Legal Practitioner, Chima Nnaji, believes that the Niger Delta region is largely seen as a bazaar and the government should appreciate the fact that the issues are deeper than they appear.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Mr Nnaji attributed the recurring problems in the region to the failures of people in government. He stated that the government should be seen as the representation of the ideals of the people but this has not been the case.
By referring to the region as a bazaar, he explained, “The classical bazaar then is that they had this big basin of rice and children are allowed to come and have a go at it.
“Some will come with plates from home, some with their hands, but at the end of the day, the rice in the basin must go and it is not to be found in any dustbin.
“Some will have more, some will have less. Some will fight and will have nothing. That is what is happening in the Niger Delta.”
He explained that solving the problem of the Niger Delta does not require government assembling large commissions of several people but that a team of five persons can quietly study the issues and come up with proposals on how to solve their demands.
He noted that the expectations of the masses in the region are not unrealistic but government needs to engage more in strategic thinking.
“There are very few strategic thinkers in government and that is why we have problems in government, because majority are just doers and doers are not problem solvers. They only implement solutions that are supposed to come from strategic thinkers” he added.
He advocated the need for the government to look inwards in finding a solution to the problems or demands of the Niger Delta Avengers.
The Nigerian government has been advised to implement electronic voting system in all elections.
A Public Affairs Analyst, Mr Chima Nnaji, gave the suggestion on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday.
“Why don’t we at this particular time, go electronic – full blast? Some people have held us hostage and they want to liquidate everybody who have the right to vote.
“Government should organise the environment so that there would be an opponent respondent relationship,” he said.
Giving his opinion about the security situation in Rivers State, the lawyer said that some politicians had contributed in killing the industry.
“Politics has been bastardised because it has been taken to the height of violence.
“The electoral process or ballot box had been said to be the killer, but now, people displace their aggression on innocent voters – either to crash them or cajole them.
“We have always advocated that we should take the conversation a little bit higher than getting fixated on all the tensions,” he added.
In an interview with Rivers State Resident Electoral Commissioner on the programme, Aniedi Ikoiwak said the sensitive materials would arrive the state on Wednesday.
Mr Ikoiwak said: “By today (Wednesday), we are expecting the sensitive materials which means we have deployed our non-sensitive materials to the local governments, we have concluded training of SPOs and today, we will conclude training of POs while the training of Collation Officers and Returning Officers would be concluded tomorrow”.
He , however, appealed to the people of Rives State to maintain peace during the elections.
“We are appealing to people and we are also talking to security agencies – interrogative committees to deal with the security situation.
“Ours is to appeal to the security agents to save lives and property of the people,” he added.
A legal practitioner, Mr Chima Nnaji on Wednesday expressed worry over the strategy being used by President Muhammadu Buhari in the fight against corruption, advocating for a long term solution.
Speaking on Sunrise Daily, Mr Nnaji, who agreed with those who said corruption will fight back if you fight it, went on to note that “you don’t fight and succeed. You can denude or device strategies to remove oxygen from that social evil (corruption) and it will completely collapse”.
He likened the President’s strategy to the one used in fighting armed robbery, which according to him, Nigeria is yet to succeed in, because “when you say fight, the other opponent is on the other side with his own arms and ammunition prepared.
“So this is why I am worried about the strategy” adding that “the objective to construct, denude and degrade corruption is unassailable”, asking “if we are employing and deploying the right strategies”.
He warned that if strategies are not aligned with objectives, the desired results will not be achieved.
He further expressed worry over what will happen to campaign against corruption beyond the Buhari administration.
To buttress his points, Mr Nnaji gave an example with the fear Lagos residents have for the Transport Management Authority officials also known as LASTMA, saying that motorists respect traffic rules when the officials are on the roads but don’t when the officials are out of sight.
He went further to state that “one of the major instruments of social control that doesn’t go far is the instrument of fear because it requires the eternal presence of the object of fear for it to be effective”.
He advocated for a sustainable plan in the campaign against corruption that will outlive the Buhari administration, maintaining that “everybody wants corruption to go because it has held us hostage for too long”.
He maintained that the campaign by the Presidency is “timely” and also warned those in positions of authority not to do the crime, if they can’t do the time.
The government at the centre had months ago approved a release of funds to the state Governors as bailout.
Low Economic Competence
But Mr Adefeegbe said that the earlier bailout given to the governors would have cushioned their financial challenges if there was a good plan on ground for the funds received.
