Photo of the day: Save our children!

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      I found this very touching picture, reportedly taken in Indonesia and my heart became very heavy.
Life isn’t fair and all fingers are definitely not equal.
This is the point where we who are concerned about issues like humanity, charity, social equality and justice are meant to come in.
It would be a great disservice to humanity if we sit back and fold our arms when we encounter situations like this.
Children deprived of education are being deprived of information and as the saying goes, “information is power”.
If we are serious about breaking the vicious cycle of poverty in our world today, we must ensure that our children get good education.
Governments should ensure free education for all children at least up to high school level but when they can’t do this either due to genuine lack of fund or extreme corruption as currently plagues the African continent, we must step in an ensure that every child gets an education.
       You can help!
Please help a child get an education.
Donate to Save the children, a charity organization dedicated to making sure children around the world get a good education.

President Jonathan has failed!

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Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan

  It should be the aim of every leader to leave the state of his followers better than he met it. A leader that has done this can be generally said to be successful.
    If you’re in Nigeria today, you will realize that this is certainly not the case.
Yesterday, I went to buy fuel for my generator and the fuel retailer simply told me without hesitation, “N300 per litre.”
I was stunned and the first thing that came to my mind was, “How did things become this bad?”
    When President Goodluck Jonathan or GEJ as he is popularly called became the President six years ago, the pump price of petrol in Nigeria was seventy-something Naira. President Jonathan as advice by Okonjo Iweala, Nigeria’s increasingly unpopular (unliked) Minister of Finance  removed the subsidy on fuel and other petroleum products which shot up the price of fuel by about 200%, saying that though Nigerians might feel the pain now, we would be better of in the nearest future. The overnight sharp increase in fuel price didn’t go down too well with Nigerians and a sporadic wave of protests broke out. This brought about only a partial removal of fuel subsidy and the price of fuel became N97, although constantly increasing due to frequent scarcity.
Now, the nation has been hard hit by another round of fuel scarcity and Nigerians are groaning.
The question I have for every sincere Nigerian is, “Are we better of than we were before the introduction of the fuel subsidy removal? How has the ‘common man’ benefitted from the hundreds of billions of Naira stolen from us in the name of fuel subsidy removal? Where is the Subsidy Re-investment board and what tangible thing can they present to Nigerians as a benefit of the pain we have endured?”
     Has JONATHAN NOT FAILED?
Again, the issue of the power sector. I can vividly remember when Jonathan promised Nigerians during his 2011 campaign that should we vote him, the problem of constant power outages will be a thing of the past.
Many Nigerians, including myself supported and voted for him on the basis of this which was part of his so-called ‘Transformation Agenda’
In fact, where is the so called Transformation Agenda? Why didn’t he repeat it during his 2015 campaign? He should have told us, “This and this were part of the transformation Agenda, they have been achieved and this is a good reason to re-elect me.”
Jonathan, at a point even made himself the Minister of Power, a clue he probably got from Former President Olusegun Obasanjo who once appointed himself as the Minister of Petroleum Resources. What was the positive result of this? We are still singing the same old song of erratic power supply.  He changed the Minister of Power almost four times during his six year tenure, yet nothing! They all kept giving excuses about why the power generation kept dropping.
    So, we are in a country with erratic power supply and high cost of petrol. How do business survive? How do small business owners thrive with no electricity and no fuel to power their generators. The cost of everything keeps increasing as is customary with increase in fuel price in Nigeria- Bus drivers, provision store owners- everyone is increasing the prices of their goods and services. As the ‘common man’ will say, “the country is hard.”
  On Saturday, I went to photocopy a material and I ended up paying N530 for a job I should have gotten done for N250; more than double the price!

