Undemocratic precedents prevalent in Africa…FBI’s 2500 pages on Tinubu holds the ace… inefficiency, bane of NIGERIA’S economic development. El-Pappy spills the beans

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Ohafia Abia Born United States based international journo, El-Pappy Kadash Anya fearlessly opens cans of worms eating up Africa at large, Nigeria in particular and his views on Abia State. This is explosive. The excerpts where via a telephone chitchat with News Admiral. Do not be in a hurry. Read through!

IN THE RECENT TIME, SOME AFRICAN COUNTRIES HAVE BEEN EMBROILED IN COUP D’ETAT CITING OVERBEARING TENDENCIES OF THEIR FORMER COLONIAL LORDS. YOUR VIEWS

Political instability, including the occurrence of coups, has been a recurrent issue in certain African nations. Often, these are a result of a myriad of factors from corruption, economic instability, ethnic divisions, foreign interference, etc. The Western world’s involvement in terms of international aid and political and economic partnerships could in some cases, inadvertently support governments involved in malpractice.

This certainly presents an ethical dilemma. On one hand, international aid and partnerships can be crucial for the development and welfare of the people. On the other hand, without proper checks and balances, these partnerships could potentially perpetuate a cycle of corruption and undemocratic practices, thereby indirectly contributing to these instabilities.

Understanding the complex socio-political intricacies in these nations should be paramount when formulating intervention strategies and policies. Supporting civil society, anti-corruption measures, and democratic institutions rather than choosing sides could potentially be a more sustainable way to ensure long-term stability and growth.

It’s also crucial to remember that Africa is a vast and diverse continent, and one size won’t fit all in terms of policy approach and political situation. Each nation has its unique cultural, socio-economic, and political attributes, which require individually tailored strategies and actions.

DO YOU THINK DEMOCRACY HAS FAILED IN AFRICA OR OTHERWISE?

Broad generalizations like “Democracy has failed in Africa” may not adequately cover the complexities and variations across the continent.

Africa consists of 54 diverse nations, each with its unique historical, socioeconomic, and political context. In some of these nations, democratic systems seem to make significant progress, while in others, the process is faced with severe challenges.

On one hand, certain countries, such as Ghana, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, and Mauritius, have had several peaceful democratic elections and are often cited as examples of functioning democracies in Africa.

On the other hand, there are instances where there are issues with democratic processes, such as authoritarian regimes, corruption, lack of press freedom, conflict, or failed elections. Examples of these might include nations like Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea, and Somalia.

In other cases, there are countries where democratic progress doesn’t follow a linear path but instead is marked by advances and setbacks. For example, the Democratic Republic of Congo held its first peaceful transfer of power since independence in 2019, which marked a significant democratic milestone, even though the country still faces issues related to governance and civil unrest. Nigeria is another disappointing statistic as one would have expected visible changes since 1999. However, the minimal successes recorded under Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan have been eclipsed by visible and monumental setbacks under Mohammed Buhari under whose watch, undemocratic precedents were set. The total disregard for the rule of law, blatant neglect, disregard of court orders and the judicial process, ‘ethnicization’ of the security apparatus, and apparent corruot interference of the electioneering process became signposts in the 8 years of Buhari’s administration. These seem to have spilled into the current administration headed by Tinubu, whose chequered history of sleazy conduct has cast a shadow on the presidency.

Therefore, it’s crucial not to generalize the performance of democracy across Africa because experiences and progress significantly differ. It’s also essential to note that political systems and democracy, in particular, evolve over time and are influenced by numerous factors ranging from historical events to socio-economic situations. The democratic trajectory of a nation or a continent isn’t determined by its past or present state but by the actions and reforms it will undertake in its future.

IN SOME INTERNATIONAL QUARTERS, NIGERIA’S PRESIDENT BOLA AHMED TINUBU IS SEEN AS A DRUG LORD AND CROOK: YOU ARE BASED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. HOW CORRECT OR OTHERWISE IS THIS?

Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been a prominent figure in Nigerian politics, having served as Governor of Lagos State from 29 May 1999 to 29 May 2007. Up to 2023, he has also been a leader in the All Progressives Congress.

Concerning the topic of a criminal background, it’s crucial to note that public figures like Tinubu often face various allegations. It’s also important to distinguish allegations from proven facts. To the best of my knowledge, Bola Ahmed Tinubu hasn’t been legally convicted of any crime except for the forfeiture of several thousands of dollars linked to heroine trafficking in Chicago, Illinois. His past has remained a mystery, too, following the inconsistencies as regards his date of birth, place of birth and schools he attended from primary to university. He just recently filed a motion to stop the PDP presidential candidate in the 2023 presidential elections from obtaining his supposed educational records from the Chicago State University. One would wonder why the desperation to conceal the details of his academic records. I guess we will know more about who Bola Ahmed Tinubu really is when the FBI releases the 2500 pages of information they have on him starting from October 2023.

