Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Issues and Policies Debates In Nigerian Presidential Elections

Issues and Policies Debates In Nigerian Presidential Elections Written by Paul I. Adujie Esq. The Nigerian presidential election is scheduled for February 16, 2019 and today is July 2nd, 2018. There are therefore, barely six clear months before a major general election. Yet, Nigerian national issues which are exceedingly and glaringly urgent, are profoundly absent from the lips of the political leaders of the more than 60 registered political parties in Nigeria! There are many issues of concerns to me, just me, merely an individual or one person out of 180 million Nigerians! Yet, as I write this, Nigeria is in a continuing, seeming slow-motion Civil War in the North East of Nigeria, which is also known as the Boko Haram insurgency. This mindlessly violent Boko Haram insurgency has been festering and percolating for too many years. A second and perhaps now more virulent variant sort of insurgency, it is spreading across the whole nation. I am referring to the so-called Herdsmen’s and Farmers’ frequent clashes with its religious and ethnic trappings and colorations. Thirdly, amongst urgent challenges in national policies, is the continuing downward spiral of the Nigerian National Currency, the Naira. The Naira has in my life time withered like roses in the sun. The Naira, since September 30, 1986 has lost 720% in value, and as such, everything which is imported into Nigeria has become more expensive by a factor of the multiplication and division between our national currency and the American Dollar. Fourthly, there is mass unemployment in Nigeria. The unemployment rate is more than 60% among graduates of tertiary institutions with their National Youth Service Corps discharge certificate in hand. There is therefore plentiful, but idle human capital without requisite productive industrial capacity. To absorb these would be useful energies to innovate, create, make and add value to Nigerian lives! Essentially, Nigeria is currently an atmosphere of confluences and convergences of fundamental absences of ideas, poverty of ideas and deficits in all important spheres of human life. There is a dearth of public infrastructures. Roads and bridges are decrepit. Many airports in Nigeria have become relics of their former selves. A visit to most Nigerian airports induces, tears, and heartache from those who truly still love Nigeria. Mass transits and other forms of public transportation are non-existent nationwide. There is hardly a transportations system to speak of, throughout Nigeria. There are no trains or any other public transportation system(s) which are established, operated, supported or subsidized by municipal, state or federal authorities! There are no efforts to make the lives of the citizens more convenient or a little less painful. The lives of citizens are not valued at all. A majority of Nigerian highways are death traps. Nigerian Expressways are abandoned and neglected in disrepair. Nigerian roads and maintenance, repairs, remedial measures and care, cannot be mentioned in the same sentence! There are no maps or labels or signage announcing towns, populations, name of rivers and bridges or extent of distances calculated as there are no established distances landmarked as you travel highways and expressways! No pointers, no arrows, nothing! Electricity is still non-existent. Electricity in Nigeria is, at best, still uncertain, unpredictable and epileptic. Electricity is the engine-room of every individual and commercial entity undertaking production, and yet, electricity is still the most unreliable service in Nigeria. Is electricity not a topic for campaigns or electioneering in Nigeria? Then, there is the mother of all, of Nigeria’s challenges or problems. It is known as corruption! Corruption is the derailment-in-chief of all Nigerian private and public efforts, Nigeria’s ultimate national enemy, corruption is, it is still alive and well, corruption still has vigour, energy and capacity to decimate and debilitate Nigeria, and corrupt is doing so. Why then, is it, that, in the midst of all the above burning national issues, many policy issues, in the midst of all which currently ails Nigeria, these multitudes of issues, which requires urgent attention through debates, discussions, and then, policy formulations and implementation in connections with gapping national needs, needs that are, extremely urgent, and even dire. Why then, is the Nigerian political class, like Emperor Nero of Rome of yore, fiddling while Rome burns? As an example, let President Buhari and his political party the APC and its entire leadership tell us, Nigerians, the voters, what has been accomplished during these couple of years, during which President Buhari and the APC have been at the helms of Nigerian affairs. Thereafter, let President Buhari, the APC and supporters articulate national policy positions regarding the sundry issues raised above, (though number of national issues are not exhaustive) but articulate policy positions regarding the many issues facing Nigeria. Furthermore, even as we take the ruling political party to task, Nigerians similarly expect the other approximately 67 registered political parties in Nigeria, to espouse the programs and policies to the electorate; while explaining, in specific exactitudes, what policy forays these other different political parties and their crops of leaders will undertake on behalf of Nigerians, to make Nigeria a better place for all. Subsequent to such expositions, Nigerians will have the