Seductive Nostalgia: My 2011 voting experience

So over the last year I’ve been going through a phase of political detachment and I have neglected to share my views on most of the passing political events in Nigeria. However thanks to my 2015 voting experience that has all changed, I am re-engaged and resolve to care about the political direction of my country.

This Boys II Men song repeats in my head as I reflect on my 2011 voting experience and its seductive allure, ‘tell me do you remember when, everything in life was so much better then… do you remember…’. I actually do remember voting in 2011, it was a bit uncomfortable and although I was too posh to push, nevertheless I voted without much of a moan. My past political experience compared to my present is not positive. We shifted from manual to a technological process with a defunct manual finale…

Fast forward to 2015– Channels News live feed of the President voting on Saturday 28th March 2015 possibly set the tone of what I would experience on the 29th. We all laughed at the ineptitude of the dysfunctional card reader and it most certainly felt like a regular technological device failure in Nigeria, when it took several hours for President Goodluck Jonathan to get accredited. A few hours later I marched happily to my polling station, taking selfies and generally bemused by the fact there were no INEC officials or any hope of voting. We all waited around happily, diverse discussions and banter, till it became apparent there would be no voting for us on the 28th of March.

INEC thankfully extended the voting till the 29th. There was a very late start to the process at my polling unit, but it kicked off around 2pm with the over 60s getting happily accredited and there seemed to be method to the madness. At 6.15pm I got accredited, I won’t complain about the fact that the queuing sequence was obscure, I will not complain about the military presence and their random shows of force and violence (I thought this was unnecessary and definitely not experiences I recall from my past election experience), what I will complain about was the fact I got put on an INCIDENT LIST. I was so excited when I saw the card reader, my card was placed on the machine (moment of euphoria), and the INEC official put my finger onto the reader, she tried my thumb and then my index finger and yelled ‘incident list’. I was visibly confused and asked what was going on, to which another INEC official said ‘don’t worry Ma you will vote,’ as he hurriedly wrote my name and PVC (permanent voter card) number onto the incident list.

INEC Incident List & Card Reader

I would really like INEC to explain the purpose of the incident list. The Presidential live card reader failure was resolved on air, but mine was not. I simply got put onto the bottom of a long list of FAILURES. So I really need INEC to explain what the purpose of that list is, I truly hope the list will be used to justify the use or not of card readers in the process going forward. After my accreditation I thought I would have to come back and find my name on the incident list to justify my live voting experience.

THERE WAS NO LINK BETWEEN ACCREDITATION AND VOTING. So did INEC spend 4 years working on the accreditation process without visualising the link to the actual voting process and linking that to the prior? There is no way you can have a biometric voter identification process and then have a lacklustre thumb printing process with no link to the biometrics. I question why the biometric data is not linked to a national master computer list? Nostalgic for my 2011 experience, I vividly remember there were laptops used at each unit, surely this data was not destroyed and should be on a national grid for future reference and citizen identification.

Anti-Climax of life at 9.28pm when I voted

So I finally got into the booth and I was almost stunned into voting for pretty much anything, because as you tried to scan the voting sheet looking for your candidate and party of choice you were confused by the array of logos. So many questions ran through my mind…

  • Why did individual candidates engage in money politics and waste their campaign funds?
  • Why did we have card readers?
  • Where does it state this voting sheet is linked to my card reader?
  • If the card reader actually read my card, can my biometric ink print link back into it?

With the ‘who wants to be a millionaire’ phone a friend countdown tune ringing in my head, I quickly scanned each of the three sheets for the most familiar symbol and voted. I am literate but found the simplicity of the sheet and the cost of voting to be disingenuous. Anyone can simply replace all the ballot sheets at my polling unit with the number of PVC’s recorded, but there is no evidence of the link between each individual voting sheet and PVC number.

