Friday, February 27, 2015

Determination Builds A Nation

 General Muhammad Buhari, the presidential flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Nigeria, who has remained determined and focused to contest the 2015 presidential election at 72.


"It is God himself, in his mercy, who has given us this wonderful work [of telling his good news to others], and so we never give up."1
When the United Kingdom's back was against the wall during World War II, Winston Churchill declared: "We shall go to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old."

Never Too Old

Never Too Old ... Part I

"So here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I'm just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said."1

When the Israelites were conquering the Promised Land that God had given to them, Caleb said to Joshua, "Give me this hill country to conquer!" Caleb was eighty-five years of age at the time. (Admittedly, they lived a lot longer back then.)

If God had given the Israelites the Promised Land, how come they had to fight for it? Because God's giving it to them made it possible for them to conquer it. Had God handed it to them on a silver platter, they never would have learned to trust him nor become responsible and mature individuals.

Caleb achieved his goal because he knew precisely what God's purpose was for both Israel and himself, and he didn't allow his age to hold him back.

If we, too, want to achieve something worthwhile with our life, regardless of our age, it is imperative that we, too, know what our God-given life purpose is—and act accordingly.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, I'm willing and wanting to be used by You. Help me to fulfill my God-given life purpose. Please make it plain what You want me to be and do. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."

1. Joshua 14:10-12 (NIV).


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Thursday, February 26, 2015

What General Muhammad Buhari Represents To Nigerians

General Muhammad Buhari (retd), the Presidential Candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) represents:  

The never say die spirit of Nigerians who don't give up hope no matter the challenges, trials and temptations they face in life and they don't quit no matter the odds against them. 
They hold on to their Nigerian dream to the end.

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General Muhammadu Buhari on Democracy in Africa and Nigeria's Transition

General Muhammadu Buhari on Democracy in Africa and Nigeria's Transition

 The Nigerian opposition presidential candidate and former military ruler offered his views on the importance of democracy for Africa’s future and why delivering dividends of elected government matter both to Nigeria and internationally.
Prospects for Democratic Consolidation in Africa: Nigeria's Transition

26 Feb 2015 - 10:00 to 11:00

Chatham House, London

Africa Programme, Nigeria Project

Prospects for Democratic Consolidation in Africa: Nigeria's Transition

Chatham House, London
- See more at: Buhari`s Full Speech at Chattam House, London
Permit me to start by thanking Chatham House for the invitation to talk about this important topic at this crucial time. When speaking about Nigeria overseas, I normally prefer to be my country’s public relations and marketing officer, extolling her virtues and hoping to attract investments and tourists. But as we all know, Nigeria is now battling with many challenges, and if I refer to them, I do so only to impress on our friends in the United Kingdom that we are quite aware of our shortcomings and are doing our best to address them.
The 2015 general election in Nigeria is generating a lot of interests within and outside the country. This is understandable. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and largest economy, is at a defining moment, a moment that has great implications beyond the democratic project and beyond the borders of my dear country.

So let me say upfront that the global interest in Nigeria’s landmark election is not misplaced at all and indeed should be commended; for this is an election that has serious import for the world. I urge the international community to continue to focus on Nigeria at this very critical moment. Given increasing global linkages, it is in our collective interests that the postponed elections should hold on the rescheduled dates; that they should be free and fair; that their outcomes should be respected by all parties; and that any form of extension, under whichever guise, is unconstitutional and will not be tolerated.

With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, the collapse of communism and the end of the Cold War, democracy became the dominant and most preferred system of government across the globe. That global transition has been aptly captured as the triumph of democracy and the ‘most pre-eminent political idea of our time.’ On a personal note, the phased end of the USSR was a turning point for me. It convinced me that change can be brought about without firing a single shot.
As you all know, I had been a military head of state in Nigeria for twenty months. We intervened because we were unhappy with the state of affairs in our country. We wanted to arrest the drift. Driven by patriotism, influenced by the prevalence and popularity of such drastic measures all over Africa and elsewhere, we fought our way to power. But the global triumph of democracy has shown that another and a preferable path to change is possible. It is an important lesson I have carried with me since, and a lesson that is not lost on the African continent.

