His shoeless majesty by Sam Omatseye

I am looking for Jonathan the shoeless. It is a quest I take seriously. Since the half-dusk when President Goodluck Jonathan proclaimed his humble beginnings a few years ago, Nigerians have tried to reconcile him with the rural, maritime misery of the Niger Delta. 

Imagine him around Otuoke, without shoes, walking the water-logged streets. All kinds of spikes, jutting stones, entwined weeds, worms, water-borne diseases lurked. He suffered in that morning of simplicity. He might have defied his fate with play. He might have jumped and laughed in the soggy terrain, splashing the brown water, making balls out of mud and flinging them at other boys who tried to toss same at him.

He wanted an education then. Today, he has a PHD and he is president presiding over 160 million souls. Like the tale of Joseph, he rose from bowing down to being bowed to, from ordinary to king. He has soared from the prison of the poor to the palace.

But since he became president, I have tried to see the shoeless man. I have not yet found luck. Two things made me begin that search recently. His minister of immigration, Abba Moro, invited ordinary people to apply for jobs at the ministry. It seemed he was doing something good. But I learnt he asked those who had no money to feed themselves to pay in order to apply for jobs. A profit of six billion naira resulted.

Some of the applicants probably had no shoes in their beginning. They tried to get through school, just like the president. Thank God they succeeded. They were asked to pay to apply. Even private companies don’t do that. Yet the public establishment buoyed by taxpayers’ money and our oil money were asked to pay. Over 500,000 young men and women applied for about four thousand positions. Not only did they not have an interview, about 19 of them died of suffocation. Sources say the jobs had been allotted to top politicians.

The president, who once had no shoes, was missing in action. All he has done so far is to query the minister, according to the media reports. But the president of shoeless origin would not show more passion. What about asking the minister to step aside, a minister who accused the dead of impatience?

Maybe I made a mistake. The shoeless president was not in that incident. The other incident was in the story of the oil minister, the royal Diezani-Alison-Madueke, who now has to answer the query from the National Assembly about spending about N10 billion on a jet travelling around the world. This is not the first time such a charge has hit the peacock madam. Once a N2 billion charge ricocheted the airwaves about her junketing mania. We must admit she is not alone in this jet-set jamboree. Many ministers and governors do this routinely.

But she is the Teflon minister. We would think that a president who did not have enough money to buy a pair of slippers would show public discomfort. At least, he would summon the minister and make a public show of alarm at the matter. Here again, the president of shoeless origin is missing. How many shoes can N10 billion buy? Let us forget the cheap ones. How many Armani, Gucci, Ferragamo, Louis Vuitton, Brooks Brothers, etc shoes will N10 billion buy?

I also pondered all the noise over the power crisis in the country. He said he would face it head-on. He probably did, but it is the heads of the poor that are drowning in sweats of sleepless nights because they cannot have power. He said he would follow due process, but it turned out to be doomed process. The people who secured the DISCOs and GENCOs are not those who really want to work. No due process was followed. Rather the friends of government secured it. They are complaining today that what they anticipated was not what they found. If they followed due process, won’t they know the costs of transmission and transportation and the inventory of functioning and damaged equipment? Now they are complaining. We don’t have power because those in power did not contemplate the poor. I know that if the president did not have shoes, there was no way he had power growing up in the village. The irony is that their lack of due process has backfired on the elite. If they followed due process, the wrong people won’t get the contract. Now that they have the contracts, they are on the wrong end of the stick. We the people have to suffer as usual. But the man of shoeless origin has constant supply, whatever the adversity.

Now, they have announced that they are contemplating the removal of subsidy again. About two years ago, the nation crawled in protests over the same issue when fuel prices soared. Soldiers were deployed on the streets of Lagos, the hotbed of resistance, to maul and silence everyone. They succeeded. They promised that it was the right thing to do. They promised palliatives against shocks the price rise would inflict on us. They included the revamping of the old refineries, the installation of three new green field refineries, the SURE-P project to help build infrastructure, transportation and other welfare efforts. In spite of the insensitivity of the subsidy removal, it seemed the president’s shoeless origin could be sighted in the promised palliatives.

But where are the green field refineries? His shoeless majesty has not explained. The old refineries now are so in poor shape that the same government is contemplating selling them. It is still a matter wrapped in a stalemate. SURE-P has so failed that even the government has not found the words to explain why. Where are the palliatives? Forget also that what they promised to do are the routine assignments of government. They secured extraordinary money from us and still could not accomplish ordinary work.

So, why do they want to remove subsidy? Supporters say we are still importing fuel and it makes it difficult to make money for the country. Listen. Is it not incompetence that makes Newcastle to import coal? When learning figures of speech in school, we were told that it was wrong to take coal to Newcastle because Newcastle had it. It was like taking coal to Enugu. Enugu as a city is a metaphor for Nigeria as a nation. There is scarcity in abundance and abundance in scarcity.

Back to the immigration tragedy. Is it not enough that the government takes money from the people indirectly through taxes, subsidy removal, contract inflation, power projects, life on the jet sky and inflated car deals, etc? Now, they take the money directly from the poor who want jobs and the poor die to the bargain.

If in the past, they could not account for all the gains in the removal of subsidy, why should we trust them this time? As Cicero quipped, “to stumble twice over a stone is a proverbial disgrace.”

President Jonathan has to dialogue with the young boy Jonathan. To paraphrase the short story, Going to meet the Man, by black American novelist James Baldwin, the small boy Jonathan should go to meet the man Jonathan or vice versa. Maybe the shoeless boy can redeem the man. So far, I am still looking for the boy without shoes.

Poet William Wordsworth crooned: “the child is the father of the man.” Is the shoeless child in touch with the man? In the same poem Wordsworth connects the child with the man: “So was it when my life began/so is it now I am a man/ so be it when I shall grow up.”

So, let it be with President Jonathan.

Full text of Dr. Oby Ezekwesili’s speech at the APC National Summit in Abuja

Good afternoon, chieftains and members of the Action People’s Congress.

Thanks for inviting me as your Keynote Speaker at your Unveiling of Road Map Summit. I do not know how you decided to take this high risk of inviting me to your gathering, knowing full well that my zeal for candor can be generally unsettling for some people of your class and occupation. Since you took the risk, I have assumed the liberty to speak boldly even to your discomfort especially considering that we live in a season of grim when our country is greatly troubled.

In perilous times like this, Truth is the absolute freedom. I shall be spurred on by the counsel of George Orwell who in honor of truth stated that “in a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act”. I further assume that if you wanted someone with the skills of deceit, it would not be me that you would have invited to your gathering. I therefore speak to you today not as a politician

Context and Fact are very important for me as both a scholar and practitioner of public policy. Context is the missing link that helps us to connect the dots between the visible and the hidden, and between the general and the specific. Fact or Truth is the evidence that never takes flight nor ceases to exist even where ignored for hundred years. So my speech in content and delivery will be hinged on context and facts.For context, nothing serves a better guide than History.

The philosopher and novelist George Santayana famously said that “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. Winston Churchill reinforced Santayana by counselling, “Study history, study history. In history lies all the secrets of statecraft.” I am compelled even further to tread the path of history by our Centenary celebration and shall therefore use – Nigeria’s political history as the context for this speech.

The Political trajectory of Nigeria much like her entire history is checkered. In the book, This House has Fallen, “Nigeria was the focus of great optimism as a powerful emerging nation that would be a showcase for democratic government”. Sadly the optimism was frittered over the years. I shall take the excerpts from my University of Nigeria lecture in January in this regard. “If you traced the political history of our country since independence in 1960 and you will better understand the horror of our faulty political foundation.

The first democratic government ushered in an independent Nigeria but was cut short by a coup in 1966, a counter coup in 1967, civil war from 1967 to 1970, military rule from 1970 at the end of the war until another coup in 1975, another unsuccessful coup in 1976 the then Head of State was murdered, continued rule of the military until 1979 when a successful political transition ushered in the second republic but it became a democratic process that did not leave a good mark on governance until it was cut short in 1983 by yet another military coup but the discipline instilling but draconian regime was itself sent packing in 1985 through yet another coup.

The succeeding regime ruled from 1985 until 1993. The hallmark of that regime was procrastinated conduct of a transition to democracy. When it finally, reluctantly started the transition process, it regrettably went ahead to thwart the political rights of citizens who had elected a democratic president by annulling the elections. The regime then responded to the public disturbance and agitation that followed by installing an interim national government that lasted only three months following yet another military intervention. The regime that followed was more heinous than ever imagined possible by Nigerians until 1998 when by divine providence, it was cut short. Never again! A new season came but it was yet one with the military still in the saddle.

That regime however surprised skeptics when it successfully conducted a transition that ushered in democratic governance in 1999 ending the long sixteen years of militarization of governance that materially defines the psyche of government in Nigeria. Cumulatively, from the time of our independence in 1960 to 1999- the military governed for about twenty nine years while two flashes of pseudo democracy had a little more than ten years in all. The common theme in our extremely unstable and volatile political history was that each regime truncation mirrored a Russian roulette with justification for regime change being the “necessity to rescue the country from bad governance and corruption”.

Compared to the mere six years of 1960-1966 and the even shorter four and a half years of 1979-1983, the period of 1999 to date under democratic rule has been the longest ever season of such political system in Nigeria. An objective assessment of our democratic journey since the last fifteen years by May of this year, will return the verdict that we are very much still in the nascent zone of democracy as a political system which despite all its short comings trump all other alternatives.

Fifteen years has given us more of civilian rule than democracy. The quality of the military/political elite and the depth of undemocratic culture, practices and nuances have worked to produce very disappointing results of governance to citizens. Yet, we must temper our disappointment with the cautious sense of accomplishment that the subordination of the military to the constitutional will of the people of Nigeria in the 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011 elections is perhaps the very tiny ray of light in what had for more than five decades been a canvass of political tragedies.

“Today is Independence Day. The first of October 1960 is a date to which for two years, Nigeria has been eagerly looking forward. At last, our great day has arrived, and Nigeria is now indeed an independent Sovereign nation. Words cannot adequately express my joy and pride at being the Nigerian citizen privileged to accept from Her Royal Highness these Constitutional Instruments which are the symbols of Nigeria’s Independence. It is a unique privilege which I shall remember forever, and it gives me strength and courage as I dedicate my life to the service of our country.

This is a wonderful day, and it is all the more wonderful because we have awaited it with increasing impatience, compelled to watch one country after another overtaking us on the road when we had so nearly reached our goal. But now, we have acquired our rightful status, and I feel sure that history will show that the building of our nation proceeded at the wisest pace: it has been thorough, and Nigeria now stands well-built upon firm foundations.”

These were the very gushing and giddy words of the first Prime Minister of Nigeria Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa on October 1, 1960.

According to history books, prehistoric settlers lived in the territories that make up the area today known as Nigeria as far back as 9000 BC. According to Wikipedia, the period of the 15th century saw the emergence of several “early independent kingdoms and states” that made up the British colonialized Nigeria – Benin kingdom, Borgu kingdom, Fulani empire, Hausa kingdoms, Kanem Bornu empire, Kwararafa kingdom, Ibibio Kingdom, Nri kingdom, Nupe kingdom, Oyo Kingdom, Songhai empire and Warri Kingdom. Each Kingdom was composed of dominant ethnic nationalities with unique language, custom, culture, tradition and religion. ”

These kingdoms independently traded among themselves and with the rest of the world especially Great Britain. It was however by 1886 through expanded trade with the territories under the charter of the Royal Niger Company that the mercantilist root of that influence became established. The handover of the company’s territories to the British Government followed in 1900 leading to the areas becoming organized as protectorates that helped extend the great British Empire of that era. In 1914, Nigeria was formed by combining the Northern and Southern Protectorates and the Colony of Lagos. For administrative purposes, it was divided into four units: the colony of Lagos, the Northern Provinces, the Eastern Provinces and the Western Provinces.”

One could say that considering the way Nigeria emerged it was no more than an artificial creation purely intended to serve the administrative convenience of the reigning colonial power. In fact, no one better conveyed this perception of Nigeria as artificiality than Chief Obafemi Awolowo who once described Nigeria as a “mere geographical expression”. It is common for Nigerians across the territory in moments of deep despair at the failings of this union of multiple diversities to loudly rue the fact that a certain Lord Lugard and his fiancée – Ms. Shaw -were the “creators” of Nigeria.

The forty six years that followed the creation of Nigeria until her independence in 1960, saw varying degrees of mutation in the relationship between Britain and the people of the territory. The journey of governance commenced among the three dominant regions that made up the Nigerian territory- namely the North, the West and the East. There were understandably, deep mistrusts and suspicions among the ethnic groups with each one seeking to advance their own cause and interest but their leaders managed to forge a united front in the struggle to attain self-government.