All in all, I’m glad I voted, because unless you participate in the dysfunction you can’t actually add value.

quote-one-of-the-penalties-for-refusing-to-participate-in-politics-is-that-you-end-up-being-governed-by-plato-146447

I do not want to downplay the positives of the experience, as I observed heightened engagement and camaraderie and disciplined patience to exercise civic responsibilities with eagerness and pride. I also don’t want to underplay the negatives, because a few people after me, the ballot papers would finish and there would be numerous disgruntled voters who would have to languish in a mosquito ridden, badly lit waiting zone, in anticipation of the delivery of new ballot papers.

I am not a technology ‘whiz kid’ of any sort, but there are so many loopholes that can be plugged ahead of 2019 and maybe I will blog about these in the future and give INEC the helping hand they possibly need. Whoever the winning candidate is, I implore you to restructure the voting process with urgency. I look forward to voting in 2019, because I know the whole process will be revamped and any funds further spent will be backed up with empirical and actual pilot evidence that the process is actually workable and scalable.

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My Knee Jerk reaction to SLS suspension

President Jonathan has made his most controversial move with the suspension of the individual responsible for the buoyancy of the financial markets in Nigeria today. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (SLS) will step outside his normal duties today overseeing the financial health of Nigeria.

Reuben Abati has provided lacklustre responses to the logic of this decision and we wait for more details about the charges of recklessness and misconduct against SLS. Sarah Alade the deputy CBN governor will take over as acting governor.

My knee jerk reaction is could the Presidential decision have been influenced by the SLS’s insistence on the mismanagement of funds by the NNPC. The popular maxim those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones comes to mind, maybe his aggressive stance against others has caused an overly critical ‘gaze’ on his ‘house’.

The financial health of the Nigerian markets is at risk, and any form of risk management would weigh whether the action would add greater value or the damage it might cause. Our perception could be dented because there is an undue influence in financial free markets by the state, or our global perception could be improved because we are a vigilant watchdog state ready to stamp out and punish any misdemeanour.

From knee jerk reaction to sustained effect… we will watch this space as the day unfolds!!!

Sovereign Wealth Fund – Your Democratic Dividend

Davos 2014 CNBC Africa Debate

The DAVOS 2014 CNBC Africa debate has inspired my first post in 2014 and I am hoping it will inspire more; the Ghanaian President Mahama referred to the African ‘Democracy Dividend’ a catch-all neo-liberal term that is worth analysing. Ironically the debate was about fostering intra-African trade (I may give my opinion about the debate itself in another post), but my mind wandered to a Nigeria specific dividend. The first thing I thought about was the Sovereign wealth fund, one of the dividends of our democracy/ good governance; it is the evolution and amendment of our constitution to benefit the populace and future generations.

The $1bn investment in Q3 2013 in the Sovereign Wealth Fund has sparked a new arena of accountability and visibility in Nigerian financial relations. The Finance Minister and Presidency by default have created the pattern of protection of assets for future generations, in lay speak, these are funds are now ‘traceable’. This is super significant as this new face of accountability may have a domino effect on political relations within Nigeria.

What does the Sovereign wealth fund mean for the 2015 elections?

Okonjo-Iweala seems defiant against grumbling Governor’s who would not like the expansion of the Sovereign Wealth fund ahead of the 2015 elections. The implications of Okonjo-Iweala’s growth fund agenda are in direct opposition to the ‘pockets’ of money politics required for re-election and election of suitable successors. Even pro progress Governor’s are towing the line that the Sovereign Wealth fund is unconstitutional, however progress can only be made in the face of opposition. The anachronisms of the Excess Crude account, herald a new phase of technocrats with global influence to chart the country’s financial future.

The Sovereign wealth fund is a political minefield because it charts the path of capital, which was historically hidden in Nigerian politics. Ironically the fund skews partisan interests, as it does not benefit any party directly but potentially the nation as a whole. I am not trying to argue that the Sovereign Wealth Fund will indeed provide guaranteed wealth for our future (because we are hedging our bets on the global financial markets); however it is a welcome traceable diversification strategy for the preservation of capital from our diminishing singular crude asset.