“There were no short, medium or long term plans that would have sustained the states,” Mr Adefeegbe stated.
“Believe me there will be a request for more and more again.
“Nigeria being a political economic environment, we find most times that people who are wonderful politicians are not as sound and competent as they should be when it comes to economics,” he said.
He suggested that the competencies of the advisers of the governors must also be looked into to ensure that they would give the governors good advice.
The Revenue Generation Specialist further said that the governors must take a critical look at the states revenue and expenditure and cut costs as much as possible.
He further suggested that the governors must look at other means of generating revenue for the state.
Also giving his opinion on the issue, a lawyer and a public affairs analyst, Dr. Chima Nnaji, said that the bailout request would stop at one point.
“Nothing is ever constant.
“The bailout is coming from a particular source and when the source itself begins to run real dry and the heat is on those who make available the so called bailout, the two will begin to bail themselves out of the situation.
“We are paying the price of negligence. In any situation you have a sequence, there must be a consequence,” Dr Nnaji said.
He expressed worries that the states were not creative and that the process of selecting the people who manage Nigeria’s affairs was based on sentiments.
“Unfortunately, the collateral damage is for both the rich, the poor and the poorer,” he said, stressing that a collective welfare of the people would bring better result.
Some analysts have expressed their reservation over the decision by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to create additional polling units ahead of the 2015 general elections, describing the process as unnecessary and untimely.
A legal practioner, Chima Nnaji, who was among a host of other guests, disagreed that the INEC Chairman’s claim that the introduction of the units is for the good of the voter, insisted that “the voter will be ultimately imperiled by the arrangement”.
Citing statistics, Public Affairs Analyst, Bala Zakka, agreed with Mr Nnaji, saying “Jega is right on paper, but when it comes to the practical realities on the ground, based on certain things that have happened in Nigeria; based on sectors that have come out with creativity and innovation and ended up failing, there will be a need to review the framework”.
However, Social Commentator, Oscar Onwudiwe, went a step further saying that the process should be “abandoned totally not discussing review.
First of all, I think Jega may mean well, but he lost something called sensitivity”, adding that “in this country politics is everything and politics being everything, people are sensitive”.
Mr Onwudiwe urged the electoral umpire to “focus on the continuous voter registration exercise.
“Forget the success recorded in the state elections we have witnessed but when it comes to the general elections, we do know that materials will not get to certain places. So why are you increasing polling units?, he asked, advising Jega “to manage it for now and do your re-organisation, throw it out for people to contribute and discuss; don’t just come out and say this will be the new regulation”, he warned.
Professor Attahiru Jega has however justified the creation of over 30, 000 polling units across the country.
Addressing journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, Jega argued that contrary to the belief that the action was motivated by mischief, INEC arrived at the decision in order to improve the electoral process ahead of the 2015 general election.
However, Jega maintained that the action was taken in the interest of the country and that it was only being misinterpreted based on the general level of mistrust.
He explained that the additional polling units would de-congest overcrowded polling units, situate polling units at proper places and encourage other factors that could ensure the smooth conduct of the forthcoming election.
A Legal Practitioner, Chima Nnaji, has criticised the proposed increase of polling units in Nigeria by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The INEC had proposed addition 30,000 polling units, with 15 per cent of the total units to be share among the state equally and 85 per cent to be shared based on the number of registered voters in each state..
Mr Nnaji questioned the decision of the INEC and called on the chairman of the commission to answer questions asked by Nigerians.
Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Nnaji said that the development gave room for rigging of elections. “The answer is no and there is no formula that can be used to explain this,” he said.
The lawyer advised the INEC to stick with the population of voters in the country and not on the population of Nigerians from 2006 till date. “INEC should leave census population for the National Population Board. The addition of more polling units has cost implication and the political system is already boiling. Why bring up something to stir it up?” he questioned.
He, however, said that the decision of the electoral commission was noble but too much in a hurry.
“Nigerians are not happy with this decision, INEC should have brought out the decision much later”.
Speaking on the forth coming general elections, the Legal Practitioner noted that such decision will affect the 2015 elections.
“The decision is controversial now and will cause more problems during the elections,” he said, emphasising that there was no time for the creation of the additional polling units.
He said that the development would leave electorates stranded due to lack of mobility to vote.
Nigerian politics and its democracy are beginning to favour the people as recent happenings have shown that the masses’ views were beginning to matter in the scheme of things.
