.
More Nigerians across the country are experiencing improved power supply to their homes and businesses. However, power remains a concern to this government because too many people still do not have regular and reliable supply.
The Payment Assurance Guarantee Scheme which started in January 2016 has enabled the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader to raise so far N701 billion to assure Generation Companies of at least 80% payment for any power delivered to the national grid.
Consequently, generation has now reached 7,000MW. On December 8, 2017 the country achieved 5,155MW of power delivered to consumers, the highest level ever recorded.
Several moribund projects have been revived. Repairs of Afam Power Station added 110MW in 2017 and another 240MW will be added this year through a private investment partnership.
Katsina Power Project is now being tested and producing 10MW of power from wind for the first time in Nigeria. It should be fully operational this year.
The Zungeru 700MW Hydroelectric Power Project, stalled by court cases is due for completion in 2019. The transmission and other requirements to operate the 30MW Gurara Phase 1 Hydroelectric Plant, the 40MW Kashimbilla Hydroelectric Plant and the 215 MW Kaduna Gas/LPG/Diesel Power Plant will also be completed this year.
A landmark project, Mambilla Hydroelectric Power Project is at last taking off. This project has been on the drawing Board for 40 years, but now the engineering, procurement and construction contract for the 3,050MW project has been agreed with a Chinese joint venture Company with a financing commitment from the government of China. Completion is targeted for 2023.
As I mentioned earlier, the Transmission Company of Nigeria can now distribute all the 7,000MW that can be generated. TCN and the Niger Delta Holding Company have added 1,950MVA of 330 down to 132KV transformer capacity of 10 transmission stations and 2,930MVA of 132 down to 33KV transformer capacity of 42 sub-stations including Ikot Ekpene, Aba, Alagbon, Ajah, Ejigbo, Funtua and Zaria.
This Administration is working with the privatised distribution Companies to overcome the continuing challenges of distribution.
These massive public works should spearhead the recovery and lead millions back to employment. You will recall that it was not until last year that we got out of the economic recession into which the country had fallen as a consequence of past unsustainable economic policies which projected short-term illusory growth.
The government is slowly stabilizing the economy.
It was in order to change the steady and steep decline that we adopted the more sustainable policies and programmes captured in the Economic Recovery Plan. Diversification efforts have resulted in improved output particularly in agriculture and solid minerals sectors. The relative exchange rate stability has improved manufacturing sector performance.
We have got to get used to discipline and direction in economic management. The days of business as usual are numbered.
Two years ago I appealed to people to go back to the land. I am highly gratified that agriculture has picked up, contributing to the government’s effort to re-structure the economy. Rice imports will stop this year. Local rice, fresher and more nutritious will be on our dishes from now on.
By the same token, I am today appealing to enterprising Nigerians with ideas and unemployed graduates and other able-bodied and literate men and women with ideas not to just sit and wait for employment from the government or the Organized Private Sector. Great nations are built by enterprising people who turn their hands to anything that circumstances dictate.
In respect of political developments, I have kept a close watch on the on-going debate about “Restructuring”. No human law or edifice is perfect. Whatever structure we develop must periodically be perfected according to changing circumstances and the country’s socio-economic developments. We Nigerians can be very impatient and want to improve our conditions faster than may be possible considering our resources and capabilities. When all the aggregates of nationwide opinions are considered, my firm view is that our problems are more to do with process than structure.
We tried the Parliamentary system: we jettisoned it. Now there are shrill cries for a return to the Parliamentary structure. In older democracies these systems took centuries to evolve so we cannot expect a copied system to fit neatly our purposes. We must give a long period of trial and improvement before the system we have adopted is anywhere near fit for purpose.
However, there is a strong case for a closer look at the cost of government and for the public services long used to extravagance, waste and corruption to change for the better. I assure you that government is ever receptive to ideas which will improve governance and contribute to the country’s peace and stability.
As the electioneering season approaches politicians must avoid exploiting ethnicity and religion by linking ethnicity with religion and religion with politics. Such must be avoided at all costs if we are to live in harmony.
In this respect the rest of Nigeria could learn from the South Western States who have successfully internalized religion, ethnicity and politics.
Political discourse should be conducted with civility, decorum and in a constitutional manner. We all have a collective responsibility to strengthen our democracy and entrench the rule of law. We should draw encouragement from the series of bye-elections conducted by INEC last year which were generally violence free and their outcomes adjudged to be free and fair.