Is the sovereign wealth fund by default our ‘democratic dividend’; is this something that will benefit us all in our evolving democracy? Democracy historically has been simply defined as solely political, but this is perhaps our financial ‘for the people’ benefit, and has come at a crucial time. The Nigerian democratic dividend can thus be loosely described as the numerous aspects of our history and future that will determine the path for our growth and sustainability. The challenge is how to harness the transformational powers of our democratic dividend/s and use this theme as a guiding mantra to improve political and financial future planning.

Celebrating notable democratic dividends will inspire more significant departures from the political shackles of our history and create landmark progress for our future.

Placing our hopes on string – CABLE CARS

I wrote this post a few months ago and decided not to post it, however an article I read this week made me decide to repost. The theme of my post was about Nigerian technocrats with projects ahead of their time. I had written that the construction of the Lagos cable car project would start in Q4 2013, however Governor Fashola announced on October 7, that the project is on the verge of COMPLETION so let us watch this space very closely… Arguably the construction of the cable car route has commenced, which could simply mean that the project is on course. Good ideas in Nigeria are surrounded by scepticism and this is the first challenge they have to overcome before they become a reality.

Lagos State is being transformed into a mega city with the public private partnerships that are being fostered by the forward thinking Lagos state government and well experienced technocrats. Project finance is altering the landscape of the city to match the pace of its economic growth, and it is interesting to understand the dynamic. The state alone cannot provide for its citizenry therefore private participants can work in collaboration with foreign and local contractors to bring a vision to the fore. The Lagos state mass transit project got me almost as excited as I was about the Tinapa visionary project in Cross Rivers State several years ago. Interestingly enough the Obudu Cable Cars are designed by the Dopplemayr the same company which will be responsible for the Ropeways which will glean the Lagos skyline. The second similarity to the Tinapa project is; a technocrat and visionary with the help of the state government that will bring a project to reality. If many people did similar things in their own corner, ahead of their time, we will fling our country into a brighter future. For each technocrat there is a right project and the right opportunity to seize the moment.

Captain Dapo Olumide, CEO of Ropeways Transport International (RTI) will be responsible for the Cable Car mass transit project in Lagos State. He talks passionately and proactively about the project, and we look forward to the construction starting in Q4 2013. RTI will invest $500M alongside equity financing from Dopplemayr.

Wonder what our cable station will look like?

Wonder what our cable station will look like? Image from Doppelmayr image gallery

Huge criticism of the project lies heavily on the side of safety, and this is possibly justified. Judging from the New York cable car crash (1998) which left passengers stranded for 3 hours, how will a state which cannot provide stable electricity or amenities for its citizenry support a cable car project of this scale. Is this risk too great? Like any Visionary, you build based on the best case scenarios and you quantify the worst, our technocrat is reliant on the Lagos state IPP which will be the power source for his project and 30 minute back up power, this is a great first positive step because it does not overburden the overburdened PHCN. Worst case scenario is that accidents do happen regardless of the mode of transport.

Learning about this project coincided with me reading Awaken the Giant by Anthony Robbins, and I compared the visionary Captain Olumide to the fearless dreamer. A few days later I watched the fantastic Cobhams Asquo TedX speech which challenged listeners to “be blind to be focused”, and this served as resounding advice for any Nigerian visionary and entrepreneur, because the obstacles are overbearingly giant with massive stumbling blocks, and the noise and negativity that prevent one from completing a project are glaring. However once we can get over these challenges we can get our country to where we would like it to be. So my challenge for you all is to challenge your ‘GIANT’ within and dare to contribute to the change in the landscape of this country!!

Place your hopes on a string… and build that DREAM!!!

