Archive for the ‘Aso Villa’ Category

GEJ’s 5-DAY ₦161BN CONSPIRACY   7 comments

Since its inception, the Goodluck Jonathan administration has treated Nigerians to very intriguing, sometimes laughable, events featuring dramatic twists and the sort of conspiracies that can only be the stuff of grand corruption! The most dramatic of such events, of course, remains the cowardly and botched attempt to remove the fuel subsidy in January 2012.

In the first weeks of December 2012, however, the Jonathan administration presented Nigerians with another very dramatic twist to the bigger fuel subsidy narrative. It was a conspiracy by fuel barons, who enjoy the regime’s subservience, to forcefully draw out more funds from the national till after facing what appeared to be some resistance to that devilish plan from the Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (NOI). What followed was equally devilish – the kidnapping of NOI’s mum to compel her to play along with the plan and release the requested funds!

What GEJ’s administration effectively staged was a drama, literally, that incidentally, perfectly suits German playwright Gustav Freytag’s 5-act dramatic structure which consists of five parts: An exposition, a rising action, a climax, a falling action and a revelation – or dénouement.

On December 15, Steve Ade (Twitter: @steve_ade) lucidly presented GEJ’s 5-day, 5-act fuel subsidy conspiracy as follows:
– Exposition: “Sunday (December 9): The Minister’s mum was kidnapped (rather adultnapped).”
– Rising action: “Monday (December 10): Kidnappers asked for a $1bn (₦161bn) ransom.”
– Climax: “Tuesday (December 11): GEJ sent a supplementary budget of ₦161bn ($1bn) to the [NASS].”
– Falling action: “Thursday (December 13): The Senate passed the supplementary budget of ₦161bn ($1bn).”
– Dénouement: “Friday (December 14): The Minister’s mum was released.”

On December 17, at a press conference three days after her mother’s release, NOI said: “[Her mother’s kidnappers] told her that I must get on the radio and television and announce my resignation. When she asked why, they told her it was because I did not pay oil subsidy money.” To foreclose any further details related to her mum’s kidnap and the said conspiracy, NOI deliberately refused to take questions from pressmen at the news conference.

For an administration that was battle-ready to remove the fuel subsidy without any qualms earlier this year, it is evident that their motive for insisting on a supplementary subsidy allocation for three weeks, at the cost of ₦161bn, was certainly not in the masses’ interest. By the way, to further lend credibility to the above claim, if indeed the ₦161bn was needed to service the provision of more subsidised fuel, what explains the fuel scarcity that has remained the norm in many parts of the country since it was approved?

Nigeria’s present ruling class is not at all sophisticated in their whims and caprices. They are only able to cash in on the people’s subdued deportment. Expressing this view, political commentator, Dada Olusegun, remarked that “It must be so frustrating for the federal government that we know their every game.” Not saluting their chicanery but, elsewhere, the bad guys operate using usually complex methods. It often takes a lot of peering to unearth massive corruption in other countries. The Rupert Murdoch scandal in the British press and the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme in the US demonstrate how well doctored-up corruption can be in, especially Western countries. In Nigeria, the corrupt [oil] cabal have a rather very clear and direct way of operating – pillaging state funds by simply compelling their puppets in government to play along in their unholy acts.

It’s not me alone who thinks that Jonathan’s governance is more fiction than reality. Adenike Adebayo recently tweeted: “Blockbuster action movie showing at your nearest cinema called CORRUPTION, starring Goodluck E. J., PhD.” In May, Adebowale Adejugbe established very striking parallels between Jonathan and Charles Logan, a cowardly and reluctant US president in the blockbuster movie, ‘24’. Jonathan’s record on leadership is so shambolic and far from reality that, at best, it fits only fictional examples and images.

