Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Article: Nigeria Democracy Day; The Alternative Score Card!


By Jaye Gaskia

Let us begin by setting the context. The present GEJ regime has been in power for more than three and a half years - more than 6 months as Acting President + One year spent to complete the joint Yar'Adua - Jonathan term + the two years since GEJ's election.

Secondly the GEJ regime is a PDP regime, and therefore a continuation of previous PDP governments. The implication of this is that we have had 14 years of uninterrupted PDP government at Federal Level, and in several states [just as we had 14 years of uninterrupted rule of some opposition parties in some states - Lagos state for example.

Now to the Alternative Score Card after 14 years of ravaging pillage:
·In 14 years we have MANAGED to ‘improve’ power/electricity generation’ from about 2,000MWs in 2000 to roughly around 4,000MWs in 2013; and this is after the investment of more than $25bn! Let us not forget that the target since 2006 has been 6,000MWs! [Where has the huge investment disappeared into? Private pockets!]

·In 14 years, with more than N1tn investment in roads and other durable infrastructures there is still no federal road that is not in need of urgent maintenance or rehabilitation. Add to this, neither the East-West nor the Abuja – Lokoja Highways have been completed!

·In 14 years we have the unenviable record of being about the only country in the world that has grown poverty by a factor of 50% [from 54% in 2000 to 69% (that is 112 million people living in poverty) in 2012], contrary to the MDG goal of halving poverty!

·In 14 years rather than facilitate enabling environment for job creation; the ruling political elites have instead presided over a situation where unemployment has continued to grow tremendously hovering around 28% in the general population, and around 45% among youths as of 2012!

·In 14 years we have so run down basic services and facilities that Nigerian elites now spend a combined total of more than N1tn annually on healthcare and education of their children overseas/abroad. A recent report of an assessment team on the state of tertiary education in Nigeria [June 2012] found gross decade across the board and concluded that none of our tertiary institutions qualifies to be so called given the quality of infrastructure as well as the quality of personnel, and therefore the quality of learning taking place in those institutions!

·In 14 years we now have scattered across the country, approximately 12,000 abandoned Federal projects, at a combined cost of N7.7tn and for which N2.2tn had already been paid in mobilisation fees!

·In 14 years although the economy/GDP has grown consistently at more than 6% annually [one of the highest rates in the world; global and continental average being around 3% and 5% respectively]; nevertheless there has been no commensurate impact on the lives and living conditions of the people; so much so that industrial capacity utilisation has remained consistently below 40%; the cost of doing business has increased consistently leading to shut down of more than 1,000 major enterprises and the loss of more than 1,000,000 jobs!

·In 14 years we have built up one of the highest gini-coefficient rate in the world, that is one of the widest gap between the rich and the poor: 10% of topmost/richest Nigerians own and control 41% of national wealth; while 20% of bottom/poorest Nigerians own only 4.1% of national wealth. What is more, according to the Forbes’ Africa 40; Nigeria boasts 15 of the top 40 richest Africans; with a Nigerian being the richest African, and the richest African woman!

·In the course of these 14 years, despite between $10 and $15bn investment in Turn Around Maintenances for the 4 ‘truly moribund domestic refineries’, we continue to depend entirely on imported refined products, creating room for the sleaze in the lucrative oil subsidy regime. So for example from a figure of the average of 30 million liters of PMS imported daily in 2010, with a subsidy cost of N600bn, we jumped in the course of one year to the average daily importation for refined PMS of 60 million liters, at a subsidy cost of 2.7tn in 2011! A figure which after the January Uprising of 2012 has since dropped to 40 million liters per day in 2012 and an average of 38 million liters per day in 2013 so far! Furthermore, while the NNPC claims that domestic refineries are now refining a combined 10 million liters per day of PMS, the PPPRA insists that it is not aware of this and has no record of the delivery of this domestically refined product into the nation’s supply system. If this were to be properly accounted for, we ought only to be importing and paying for just about 28 million liters per day of PMS!

·In 14 years corruption/treasury looting/pilfering of the collective coffers has grown so much that it has become truly pandemic and a major obstacle to national development and improvement of citizen welfare. By some accounts, between June 2010 and June 2012, the nation lost a whooping N5tn to corruption; that is at an annual Theft Rate of N2.5tn [almost twice the size of the annual federal capital vote], and a Monthly Theft Rate of nearly N220bn [more than the individual annual budgets of several states and several federal ministries].

·In 14 years rather than mitigate the harrowing experience of the poor, the ruling elites have instead aggravated their conditions: Poor peoples’ homes and communities have been demolished across the country [FCT, Lagos, Rivers, Nasarrawa, etc], while poor citizens have been evicted without alternatives; Similarly livelihoods of the poor have and continue to be criminalised by governments at various levels, with the poor suffering demolition of their livelihoods stands, and harassments while trying to earn a living – Okada and bus driver bans, harassment of hawkers, etc.

Finally it is important for ordinary Nigerians to understand that these Thieving elites are interested in power, and are governing only in their own selfish and gluttonous interests; and that in reality Our Destiny Is Truly In Our Own Hands!

Our duty to ourselves and to posterity is to become active citizens, get ourselves politically organised independently of the parties of these thieving lots, and Take Back Nigeria. It is our country, let us Take It Back!


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