In the last two decades, democracy has grown strong roots in Africa. Elections, once so rare, are now so commonplace. As at the time I was a military head of state between 1983 and 1985, only four African countries held regular multi-party elections. But the number of electoral democracies in Africa, according to Freedom House, jumped to 10 in 1992/1993 then to 18 in 1994/1995 and to 24 in 2005/2006. According to the New York Times, 42 of the 48 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa conducted multi-party elections between 1990 and 2002.

The newspaper also reported that between 2000 and 2002, ruling parties in four African countries (Senegal, Mauritius, Ghana and Mali) peacefully handed over power to victorious opposition parties. In addition, the proportion of African countries categorized as not free by Freedom House declined from 59% in 1983 to 35% in 2003. Without doubt, Africa has been part of the current global wave of democratisation.
But the growth of democracy on the continent has been uneven. According to Freedom House, the number of electoral democracies in Africa slipped from 24 in 2007/2008 to 19 in 2011/2012; while the percentage of countries categorised as ‘not free’ assuming for the sake of argument that we accept their definition of “free” increased from 35% in 2003 to 41% in 2013. Also, there have been some reversals at different times in Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Mali, Madagascar, Mauritania and Togo. We can choose to look at the glass of democracy in Africa as either half full or half empty.

While you can’t have representative democracy without elections, it is equally important to look at the quality of the elections and to remember that mere elections do not democracy make. It is globally agreed that democracy is not an event, but a journey. And that the destination of that journey is democratic consolidation – that state where democracy has become so rooted and so routine and widely accepted by all actors.
With this important destination in mind, it is clear that though many African countries now hold regular elections, very few of them have consolidated the practice of democracy. It is important to also state at this point that just as with elections, a consolidated democracy cannot be an end by itself. I will argue that it is not enough to hold a series of elections or even to peacefully alternate power among parties.

It is much more important that the promise of democracy goes beyond just allowing people to freely choose their leaders. It is much more important that democracy should deliver on the promise of choice, of freedoms, of security of lives and property, of transparency and accountability, of rule of law, of good governance and of shared prosperity. It is very important that the promise embedded in the concept of democracy, the promise of a better life for the generality of the people, is not delivered in the breach.
Now, let me quickly turn to Nigeria. As you all know, Nigeria’s fourth republic is in its 16th year and this general election will be the fifth in a row. This is a major sign of progress for us, given that our first republic lasted five years and three months, the second republic ended after four years and two months and the third republic was a still-birth. However, longevity is not the only reason why everyone is so interested in this election.

The major difference this time around is that for the very first time since transition to civil rule in 1999, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is facing its stiffest opposition so far from our party the All Progressives Congress (APC). We once had about 50 political parties, but with no real competition. Now Nigeria is transitioning from a dominant party system to a competitive electoral polity, which is a major marker on the road to democratic consolidation. As you know, peaceful alternation of power through competitive elections have happened in Ghana, Senegal, Malawi and Mauritius in recent times. The prospects of democratic consolidation in Africa will be further brightened when that eventually happens in Nigeria.

But there are other reasons why Nigerians and the whole world are intensely focussed on this year’s elections, chief of which is that the elections are holding in the shadow of huge security, economic and social uncertainties in Africa’s most populous country and largest economy. On insecurity, there is a genuine cause for worry, both within and outside Nigeria. Apart from the civil war era, at no other time in our history has Nigeria been this insecure.

Boko Haram has sadly put Nigeria on the terrorism map, killing more than 13,000 of our nationals, displacing millions internally and externally, and at a time holding on to portions of our territory the size of Belgium. What has been consistently lacking is the required leadership in our battle against insurgency. I, as a retired general and a former head of state, have always known about our soldiers: they are capable, well trained, patriotic, brave and always ready to do their duty in the service of our country.
You all can bear witness to the gallant role of our military in Burma, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Darfur and in many other peacekeeping operations in several parts of the world. But in the matter of this insurgency, our soldiers have neither received the necessary support nor the required incentives to tackle this problem. The government has also failed in any effort towards a multi-dimensional response to this problem leading to a situation in which we have now become dependent on our neighbours to come to our rescue.