Their successive negotiations and constitution building processes among them and acting jointly, with colonial Britain- helped to achieve one of the most anticipated political independence of a country in Africa. It culminated in the successful agitation for self-government on a representative and ultimately federal basis. The great Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe who was first the Governor General at independence in 1960 and later ceremonial President when in 1963 we became a Republic, succinctly captured that feat of the Nationalists in gaining independence.

He wrote in 1966 that, “We talked the Colonial Office into accepting our challenges for the demerits and merits of our case for self-government. After six constitutional conferences in 1953, 1954, 1957, 1958, 1959, and 1960, Great Britain conceded to us the right to assert our political independence as from October 1, 1960. None of the Nigerian political parties ever adopted violent means to gain our political freedom and we are happy to claim that not a drop of British or Nigerian blood was shed in the course of our national struggle for our place in the sun. This historical fact enabled me to state publicly in Nigeria that Her Majesty’s Government has presented self-government to us on a platter of gold.”

Ladies and gentlemen, the Great Zik of Africa who had profound influence in the philosophy of life of late Chief Ben Nwazojie whose family has gathered us- had great hopes that the successful struggle for independence would bequeath to us as a people; “our place in the sun”. And yet, even though that entity created in 1914 will become one Century years old in the next three months and had only a few days ago became a relatively old country of fifty three years, its present state is anything but sunny for majority of her citizens.

For the fact is that whether of the North, South, East or West of the present day Nigerian territory we know that most Nigerians feel but a deep sense of disappointment at what has become of the dream that our founding fathers dared to imagine was possible. That deep internal threats to Nigeria’s territorial integrity remain part of core issues of our polity in 2013 menacingly brings into sharp focus the wide gulf between what it means to be a country as different from the higher order state of being a nation.

Thus, the phrase, “an independent Sovereign nation” that Sir Tafawa Balewa used in describing Nigeria in his sweet poetry of a speech at independence remains under doubtful scrutiny and is constantly under threat through various cycles of our political history. For if there is one construct that remains the sticky point in our COUNTRY today, it is whether indeed there is yet a NATION called Nigeria? Or put differently, what happened to the COUNTRY that held so much promise on that morning of October 1, 1960?

After all, nothing makes the point of the failure to successfully transition from country to nation than the fact that a only week ago, the current government as a response to heightened socio-political tensions in the land announced yet another National Dialogue that is “aimed at realistically examining and genuinely resolving, longstanding impediments to our cohesion and harmonious development as a truly united Nation”.

What happened? How come a country which at independence was enthusiastically described by our first leader as an independent sovereign nation is at fifty three years hosting another “national conversation” to determine whether it is a worthy union for everyone? Was it also not only a few years ago in 2006 that the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo had hosted as similar gathering? Who were the people that discussed at that time and what did they resolve?

What seems to be the intractable issue that almost every administration –military and civilian alike- have not managed to settle on whether we do indeed have a common destiny or not? How come that despite the oft expressed “sincere intent” of each cycle of ruling class (mark my choice of word as distinct from leadership); that each hosted some sort of national dialogue, conference, conversation, forum etc. (choose your pick), we are nowhere closer today to our destination of nationhood. To imagine that our founding fathers mistakenly assumed that we became a nation because the various nationalities worked collaboratively to secure independence from a common external “foe” in 1960? How could it be that this journey has thus far turned out agonizing for almost every one of us?

Even following the most traumatic civil war that ended in 1970, the reemergence as one country provided a context to rally the entire citizenry to build from country to nation. Sadly, that was a missed opportunity. Is it therefore not heartrending that the present state of our country nearly questions our status as a Country? The pain of this truism is that we are in 2014 faced with exactly the same types of ethnic issues that dotted our union in the 60s. How was it that for over fifty three years, we never went beyond the amalgamation process to becoming a Country and subsequently transforming into a Nation? The simple answer to the lamentation and question is that elite failure happened to Nigeria! A little more political history following the events of October 1, 1960 will help clarify my answer, simple as it may sound to those who thrive in confounding complexity.

The Elite of every successful society always form the nucleus of citizens with the prerequisite education, ethics and capabilities operating in the political sphere and the public service, providing the great ideas to build the nation and possessing the moral rectitude to always act in the public interest. Access to quality Education ensures that the elite group evolves constantly in every society. For as long as nations have public education systems that function, the poorest of their citizens is guaranteed to move up the ladder and someday emerge as a member of the elite class through academic hard work, strenuous effort and ultimate success at the higher levels of education.

For every society that has succeeded therefore, it has taken such progressively evolving elite class to identify the problems, forge the political systems and processes, soundly articulate a rallying vision and use sound Policies and effective and efficient prioritisation of investments (both public and private) and requisite actions to over time build those strong institutions that outlive the best of charismatic and transformative individuals. But it always does start with quality leadership in the public space investing in a sustained manner for lasting institutions to eventually emerge over time. Institutions do not just happen. In the same manner, nations do not just happen out of multi-ethnic countries.

The globally adopted definition of a country is “ An independent State or country must meet certain metrics all of which we did on that date:

• Has space or territory which has internationally recognized boundaries (boundary disputes are OK).

• Has people who live there on an ongoing basis.

• Has economic activity and an organized economy. A country regulates foreign and domestic trade and issues money.

• Has the power of social engineering, such as education.

• Has a transportation system for moving goods and people.

• Has a government which provides public services and police power.

• Has sovereignty. No other State should have power over the country’s territory.

• Has external recognition. A country has been “voted into the club” by other countries.

Sadly, Nigeria came to simply equate our statehood with nationhood when our founding fathers used those terms almost interchangeably forgetting that a State is not always necessarily a Nation. True, we had becoming a self-governing political entity that negotiated a federal structure that was cognizant of the near autonomy of each of its constituting group of people, but although an independent; we were not and have never acted like a Nation!

Nations are “culturally homogeneous groups of people, larger than a single tribe or community, who shares a common language, institutions, religion, and historical experience.” Each of our then three dominant groups though having their own internal multiple sub-groups and diversities to resolve still saw themselves as stand-alone nations. However, once it related to the territorial construct known as Nigeria that it shares with the other two groups, no group particularly acted as though the union had forged a “Nigerian nationhood” in that broader sense. Hence, although we continued to be a Country, we however did not attain to the definition of a nation which is “a tightly-knit group of people which share a common culture”.

The people of a nation generally share a common national identity, and part of nation-building is the building of that common identity. There were so many fundamental issues that our country which is unlike France of Germany or even Egypt needed to resolve among its multiple divides if it wished to make that profound jump from country to Nation in order to attain the status of a nation-state.

The Elite in those instances are required to lead the rest of the people in a deliberative process of nation building- of forging that common identity that all will defend. It is the visionary power of the elite to move a people of diversity beyond the lowest common denominator of mere citizens of one country into a nation of people that makes the United States to stand out as a model multi-cultural society.

Hence, even “with its multicultural society, the United States is also referred to as a nation-state because of the shared American “culture.” Some people may of course dismiss this crave for evolution from country into a nation and say it does not matter. For those ones, I recall the wise words of Carolyn Stephenson, a Professor of Political Science at the Univ. of Hawaii-Manoa. Her words could have been written with our country in mind. Professor Stephenson states that “ Nation-building matters to intractable conflict because of the theory that a strong state is necessary in order to provide security, that the building of an integrated national community is important in the building of a state, and that there may be social and economic prerequisites or co-requisites to the building of an integrated national community” Simply put, if a people of diversity in a country truly wish to succeed, they must forge a shared vision and values to realize their goal.

Our failure to immediately use the early days of independence to commence the nation building process is what I consider the biggest missed opportunity in the history of Nigeria. It is the reason as Professor Stephenson asserts, we find ourselves in “cyclical intractable conflict” So, it was not surprising that shortly after the novelty of our political independence wore off the troubling underbelly of our nascent democracy was revealed in the rather prescient reading of the situation at that time by the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States in one of its memorandum of 1966.

It wrote “Africa’s most populous country (population estimated at 48 million) is in the throes of a highly complex internal crisis rooted in its artificial origin as a British dependency containing over 250 diverse and often antagonistic tribal groups. The present crisis started” with Nigerian independence in 1960, but the federated parliament hid “serious internal strains. It has been in an acute stage since last January when a military coup d’état destroyed the constitutional regime bequeathed by the British and upset the underlying tribal and regional power relationships.

At stake now are the most fundamental questions which can be raised about a country, beginning with whether it will survive as a single viable entity. The situation is uncertain, with Nigeria,……is sliding downhill faster and faster, with less and less chance unity and stability. Unless present army leaders and contending tribal elements soon reach agreement on a new basis for association and take some effective measures to halt a seriously deteriorating security situation, there will be increasing internal turmoil, possibly including civil war”.

The failure to build a nation out of the country it was bequeathed did in fact change the course of Nigeria’s history. It meant that our foundling political elite could not speedily and “sincerely act” on the lofty ideals. The nation building process could have benefitted from their nationalist campaign for independence when they had successfully united against a common “enemy” and brought us our independence.

Instead, our political elite turned backward on the supposed “independent sovereign nation” and resorted to lethal ethnicity in playing a brand of politics mostly devoid of altruism. So much so was this prevalent character of the political elite across board that they collectively failed to retrace their steps from the precipitous slide. It was within this context of elite failure that the 1966 military coup struck unleashing a canvass of governance instability that only abated in 1999 when the fourth Republic commenced with the successful democratic transition currently running for the last fourteen years.

No wonder, empirical evidence points to poor governance –especially corruption as the biggest obstacle to the development of Nigeria. Understanding the cancerous impact of understand how come a country with the potentials hardly available to more than other one third nations of the world has remained at the bottom of socio-economic ladder as a laggard. Economic growth rate and ultimate development of nations are determined by a number of factors that range from sound policies, effective and efficient public and private investments and strong institutions.

Economic evidence throughout numerous researches proves that one key variable that determines how fast nations outgrow others is the speed of accumulation of human capital especially through science and technology education. No wonder for these same countries by 2011- South Korea of fifty million people has a GDP of $1.12trillion, Brazil of one hundred and ninety six million has $2.48 trillion; Malaysia of twenty eight million people has $278.6Billion; Chile of seventeen million people has $248.59Billion; Singapore of five million people has $318.7 Billion. Meanwhile with our population of 165 million people we make boasts with a GDP of $235.92 Billion- completely way off the mark that we could have produced if we made a better set of development choices.

More dramatic is that this wide gap between these nations and Nigeria was not always the case as some relevant data at the time of our independence reveal. In 1960 the GDP per capita of all these countries were not starkly different from that of Nigeria- two were below $200, two were a little above $300 and one was slightly above $500 while that of Nigeria was just about $100.

For citizens, these differentials are not mere economic data. Meanwhile by 2011, the range for all five grew exponentially with Singapore at nearly $50,000, South Korea at $22,000, Malaysia at $10,000, Brazil at $13,000 and Chile at $14,000. Our own paltry $1500 income per capita helps drive home the point that we have been left behind many times over by every one of these other countries. How did these nations steer and stir their people to achieve such outstanding economic performance over the last five decades? There is hardly a basis for comparing the larger population of our citizens clustered within the poverty bracket with the majority citizens of Singapore fortunate to have upper middle income standard of living.

Again, how did this happen? What happened to Nigeria? Why did we get left behind? How did these nations become productively wealthy over the last fifty three years while Nigeria stagnated? How did majority of the citizens of these nations join the upper middle class while more Nigerians retrogressed into poverty?

There are usually as many different answers to these sets of questions as there are respondents on the reasons we fell terribly behind. Some say, it is our tropical geography, yet economic research shows it has not prevented other countries like China, Australia, Chile and Brazil for example with similar conditions from breaking through economically. Others say it is size, but China and India are bigger, and yet in the last thirty and twenty years have grown double digit and continue to out- grow the rest of the world at this time of global economic crisis. Furthermore, being small has not necessarily conferred any special advantages to so many other countries with small population yet similarly battling with the development process like we are.

Some others say it is our culture but like a political economist posited “European countries with different sorts of cultures, Protestant and Catholic alike that have grown rich. Secondly, different countries within the same broad cultures have performed very differently in economic terms, such as the two Koreas in the post-war era. Moreover, individual countries have changed their economic trajectories even though “their cultures didn’t miraculously change.”

How about those who plead our multiethnic nationalities as the constraint but fail to see that the United States of America happens to be one nation with even more disparate ethnic nationalities than Nigeria and yet it leads the global economy! As for those who say it is the adverse impact of colonialism, were Singapore, Malaysia and even parts of China like Hong Kong not similarly conquered and dominated by colonialists?