This was a view shared by a Political Science lecturer at the University of Lagos, Dr. Kayode Eesuola on the Sunday edition of Channels Television’s Politics Today.
He made reference to the outcome of the governorship election in Ekiti and the friendly reactions that trailed the victory of Ayo Fayose over the incumbent, Governor Kayode Fayemi.
A political analyst, Chima Nnaji, who was also on the programme, referred to the move by Governor Fayemi as a good sign for the future of Nigerian politics. He noted particularly the timing of Fayemi’s concession as one that was crucial, as he was able to prevent a possible breakdown of law and order by aggrieved supporters.
With the Osun State governorship election approaching, it is expected that the opposition would be doing all possible to prevent another shocking defeat at the polls.
The APC National Vice Chairman, South, Segun Oni, had said earlier in the week that the Ekiti election was “a new dimension to rigging” and the party was not going to allow a repeat of the same outcome in Osun State.
Dr. Eesuola referred to Oni’s comments as proof that the All Progressives Congress lacked ideologies as the difference in his position with that of the defeated Governor Fayemi showed that there was no synergy of ideologies and there could be crises within the party.
On the claim that the election was rigged, he said it was a case of “the kettle calling the cooking pot black” as all the parties rely on the same strategy.
Mr Nnaji also referred to the statement as a wrong signal. He opined that at the moment “strategy should drive action”, adding that the party’s communication should have focused on moving on, and accepting what has happened in Ekiti as a way to learn lessons and prevent making same mistakes they made, as this would have been the dignified way of reacting.
“Give dignity to the electorates in Ekiti”, he said.
He cited the campaign approaches of the Ekiti State Governor-elect, Ayo Fayose, who rode very much on voter education by constantly appealing to his supporters to collect their voters’ cards and asking them to show same at his rallies. He said that he expected the APC to ask among themselves what Fayose did right that they could also do right in Osun.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) held a rally in Lagos with thousands of supporters and party leaders, including the Ekiti victor, Fayose, during the week and the party emphasized its resolve to go ahead, spurred by the Ekiti episode, to capture the entire South-West.
Another political analyst, Dr Idoko, however, noted that while the euphoria was understandable, it did not reflect the reality of things, as the Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, was a different politician to Kayode Fayemi and therefore represents a different kind of opponent for the PDP.
He went down the history lane to relate the current situation to that of the South-West politics in the days of late MKO Abiola up till the emergence of former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, as a political bigwig. He maintained that the people had a good idea of what they want.
While he agreed that Ekiti was a good victory, he stated that Osun State would be very dicey for the PDP, adding that their quest to take over the South-West region might not come easy in those states except Oyo State.
He posited that Fayemi’s error in Ekiti State was that he did not play the politics of poverty but rather focused on the politics of development which according to him was not a bad thing but only did not mean much to the people. “You must meet the immediate needs of the people to be able to collect something from them”, he said.
He blamed Fayemi for losing the Ekiti State, and that the PDP should not assume that there was a major shift already as Fayose’s victory did not mean that the Ekiti people had made the right choice.
Nigerian Politician, Jimi Agbaje, believes that the 2010 amendment of the country’s Electoral Act is not entirely a bad law but that the challenge for Nigeria remains how to implement the laws.
Jimi Agbaje was a guest on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ on Sunday, April 6.
While advocating the need for the Independent National Electoral Commission to raise its game and earn the confidence of Nigerians, he recalled the contrast between the 2007 elections conducted by the INEC which he referred to as a disaster, and the improvement witnessed in the 2011 election which “provided hope for Nigerians.”
He believes that the recent conduct of elections in Anambra State had again undone the good that the commission had done by its improved conducts in the Edo State elections. Therefore, the onus was on INEC to work hard to earn the trust of Nigerians all over again.
He noted that any form of amendment being proposed for the Electoral Act would be coming against the background of how much INEC can do, “Is INEC getting better?”
Joining the programme via the telephone, a legal practitioner, Chima Nnaji, placed emphasis on the logistical challenges facing the country and the controversies surrounding the introduction of electronic voting.
He stated, “If there is just one thing that we need to get right, if it is possible, that would have a multiplier effect on the rest, it is this electronic voting process. If we can get this right, the tendency is that it would reduce rigging and all this idea of people sitting down in one room and writing results.
“It will also help good governance in absolute terms because if a politician knows that it is the voters that matter in the electoral process they will respect the ballot box.”
