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.
A Public Affairs Analyst, Patrick Okigbo, has stressed the need for the new Ministers to perform well in their various ministries, saying that the success of the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, will determine Nigeria’s future.
He urged Nigerians to pray for the success of Mr Fashola, pointing out that Nigeria required huge investment in infrastructural development.
Mr Okigbo cited a document put together by the last administration that had a 30-year plan for infrastructural development and said that the document had put Nigeria’s infrastructural needs within the period at $2.9 trillion.
He believes Nigeria has to open up some sectors for investors to come in and fund infrastructure.
“Over the next five years, we need to spend about $125 billion and on average we spend about nine to ten billion dollars every year. We need to up that to an average of about $25 billion every year,” he said.
Mr Okigbo further stressed the need for the government to remove subsidy on petroleum products, but he expressed fears that Nigerians had no trust in their leaders.
He stated that the subsidy regime had been tainted with corruption which should be addressed to gain Nigerians’ trust.
“What we suffer in Nigeria is deficit of trust. We do not trust the government that it will use the money for what it says it will use it for.
“That is why this current administration is in the best position to push forward that issue.
“Nigerians do not believe that some of the money gotten from the subsidy channeled to the SURE-P was used.
“What Nigerians are looking for is a purposeful leadership. If the President continues with the integrity that he has and sets the precedence and the rule, everybody will follow.
“If there is a consequence for stepping out of line, then the ministers will step into line. I believe that they have enough competence to do what they have to do,” the analyst added.
A Public Affairs Analyst, Ikeogu Oke, wants Nigerians to abandon their prejudices and forge a new country.
He believes the screening of President Muhammadu Buhari’s ministerial nominees is part of the process to build a government that could improve things in the country.
Oke was on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, commenting on the ministerial screening process so far at the Senate.
He said, “What has happened up until now is that some people have tendencies to adopt purely antagonistic posture towards the entire process, which I think is not the best.”
Some Nigerians have expressed disappointment that portfolios were not attached to the nominees to enable the Senate screen them based on the specific tasks they would be handling.
Mr Oke agreed with the view but noted that this would not necessarily enhance the process, considering the fact that the President has the liberty to shuffle his cabinet.
“What really matters is that people at that level of public service should have some flexibility to be able to manage human and material resources with dexterity,” he said.
He added that what should be of importance to Nigerians is how these nominees would perform when they assume office.
There have been questions about the nomination of few candidates and they have bordered on eligibility by state of origin, marriage and the geopolitical zone they belong.
Mr Oke wondered why such should be raised when the procedure for appointing ministers are clearly stated in the constitution and the rules have not been violated by the President.
“The issue of geopolitical zones, whilst we consider them important and we don’t completely neglect those sensitivities, we should also be sure that we allow the rules as articulated in our laws to be followed,” he said.
He admitted that he also has few reservations about some of the names on the list but there are no basis for accusations when allegations have not been proven against anyone.
He reiterated an earlier stance that reservations are better kept for the sake of enabling the government focus on the tasks ahead of them.
A Public Affairs Analyst, Mahmud Othman, says he is satisfied with the outcome of the just concluded National Conference but criticized the recommendation of some delegates suggesting the creation of additional states.
He advised President Goodluck Jonathan to implement some of the recommendations given it would help the country move forward.
Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr. Othman noted that the country is in a critical state in terms of security, noting that security recommendations were also made during the conference.
He urged the federal government to look into these recommendations and implement them to reduce the state of terrorist attacks in the country.
He further blamed those in authority for the restlessness in the country, insisting that some people in position believe that they are above the law. Citing an example, Mr. Othman stated that a while ago some soldiers were ambushed and killed in Nasarawa “they were not taken to court and one of the security operatives said the murders are forgiven, what happens to their wives and family”?
Mr. Othman questioned the law and order in the country and advised that the government should to take up the challenge to ensure no culprit goes free.
