A legal practitioner and spokesman of the Lagos chapter of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, Taofeek Gani in his opening statement on Face Off, commended the Goodluck Jonathan administration for trying its best despite a “militarised opposition.” “The type of unfortunate opposition that is not good for the polity to develop,” he added.
While Taofeek Gani commended the administration’s overall efforts in 2013, spatial analyst, Ayobami Oyalowo, who was a second guest on the programme disagreed with Gani’s assertions, adding that 2013 was a turbulent year for the nation, no thanks to the current leadership.
A Foreign Affairs Analyst, Dapo Thomas, on Monday said that the current framework of the nation’s foreign policy exists only on paper and is not practical as the principles therein are outdated and irrelevant in contemporary times.
The International relations lecturer at the University of Lagos, while speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, decried the continued inclusion of two outdated principles, decolonisation and non-alignment, in the framework.
“It’s unfortunate that the way we look at foreign policy or the way we manage our foreign policy in Nigeria, has been very lackadaisical, in terms of our response to challenges, dilemmas of the international system,” he said.
He averred that circumstances in the past necessitated the formulation of the five principles which form the framework of Nigeria’s foreign policy.
Respect for the sovereignty of other nations
Noninterference in the affairs of other nations
Hence, these fundamentals were adhered to when issues like decolonization was crucial in Africa, particularly in the liberation of South Africa from apartheid regime. The principle of non-alignment was as included a result of the cold war. “They had some meaning,” he added.
However, Mr Thomas argued that they are now irrelevant and the other three principles are germane contemporarily.
“I don’t know what we are still doing with those two, non-alignment and decolonization. When you are talking of non-alignment, you should know that whether you want to agree that what we have now is the dominance of the United States (the question is) what has been our reaction (response) to this development, the unipolar system?” he asked.
He opined that Nigeria’s reaction has been conservative. “Conservative to the point that we still believe in ‘process as usual’ meaning we relate with the US on the basis that we had a western-oriented or westerncentric foreign policy.”
He stressed in the need to ‘react’ to the ideological, present evolutionary system which is the unipolar system, adding that the reaction is not to the United States government as that relationship is at the level of bilateral relations.
He also faulted the current foreign policy which he said “is not system driven” but “personality driven” because foreign policy makers or political leaders in Nigeria (and not the official document) dictate the pace and direction of the foreign policy.
“If your policy is system driven, it reacts naturally to whatever changes occur in the international system.”
Asked if the nation truly has a foreign policy, Mr Thomas said that “the perception to people is that we don’t have foreign policy but academically (that’s theoretically) we have but practically, we don’t have because it’s at the dictate of who is at the helm of affairs.”
On claims that the framework is afrocentric, placing Africa at the centre of its foreign policies, Mr Thomas said it made sense in the 60s, 70s and 80s but not anymore as former President Olusegun Obasanjo ‘diluted the afrocentric perspective.’
According to Thomas, Obasanjo made the policy two-pronged in nature. Politically, the afrocentric perspective stands but economically, “we are now looking at the global order.”
A Public Affairs Analyst, Timothy Ademola, on Friday cautioned stakeholders being hasty to make the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) a scape goat in the recent scandal involving the oil agency and the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Ademola said: “Because of what is happening in the Federal Republic, everybody seems to need a scapegoat and NNPC seems to be the easy option, but my concern is we must look at the facts. Nigeria has become too sophisticated to ‘scapegoat’ people.”
He added that such a tendency may lead to the wrongful persecution of innocent people.
Following the reconciliation meeting between the NNPC, CBN and the Ministry of Finance, it was discovered that a total of 10.8 billion Naira was announced as the actual sum not accounted for. The NNPC argued that there were costs to maintaining constant oil supply to Nigeria and securing the 32 day fuel supply for the entire nation which it stores on the high sea.
“When NNPC is maintaining 32 days sufficiency, there are certain costs to it. One of the clear costs is the fact that security most be provided for this volume of fuel that is being kept on the high sea.”
He however questioned the need to subsidise costs for maintaining security agents after such agencies would have been accounted for in the budget.
A Professor of Counselling and Psychology at the University of Lagos, Ngozi Osarenren, on Thursday said ASUU’s insistence on getting its demands met is not out of a callous desire to keep students away from school as their own children are enrolled in the same schools, and are victims of the strike.
“ASUU members are not barren. They have children staying at home too,” she said.
Speaking on Sunrise Daily, she said the struggle for a better education sector is not for the personal gratification of the members and association. She said “no ASUU member is sharing from the money it is demanding.
“It’s for the revitalization of the education sector and it’s very painful that people who ought to know are shamelessly playing the ostrich, pretending not to know,” she said.
The former commissioner for education in Edo state disclosed that the association had sent a letter to the Federal Government on the 22nd of November but until December 5th, there has been no reply.
“How come the government cannot communicate to ASUU since then? The government has not sent any reply to ASUU. We are only hearing this in the media.”
She stated that they have been labelled militants and described as subversive but “we are not asking for salary increase. No ASUU member is sharing from the 200 billion naira.”
She stressed the fact that no Nigerian university ranks among first 10 in Africa despite the title “Giant of Africa” which the nation lays claim to.
She accused the government of regarding ASUU members as non-serious people who are not to be reckoned with, adding that what they sent to the government was leaked to the press.
Despite the Federal Government’s disclosure that it has created an account in the CBN for ASUU, Mrs Osanrenren stated that they have only seen it in the media and that the government is yet to reply ASUU’s letter.
Speaking about those who have resumed in UNILAG, she said people who have other reasons may have resumed but insisted that there are no factions in the school.
“The press is making the faction issue in UNILAG to thrive. If you are not on strike, it does not mean that there is a faction,” she said.
Asked when ASUU will call off the strike, she said, “once we get official document to show that these things have been done, ASUU will call off the strike.”
The Edo state Governor, Adams Oshiomole has said that for Nigeria to take his place as a leader in Africa, she must get her politics right.
To this effect, he disclosed that the African People’s Congress (APC) was formed to give Nigerians a robust platform for informed choice.
Governor Oshiomhole said this while addressing the Igbo Community in Edo State during a courtesy call at the State House.
He said if a democracy is not capable of bringing about change of parties that form government at all levels “that democracy is not on course”.
Using Ghana as a case stydy, Governor Oshiomhole said that the experience in the sister nation has shown that it is possible for the government to recognize the right of the people to determine who governs them.
“Nigeria cannot continue to play leadership of the African Continent if we don’t get her politics right,” he said.
The Edo State Governor while addressing the Ibos in the State said that his administration does not regard anyone or tribe as “settlers”. He added that the government has also decided to abolish all discriminatory policies in the State.
The Chairman of the Ibo Community, Chief Luke Abbas commended the governor for employing Ibos and accused his Abia State counterpart, Governor Theodore Orji of chasing non indigenes from the state.