Twice this year, on January 1 and December 25, Jonathan publicly said he is slow in order to avoid making mistakes. Truth is, Jonathan is actually very slow and timid to take bold and decisive steps that guarantee good governance for the masses but very swift and daring to act in favour of the corrupt elements and vested interests that have defined the most part of his administration. For example, Jonathan swiftly pursued the fuel subsidy removal, speedily approved a very controversial recommendation for Justice Ayo Salami’s retirement and quickly set this latest ₦161bn conspiracy in motion whereas he has remained very slow on tackling corruption, insecurity, health, infrastructure, environmental degradation and pollution in the Niger Delta and other challenges facing the nation. In fact, more often than not, when confronted by very important issues, Jonathan has resorted to his habitual and lazy approach of creating committees and more committees.

In all, like the above ₦161bn conspiracy demonstrates, Jonathan’s administration is manifestly a blockbuster tragicomedy. It is up to Nigerians to make sure this movie ends in 2015! What Nigeria desperately needs at the pinnacle of its political leadership is a reality show on good governance – not a tragicomedy on corruption!

NB:
If you are still one of those finding it hard to ascertain the background to this latest fuel-subsidy conspiracy, some detailed facts and figures on the subsidy, courtesy of Ogunyemi Bukola’s “The Jonathan Metrics of Fuel Subsidy Scam” will do you good: http://omojuwa.com/?p=15062

GEJ AT 55: THE NIGERIAN PARALLEL   5 comments

“Nigeria [is] a blessed country being destroyed by bad people in government. We have to unite to save Nigeria in 2015.” –Bello Mohammed

On November 20, President Goodluck Jonathan turned 55! For an individual who has spent the previous twelve years of his life in the top echelons of Nigerian political power and the last two as president, with very little or no effort on his part, if he, at 55, looked back at his personal life and the political successes therein, he would have been filled with awe especially regarding how he now occupies one of the most powerful offices in Africa without ever dreaming of it before.

Nonetheless, the supposed festive and recreational atmosphere at Jonathan’s 55th birthday was sadly mired by the gloom of his brother’s passing, on the same day. In a news report, The Premium Times’ Nnenna Ibeh put it succinctly: “It is mixed feelings at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, as President Goodluck Jonathan’s half brother, Meni Jonathan, died same day the President turned 55.”

Nigeria, as a nation, has been there before. In 2010, on her 50th Independence Anniversary, deadly bomb blasts rocked the Eagle Square, Abuja, the scene of the federal government’s celebrations, resulting in the deaths of some of her children.

After that very painful 2010 experience, Nigeria would definitely hope for a much happier celebration, in the short-term, by mid-decade in 2015! Like Jonathan in 2012, Nigeria turns 55 in 2015! And, 2015 is not just the deadline for the actualisation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); it is also Nigeria’s next general election year!

On Jonathan’s 55th Birthday, I tweeted this: “Happy Birthday, GEJ! May Nigeria be much better at 55 (in 2015) than it is now, as you turn 55!” By this tweet, I meant that the onus is on Jonathan to muster the courage and the will to do the right things that will make Nigeria a better country in 2015! Like him or loathe him, to be Nigeria’s president for two years at age 55 is a commendable achievement. My expectation, therefore, is that Jonathan will be committed to using the remainder of his term to contribute significantly to what Nigeria can proudly call her own commendable achievements by the time she turns 55 in 2015!

However, even in my hope that, by 2015, Jonathan could have improved on his very unconvincing record thus far, I am reminded about the truism that no person can give what he or she doesn’t have. Only his apologists will contend with the fact that Jonathan just doesn’t have the leadership capabilities needed to take Nigeria forward. It was this realisation that informed my next Jonathan-at-55 tweet: “GEJ, Alameiyeseigha et al gave way for you to have a story to tell at 55! May you give way soon so Nigeria can have a story to tell at 55!”