That Nigeria is a paradox of the kind of wealth that breeds penury is as widely known as the fact that the world considers us a poster nation for poor governance wealth from natural resources. The trend of Nigeria’s population in poverty since 1980 to 2010 for example suggests that the more we earned from oil, the larger the population of poor citizens : 17.1 million 1980, 34.5million in 1985, 39.2million in 1992, 67.1million in 1996, 68.7million in 2004 and 112.47 million in 2010! This sadly means that you are children of a nation blessed with abundance of ironies.

Resource wealth has tragically reduced your nation- my nation- to a mere parable of prodigality. Nothing undignifies nations and their citizens like self-inflicted failure. Our abundance of oil, people and geography should have worked favorably and placed us on the top echelons of the global economic ladder by now. After all, basic economic evidence shows that abundance of natural resources can by itself increase the income levels of citizens even if it does not increase their productivity.

For example, as Professor Collier a renowned economist who has focused on the sector stated in a recent academic work countries that have enormously valuable natural resources are likely to have high living standards on a sustainable basis by simply replacing some of the extracted resources with financial assets held abroad. Disappointingly, even that choice eluded our governing class who through the decades has spent more time quarreling over their share of the oil “national cake” than they have spent thinking of how to make it benefit the entire populace.

The coup of 1966 anchored its justification on the failure of the political class to provide good governance. In the exact word of the leader of the coup; “Our enemies are the political profiteers, the swindlers, the men in high and low places that seek bribes and demand 10 percent; those that seek to keep the country divided permanently so that they can remain in office as ministers or VIPs at least, the tribalists, the nepotists, those that make the country look big for nothing before international circles, those that have corrupted our society and put the Nigerian political calendar back by their words and deeds.”

In effect, what we today confront as systemic corruption only metamorphosed to gigantic proportion through the over nearly fifty decades of the speech given to justify the first truncation of the will of the people for democratic governance. As a matter of fact, anyone who will find and read all the justification statements for coups and the inauguration statements for democratically elected governments in our fifty three years of being a country will assume that each group merely modified the speech of their predecessors. Perhaps the only differences were the locations of the punctuation marks, the commas, the semi colons and the full stops in each statement that followed this excerpt from the statement of 1966.

The substance is the same – indignation at the grand corruption that has persistently undermined the effectiveness of governance since our political independence. The instructive feature of the dramatis personae that made up the military and political elite class at various times is their uncanny national spread and the unity of purpose they managed and have continued to manage to forge among them in the ignoble business of committing grand larceny against the country. Ethnicity was hardly and still is not a constraining factor once the political elite of Nigeria- whether from the North, South, East and West gather at the altar of corruption to execute their unifying purpose of “transactions”. They are united in “extracting” from Nigeria because it does appear in the minds that the country can never move beyond a mere artificial political construct.

Of all the obstacles to our greatness, there were two on which citizens irrespective of their affiliations seemed to have forged a consensus as the priority agenda issues for their governments to mobilize every sector, level and individual; to unite, fight and defeat. The two issues are systemic corruption and pernicious poverty. However, in the last one year with escalations in insecurity wherein we are now faced with more immediate life threatening scourge of terrorism within our land those two priorities are overtaken in ranking. That we now experience regular terrorist killing of the innocent in our land has pushed the twin issues of poverty and corruption to second and third priorities of citizens. These recent killings have joined with the civil war of the 60s to pollute Nigeria with fresh blood of our children- our daughters and sons, the blood of our women, the blood of our men, the blood of our young and the blood of our old.

Citizens who had assumed that the worst possible was the many decades of being trapped in intergenerational poverty in an ironically “oil wealthy” are now exposed to deadlier acts of terrorism. Terrorists became emboldened by the absence of our political class across the entire spectrum of political leadership who decided to “play their normal politics” with the blood of the poor. The blood soaked land is convulsing.

Do we not hear the cries especially of the young children and women killed for a cause they know nothing about? I read the fear laden articles and tweets of many young Nigerians asking “when this carnage will end?” I hear them lash out angrily that it is the cumulative failure of older generations of us all in this gathering that is bequeathing to them- a country so broken and mortally bruised that again we need divine intervention to heal the land and people.

Is it therefore not unconscionable that in the over nearly three years of rising trend of terrorist attacks against whole communities in the central and north eastern states of Nigeria where our kith and kin have regularly been slaughtered in cold blood; the milk of empathy has not yet flowed from our Elders in the Land in the entire political spectrum to suspend “transactional politicking” and build a united front against this newest common enemy? Is it not unconscionable that despite the massive public resources committed to security spending, the government has failed to inspire confidence in communities and the large public that feel excluded from the more secured lives of the political elite?

In shock, Nigerians have wondered whether our political class which carries on with politicking to “capture or retain power” is comfortable to govern dead communities. Is it not time for all of our political leaders to pay that utmost sacrifice of leadership- lay down their personal gain for the good of the people they wish to lead. Leadership is not the office, the title, the authority, the mansion one occupies. Leadership is the sacrifice offered that others may thrive. There are three grades of leadership- Transactional, Transformational and Transcendental leadership. What our nation asks all of you irrespective of the acronyms that thread together to make you a political party in this land today, is that you must immediately “transcend” and mobilize all of Nigerians against the immediate common enemies killing our own within our territory.

Your act of transcendental leadership across your various divides in Nigerian politics of today, will not only end this fatal insecurity in our country, but will actually start the process of healing of land and the people.

The healing of our land and people will in turn begin the process of rebuilding the eroded social capital that we must have for nation building process. John Jacob Gardener a professor of Leadership defines Transcendental Leadership as follows: “A new metaphor, transcendent leadership, answers a planetary call for a governance process which is more inclusive, more trusting, more sharing of information, more meaningfully involving associates or constituents, more collective decision making through dialogue and group consent processes, more nurturance and celebration of creative and divergent thinking and a willingness to serve the will of the collective consciousness as determined by the group – in essence, a leadership of service above self” Nothing in any political party manifesto in our present Nigeria realizes how fundamental it is to first accomplish this at this time in country.

Economic research has proven that there can be no development without peace. The under-performance of our country as a result of the volatility of regime changes and truncation of democracy direly cost us the opportunity to build vibrant institutions, to pursue on a sustained basis sound macroeconomic, microeconomic and structural policies and finally to implement quality, effective and efficient public and private investment like other nations.

Every country is fundamentally composed of three sectors- the public sector or government, the private sector or business and civil society. Worse than political instability however is the growing sense of our current reality that we are “at war”. In a season of war, ladies and gentlemen, no road map for economic development is viable- no matter how sound its articulation. I advise that 2014 offers all political actors in Nigeria, the opportunity to immediately unite and decisively take our country back from terrorists. This is my most important economic message for your gathering. As the leading opposition party in the country, your leadership must be visible in demonstrating a commitment to reaching out to the Government to commence a united fight to preserve the lives of all citizens.

Of all the obstacles to our greatness, there were two on which citizens irrespective of their affiliations seemed to have forged a consensus as the priority agenda issues for their governments to mobilize every sector, level and individual; to unite, fight and defeat. The two issues are systemic corruption and pernicious poverty. However, in the last one year with escalations in insecurity wherein we are now faced with more immediate life threatening scourge of terrorism within our land those two priorities are overtaken in ranking. That we now experience regular terrorist killing of the innocent in our land has pushed the twin issues of poverty and corruption to second and third priorities of citizens. These recent killings have joined with the civil war of the 60s to pollute Nigeria with fresh blood of our children- our daughters and sons, the blood of our women, the blood of our men, the blood of our young and the blood of our old.

Citizens who had assumed that the worst possible was the many decades of being trapped in intergenerational poverty in an ironically “oil wealthy” are now exposed to deadlier acts of terrorism. Terrorists became emboldened by the absence of our political class across the entire spectrum of political leadership who decided to “play their normal politics” with the blood of the poor. The blood soaked land is convulsing. Do we not hear the cries especially of the young children and women killed for a cause they know nothing about? I read the fear laden articles and tweets of many young Nigerians asking “when this carnage will end?” I hear them lash out angrily that it is the cumulative failure of older generations of us all in this gathering that is bequeathing to them- a country so broken and mortally bruised that again we need divine intervention to heal the land and people.

Is it therefore not unconscionable that in the over nearly three years of rising trend of terrorist attacks against whole communities in the central and north eastern states of Nigeria where our kith and kin have regularly been slaughtered in cold blood; the milk of empathy has not yet flowed from our Elders in the Land in the entire political spectrum to suspend “transactional politicking” and build a united front against this newest common enemy?

Is it not unconscionable that despite the massive public resources committed to security spending, the government has failed to inspire confidence in communities and the large public that feel excluded from the more secured lives of the political elite? In shock, Nigerians have wondered whether our political class which carries on with politicking to “capture or retain power” is comfortable to govern dead communities.

Is it not time for all of our political leaders to pay that utmost sacrifice of leadership- lay down their personal gain for the good of the people they wish to lead. Leadership is not the office, the title, the authority, the mansion one occupies. Leadership is the sacrifice offered that others may thrive. There are three grades of leadership- Transactional, Transformational and Transcendental leadership. What our nation asks all of you irrespective of the acronyms that thread together to make you a political party in this land today, is that you must immediately “transcend” and mobilize all of Nigerians against the immediate common enemies killing our own within our territory.

Your act of transcendental leadership across your various divides in Nigerian politics of today, will not only end this fatal insecurity in our country, but will actually start the process of healing of land and the people. The healing of our land and people will in turn begin the process of rebuilding the eroded social capital that we must have for nation building process. John Jacob Gardener a professor of Leadership defines Transcendental Leadership as follows: “A new metaphor, transcendent leadership, answers a planetary call for a governance process which is more inclusive, more trusting, more sharing of information, more meaningfully involving associates or constituents, more collective decision making through dialogue and group consent processes, more nurturance and celebration of creative and divergent thinking and a willingness to serve the will of the collective consciousness as determined by the group – in essence, a leadership of service above self” Nothing in any political party manifesto in our present Nigeria realizes how fundamental it is to first accomplish this at this time in country.

Economic research has proven that there can be no development without peace. The underperformance of our country as a result of the volatility of regime changes and truncation of democracy direly cost us the opportunity to build vibrant institutions, to pursue on a sustained basis sound macroeconomic, microeconomic and structural policies and finally to implement quality, effective and efficient public and private investment like other nations. Worse than political instability however is the growing sense of our current reality that we are “at war”.

In a season of war, ladies and gentlemen, no road map for economic development is viable- no matter how sound its articulation. I advise that 2014 offers all political actors in Nigeria, the opportunity to immediately unite and decisively take our country back from terrorists. This is my most important economic message for your gathering. As the leading opposition party in the country, your leadership must be visible in demonstrating a commitment to reaching out to the Government to commence a united fight to preserve the lives of all citizens.

On the twin enemies of corruption and poverty, those among us who still need proof to believe that indeed the two severest maladies from which Nigeria must heal are poverty and poor governance must not have seen the 2013 Global Corruption Barometer 2013. Poverty and corruption are two things that rob Nigerians of their dignity; Poverty deprives one of the basic services they need in order to preserve their self-dignity. Poor governance on the other hand is what poverty helps breed.

Thus, academic research shows that countries which have tended to poor governance end delivering not delivering the basic social services that citizens need in order to lift themselves out of poverty and where they do at all, it is too little and too poor a quality to make a difference. It is the capacity to constantly deliver equality of opportunities for better quality of life to all citizens that distinguishes one government from another. Throughout our fifty three years of history following our independence in 1960, we sadly have not recorded one stellar record of performance in this regard by any government. Today, our 69% poor in the land which in real number is over 100 million of citizens trapped in poverty is the key scorecard of our five decades of failure.

When asked by citizens why they think they have been constantly failed by their governments, they mostly respond that the failure of the state to effectively function is corruption. This much they said to Transparency International which invests heavily in surveys around the world. The result of the most recent survey, tagged ‘Global Corruption Barometer 2013′, (the biggest-ever public opinion survey on corruption) was recently released all over the world. It showed that 75 per cent of Nigerians say the government’s effort at fighting corruption is ineffective. Only 14 per cent of those surveyed say the government’s effort is achieving results. Also, 94 per cent of Nigerians think corruption is a problem with 78 per cent saying it is a serious problem.

Over the past 12 months, the report says, 81 per cent of Nigerians say they have given a bribe to the police, 30 per cent of those surveyed say they have paid a bribe for education services, 29 per cent have given a bribe to the registry and permit services, same for utilities, and 24 per cent have given a bribe to the judiciary. The survey shows that 22 per cent of Nigerians have paid a bribe to tax revenue, 17 per cent to land services and 9 per cent has paid a bribe for medical and health services. Transparency International had last year rated Nigeria as the 35th most corrupt country in the world. Whether we choose to accept it or not, we are a country engulfed in systemic and endemic corruption with its attendant cancerous – wasting away, corrosive effect- on what is legendarily called our “huge potentials”.