The plan to review Nigeria’s electoral laws had been in the news in the past week and Director of Voter Education and Publicity, INEC, Mr. Olumide Osaze-Uzzi, was also on the programme from our Abuja studio to offer INEC’s perspective for a balanced view of the development.
He revealed that INEC had made a number of requests in the ongoing electoral reform process, including those bordering on its operational independence, the electronic voting, and being at the forefront of the establishment of an Electoral Offences’ Tribunal as well as the Electoral Offences’ Commission.
Speaking about the expectations of Nigerians as regards the possibility of INEC deploying electronic voting in the 2015 general elections, Mr Osaze-Uzzi, revealed that the Electoral Act at present prohibits electronic voting in the country, a situation which the commission feels should not be so.
While admitting that the commission was not insisting that it was ready for e-voting, he said that they were requesting for INEC to be allowed to commence that process whereby foundations are laid for the exercise to be able to take off soon in the country.
He noted that the commission had demonstrated its willingness to embrace the process with its launch of the electronic register during recent elections and as also seen in its distribution of permanent voter cards in parts of the country, like Osun State.
Osaze-Uzzi said that the legal restrain was the reason why all its activities had been to deploy their technology mainly to activities like registration, voter verification and other pre-election processes which they are allowed to conduct electronically.
Mr Jimi Agbaje, in his reaction stated that Nigeria was not ready for electronic voting. He said that there were many things that would need to be put in place for such system to work in Nigeria.
He said that Nigerians would need to believe in the system for it to work, adding that INEC would need to convince Nigerians that the electronic voting would be fraud proof before they can see it as worthy of being embraced.
Independent Electoral Offences’ Commission
INEC has also requested that it is allowed to be at the fore front of electoral prosecutions in order to be able to prosecute electoral offenders.
Osaze-Uzzi explained that if a person has been found guilty of an electoral offence, such person should be disqualified from participating in any election, but INEC does not have the powers to disqualify candidates.
Therefore, giving the powers to a well-funded independent Electoral Offences’ Commission which would have the powers to arrest, investigate and prosecute offences, including the qualification and disqualification of candidates, would ensure that the system is cleansed.
Agbaje agreed that there needs to be a separate commission whose job it would be to prosecute election offenders.
He noted that the reason violence had continued to rise in Nigerian elections was because there had been no real punishment for offenders.
The militarization of elections in Nigeria also came to the fore in the discussion, as Agbaje noted that the deployment of soldiers during elections was an indication that the system was not perfect as their presence already reduces the chances of calling the elections “free and fair”.
He, however, would not totally condemn the practice as he admitted that indeed the Police cannot handle the management of elections in Nigeria due to the violent attitude of many Nigerians during elections.
He further emphasized the need to have electoral violence well punished as the only way to put a stop to the practice in Nigerian politics.
With INEC’s request for an independent body to prosecute electoral offences, the level of independence that INEC itself has was also scrutinized. Mr Osaze-Uzzi, said that the INEC was “as independent as the law permits it.”
While admitting that the commission wished that it was more independent, he noted that they do not take orders from anybody but they were still subject to the judiciary, the legislative, and when they submit budgets it is subject to approval.
Agbaje while corroborating Osaze-Uzzi’s submission on the level of INEC’s independence said that the commission could never be 100% independent. He, however, noted that attention should be given to the states and not necessarily the commission at the national level.
He said that the choice of Professor Attahiru Jega as head of the electoral commission was a good one with a level of independence maintained over the years, but the state electoral commissions cannot be seen as being independent and more attention should be paid to the commission at that level since most of the electoral issues arise from them.
A Public Affairs analyst and Legal Practitioner, Mr Chima Nnaji, on Tuesday attributed the political scheming in the country to the quest for political power.
Reacting to the events that took place towards the end of the year in Nigeria’s political landscape, he noted that “a lot of things had started happening” from 2013, some of which would culminate “if certain conditions expected, present themselves sometime this year, sometime later part of this year or sometime early next year”.
Mr Nnaji further stated that “everything (playing out) can be reduced to an atomic level” adding that “all the ramifications and the multifarious problems have basis; the basis, like everybody knows, is power” insisting that “it is not power for its own sake; it is power for the lucre.
“All those things that are associated with” in his saying “seek ye the kingdom of power in Nigeria and every other thing shall be added on to you”. He said.