With the above tweet, I implied what I’ve always advocated for – namely that, for the reasons of his acute lack of leadership capacity, Nigeria can’t afford another presidential term for Goodluck Jonathan! I hope and am convicted that a new, very sensitive and courageous Nigerian president would be sworn in on May 29, 2015 and by the time Nigeria turns 55 on October 1, 2015, such a president should have given the first signals of a radical departure from Jonathan’s very poor performance by putting in place a truly competent and frugal cabinet, void of the too numerous aides and special advisers and assistants comprising the profligate characteristics of the Jonathan era, for example.

Indeed, Nigerians must unite to save Nigeria in 2015! Any effort to save Nigeria in 2015 must have at its core the electing of a replacement for Goodluck Jonathan at the Aso Villa. Nigeria at 55 will deserve nothing less!

Raymond is on Twitter @Raymond_Eyo

Posted November 30, 2012 by Raymond Eyo in Aso Villa

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JONATHAN’S SENSELESS #OCCUPY BEEFS!   11 comments

President Goodluck Jonathan is his own worst enemy! Just when many were beginning to reconsider Jonathan in a hopeful light, despite his many failings, and trying to be persuaded that he could at least succeed in delivering even the barest positives for national development, he again uttered another anti-masses’ salvo, totally uncalled for, and which has had the consequence of raising further doubts about his capacity to deliver.

By condemning the nationwide January #Occupy protests against the fuel subsidy removal and alleging that those who took part in the same were sponsored, Jonathan has taken his insensitivity to a new, and very ignominious, low. If Jonathan thought his statement would be saluted as a show of temerity and gumption, he was certainly very mistaken. Ostensibly, Jonathan has no regard for the hiatus in public anger against him which some other thoughtful president will capitalise on, to regain his citizenry’s confidence.

Jonathan’s senseless #Occupy beefs comprise a display of misplaced truculence which would rather be more befittingly spent on his thieving proxies. It is instructive to note that this same Jonathan recently complained that he is the most criticised president in the world. Well, there is a corollary between being the president who says arguably the most insensitive things and being the most criticised president. Unwise presidential utterances will always naturally attract criticisms, especially from a people so long deprived of their due.

Beyond that though, at the same time that Jonathan is trying to dent the unfortunate security situation in the country, he must be careful to not say things that give any segment of society reason to want to violently vent frustrations and further complicate the nation’s security. On a TV program to commemorate the International Day of Peace on September 22, the Executive Director of the Civil Liberty Organisation, Ibuchukwu Ezike, chided Jonathan’s criticism of the #Occupy protests saying, and rightly so, that “Such a statement can trigger violence.”

Also reacting to Jonathan’s condemnation of the fuel subsidy protests, on September 21, Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka said, “The most generous response that can be given to President Jonathan’s recent statement on the people’s fuel subsidy protest is that he is suffering from a bad conscience. The worst is that he is lamentably alienated from the true pulse of the nation, thanks perhaps to the poor, eager-to-please quality of his analysts, those who are supposed to provide him an accurate feel of the public mood. Since I have had the opportunity to contest this perception of the protest with him directly, it is clear what kind of interpretative diet he prefers.”

“The president sent in the army and shock police squads to forcibly seize and occupy grounds from a demonstrating public, a violation of the people’s rights as entrenched in the constitution… The culture of public protest appears to be alien territory to President Jonathan, which is somewhat surprising, considering the fact that he has not only lived in this nation as a citizen but served in various political offices. He has lived through the terror reign of Sani Abacha whose ruthless misuse of the military did not prevent demonstrations against perceived injustice and truncation of people’s rights,” Soyinka added.

Similarly, on September 21, the opposition Action Congress of Nigeria said President Jonathan’s berating of Nigerians who were opposed to the removal of the fuel subsidy manifestly depicts him as “a President who is completely out of touch not only with ordinary Nigerians but also with universal trends.” “Those involved in the January protests were…Nigerian professionals from all walks of life. To claim that this class of Nigerians were lured to the protest ground because of a bottle of water and food is to say the least, not only uncharitable, but also a reflection of the shallowness of the thought process of the President’s advisers and handlers,” the party stated.