opportunity to compare and contrast, and be in a position to thoroughly scrutinize the different political leaders and their political parties to determine how such leaders, their parties, programs and policies differ from what Nigerians have witnessed in the preceding sixteen years of PDP, and, the current APC administration. In this way, Nigerians are able to determine that President Buhari may continue as he and his team are doing such an outstanding job of administering Nigeria (based on the facts). President Buhari should then be re-elected and permitted by the voters to continue into a second term in office as president of Nigeria. Or, alternatively, upon thoroughly scrutinizing the manifestoes of the current government and measuring such programs, policies and performance, the Nigerian voters may decide that another political party and its leadership deserve a try at the helms of Nigeria’s for the next four years on behalf of all Nigerians, also, again, based on the facts, without the usual extraneous factors of region of origin, religion and, or ethnic group. This alternative will therefore arise from a clear understanding by the Nigerian populace. In particular, the voters, , upon comparing and contrasting the mission statements of other competing political parties in Nigeria, that such other party as the Nigerian voters may so determine, is more suitable, ready and able to meet the totality of our current national aspirations. Such conclusions would be national issues and national interests driven. Unfortunately however, as the general elections draws nearer and closer, none of the over sixty political parties in Nigeria are engaged in issues driven campaigns or electioneering! The political class in Nigeria are presently conflating Nigerian national issues with the selfish and personal interests of some highly placed political office holders. Where the arrests of a couple of senators by security agencies, for offences, is turned into an imaginary national security issue upon which Nigeria’s democracy is dangling precariously. A majority of Nigerian political class are self-interested, egoistical and narcissistic, while being distracted or consumed by personal greed and self-aggrandizements and without a care for Nigerian national priorities. Nigerian political class have never demonstrated a care for the concerns the average Nigerian citizen. This is precisely why no member of the Nigerian political class is concerned with the Causes and Effects of mass migration by Nigerians into Libya, Spain, Italy and other European nations via the treacherous desserts and the Mediterranean Sea! Nigerian mass migrants flee the parlous and desperately hopeless human condition which Nigeria has become, and it is worsening! The current generation of the Nigerian political class is mindless and careless about the future of Nigeria and Nigerians! Otherwise, there would be vigorous debates, campaigns and electioneering on how to tackle corruption, mass unemployment, uncertain and unreliable electricity, absence of public infrastructures nationwide! If the current Nigerian political class care at all, there would be an urgent discussion on how to strengthen the Naira. The Naira, our now worse than useless national currency, which exchanges very poorly, and as a consequence, this makes importing a car, a computer or construction or farm equipment too expensive. If the Nigerian political class were alert, aware and awake to their responsibilities, they would be campaigning and proposing programs and policies to stem or even eliminate ethnic and religious frictions nationwide. Indeed, if Nigerian political leaders were normal and similar, in comparisons to their reasonable counterpart political leadership elsewhere, there will be urgent public debates and proposals programs and policies on how to tackle the Boko Haram scourge and other festering insurgencies in Nigeria, which are now becoming ‘normal’ Were there to be a real political leadership in Nigeria, there will be urgent debates, programs and policies being formulated on how to have stable electricity supply, the bane of Nigerian industrial development efforts. Only inane political leaders would expect foreign investments, research and development, in a nation without electricity. Only a na├»ve political class would be mouthing platitudes about Foreign Direct Investments as many airports are closed or in a state of disrepair, Makurdi, Port Harcourt, Benin Airports are quick examples. Nigeria is currently, sadly, ignoring and neglecting every aspect of Nigerian life which are critical. No nation can ignore and neglect investing in higher education, research and development, and then, hope for national progress and advancement. No nation can neglect investments in public infrastructures and expect magic in her economic growth. Yet, Nigeria is in the middle of, and at the cusp of a presidential election next February 16, 2019, but, no member of the political class, no one, is interested in campaigns, debates, discussions and electioneering about Nigeria’s extremely urgent national priorities and the way forward. It is so sad! All in all, Nigeria is a wonderful nation with so much abundance, Nigeria is bountiful and replete with opportunities for citizens and foreign investors alike. However, it is held hostage by an absent minded, vapidly corrupt and extremely greedy political class. The 2019 elections is a chance to chart the way forward for a better Nigeria. Nigerians must pay attention and take the political class to task!

Monday, July 2, 2018

Global Asylum and Refugee Crises; A Ticking Time Bomb!