Comparing the current situation in Iraq and Nigeria, Mr. Othman stated that it is a different case in Iraq and Nigeria has not gotten to that level.
The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Kayode Idowu, has further explained the rationale behind the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to set up new polling units across the country, ahead of the 2015 general elections.
He was on Channels Television’s Saturday breakfast programme, Sunrise.
He expressed confidence that going by the elections in Ekiti and Osun states, INEC has been able to develop a logistic system that works. Therefore, the number of polling units would not matter but the system that has been put in place.
He explained that the commission had realised the need to redistribute voters based on the population statistics available to it.
Legal Practitioner, Barrister Ken Odidika, who was also part of the conversation, however, was of the view that such a decision by the commission was unnecessary. He stated that “more energy, resources and creativity” should have been put into voters’ awareness and acquisition of Permanent Voter’s Cards instead of creating new polling units.
He explained that five months to the election, it would be more productive to ensure that registered voters are not disenfranchised, rather than seeking to create more polling units, as planned by INEC.
The third guest on the segment, a Public Affairs Analyst, Sola Ojewusi, agreed with Odidika on the issue of maintaining the structure and doing more in sensitization.
Although, he noted that INEC deserves to be commended, having performed well, he said that the decision by INEC was beginning to create a feeling of distrust among the electorates.
“Some people are already thinking maybe there’s an agenda,” he said.
Idowu refereed to these comments as products of misunderstanding.
He said that INEC discovered that some polling units had very large population of voters while some have extremely low numbers and they set out to create a balance. He noted that it was unfortunate that people easily read conspiracy theories to issues like INEC’s.
He explained that INEC’s decision has been in line with the recommendations of the law. He also provided the procedures that should be followed for relocating registered voters, which only required writing to the Resident Electoral Commissioner of the new state to provide the details of the old and new residence.
Odidika and Ojewusi both highlighted the issues like educating many Nigerian voters who have relocated from where they had registered as one of those INEC should be focusing on, rather than on the creation of new polling units.
They insisted that the INEC decision has created imbalance between the different regions of Nigeria and also creates avenues for politicians to return votes that do not exist.
They urged the electoral commission not to create unnecessary controversy ahead of the all important 2015 general election, as this might not be good for the country.
“This is a very fundamental policy decision, I think INEC should give this thing enough time for it to sink into people,” Ojewusi said, adding that there are alternatives to explore.
Idowu, however, insisted that INEC meant well and was making its decision in line with the law and in the interest of the country. He stated that the commission was not creating new voters, rather it was creating more spaces for already registered voters.
He gave assurances that INEC was sure that its plan would work.
“Don’t bother your head, you’re not going to be thrown to Agege, its not going to happen. You’re still going to be in the same neighbourhood. Nothing changes as far as we are concerned this is purely an administrative convenience for INEC.”
The INEC man also provided answers to series of questions from Channels Television viewers who were contributing via social media. They raised issues about voter’s registration, Permanent Voter’s Card distribution, voters’ relocation and many more.
A Public Affairs Analyst, Dickson Iroegbu, says Nigerians should stop playing the ostrich but rather gang up against those who have ganged up against them.
Iroegbu gave the suggestion during a conversation on the award winning breakfast programme on Channels Television, Sunrise Daily.
He urged Nigerians to wake up and realize that there was a common enemy which everybody has to get involved in fighting.
He warned that if Nigerians do not pay attention to the most important things from the family level, if the country should find itself in a full-fledged war; everyone would be forced to get involved.
“My elder brother died a military man. He died on the 1st of October 2013; he was in Yola. So we have been affected directly too”, he said.
Speaking further, he said that the situation in the country was one which should help define the country’s nationhood, as he expects that the need to win the war would help the citizens become conscious of how to move the nation forward.
“I am very convinced that this issue of insecurity will make us activate that spirit of ‘Nigerianess’ that we need”, he said.