In addition, in an opinion piece reacting to Jonathan’s comment, published in The Punch, on September 25, a certain Adewole Oluyemi asked rhetorically: “Was the President saying the Nigerian masses are undiscerning [about] issues affecting their existence negatively, even when they see citizens of countries with lesser God-given resources enjoying what they are denied of?”

One would have thought that the conjured essence of having senior aides for public affairs, and media and publicity, a microcosm of the larger wasteful duplication of public offices under Jonathan, is to ensure the president’s public comments reflect rationality, sensitivity and decorum. But alas, by Jonathan’s myriad of unguarded statements, one can safely say Nigeria isn’t getting any value from the bootlicking Abati/Okupe duo.

Any more sleazy comments by Jonathan will only exacerbate public mistrust in him. For his own good, it is high-time Jonathan desists from making comments that are not only incongruous but that also go a long way to douse whatever public confidence his administration’s nascent gains in the power sector have earned.

Raymond can be reached on Twitter @Raymond_Eyo

Posted September 28, 2012 by Raymond Eyo in Aso Villa

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JONATHAN DEFORMS POLICE REFORMS!   12 comments

The police is one very strategic outfit whose core responsibility borders on the primary purpose of government – the securing of lives and property. That the police is saddled with this all-important task in peace times means it must go the extra mile during times of crises such as Nigeria is currently faced with.

Sadly, the Nigerian police which generally has a reputation for corruption and inefficiency, has been found more and more wanting, in the wake of the many security challenges that have befallen the country in recent years. Indeed, it was due to the need to reform Nigeria’s police for greater effectiveness that late President Umaru Yar’Adua created the Yusuf committee in 2008. That committee did its job and submitted its recommendations. For some sinister reasons, those recommendations were never implemented. Then came the unleashing of carnage by the terrorist sect, Boko Haram, and the manifest ineptitude of the police to contain the resulting insecurity to the extent where its Abuja headquarters became a casualty of the same. Jonathan then created yet another committee to reform (reorganise) the police.

Upon presenting his committee’s report to Jonathan on August 14, 2012, committee chairman and current head of the Police Service Commission, Parry Osayande, himself a retired Deputy Inspector-General of Police, highlighted its contents which comprised of two major recommendations, inter alia, – the scrapping of the Police Ministry, whose role the committee considered inimical to the proper funding of the institution and the need to improve the pay of police officers including that of the IGP whom it noted is ‘wrongly’ underpaid when compared to his counterparts in sister agencies with much less responsibilities.

Indeed, the Osayande committee recommendations are pure common sense issues. For one, there was never any need for a Police Ministry in the first place! The Police Affairs Ministry was one of the many ministries created to provide jobs for the boys. Secondly, it is a fact that police officers cannot be expected to give in their best when they are gravely underpaid. These things do not need committees to have them told! They are simply obvious to any objective and discerning mind! Of a truth, the basic common sense recommendations of the various sectoral reform committees (and there are many that have been created by Jonathan alone) reveal that committees aren’t really needed and simply constitute valves to further drain funds which would otherwise be channelled into development.

It is quite instructive that Osayande said “[My] committee supports the recommendation of the Yusuf 2008 committee on the reform of the Nigeria Police”. Jonathan was Vice-President when the Yusuf committee made its findings known. Why did he not implement them as President? It’s indicting for the system when one committee supports the position of an earlier one that was not implemented. Any man in his right senses should reject being drafted into a new committee on any issue. Just tell the Federal Government to use common sense or better still, to dust older files on the subject.

Even before I came to terms with the fallout from Jonathan’s latest committee, he struck again, by creating yet another committee on August 15, 2012 to review Osayande’s report! Goodluck Jonathan simply doesn’t get it! Even after widespread condemnation of his governance by committees, he stubbornly stays the course! This is malfeasance at its prime!

