Please pardon my hitting you with such an out-of-this-world title. For
I can wager my quid that there is no country on earth with as little
as five governments not to talk of having as much as 130million
governments. Impossible. Such doesn’t exist. Countries are generally
known to be run by one, not two governments.
One may say, there are countries whose population are in tens of
millions, so what is he talking about? If a country is 23million in
population who then will constitute the remaining 107million
governments? Even if there was, what would such a country be like?
Now, here is what it would be like: the citizens will be entitled to
one or more governments depending on the population. They will
apparently be in charge of their affairs, providing for themselves
amenities that a central government should ordinarily provide for
them. It would be a case of everybody for himself and the country for
us all. Go no further, I now know a country in that cast.
And the country that comes to mind is Nigeria.
The title of this piece would have been: This country has 130million
local governments, but most people know that we have past that stage
as some individuals provide for themselves facilities a local
government won’t provide for its people. Someone argued that a local
government is basically what every well-to-do family in the country
have become to itself. Therefore, the would-have-been title has come
to be a cliché. As of this moment, families and individuals with the
wherewithal have progressed into becoming a federal government unto
One of the facts pointing to this is that Nigerians are now generating
their own electricity. We had known electricity generation and
distribution as a preserve of the Federal Government. But Nigerians
are now shouldering that responsibility. That is what our ‘government’
has forced us to do. If this smacks of being good-for-nothing, you
This composition is inspired by a study released last week which
revealed that about 81 per cent or 130million Nigerians, out of the
about 160million Nigerians, generate their own electricity through
alternative sources to compensate for irregular power supply. The
actuality was arrived at after a series of Power Sector Polls
conducted by NOI Polls Limited for the second quarter of 2013.
I hope you won’t let your imagination overwork your brain by trying to
count the number of Nigerians that can build and maintain a power
station. No, they do not go that far. They simply get themselves the
“I pass my neighbour” generating sets you know, and life goes on from
there. This has led to the generation of over 6000 Mega Watts of
electricity as against the meagre 2,866.4Mega Watts currently produced
by the Nigerian government.
Speaking at the Nigerian Institute of Management(NIM) Inaugural
lecture that held sometime in March this year, the Vice-chancellor of
UniLag- Professor Rahaman Bello said, “An estimated 6,000MW is
generated via individual and corporate outfits to meet their minimum
demands for electricity.” Note that this 6,000MW is just for business
outfits. When you add the ones Nigerians generate for their domestic
use, then would you better understand which is the real government.
However, I have an issue with the NOI Polls report. The report, to me,
is punctured by a gaffe they shouldn’t have allowed. No, it has
nothing to do with the statistics, my issue lies with their use of
language in presenting their findings. Many Nigerians will agree with
me that NOI erred by describing that generating apparatus 130million
Nigerians rely upon as the alternative source.
It is, rather, the other way round. Many business establishments and
homes see PHCN’s power supply as the alternative, while the energy
they derive from generating sets becomes the major source. Even the
submission of Professor Bello, just like nous, lends credence to this.
For a source that produces 6,000MW is the major source while the one
that brings about 2,866.4MW will at best be the recourse. Please let’s
forgive NOI, after all, to err is human and to forgive is divine.
But, with a setting where generating sets become the major source, it
then means we live at the mercies of the plants. I’m talking about the
hazards we contend with on account of generating sets.
To start with, try to create a mental picture of the cacophony of
sound that 130million generating sets will generate in a country and
you would behold an extremely noisy country. When you’re done with
that imagination, think about the fumes from generating sets as it
affect our health and earth and you’d understand how much the
institution we call government loves everybody.
Talking about how much they love us. In spite of our trying to
complement their ineptitude by contributing our over 6,000MW to the
national grid, they still want to impoverish us. How? By the move of
National Electricity Regulatory Commission(NERC) to make it mandatory
for electricity consumers to pay a fixed charge of between N700 and
N800 monthly, up from N500, for electricity supply that may not have
been supplied. Where is the love?
To make matters worst, they said the over 100 per cent increment takes
immediate effect, poor service delivery notwithstanding. Hear the NERC
boss- Sam Amadi, “the tariff must increase despite shortfalls in
service delivery.” How insensitive can authorities be in a democracy?
Perhaps, it wouldn’t have been so spiteful if he had left out the
shortfall in service delivery part.
By that statement, it’s as if they are telling us that “we know we are
cheating on you but what can you do?” A dare for us to catch them if
we can. Even if the Multi Year Tariff Order(MYTO) permitted them to
periodically increase electricity tariff per kilo watt, couldn’t they
have spared us the agony of making the increment at this time when
service delivery from their end is abysmal. Only in Nigeria!
