Monday, 13 May 2019

Pseudo or forced national identity will never overcome the reality of ethnic plurality in Nigeria

"It can be a catastrophic mistake to imagine that through democratic elections people will suddenly rally around a national identity and overcome their pre-existing ethnic, religious, sectarian, and tribal divides"-Amy Chua

When politicians distort reality by manipulating ignorant people to see the world in a way that favours them predictable results follow. Today Nigeria is now a deeply demoralised nation infested with a chronically chaotic government obessed with the fascist ideologies of the 20th-century. Despite ample warnings by critics and well-meaning citizens, the scenario unfolding on a daily basis has the potential of tearing the country apart. The future is very predictable; impotent government, chaos and crisis. The truth is the era of conquest and domination is over so one wonders what the power holders intend to achieve if they decline exploring comparative advantage and competition among all sectors in the country. Nigeria is never a homogeneous society so pseudo or forced national identity will never overcome the reality of diverse ethnicity that has come to stay, this is the obvious truth that the politicians must understand given the experiment and experience of nearly six-decades of unitary-centralised system of government . In a recent award ceremony organised by Governors of the ruling All Progressive Congress party -APC in honour of President Muhammadu Buhari, the president suddenly acknowledged that "True Federalism is necessary at this juncture of our political and democratic evolution", despite disagreeing on several occassions in the past on the need to restructure the country to address development challenges of the country's rapidly growing population. In his words; "true federalism and better collaboration among all sectors in the country is needed at this time in order to move the country forward", however, the political will and the courage to translate this sudden discovery into reality is what many observers are keen to see in the next four years as he prepares to start the second and his last term in office,despite controversial presidential elections, perhaps a lasting legacy that could define his presidency currently marked by the destructive forces of tribal politics, division, insecurity, discrimination, political bias and favouritism, repression, brutal force and the use of the power of the state to relegate certain ethnic groups and political opponents in the country. Never has the country felt more divided than in the past four years.We have said repeatedly that in ethnic diverse societies like Nigeria, restructuring the country is one sure way to address ethnic-hatred, religious zealotry, trust, governance and growth, not flawed elections every four years. No matter which political party that comes into power the story remains the same. The post colonial legacies of ''divide-and-rule, corruption, and autocracy'' brings more backwardness and hardships, 'exclusivism', persistence of poverty and stagnation as we are currently witnessing the 'catastrophic consequences' in Nigeria. The time has come to embrace reality; a new world in which all people co-operate freely and peacefully with minimum central control.  Find out more as we continue to analyse the activities of the government as they prepare for a second term in office come 29 May 2019. Read More : The tragedy of the evil brom; a difficult future ahead for Nigeria: http://www.theleadprojectfoundation.com/2019/03/the-tragedy-of-evil-broom-difficult.html

Uche Okeke is the Founder of The LEAD Project Foundation.

Saturday, 11 May 2019

Restructuring is one sure way to guarantee security and prosperity of citizens in Nigeria.

"A dysfunctional political system for luxury and adorenment, exploitation and domination must be overhauled to guarantee citizen security and prosperity in ethnic diverse society like Nigeria. The current political system is flawed, expensive, exploitative, wasteful, oppressive, dictatorial, people deserve more than that"-Uche Okeke

I have argued very strongly that politics in Nigeria is dominated by self-interests, narrow demands of the cabals who weild power; ruthless cabals with a 'distinct lack of conscience'. The country has been shaped more by political decisions of the centre ; unitary-centralised political system characterised by exploitation, ruthless pursuit of self-interests which affects economic development , trust, governance and growth. It needs adjustment/restructuring to guarantee autonomous states/regions, independence of the political decisions of the centre, i.e, greater devolution of responsibilities and resources. There is abundant evidence of successful economies that do not have the benefits of oil. They have thrived on efficient tax system, technology, entrepreneurship, Agriculture, manufacturing,  trade, greater citizen engagement, inclusiveness, knowledge economy, empowering women, pioneering investment and innovation, modernisation, prudent management and better governance, the myth of diaspora, NGOs, global partnerships etc. Independent states with more economic and financial resources present great opportunity not risks for development. Restructuring is the solution to the current political system/structure which 'obstructs development and consolidation of democracy' in Nigeria. Homogeneous society is a great advantage to democratization, this is not far from moving economic and political power down to identity. Restructuring is about alternative policy responses to stagnation, persistence poverty and instability .Restructuring Nigeria is one sure way to address the 'inter-connectedness of trust, governance and growth'. Employing a political economy approach, Independent States/Autonomy will avoid centralised leadership, promote decentralized leadership for more effective governance, prevent dominant coalition, make it 'easier to obtain consensus, develop and propagate its own agenda , build separated and strong institutions-investigative and judicial arm and promote its own ideology and diplomacy, cultural and historical factors, greater citizen engagement-accountability and transparency, embrace partnership as part of its own development strategy. Unlike the current structure characterised by self-interests, formation of dominant coalition, lack of transparency and accountability, weak institutions and mechanisms to hold leaders to account for their promises. Restructuring Nigeria is one sure way to harness or manage our diversity, make the union strong and leverage global partnership to effect development and growth. Restructuring is neither disintegration nor seccession, as the politicians want ignorant people to believe, so ordinary people need to be properly informed. Without restructuring anything else is distraction. Electoral democracy, i.e. election every four years does not bring development especially in a political climate/environment characterised by pitch invasion-'gutter' politicians in charge. Some of us still see the world through the map phenomenon or 'map' narrative; distorted views that tend to  make us celebrate and fight for the status-quo, the same reason for persistence of poverty, mass-unemployment, stagnation and political instability. Thinking needs to change. We must learn to look at the solution to our problem from the global best practices, not the distorted/narrow views of the power grabs; self proclaimed statesmen influenced by prejudice, outdated knowledge and self-interests. Homogeneity increases trust, good governance and leads to economic progress. No doubt, Restructuring is one sure way to guarantee security and prosperity of citizens in Nigeria.The current system promotes abuse of power by people who still envisioned a world dominated by one human group that violently subdues all others. Restructuring is not an option rather a development intervention whose time has come. Restructuring Nigeria is long overdue.