Global Asylum and Refugee Crises; A Ticking Time Bomb! Written by Paul I. Adujie Esq. There is a burgeoning global refugee crises and it requires action from all nations of the world. It is critical and crucial that there be a robust and coordinated global response to the mass migration crises which is spiraling out of control in all corners of the earth. Global mass migration is causing restiveness on the part of those in mass migrations on the one hand and, on the other hand, aggressive or fierce resistance by the receiving communities across the world. African crises such as actual violent conflicts, economic and social dislocations are major factors motivating mass migration from the African axis. Then, in Asia, the many decades long war in Afghanistan and the arbitrary removals of Rohingya Muslims by the Myanmar government has caused the dislocation of some 600,000 persons in one fell, swoop. In the Middle East, the wars in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and the precarious human conditions which persists in Palestine, have combined to create an increase in the numbers of refugees and displaced persons in the Middle Eastern region part of the world. Similarly, in North America, particularly in the United States, the refugee and migrant crises are fueled by Latin and South American economic and political crises, with accompanying instabilities, which have culminated in the so-called “zero tolerance” asylum seekers and refugees policy by President Trump of the United States. The current migrant crises in Europe first got out of control in 2015, and garnered the world’s attention, when the number of desperate mass migrants trying to cross into Europe through the Mediterranean Sea reached two million persons, at which point, European nations acting through the European Union, sought to stem mass migration, particularly from the African continent, through arrangements or deals with Libya, Italy and Turkey, as European nations struggled to outsource mass migration crises. Since then, these actions targeting mass migration from Africa, have seen a dramatic reduction from two million persons in 2015 to approximately 43, 000 persons in the first quarter of 2018. Thousands of deaths through drowning at sea and frostbites have bedeviled these hapless African mass migrants. European nations are closing their national doors or borders to African mass migrants, whether the migrants are categorized as asylum seekers or refugees (economic or political)! European nations through combined efforts, have taken drastic measures, including refusal of berthing and landing rights to ships with multitudes of rescued mass migrants in death defying attempts to enter Europe. In recent times, Italy, Spain and Libya have engaged in blockades of ships bearing African migrants. The Aquarius with over 300 mass migrants, was denied and refused entry into Spain in June 2018. Consequently, The Aquarius lingered on the high seas for an extended period of time. Soon after the incident involving The Aquarius, there was another incident in which the global shipping company, Maersk rescued hundreds of mass migrants who were rescued on the high seas by Maersk a mercantile or commercial containers company, which was now stuck with the stranded migrants, as no European nation was willing to accept the rescued migrants who were now on Maersk ocean merchants ships or ocean going vessels. The government of the nation of Israel, has sought to deflect her African migrants challenge through outsourcing, Israel formulated a policy in which Israel would pay a willing East African nation to receive and house African migrants for five thousand dollars per person, irrespective of the African nation of origin of such Africa migrant. There is clearly a global migration crises, and consequently, various regions and nations have unfurled varied policies to eliminate or reduce the migrant crises. Some policies have ranged from the inhumane and cruel to extremely harsh. In effect, most nations are acting in complete disregard for human lives, dignity and even international laws and United Nations Conventions regarding asylum seekers and refugees. President Trump in this regard, recently emphatically stated that mass migrants to the United States should not be accorded The Rule of Law or Due Process! In all of these, and quite unfortunately so, there has been no public debate in African nations in connection with this global crises of asylum seekers and refugees. This is so, despite the fact that African mass migrants are a major component of this global crises. There are injustices, oppressions and inequality in their extreme on the African continent. There are plethora of human conditions on the African continent which makes millions of Africans seek health, wealth and happiness outside of Africa. There is mass unemployment amongst a large segment of the African population. In particular, mass unemployment is especially severe in African youths below the age of 30 years. There is absence and or dearth of public infrastructure. Democratic institutions are either completely absent or fragile in nations of African continent. There is abject and extreme poverty, and there are glaring inadequacies in the areas of The Rule of Law and Due Process. Legal systems are not solid and the judiciary is not as independent and autonomous as it should be. There is a poverty of ideas. In the circumstances, too many among the African youth feel, rightly or wrongly, more assured about sturdy systems outside the African continent. There are no certainties of reward or punishment guided by individual efforts. In Africa, it is the case that, all too often, there are no consequences for stupidity, and such an environment quickly leads to impunity in attitude, behaviors and actions. Most African governments are steeped in, entrenched and ensconced in corruption. They are also engaged in maladministration, bad governance, mismanaged economies, conflicts and social-political dislocations. These same African governments are surprisingly, the governments which are not debating, planning or formulating policies addressing the root causes of mass migration from African nations. What is worse, African governments are ignoring debates or policy formulations and implementations in order to prevent the consequences faced by citizens of these same African nations through miserable deaths inflicted on African citizens by a treacherous and unforgiving Mediterranean Sea and the newly refortified African migrant entries into Europe. Ignoring Causes and Effects of mass migrations by citizens of African nations is a clear illustration of African governments’ inability and or, unwillingness to protect and serve African citizens. It