Are they so out of patience that they couldn’t wait to have the crisis
in the power sector fixed before pauperizing us with their outrageous
electricity tariff? This only goes to show how hypocritical our
leaders can be. You’ll always hear them admonish us to be forbearing
with them while they tackle our energy challenges, yet they themselves
aren’t patient with same.
It seems they don’t believe the situation will improve hence their
haste in increasing electricity tariff without a commensurate
improvement in service delivery. This position is made more plausible
by the fact that they, as insiders, know a lot about the situation
than we outsiders know. It’s possible they have seen a cul-de-sac in
the energy crisis biting the country.
We have been greeted by all manner of stories on why our energy crisis
persists. We have been told of system collapse, inadequate water in
the dams, shortage of gas supply to thermal stations and theft or
vandalism of power equipment as reasons for our poor electricity
output. We have also heard of the presence of demons and mafia as
reasons for persistent blackouts in most parts of the country.
This question always props up in my head whenever we are given
reasons, rather, justification for our being kept in darkness- why are
same reasons not affecting countries that are enjoying interrupted
power supply? For instance, excessive vegetation along transmission
highways was also given as one of the factors robbing us of constant
electricity, why isn’t this story peddled in South Africa?
The most unfortunate part is that countries whose citizens take
electricity for granted don’t spend as much as we do in providing and
maintaining their energy infrastructure. With the humongous sums spent
and being spent by the Obasanjo, Yar’Adua and Jonathan
administrations, it’s a shame we just have 2,866.4MW of electricity to
show for it.
I’m sure the money these administrations spent surpasses the
cumulative amount spent by Nigerians on buying and maintaining the
generating sets that have yielded over 6,000MW.
Only that we don’t manufacture the plants here in Nigeria, else the
money used in procuring them would have remained in our economy. As it
stands, any generating set that we buy creates extra jobs in the
foreign country where it was produced that obviously has a government.
Those ruining(sorry running) Nigeria should let the country have one
government. For only then would many other things fall in place.
Who Will Explain Coronavirus To Buhari?
Coronavirus (COVID-19), an exorable doom, threatens life on the planet. It is exorable because it is conquerable. This explains why world leaders are taking the charge to combat this ominous apocalypse. It is a time for leadership from the fore-end; a time when citizens must hear their leaders speak to them; see them take action, making assurances and fulfilling those promises. The counsel, consolation and firm statement of a leader is imperative at this moment.
In Canada, Justin Trudeau, prime minister, despite being in self-isolation and his wife battling the virus after contracting it at a conference in the UK, is leading the fight against this dreaded disease from the fore. He is providing regular updates of the efforts of his government to roll back this scourge, listening and speaking to citizens.
In a popular broadcast on March 13, Justin spoke to citizens of Canada announcing measures to relieve the financial stress brought on by the pandemic on Canadians.
“We do not want any Canadian to have to worry about whether or not they’re going to be able to pay their rent, whether or not they’re going to be able to buy groceries, or care for their kids or elderly family members. We need to make sure that Canadians have the options and the ability to follow the best public health advice and keep themselves safe,” he said.
In the UK, Boris Johnson, prime minister, leads the struggle against coronavirus. He provides updates, alongside health experts, on the measures his government is taking to tackle the spread of the disease. And in the US, Donald Trump is not shying away from speaking to Americans on the virus.
As a matter of fact, President Muhammadu Buhari’s lapses are often easily dismissed by his supporters or by Nigerians who do not know better. Some of them say, ‘’ Why must the president speak when the minister of health and the NCDC DG are already doing that?” This is a contemptible rationalisation of incompetence. Are they suggesting the president lacks the capacitance to understand the issues?’’
Really, I surmise the president has been walled off the ‘’candid cameras’’ over the years by his handlers – not just now – because he lacks the intellectual propensity to understand and discuss incisive issues. The last presidential media chat he held was in 2015 and it was a woeful outing. Also, his non-choreographed media interviews have been abysmal to say the least.
The truth is the unfiltered Buhari is a vacuously gaffing one. On October 14, 2016, standing beside Angela Merkel, German chancellor, Buhari said his wife, Aisha, ‘’belonged in the kitchen and the other room’’, when he was asked to comment on the first lady’s criticism of his government.
On April 18, 2018, at the Commonwealth Business Forum in London, the president said the young citizens of the country he leads are lazy.
“More than 60 per cent of the population is below 30, a lot of them haven’t been to school and they are claiming that Nigeria is an oil producing country, therefore, they should sit and do nothing, and get housing, healthcare, education free,” he said during a panel appearance with world leaders at the forum.