Uche Okeke is the Founder of The LEAD Project Foundation

Saturday, 30 March 2019

The tragedy of the evil broom; a difficult future ahead for Nigeria Part1

"Only societies with a few large and competing ethnic groups have a high risk of civil war"-David Miles, etal.

 A lot has been written about the mistake of destiny and its devastations in the past four years in Nigeria. The just concluded sham elections is a further proof of unending depreciation and deterioration of the polity under a tyrannical and populist regime with a legacy of distrust, divisions, violence, repression, capability deprivation, persistence of poverty and stagnation. As expected the monstrous political structure has helped midwife its return despite widespread opposition. Today most societies celebrate progress and modernity, but this doesn't seem to be the case in Nigeria given the gutter political ideologies of the key actors and the ruling party that is yet to embrace what it means to be in the 21st century especially in an ethnic diverse society. The ruling APC government has narrowed the leadership of the next  national assembly to areas of interest placing party before national interests. Basically this is not how to build an inclusive society fit for the 21st century. Societies build strong institutions to help support economic growth by ensuring that various ethnic groups ''feel engaged in society and policy and ensuring that power and voice are spread across a population", but this is not the case with the ruling APC government in Nigeria who believes in winner takes all. It's time for genuine, authentic change if we truly understand the challenges facing the country. The country must liberate itself from the pseudo political ideologies of gutter politicians who built their ambitions on divisions, discrimination, violence and capability deprivation. We all know the consequences of inaction; deepened divisions, and re-opening of old wounds which could further facilitate political instability. We need a government that is equipped to deal with the aspirations of the future instead of a return of the society to the dark past. Indeed, the time has come to overhaul the monstrous political system that created the mess we're in to guarantee active citizenship and the much needed high investment for productivity and better citizens well-being instead of exploitation and domination by the few for their luxury and adorenment. With what we now know, the future will not be different from the past four years given the primitive ideologies of conquest and domination that is laid bare for all to see. Growth is never built on the benevolence of the few.

Uche Okeke is the Founder of The LEAD Project Foundation. He lives in London.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

The repressed must rise up and overthrow a dysfunctional system that excludes and exploits them, 'freedom is development'

"In ethnic diversity such as in Nigeria, autocracy has failed to generate conditions conducive to growth and its return would hold no promise of improvement"-Professor Sir Paul Collier, Oxford University.

Another election is here. As we are aware, its only during elections that the politicians engage with ordinary people. However, today's social media has really demonstrated that ordinary people in Nigeria are completely in the dark about the problem facing Africa's most populous country. Nigeria is a case study where the curse of oil has created great divisions, autocracy, chaos, poverty and wholesome manipulation of ignorant electorates by the political elites to continue business as usual; endless plundering of wealth of the nation for personal gains and political patronage, resisting the restructuring of the monstrous political structure that promotes abuse of power. The February 16, 2019 presidential election is another opportunity to choose between 'freedom and tyranny' given the lessons of the past four years. President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling APC government has consistently argued that corruption is Nigeria's main challenges, not the restructuring of the political system that creates abuse of power, however his approaches to fighting corruption is flawed targeting only political opponents giving blanket amnesty to party supporters and those willing to support his re-election. This demonstrates lack of proper understanding of the complex challenges the country faces. Agreed that corruption is the problem, we have argued that any geniune fight against corruption in Nigeria must start from the root cause of corruption; the licence to do as one pleases, anything else is distraction. Can corruption fight corruption? If oil revenue does not eradicate poverty, selected/biased fight against corruption, political bias and favouritism will never eradicate corruption and poverty, that's the whole point. In ethnically diverse society like Nigeria, the political system which enables abuse of power is the main corruption which must be overhauled to address the interconnectedness of trust, governance and growth. This election offers another opportunity to vote for the right candidates that promised the restructuring of the monstrous political structure that excludes the majority or the next level of tyranny given what we now know. Everyone wins if the  candidates with the right skills, expertise and experience wins. The price of tyranny would be very painful to ignore, history can predict and it can warn. The future is in our own hands.