Before I conclude my address I must reassure my fellow citizens that security of life and property is still top of our government’s agenda. We have since beaten Boko Haram. Isolated attacks still occur, but even the best-policed countries cannot prevent determined criminals from committing terrible acts of terror as we have seen during the past years in Europe, Asia, Middle East, elsewhere in Africa and in America.
Our government remains determined to protect all Nigerians in line with our election pledge and promises. On behalf of all Nigerians let me offer our thanks to the Armed forces, the Police, other para-military forces and traditional authorities who are working round the clock to ensure that you and I go about our normal business in reasonable safety.
Terrorism and urban crimes are world-wide phenomena and our security forces are continuously adapting their responses to changing threats.
With regard to rampant cases of kidnappings, we are taking immediate short-term measures to combat this new evil creeping into our societies. Tighter police methods and swift and severe punishment for those proved to be engaged in kidnapping are on the way.
With respect to Niger Delta, Government is still engaging responsible leadership of the Communities to help in identifying and addressing genuine grievances of the region. Our clean-up programme in collaboration with the United Nations is making satisfactory progress.
I am grateful to all the Governors and other Political & Community leaders of the Niger Delta States for their part in bringing relative peace to the areas.
Finally let me again express my heartfelt thanks to all Nigerians who prayed for me during my illness last year. I feel deeply humbled by your prayers and good wishes and I am more determined than ever to serve you to the best of my ability.
Good morning. And I wish everyone a Happy New Year.
Arguments and Contentions You would think that we already have enough problems arrayed against us in Nigeria, but every once in a while, one hears of, or sees, a new problem being conjured up to add to our distress, or an old goblin being invoked to undermine whatever measure of peace that we already possess. Not so long ago, a controversy emerged among some brothers of mine that I hold very dear. A hint is apt at this juncture. I come from a very large extended family, which appears to grow by the day, and for which we thank GOD. Furthermore, the family is made up of a great variety of persons, with just as many perspectives on life, death, and eternity. The family also sustains Christians and Muslims in peaceful and supportive co-habitation. Then of course, two brothers get embroilled in the controversy of faith/religion, of Muslim versus Christian; sowing a line squal, they soon begin to reap a cyclone; and that is how I got sucked in!
Considering the problems facing us today; one would not expect people to invest energy in such controversies. However, it is worth setting aside our default theme for once, and to explain why I believe such controversies should not be allowed to distract us from working together (Muslim & Christian) for justice and progress in Nigeria. Please indulge me by following through in the elaborations that follow – based on my Christian perspective.
Who is He? For me, Jesus Christ is the Son of GOD, and my personal saviour. Without Jesus Christ, I have no business with GOD, being that I am neither Jew nor Arab: the only two peoples that GOD made promises to concerning blessings and multiplication. However, if I would consider becoming either Jew or Arab, so as to have communion with GOD, I only need to look at what GOD’s people of the promise are doing in the Middle-East today, and I can readily conclude that, if violence, hatred, murder and war is part of the deal, I will abstain.
So, how then can I remain in touch with GOD, if I am not to become Jew or Arab. I take it that we all believe that there is only one GOD. I continue to say that whether you call GOD by the name GOD, Allah, Olodumare, Chineke, etc. it matters nothing, the glory goes to the same one who at Babel decided to scatter the people over the earth by confusing their language. I also continue to say that this GOD is a holy spirit and does not participate in, nor tolerate evil. As such, any human being that will share the same space (Heaven) with GOD must of necessity be likewise holy (devoid of wrongs).
Of Things Above Us At this juncture, I must digress a bit by examining the concept of Heaven. Heaven by expression implies that there is a Hell, since both stand as opposites to each other. If there was one without the other, the concept of a final judgement by GOD would make no sense in that we would all end up in the same quarters. If also there is an effective judgement, as surely there will be, then, it means those that are holy like GOD will enter with him into Heaven, while those found wanting would “go to Hell”! I hope we all agree on this as well. These premises, of one GOD, of a Heaven and a Hell, and also of right/wrong or good/evil, are vital for the persuasions that follow. Now to return to our discussion.