LOST IN SPACE… The Nigerian Space Project

I equate mastery, to ascendancy of expertise, several hours of training and meticulous reshaping of ideas, concepts, practice which lead to exceedingly good results. It is very impressive that Nigeria, is trying to forge ahead in the mastery of the other space, the OUTER space…

Like most people I was appalled by the defamatory use of language by the UK MEP Mr Bloom’s reference to Nigeria as ‘Bongo Bongo land’ in the daily mail article last week. I also assumed incorrectly that perhaps the Nigerian Space program was yet another government misadventure, however I cautioned myself and decided to understand the rubrics of a space mission and its potential benefits. The first response to Mr Bloom should perhaps acknowledge the fact that Nigeria’s first satellite NigeriaSat-1, was one of the pioneer satellite’s in the Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC). A Nigerian Satellite was able to provide global relief data (under the International Charter for Space and Major Disasters) for both the Asian Tsunami (2004) and Katrina (2005). Nigeria has also provided revenue to the UK for over a decade by entering into a commercial relationship with Surrey Satellite Technology Limited , which has also fostered knowledge transfer.

DOES THIS MEAN NIGERIA IS SEARCHING FOR UFO’s?

Interestingly enough most of us are not aware about what space missions entail; the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASDRA) Act 2010 (ref 2) enshrined in Nigerian law outlines the blueprint for the Nigerian space agenda. The first Nigerian Satellite NigeriaSat-1 has completed its first mission and NigeriaSat-2 and NigeriaSat-X are both in orbit as part of the DMC taking over from their predecessor. Nigeria has also signed the UN peaceful space operations protocol. The President Jonathan Administration in its Sure and Steady Transformation report (ref 3) highlights the achievements of the Ministry of Technology. The question the average Nigerian has is why the Nigerian government would invest in a project which requires 2% of the yearly annual budget. There are no direct commercial benefits to current NASDRA operations; however the socio economic impact is priceless. Please see table below for the outline of the NASDRA satellite missions to date:

CLICK ON THIS TO SEE A BREAKDOWN OF NASDRA SATELLITE MISSIONS TO DATE
Nigeria SAT info

The most pertinent question to me was how this knowledge gained by engineers who built Nigeria’s first satellite would filter down. The answer was there in the NASDRA Act: There are 7 development centres across Nigeria which according to the NASDRA ACT will ‘be responsible for harmonizing research and development in space technology, application or sustainable socio-economic development in Nigeria’. What I did not find however was if there was a guarantee of a job following study at the Univeristy of Ife Centre for Space (ref 5). Nevertheless it is a good building block and there are scholarship opportunities available. We cannot fault a well planned outlined scheme, supported by a comprehensive legal document. The Nigerian Space program was debated about in the 50s and the funding did not start till the late 90s, so there have been several years of planning. Seemingly we have advanced, but this process has not been painfree; however these are steps to attaining mastery in any sector.

PATH TO MASTERY
The evolution of the Nigeria space mission required a devolution of commercial and research elements. Both Ministry of Technology and Ministry of Communication technology take credit for the launch of NigComSat-1R as shown in the Sure and Steady Transformation report. NigComSat is now a separate body to NASDRA and are different line items on the Federal budget.
In 2007 Ahmed Rufai in charge of the NigComSat team claimed the satellite would pay for itself by selling bandwith to customers, after all this was the commercial arm of the Nigerian space program. It was clear there were different missions of NigComSat and NASDRA’s research as annotated in the footnote (ref 6).
Perhaps it was a good thing to separate communication from disaster monitoring and spatial mapping functions, a separation of the commercial from the social responsible arm. But now that the commercial arm has been separated how will the program fund itself? How true are the claims of aid, which we potentially need if we no longer have a viable commercial arm to fund our space project? The Chinese government funded the NigComSat project by lending an intial $200m loan from the China Exim Bank Nig Com SAT (it has been rumoured this loan was not serviced initial), and it has thereafter been funded by the Nigerian government.

HOW WILL IT BE FUNDED?
2013 allocation in Federal Budget of N3.4bn (2/3rds of this amount on salaries) of NigComSat has caused disquiet among our leaders, because the pitched commercial revenue generator has proven to be a loss leader of the last eight years. The Oronsaye report in 2012 pointed out the fact our government overspends on personnel on a comparative global basis, and the overlayered structure of duplication leads to overspending. It also specifically recommended that NigComSat be privatised.
NASDRA will be funded by the N2.3bn according to the Budget proposal.