NIGERIA’S ECONOMY IS ON A FREE FALL. THE DOLLAR IS PRESENTLY ABOVE #1000 IN THR BLACK MARKET. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS AMISS?

Nigeria’s economy, which is heavily dependent on oil exports, faces several challenges. Although these issues fluctuate over time and in response to local and global events.

Despite the fact that it’s Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria heavily relies on the oil sector, which represents nearly 10% of the economy but provides around 90% of foreign exchange earnings. This dependence leaves the country vulnerable to global oil price fluctuations.

The country has struggled to diversify its economy effectively into sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, and services. This limits job creation opportunities, leading to high unemployment rates, particularly among the youth. This is the reason Peter Obi, the labor party presidential candidate in the 2023 elections policy thrust, was centered on an economy driven by production rather than consumption.

Nigeria faces significant infrastructure challenges, including inadequate electricity, roads, and rail systems. These shortfalls are major obstacles to economic development and deter foreign investment.

The prevalence of corruption undermines growth and development. Despite anti-corruption efforts, there is a perception that graft and corruption remain rampant in civil and governmental operations.

The northern part of Nigeria faces insecurity from groups like Boko Haram, which has disrupted economic activities in the region.

Despite being Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria has significant poverty (as of 2020, about 40% of Nigerians live in poverty) and high income inequality.

Inefficiencies in the public sector, including poor regulatory oversight, slow bureaucracy, and poorly thought out and implemented policies, have a major negative impact on the nations economic development.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also taken a toll on the Nigerian economy, as with economies worldwide.

Addressing these issues would enable Nigeria to better leverage its immense potential and resources towards sustainable and inclusive growth.

YOU ARE AN ABIAN: WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS VIA THE NEW ADMINISTRATION OF GOVERNOR ALEX OTTI?

Abia has been unlucky since 1999 with democratic leadership, which apparently lacked the political will to go through with campaign promises, improve existing policies, and energize the legislature and judiciary to fully maximize their potentials towards building a virile state.

Prebendalism and mercantile politics have done more harm than good to the state’s advancement and the relief as reflected on the people’s mood when Alex Otti, the labor party governorship candidate, was announced as the winner during the last elections was evidently palpable.

This would be the first time the people’s choice and will manifested, and the expectations are high. I want to see a change in how the government is run. The people must be carried along, and that means that the legislature and judiciary must be truly independent. Anything contrary would amount to a return to Egypt. The legislature must work hard towards repealing obnoxious state laws while enacting new ones that will represent the wishes of the people in tandem with the prevailing social, economic, political, and cultural trends. The judiciary, on the other hand, must assert itself by weaning itself of the overt dependence on the executive. It remains the hope of the common man and must represent that without ambiguities.

Abia lags behind infrastructural wise. Aba has the potential to become the business and technological hub of West Africa. It is not a tall ambition given the fact that Abia has the human resources to achieve that. All it requires is the political will and genuine audacity to bring it to fruition.

We have the ‘Can do’ spirit. The only thing the Aba man might find a bit challenging to do currently is human cloning, but every other thing is possible. The accessibility to grants, credit facilities with favorable terms, and the quality infrastructure are the activators needed to springboard Aba’s technological potential.

Education and sports must be given a priority as we have overtime shown that we can excel in those with the right support. Abia can provide food for Nigeria and still have enough to export. We must focus on the produce our lands are known for. Palm, cassava, rubber, yam, rice, and poultry can be produced in commercial quantities in Abia. Convert the arable lands from ukwa to ngwa, ikwuano, and old bende. Get the youths involved and provide sustained support to large-scale farmers.

I think Alex Otti’s parley with the corporate institutions is laudable. However, we ought to know what is being discussed and how the outcome of these discussions will impact the growth of the state.

The tourism potentials of Abia remain untapped. From the caves of uturu to the rainforest of ohafia and the deep waters of Ukwa, lie gold waiting to be mined. Policies and the will to implement these policies, of course, backed with the appropriate infrastructure, will energize these sectors.

I’m hopeful that Alex Otti, with the support of all Abians, will do well. 4 years won’t be enough, but we should be able to gauge the direction he is heading towards in 4 years. What he achieves before the next dispensation will tell us if we are to entrust the next 4 years in his care or choose another person.

THANK YOU MR PAPPY FOR THESE INSIGHTS. YOU ARE LOADED AND INDEED A REPORTER’S DELIGHT.

Na you do pass! I shall be willing to oblige anytime.

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