can even be said that the African governments’ inactions regarding mass migrations and attendant consequences, is the best indication of the null value which African nations seem to assign to African citizenship. A war torn Libya, with ragtag military and sundry opportunists in Libya, has resorted to what CNN’s Nima Elbagir has described as modern day slavery in which Libyans sell desperate West Africans to the highest bidders, and currently, the nomenclature of what stands for what can be called the government of today’s Libya, cages and quarantines thousands of Africans and treats African mass migrants worse than prisoners of war. The Libyan authorities have been unable or have been unwilling to prevent the current criminal enterprise involving human trafficking in which African mass migrants are the victims, as they are either killed like flies, raped and abused or sold, in auctions reminiscent of the slave trade of more than one hundred years ago! The leader of the government in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel, a fervent supporter of rights of refugees and asylum seekers, has been compelled in recent times, as she is under domestic political pressure to shift her position. Her position now closely resembles and reflects the anti-refugees preferences of her local political opponents in Germany, and in fact, her government is barely holding on in a coalition partnership, as her political opponents, hitherto a minority or at the fringes of things, has gained prominence in the politics of Germany. Globally, the fortunes of asylum seekers and refugees have sunk, as conservative political leaders have assumed leadership of governments in the United States with the electoral victory of President Trump, and the election of ultra conservative candidates in Italy, and the upsurge of conservatives across Europe. The world is currently mired in mass migration crises, and no region is exempt. This global mass migration crises is becoming a ticking time bomb. The world is walking a tightrope towards a mass migration precipice or Armageddon. Africans mass migrants for several years, have borne the brunt of rejection by Europe. African mass migrants, asylum seekers and outright refugees are routinely denied entry in the Americas and Europe as well. Blunt discriminatory language or verbiage is often directed at African mass migrants, as they are denied, rejected and disparaged as economic refugees undeserving of being considered for asylum and refugee statuses. The United Nations recently reported how the EU in cooperation with Libya has led to 'unimaginable horrors' for African mass migrants “EU-backed agreements between Italy and Libya have reduced the number of migrants reaching EU shores. But the cost has been "unimaginable horrors," according to the UN human rights commissioner” The European Union's (EU) policy of helping Libyan authorities in detaining migrants has been "inhuman," UN human rights commissioner Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said on Tuesday. "The suffering of migrants detained in Libya is an outrage to the conscience of humanity." “UN inspectors had seen "unimaginable horrors" endured by nearly 20,000 migrants during visits to four migrant detention centers in Tripoli, Libya in early November the commissioner said. “Zeid added they had seen evidence of widespread torture, rape and forced labor. At one point, the inspectors saw "thousands of emaciated and traumatized men, women and children piled on top of each other, locked up in hangars with no access to the most basic necessities." Hundreds of migrants left in limbo in the Mediterranean “The fate of hundreds of migrants rescued from the Mediterranean is up in the air after they were again barred from landing on Europe's southern shores. Two ships, the Lifeline and the Alexander Maersk, are currently left in limbo in the Mediterranean” Consequently, there are feelings of conspiracy, collusion and connivance as harsh actions and maltreatment of mass migrants unfolds daily, openly and unapologetically. These mass migrants, are now subjected to extremely inhumane, brutal and horrible treatments, so much so, that these populations must not be blamed if they question why death and indignity has become their ultimate end or lives’ outcome. It is the case that there is so much affluence, wealth and opulence in the world. There are certainly enough resources to provide for the health, wealth and happiness of earth’s present human population of over 7 billion persons. After the Second World War, there was rescues for the economies of Europe by America, and it was known as the Marshall Plan, it helped to stimulate economies which were decimated by the war. Again, after the 2008 global economic meltdown, there were Economic-Financial Bailouts, which once more, stimulated certain economies. The African continent and the Southern Hemisphere, where the bulk of mass migration flows from were not included in the orbits of the Marshall Plan, and the Economic-Financial Bailouts already mentioned above. Reengineering and Resuscitating the economies of the Southern Hemisphere may be the surest and best policy or way out of the current global mass migration crises. These crises will not be wished away! Asylum seekers and refugees globally, are feeling forsaken and forgotten. Asylum seekers and Refugees are feeling abandoned and rejected at all entry points in America and Europe. Pronouncements by persons such as President Trump of the United States, the current Prime Minister of Italy, conservative politicians such Marie Le Pen of France, anti-immigrants movements across the world can only make matters worse! It doesn’t have to be this way. History or posterity will judge humanity harshly, as the extent of our human refinements is measured by our current asylum seekers and refugees who are essentially the underprivileged, the oppressed and the less fortunate persons in the global populations. As I write this, a boat, sank in the coasts of Libya, the boat is said to be old, rickety and poorly maintained and overloaded with 120 African mass migrants, 100 of them have been confirmed dead by Alazeera Television Network which showed videos of dead babies fished from the sunken boat! Another 100 African citizens dead in their efforts to flee from the hardships, sufferings, abject extreme poverty and sundry dire human conditions in Africa! And today June 30, 2018, it is being reported that the European Union have agreed to tighten asylum and refugee rules, even more! Asylum seekers and refugees are beleaguered and they need our help and support in their hour of need. The plights and predicaments of asylum seekers and refugees globally, is dire and precarious. The time to act is now.