To govern all Space interests President Jonathan inaguarated the National Space Council on the 11th of June 2013, which has both the Minister of Science & Technology and the Minister of Communication Technology on the board. Perhaps this will lead to greater efficiency in the cost structure.
There are many things to applaud about the Nigerian Space Program, I titled my blog post ‘Lost in Space’, because I got lost researching the space mission. I am very proud of the level of expertise we are aiming for, seemingly reaching for the stars, but are we as a nation lost in terms of our priorities here on Earth? What comes first, a watertight agricultural program or a space project that maps the precise points to apply fertilizer? This could be another classic chicken and egg debate? However a people should be prioritised over a project, or am I simply a socio-capitalist…


REFERENCES

1. http://www.sstl.co.uk
2. http://www.nasrda.gov.ng/en/portal/ NASDRA ACT 2010 available from portal
3. Sure & Steady Transformation: Progress Report of Jonathan Goodluck’s Administration sureandsteadytransformation.gov.ng/…/Sure_and_Steady_Transformatio…
4. SSTL Executive Chairman, Sir Martin Sweeting, commented,”NigeriaSat-X is the product of Nigeria’s training and development programme here at Surrey. It is a great credit to NASRDA and their engineers that this satellite is performing well and its operations are progressing so quickly. These highly skilled engineers will not only help Nigeria to manage its resources, but also bootstrap its fledgling high tech economy alongside a growing nucleus of highly trained people.”
5. http://www.oauife.edu.ng/research/ – Centre for Space Research (CSR), Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in Africa (ARCSSTE). African Regional Center for Space Science and Technology Education
6. Understanding the Key Players in the Nigerian Space Industry gives a good breakdown of the differences between NASDRA and Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited

Rewriting Our Story: Africa Rising

I attended the ‘Africa Rising: Who Benefits’ BBC Africa debate, and was able to listen to different perspectives about what Africa Rising meant to Nigerians. There were myriads of opinions and ideas and certain significant thoughts stood out, which link me to my consistent blog theme of building ‘Our Story’.The most significant phrase of the day by the audience was that we “return ourselves to a path of rediscovery”. The statement has so much depth and I will explore this from certain angles.


REDISCOVERY THROUGH EDUCATION

The first step to a nations rediscovery is via education, and most specifically the tertiary institutions which through the research of ‘lived experiences’ (Spivak), can determine the ‘Story of our future’. What we were all able to agree on during the BBC Africa debate was the paucity of the institutions in churning out an employable workforce, however this got me thinking, that surely there is a paucity of thinkers to drive growth and ideas in Nigeria.
Equipping the youth who make up over 44% of our population to think right should be our first step for our ‘rediscovery’ and rewriting our story. The thrust of the government presence at the debate was the emphasis on the infrastructural leaps the government had taken and the criticism from the non-governmental audience was the disconnect between GDP increase in economic terms versus the actual development and social impact. We all look forward to the Mega City of Lagos with skyscrapers, 24hours electricity and roads paved with structural prowess. Africa and Nigeria may be rising, however “the Growth is not translating into our living rooms” (Morka, Felix), which is why the available economic figures are disputed and there is discontent with the government. What we are failing to imagine is the inhabitants of this mega city and what they might ‘resemble’.

REDISCOVERY OF THE MARGINALISED

So how do we effectively rediscover the ideal citizenry? In building a mega city, the tendency is to maltreat those of the periphery of the city as we sacrifice their identity for the ‘greater good’. Lagos is composed of 100 slums which account for over 70 percent of the population in the next dubbed mega city in Africa. I was given the opportunity to speak with Felix Morka who heads a social advocacy group which represents the interests of those who do not have a ‘VOICE’ in the mega city redesign. The Story of Lagos and Nigeria cannot be complete without an improvement of the lives of those who have been systematically disadvantaged. As a nation we need to understand that there is not ‘one’ interest, but a myriad of desires that contribute to our cohabitation within a city. Paraphrased by a debate participant Okiki Marinho ‘poverty has no ethnic identity, let’s build a nation’.