Let me assure you that if I am elected president, the world will have no cause to worry about Nigeria as it has had to recently; that Nigeria will return to its stabilising role in West Africa; and that no inch of Nigerian territory will ever be lost to the enemy because we will pay special attention to the welfare of our soldiers in and out of service, we will give them adequate and modern arms and ammunitions to work with, we will improve intelligence gathering and border controls to choke Boko Haram’s financial and equipment channels, we will be tough on terrorism and tough on its root causes by initiating a comprehensive economic development plan promoting infrastructural development, job creation, agriculture and industry in the affected areas. We will always act on time and not allow problems to irresponsibly fester, and I, Muhammadu Buhari, will always lead from the front and return Nigeria to its leadership role in regional and international efforts to combat terrorism.
On the economy, the fall in prices of oil has brought our economic and social stress into full relief. After the rebasing exercise in April 2014, Nigeria overtook South Africa as Africa’s largest economy. Our GDP is now valued at $510 billion and our economy rated 26th in the world. Also on the bright side, inflation has been kept at single digit for a while and our economy has grown at an average of 7% for about a decade.
But it is more of paper growth, a growth that, on account of mismanagement, profligacy and corruption, has not translated to human development or shared prosperity. A development economist once said three questions should be asked about a country’s development: one, what is happening to poverty? Two, what is happening to unemployment? And three, what is happening to inequality?

The answers to these questions in Nigeria show that the current administration has created two economies in one country, a sorry tale of two nations: one economy for a few who have so much in their tiny island of prosperity; and the other economy for the many who have so little in their vast ocean of misery.
Even by official figures, 33.1% of Nigerians live in extreme poverty. That’s at almost 60 million, almost the population of the United Kingdom. There is also the unemployment crisis simmering beneath the surface, ready to explode at the slightest stress, with officially 23.9% of our adult population and almost 60% of our youth unemployed. We also have one of the highest rates of inequalities in the world.

With all these, it is not surprising that our performance on most governance and development indicators (like Mo Ibrahim Index on African Governance and UNDP’s Human Development Index.) are unflattering. With fall in the prices of oil, which accounts for more than 70% of government revenues, and lack of savings from more than a decade of oil boom, the poor will be disproportionately impacted.
In the face of dwindling revenues, a good place to start the repositioning of Nigeria’s economy is to swiftly tackle two ills that have ballooned under the present administration: waste and corruption. And in doing this, I will, if elected, lead the way, with the force of personal example.
On corruption, there will be no confusion as to where I stand. Corruption will have no place and the corrupt will not be appointed into my administration. First and foremost, we will plug the holes in the budgetary process. Revenue producing entities such as NNPC and Customs and Excise will have one set of books only. Their revenues will be publicly disclosed and regularly audited. The institutions of state dedicated to fighting corruption will be given independence and prosecutorial authority without political interference.
But I must emphasise that any war waged on corruption should not be misconstrued as settling old scores or a witch-hunt. I’m running for President to lead Nigeria to prosperity and not adversity.
In reforming the economy, we will use savings that arise from blocking these leakages and the proceeds recovered from corruption to fund our party’s social investments programmes in education, health, and safety nets such as free school meals for children, emergency public works for unemployed youth and pensions for the elderly.

As a progressive party, we must reform our political economy to unleash the pent-up ingenuity and productivity of the Nigerian people thus freeing them from the curse of poverty. We will run a private sector-led economy but maintain an active role for government through strong regulatory oversight and deliberate interventions and incentives to diversify the base of our economy, strengthen productive sectors, improve the productive capacities of our people and create jobs for our teeming youths.
In short, we will run a functional economy driven by a worldview that sees growth not as an end by itself, but as a tool to create a society that works for all, rich and poor alike. On March 28, Nigeria has a decision to make. To vote for the continuity of failure or to elect progressive change. I believe the people will choose wisely.


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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Who Says Our Economy is Booming When More than 40 Million Youths Are Jobless?

The economy of a country cannot be booming when it cannot create more jobs for the jobless.
That is why the bogus claims of President Goodluck Jonathan and his cabinet that our economy is booming are contrary to the facts on current socioeconomic realities in Nigeria with more than 40 million Nigerian youths unemployed and thousands losing their jobs as financial institutions and manufacturing industries are sacking more than they are employing.

The following reports are enough verdict on the Nigerian economy.

Nigeria Unemployment Rate 2006-2015 | Data | Chart | Calendar | Forecast
Unemployment Rate in Nigeria increased to 23.90 percent in 2011 from 21.10 percent in 2010. Unemployment Rate in Nigeria averaged 14.60 Percent from 2006 until 2011, reaching an all time high of 23.90 Percent in 2011 and a record low of 5.30 Percent in 2006. Unemployment Rate in Nigeria is reported by the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria.