Click on this link to read more:  The Hard Truth About Restructuring Nigeria, A Political Economy Approach: http://www.theleadprojectfoundation.com/2018/09/the-hard-truth-about-restructuring.html

Sixtus Uche Okeke is the Founder of The LEAD Project Foundation; Leadership, Advocacy, Empowerment, Development. He lives in London

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

The choice Nigerians face in 2019 Elections; 'Functioning multiparty democracy and economic growth or benevolence of a dictator

"In a state of almost permanent fear and terror, life as we know would grind to a halt"-Professor Richard Griffiths. "Freedom Is Development"- Amartya Sen.

We have written a lot about Nigeria's Democracy And Its Crisis, Deliberate, Avoidable-'Bribe & Bullet'. A dysfunctional political system that promotes abuse of power, long overdue for overhauling. Never has the flaws of this political system been so prominent than in this dispensation-'Mistake of Destiny', however, another opportunity  to effect the desired change is round the corner. Dictators don't care about both 'functioning multiparty democracy and economic growth', they simply want to remain in power repressing civil liberties. The sad lessons of the 'Mistake of Destiny' is a constant reminder to avoid its re-occurrence. Studies have shown that 'democracy leads to increased social services like health care and education which lead to economic growth in the long-run', but what we have got in this dispensation is the opposite; violent repression of civil liberties, capabilities deprivation, division, discrimination, lack of democratic accountability, political bias and favouritism, insecurity, killings, politicisation of public policies, misplaced priorities, wastes, fear and terror, etc. The result is loss of  investments in key growth policies, persistence of poverty and stagnation. It is possible to defeat abuse of power and bad governance. The next election is a great opportunity to have a sound government that will deliver democratic dividends, a well-functioning democracy and economic development. We must vote for credible and competent leadership, people of expertise and experience rather than relying upon the benevolence of a dictator who does not care about ''both functioning multiparty democracy and economic growth''. The President says he will continue as "Baba go slow"until he retrieves every stolen money. This is mediaval. Unfortunately the President has failed to realise that 'low corruption is not a precursor to development', so sad he's not bothered about the wreck of the economy and total state failure, just power grips. This should be a huge cause for concern. Today its surely significant that economic performance and the desire for greater individual and political freedom remains of immense importance to the citizens come 2019 elections instead of repression and economic stagnation especially with gloomy global economic outlook and volatility in global oil prices.  Find out more soon , as we continue to provide ordinary people with alternative sources of information to enable them evaluate government successes and failures and make better choices. "The best response to lies is truth". Freedom is development. We must be willing to resist 'bribe and bullet' if we truly want to overthrow potential tyranny and replace it with proper democracy in which individual freedoms is guaranteed. Everyone pays a heavy price if tyranny wins. Dictatorship resists modernity and envision a world where people remained permanently in a primitive and uncivilised state to enable them impose their 'exploitative and oppressive agenda.' History can warn and it can also predict.

Uche Okeke is a Social Entrepreneur, the Founder of The LEAD Project Foundation-[Leadership, Empowerment, Advocacy & Development].

Monday, 17 December 2018

Ndigbo must embrace what is possible not a cruel future

"A restructured Nigeria will make 'without me you are going nowhere' narrative unattractive"-Uche Okeke

In changing times, people must not allow ruthless politicians to see them as 'useful idiots' to settle political scores. They say in life 'anyone can dream all they like about the opportunities they hope will come' but the reality is always different. We must not allow personal ambitions to lure us into a cruel future. Luring in people to live under tyranny is mediaval and must be resisted. Igbo President at this point in history seems a misplaced ambition given abundant evidence of political and economic risks the country faces. Confused politicians seeking personal gains must not be allowed to ruin our collective future since its obvious that they lack the capacity to break down the barriers of the monstrous political system that they seek to exploit. It's obvious that we are no stakeholders in the main political parties so this puts us in a very messy position to re-think pointless fantasies. Igbo president in a dysfunctional political system is not the answer to exploitation and social exclusion. GEJ Presidency is a constant reminder not to fall victims of vain promises by those who resist restructuring but suddenly realise that we can be a good statistics to consolidate their grips on power. A coalition that guarantees us the restructuring of the monstrous political structure is the only sure route instead of playing Russian Roulette with a very negligible probability of success. It's really very sad that politicians are simply driven by greed and personal gains instead of the big challenges of the majority they claim to represent. The only sensible way forward is to support #AtikulatedObi which has been the bold option until unnecessary controversy of the choice of Vice-Presidential candidate. Ndigbo must resist the danger of heading in a different direction given a new concensus on the need for restructuring for growth and stability. 2023 maybe round the corner what matters most is the peace and prosperity of the citizens that you seek to rule. The evidence of state failure is urgent reminder to think different about this 'long game'. We deserve better than this. Atiku may not be the best but everyone knows the reason for his emergence, so he has a moral duty to perform better.  Click on this link to read more: http://www.theleadprojectfoundation.com/2018/11/nigerias-atikulatedobi-is-solution-to.html

 Uche Okeke is the Founder of The LEAD Project Foundation.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

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