REDISCOVERY THROUGH THEORY

The best way to understand the creation of ‘Our Story’ is via the illustration of the Foucault triangle.
NIGERIAN FOCAULT TRINAGLE
As it stands, those with ‘Power’ in the Nigerian state are the government: they control knowledge, which determines the truth and what ‘Our Story’ should resemble. However, it is our responsibility as citizens to infiltrate this nexus of power and foster civil society so that we represent an alternative version of Power based on the cultivation of our knowledge and truth.

REDISCOVERY OF CIVIL SOCIETY

It is the function of Civil society to create an alternative, authentic voice which will influence political policies and represent our real interests.
Each country has a Story and we cannot ‘import’ ours, the focus of our story should be:
– Celebration of Differences;
– Cohabitation between Ethnic groups;
– Collaboration across social classes;
– Collective Accountability.

REDISOVERY VIA POWER

We have seemingly moved from a political dictatorship to a ministerial/technocractic dictatorship. Imagine a situation where ministers had to pitch for projects to a randomly selected panel from Civil society, as mused by Uwana Esang a participant of the BBC debate. In this scenario, there would be a more structured approach to projects, there would be less duplication of resources, and this would lead to efficiency and accountability.

REDISCOVERY THROUGH ACTION

The resounding question at the end of the debate was what are the actionable steps or policies we can put in place today to bring us closer to a success story, where inhabitants match the infrastructural utopia. My steps have been outlined in this piece theoretically, starting with Education, embracing the marginalised documenting their needs and building a sustainable future for those on the periphery of society and building an responsible civil society that powers to be are accountable to. How can these steps be translated into actionable and achievable goals:

STEP ONE EDUCATION – Felix Morka reminisced about a well respected Education Board which sent out inspectors to primary education units. If this idea can be replicated to the secondary and tertiary education space it will result in adherence to base standards of education which will translate into a well equipped workforce suitable for a mega city.
STEP TWO MARGINALISED INCLUSION – When the story of Nigeria includes those who have been strategically left out of the ‘conversation’, by interacting, documenting and understanding the interests of those at the ‘bottom’, is the only way the ‘top’ can exist. We aim for a happy coexistence, and the only way is through policies which are beneficial for all, which will lead to a shared state of societal development.
STEP THREE CIVIL SOCIETY – We have to rely on the media to generate an enlightened intelligentsia who remain outside political space, but influence it from a distance through structured debates and strategic output, and potentially think tanks that will influence policy changes.
POWER – Unbundling power will come only after we get step one, two and three right 

These three steps will take time, so on the path to Africa Rising, it is the responsibility of governments to provide a social net to ensure that we all RISE together to the economical haven predicated by all indicators.

Nigeriarchy 2: The State of Emergency

President Jonathan is criticised for his reactive political policies, but on Monday 13th May 2013 when the Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau declared in a video that he would unleash a spate of kidnappings of women and children in retaliation to the Nigerian government’s actions, the President was pushed to be proactive. The Boko Haram leader swore to carry out violence in response to the imprisonment of relatives of Boko Haram members, maybe the President finally had to REACT and prove that we would not negotiate with terrorists and clamp down on their spurious activities. Currently there are divisions in Nigerian political camps about the Presidential prerogative to institute a State of Emergency in 3 Northern Nigerian states. The President’s reaction was provoked when over a hundred policemen were slaughtered indiscriminately a week before, with no real perpetrators’ captured. I question why there is so much disgruntling about the decision, the President requested help when it was required and perhaps a bit later than he should have done. Nigeria can be likened to a fractured Federation, so arguments whether or not this was a democratic ‘reaction’ by the President, do not resolve the fact that if the President did not act the Federation may no longer exist.