Take the natural resources sector to which we have willingly and disastrously mortgaged our lives to as a result of failure of leadership to embrace hard work, effort and productivity as national values. Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil exporter, and the world’s 10th largest oil producer, accounting for more than 2.2 million barrels a day in 2011. Oil revenues totaled $50.3 billion in 2011 and generated more than 70 percent of government revenues. However, for a sector that sadly determines our rise and fall in the last fifty three years, Nigeria’s Performance on the Resource Governance Index (carried out by the global NGO- Revenue Watch Institute of the Open Society Foundations) – Nigeria received a “weak” score of 42, ranking 40th out of 58 countries.

We stood out among the 80% of countries which fail to achieve good governance in their extractive sectors. The insalubrious performance of this dominant revenue source seems to be one we have decided to wear elegantly with a mindset that refuses to embrace the kind of fundamental change that will set the nation free.

A read of the now famous in the breach, PIB shows that we have refused to surrender and subordinate the huge power of discretion exercised by the President in all matters concerning oil since the last many decades. Surely, for what we know of the huge benefits of transparency and competition it does indeed stir the minds of those that have no interest in oil blocks but who care for the maximization of value for the aggregate social good of Nigeria that we walk the provisions of our NEITI law.

The pervasive hold over our economy by oil shows up in everything. In our Sovereign credit rating recently, poor governance, low per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and reserve cover were identified as Nigeria’s biggest challenge to joining other Emerging Markets (EMs) according to Richard Fox of Fitch Ratings. According to him, these areas represent Nigeria’s biggest challenge to improving its rating, as highlighted in Fitch’s previous research. Of the three, reserve cover is the most susceptible to rapid improvement, particularly at current high oil prices. This is because although at that time of his comment, Nigeria’s reserves had risen by around $2 billion they are not rising as fast as in the majority of big oil exporters”. Comparisons always help convey these kinds of information better.

During the period, 2009 to 2011 Algeria expanded her savings from current oil boom by at least 30% to build up its reserve and invest in critical infrastructure. The new comer Angola nearly doubled its reserve while simultaneously implementing a huge public investment program to build diversity of critical infrastructure. Sadly, whether it is building up reserves/saving or in building critical infrastructure and human capital our own trend is in the reverse. For even though crude price rose or has held steady at different time, the quality of governance continues to hobble our capacity to strike out onto the path of success.

WHAT PROSPECTS FOR THE FUTURE THEN?

In what and whom do I place my confidence that a New Nigeria will emerge? What is it that engenders my confidence that our five decades of failure is not sustainable: First is the rising crescendo of dissatisfaction with the concept of Failure by the over 50% percent of our population that are young. That daily the young people of Nigeria- educated or not are anxious to path ways with Failure is a source of optimism.

Today, more than 40% of our young people may be unemployed and requiring a major intervention that matches skills with economic structural change but they represent strength for any leadership that “transcends” in the way it allocates public resources to priorities. They insist by the words and action that they know we can do better than we have done since our independence. The Women who constituting about 50% of our population are by the records of present accomplishment, the most visible secret weapons of our economic, social and political development. The entrepreneurial and “can do” spirit of just these two groups- the spirit that seeks to compete even with the rest in the world by first conquering the uncertain and disabling context in which it operates is emerging as the counter cultural shock to an elite class that entrenched contemptible wealth based on ignoble ease as a national creed.

The return of the values of hard work and the reward of creativity and innovation are the New Normal that Citizens want to engage their governments on. Citizens question the things and values we reward. They question the perverse incentive that rewards abhorrent behaviour while punishing what is right. They are perplexed when they watch the elite class destroy the potency of sanctions regime in every just society by acts that fail to demand the cost of bad behaviour from big offenders .

Citizens wish to unleash their talents and be facilitated by a capable and service oriented public service to identify new sources of growth forcing the diversification rhetoric into reality finally. We must think through how to expand the revenue base of the country and manage it efficiently. Nigeria’s revenue cannot cater for the size of the population that we have and we seek to exploit other creative and natural endowments of nature which primarily is our huge population of people with diverse capabilities.

The generation of human capital through education- access to quality basic, tertiary education expanded and well costed with access for the poor and entrepreneurship education relevant to the needs of the economy is priority agenda for a country that has grown over more then a decade now without significant structural change.

The structural transformation that focuses on growing indigenous enterprise and deliberately removing obstacles on the path to economic growth for the women and the young with ideas is what a results oriented government owes Citizens. According to data from the World Bank, it is clear that 74% of our revenue comes from non-oil (mainly agricultural exports) as at 1970. We have sadly reversed that suffering the pernicious effect of oil, as currently oil account for 74% of gross national revenue reversing the trend. While Nigeria exported 502 Metric tons of groundnut in 1961 which was 42% of global production as at that time, we currently export almost nothing with the pyramids now invented in stories told to our children.

Citizens are redefining what true attributes of leadership are by demanding that those who shall lead must be all possessing of – competency, character, competency and capacity. Neither of the three can substitute for the other, The political and technocratic class have no choice but to commit to redeeming our public institutions and the human resources that run them. The redemption starts with a true commitment to addressing today’s egregious cost of s the mantra of today’s citizens.

Citizens want to see real commitment to addressing the egregious cost of governance that constitutes massive opportunity cost for equitable economic development that benefits the larger number of citizens currently excluded from the benefits of the growth of the last fourteen years of return to democracy.

Citizens associate our meagre revenue which pales when compared to our prospective peers known as MINT, with wastes, gross inefficiency and corruption. Currently, we have N1.7tn paid out of salaries, N721bn for debt servicing and other recurrent items which puts our capital expenditure around N1.1tn. How then do we expand the economy, build the modern infrastructure if for every N100 that we spend in actual terms, over N80 goes to recurrent items. Those are the issues which to engage leadership on resolving.

Citizens can now better link public resources and results in their outcry for value-for-money and in the exercise of their right to demand for accountability. They know that our power problems all these years are not merely technical- it is governance failure. Our transportation problem are not technical, it was governance failure. Our poor production and productivity in agriculture is not merely technical, it is governance failure. They know that our health and education and over all under-performance in humans development score are not merely technical, it is due to governance failure.

It cost $148bn dollars in today’s value to rebuild Europe after the World War II. This is less than half of the funds that was attributed to have been stolen from Nigeria since independence. The expense of such funds transformed the manufacturing, service industry and competitive factors of Europe. It cost $2bn ($349bn in today’s value) to rebuild Japan after the nuclear attack.

By conservative estimate, our country has earned more than $600billion in the last five decades and yet can only boast of a United Nations Human Development Index score of .4 out of 1 proximate to that of Chad and maternal mortality rate similar to that of Afghanistan! Nothing reveals the depth of our failures than such performance indicators considering the vastly greater possibilities that we have been bestowed.

Above all, and finally, Citizens now seek to fully participation and make demands for democratic accountability- they are not afraid to scrutinise all public institutions and to demand better results of governance. The unwillingness of any group of political elite to understand this emerging power of the Office of the Citizen can only be a loss to the former and yet another missed opportunity added to our canvass of political tragedies……. But God forbid!

Okorocha and the gathering storm by Femi Adesina

You can already hear the rumble, the sound of the abundance of rain, accompanied with thunderstorm, though the race is still about one year away.  The contest for Douglas House, as the Government House in Owerri, Imo State, is known, will be pulsating, robust, even rumbustious.  It promises all the elements of a pitched battle.

Why will Imo be any different from any other state in the country?  Sure, the race will be keen everywhere, but Imo will be peculiar because of the uniqueness of developments in the state in 2011, which saw Rochas Okorocha of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) sweeping out the then incumbent, Ikedi Ohakim of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

I am sure you remember Ohakim very well.  He was the embattled but boastful governor who delivered over 90% votes for President Goodluck Jonathan, but while keeping vigil over another person’s head, he allowed the hawk to run away with his own.  Ohakim could not replicate the alleged feat he had performed for Jonathan in the presidential polls, when it was time to retain his seat as governor.  The election went into a supplementary run, but Imo people were determined to get their then governor out.  And they did.  It was a massive coalition of the people that had lined up behind Okorocha then.

But things have since changed a great deal between then and now.  Okorocha has left APGA, seeing a bigger picture for himself and his people through the All Progressives Congress (APC).  The PDP has equally tried to re-invent itself, and is regrouping and re-strategizing for the battle ahead.  There is now a converging of the clan, as evidenced by a rally in Owerri a couple of weeks ago.  Former governor, Achike Udenwa, who was in APC has returned to PDP.  Senator Chris Anyanwu is back in the fold from APGA, even Mike Ahamba (SAN), former loyalist of Gen Muhammadu Buhari of the then All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) and later Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), is now in PDP.  So also is Chief Cosmas Iwu, former Secretary to the Imo State Government.  Add all that to a battery of people like Senator Hope Uzodinma, Emeka Ihedioha, Viola Onwuliri, Kema Chikwe, Ifeanyi Araraume, Ikedi Ohakim, and many others, and you just conclude that a storm is brewing in Imo.  I can hear the rumble, can you?

What are the factors that will make Imo 2015 different from Imo 2011?  Many.  For one, in 2011, it was a two-horse race between APGA and PDP.  This time, it is a three-horse race: APC, PDP, APGA.

In 2011, the people voluntarily torpedoed zoning.  Rochas Okorocha emerged from Orlu zone, when according to the Imo Charter of Equity, it should have been the turn of Owerri zone to produce the governor.  Udenwa, from Orlu zone, had been governor for two terms of eight years, and was succeeded by Ohakim from Okigwe zone.  Though the latter worked against zoning of the office of presidency, he wanted the principle held sacrosanct in his state, asking the people to return him to office for a second term, so that it would be the turn of Owerri zone after him.  The people said no, but rather voted massively for Okorocha from Orlu zone.  Just as zoning died at the centre in 2011, it also kaput in Imo.  But since then, Owerri zone has not stopped agitating, and that would surely be a major campaign issue in next year’s race.

Another factor!  The church.  In 2011, the Catholic Church was resolutely against the return of Ohakim as governor.  He had allegedly brutalised a Catholic priest over a minor traffic offence, and the church had risen against him as one body.  Next year, the coalition of the church behind a single candidate may not be there. People may just be left to vote according to their inclinations.

Again, commercial motorcycle riders, popularly called inaga or okada, had come for their pound of flesh against Ohakim in 2011.  He had ridden them out of town earlier, and they also came to ride him out of Douglas House.  They succeeded. In 2015, this factor may not be there.  They may not be voting as a solid block.

After the February 22 rally of the PDP in Owerri, women from across the state who belonged to APC came with their brooms, and symbolically swept away what they felt were pernicious footprints of the PDP members.  But will it be so simple next February 28 when the gubernatorial election would hold?  Not so.

Another flank of opposition opened for Okorocha last weekend, and it was right from within his own house.  His former Commissioner for Housing and Urban Development, Prince Charles Onuoha, asked him to keep faith with his 2011 pledge of running just one term.  According to Onuoha, “my ambition to take over power from him is driven by what transpired on January 15, 2013, when the governor convened stakeholders meeting in Government House.  In that meeting, the governor categorically told us that he was going to Abuja (presidency) and urged those with governorship ambition to make declaration.” Now, it seems the governor has had a change of mind about his political aspirations.

President Goodluck Jonathan had allegedly promised to do just one term in 2011.  Gen Muhammadu Buhari also pledged that the 2011 race was going to be his last shot at the presidency.  And Okorocha equally vowed to do one term.  Do they all have the right to change their minds?  Yes, politically.  It is within their democratic rights.  If you bring in morality, however, there are issues. A man’s word must be his bond. But then, you can always change your mind, when what is at stake is for the greater good of the greater number.  And is there morality in Nigerian politics?  I’ve not seen any.

However, what are the variables that may work in Okorocha’s favour in next year’s elections?

Performance is going to be key.  Has he justified the electoral mandate handed out to him by the people?   Has he touched their lives positively?  Are they better off than they were in 2011?  Has he improved healthcare, education, security of lives and property, built better roads, and generally utilized the resources available for the greater good of the greater number?  Is the ‘Imo Rescue Mission,’ as he described his administration, on course?  I have been to Imo.  I have seen what the governor has done, and is doing.  I think he has served, and is serving well.  But I don’t live in that state.  Those who do can judge better.  And their decisions will matter next February 28.

With respect to change of party, I remember a piece I did when Okorocha emerged in 2011.  I had told him to remain faithful to APGA, citing Peter Obi of Anambra and Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State.  But then, the governor had to change to APC, not for personal reasons, but for a bigger picture.  He said APGA would not take the Igbo man to power at the centre, which is very true, and neither would the PDP give the South-east its due in the foreseeable future.  So, for the sake of his people, Okorocha joined APC.  Can anyone fault him for that?