He further noted that politics in Nigeria entails “you kill your enemy, emasculate the ones you don’t like, you ingratiate yourself” adding that “there are so many things that come with power”.
He berated the fact that those people who have found themselves at the corridors of power were not prepared for it. He added that “they did not do and are still not doing anything to cultivate themselves” in the manner of providing good governance to the populace.
He blamed the Obasanjo regime for introducing and institutionalising “this do or die thing” noting that the former president, during his tenure as civilian president from 1999-2007, still used military mentality of “conquering to rule”. He said “it is either they bring them down or ship them in.”
He maintained that the present administration of President Goodluck Jonathan is suffering from a “recency effect” further maintaining that the “mess made before this government is now being taken out on the current government” and that “government is a continuum”.
Though he condemned the strikes that have bedevilled the Jonathan administration, he called on President Jonathan not to shy away from addressing the issues behind the strikes by the unions.
“He must find an intelligent way of addressing the issues while keeping in perspective, for the people to understand, that we are all part of the solution set; we did not cause it, we have come here to solve the problem.” He enthused “how they do it is their problem”.
He further noted that there is so much pressure on the Presidency, from all quarters, to perform beyond the level it is performing.
A public affairs analyst, Chima Nnaji, on Wednesday lambasted both ASUU and the Federal Government of Nigeria, saying ‘they have falling short of Nigeria’s glory’.
Speaking on Sunrise Daily on Wednesday, Mr Nnaji said that neither ASUU nor the government could be praised in the circumstance which led to the prolonged strike.
“We don’t have strategic thinkers in government and that’s why we even had this problem degenerate this way, he said, and added that “we have more of doers than thinkers.”
He commended the fight for the improvement of educational sector but described strike as the last resort used by those who are “less developed in terms of cerebral content”.
According to Mr Nnaji, social scientists as well as those in the faculty of law should be able to advice on some of the social factors that can be put in place to get the government to listen.
He said that ASUU had been infiltrated by persons who are not of intellectual or moral standard. “They are neither good in the classroom nor good in their conduct.”
Government must do everything possible to get the crisis sorted out while members of ASUU should do some soul searching and house cleaning.
On the issue of insecurity in the northern part of Nigeria, Mr Nnaji pointed out that there had not been any study on Boko Haram, or the social factors that may have given rise to the insurgency, by the academic community
A public affairs analyst, Chima Nnaji, has called on the judiciary to exercise caution in treating the case involving two factions of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), which is currently before it.
Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, he examined the crisis rocking the ruling party which has also been referred to the court of law for judgment.
However, since the PDP crisis “has been brought to the judicial angle,” “the judiciary must be very careful because the politicians are like soldiers of fortune. They have a way of plundering anything on their way,” he said.
On Saturday, the Tukur led PDP faction allegedly masterminded an operation by the Nigeria Police to seal off the secretariat of the Baraje led faction, in the Maitama area of Abuja.
Mr Nnaji said that the internal conflict in the party has gone out of hand as a result of different interests. He added that “in this situation, which is political, reason has completely taken a flight, because interests are involved”.
A public affairs analyst, Chima Nnaji, has said that the Minister of Education, Ruqayat Rufai is not helping the on-going industrial strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and accused of treating the situation in an off-handed manner.
“The Minister of Education has not being helping matters” by “talking glibly.” This, he said, is a very cheap way of looking at a very serious problem.
He said “she ought to sit with her team to take a very incisive analysis of the issues moving forward”.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Mr Nnaji said “she ought to sit with her team to take a very incisive analysis of the issues moving forward”.
The strike action embarked upon by the union is currently in 6th week, however, students may have to wait some more before an agreement is reached between the body and the Federal Government.
Mr Nnaji said “it appears it’s still a long wait” but added that the strike may be called off “anything from next week Tuesday, if it is possible.”
He accused President Goodluck Jonathan and government officials of paying little or no attention to the problems of the education sector and focusing attention on 2015. It is very unfortunate thing because “education is the most primary thing government should provide.”
“The ministers, governors, president, all the people in government are geared towards 2015.”
First, government must accept responsibility because “an agreement is an agreement” and must be respected.
The ASUU strike is happening at a time where there is proliferation of federal universities but “if you do not prepare the child of today for tomorrow, there is no future for this country.”
He addressed the issue of unqualified lecturers and called them to examine themselves. “How many of them are good enough to teach. What is the content of their teaching?”