Nigeria Inflation Rate Highest in 4-Months

Nigeria annual inflation rate accelerated slightly to 8.2 percent in January of 2015 from 8 percent in the previous month, driven mostly by higher food, housing and utilities prices.

Nigeria Inflation Rate 1996-2015 | Data | Chart | Calendar | Forecast
The inflation rate in Nigeria was recorded at 8.20 percent in January of 2015. Inflation Rate in Nigeria averaged 12.27 percent from 1996 until 2015, reaching an all time high of 47.56 percent in January of 1996 and a record low of -2.49 percent in January of 2000. Inflation Rate in Nigeria is reported by the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria.
The World Bank Group has rated Nigeria among the world’s extremely poor countries, promising to assist in ending what it called ‘extreme poverty’ in the nations.
Top Reports

Feb 25, 2015

Feb 24, 2015

Feb 23, 2015

Feb 21, 2015

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Monday, February 23, 2015

APC and PDP: The Nigerian Dream and the Nigerian Nightmare

The leading opposition political party in Nigeria, All Progressives Congress (APC) may not be the best Nigerian Dream, but it is better than the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) that has failed to guaranty the national security and welfare of majority of Nigerians and turned the Nigerian Dream into the Nigerian Nightmare since 1999 to date.

 Incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan.

Forget the statistics of the political spin doctors of President Goodluck Jonathan and his hired crowds of sycophants on his so called achievements. The facts on the realities in Africa's most populous country are contrary to his claims of success.

Every single day, Nigeria loses about 2,300 under-five year olds and 145 women of childbearing age. This makes the country the second largest contributor to the under–five and maternal mortality rate in the world.
Underneath the statistics lies the pain of human tragedy, for thousands of families who have lost their children. Even more devastating is the knowledge that, according to recent research, essential interventions reaching women and babies on time would have averted most of these deaths.
Although analyses of recent trends show that the country is making progress in cutting down infant and under-five mortality rates, the pace still remains too slow to achieve the Millennium Development Goals of reducing child mortality by a third by 2015.
~ UNICEF Nigeria,

If President Goodluck Jonathan has done well in health care, he and his family and more than 5,000 Nigerians will not need to spend more than N78 billion to travel to India and other countries every month on medical trips. If he and his family are afraid of using our hospitals, then it means he has failed to provide good and safe health care services.

With approximately 10.5 million kids out of school, Nigeria holds the world record of having the highest number of its young people out of school according to current reports.

The quality of secondary school and post secondary school education is deplorable with many unqualified teachers and lecturers, because of the appalling deterioration of colleges of education in Nigeria and out-of-sync academic curricula of the universities and terrible campuses with horrible living conditions.
None of the children of President Goodluck Jonathan and his public officials attends public schools in Nigeria, because they know they are bad.
They have misappropriated public funds and with ill gotten riches from over-invoiced government contracts, illegal oil blocks and fuel subsidy contracts they have built their own private schools after neglecting the public schools.

Agriculture and food security:
In spite of the commendable agricultural projects of the federal government, Nigeria is still spending more than N600bn annually on food importation, including N991bn on Rice and Wheat Importation.

Roads and Transportation:
The PDP government brags about road construction, but Nigerian roads are still among the worst in the world with the second worst record for road accidents.

Nigerian airports have been renovated, but they are still rated among the worst in the world.
Nigeria has no national carrier whereas other African countries like South Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia have well managed airlines.

The rehabilitation of railways is commendable, but still a far cry from modern rail transport system in the 21st century.

Economic Development and Employment:
Lagos state is actually the success of the fast developing Nigerian economy that made the country the largest African economy. Lagos is the largest employer of labour with 90% of foreign investors in Lagos, the safest place in Nigeria. The Lagos state model of economic development should be copied by the Federal Government instead of the PDP making childish and foolish allegations against the APC government.
See The New York Times: "Nigeria is “the Worst Run of the World’s Most Populated Countries” | Can Lagos Save Her?" - Seth D. Kaplan, a lecturer at Johns Hopkins University, writes on “What Makes Lagos a Model City“.

Lagos State transport system alone creates more jobs than the entire PDP states.
Lagos is the most populated state, because millions of jobless youths from the PDP states come to Lagos where they have more job opportunities.