I understand why the Imo governor joined APC, but it is fast turning to an albatross for him.  Majority of his people have not followed him, possibly out of insularity or narrow mindedness. They are hearing a different drummer from the one Okorocha is hearing, so the dance steps are different.  They say APC is Arewa Peoples Congress.  If so, is Arewa not part of Nigeria?  Will an Igbo man ever be president without the support of other parts of the country, particularly the Arewa?  Will they not need the other regions to become president?  Rochas Okorocha saw the promised land ahead, but majority of his people have not caught the vision.  That was largely demonstrated in Anambra State last year, when divisive and primordial passions were whipped up against Dr Chris Ngige, the APC candidate for governor.

But are all Igbos sold unquestioningly to PDP? No.  You have reputable people like Dr Ezekiel Izuogu, Ngige, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, Senator Osita Izunaso, and many others, who are active members of APC.  I also know faithful readers of this column, who are Igbo, and also have sympathy for where the APC wants to take Nigeria.  There is Professor Donald Nnaemeka Ike, a former Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) stalwart, Chief J. J. Ibeka, Peter Claver Oparah, Sir Abuchi Anueyiagu, and innumerable others.  Therefore, we cannot say Okorocha is strictly alone.  There are many of his kinsmen who understand his reasons for leaving APGA, and joining APC.

In the run up to the gubernatorial election in Ondo State in 2012, the then Action Congress of Nigeria had unleashed its arsenal against Gov Olusegun Mimiko.  The storm was similar to what is now gathering round Gov Okorocha, and it seemed the deluge would sweep away the Ondo State helmsman.  I did a piece then, in which I said whether Mimiko (popularly called Iroko) survived or not would be contingent on what he had done for his people.  I said if he had served his people well, they would stand by him.  If he had kept faith with them, they would reciprocate the fidelity.  These were my words: “Two things will determine how the battle goes in Ondo State next year. They are what I call the two Ps. Performance, and the People. Mimiko’s performance in office, how he has used public resources for the good of the greater number, will determine if he gets re-elected, or whether the ACN picks the cherry. Then, the people. If the people are with you, you can sleep through the storm, and even snore if you wish. If the people stand by you, no matter the arsenal deployed against you, there’ll be no shaking. We saw it in Imo, where the people dislodged an Ikiri, and voted Rochas Okorocha into office. So, performance and the people hold the key in Ondo ahead of the polls next year.”

What I said to Mimiko then, I also say to Okorocha now.  If you have served well, that service would stand you in good stead in 2015.  It is a simple case of one good turn deserving another.  Yes, it would not be an easy race (it rocked Mimiko to his very foundations, ask him) but with the support of the people, the storm would blow over, and halcyon weather would return.  But as the Yourba people say, the flood caused by rain does not mind pulling down your house, it’s you, the house owner that will ensure that you chart another course for the water.   Agbara ojo ko loun o nile wo. Onile ni oni gba fun.  How do I say that in Igbo?  Let me try: “Ido nmiri achoghi ima onye oga eburu ulo ya, ma o diri onye nwe ulo ikwara ido nmiri uzo ya.” 

It’s up to Okorocha to weather the turbulence caused by the gathering storm around him, till serenity returns again. But Imo people would determine.  They have the final say.

36 State Capitals In Nigeria and Their Meanings By Naijarchives

1.      ABAKALIKI, Ebonyi

Abakaliki-36-State-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

Known for its fine rice and irresistible yams, Abakaliki is the capital of Ebonyi State in southeastern Nigeria. The name of the city was derived from Aba Nkaleke which is the name of a community among the Izzi people, one of the predominant ethnic groups in Ebonyi. Izziland is also referred to as Nkaleke. Aba Nkaleke is also translated to mean Main Abakaliki.

2.       ABEOKUTA, Ogun

Abeokuta-36-State-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

The name was derived from two Yoruba words ‘abe’ and ‘okuta’, which mean ‘under’ and ‘rock’ i.e under the rock. The rock being referred to here is the historic Olumo Rock which served as a place of refuge and reconnaissance for the Egba people during various wars.

3.       ADO EKITI

Ado-Ekiti-36-State-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

‘Ekiti’ is a term that is said to denote a settlement of many hills. Hills are common geographical features in Ekitiland and are responsible for the division of Ekitiland into smaller kingdoms and subunits. Ado has been defined as a name for a political society. History has it that when Ewi (King) Awamaro conquered Ulesun community, he deposed the ruling monarch Elesun and thereafter established a new town that he named Ado, meaning ‘here we encamp’.

4.       AKURE, Ondo

Akure-36-State-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

The story behind the naming of Akure is an interesting one indeed. According to oral folklore, Akure was established by Prince Omoremi, the son of Ekun and the grandson of Oduduwa Omoluabi, believed to be the progenitor of the Yoruba race. At a time, he left the royal city of Ile Ife in Osun State looking for a place to settle after Oduduwa had made him pass through a rigourous test in which he was kept in solitary confinement for nine days (this is still commemorated in Akure till date). When Prince Omoremi entered the city that is now Akure, the heavy royal beads on his neck were said to have snapped or cut and the people exclaimed ‘Àkún rę’ meaning ‘the beads have snapped’. Over time, the usage became constricted to become Akure.

5.       ASABA, Delta

Asaba-36-State-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

Also referred to as Ani Mmili, the correct Igbo pronunciation for Delta State’s capital city is Àhàbà. Ahaba is derived from ‘ahabagom’, in the words of Nnebisi, the founding father of Asaba. It means ‘I have chosen well.’ Former Nigerian First Lady, Maryam Babangida was born in Asaba

6.      AWKA, Anambra

Awka-36-State-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

An exciting city, Awka is also spelt as Ọka. It is believed that the first people to settle in Awka were the Ifiteana people and their deity was Okanube (or Okiki-na-ube). Thus, they were referred to as Umu-Okanube meaning ‘worshippers of Okanube’. Later, this was shortened to Umu-Oka, and then its present anglicized version, Oka, or Awka.

 

7.      BAUCHI, Bauchi

Bauchi-36-State-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

Nicknamed the Pearl of Tourism. ‘Bauchi’ is Hausa word meaning the southern flanks of Hausaland. Tribes living in the southern parts of the Hausaland were referred to as kasashen bauchi and the area they lived in later came to be known simply as Bauchi. Then, kasashen bauchi included the areas that we now call Bauchi itself, Plateau State, Northern Niger, Southern Sokoto (that includes Yauri and Zuru) and Southern Kaduna (hello to my Barnawa friends). It was a major center for the slave raiders of the day. In another rendition, the state was named for Baushe, a famous hunter who settled there before the 19th century while another states that ‘bauchi’ is Hausa word for slavery since it was a center for slave raiders. You decide.

 

 8.      BENIN CITY, Edo

Benin-City-36-State-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

It is reported that Benin as an empire-state was administered by the Ogisos (Kings of the Sky). Upon the demise of the last Ogiso, a fight broke out as to who would assume the throne. A message was then sent from Benin to Ife addressed to the Ooni of Ife, Oba Oduduwa. It was said that the contents of the letter was an appeal to the Ooni to send them a king. The Ooni responded by sending his grandson, Prince Oranmiyan who upon getting to Benin, had a hard time adapting to the new environment. He was then said to have changed the name of the city to Ile Ibinu (meaning the Land of Anger) in Yoruba language before storming out of the city.

 9.      BIRNIN KEBBI, Kebbi

Birnin-Kebbi-36-State-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

Of all the 36, I find Kebbi particularly interesting and controversial at the same time. According to the Kebbi Chronicles, the state was founded as a kingdom in 600 BCE by refugees escaping from the Assyrian Empire after its conquest by forces from Babylon and Medes. But that is not all o, in the Chronicles, Mesopotamian kings were listed out as the earliest ancestral kings of Kebbi. It was also deduced that Kebbi (Kabawa) was derived from the Holy Ka’aba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. You really need to read up the scholarly and extremely detailed work of Dierk Lange to get the full gist (see reference on website). That said, Birnin is a Hausa word for ‘city’.
10.  CALABAR, Cross River

Calabar-36-State-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

Nigeria’s Paradise City is also called the Canaan City. The seat of the Eastern Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy, the meaning of Calabar is not certain but Rosalind Hackett in her scholarly work, Religion in Calabar: The Religious Life and History of a Nigerian Town stated that Calabar might have been derived from the Portuguese word calabarra or calabaro which means ‘the bar is silent’, in a reference to the calm waters of the estuary. Considering the fact that the Portuguese were some of the first Europeans to land in Nigeria, this may not be an entirely implausible idea. However, another suggestion is that Dutch explorers who also frequented the area in the earlier times referred to the place as Olde Carlburg which is German. Also, when the British came, they pronounced Kalabari (for the Kalabari people whose ancestor was Perebo Kalabari) as Calabar, which later became the name for Old Calabar, an Efik town. Whew!
11.  DAMATURU, Yobe

Damaturu-36-States-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

Historically a base for pastoral Fulanis, Damaturu is the capital of Yobe State. Turu is a kind of Fulani drum (Turu can also mean the name of a Fulani subethnic group) while Dama is the name of another ethnic group.
12.   DUTSE, Jigawa

Dutse-36-State-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

This is quite straightforward. Dutse means ‘stone’ in Hausa. It also means rocks and the name was derived from the hilly rocks that encircled the town of Garu, the headquarters of the Dutse Emirate.
13.   ENUGU, Enugu

Enugu-36-State-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

Also known as Nigeria’s coal city, Enugu derived its name from two local words enu ugwu which means ‘top of the hill’. Amazingly, that itself is a derivative of the village of Enugu Ngwo, which is located just to the west of the city. Enugu City itself is not on the hill, it is actually at the base of a plateau but the village is situated right on top of the hill.

14.   GOMBE, Gombe

Gombe-36-State-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

Established as emirate during Jihad by Modibbo Buba Yero, a Fulani warrior and student of Uthman Dan Fodio in 1800, the modern-day Gombe State was carved out of Bauchi State. Gombe was known in the 1930s for its groundnuts and for cotton in the 1950s. Today nko? Gombe is mainly populated by Fulanis and the state has been named ‘Gombe’ which is the dialect of Fulani language (Fulfulde)spoken in the area.

 15.  GUSAU, Zamfara

Gusau-36-State-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

The word was derived from the Hausa word ‘gusa’ which means ‘move’.
16.  IBADAN, Oyo

Ibadan-36-States-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

Ibadan is a name derived from Yoruba words  Ẹ̀bá-Ọ̀dàn, which means ‘Edge of the Savannah.’ The capital city is also nicknamed Ile Oluyole (Oluyole’s residence).
17.   IKEJA, Lagos

Lagos-36-State-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

Now, this is an interesting one. IKEJA is an abbreviation that stands for Ikorodu and Epe Joint Administration, a term that was used by the British colonial masters to assist in the administration of the Lagos colony.

18.   ILORIN, Kwara

Ilorin-36-State-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

Ojo Isekuse is one of the legendary founders of Ilorin. While he was alive, he worked with iron tools and he had a special stone called Okuta Ilo Irin (which means stone for sharpening metals, okuta means stone, irin means metal or iro while lo is to grind in Yoruba). The Ilorin is a contraction of the Ilo Irin. The stone is located at the Asaju’s Compound at Idi-Ape Quarters and can still be seen till date. At a point, the stone was worshipped and used as a site of ritual sacrifice.

19.   JALINGO, Taraba

Jalingo-36-State-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

According to the book, The Emirates of Northern Nigeria: A Preliminary Survey of their Historical Traditions, Jalingo was derived from the Fulani word which means ‘to conquer’.

20.  JOS, Plateau

Jos-36-State-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

The original name for the city of Jos was Gwosh which was actually the name of an old village that was located at the site of the present-day Jos. Another explanation has it that Jos is a shortened form of ‘Jasad’ which meant ‘body’ in order to distinguish it from the surrounding hill tops. It was referred to as ‘Jas’ but when the British colonists mispronounced it as ‘Jos’.
21.   KADUNA, Kaduna

Kaduna-36-State-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

In Hausa language, kaduna means crocodiles, in apparent reference to the ones living in the Kaduna River. Simple. Kada is singular for crocodile.

22.  KANO, Kano

Kano-36-State-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

The legendary Kano Emirate was said to have been established around the AD 999 and it was named after Kano, a blacksmith of the Gaya tribe who settled in the area while sourcing for ironstone (from which iron can be smelted) around the Dalla Hill. Kano itself was initially called Dalla and would eventually be captured by the rampaging British in 1903.
 23.   KATSINA, Katsina

Katsina-36-State-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

Founded in cc. 1100, Katsina was named for Katsina, the wife of Janzama, the local ruler at that time. She was also a princess of Daura.
 24.   LAFIA, Nasarawa

Lafia-36-States-Capital-Meanings_Naijarchives

Lafia means ‘peace’.