Also, if we go by the suggestion of the Police Affairs Minister, Caleb Olubolade, that Osayande’s committee was wrong to propose the scrapping of his ministry, then it is highly probable that the review committee will cancel out the progressive postulations from Osayande’s committee and consequently, the police will remain handicapped and we will be back to square one! It’s a cycle of utter imbecility! Nigerians must demand a stop to this nonsense!

It is also quite unfortunate that a so-called Forum of Retired Inspectors-General of Police (IGPs) has opposed the Osayande committee’s sensible recommendation for the scrapping of the Police Ministry. The arguments of the so-called Forum of Retired IGPs against the scrapping of the Police Ministry are baseless! This forum consists majorly of men who, over the years, have aided and abetted corruption in high places in Nigeria. It is quite likely that the Police Affairs Ministry doles out contracts that can be traceable to some of these retired IGPs. If these retired IGPs were not self-seeking, they would have sought to advise Jonathan long ago when the security situation was getting out of hand and not wait for a committee to propose the scrapping of the Police Ministry before showing up. That’s a telltale about their sinister aims!

The Jonathan government, with its record-levels of a bloated recurrent expenditure feeding a massively wasteful bureaucracy, has a Police Ministry, a Police Council, a Police Service Commission, besides the Police Force itself! That reminds me; Jonathan very recently added a Niger Delta Council to the existing Niger Delta Ministry (created by Yar’Adua and himself) and Niger Delta Development Commission – at a time when he ought to ensure frugality in government business.

In all, Jonathan unfortunately has an inclination to creating committees on issues that should not ordinarily bypass the knowledge of his battalion of advisers and special advisers (there’s, by the way, a presidential adviser on ethics!) and when they present cogent and unequivocal arguments, such as in the case of Osayande’s police reform committee, he goes on to create other committees to review their recommendations. These Jonathan’s inane, insensitive and inept actions amount, by and large, to deforms of the reforms that Nigeria’s police badly needs!

PATIENCE JONATHAN’S IMPATIENCE WITH POWER!   3 comments

“Patience Jonathan is probably the worst First Lady Nigeria ever had. Her lust for money and power is alarming with no repentance in sight; her husband does not seem to be in control of her excesses capable of sinking our collective moral value. A staunch public outcry could stop this mundane madness.”
–Samuel Asiwaju

Ever since her husband became President, Patience Jonathan’s public gibberish has always been an embarrassment to most discerning Nigerians. I don’t mean to fault her substandard grammar (which can certainly be improved upon with learning) as much as I do her overall unmeasured comments on many a major national issue. This is however nothing compared to her recent misdeeds in the past couple of months.

Just when I thought Nigeria had seen the worst of insensitive First Ladies in Turai Yar’Adua, Patience Jonathan has showed up with untold nuts! Patience has ostensibly been very preoccupied with entrenching her influence way beyond the moral and sensible standards expected of Nigeria’s First Lady or any other First Lady, for that matter, majorly cashing in on her husband’s generally weak and flawed approach to governance.

It all began with a visit Patience paid to Lagos State on April 12, 2012 with the stated purpose to appreciate women in the state for voting her husband at the April 2011 presidential election. The visit caused a traffic gridlock on the Lagos Island and other parts of Lagos for several hours and equally stifled residents’ commercial and social activities for as long. Reacting angrily and rightly so, Lagos Governor, Babatunde Fashola, urged the Federal Government to call Patience to order – in a bid to preclude a repetition of the incident. Indeed, that Patience later truculently chided Fashola for his rebuff of her insensitivity and the accompanying malaise it wrought on the denizens of his state smacks of how heartless she is! The very fact that the visit was a strictly political one was enough for Patience to have made it low-key and perhaps helicopter her way to the venue without causing the masses all that trouble.