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Nigerian Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala

    On the issue of the economy, where do I even start? Let me start from how Nigerians were very quick to react in anger and displeasure about the Honorary Doctorate awarded to Nigeria’s current Finance Minister Okonjo Iweala  by Yale University for her ‘contribution to development of the country’s economy and bla bla bla…’
In fact, someone started an online petition calling for Yale to take back the Honorary degree. A petition which gathered 2,500 signatures in just a matter of hours.
Lesson of the story? Nigerians are very displeased.
Okonjo Iweala is a woman I respect and admire so much and I’m not in support of the withdrawal of the award but I am, like many Nigerians displeased about the management of the economy which is her job as the ‘Coordinating Minister of the Economy’, whatever that means.
Two strong indications that our economy is failing: the exchange rate of the naira to the dollar and our increasing debt profile.
Our debt has nearly tripled since Jonathan took over in 2011 and our foreign reserves are currently being depleted.
Others are the state of unemployment and inability of Government to pay salaries.
‘Nigeria is broke’ is a phrase I’m sure many Nigerians have been hearing recently, not that its actually true. Madam Okonjo insists that we are not broke but ‘cash trapped’.
I won’t like to go on and on about the economy, especially because I’m not an expert in that field but I would highlight the fact that two Professors of Economics, Charles Soludo, Former CBN Governor and Pat Utomi of the Lagos Business School and a former Presidential Aspirant seem to agree that Jonthan’s administration is the worst in terms of economic management. Their articles about this can easily be found on Nigeria’s foremost blog, LindaIkeji Blog.
      Having said all these, “Why did Jonathan fail?” will therefore be a question of interest.
Jonathan surrounded himself with praise singing sycophants, as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie agrees. People like Labaran Maku, Doyin Okupe, Femi Fani Kayode, Reuben Abati…and many others who never told him the truth and who attacked anyone who dared criticize their ‘faultless President’.
Also, Jonathan’s Government was a  safe Haven for corrupt people and the PDP umbrella really protected them from the rain of the law. Jonathan’s Government will hopefully be the last Nigerian Government with such high tolerance for corruption.
Imaging suspending and sacking Sanusi Lamido, former CBN Governor  for raising an alarm about $20bn that the NNPC didn’t remit into the federation account. The result of the recent independent audit by an international Audit firm, Price Waters revealed that Sanusi was saying the truth. Imagine firing a man for speaking the truth!
       To me, though Jonathan is a good man (that is, his personality). He is calm and civil and I must commend him for promotion of freedom of speech and conduction of credible elections but that doesn’t cover for the fact that he failed Nigerians and betrayed the trust we put in him. Nigerians echoed this when they voted him out of office. If he hadn’t failed, Nigerians including myself wouldn’t consider an old General as a replacement for a younger incumbent President.
It is very shameful to be handing a country so deep in crises to your successor.
The Vice President Elect, Professor Osinbanjo said that they will be inheriting the worst economy and I agree with him.
Much has been said about Jonathan and his numerous failures. Even the New York Times before the election said that if they were to pick in the election, they would choose a Retired General over a FAILED PRESIDENT! The nation is however closing that episode on Friday with the swearing in of President (note: no more General from May 29th) Muhammadu Buhari. Nigerians have once again have placed their hopes in another man. We hope and pray Buhari doesn’t fail and I have a feeling that he will not.
God Bless Nigeria. #PrayforNigeria

The Nigerian Civil War: Picture of Starving Biafran Children

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     I love history, that’s why I decided to post this photo.
This picture tells a lot of stories.
It shows a White Aid worker feeding starving and severely malnourished Biafra (Igbo) children during the horrific Nigerian Civil war that lasted from 1967-1970.
     Photo Credit: Linda Ikeji Blog.

Now that Buhari is going to be President

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Buhari, a former General defeated the incumbent President Jonathan in the just concluded Nigerian Presidential Elections

      
The hot topic in town, what everyone is talking about, both locally and internationally- the just concluded Nigerian Presidential Elections and the unprecedented fact that an incumbent President was defeated by a candidate from a party that is just 2 years old. General Mohammad Buhari, commonly referred to as GMB defeated Sitting President Goodluck Jonathan by about 2.9 million votes in what was a tight race to the Aso Rock.
The elections were given a huge pass mark by Local and international observers, even the American President expressed his delight about the conduct of the elections. The Electoral Commission Chairman, Attahiru Jega has been widely applauded for putting up such a good outing with even the American Ambassador to Nigeria commending his decision to use the high tech Permanent Voters’ Card (PVC) to reduce election malpractices which has perennially plagued Nigerian electoral system.
     Anyway, away from the electoral process. This is the fourth consecutive time that Buhari would be contesting the Presidential elections, his first time being in 2003. He was defeated by the incumbent President, Good luck Jonathan in 2011 by more than 12 million votes. Fast foward to 2015 and the same Buhari beat him by a little less than 3 million votes. What many people want to know is ‘What Changed’?

