Monday, October 26, 2015

Buhari Should Create a Ministry for Rural Development

Buhari should create a Ministry solely dedicated to rural development. Buhari’s government needs this Ministry for three main reasons: the easiest and feasible way to fight poverty, an effortless way to unveil comprehensive and feasible post-war programmes and projects to restore communities in the war torn northeast to their pre-war peaceful and productive statuses as well as tackle the age-long cry for development in the in the Niger Delta creeks.

To a large extent, 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. The creation of a Ministry solely for rural development 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”.

President Buhari’s rural development approach should be systematic as well as systemic. Systematic in the sense of using both reductionism and holism, while systemic in the sense of remodeling the three known rural development strategies (the technocratic, reformist and the radical).

Many countries have tried the three rural development strategies; some countries have recorded some successes while others, colossal failures. The objective of the technocratic strategy is to increase agricultural output within the framework of capitalist ideology. The reformist strategy aims at redistributing income and increasing agricultural output. While the radical approach with socialist outlook is targeted at completing social change, redistributing political power and factors of production.

As earlier suggested, Nigeria’s rural development approach should be systematic -employing reductionism and holism. Using reductionism, this implies rural development programmes and projects would target one, two or a few rural communities in each of the 774 local government council of Nigeria at a given time. And using holism, selected rural communities will be equipped with basic rural infrastructure -school, water supply, electricity, health facility and sanitation, agricultural implement and extension service. This will help communities in the war-torn Northeast and deep creeks in the Niger Delta.

Good facilities and infrastructure can be built in rural areas; but maintenance of such could be a problem. Taking cognizance of the insufficient funds and near absence of government administrative machineries in these areas, the best solution is community involvement. Government facilitates education, culture, social order, and political awareness and provides the basic infrastructure. And it hands over the responsibility of maintenance and care to the community. Considering the peculiarity of most Nigerians when it comes to managing public resources and trust, extra measures will have to be put in place to avoid mismanagement and abuse. These measures could include legislative protection and guidance, governmental checks and balances, occasional inspection and evaluation. Facilities should be provided for manageable units of the community so as to avoid giving excessive control to community heads, who could take advantage by imposing some illegal levies or taxes on such facilities. 

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

Monday, October 19, 2015

Re: What’s wrong with Adamawa’s elite?

The Adamawa state governor, Senator Muhammad Umar Jibrilla and his mouth pieces are angry with and walling the Adamawa ‘elites’. Recently, during an interview with the BBC Hausa in Abuja, the governor was said to have accused some ‘elites’ of sabotaging his government. Equally, on October 17, 2015, his commissioner of information, Ahmed Sajoh wrote a piece in the Daily Trust, accusing these ‘elites’ of spending millions of naira in legal fees and media propaganda just to antagonize Governor Bindow’s government as they did to the previous governments in the state. Sajoh said: “Already, some cases are in court seeking to nullify his (Gov Bindow’s) election through the back door since his fellow contestants in the last election did not go to the tribunal to challenge his victory. The legal war is upon us, just as the impending media war, seen via the sponsorship of false news reports on social and conventional media”

Adamawa people are left with the big question of who ‘these elites’ are, to whom Governor Bindow and his supporters are referring? Most people presently assume that, former vice president Atiku Abubakar and former Governor Murtala Nyako are the A-list ‘elites’ calling the shots in Governor Bindow’s government. Could they also be backstabbing Governor Bindow? Governor Bindow said his commissioners were brought into his government by stakeholders; could these stakeholders be fighting him now? Will court cases and media propaganda stop the governor from performing his duties? Many people believe if there are elites fighting Governor Bindow, then the governor is very lucky, as it will be an opportunity for him to doggedly work for the development of the states, without the task of servicing elites’ thirst for government patronage.

However, while worrying about some fictitious ‘elites’ haunting him, Governor Bindow and his advisers should also watch his own body language. So far, projects siting and appointments have given an impression to the masses that his government is for the ‘elites’. Mr. Governor should note that Adamawa ‘political elites’ are insatiable; they are just few power-hungry politicians and the self-appointed godfathers and kingmakers, who are elites just by nomenclature and not in their contributions to the development of the state.

Governor Bindow should fight back by winning the hearts of the common man through people-oriented development policies. The Governor should wholeheartedly seek to bring real development to the people - development in agriculture, roads, education, electricity, healthcare, water supply, transportation, youth development and good governance.

If Mr. Bindow works for the good of the Adamawa masses, the masses will fight the ‘elites’, if indeed there are elites fighting the governor. With the loud outcry for true change from the masses, governors should know that they cannot hide under the pretense that some people are fighting them, just to justify their underperformance.