The Presidential REACTION is well overdue; threats of ‘imminent danger’ (constitutional basis for implementing state of emergency) from within and without, an un-trackable death toll and a porous border with unidentifiable terrorist elements infiltrating the Federation require resolution. Collaboration with the Cameroonian government regarding strengthening border control is also a very good reactive measure by the President, but these actions could have predated this dilapidation in cross border communal consciousness, they could have been proactive. Reminiscent of my previous blog post Nigeriarchy, I think we have collapsed into a state of INDISCIPLINE; we have fully denigrated into a Hobbesian place, where there is ‘war of all against all’. The state of emergency has returned us to a State of Nature; in my last post the citizenry was looking up to leadership for a reaction and I think President Jonathan has finally taken a stand. Nigeriarchy I feel like I’m in a Hobbesian place … Nigeria resembles the state of nature where there is a ‘war of all against all’. Thomas Hobbes describes that this ‘state of nature’ comes into being when individuals are seeking their own self serving interests independently within a state. This is reminiscent of Nigeria today, slowly declining into anarchy. Where people can wake up, create their laws and act callously. The basic state relies on a ‘social contract’ which prevents our self serving interests from reaching a state of anarchy, because we sacrifice these caranal interests for a collective sustainable good.

Nigeriarchy alternatives:
Nigeriarchy table

State of Emergency VERSUS State of Nigeiarchy
An ideal State of Emergency should equal ZERO TOLERANCE for INDISCIPLINE; what is unfolding is a half baked attempt at peace restoration. Military strategy in the North should probably be covert so that its implementation is swift and the possibility of return to normalcy evident. Some critics view the political policy decision as a show of weakness by the President, but it was very clear that anarchy was the rule of the day in these areas, so admitting and employing a military reaction to this, is the best first step. No alternatives except harsh military action might quell the Nigeriarchy experienced across some states in the Federation. The President’s address to the nation describes that the military will: … “arrest and detain suspects, the taking of possession and control of any building or structure used for terrorist purposes, the lock-down of any area of terrorist operation, the conduct of searches, and the apprehension of persons in illegal possession of weapons.”

State of Emergency VERSUS Amnesty
Amnesty is in direct opposition to the imposition of a State of Emergency. Unfortunately the President is showing his political meekness by allowing this option of amnesty to exist, he should instead declare that the period of negotiating is over and intolerable behaviour will be immediately dealt with.

HISTORY of State of Emergency as interpreted per Nigerian Constitution sec 305

1962 Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa declared State of emergency in response to potential political subversion
1994 President Obasanjo declared a state of emergency in Plateau State in view of religious violent disorder
2011 President Jonathan’s half baked Northern reactionary response at the Local government level
2012 President Jonathan’s opportunity to amend security state of disrepute in the Federation

FRACTURED FEDERATION
What happens after a State of Emergency? What will the implications of a potentially fractured federation be?
– Global perspective: The UN secretary General has expressed his concern that a State of Emergency although necessary may contravene Human Rights, however restoring the basic right of security as a nation will enable Nigeria to restore confidence in global relations. We have to address the probable human rights violations that might occur post the State of Emergency which will subsist in the fractured federation.
– Local perspective: Restoration of the social contract between the state and its people. Proactive policies provided by the President to restore peace.

SIDENOTE
President Jonathan’s decision to allow the Governors remain in power during the State of Emergency is perhaps another example of political meekness, although it is clear that there is no longer need for discord and if it simply keeps them happy by keeping them in there for nominal purposes then why should we argue? If it is indeed the political strategy to appease leaders in the North by maintaining ‘figurehead’ leaders whose powers are trumped by military might, so be it.
The constitution did not exactly delineate the function of the military so this is where we might have slight interpretation issues, and this is potentially why fear may creep across the Federation and fracture its foundation further…

Nigeriarchy… a state where we experience Nigeria’s fractured Federation and rebuild ‘OUR STORY’ for a brighter future.