What voodoo economy is this?

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Today, it will be a potpourri.

First, a matter of urgent national interest. What manner of voodoo economics are we practising in Nigeria? Why would Nigerians, citizens of an oil producing country, rather than be happy each time oil prices rise in the international market, be getting prompted, to get ready to pay higher prices for petroleum products?

Okay, if this is because Nigerian public officials have, over a long time, conspired with their business men friends to run down the refineries, why is Petroleum Equalisation Fund still on our books?

Why is everybody not paying economic price for petroleum products such that the consumer in Lagos won’t be paying the same price as the consumer in Abuja or Kaura Namoda,  given that local transportation cost in Lagos is absolutely miniscule compared to what is paid for haulage of the same products to far flung destinations?.

Also why are Nigeria’s  refineries close to  insolvency over debts prompting calls for privatisation? For instance, a June 2020 report showed that  while  it generated NIL revenue in 2018,  the Kaduna Refining (KRPC) incurred an operating loss of N64.5 billion, prompting concerns over the continued operation of refineries by the NNPC.

Is governance robotic science?

To Southwest Governors: Help President Buhari reduce insecurity by eliminating  demand for cows from outside the region.

“Getting serious means seeking with a sense of urgency, ways of terminating mayhem, impunity, and the homicidal culture being imposed on us through some near cultic business minority who just happen to trade in cattle. It means not giving up on peaceful solutions, but also being prepared for the worst. Those of my line of thought have been working on various ways of sensitizing the nation to the very real and imminent danger issuing from this cattle aberration. The menace, I repeat, challenges us as a cohesive entity and as communities of free individuals, committed to the dignity of existence. Cattle imperialism under any guise is an obscenity to humanity”. Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka Or are we in these parts even condemned to cow meat?

Preparatory to his campaign for the 2007 Osun governorship election, I met about twice  with Ogbeni, (Engr) Rauf Aregbesola, during which time he took me through some of  his intended programmes, some of which  would later make his administration rank very high with International development agencies. One of  these was his plan  to see the Southwest, and Edo state, supply a huge chunk of the over N2Billion food items consumed daily in Lagos.

Amongst these items are 10,000 cows.

Regarding the supply of cows, Ogbeni and his governor colleagues would not have needed to re-invent the wheel  because some six decades earlier, the Avatar, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, had established ranches in Ibadan, Shaki, Ikun, Agege, Ikare, Akunu, Oke Ako – Ekiti and Imeko, Ogun state.

They were all  stocked with cattle imported from Argentina. Although now in ruins, all they would have done  is refurbish and stock them to the brim with the best species.

They were not just mere ranches, but complete farm settlements with segments for animal husbandry, fishery, poultry, piggery etc.

The ranch at Akunu sits on over 8 hectares with five big dams,

The Oyo ranch covered 16, 000 hectares  with 2, 000 carved out for the Ikere Gorge Dam and 5,000 in Ibarapa. Imeko was on 4, 000 hectares while Oke Ako was on 12, 000 hectares.

As indicated earlier, these facilities are now mostly in ruins.

What we have in Ogun, Oyo and Ondo are mostly talk, except that only this past week, the Ondo state legislature passed a grazing bill.

Governor, Seyi Makinde, says he has begun moves to revive farm settlements in a bid to increase the state’s food production capacity. In Ogun state Governor Dapo Abiodun has disclosed plans to establish a world-class ranch on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis through which he hopes to see the state service  the huge Lagos  state  demand. However, things are slightly different in Ekiti where  the Ikun Dairy Farm, a joint venture with Promasidor, is already operational with the first 100 cows already in place and with a plan to add 300 more. This is according to Anders Einarsson, Managing  Director of Promasidor Nigeria Limited. The partnership  will attract an investment of about $5 million. Also a group of  Ekiti diasporans, intent on establishing a ranch recently paid a working visit to the moribund Irele Ekiti Grazing Reserve in Ikole Local Government , preparatory to  taking it over.

