Saturday, March 8, 2014

Agenda for Delegates to National Conference (II)

Rural development

Delegates should meticulously look at Nigeria’s rural development strategies. Nigeria’s rural development strategies have been mainly targeted at the country’s agricultural productivity. Though, majority of Nigeria’s rural dwellers are peasant farmers; rural development should go beyond agricultural productivity. It should also be directed at the development of human and natural resources; rural road, energy, education, culture, social order, and political awareness. This re-direction will make rural development in Nigeria conform with the global concept of rural development- “quantitative change or uplift in the standard of people in the rural areas, brought about through integrated approach, by both governmental and non-governmental agencies and the people themselves”. Delegates should develop a home-grown strategy in relation to the three global three rural development strategies. Though, many countries have tried the three rural development strategies; some countries have recorded some success while others, colossal failures.

Leadership Quality 

Delegate should attempt to solve the puzzles:

What could be responsible for poor governance style by our leaders?

Why does politicking always overtake policies? 

Why does an average politician see a political office as an opportunity for self enrichment?

Why public office is associated with pride, arrogance and larger than life attitude? 

How our society can learn to disapprove the arrogance, pride, self enrichment and larger than life attitude associated with public office?

How can the average Nigerian leader be helped to mend his /her character? 

Why our society does sometimes encourages national leaders to transform into to regional, ethnic or religious champion after serving at the centre?

Delegate should brainstorm the dicey issue of how to get leaders who can develop good policies for economic growth, influence international public opinion towards Nigeria and easily attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), including putting more energy into feasible economic objectives and provision of public good and infrastructure.

Local Governments Autonomy

The local government system in Nigeria is not working. The reason being that, some states government overwhelming control the third tier of government through the operation of the unpopular joint accounts, in addition to massive bribery, extortion, embezzlement, graft, nepotism and political patronage prevalent in the system.

There is a school of thought that suggests that more constitutional reforms are needed to strengthen the local government system. However, the fourth schedule of the 1999 Nigerian constitution coupled with some important judgements made by the Supreme Court on issues affecting the local government system are good enough to strengthen the system. Nevertheless delegates should discuss local government autonomy because 26% of national revenue goes to local government.

Fighting corruption
Corruption is one of the most widespread social evils in Nigeria; it is seen as a main threat in the public and private sphere. Corruption undermines fragile democratic systems by fuelling popular disillusionment with politics and politicians; it also undermines trust and confidence, which are necessary for upholding and development of sustainable economic and social order. Corruption is not only peculiar to Nigeria, it is a global phenomenon. However, anti-corruption war in Nigeria is like a gun-war being fought with bows and arrows, it is a war that can turn its fighters into victims and those being fought into heroes, it is a war that both sides manipulate to gain personal and political points, it is a ‘world' of controversies, politics, extensive debates and high public expectations.

On the street, opinion about anti-corruption war in Nigeria is mixed; most Nigerians believe that it is "impossible" to root out corruption especially in within the political class, and there is general public consensus that, Nigeria needs a dogged anti corruption war, but public trust on EFCC is regrettably fast diminishing. This entails that, what we have is not what ought to be! Delegates should fearlessly propose ways to genuinely fight corruption in Nigeria. 

The Nigeria Police

I’m of the view that the Nigerian police should be given a special attention by delegates at the conference, because, the Nigeria police has found itself in a social order completely alien to its primary role- policing. 

There is a linkage between inept political leadership; dysfunctional economy and policing. Whenever the police of a nation is plagued by poor conditions of service, deplorable work environment, lack of incentives and motivation, corruption, low level of public confidence and serious lack of expertise in some specialized fields, the best option for officers when they find themselves on a tight-rope is- hue, cry and run.

The Nigeria Police needs reform in three areas- leadership, methodology and, culture & attitude. Although the Nigeria Police had witnessed quite a number of changes in many of its segments from its inception since 1861 when it began with a thirty-member consular guard formed in the then Lagos Colony. Delegates can brainstorm reforms in the police.