In a February 2016 interview with UK Telegraph, Buhari dropped another clanger. He said the young citizens of his country have a knack for criminality and should not be granted asylum in the UK.
With the Buhari experience, it is indubitable that Nigerians must place a high premium on education — not just certificate – in choosing their leaders. The cost of electing leaders who do not have the intellectual grit to understand and handle matters is far too high.
The senate has asked the president to speak to citizens on this threat, and Nigerians are also asking the president to speak to them. This is an abnormality. Citizens must not beg to hear from their president. But because it is Buhari involved here, we have to beg and even excuse the crass inefficiency and vacuity.
Perhaps, the president is still trying to get a hang of it. I think he has ‘’capable handlers’’ who can break it down to him in ABC.
Mr President, speak to your citizens. The words of a leader are more resounding and assuring than the blandishment of proxies.
PS: Let’s follow all health protocol as advised by the NCDC.
• Wash your hands regularly with soap under running water.
• Cover your mouth and nose properly with handkerchief or tissue paper when sneezing and/or coughing. You may also cough into your elbow if a handkerchief is not available.
• Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
• Avoid self-medication, report to the nearest health facility when you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms.
Fredrick Nwabufo is a writer and journalist.
Sanusi: Once Upon An Emir, By Wole Olaoye
We are all potential Ex-es: ex-student, ex-director, ex-lecturer, ex-senator, ex-governor, ex-president, ex-oba, ex-emir…. The inimitable Zik famously reminded us when he had a spat with Ukpabi Asika that Ex was an inevitable prefix for any human being as was evidenced by the fact that a certain young man who would someday become an ex-Administrator, was the son of an ex-postmaster!
So, what’s so apocalyptic about Sanusi Lamido Sanusi joining the ranks of ex-potentates? Nothing? Everything! Don’t ever think that bell you are hearing is tolling for the former Emir of Kano. No. It could be signalling the beginning of a comprehensive demystification of traditional rulership by plebeians holding tenured political power. In centuries past, no plebeian messed with the traditional institution. The halo of nobility, the sheer vastness of a prince’s hereditary powers, rights and privileges, made the subject know his place.
Yesterday’s subjects are today’s political sovereign. They make no pretences to sophistication. They load a gun to kill a spider. When you dethrone a monarch and then deprive him of his liberty, forcefully banishing him to a place without electricity and potable water, you are playing god. If it was all a public relations Olympics, the calm dignity with which Sanusi handled the humiliation made people all over the world admire his chutzpa and hand him the gold medal. A
Life and its many puzzles! Why is it that for some men and women, “their sleep is taken away unless they cause some to fall”? What do you do about an ego that knows no satiation? As the Preacher in the Good Book timelessly says, “All the rivers flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full… The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear content with hearing… there is nothing new under the sun”.
The Yoruba have a poem that says just that. “The horse struts and frets and then dies. Being a veteran walker is no immunity to getting lost. Nothing new under the sun. I’ve seen kings reduced to slaves; and servants who mounted the throne. Haven’t my eyes beheld both river and sea? Haven’t I seen a hunchback on spindly legs, and a midget climbing a ladder to add condiment to the soup pot? Tell me, has anyone ever started a building from the roof?
The new Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, is a cousin of his predecessor. As royal intrigues go, when the dust is settled the sword will be sheathed and brother will embrace brother. That is the way of princes. Eventually, outsiders will realise that all they can ever be in palace politics is outsiders. Our very own Nobel prize winning Kongi was not amused by the scandalous extra-judicial detention of the former emir.
He put the emir’s travail down to his progressive stance: “Emir Sanusi was a one-man EFCC sanitisation squad in the banking system, taking on the powerful corrupters of that institution…. “Most important of all, and most pertinently for the nation, Sanusi was one of the early warning voices against religious extremism whose bitter fruits the nation is currently reaping….
The doors of enlightened society remain wide open to Muhammad Sanusi. As for his current crowing Nemesis, a different kind of gates remain yawning to receive him when, as must, the days of governorship immunity finally come to an end.” Support for Sanusi is not limited to radical voices.
Veteran technocrat Alhaji Ahmed Joda penned a panegyric in support of the ex-emir: “The purpose of this letter to you is not to commiserate with you, because I know that you must have known the likely consequences of the principled position you have taken. The reality we must face in Northern Nigeria is that the evil forces of feudalism that have kept us in bondage for so long are still there and fighting. You have been the only voice that has been telling us this truth….”