Navigating the Scales Before we go any further, we need to ask ourselves an important question, i.e., “is the judgement of GOD based on relative or absolute purity?”, i.e. are you weighed in the balance as to the degree of your goodness/badness, or is it simply a question of, “have you sinned or not”. If it is the former (relative purity), every human being that has ever lived appears before GOD completely unsure of whether he/she is going to make it into heaven or not. Life is too long for anyone to keep accurate records of all good/bad things one has done, so that one could weigh oneself in the balances before one dies. If it is the latter (absolute), then virtually every human being is bound for Hell – unless there is some divine intervention – since all of us err sometimes, and most of us will err even on the day we die, for example by having spare cash in our account while many around us go hungry.
The questions then are; How does one keep the balance tilted towards greater goodness? (relative purity) How does one maintain holiness/sinlessness until the point of death? (absolute purity) In both cases, I believe Jesus Christ saves. For me, Jesus Christ is not a religion, I am a Christian only because that is the name people call those who follow Christ, but I am of the opinion that one could be a Moslem/Jew/Hindu/Sikh/etc. and still believe in Jesus Christ the son of GOD. Because, which ever way you take it (relative/absolute) true faith in Jesus Christ will get you to heaven. Allow me to explain.
The Relative Argument This (Relative) means that you need to do more good than bad, and thereby be weighed favourably when placed on GOD’s scales of justice and purity. Jesus Christ lived an exemplary life of sinlessness that demonstrates GOD’s requirements of human beings. However, to follow the example that Christ set will break your balls if you are a man, and I do not know what it will do to the woman, but I can assure that it will be more than uncomfortable. The standards are so high that they appear un-attainable, and to my mind, past difficult. The truth is that most people will fail in seeking to live exactly like Christ. However, in pursuing the Christ-example, we lean on a powerful truth from Plato’s “The Republic”, and his Ideal State concept; of which he said:
In heaven, I replied, there is laid up a
pattern of it [Ideal State], methinks,
which he who desires may behold, and
beholding, may set his own house in order.
But whether such an one exists,
or ever will exist in fact, is no matter;
for he will live after the manner of that
city, having nothing to do with any other.
Like Plato’s Ideal State, in first apprehending the Christ, and thereafter in the pursuit of the Christ, one’s life becomes better, even if that person never attains Christ-ness. Indeed, I am of the opinion that it is impossible to realise Christ-ness on this earth – there are those who will contest this statement, but I am not moved. To the best of my knowledge, no one has lived a life that invalidates my opinion, and so my position remains unchanged.
The Absolute Argument If GOD insists on total (Absolute) sinlessness as the condition for admission to heaven, it is clear that virtually all, in fact, all human beings are doomed even before they reach their teenages. By the time we reach adolescence we are already well stocked with a great variety of sins, quite a few, out of ignorance … “respect for elders, satisfaction with what you have, generosity to the poor, kindness to the disadvantaged and even to animals, etc. etc.”. The list is endless, and most of us will have many items checked! What is more, almost certainly, on the day that one dies, one may sin, provided one has the faculties to interact with one’s surroundings before one crosses over to eternity. A person might be annoyed and curse someone; may hold unforgiveness against another; may fail to honour GOD in showing appreciation for the life one had, even if one was not ready to die at that time; the possibilities are nigh on infinite. It would appear that we are doomed to all fail an absolute bar; we need an escape route, a VIP pass, an insurance policy. What do we do? What can we do? I believe, the only answer is to believe the Book of Life which says that GOD has put all our sins on the Christ, and that by accepting the Christ, we can plead not-guilty before GOD. As I see it, this is an unbelievably good offer for Christians, and a spectacularly sound insurance policy for non- believers. Carry on being whoever you are, Christian, Moslem, Hindu, Jain, Jew, Freethinker, etc. but just believe in Christ, and leave the getting-into-heaven to Him.