Zayyad I. Muhammad,,08036070980

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Agenda for Delegates to National Conference.

Politics will definitely dominate proceedings at the National Conference. But discussions on new development models that will focus on promoting economic growth, structural changes and improving the potential of Nigeria’s human capital should be the best thing. Delegate should discuss development models that would help Nigeria to simultaneously develop her agricultural sector, small scale industries and human capital. That is, putting in place a process through which the country’s economy are transformed over define period, by the reinvigoration of the agricultural sector, propelling small scale industrialization, systemically and systematically reduce cost of governance, as well as placing the country in a position so that her citizens can take advantage of the vast opportunities the world economy offers. 

Everyone in Nigeria believes that agriculture is very important for the country’s progress as well as being a vital tool for the liberation of Nigerians from the prison of poverty. Nigeria have a total area of 923,768 km² of which 910,768 km² is arable land, and 13,000 km² water; in addition to 140 million people. Delegates should discuss on how to redefine the implementation strategies of Nigeria’s agricultural programmes and policies, in such a way that youths are made the central focus. This is because for Nigeria to remain economically viable, it is imperative that the country’s agricultural sector is developed. The new agricultural approach should not deviate from government’s agricultural goals of alleviating poverty and hunger, promoting sustainable agricultural development, improved nutrition and food security, but the programme should also imbibe an all inclusive participatory techniques- where youth, communities, local councils, states, the federal government and the private sector (financial institute and private inventors) will be active and major participants. 

Nigeria’s education sector is witnessing systems deterioration. It requires urgent, systematic and systemic attention. Though, Nigeria has for the several years formulated quite a number of education policies. The country has organized so many seminars and conferences, collected voluminous proposals and blueprints from both local and international experts, on how to salvage the education sector. Public schools been bewildered by perpetual labour disputes, government incessant revision of the education curriculum, constant amending of schools calendar, and the seeming joy in altering and introducing new policies in the education system. This is a big challenge to the delegates to discuss reforms that will cover primary, secondary and tertiary schools, at the same give emphasis to prioritization of need. 

Delegate should put in their minds that the average Nigerian is a poor man. Indeed, Nigeria is a country of riches and poverty- splendid wealth in few hands and extreme abject poverty at most people’s doorsteps. The problem of poverty is colossal and pervasive in the country and it has many causes. The number of people living in poverty has increased due to rising disparities in the distribution of resources in the country. However, the basic cause of poverty in Nigeria is the absence of an enabling environment that will free the people from the prison of poverty; uplift their living standard and provide ways to assist them turn their dreams into reality. The hallmark of poverty in Nigeria is the high level of unemployment. If Nigeria can tackle the high rate of unemployment in the country; then one of the most important ways to smoothen the path for prosperity in the land has been found.

Oil and Gas
Nigeria’s oil sectors (the refineries and pipelines) needs special attention by delegates –Nigeria has a good infrastructure for the transportation of refined petroleum products- a 5,120km pipelines network connecting 21 oil depots and 19 pump stations. Regrettably, the pipelines are not in maximum economic utilization. This is due to mainly three factors- incessant illegal tapping by oil thieves, sabotage and the method of managing the pipelines. Delegate should discuss ways to remodel the management system of the Nigeria’s refined petroleum pipelines. Which can be achieved in two ways- lease or concession the pipelines to private companies or create independent firms out of the PPMC solely for pipelines business. For example, Russia has what it calls "Pipeline Troops", who are trained to build and maintain pipelines.

Delegate should also know the four state-owned refineries in Nigeria are on their knees. Though refineries in Nigeria should be consistently out-performing the average utilization rates of refineries across the globe, their performance is characterized by very low utilization and incessant downtime. This owes to the fact that they are caught within the ‘crossfire’ of corruption, persistent attacks on pipelines by oil thieves as well as the slow progress in the full-liberalization of the refining sector of the petroleum industry. Delegates should brainstorm on: granting full autonomy to the refineries, but they still remain government-owned; lease the refineries to oil investors or outright privatization of the refineries with highly attractive incentives.