It is easy to kick a man given a pin-fall by fate, or piss on the grave of a fallen warrior. Dead men don’t bite. Real friends show up when you are in life’s valley. Say what you will, I would rather have a friend like Nasir el Rufai when the chips are down. In the midst of all the turmoil, conspiracy theories have surfaced to the effect that the dethronement is but a political sleight-of-hand to propel Sanusi to Nigeria’s presidency in 2023. Caution! Let’s separate the issues. Political succession is totally different from fundamental human rights. Sanusi is not my next president.
My views on power rotation are well documented. The ex-emir will go down in history as a champion for the rights of the poorest of the poor. He advocated for a new Northern Nigeria where old backward practices such as the almajiri system and irresponsible parenting will be abandoned. His was the voice crying out in the desert, lift my people up from the cesspit of penury. The attempt to demonise him after dethronement through various allegations, including one on religious fundamentalism, is dead on arrival. The same fate will befall the vilification of El Rufai on account of his loyalty to Sanusi. Please quote me: Modern challenges can never be resolved with a resort to medieval solutions.
Christopher Hitchens’ Q&A may someday apply to the ex-Kings College boy who’s now an ex-king.
Sanusi Dethronement: The North Only Beheads The Bearers Of Truth
By Fredrick Nwabufo
Northern Nigeria is prostrate. It is the axis of uglies – banditry, insurgency, kidnapping, diseases, ignorance, and drug abuse. Alas! The region’s elite are aware of the problems, but look away because the disequilibrious status quo sustains them. What is petrifying, however, is that they maul and clobber at anyone who spits the truth in their faces.
I think, this is the mortal sin of Muhammad Sanusi II, emir of Kano – beyond his politics with Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of Kano.
The World Bank says 87 percent of Nigeria’s poor are in the north. And that while poverty is plummeting in the south, it is rocketing in the upper region.
“Poverty in the northern regions of the country has been increasing especially in the north-west zone. Almost half of all poor lived in the north-west and the north accounts for 87 percent of all poor in the country in 2016,’’ the Bretton Woods institution said in its report entitled ‘Advancing social protection in a dynamic Nigeria’ in February 2020.
In August, 2019, the federal government revealed that 1,460 people were killed by bandits in seven months. And that the north-west is the worst-hit by this bloody enterprise. The killings have steadied, expanding in proportion and execution in the region.
In his accustomed manner, Sanusi recently vocalised these depressing figures of retrogression in the north – as regards the World Bank report — earning himself praise from progressive Nigerians and reprimand from the usual suspects — those stuck in the cesspit of bigotry.
Also, the gadfly emir of Kano, whom I regard as the John the Baptist of the north for his vociferous condemnation of this status quo, is alone in his advocacy against irresponsible polygamy, Al-majiri and child marriage – practices the northern elite espouse. He is the face of a progressive north; the northerner of the new age.
As a matter of fact, on different occasions he had complained about the northern elite whom he said wanted to silence him for speaking the truth about the region.
‘’Our colleagues and compatriots among the elite do not like statistics. Numbers are disturbing. I recently gave a speech in which I said the north-east and north-west of Nigeria are the poorest parts of the country. This simple statement of fact has generated so much heat; the noise has yet to die down. The response to this speech has been a barrage of personal attacks and insults aimed at silencing any voices that dare shine the light on the society to which we are saying Bring Back our Girls,’’ he said at a lecture held to commemorate the Chibok girls abduction.
And I guess they can only take the throne away from him but cannot take away his royalty in the community of decent humans. Really, I believe the emir would rather give up his throne than be gagged by the shareholders of iniquity.
To say the least, Sanusi’s dethroning was not unexpected. Ganduje had always shown his hand in this plot. Really, the emir of Kano never hid his dislike for him. But what is there to like about a governor who was allegedly caught on camera stuffing wads of dollars into his babariga? In the build-up to the 2019 governorship election in the state, the emir was not shy in expressing his disapproval to Ganduje’s candidature.
So, Ganduje, who considers Sanusi a ‘’loud mouth’’, plotted a bitter revenge after he was re-elected. He had moved to remove the emir in 2018 but for the intervention of some ‘’higher powers’’. However, he whittle-down the power of the emir by creating new emirates from his domain. He was not done though. He rustled-up allegations, set up probe panels – all in the desperation to embarrass Sanusi.
But Sanusi was still talking.
Really, one of the most abrasive places to exist is in the circle of non-progressives. You talk different, think different or act different, they will feel threatened. Even when you try to clown around; the aboriginal clowns will still feel threatened because you do not look the part.
I think, Emir Sanusi is light-years away from the people he is dealing with in Kano government. He is needed more at the top echelon of government where he can contribute more meaningfully to the development of Nigeria.
Northern Nigeria is not ready for an emir like Sanusi. He is ahead of his time.
Fredrick Nwabufo is a writer and journalist.
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