The Matter in a Nutshell In conclusion, I must say that all my friends and family are first of all friend or family, before they are Christian, Muslim or whatever, my love and commitment to those around me is not determined by who they are, but that GOD has blessed me by sorrounding me with such people, and I will continue to be friends or family with them till I die, even if they never accept Christ. However as a loved one, I must not hide what I know and believe, even if I never try to force it down anyone’s throat. My destiny is tied up with and in Christ; if one were to come down from heaven today and say to me that Christ has been cast into Hell, it would not change my position; where He is, that is where I want to be too. Much water has already passed under the bridge that ties us together, after all I have been through in that name, it would be treachery now to disown that name, and GOD help me, I will not. I do not know GOD’s standards (relative/absolute), neither do I worry myself about them, the only thing that I pray is that GOD accepts me a Christian, my dearest grandmother who died a Muslim, and all of my friends and family, whatever they professed to be in this life. That is the crux of the matter for me; and I go further to say that our differences of perspective on GOD should not be cause for animosity between ourselves (Nigerians). Such differences must not hinder us from working together for the progress of our country; especially as the GOD-less are presently-speaking, busy destroying our country and the livelihood and way of life of our people. There is a time for everything as we all agree. On the day of judgement, all controversies will be resolved; now though is the time for nation-building! Let us all put these controversies aside and stand up to be counted for one Nigeria.
Recently, our honourable coordinating minister of the economy was awarded an honorary doctorate by an Ivy league institution. The award has proved to be controversial, especially for some Nigerian observers. Here is what I have to say. Yale University has a right to honour whoever they deem deserving. However, in doing so, they should refrain from dragging third parties in on the side of a misrepresentation of reality.
If the honourable minister had been credited for achievements at the World Bank, or for work done under OBJ to exit the Paris club debt, I would have held my peace. Those are facts and they are verifiable. However, Yale overreached themselves by including the following in their statement:
“As Nigeria’s coordinating minister of economic development and minister of finance, you have tackled corruption, created a vision and path to long-term economic stability, and worked to build a culture of transparency … you have transformed the economic landscape of your nation.”
This to me is akin to Abacha’s children publishing an article on Sahara Reporters in which they tried to portray their late father as some great benefactor of the nation. We all lived through his times, and most of us publicly and loudly disagreed with the family and the publication.
In the same light; we have all lived through the GEJ tenure in which Okonjo-Iweala has held office. I for one cannot say that I agree with this commendation. Indeed I feel insulted, that while I am alive, Yale claims that: corruption has been tackled in Nigeria the country has a vision to long-term economic stability we have built a culture of transparency our economic landscape has been transformed
Do these Yale folk take us for fools? Imagine a situation in the US where an official in one of the States leaves office with record debts, a backlog of unpaid entitlements, and broad criticism about rule of law violations and transparency issues. Would Yale deign to honour such a person? What of if this person was a federal official? Even less likely! Yale would defer the accolade, or decide against it, because of the recent record. Even though such a person might have, in the past, done things worthy of commendation.
So why do they deem it appropriate to confer this honour, at this time, and using this citation? Perhaps the Nigeria lobby in the US is still in its infancy, and they know it. Or could it be that the community takes no interest in such issues. For all the patriotism of Jews, I believe quite a few would come out to protest an award that commends Bibi for “advancing the understanding and accommodation of Palestinians in Israel and a new Palestine”. Which is not to say that Netanyahu is not worthy of commendations for other things.
In my humble opinion therefore, this award is untimely, and the citation is wrong. Yale should reconsider it, and even if they choose not to rescind it, the offending statements should be redacted and an apology offered for the misrepresentation and offence it has caused.
Dear Mr President, Greetings to such a one as the executive president of Nigeria, and at such a time as this. I desire and pray that the president is in good health and that his soul prospers to all the extent possible in the crucible that is the Nigerian state in 2014.
Mr president, I salute you on your efforts to contain the terrorists that have set their stall in the north-eastern periphery of the nation and are presently breathing threats and violence against the whole country. It is my earnest prayer that the deliberations and actions instituted by your government bear fruit, and that, soon. The nation yearns for peace, and I believe said desire finds resonance throughout the presidency.
Let the president take consolation in the reality that the trials besetting the country are not beyond endurance nor are they unique in humanity. Certainly, where others have suffered, struggled, and succeeded, the same outcome can, and hopefully will be obtained in Nigeria. Now though is a time to doubly redouble efforts and to remain unswerving in the task “to keep Nigeria one”; such a call being even more pertinent today than when it was first coined at the time of the Nigerian civil war.
Time is of the essence though, so I must cut to the chase.