Thinking Beyond Oil
Delegates to the national conference should know that, Nigeria’s sole dependence on oil has promoted poverty of new ideas on governance and general life. So, they should design or invent new ways for Nigeria to get more revenue from other sources. The new ways has to be original and one which will well suit the peculiarity of the Nigerian state and its people. Though, it may contain some little elements of successful initiatives of other nations, including, synchronizing it with believable models that will create an enabling environment and uplift citizens’ living standard as well as provide ways to assist them turn their dreams into reality.

Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Jimeta, Adamawa State.08036070980,

Sunday, March 2, 2014

GEJ Supporters in Northern Nigeria

GEJ supporters in northern Nigeria are campaigning for him based on the principle that: 

If Jonathan is supported for a second term, it would be an opportunity for the country to restart the disrupted power rotation between the north and south. And, it would be in north’s favour- as power should, with no trouble, shift to the north after Jonathan’s second term.

Jonathan’s second term would be an opportunity for the north to have enough time to present to the country its best candidates.

After Jonathan’s second term, no other part of the country can accuse the north of being part of the obstacles that denied it the opportunity to taste power to its fullest.

Jonathan’s second term would be an important milestone in that long process of completing the ‘equation of power’. This is because every part of Nigeria would also see, and experience the pain and ‘joy’ of having one of ‘their own’ in power'

Jonathan’s second term ambition would also be an opportunity for the north to present him its development demands, which should include speedy and feasible policies that will break the poverty cycle in the north through economically empowering the poor, massive development initiatives targeted at assets like the Lake Chad, Sokoto Basin and Benue Valley Oil Exploration projects, and the Mambilla plateau hydro-electricity project.

Jonathan’s supporters outside the north always use a strong point against northern politicians. They claim the northern politicians have distracted Jonathan’s first term with politics. So, giving Jonathan support for a second term would be an opportunity to give him some breathing space to see his performance, and if he fails, it can be perfectly used against him and his supporters.

There is a historical alliance between the north and the south-south; a genuine support to Jonathan by the northern political elites would rekindle that historic political alliance and completely shut up those who rely on the present misunderstanding for selfish gains.

GEJ supporters always have this emotional point: Jonathan came to power just by destiny. The north should use today in the spirit of tomorrow, because nobody can tell what tomorrow would bring– a northerner may one day find himself in Jonathan’s situation.

This is my understanding of GEJ's Supporters points- Zayyad I. Muhammad

Saturday, March 1, 2014

12 People Who Control Nigeria’s Economy

About 12 Nigerians currently control one-eighth (1/8) of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), a survey conducted by LEADERSHIP Weekend has revealed. In the same way, the 10 most capitalised companies listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) make up over one-fifth of the country’s economy with many of the major shareholders drawn from the ranks of the 10 richest Nigerians.

An analysis of the Forbes 50 Richest Africans’ List indicates that the 12 Nigerians listed therein currently have an estimated total net-worth of $33.68 billion (N5.38 trillion) which represents 12.8 per cent or about one-eighth of Nigeria’s GDP figure put at $262.6 billion (N42 trillion) as at December 2012.

The 10 most capitalised companies, on the other hand, together are valued N9.35trn ($58bn). Curiously, LEADERSHIP Weekend investigation shows that none of the top 10 capitalised companies is an oil company, since oil exploration and drilling companies are not quoted on the NSE. It is estimated that more than half of the country’s 12 wealthiest individuals made their money and are still making money from the oil industry.

However, with the envisaged rebasing of Nigeria’s GDP, it is expected that the country’s GDP figure will increase, thus resulting in a drop in the percentage of the nation’s economy controlled by these individuals and companies.