 

25.   LOKOJA, Kogi

Lokoja-36-State-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

There are various explanations for the meaning of Lokoja. A 1986 publication of the Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria states that according to tradition, the origin of Lokoja can be traced to one of the kings of the Patti, a hill-top settlement. This king was named Oki and he called his town Olo Koja (which means the Strong). In the local Oworo languages, there is another version where Lokoja is said to mean ‘ a fine place that has men attracted to it’. There is another Nupe explanation that renders it as Patti Lakonji meaning ‘Hill of the Dove’. But that is not all, Baikie speakers say Lokoja means ‘the tree with the red bark.’ The Yoruba version states that it is derived from Ilu Oke Oja meaning ‘country of the scattered villages’. Now, pick yours!

 

26.  MAIDUGURI, Borno

Maiduguri-36-State-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

Duguri is a Kanuri word which means ‘bottom’ or ‘low’. Borno is one of the two Kanuri-majority states in Nigeria. The other is Yobe. Mai means king. You do the collabo yourself na

 

27.  MAKURDI, Benue

Makurdi-36-State-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

Established in the early 1920s, Makurdi is renowned as one of the food baskets of Nigeria. Makurdi is a river port and is older than the state itself which was created in 1976. The first settlers in the area were Hausas and the name of the city was derived from the Hausa word ‘kurdi’ which means a flow of water from a central point to create a lagoon, in reference to the swift flow of water from the Benue River. Kurdi itself was coined from kurdawa. However, an alternate explanation states that it means Mai Kudi, meaning ‘a person who has money’, also of Hausa origin.

28.   MINNA, Niger

Minna-36-State-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

Minna is the corrupted form of myina, a Gwari word meaning ‘to spread fire’. The word itself can be traced back to the ancient annual ritual bonfire and festival celebrated in front of the Gwari chief’s residence on top of the Paida Hill. Some of the most prominent Gwari indigenes from the state including former heads of state and army generals Abubakar Abdulsalami and Ibrahim Babangida.
29.   OSHOGBO (OSOGBO), Osun

Osogbo-36-State-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

Osogbo is said to be translated to mean ‘misfortune’ or in another variant, Oso Igbo, the goddess of the Osun River, after which the state itself was named.

30.  OWERRI, Imo

Owerri-36-State-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

The proper name of the capital of Imo State is Owere but it has been anglicized to Owerri. History has it that the city was founded in the 14th century by Ekwem Oha. Ekwem had fled from Umuori Village in Uratta when an argument broke out with his younger brother, Ndum, over the funeral cow of their late dad. Over fears that Ndum wanted to assassinate him over disagreement on how to share the cow, Ekwem, who was the first son, fled to Egbu, a neighbouring town where he settled. However, his sister was not too comfortable at Egbu thinking that Ndum could still kill him there and told him to move further. Thus, one night, assisted by an owa (native torch) he left Egbu with some assistants and headed to an unknown destination where they eventually settled permanently far from the sight of the devious Ndum. This new place was on a hill and was called Ugwu Ekema. Tired after the long journey, upon reaching the hill top they cried out in excitement:

Owere la ihe maraya aka

Meaning: He has taken what is his right, or what rightly belonged to him.

Thereafter, he beat the drums as his sister had advised so that they could know his new location. Thereafter, she went to his new location and they celebrated.

31.  PORT HARCOURT, Rivers

Port-Harcourt-36-State-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

Port Harcourt was named after Lewis Vernon Harcourt, 1st Viscount Harcourt who was then the Colonial Secretary (Secretary of State of the Colonies since 1910 to 1915) in charge of the area. Upon the establishment of the port in 1912, there was a furore as to what name to give it. In August 1913, Sir Frederick Lugard, the Governor-General wrote to Harcourt: “…in the absence of any convenient local name, I would respectfully ask your permission to call this Port Harcourt.” To which he replied: “It gives me pleasure to accede to your suggestion that my name should be associated with the new Port.

Lewia Vernon Harcourt.

Lewis Vernon Harcourt.
 32.  SOKOTO, Sokoto

Sokoto-36-State-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

Named after the defunct Sokoto Caliphate, an empire that stretched from Burkina Faso to Cameroon. The Caliphate itself once consisted of more than 30 different emirates. Sokoto (or Sakwatto) is the anglicized version of the Arabic word ‘suk’ which means ‘market’ or ‘place of commerce’. Sakwatto Birnin Shehu da Bello means Sokoto, the Capital of Shehu and Bello, in reference to Shehu Usman Dan Fodio, the founder of the Caliphate and first Sultan of Sokoto. Mohammed Bello was his son and second Sultan. Upon his death, his brother, Abu Bakr Atiku took over.
 33.  UMUAHIA, Abia

Umuahia-36-State-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

The name ‘Umuahia’ started off as a Central Market Post referred to as Ama Ahia which         means market place. With time, the name was transformed to become what it is called today: Umuahia.
34.  UYO, Akwa Ibom

Uyo-36-State-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

Uyo is named for the wild apple fruit called uyo in the area. Uyo people from Edik were said to have settled in the area in search of the uyo which was commonly found in the area as an indigenous. The uyo fruit is edible, has medicinal properties and in fact, it is used in making a popular dish and it is called ‘Efere Mbukpap Uyo’.

35.  YENAGOA, Bayelsa

Yenagoa-36-State-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

Yenagoa was named after Yenagoa, one of the most popular traditional market centers. Others include Lobia, Patani, Tereke, Iwoama and Igwueama.
36.  YOLA, Adamawa

Yola-36-State-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

Yola is derived from the Fulfulde (the language of the Fulanis is called Fulfulde) word yolde meaning ‘an extensive rising ground’, or an elevated point.
FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY

Abuja-36-State-Capitals-Meanings_Naijarchives

Or you thought I’d forget Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory? No! Nigeria’s capital city took its name from the ancient Hausa emirate of Abuja which itself was in turn named after a fortified settlement near Zuba by Abu(bakar) Ja in 1828 (meaning Abu the Red (or Fair-Skinned like some Fulanis), ja is the word for red or fair-complexioned in Hausa). In 1976, a panel headed by Justice Akinola Aguda selected Abuja as the new capital as Lagos was then suffering from overcongestion. Abuja was originally established by the ruling Hausa dynasty of Zaria in the 1600s. And did I tell you? ABJ is Nigeria’s first planned city. Okay, I guess that’s it!

THANKS FOR YOUR TIME.

 

Exposed:Shady&Highly Corruption in Nigeria’s Oil deals 32: REVEALED: Nigerians Ask Why Oil Funds Are Missing

Nigerians Ask Why Oil Funds Are Missing By ADAM NOSSITER

Even in a country where untold oil wealth disappears into the pockets of the elite, the oil corruption scheme he was investigating seemed outsize — and he threatened to lay it bare at a meeting with Nigeria’s top bankers.

The rabble-rouser was none other than the governor of the country’s central bank. Weeks later, however, he was out, fired by Nigeria’s president in an episode that has shaken the Nigerian economy, filled newspapers and airwaves here, and even inspired a rare street demonstration.

The bankers were going to have to open their books, the governor, Lamido Sanusi, warned them at the recent meeting. He wanted to see where the money was going — $20 billion from oil sales that, mysteriously, was not making its way to the treasury, in a country that could soon be declared Africa’s biggest economy and already attracts the most direct foreign investment on the continent, according to the United Nations.

But his suspicions were cutting too close, Mr. Sanusi said — too close to an oil-politics nexus that both feeds the political establishment in Nigeria, in his view and that of analysts, and deprives the country of vital revenue.

Lamido Sanusi, the ousted head of Nigeria’s central bank, had been investigating the cause of the missing oil funds.

The charge of missing oil money is not new in Nigeria. In recent years, government commissions, parliamentary inquiries and civil society groups have all pointed to serious shortfalls in the disbursement of oil revenues. Their findings have been ignored.

This time, the accusations appear not to be going away: Never before has an official at Mr. Sanusi’s level made them.

In interviews here, Mr. Sanusi gave a detailed account of the events that he said led to his ouster on Feb. 20, a dismissal that continues to depress the country’s currency and frighten investors. He said his warning to the bankers had been reported straight back to the threatened seat of power in the country’s capital, Abuja.

It was too much, he said. With his accusations, which outside analysts consider credible, the soft-spoken, bow-tied central banker appeared to have penetrated to the heart of the country’s entrenched corruption problem.

In 2009, Mr. Sanusi took aim at Nigeria’s failing banking sector, shutting down fraudulent banks, uncovering theft that led to an unprecedented conviction, and earning trust in international financial markets. He was named central bank governor of the year by The Banker magazine in 2011, and is a suited-up member of his country’s establishment, as an heir to the position of emir in the ancient northern city of Kano, one of Nigeria’s highest-status designations.

But then he began taking on the government oil agency, which determines whether oil-dependent Nigeria rises or falls. Specifically, he accused the Nigerian National Petroleum C orporation — the agency that buys, sells, regulates and produces the country’s oil — of not turning over earnings to the country’s central bank. The country is Africa’s largest oil exporter, oil prices were steady or rising, yet Nigeria’s financial reserves were falling. It was a mystery. The money was missing. Mr. Sanusi said he feared an eventual collapse of Nigeria’s currency.

Backed by calculations, he presented his findings to a Nigerian Senate committee early in February. “A substantial amount of money has gone,” Mr. Sanusi said in an interview at the mansion reserved for the country’s central banker, which he will soon have to leave. “I wasn’t just talking about numbers. I showed it was a scam.”

At a time when political energy in Africa’s most populous country is focused on next year’s elections — and staying in power is costly for a governing party that functions as a patronage machine — Mr. Sanusi knew exactly which interests he had menaced, he said. He had been warned to “cool down.”

“By making N.N.P.C. an issue now, the source of money for financing elections is threatened,” Mr. Sanusi said, referring to the petroleum corporation. “If this is stopped, there will be no money to finance the elections.”

On the other hand, if it was not stopped, the risk to Nigeria’s economy was grave, the central banker suggested. “It was critical that we stop this hemorrhage,” he said. “Otherwise, we can’t maintain stability. Reserves had gone way down. We would watch the naira collapse,” he said of the nation’s currency.

Alarmed, Mr. Sanusi said, he went in front of Nigeria’s top banking heads for a semimonthly meeting on Feb. 11 and “threatened to open the books of the bankers, to trace the money.” He suspected some were laundering stolen oil money.

“Some of them were not giving information about their accounts,” the central banker said. “I told them I would order a special examination.”

One of the bankers at the meeting said, referring to the Central Bank of Nigeria, “He made it clear to them that the C.B.N. would need to unravel what was going on, and they should cooperate.”

Many of the bankers became angry. “One of us said, ‘What next?’ “ a second banker said. “There was a general heaviness. He spoke tough.” Both bankers requested anonymity.

Panicked, several of the bankers went straight to the government, Mr. Sanusi said. Two of the bankers — he would not identify them — “went and reported to the petroleum minister,” he said. And at that moment, his days were numbered.

“The strategy of the government was to discredit the messenger,” he said. The Nigerian president “doesn’t want me to bring out any more information that would get them into trouble.”

Mr. Sanusi’s account is “untrue,” a spokesman for President Goodluck Jonathan said.

“Mr. Sanusi has been making all kinds of claims to project himself as a victim,” the spokesman, Reuben Abati, said in an email, accusing the former bank governor of “financial recklessness, abuse of mandate, incompetence and criminal acts of negligence.”

Mr. Sanusi has not been charged with any crimes, and the most Mr. Jonathan held him responsible for in a series of counteraccusations that emerged after the bank governor raised an alarm over the oil money was having perhaps “sidestepped civil-service rules.”

Outside analysts appear to be in large agreement that Mr. Sanusi’s claim of vast missing oil revenues is plausible.

Nigeria’s state oil sales “feature undue complexity, extensive discretion and well-documented flaws,” Revenue Watch, a group focused on natural-resource management, wrote in an examination of the central banker’s declarations. “In such a system, the line between mismanagement and corruption is difficult to draw, as shortcomings in process often benefit specific private interests.”

One such “shortcoming” was laid bare by Mr. Sanusi last month to the parliamentary committee: a phony subsidy on kerosene that he determined to be a racket, costing the Nigerian treasury billions of dollars and greatly benefiting what he called a “syndicate” of marketers and unknown others. Mr. Sanusi showed that any official subsidy on kerosene had long since been abolished, that the petroleum corporation was nonetheless selling kerosene to marketers at less than a third of its purchase price on the international market and that the Nigerian marketers were then selling kerosene to the public at prices 300 to 500 percent above what they had paid for it.