Also, on July 12, Patience was appointed a Permanent Secretary in Bayelsa State by the puppet Governor and Jonathan stooge, Henry Dickson. Whilst the appointment was hinged on claims of a logical follow-up of her alleged civil service career that was halted by her leave of absence since accompanying her husband’s political office pursuits in 1999, it doesn’t make sense that she would serve in absentia and yet be entitled to the full retirement benefits that would accrue to her. In other words, Patience has simply used the influence of her privileged position to legalise a ‘ghost-worker’ status for herself. This is particularly unbecoming of a woman whose husband has promised to rid Nigeria of a status-quo that continues to sustain jumbo recurrent expenses on a generally unproductive bureaucracy.

Again, and following in the footsteps of her sycophancy-enamoured husband who had an Abuja district named after him four months ago, on July 19, Patience Jonathan had a road linking the Defence Police Officers’ Wives’ Association (DEPOWA) with the Shehu Yar’Adua Barracks, in Abuja named after her. Fair enough, the naming of the road after Patience was but at the instance of DEPOWA, which rehabilitated it in the first place. The problem, however, is that Patience should have been humble and discreet enough to not accept the honour as it just goes to add to a long list of favour-seeking politicians and other entities who have accorded her and her husband naming-spree honours of sorts. But that of course is not the case for a First Lady who is having a run to boost her ego like none before her.

The most recent of Patience Jonathan’s gaffes is that which is about her canvassing for the roles of presidents’ wives to be constitutionalised so as to enable them get retirement benefits alongside their spouses. Patience gave the hint in a press briefing shortly after being sworn-in as Permanent Secretary in Bayelsa State on July 20, 2012. In a non-altruistic fashion, Patience said recognising the First Lady as an official capacity will “enable the occupier of that position to enjoy benefits of the office like their husbands on retirement.” This is consummate avarice, to say the least!

It is especially striking that in all this, Patience goes about with such utter insouciance! This must be why my friend, Ayobami Oyalowo, says thus of her: “Her insensitivity borders on the inane. It is a clear indication of her…crass stupidity”. I concur with him. Another friend, Aliko Ahmed, adds, rather succinctly: “That’s what we get from an accidental first family”.

Follow Raymond on Twitter @Raymond_Eyo

Posted July 23, 2012 by Raymond Eyo in Aso Villa

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JONATHAN’S GOVERNMENT BY ‘COMMITTEEOCRACY’   15 comments

The machinery of government is supposed to be designed to expeditiously deliver on the formulation and implementation of government policies, programs and projects. Sadly, in the case of Nigeria, this has been the rare exception rather than the rule. However, in a feigned effort to be perceived as making pragmatic effort to fast-track its deliverable obligations, Nigeria’s federal government – especially under Umaru Yar’Adua, and more prominently under Goodluck Jonathan, has resorted to creating committees on virtually every Dick, Tom and Harry issue of national concern.

Ordinarily, committees should add further depth to the government’s performance since a committee is special group delegated to consider some pressing matter. Not in Nigeria’s case, though! By all intents and purposes, most committees under President Jonathan have just not been necessary and where necessary, they have not been effective enough. What’s more? Where they have been even minimally effective, their modest and sometimes honest recommendations have often been ignored.

It must be this sad scenario that prompted prominent satirist, Stanley Azuakola to write that, “The presidential spokesman has explained government’s decision to set up committees for every issue under the sun. He said: “Firstly, it is for pride and innovation sake. Just as ancient Greeks brought about democracy, who says modern Nigeria can’t invent committeocracy – the government of the committees, by the committees and for the committees.”

The number of committees Jonathan has created is simply overwhelming. No reasonable government devolves so much of its direct responsibilities to any group of people whether they are qualified or not. At best, it amounts to the absence of diligence on that government’s part.

Most of the committees the Jonathan administration has created have simply not made sense. Consider the following two examples of the Committee to Review the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) Report on Environmental Degradation in Ogoni and the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force.