According to the Forbes African 50 Richest list released in November 2013, Aliko Dangote is Africa’s richest man with a net worth of $20.8 billion. This shows that Dangote alone controls about 8 per cent of the nation’s GDP while the remaining 11 people control only 4.8 per cent of the GDP.

But Dangote could see his share of the country’s wealth reduced to about 5 per cent after the base year for measuring the size of the economy is brought forward from the 1990s to better reflect companies that have sprung up in the last two decades. Economists expect the National Bureau of Statistics to put the GDP at around $400bn when NBS finally comes out with a figure.

One of Dangote’s companies, Dangote Cement, also comes tops as the most capitalised company with a market value of N3.92 trillion ($24.5bn), giving it close to 10 per cent of the GDP or about 6.25 per cent after rebasing.

As a subsidiary of the Dangote Group, the cement company got listed on the NSE in October 2010. The company announced a gross revenue of N103.03 billion with a profit of N54 billion as at September 30, 2013.

Telecom, banking and oil investor Mike Adenuga ranks fifth on the Forbes Africa Rich List and second in Nigeria with a net worth of $4.6 billion. This gives him 1 per cent

None of his companies, however, is on the top 10 of the most capitalised on the stock exchange with Globacom, his telecommunication company, the only major one that is completely privately owned and not listed on the exchange. The 61-year-old who hails from Ijebu, Ogun State, built his fortune in oil production and telecoms.

His mobile telecom outfit, Globacom, has over 25 million subscribers in Nigeria and the Republic of Benin. He also owns Conoil Producing, a large indigenous oil exploration company.

Having beaten Oprah Winfrey to be the richest black woman, Folorunsho Alakija, became Nigeria’s first female billionaire and the 13th richest African, thanks to a lucrative oil-producing asset with a total net worth of $2.5 billion. This oil giant contributes roughly 0.95 per cent to the GDP which could come to roughly 0.625 per cent when the NBS announces its new GDP figures.

After working as a secretary in a Nigerian merchant bank in the 1970s, Alakija quit her job to study fashion designing in England. She subsequently founded Supreme Stitches, a Nigerian fashion label that caters to upscale clientele, including Maryam Babangida, the late wife to Nigeria’s former military president, Ibrahim Babangida. The president awarded her company, Famfa Oil, an oil prospecting licence, OML 127, one of Nigeria’s most prolific oil blocks.

Abdulsamad Rabiu joins the ranks of Africa’s richest and the world’s billionaires for the first time based on success at his BUA Group, whose biggest businesses are sugar refining and cement. BUA Group’s annual revenues are estimated at $2 billion. The group also does business in real estate, steel, port concessions, manufacturing, oil and gas and shipping.

After calculating Rabiu’s worth, Forbes magazine said his “stake in his commodities and cement empire, plus his real estate holdings in South Africa and London, are worth $1.2 billion, up from $670 million a year ago, primarily due to better information on Rabiu’s holdings and the revenue of his companies.” While not all his investments are traced to Nigeria, with $1.2bn to his name, Rabiu gets to have a say in how the country’s economy is managed, at least a 0.45 per cent and maybe 0.3 per cent after rebasing.

Delta State-born Nigerian banker Jim Ovia ranks the 28th richest African and fifth richest Nigerian. He founded the Zenith Bank Group, one of Nigeria’s largest financial services groups, with a market capitalisation of more than $4.5 billion (N728.4bn).

With a net worth of $900 million, Ovia is Zenith bank’s largest individual shareholder, with a 9 per cent stake. This gives Ovia a 0.34 per cent share of the current GDP and about 0.225 per cent of the expected figure. The bank on the other hand has a 1.72 per cent share of $262bn official GDP figure and could come down to 1.125 per cent after rebasing.

Ovia owns dozens of prime properties in pricey Nigerian neighbourhoods like Victoria Island and Ikoyi. Ovia also runs Visafone, a mobile telecoms outfit, and is partnering with Marriott to build a new five-star hotel in Lagos.