“It’s just a big scam,” Mr. Sanusi said in the interview. “The amount is shared by a cabal.”

Though his official term would have ended in June anyway, Mr. Sanusi said, he is challenging his removal in court. In a judiciary that is only lightly insulated from political pressure, the outcome is uncertain, though perhaps not with the wider public. One of the bankers at the Feb. 11 meeting said: “For me personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the position he has taken. We are Nigerians. We owe it to this country that things are run properly.”

One of Nigeria’s leading activists, Tunde Bakare, a founder of the pro-democracy organization Save Nigeria Group, said: “This is going to be tried in the court of public opinion. We can’t wish this matter away. Twenty billion dollars is not going to go away overnight.”

Obasanjo and godliness in politics By IMIKAN ATTAH

It came as the surprise of the year for me to hear the statement credited to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, three times President of Nigeria, that “politics is not for the ungodly.” For any student of logic, you are taught a system of reasoning called Deductive Reasoning. Logical conclusions are drawn based on certain premises.

Taking the statement- Politics is not for the ungodly- it is ‘politically correct’ to subject it to rigorous logical imperatives:

Premise 1: Politics is not for the ungodly

Premise 2: Obasanjo is a politician

Therefore: Obasanjo is godly.

The substance of this conclusion, will also be subjected to some examination; not at all rigorous but dispassionate, to determine the mystery of godliness! Indeed, Obasanjo’s words and actions are measurable, and worthy of close examination.

Last month, Obasanjo, on a trip to the UK, told a gathering that Dr. Goodluck Jonathan had previously repeatedly told him that he (Jonathan) would only spend one term in office, and that in view of current denials, that the “most important thing in life” was for one to be a man of one’s words.

He then waited long enough for Jonathan’s reaction; and when the silence became deafening, he shot back with –politics is not for the ungodly.

Politics is not for the likes of Dr Jonathan.

Obasanjo had one term as President, after which his securing his 2nd term ticket as allowed by the constitution became uncertain. The apostle of do-or-die politics then staged and arranged the marking of ballot papers, such that the Open Secret aspect of the primaries became a mockery; a rape on democracy. He marked out those who voted against him!

During campaigning then, the EFCC repeatedly sent him incriminating evidence of criminal activities of one of his Governors. These, Obasanjo waved aside because this Governor promised and delivered 100% delegate votes in the above-mentioned presidential primaries.

He even gave the Governor the all-clear to contest for a 2nd term (mercifully, at the end of his tenure, the said Governor was later tried in a British court and is now serving 14 years for the same offence previously covered up! Did this, in Caeser, seem honorable?

Next, Obasanjo embarked on the path of tinkering with the constitution, for the critical national issue of getting himself a 3rd term in office. When asked if he was indeed making overtures for a 3rd term, he replied that even his chickens were expecting him back at his farm after his 2nd term.

But it was not until the legislature quashed all his surreptitious 3rd term moves that he reluctantly left office.

Was that godly?

It is amazing that the same person is now holding a gun to Dr Jonathan’s head to spend just one term in office. I happened to have served as one of the masters of ceremony during the presidential visit (by Obasanjo) to Bayelsa with Dr Jonathan, then Governor, as host. At several of the events, Obasanjo had described Dr Jonathan as a godly, God fearing man.

Suddenly, curiously just before Dr Jonathan’s anticipated declaration to contest a 2nd term, he has become a man whose words are not to be trusted. An ungodly man!

Again, in Obasanjo’s curious open letter to Dr Jonathan, he had harped extensively on the security situation in the North East, and had alluded to how the Federal Government was not acting. But the same condemnable, murderous actions of the Boko Haram in the North are what Obasanjo himself unleashed on the people of the Niger Delta when he was president. He sent a detachment of troops against whole communities of the Niger Delta, over problems of internal conflict. Whole communities were razed (Odi), and the few surviving women and children were repeatedly raped and abused in broad daylight by soldiers.

All of this is documented and was even presented before the Oputa Panel. That time, Obasanjo raised no alarm about the horrors, mayhem and insecurity that he had created. No open letters were sent out. But what is a fact is that there is no part of Nigeria that was spared his onslaught when he was President.

In Lagos, a state with a population then of over 12 million (the equivalent of three full countries) and few local governments on a tiny land mass; the then Governor decided to split the state into smaller local governments for more effective governance.

But simply because that Governor was in the opposition party, Obasanjo kicked against this brilliant administrative step, and harshly and illegally withheld all their funds from the federation account for years, right up until he left office. He put Lagos people under siege and starved the people, just to play his so-called godly politics.

While the naira plummeted and the cost of staple foods skyrocketed to highest recorded levels, and while the Boko Haram and militant groups were being formed and birthed under his watch, he spent a great deal of the nation`s resources and of his time ordering presidential jets on junkets around the world, chasing invisible foreign investors at astronomical cost.

Obasanjo went after the oil resources in Akwa Ibom with most unbridled avarice. He decreed that no offshore oil belonged to coastal states, but rather to him at the centre, and collected all the money from oil exports, which he put into a secret account only he and his cronies could access.

With all ruthlessness, he took Akwa Ibom to court for even daring to request for a tiny portion of these revenues; and even backdated and deducted all previous payments made to the state in order to starve the people and punish the governor for ever daring the GODLY President.

Every human index fell, every sector of socio-economic life collapsed under Obasanjo in his Joseph-like dreamland; and now he says politics is not for the ungodly. Indeed, he is right. Politics is not for the ungodly. That is why politics is not; and will never be evermore for Obasanjo.

•Chief Imikan Attah is a broadcaster, and former columnist with Daily Sun

How we got into this mess by Femi Adesina

It was a dirge, an elegy, that my colleague Funke Egbemode wrote on the back page of Sunday Sun this week.  She was mourning, weeping, and lamenting the mindless slaughter of students at the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, in Yobe State.  More than 40 of those young people had their throats slit while they slept in their dormitories, reportedly by insurgents called Boko Haram.

I was in an aircraft to Asaba, enroute Onitsha, in Anambra State, when I read Egbemode’s piece.  Another colleague, Steve Nwosu, was seated right beside me.  I told him: “Great piece.  Vintage Funke.  Please read it.”

Egbemode is a mother many times over.  But I also know she had lost a baby in her childbearing days.  She had written about it in the past, so the pathos, the plaintiveness of personal experience was evident in her current piece.  Who feels it knows it.  You could feel the pain, the passion of a mother who has passed through the path. A path watered by tears.

A scripture came to my mind after reading the piece.  “A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning.  Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.  (Matthew 2:18).”

The children in Buni Yadi are not.  They had been bludgeoned, decapitated, some burnt alive, and no one heard their cries.  Not a country too engrossed with playing the politics of 2015.  Not a land consumed in the paroxysm of hate, ill will, strife, a people held in the gall and thrall of bitterness.  It is a country soused in infamy, marooned in the throes of resentment and acrimony.  No wonder mothers are like the biblical Rachel, filled with “lamentation and weeping, and great mourning.”  They are refusing to be consoled.

Egbemode asked these germane questions in her piece:  “How did we get here?  How did we inherit a nation where we slit the throats of teenage boys and night marauders carry off our innocent girls to places unknown?  How, dear Lord, did we get to this evil pass when our children are snatched from our breasts?”

I will attempt to tackle the questions, because I think I know the answer: how did we get here?  How did we become a country (I don’t like using the word nation, because we’re not) of vinegary people, always serving one another wormwood and gall?  And we take so much delight in doing it, while an unconcerned leadership looks on in supercilious indifference.  When they get tired of killing one another, they will stop.  More champagne, please.

How did we get into this mess?  I know it.  Suspicion led us into it.  Ethnic insularity charted the course.  Religious intolerance sped our feet on the path.  Corruption and rapacity set fire to our heels.  Neglect of the poor and the helpless by those in government, who don’t give a damn for the feelings of the deprived, the bitter, the angry, positioned us in this cauldron.  Because when all these things are fully grown, they lead to malice, and malice gives birth to hatred.  When hatred is fully mature, a country finds herself where Nigeria is today.  In a maelstrom, bedlam, turmoil, whirlpool.  Turning and turning in the widening gyre, the falcon can no longer hear the falconer.  Things fall apart, and mere anarchy is loosed (on Nigeria).

Buni Yadi occurred a couple of days before a jamboree called centenary celebrations.  Nigeria was billed to mark 100 years of the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates, an event forced on us by Lord Lugard in 1914.  World leaders had been invited.  But as the zero hour approached, the innermost pit of hell was opened, and Buni Yadi happened.  What would a more sensitive country have done?  Cancel the jamboree, pronto!  But not Nigeria.  It was quite sickening, stomach churning to see us proceed with the so-called centenary celebrations, even as the wailings of those young students still hung in the firmament, on the way to heaven.  Parents were mourning.  The land was crying in revulsion, as the blood of those young people sunk into the earth.  But Nigeria was clinking glasses.  Emperor Nero was fiddling, while Rome burnt.  By the mercies of God, why did we not cancel those centenary activities, after Buni Yadi?  The world would have respected us more, they would have seen us as a people that are sober and reflective.  The president should have called a solemn assembly, instead of the fanfare in Abuja.  We should have sat in ashes, and worn sackcloth, entreating God for mercy on our country, pleading for forgiveness over the gruesome murder of those more than 40 young people.  But not Nigeria.  The show must go on.  Don’t stop the music, it is food for the soul.  Play on.  And God was watching.  And Jesus wept.  Again.

Beloved countrymen and women, that is why we are in this mess.  That is why we are in this sorry pass.  Nigeria does not give a damn.  In this country, you are O.Y.O – On Your Own.  It is everyman for himself, and God for us all.  Don’t look up to your neighbour, he doesn’t care.  Don’t look up to government, they don’t know you are there.  In fact, as far as they are concerned, you do not even exist.   And if you exist at all, they don’t owe anybody a living.

Did you notice the calibre of the so-called world leaders who attended the centenary celebration?  How many Grade A leaders did you see there?  They could not have come, when Nigeria was flowing with blood and gore.  They could not have shown their faces, when the country was suffused in bitterness, rivalry and hatred.  Not many major leaders would come and clink glasses some hours after more than 40 young people had been so cruelly slain.  Only Nigeria would have proceeded with such celebration, because she doesn’t care, she doesn’t give a damn.

At the risk of being branded a dissident (I tell you, I’m a loyal Nigerian through and through), I agree with the position of Gov Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State on the centenary celebration. “Can we really celebrate when our children are being slaughtered while at school?  Can we really celebrate when our fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters are being slaughtered like chickens?  Can we really celebrate when fellow citizens live in constant and growing fear of kidnappers, hired assassins and armed robbers?  Can we really celebrate when those constitutionally empowered to protect us turn their fury on us?  In these questions lie the state of the nation.  Where is the country headed?  Where will the country be in another hundred years?  What legacy are we leaving for our children?”

These are very sobering thoughts.  With hate, malice, ill will, ethnic jingoism, religious intolerance, governmental disdain and levity, where will Nigeria be in the next 100 years?  Or even in the next ten or 20 years?  Or even in 2015, after the elections?  Very thought provoking questions.  And unless we change our ways, both the citizens and the government, the answer will continue to blow in the wind.

After Buni Yadi, the trail of bloodbath continued.  To Maiduguri.  To Mafa, which was completely set ablaze, to Mainok, and many others.  Over 300 lives have been lost in one week, and that is the same week the leadership of the ruling party felt it was right to congregate in Kwara, and accept decampees.  Fine, nothing wrong in taking in new members, but not in a week of blood.  The president was there, the vice president was there, decked in aso ebi, when they should be mourning, fasting and praying.  Now, you know why we are where we are.  It is not just about President Goodluck Jonathan, not just about Vice President Namadi Sambo, it is about the way we are.  We don’t give a damn!  If only we did!

Another thing that has landed us in a mess is corruption.  When you drive on pothole-riddled roads, it is the result of corruption.  Each time you turn the switch, and there is no electricity, it is the fruit of corruption.  Each time anyone dies prematurely, due to lack of medical care, corruption is the grim reaper.  Children learn under trees, sit on bare floors in public schools?  Corruption.  No petrol, no kerosene, because the refineries are not working?  Corruption.  Graduates are unemployed because there are no jobs, corruption.  And you have millions of youths, a potential army of Armageddon, roaming the streets angry and hungry, waiting to be recruited into Boko Haram, into an armed robbery group, into a kidnap gang.  Like somebody told me last week, when you produce graduates of Physics or Chemistry, and they have no jobs, they are potential bomb makers, because it’s a piece of cake for them to assemble bombs.  When you have people who have no stake in society, no job, no pay, no investment, they then have no reason to preserve the equilibrium of that society.  In fact, they have no qualms moving against society, like Boko Haram is doing today.  When you have no need for water from a well, you may as well urinate in that same well.  Yorubas call it bo le ya, ko ya.  If it would tear, let it tear.  If it would break, what’s stopping it?  Nigeria has a large army of people with that mindset.  The country does not give a damn about them, and they too do not care a hoot.  And that is why we are where we are.