I will like to think that the government and intelligence agencies of foreign governments such as the US, UK, Israel, and others will have been trying to get a message similar to this to the president, being as they are so much more sensitive to, and aware of the dangers of un-contained terrorist activity. It would also appear that their overtures have so far failed, and so I am writing this openly; the hope being that where others have missed, this one may get through the motley of palace guards that seek to force a gap between the president and reality.
Allow me to summarise the state of the ark: The Nigerian army has fundamental problems Boko Haram terrorists cannot be defeated by military means only New thinking will be required and it will involve several dimensions The solution is not attainable from a party, ethnic, religious, or other line/alignment The time available to procure a lasting and sustainable solution is short One strategic strike and Nigeria could unravel Unusual, bold and imaginative leadership is vital
The Nigerian Army CORRUPTION: Mr president must be alive to the fact that corruption is endemic in the Nigerian army today. It is important to accept this reality and to act to arrest it, this is foundational and the army will not survive unless that cancer is rooted out quickly. The president must find a few honest officers that can be trusted, and do what is necessary to get them into the right places to clean up the mess. MORALE: Rank and file suffer from low morale occasioned by the lack of necessities, including such basics as boots and uniforms, as well as the expected combat kit, salaries and other entitlements, training, and merit-based promotion. The presidency may like to investigate the career of all senior officers (colonel and above) and to sift out politicians and journey-men from the professional soldiers, as these meddlers contribute to corruption, compromise morale and dilute the fight in the chests of the officer cadre. INTELLIGENCE: A modern army relies more and more on information, and sophistication in thinking and weaponry. Fitness and bloody mindedness can not be the only requirements for entry and a career in our army, there must be a greater emphasis on education, intelligence, and strategic thinking. Many soldiers remain semi-literate, and this includes some mid-ranking officers; it is important to launch a task force to eradicate illiteracy in the army. TIME: It is clear that the changes needed in these areas will take some time, and so, expecting the un-reconstituted Nigerian army to neautralise the terrorists in a short time is unrealistic; it is time to think out of the box, and the answer is not to be found in more money, but in better thinking and judicious use of existing resources.
Boko Haram It is important that the presidency understands Boko Haram and how such terror evolves and manifests. Key officers within the office of the president, as well as the president must be well versed in information and intelligence on Boko Haram as this is vital. Such information and intelligence will make it clear that contrary to what the army and Gen. Chris Olukolade may be putting out, Boko Haram will not be neutralised solely by military means, and that it is unlikely that said outcome will be secured by this Nigerian army in a short time. Having first hand knowledge also helps the president to oversee the war from a vantage point, and ensure that action aligns with his vision for outcomes and an ultimate solution.
A New Mindset It is important to start with the fundamentals and build upwards. The president must help to retake the moral upper ground in relation to security personnel by ensuring the pay for soldiers, police, DSS and others on the frontline of our security, including all arrears of salary, entitlements and other stipulated benefits. This will be expensive, but it will never match the cost of another year of insecurity. If the burden of keeping a large security force is overbearing, the president should arrange a competent team to glean out meddlers, those near retirement and others not fit for the army in these times. It may be expedient to create sub-groups within the security services to form a new “Special Task Forces”, or if need be to create such an amalgam as a parallel structure, specifically charged with counter-terrorism, and to give priority training and funding to those forces (STF) in order to expedite the military strategy.
Information and Intelligence about the ideology, leadership, organisation, funding and operational tactics of Boko Haram must be properly analysed and organised. As much of this information must be shared with the general public to create an awareness of Boko Haram, and with awareness the knowledge and capacity to take citizen-action where necessary. The information and intelligence must also be leveraged to launch and sustain a major propaganda offensive against the leadership of Boko Haram and their frontline criminals, and to set them in the mind of the populace as number one enemies of the nation and all citizens. The propaganda must attack their thinking with proper Islamic thought and remove the cloak of legitimate religion that they put on. Information must be used to castigate their actions and tactics and juxtapose them against faith, morality, and even sanity. The tragedy of the abducted girls and children must be turned around as weapons of information to mobilise all citizens against the madness and folly of the terrorists.