Iroegbu, who is also a filmmaker, accused the media of having helped the insurgents by celebrating their activities. He explained that the act of highlighting the acts perpetrated by the insurgents amounted to celebrating evil.
As someone who had a military man in his family, Iroegbu was asked what the experience had been within the family as regards welfare, but he noted that rising up to fight for one’s country should not be monetised.
“First of all, it was a contribution that we have made. When my elder brother decided to join the force, his was ‘I couldn’t sit back and observe at the corner’ and he paid dearly for it.
“He wasn’t in there to go and make money for us. For us he died a hero”, maintaining that “we don’t have to be paid or wait for moments when we are being coerced to be conscious of doing something for Nigeria”.
He, however, revealed that from his interaction with his late brother, he deduced that the Nigerian military had been compromised with politics, religious and tribal sentiments allowed to creep into the military environment.
“A lot of overhauling needs to be done in that area”, he advised.
He also noted that the issues of insecurity and the Chibok abduction have thrown up a lot and Nigerians were more awake to the need to hold politicians accountable.
“Thank God we are going to have elections soon, Nigerians are watching, we’re not fools anymore.”
On the role of the movie industry in the nation’s security, Iroegbu stated that Nollywood has been fully involved in the fight against insurgency. He revealed that the issue of child soldiers was one that he had personally worked on and called on all Nigerians to embrace the motion picture medium better for propagating ideas.
He added that it was not only a good medium to disseminate good ideas, but it was also good business.
A Public Affairs Analyst, Sola Ojewusi, believes that the most important solution to the state of insecurity in Nigeria is for Nigerians to unite.
Mr Ojewusi was speaking on the Thursday edition of Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, where conversations centered on ‘Finding the Chibok Girls’.
While acknowledging that it was expected that the pains of attacks by insurgents would make citizens point accusing fingers in different directions, especially at the Presidency for the time it has taken to solve the problem, he advised that this was not the best approach.
“Our approach is to look at how everybody can bring hands together to solve the problem of security.
“It is now clear that it is not just Jonathan’s problem, it’s a national problem. It is not PDP, it is not APC, it is everybody’s problem. That is the essence, the essence of unity”, he said.
Making reference to the Wednesday twin bomb attack in Kaduna, he noted that “everything boils down to one particular enemy and that enemy is the enemy of the nation of Nigeria” adding that Nigerians need to go beyond “abusing the owner of the house, leaving the thief”.
Although Mr Ojewusi admitted that the responsibility for Nigeria’s security was on the President and citizens were justified demanding same of him, he explained that “security is not a one man thing”.
“Even if you have a guard in the house, there is a street before the thief gets to the house, perhaps there’s a gate to that street, there are a lot of people surrounding. Sometimes when armed robbers and thieves come to a community, they tend to do surveillance”, he explained.
Speaking about the continued abduction of schoolgirls from the Chibok community in Borno State, Mr Ojewusi wondered what had been done from the wards where the locals are from, considering the view that some of the terrorists also have their backgrounds in the communities.
He stated that rather than seek solution “from the top”, there was need to ask; “what are the people from the environment doing”.
Many observers have criticized President Jonathan for taking too long before meeting with the parents of the missing Chibok girls but Ojewusi also defended the President. He explained that there must have been some level of intelligence gathering which the Presidency would have access to and which would negate the idea of visiting Chibok.
He warned that while Nigerians express emotions, they should not lose sight of the importance of security as regards bringing the girls back alive. He maintained that the Government and security agencies could not afford to make their moves public.
He added that the unconventional nature of the war on terror required patience from all citizens.
Mr Ojewusi also threw his weight behind the President’s request for the approval of a loan to upgrade security in the country. According to him, this was a necessary move as there was need for not just the purchase of military equipment but also major upgrades in intelligence and border security.
He, however, warned that the proper management of the funds remained an important factor the President must ensure.
A Public Affairs Analyst, Jerry Chukwueke on Tuesday blamed porous borders as a major contributor to the security challenges facing Nigeria.