I must not forget to say kind words about our security forces.  They are doing their level best.  But water is now more than the yam flour.  The Army, Air Force, Police, and the State Security Service, are stretched to the limits.  Special kudos to the SSS, however, for the way they cracked the riddle of the murder of Islamic cleric, Sheikh Auwal Adam Albani, in record time.  The man was killed in Zaria on February 1, and some days ago, the SSS paraded the self-confessed killers, trailing some of them to as far as Cameroun.  Good job!  Despite where we are and how we are, some people still make us proud.

Egbemode, in that jeremiad she wrote last Sunday, advocated full emergency rule in states where insurgency prevails.  She wants military administrators in place.  Is that a magic ward?  No.  I’ll rather identify with the solution former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar proffered.  Engage the people more.  Improve on what the Civilian JTF has been doing.  It will have more long-lasting effect than complete military crackdown.  You had that in Iraq, did it work?  You had it in Afghanistan, did it end terror?  A man conquered by force is only half-conquered.  The fact that you have silenced a man does not mean you have won him to your side.  Sending military administrators to Boko Haram-infested states will only win some battles, it will not win the war.  If it wins the war temporarily, it will not win the peace.  History has shown that to us clearly.  The only tragedy is that we never learn from history. And  “those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  (George Santayana).

Gov Amaechi is worried about what happens to Nigeria in the next 100 years.  A legitimate thing!  But me, I have learnt never to worry about tomorrow.  Worry never takes away tomorrow’s troubles, it only saps today of its strength.  We will do our best for Nigeria today.  We will say what needs to be said now.  Let those who will be here in 100 years worry about that time. Will you be among?

 

10 Richest World Pastors in 2013

Meet The Top 10 Richest Pastors In The World for th year 2013

I’d wanted to know the richest pastors in the world because many rumours and varying versions occur but somehow I stumbled upon the authentic version. While I dont want to be judgemental because there is nothing wrong in being wealthy. It is only the heart, the desires and method which you use to get the wealth that will judge you and determine if you are righteous or not. God is the Ultimate Judge in nthis as He alone knows all we dont know. He is The OmniPotent, OmniScient and OmniPresent.

One of the most righteous men in The Bible – Job, was also the richest man in the world in his time. (Job 1 v1). It is not wrong for a preacher to be rich but God will judge the source and the motives. “The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it” Prov 22 v 10. So,if you are blessed by God, you can be rich. Lord Jesus made some promises in the scriptures for those who sacrifice many things (like many preachers do) to serve Him.   “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.” Matthew 19:29. It was also re-iterated in Luke 18:29-30 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.” and  in Mark 10:29-30 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life”

If you do calculations well,100 fold of many things mean a lot. Let’s not be over-judgemental in issues but to investigate thoroughly and prove all things and hold fast to that which is true.

This is a list of the richest pastors worldwide.

1. Bishop T. D Jakes: Bishop Jakes lives in a $1,700,000 mansion, he has been called America’s best preacher and has been featured on the cover of TIME magazine. He is a writer, preacher and movie producer. Thomas Dexter “T. D.” Jakes, Sr. is the bishop/chief pastor of The Potter’s House, a non-denominational American mega church, with 30,000 members, located in Dallas, Texas. T.D Jakes wears custom made suits and sports a diamond ring the size of a coin. This man of God has been endowed with a $150 million net worth.

2. Bishop David Oyedepo: Bishop David Oyedepo is a Nigerian Preacher, Christian Author, Founder and Presiding Bishop of Winners Chapel known as Living Faith Church World Wide. The Faith Tabernacle, where he hosts four services every Sunday, is Africa’s largest worship center, with a seating capacity of 50,000. Has been hailed as the wealthiest preacher in Nigeria with a total net worth of $150 million and properties like 4 private jets and homes in the United States and England. After the foundation of the Living Faith Outreach Ministry in 1981, it has evolved to be one of the largest congregations in Africa and has a flourishing mission in Nairobi.  He also owns Dominion Publishing House, a thriving publishing company that publishes all his books (which occassionally may center on prosperity). He founded and owns Covenant University, one of Nigeria’s leading tertiary institutions, and Faith Academy, an elite high school.

3. E A Adeboye:Enoch Adejare Adeboye is a Nigerian pastor and the General Overseer of Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG). Pastor Adeboye has a PhD in applied mathematics from the University of Lagos, and worked as a lecturer in mathematics at the universities of Lagos and Ilorin. After joining the RCCG, he began working to translate the sermons of its then Pastor and founder, Rev. Josiah Olufemi Akindayomi, from Yoruba into English.

In 1981 Adeboye was appointed General Overseer of the church, taking over from Papa Akindayomi, who had died the previous year.For three years he filled the role part-time, still lecturing at Ilorin, until giving up his university position to preach full-time. The church, which was not well known before Adeboye took charge, now claims branches in over a hundred countries, including more than 14,000 in Nigeria.

This messenger of God was listed in an African magazine, NEWSWEEK, as the most powerful man in Africa and one of the top 50 global power elites in 2008/2009, among others such as President Barack Obama and Nicolas Sarkozy. .Amongst his possessions are private jets.

4. Benny Hinn: Israeli televangelist,Toufik Benedictus “Benny” Hinn has an estimated net worth of $42 million. He is best known for his regular “Miracle Crusades” – revival meeting/faith healing summits that are usually held in large stadiums in major cities, which are later broadcast worldwide on his television program, “This Is Your Day”. Hinn was born on December 3, 1952.

5. Chris Oyakhilome: This is the man behind Believers’ Loveworld Ministries, a.k.a Christ Embassy.His church has an estimated net worth of $30 million – $50 million last year, the charismatic preacher was at the center of a $35 million money laundering case in which he was accused of siphoning funds from his church to foreign banks.Last year, the charismatic preacher was at the center of a $35 million money laundering case in which he was accused of siphoning funds from his church to foreign banks. Pastor Chris pleaded no wrongdoing and the case was eventually dismissed. His church, Christ Embassy, boasts more than 40,000 members, several of whom are successful business executives and politicians. Oyakhilome’s diversified interests include newspapers, magazines, a local television station, a record label, satellite TV, hotels and extensive real estate. His Loveworld TV Network is the first Christian network to broadcast from Africa to the rest of the world on a 24 hour basis.His ministry runs several arms including the Healing School, Rhapsody of Realities (a daily devotional with global reach), and an N.G.O called the Innercity Missions as well as three Christian television channels: LoveWorld TV, LoveWorld SAT and LoveWorld Plus.

Pastor Chris Oyakhilome’s television programs feature his faith healings, miracles and large meetings which his ministry organizes around the world, with gatherings over 2.5 million people in a single night’s event. He is one of the most influential preachers in Africa and as a result has been the target of the Nigerian government’s scrutiny for his meetings and miracles

6. Creflo Dollar: Creflo Augustus Dollar, Jr is an American Bible teacher, pastor, and the founder of World Changers Church International,based in Fulton County, Georgia. Creflo Dollar Ministerial Association (formerly called International Covenant Ministries), Creflo Dollar Ministries, and Arrow Records. Each of these enterprises is overseen by Dollar and his wife, Taffi Dollar. Creflo Dollar, has an estimated net worth of $27 million. As his name suggests, this preacher’s “manna” comes in form of the green buck. 

7. Kenneth Copeland: He runs Kenneth Copeland Ministries, was one of several televangelists whose finances were investigated from 2007 to 2011 by Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa.

According to an article by the Associated Press that ran in 2008, “His ministry’s 1,500-acre campus, behind an iron gate a half-hour drive from Fort Worth includes a church, a private airstrip, a hangar for the ministry’s $17.5 million jet and other aircraft, and a $6 million church owned lakefront mansion.

The article later added that while Copeland has not released up-to-date salary statements, “the church disclosed in a property-tax exemption application that his wages were $364,577 in 1995; Copeland’s wife, Gloria, earned $292,593. It’s not clear whether those figures include other earnings, such as special offerings for guest preaching or book royalties.”

8. Billy Graham: American evangelical Christian evangelist, William Franklin “Billy” Graham, Jr. was born on a dairy farm near Charlotte, North Carolina in 1918, he has conducted many evangelistic crusades since 1948 . He is now a world renowned televangelist raking in millions of dollars.He was ordained as a Southern Baptist minister, who rose to celebrity status in 1949 reaching a core constituency of white, middle-class, moderately conservative Protestants. He held large indoor and outdoor rallies; sermons were broadcast on radio and television, some still being re-broadcast today. Graham was a spiritual adviser to several Presidents; he was particularly close to Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson (who was considered to be one of Graham’s closest friends) and Richard Nixon. During the civil rights movement, he began to support integrated seating for his revivals and crusades; in 1957 he invited Martin Luther King, Jr. to preach jointly at a revival in New York City. Graham bailed King out of jail in the 1960s when he was arrested in demonstrations.

Graham operates a variety of media and publishing outlets. According to his staff, more than 3.2 million people have responded to the invitation at Billy Graham Crusades to “accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior”. As of 2008, Graham’s estimated lifetime audience, including radio and television broadcasts, topped 2.2 billion. Graham has repeatedly been on Gallup’s list of most admired men and women. He has appeared on the list 55 times since 1955 (including 49 consecutive years), more than any other individual in the world. He has a net worth of $25 million.

9. Matthew Ashimolowo: Ashimolowo, the owner of Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC). Pastor Ashimolowo converted to Christianity from Islam at the age of 22 after the death of his father before enrolling with a Bible school. He used to bear the name Ahmed before his conversion. Having his humble beginnings as a priest in Foursquare Gospel Church, a Nigerian church that sent Ashimolowo to open a satellite branch in London. Pastor Matthew had other ideas and decided to set up his own church instead. Today, his Kingsway International Christian Center is reportedly the largest Pentecostal church in the whole of the United Kingdom.  In 2009, the church posted profits of close to $10 million and assets worth $40 million. Ashimolowo earns an annual salary of $200,000, but his real wealth comes from varied business interests including his media company, Matthew Ashimolowo media, which churns out Christian literature and documentaries.

This is consistent with the fact that Ashimolowo subscribes to and teaches success in the vein of Prosperity theology, which in most respects is considered controversial. He got himself into trouble sometime ago in London when the British government ordered him to pay back £200,000 (about N52 million) fine when he was found guilty of misconduct and mismanagement of the church money. He maintained he did his actions in openness and what occured was a technical error. He was also accused of using the charity’s credit card to buy a £12,000 timeshare in Florida and running a commercial business from church premises. Among benefits he received was a £120,000 birthday gift, of which £80,000 went on a Mercedes and his family lived rent-free in a house owned by the charity.

Forbes estimated Ashimolowo’s net worth is at between $6-10 million.

10. Temitope Joshua: Synagogue Church Of All Nations (SCOAN) has an estimated net worth: $10 million – $15 million Nigeria’s most controversial clergyman is also one of its richest and most philanthropic. T.B Joshua heads the Synagogue Church of all Nations (SCOAN), a congregation he founded in 1987, which accommodates over 15,000 worshippers on Sundays. The Pastor has remained controversial for several years for his inexplicable powers to heal all sorts of incurable diseases, including HIV/AIDS, cancer and paralysis. For miracle-craving worshippers, it’s the perfect seduction. The church currently has branches in Ghana, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Greece. In the past three years, he has given over $20 million to causes in education, healthcare and rehabilitation programs for former Niger Delta militants. He owns Emmanuel TV, a Christian television network, and was close friends with late Ghanaian President Atta Mills.

This is FORBES richest 10 pastors in the world. It is interesting that 5 out of the 10 are Nigerians. I am sure if the list is extended downwards to first 12, one other Nigerian Pastor and former presidential aspirant – Rev.Chris Okotie would have made that list. Church: Household of God Church Net worth: $3 million -$10 million.

Pastor Okotie made his first success as a popular pop musician in the 80s. He found the light, embraced the bible and set up the Household of God Church, one of Nigeria’s most flamboyant congregations. His 5,000 member church consists predominantly of Nollywood celebrities, musicians, and society people. He contested and lost Nigerian presidential elections for the third time this year under the Fresh Party, a political party he founded and funds. An automobile lover, he owns a Mercedes S600, Hummer and Porsche among several others

CREDITS : NAIRALAND, FORBES, WIKIPEDIA

Michael Adeyemi, a medical doctor, writer, author, blogger, activist, social critic, political and social affairs analyst-cum-commentator writes from Lagos, Nigeria.