Following the publication of that UNEP report on the destruction of the environment in Ogoni in particular and elsewhere in the Niger Delta, caused by massive oil spills, Jonathan created a committee to “advise the government on how to respond to [it].” The committee was yet to meet as at February 2012, six months after the report was published, and its membership did not include any representative of Ogoniland – the immediate affected community. Even so, what really is the usefulness of such a committee? UNEP released a comprehensive report with clear recommendations needing urgent, decisive implementation. There absolutely was no point creating a committee on the report.

Another crazy committee which Jonathan created and gave it an impossible task is the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force – created on February 28, 2012 and charged to probe and clean up the entire oil industry – in sixty working days! Headed by Nuhu Ribadu, the committee/task-force has essentially been created to perform the duties of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, to whom it is intriguingly directly accountable. While inaugurating the task force, Alison-Madueke said several attempts to reform the oil industry had failed because of vested interests. How could she then expect a sixty-day attempt by anyone to succeed at that? Indeed, in a similar fashion, the federal government created another taskforce and assigned it to revive Nigeria’s refineries in sixty days! An obsession with very likely failure, you would say! My friend, Adenike Adebayo, reacted to it this way: “They wake up in the morning and they don’t know what to do so they put committees together to perform magic.”

Such obvious lapses and blatant disregard for purposefulness in the creation of committees is what US businessman and politician, Henry Ross Perot, meant when he wisely said, “If you see a snake, just kill it. Don’t appoint a committee on snakes.”

Another problem with the committees Jonathan has created is the number of the members they comprise. On August 19, 2011, for example, President Jonathan expanded the Presidential Economic Management Team (EMT) comprising government and private sector personalities. He also set up a fifteen-member Economic Implementation Team which he charged with overseeing the effective implementation of the decisions of the EMT, whatever that means, and to help ensure that the goals of the federal government are attained. Ironically, some of the selfsame members of the cabal responsible for the plundering of funds meant for the fuel subsidy like Femi Otedola are members of the EMT which has done little to alleviate the burgeoning poverty in the land. A better example Jonathan would do well to emulate is that in 1993, wherein then US President Bill Clinton formed a council of only three pragmatic economic advisers to provide sound economic advice, and it worked like magic and boosted America’s economic growth throughout his tenure.

Yet another problem with Jonathan’s committees besides the lack of substance in their creation or the number of members they have is that the government scarcely implements their recommendations. Proving this claim, on February 12, 2012, the Chairman of the Presidential Committee on the 2011 Election Violence and Civil Disturbances (formed in August 2011), Sheikh Ahmad Lemu, expressed disappointment on how the federal government rejected the committee’s spot-on recommendations, while constituting a white paper drafting committee on their report which was presented on October 10, 2011. Lemu expressed dismay that the government was reluctant to include any member of the investigation panel as a member of the white paper committee, in order to make them truly understand the basic recommendations of the report.

Courtesy of this gloomy ‘committeeocratic’ caricature of governance under Jonathan, activist and blogger, Oluwaseun Fakuade wrote that “The only thing visibly working [in Nigeria today], asides corruption, is [the] setting up of committees…” Complementing this view, another prominent blogger and activist, Japheth Omojuwa said, “One success you cannot deny [President Jonathan] is that he has created more committees than Nigeria will ever need. Committees don’t solve national problems. If they did Nigeria would be a haven today. The tragedy of a presidential single story: set up a committee for every problem.” Indeed, even Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Jonathan’s Central Bank Governor, said on March 22, 2012 that “We have all sorts of committees and panels set up right now. NEITI is supposed to do exactly what Ribadu is billed to do.”

In her captivating #PublicPolicy101 tweet series, former Education Minister and outgoing World Bank Vice-President for Africa, Oby Ezekwesili, pointed out that “It will take a menu of structural changes to [Nigeria’s] political economy to tackle dysfunction.” Ezekwesili added that, “The quest for quick solutions in the face of grievous dysfunction… seldom delivers.” As we have seen above, committees are often formed to proffer quick solutions whereas a structural overhaul, for instance, that should see the 72% worth of wasteful recurrent spending interchanged with the outrageously minuscule 28% capital spending is what is truly desirable and germane for Nigeria. This is even more so when we realise that creating committees further adds to our already immense recurrent spending.