He also criticized the Nigerian Immigration Service for lack of management process on the borders, “look at the geographical layer of the land, it will require some humongous investment.
“The neigbouring countries are having the same problem with their borders, focusing on borders even in America has become a huge problem” he noted.
Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr. Chukwueke stated that most politicians are concerned about sharing of resources and revenue rather than looking into the insecurity challenges affecting the country.
“What people focus on in Nigeria is how do we share resources from the national cake forgetting that you can’t share forever, the baking has to be done”.
He noted that the unemployment rate in Kebbi state has reduced because the government of the state empowered its people to grow rice thereby equipping the agriculture sector in the state.
“Kebbi state is a huge supplier of rice, things like Boko Haram, kidnapping have reduced in the state, and unemployment is as low as 10% in the state”. He added.
He urged that the federal government should go back to the drawing board and work on the little issues surrounding the country such as lack of adequate power, unemployment, infrastructural development amongst others.
Mr. Chukwueke further stressed the need for states to develop and equip there states in terms of agriculture, hospitality and securing of lives and properties of the citizens.
“Nigerians must focus more on the quality of people that get out there to provide leadership for the people, that is what democracy is all about ” he noted.
A Public Affairs Analyst, Jerry Chukwueke, on Friday commended the efforts of President Goodluck Jonathan in bringing an end to the Boko Haram insurgency and making Nigeria a better place, despite the politically motivated challenges and pressure he has been subjected to.
Speaking about the security situation and the missing Chibok girls on Sunrise Daily, Chukwueke said “no parent can afford to go through what the parents of these young girls in Chibok are going through… and for a fact including our President”.
He noted that President Jonathan had not attended the second inauguration of Jacob Zuma as South Africa’s President because he is “focused on the business of how to bring our girls home.”
Addressing the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, the analyst warned that it’s either “Shekau and his political thugs and criminals” returned the abducted schoolgirls or “this government with the support of the international community will get them.”
He stressed that “we in Nigeria are not going to be blackmailed by a group of political thugs. We are not going to be taken back a 100 years. We are not going to deny our young children (girls) education. Nigeria is not going to be Islamised. We are not going to have Islam across Nigeria. We have strength in diversity.
He also maintained that Boko Haram was exploiting the nation’s diversity; Hence “Nigerians all over the world must stand up to this great challenge, at this time.”
He further stated that President Jonathan was being put under “very severe pressure” but urged Nigerians to consider the facts only.
According to him, President Jonathan’s administration had faced several challenges in the past 3 and a half years, including poverty, agriculture, economy, employment, housing and corruption but “all through this 3 and a half years, it’s been a focus on how to make Nigeria better.”
Chukwueke further corroborated his claim that the group was politically motivated, saying that the intensity of the attacks “falls closely to the political timetable.”
“We know now that there is no evidence that this group is associated with al-Qaeda or any major international terrorist organisation.”
He noted the disconnect between players in the political circle, citing an example of the absence of Governor Kashim Shettima as at the time President Jonathan was reported to visit Chibok.
However, the President is “fighting like mad” to make the country better as well as secure the lives and properties of the citizens.
An Economist and Public Affairs Analyst, Dr Katch Ononuju, believes that Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan is handling the security and economic concerns of the country well.
This is in view of the delay in the passage of the 2014 budget.
Many Nigerians have asked why five months into the year, the 2014 budget had not been passed and the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, earlier in the week, explained that the delay had been caused by distortion in the original bill sent to the National Assembly.
The lawmakers raised the original figure of 4.642 Trillion Naira presented by the President to 4.695 Trillion, a difference that amounts to about 53billion Naira.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Dr Ononuju believes that the decision of the National Assembly members was motivated by the need to insert clauses that would make the electioneering year easy for them both financially and policy wise.
Dr Ononuju believes that the situation whereby the President has delayed giving assent to the budget due to the distortions is a good thing for the country as it showed that there was more confidence to challenge ideas that do not seem right in the management of country’s economy.