National Security:
Lack of executive experience and political expertise made President Goodluck Jonathan to fail woefully in national security.
He forgot that a stitch in time saves nine and failed to deal with the Boko Haram insurgency since 2009 and preferred to point accusing fingers at the opposition until his own kinsman, the late General Owoye Azazi (retd) discovered that the PDP was responsible for the worsening situation of the Boko Haram insurgency. President Jonathan sacked him and the great general was later killed on December 15, 2012 in a mysterious helicopter crash in Okoroba Village of Bayelsa State whilst on the way back to the Port-Harcourt Airport.
President Jonathan's glaring cowardice and incompetence have caused the mismanagement of national security from the Niger Delta to Lake Chad.

The most shocking is the lackadaisical manner President Goodluck Jonathan handled the case of the kidnapped Chibok school girls since April 14, 2014. He lived in denial of the incident with his wife, First Lady Dame Patience Jonathan disgracing Nigeria by her childish and foolish reaction to the missing school girls. And her husband was even scared of visiting the school! But he was not afraid of later going to Maiduguri for his presidential campaign. He has abandoned the search to rescue the over 200 missing Chibok school girls.

Cases of oil theft have increased under President Goodluck Jonathan with stolen crude oil from Nigeria sold openly in Togo and offshore with full knowledge of the Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA)

The APC's presidential candidate, Gen. Muhammad Buhari (retd) has the proven record of crushing insurgents in northern Nigerian in 1984 and 1985 and also tackling the menace of oil theft. His military expertise gives him the advantage that he will be a more pragmatic Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces. He has the military experience, intelligence and expertise to guaranty his executive competence.

The fact is, things can be better with a more accountable and responsible government that can reduce the rampant corrupt practices destroying Nigeria. And the APC is the only party that can guaranty the national security and welfare of the citizens of Nigeria. 

God bless Nigeria!

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Grand Coronation Ceremony of H.R.H Igwe Lawrence Nwafor Okonkwo

HRH Igwe Lawrence Nwafor Okonkwo (JP), Anamanalike, Obi Ichi.   

The coronation ceremony of H.R.H Igwe Lawrence Nwafor Okonkwo (JP) (Anamanalike 111) Obi Ichi took place on Thursday February 5, 2015 at Igwe’s Palace, Ichi Town in Ekwusigo Local Govt Council, Anambra State. The new Igwe in celebrating the Ofala, conferred chieftaincy titles on some notable dignitaries of the town. The success of the three day Ofala Festival was hinged on the support of Ikenga Ichi, Chief (Sir) Emma Bishop Okonkwo, OFR, the Chairman of Ekulo Group. He not only built the ultra modern palace for the new Igwe, but also provided the necessary logistics for the grand event.
Sir Emma Bishop Okonkwo and wife Mmili Aku of Ichi, Chief (Mrs) Ngozi Okonkwo.
 Mmili Aku of Ichi, Chief (Mrs) Ngozi Okonkwo and Mrs. Abeji Okonkwo.
Ichi Na Ichi, Chief O, New Igwe of Ichi.
Hon. Jude Mbaegbu (Lachas), Executive Chairman, Ekwusigo Local Government Council.
Chief Sam Okonkwo, Chairman, Fairpoint Nigeria Limited.
President General, Ichi Development Union.
Ikenga Ichi.
Arrival of Chief Emma Eziokwu, Brollo Pipes Band, Profiles Industries Nigeria Limited.
Mr. Ingram Osigwe, CEO of Full Page Communications Limited.
Chief Okey Ezeibe.
The arrival of Ikenga Ichi to the palace.
Obiora Band, Ugochukwu Okonkwo.
Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo carrying the Staff for the Ikenga of Ichi.
Mmili Aku of Ichi, Chief (Mrs) Ngozi Okonkwo and her father, Chief GM. Ikebuilo Ichie Okenyi.
Sam Ubachukwu and his wife, Lady Chioma.
Mr. Ingram Osigwe and Mrs. Abehi Okonkwo and Mr. Joseph Momah of Fairpoint Nigeria Limited.
Chief Mrs. Ngozi Okonkwo and Mrs. Ukamaka Anaeriobi.
Chief Sunny Okonkwo.
Chief.(Sir) Ezekiel. A(JP),P.G EMERITUS.

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