The fault lines within the motley that is Boko Haram must be explored in order to compromise the chain of command; the loyalty of foot soldiers must be examined to see if some are willing to dialogue or break rank. Intelligence on sources of their funding must lead to quick prosecutions. Such collaborators should be tried, not for murder or other felonies, but for treason. It is also necessary to infiltrate Boko Haram and to deploy the psychology of that reality to destabilise their cohesion and operational fluency. In all of this, the role of the common Nigerian cannot be overstated; the eyes, ears and intellect of everyday Nigerians must be coopted to be in the vanguard of the war against the terrorists. Here again the established police and DSS will struggle to build the confidence and trust of most Nigerians, and it may be wise to find a section of the STF that will be the bridge to the public and to funnel feedback to a central intelligence team.
Terrorism on the scale that Boko Haram has attained may take some time to eliminate, but now is a good time to revisit the strategy on national security, and the role that non-professionals can play, especially young adults. The time is ripe to revise the focus and purpose of national youth service, and to introduce paramilitary training and service in the security forces for all, as a prerequisite to working in any capacity in Nigeria. This service will avail the country of the intellect, zeal and availability of hundreds of thousands of young people passing out of polytechnics and universities as well as those that have left school early and have attained the age of 18. The duration of the service should be according to intensity: 1 year for military service, 1.5 years for police and other security-related service, and two years for civilian roles. Irrespective of choice though, the first 6 months should be reserved for military/security training. This mindset can be applied to the civilian JTF at the present time. They should be given basic education and training and should be deployed for specific tasks, with one or more STF personnel embedded within teams of about 20 volunteers.
Pathology of a Solution This conundrum will not be resolved while holding on to considerations or loyalties to party, ethnicity, religion, or social/economic/intellectual grouping. The best thinking and strategy will come from the spectrum of citizen-types in Nigeria today, and it is only when all such identities find resonance with the articulated plan will there be success. The war will not be won exclusively on the battle ground, and a lasting peace and long term security must be hinged on the buy-in of the vast majority of Nigerians. This calls for honesty and transparency at the highest levels of government; the mindset of leadership needs complete overhaul, and if that takes a path from paranoia through schizophrenia to conscious equivocation and then clear conviction, what needs must. No price should be too high for the peace of Nigeria as a whole, and the 160 million inhabitants that live within her borders.
Time is of the Essence The time available to procure a lasting and sustainable solution is short! Boko Haram is presently pressing in for the overthrow of Bama, a major town, not far from Maiduguri. Psychologically and strategically, the loss of that town could have a domino effect, with several northern towns following suit in short succession, and if by some ill-luck or incompetence, a band of the terrorists succeed in a strategic strike of significance anywhere in the country, the existence of Nigeria could be put into question, and no one would be safe, most especially the educated and the well off. It is time to draw a Maginot line, and to hold it fast; Maiduguri must not be allowed to fall.
Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Man This is a time for unusually bold and imaginative leadership. In Ukraine the president has promised to do anything, even the unusual and unexpected to secure a peace. Mr president must also go out of his way to lend traction to a solution here. The president cannot do it all by himself, unlike Ukraine though, there are few that can be trusted and not many competent, so delegation must be handled with the greatest care and consideration for outcomes. This is not a time to pander to conservatives who seek to maintain the status quo and pretences of superiority, or to entertain fringe-lunatic leftists who will cede territory and power in the vain hope for accommodation of terror. The president must not be squeamish about sitting at the table with undesirables, but he must always have the end-game in mind in any and every discussion or negotiation. Expediency is key and a Machiavellian outlook may be useful in these times, for it is not the will that people judge, but the outcomes that a leader procures for their people. Mr president must be bold and courageous.
All Said and Done? Having said all, I hope that the president will respond to this urgent message; it is an SOS, a message in a bottle, and it may be the last that is heard from this distressed ship. I am not a seer so I cannot predict 2015, what is certain though is that success in this fight against Boko Haram and terrorism will guarantee favourable mention of the president in the pantheon of Nigeria’s leaders. On the other hand, failure also has its dividends and even more so than success, for the name of the president will be secure, but in the 13th gate of the gallery of Africa’s failed leadership, and perhaps gain even greater notoriety in the history of a country that once was, if this happens to be the last presidency of a united Nigeria. I am a messenger, and I have said that which I have to say; let those that have the power to act do as they are willed or inspired to do.
I therefore leave you as I find you, empowered but encumbered, and yet the chains and the locks are at your entire disposal, only you can decide, only you can act, and only you will be responsible. Time is now; Carpe Diem, and may God be with you; amen. God bless Nigeria.