While all these are fine, the urgency of now requires a much more aggressive approach towards supplying our own cattle needs in Yoruba land to at least drastically reduce the current mayhen  by  murderous Fulani herdsmen most of who, those who should know, say speak French thus confirming President Buhari’ claim that they are foreigners prompting the question as to  why they should be granted amnesty  rather than be smoked out.  I believe that the fact of these terrorists being  Fulanis hamstrings the Buhari government.

I digress.

To enhance security in this part of the country, it is time our state governments partner with the Odu’a Investment Company Limited which is believed to  have some business plans for integrated cattle ranching for beef production, dairy and other large-scale commercial  ventures. This would involve strategic joint ventures with investors that have  the technical knowhow, as well as the financial capabilities which will, in turn  result in increased employment and overall economic development.

There must also be, in the meantime, and until the local efforts mature and ready to supply our protein needs, a deliberate campaign to significantly reduce our cow meat consumption. For our elderlies, it should actyally be a no, no. Our huge market is the reason even genuine Fulani  herders come to the Southwest, thus providing a cover  for their murderous foreign compatriots who invade  our farms and neighbourhoods. Reduction in the number of genuine herders, occasioned by reduced aggregate demand, will facilitate the tracking down of the killers aming them  by the police and Amotekun.

We must educate our people to rate safety over ‘feferity’, and rather than buy 10 cows for a funeral ceremony, simply by 2.

We must do everything in these parts to dissuade people who rape our women, kidnap and kill us, at will, from coming to us.

When the constitution says Nigerians are free to live or do business anywhere in the country, it refers only to lawful business, not the anything goes being canvassed by the Northern Elders Forum.

After all, below is what an observer said:’ “I wonder why Nigerians are making their killers richer by eating  cow meat. Simply organize a movement of #stopeatingcowmeat.

Boycott  Cow meat totally for 5 years. And watch the fulani go out of business”.

And I say, Fulanis are neither our enemies nor do we want them out of business. But until the Federal Government can order the withdrawal of all guns from ALL herdsmen, and expel all foreign killer herdsmen, they should please give these parts a wide berth. The North should feel free to do the same to any persons involved in dangerous and unlawful business like raping, kidnapping and killing.

Must it always be bad news from Nigeria?

In 2016, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria  suspended payments to Nigeria’s AIDS agency over evidence that $3.8 million was stolen by its workers and consultants between 2010 and 2014. Fund spokesman, Seth Faison, said Nigeria’s government has promised to repay the money and to prosecute suspects.

And now in 2021, there are reports that some MDAs are unable to account for disbursement of millions in COVID-19 relief funds”.  Was British Prime Minister, David Cameron, correct when he said Nigeria, (read Nigerians) is “ fantastically corrupt?” Or  U. S Gen. Colin Powell (rtd), dubbing Nigerians, “scammers” who “just tend not to be honest”?

So what  do we say now when there are fears that: “ the $3.4 billion  approved for Nigeria  by the  International Monetary Fund  in April 2020, to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic and bring relief to millions of Nigerians have again grown legs?

What manner of people are we Nigerians?

In April 2020, KPMG had warned that there will be an increase in fraud as a result of the pandemic. Auwal Rafsanjani, the highly regarded Executive Director of the Civil Society Legislative and Advocacy Centre CISLAC – and Nigeria’s representative for Transparency International — had  raised an alarm over the massive fraud being perpetrated by government officials and MDAs under the guise of COVID-19 emergency procurement.

According to him,  up till today, no explanation of how the money has been spent and there is no audited report, which goes against  the agreement signed by Nigerian government and IMF”. Budeshi, a web platform that links budget and procurement data to different public services, using the Open Contracting Data Standards, had last year published how several MDAs had accessed the COVID-19 relief funds loaned from the IMF. Many of these agencies, despite a freedom of information request being sent to them, have not been able to furnish answers as to how the millions accessed for the projects were spent.

I think it is time the appropriate anti – corruption agency moves in to unravel what Rafsanjani describes “as a corruption bazaar in which public officials at local, state, and national levels use Covid-19 as a means of siphonining resources meant to deal with issues concerning the grave pandemic” .

This has become really urgent as the impression in town is that “these persons are a reflection of the body language of the present administration.

ICPC should, at least, help to clear that stigma, from the Buhari administration.

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