He explained that this was not just a problem of the lawmakers but a situation that shows that the country was experiencing a transition from the dictatorship in its leadership to a real democracy.
He said that it was important to commend the Federal Government for “standing up for the Nigerian people” as he expects the Minister of Finance to look at the figures all over again to see what has been altered for the purpose of knowing its justification.
Responding to questions about the source of the monies being spent by the Government since the beginning of the year, and the suspicion that it might be engaging in illegality, he explained that the Government, in the absence of the budget of a year in view, is constitutionally allowed to spend half of the value of its budget in the previous year.
The implications of the delay in the passage of the budget, however, according to Dr Ononuju are that “it is not good for businesses in the country” as it cripples the smooth planning in commerce and industry, but he believes it would pay off in the end as it was the right thing to do.
Dr Ononuju also threw his weight behind President Jonathan’s consultation with the French Government on the security challenges in the country.
He explained that France being the former colonial master of the neighbouring African countries most involved in the challenges of insecurity in Nigeria makes it a key player in getting the cooperation of those countries.
He said that it was important for the President to identify the impromptu meeting in France as being of higher priority than the widely expected visit to Chibok in Borno State, where schoolgirls were abducted.
Although he declined comment on the President’s response to a journalist who asked him about the matter, he commended the President for his handling of the issue of terrorism in the country.
A Public Affairs Analyst, Mahmood Othman, believes that the National Security Council meeting held in Abuja on Thursday was long overdue, considering the security situation in Nigeria.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise daily on Friday, he said that he did not expect that the leadership of the country would have waited to be put under such pressure before taking drastic steps to address the situation.
He, however, noted that one of the issues he had with the resolution was what he saw as a stifling of Freedom of Expression, as he believed that Governor Nyako of Adamawa State’s condemnation was overdone.
He shared the view that as a former Chief of Naval Staff, and Governor who is on the ground, Nyako must have cogent justification for what he was saying about the terrorist activities in the Northeast and he expected that those information would be taken seriously rather than being treated as being political.
On the use of the word “Genocide” which has been seen as a strong word that could cause uproar, he said that this was a product of frustration as there had been no proper communication. More so, English was not Nigeria’s primary language and just his choice of word should not be used as an excuse to discard his views, some of which may be valid and useful in finding solution.
He said that it was normal for the State Governor to be frustrated because no one would expect that after the attack on a secondary school in Buni Yadi in Yobe State, another school in the region would have its students abducted by terrorists.
Speaking about the abduction of the schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno State, Othman said that allowing the school to be opened at the time was naïve, as he expected that all schools in the state would have been closed.
While explanations have been provided for the presence of the girls in school, he wondered why adequate security had not been provided for the girls, he insisted that the spate of attacks in the past and in recent times were enough to prepare the state for such possibilities.
He also berated the security agencies in the state for allowing the incident of the abduction to happen. He wondered how so many people would sneak into a state under Emergency Rule, dressed like military men and the real military personnel were unable to identify the impending danger.
He said that there were no excuses for Nigeria not to be able to protect its territory, claiming that there were no specific borders along the boundaries of Nigeria and neighbouring countries in the Northeast. The forests, according to him were accessible and should be secured.
Mr. Othman expects that the quality of communication between security agencies should be upgraded to standard as has been recommended by many concerned Nigerians, but so should the communication between governments of states, the local governments, and between the Federal Government and the states.
He added that state governments should be listened to and taken seriously in the quest to end insurgency as they were major stakeholders in the matter having invested a lot of resources in empowering the Police, and having also been at the receiving end of the terrorist attacks.
Mr. Othman, who is also a delegate at the National Conference, offered his view on the makeup and happenings at the conference. He said that the conference had been a mix of different shades of people and ideas; while some were good, some were bizarre.