Nigeria cannot afford to continue this costly and dysfunctional government by committeeocracy! Jonathan, beware!

For further reading:
Jonathan’s government by committees: http://www.punchng.com/editorial/jonathans-government-by-committees/
Jonathan and the excessive use of committees: http://www.punchng.com/viewpoint/jonathan-and-the-excessive-use-of-committees/
A rash of committees: http://www.punchng.com/viewpoint/a-rash-of-committees/

Posted March 20, 2012 by Raymond Eyo in Aso Villa

FIX ASO ROCK’S WEBSITE – IT’S AN IMAGE-MAKER!   6 comments

I have issues with the West and especially with the United Kingdom and the United States, but honestly, you can’t take it from them at times. Have you ever visited the official website of the British Prime Minister’s residence at http://www.number10.gov.uk or that of the US Presidency at http://www.whitehouse.gov? These websites depict organisational brilliance and professional sublimeness at their consummate best! They are awe-inspiring fountains of knowledge on the histories and operations of these world-renown edifices. In fact, you could consider the websites museums of some sort!

Even our own African brother-giant, South Africa, also appreciates the importance of giving its presidency a befitting and eye-catching website. At http://www.thepresidency.gov.za, the South African presidency is officially treated to a website of the classic standard of the Western countries mentioned above. The Ghanaian presidency’s website, at http://www.presidency.gov.gh, is equally very organised and attractive.

By contrast, the official website of the Aso Rock Villa, the Nigerian President’s official residence at http://www.nigeriafirst.org is an utter disgrace, providing very little information, in text or photos, about the Villa itself or of past presidents/heads of state. In addition, pictures on this website are shaped improperly and information provided there is scarcely detailed and comprehensive. In fact, the computer graphics alone are no better than what obtains in some amateurish blogs! Added to that, it is an insult that in the information age, updates from the presidency’s official website are often behind time. Indeed, going by standard examples like the ones listed before it, the URL of that website itself doesn’t suggest any relationship with Nigeria’s presidency. Why not simply go with http://www.asorockvilla.gov.ng or a http://www.presidency.gov.ng?

Rather than spend billions of Naira each year refurbishing the furniture or the dome in the Aso Villa or ₦1billion on food, why not spend a negligible token to bring the Villa’s official website up to speed with a truly modern outlook? Indeed, rather than buy more aircraft to add to an already saturated presidential fleet, why not invest funds in things that add value to the State House and boost tourists’ and investors’ interest in the system the more? Moreover, rather than appoint political cronies of senior ruling party stalwarts or some other lacklustre or pseudo-professionals who evidently don’t possess the technical know-how to man this vital national image-making website, why not get the best brains in the land to do the job?

In addition, as is the practice in other climes worldwide including in those same countries mentioned above (@PresidencyZA, @PresidencyGhana, @KremlinRussia_E) @whitehouse @Number10gov etc), methinks it will be proper and professional for Aso Rock’s Twitter handle to be @AsoRockVilla for example, rather than the extant scenario where serving individuals use their personal handles for that purpose. This seemingly minute fact could go a long way to further institutionalise the Aso Rock Villa, in image, and in substance!

For President Goodluck Jonathan’s battalion of media aides viz. Reno Omokri for New Media, Doyin Okupe for Public Affairs and Reuben Abati for Media and Publicity (as if there’s any practical difference between the last two, by the way), my current postulations are tasks they would do well to attend to.

Present challenges notwithstanding, Nigeria remains a country with a great promise. Consequently, anything in this information age that can potentially and practically serve as a window to our government, especially the presidency, must be tailored to reflect that.

Raymond is on Twitter @Raymond_Eyo

Posted February 3, 2012 by Raymond Eyo in Aso Villa