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

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Boko Haram War: Between Buhari, Goodluck and the Northeast

Northeast Nigeria - the epicentre of most of Boko Haram’s frightening atrocities, has stories to tell, now and in the future. The stories will be punctuated by the names Goodluck Jonathan, Muhammadu Buhari, Boko Haram and toxic leadership.

The Goodluck Jonathan chapter will be inundated with the sloppy handling of the Boko Haram war by the government at the centre, which led to the painful displacement of a large number of people from their homes, incessant bombing of targets at will by Boko Haram, destruction of schools & worship centers. In addition, most land for subsistent agriculture became inaccessible; fear to send wards to schools was constantly instilled in parents. The Goodluck Jonathan regime did not wake up to its responsibilities until at the eleventh hour- when they wanted to win the 2015 presidential elections. Fortunately for Nigeria, the people of the northeastern states torn by Boko Haram senseless war- Borno, Yobe, Adamawa Gombe and Bauchi rejected Goodluck Jonathan. 

The majority of the people in the northeast have confidence in President Buhari’s political will to win the war against Boko Haram, and they are very happy with the level of successes recorded by the military so far. The people of the northeast are experiencing the difference between the sloppy handling of the war by Goodluck’s regime and the doggedness and commitment being shown by the Buhari government.

Anyone who comes to the northeast now will see the obvious resolve of the present government to win the war- real-time pictures of success by the military; confidence on the faces of the soldiers on ground; the number of war planes and their activities in skies especially from Yola airport will certainly tell any doubting Thomases that Buhari is matching his words with action. When the 2015 presidential election was postponed, a foreign journalist told Buhari that the election was postponed because of Boko Haram. Buhari answered, “What is Boko Haram?” A commonsense definition of that statement by Buhari is that Boko Haram does not have the capacity to dictate to Nigeria. 

Buhari is getting a massive approval from the northeast, because people can now see that the military is in the offensive mode- taking the war to Boko Haram not waiting for Haram to come. Now Boko Haram are being chased out of villages and their camps in bushes, unlike before when they were capturing big towns and annexing local government areas and renaming them.

The people of the northeast are with Buhari, because they now see the Nigerian soldiers are very confident; fully kitted; well-armed and tackling Boko Haram head on. The people of the Northeast are appreciative of Buhari’s approach to the war- because now, the rights of people and their humanity are always protected by the soldiers while the war rages. People now see the military as their shield and protectors unlike before when they feared both Boko Haram and the military.

With Buhari at the helms of affairs, most people in the northeast believe the war will soon be won and most common people now have confidence to give vital information to constituted authorities that will help the government in winning the war.

Buhari is winning the Boko Haram war, the people of the northeast are happy and have strong confidence in the commander-in-chief and the feet on the ground.

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

Friday, October 2, 2015

Buhari’s Government and Kerosene Distribution

Kerosene is one of the most essential commodities in the lives of most Nigerians, especially those living in semi urban and rural areas. Among the most crucial factors that affect Nigerians’ usage of kerosene is not only its availability but also its efficient distribution at the appropriate price.

It is obvious that President Muhammad Buhari attaches great importance and gives priority to effective and inclusive nationwide distribution of petroleum products, especially kerosene, to Nigerians nationwide and at government approved prices. Thus, during his speech on the 55th year Independence anniversary, the president categorically mentioned the success recorded by his government in the improvement of distribution of kerosene. Mr. President said: “By the same token, supply of petrol and kerosene to the public has improved throughout the country”.

If the current modest improvement in the supply and distribution of kerosene is sustained, it will produce some fruitful end results- increased public confidence on government programmes and policies and encouraging the managers of the nation’s refineries and NNPC depots to sustain the gains.

Some opposition to Buhari government may question what the relationship between governance and the improvement in the distribution of kerosene is? The answer to this is simple. Buhari has so far exhibited qualities and appeals which inspire enthusiasm in Nigerians with just a wink of an eye. Buhari is an individual with vision for the future, a man who can go the extra mile to get things done, Buhari is one man that can differentiate between reality and smokescreen and also remain positive in the public eye, no matter what the situation may be.

Buhari’s actions and quality leadership have made NNPC personnel and marketers, especially major marketers to enthusiastically key-in to government’s resolve to improve the distribution of kerosene throughout the country. One of the heartwarming examples is the new innovation in the distribution of kerosene introduced by NNPC Kaduna depot management and one of the major oil marketers- they designed a well mapped strategy that ease the distribution of Kerosene to both urban and rural areas at government approved price. The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and other stakeholders are also playing a very vital role in improving that strategy. 

President Buhari is indeed making Nigerians happy with the modest improvement in the distribution of Kerosene nationwide. Most Nigerians believe Buhari will revive the nation’s four refineries and the 21 NNPC depots in order to sustain this improvement.

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