Pointing out the attitude of delegates to time keeping, and double standards in giving audience to delegates, among the issues he was most unhappy with, he said that the delegates had, however, started calming down as the committees were being set up.
He also said that the few young people present at the conference were learning the ropes, explaining that he could identify with the youthful exuberance being displayed by the youths who had been complaining of not being carried along. He added that what remained most important was the outcome of the entire exercise, and how to make it beneficial to the continued unity of Nigeria.
A Public Affairs Analyst, Dr. Adetokunbo Adedeji, believes that Nigeria needs to go back to examine how Boko Haram started for it to end the insurgency ravaging the country.
“When we get to the point of properly examining the issues behind their acts then we can solve the problems”, he said.
Speaking on Channels Television, he said that Boko Haram have behind them people who are being cynical about their fight against western education.
While warning that there were a lot to worry about in the Southern part of Nigeria despite having not felt the attacks yet, he noted that “It is war and we need to find out why they are waging war against the society.
He referred to the abduction of girls in a government secondary school in Borno State as a failure of the security network in Nigeria, adding that all major security organisations in the rest of the world have proper intelligence gathering.
The failure of intelligence gathering that would enhance a prediction of what could happen, he said, has led to the attacks on the soft targets.
He also emphasized the act of monitoring the entry of foreigners into the country which was lacking in the country as another major failure in comparison to countries like Egypt where this is taken seriously.
While admitting that the security agencies in Nigeria had done well enough to be commended, he insisted that they could do more.
The Safety Expert also berated Nigerians for being passive in their attitude to security, stating that it was important for Nigerians to be more conscious of their environment.
Going down memory lane, Dr. Adedeji recalled that during the Nigerian Civil War, there was a general mental alertness in the southwest that there was a war. He expects that this would be the kind of alertness that exists among all Nigerians irrespective of the region they live in.
“Don’t sit on the fence, join the Civil Defence” was the slogan that became popular in the media during the war and it still lingered in his mind.
He insisted that Government at all levels must get involved in getting people aware of the situation in the country and create a state of consciousness and readiness to fight the war together.
“In the beginning there was a soft sell – Christian, Muslim, now it is clear that that’s not the issue. It hasn’t gotten any religious connotation even from the beginning. They sold us a decoy and a lot of us fell for it.
“Now it’s becoming clearer that they have some deeper meaning to what they are trying to do”, he said, with the submission that they were “protesting against their leadership.”
According to him: “The reason for that is that up until this moment, the societies that you have up North, there are people who have lived with a sense of deprivation which has not gone away, to the extent that people over there are limited. The opportunity for people to self-actualize is completely hard and unreachable for a number of people.”
“There are unspoken questions that Boko Haram is asking – ‘why have you neglected us for this long? You told us don’t get western education, your children got western education, those children are far removed from us now, and they are not even doing what you used to do’.
“What the fathers of all the young northern leaders used to do was provide food – lunch, breakfast, dinner – for all these people in their neighbourhood, but their children are far removed from the practices that their fathers used to give in the society.”
On the view that Boko Haram was political, Dr. Adedeji agreed that this was a valid view but Nigerians must be careful not to limit it to party politics, as there was politics of human beings, politics of population, politics of poverty, and politics could be played with people’s minds based on the power an individual has on them, with poverty having become a powerful tool for this over the years.
He summed up his perceived mindset of the Boko Haram sect in one statement: “We are completely fed up of this kind of leadership that we have gotten for years and years. You deceived us that western education is not good but you all got western education and you’re ruling us because of that.”
He said, “That’s the cynicism and people need to catch up with that to be able to appreciate how deep-rooted this thing is.”
He insisted that the easy recruits for Boko Haram has been those class of Nigerians who have been impoverished over the years, who are tired of the situation and are willing to fight by any means, the deprivations they have experienced.
Dr. Adedeji posited that until the leaders admit that indeed truly some things have happened in the past that have kept some people deprived, it would be hard to deal with the situation.