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     Buhari contested on the platform of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in 2011; a new party then that quickly gained support from the Muslim North because of Buhari. However, Buhari was unable to defeat Jonathan was then perceived to be the saviour of Nigeria. Jonathan then had just completed the term of his former boss, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua who died in office. He was seen as a cool and honest man who could lead Nigerian to its promise land and his ‘Transformation Agenda’ campaign was widely supported by the entire Christian South and parts of the Middle Belt.
President Jonathan’s Government however didn’t deliver on its promises to Nigerians. It was plagued with corruption allegations, economic crises including the controversial oil subsidy, security issues and the Boko Haram threat including the very poor way the Government handled the Chibok Girls’ case. All these cumulated to Jonathan being labeled ‘a failed President’.
So, Nigerians wanted change and change was viewed by some as the All Progressived Congress (APC) which is a new party formed by a coalition of the three major opposition parties in Nigeria. Buhari’s Party is the APC.
Many others neither saw Buhari nor APC as the change or alternative Nigeria needed.
Just as I said before the elections, it was going to be a case of choosing between two evils, the lesser evil. The ECONOMIST and NEW YORK TIMES also said the same thing. Two evils: ‘A failed President’ and ‘Former Dictator’.
Well, Nigerians have spoken. They decided that they have no faith in their failed President and they would rather go with a former dictator.
Although there were other factors that led to Buhari emerging as the President-Elect. The APC coalition earned Buhari the votes of the South West and combined with the North, he was nearly unstoppable. Buhari won five of the six South West states. Also, the Nigerian population votes along Ethnic and Religious lines and so the more populous votes of the Muslim North favoured Buhari.

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Aisha Buhari, The Next Nigerian Fisrt Lady

     All that being said, NOW THAT BUHARI WILL BE PRESIDENT, I’m so glad because I was one of the Nigerians who was so tired of the Jonathan led Government.  However, Buhari has a herculean task in front of him. He is inheriting a failing country plagued by Security and Economic issues, not to talk of the horrible corruption situation. He was voted by many Nigerians on the basis that he’ll be tough on corruption and he has to deliver. He can’t afford to fail.
Congratulations, Buhari!!! Its time to move Nigeria in the right direction.

What’s left of Syria?

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           I’ve been following the Syrian crises since its onset, since the protests turned into a crackdown and then subsequently a full blown civil war and even up until Islamic extremists  hijacked the fight against the Government and now that the Islamic State is relentlessly pushing for territorial gains in the country. All these have happened in the space of over  three years.
     Now, the world seems to be forgetting about the Syrian Crises and moving on to other seemingly ‘more pressing issues’ amongst which is the threat of the Islamic State. Russia and the U.S now fear that the Islamic State is gaining ground in Afghanistan.
But, that’s not the aim of this post. Call it a preamble if you wish.
I want to use this post to highlight the impact of the Syrian War on the country. I don’t want to say much. This picture says so much already.

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Talk about the impact on Infrastructure, Housing, Health, Education; and most importantly, the people.
I just sit down and imagine how many billions of dollars, how many years and what it will take to get Syria back to its glorious self, that’s if it is ever going to he possible. What about the children? So young, forced to live as refugees, deprived of the joy of growing up and being proud of their homeland. How can they even be patriotic? 
Its hard to swallow that  36% of hospitals have been destroyed! I don’t even want to start giving the depressing figures of the casualties.
And yet, the war is not over and we can’t even see the end in sight.
What’s left of Syria now and what will be left of it when the war is over?

Written by Olisa Lotenna