Retired Nigerian general and former defence minister Theophilus Danjuma ranks the sixth richest in Nigeria and 29th in Africa with a net worth of $700 million. His share of GDP stands at 0.267 per cent and could later become 0.175 per cent. He chairs South Atlantic Petroleum (Sapetro), a Nigeria-based upstream oil and gas exploration and production company which was awarded an oil block (OML 130) by the Sani Abacha regime in the 1990s, and in 2006 Danjuma sold a 45 per cent stake to Chinese oil company CNOOC for $1.75 billion, retaining a 5 per cent stake. In 2011, Danjuma said he had $500 million left from selling the block to CNOOC. He donated it to the TY Danjuma Foundation, a philanthropic organisation that is catering to educational, health and microcredits causes for the downtrodden. Danjuma also owns real estate in Lagos, including SAPETRO Towers.

Oba Otuddeko, industrialist and former president of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, who chairs Nigeria’s Honeywell Group, with interests in oil and gas, flour milling, real estate and marine transportation, is next after Danjuma on the Nigerian list but ranks 33rd richest in Africa with a net worth of $575 million. Honeywell Flour is publicly traded. He also owns a minority stake in mobile phone giant Bharti Airtel’s Nigerian operations, and a stake in Radisson Blu, a sprawling oceanfront hotel in Lagos, Nigeria.

Hakeem Belo-Osagie and Mohammed Indimi both share the 34th position with a Tanzanian with a net worth of $550 million.

Belo-Osagie is the chairman and a significant shareholder of the Nigerian operations of United Arab Emirates-based telecom provider Etisalat, Nigeria’s fastest growing mobile telecom network, with a subscriber base of 17 million, up from six million three years ago. Etisalat’s growth is the catalyst for Belo-Osagie’s increased fortune, up by $150 million from a year ago. He now controls 0.21 per cent of the economy.

Mohammed Indimi, chairman of Oriental Energy Resources, a private Nigerian oil exploration and production company, has a net worth of $550 million. His contribution to GDP could be as much 0.13 per cent after NBS announces its estimates of the country’s GDP. Oriental, which Indimi founded in 1990, has three projects in the offshore Nigerian oil and gas industry, including the Ebok Field, which produces 35,000 barrels a day. It shares ownership of the projects with U.K.-listed oil exploration company Afren Plc. The Ebok Field was awarded to Oriental Energy Resources in 2007 by a joint venture between Exxon-Mobil and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

The 10th richest Nigerian who ranks 38 on the African list with a net worth of $500 million is Sani Bello, who is the founder of Amni International Petroleum Development Company, an oil exploration company with a 50 per cent interest in the Okoro Setu oil field, located in shallow waters offshore Nigeria. With half a billion dollars to his name, he contributes 0.19 per cent of GDP which could later be revised to 0.125 per cent.

Amni shares ownership of the Okoro Setu field with London-listed exploration firm Afren; production averages 18,200 barrels a day. Bello is also a minority stakeholder in mobile telecom firm MTN Nigeria. He is a former Nigerian military governor from Kano State and a one-time ambassador to Zimbabwe. His Sani Bello Foundation provides small loans and grants to young Nigerian entrepreneurs.

The other two are Femi Otedola and Tunde Folawiyo with net worth of $410 million and $400 million respectively.

Top 10 most capitalised quoted companies as at January 10, 2014, on the Nigerian Stock Exchange are:

Dangote Cement N3.92 trillion
Nigeria Breweries N1.23. trillion
Nestle N919.49 billion
Guaranty Trust Bank N832.90 billion
Zenith Bank N728.4 billion
FBN Holding N504.17 billion
Guinness Nigeria N356.9 billion
Lafarge Wapco N345.18 billion
United Bank for Africa N296.83 billion
Access Bank N219.73 billion