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In My Opinion: Dear politicians, walk the (democratic) talk, or keep quiet – Buchi Obichie

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In My Opinion

In My Opinion: Another Democracy Day was celebrated in the country on Tuesday, May 29, 2018; and as usual, politicians seized the occasion to bombard the airwaves and social media with messages espousing norms and ideals that the country should live up to.

At the same time, they used the occasion to highlight whatever achievements they think they have made, and also take subliminal shots at their opponents; turning the day into an occasion for self promotion – self promotion on overdrive, considering the fact that the 2019 elections are just around the corner. I tried to read through as many of them as I could; but I had to stop when it started to feel like I was going through campaign manifestos! Phew!

These politicians are a wonderful lot. Their ability to shamelessly tout ideals and accomplishments that often times only exist in the realm of their imaginations is truly the stuff of great comedy. They like to imagine that they are some sort of statesmen on this great democratic stage; when for the most part, most of them would not even recognize Democracy, even if it appeared to them in a brown envelope – a very popular staple in the field of Nigerian politics.

When the late great Abraham Lincoln used the occasion of his famous Gettysburg Address to extol those who fought and died in defense of democratic principles during the Civil War, he described the system of government as that which is “of the people, by the people, for the people,” and prayed that it would not perish from the earth.

However, going by what Lincoln saw democracy to be, I dare say that we cannot give our leaders over here a high grade in living up to its tenets. Is this so-called ‘Democracy in Nigeria‘ really of the people, by the people and for the people; or is this country’s system of government really an ‘Oligarchy’, where a few elites have held sway from time immemorial, to the detriment of the many?

It is hypocritical, and even quite ironical, that Nigerian politicians – many of whom came into office via undemocratic means, rubbishing the will of the people and scheming their way into power – would suddenly become vocal champions of democratic values, one day of the year! What do they know about the rule of law, when they themselves do not obey the rule of law; and employ extra-judicial measures to keep their opponents and others in check?

What do they know about the dividends of democracy when many Nigerians are not really allowed to participate in the democratic process on established platforms, because they do not have a certain standing in society, or are not backed up by ‘powerful forces’? Even when these people form their own platforms, they are not permitted to stand on equal footing as others, and are stifled out via rigging and intimidation. What do they know about credible processes – one of the tenets of democracy – when elections are not really free and fair?

In My Opinion Continues…

PAY ATTENTION: Democracy Day Full Speech – President Muhammadu Buhari 

What do they know about the gains of free and open societies when the majority of the people cannot enjoy the wealth of the nation; because it is shared, piece by piece, amongst cabal members? What do they know about democratic norms when free speech is tagged as hate speech and citizens are fearful of voicing opposition so that they do not get thrown into jail?

And what do they even know about democracy and statesmanship, when they have not really made any worthy sacrifices for the nation? The true mark of any democratic government would be when the citizens can truly testify that they are reaping dividends. Do not get me wrong, Nigeria has come a long way. We have come past the days of coups and counter coups, when military officers seized power at will. We have also experienced a transition of power, peacefully, from a ruling party to an opposition party. We are thankful. However, we have not gotten to the Promised Land…it is not yet Uhuru! These politicians who use the occasion of May 29 to give speeches that they mostly did not even write, would serve the nation better, if they actually commit themselves to living up to the words.

In My Opinion continues…

It is my hope and prayer that by the next Democracy Day in 2019, everyone occupying public office would actually be the people’s choice, and that these leaders would serve as they should – that they would respect the rule of law; not stifle free speech; work hard for the people; not squander the nation’s resources; ensure that the nation’s wealth trickles down to the poorest Nigerian; be worthy ambassadors of the country and strengthen its image, home and abroad; commit to true national development; encourage discussions from all citizens that would help move the country forward; promote national unity and reconciliation; among others. But if they cannot commit themselves to these, then they should do us a great favour and keep quiet! Let us enjoy our public holiday in peace! This opinion piece was written by Buchi Obichie.

In My Opinion Section updated.

Credits: Naij

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Business Africa

Nigeria to Become Petroleum Product Refining Hub, Minister Says

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The Federal Government has said it will leverage the opportunities provided by the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement to reposition the oil and gas sector in other transform the country into a petroleum products refining hub for the African region

 

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, disclosed this at the AfCFTA Oil and Gas Virtual Workshop, with the theme: “Nigeria – Africa’s Refining and Services Hub under the AfCFTA.

 

Represented by Bitrus Nabasu, the permanent secretary Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Sylva said Nigeria had approved the AfCFTA, which would begin implementation in January 2021.

 

According to him, the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement aims to redefine trade relations between African states while enabling free movement of people and investments

 

Sylva also added that the government was also committed to deepening gas utilization as seen in its National Gas Expansion Programme and the Auto Gas Scheme.

 

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Business Africa

Nigeria to Strengthen Economic Cooperation With Algeria Says President Buhari

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nigeria- algeria

President Muhammadu Buhari has reassured of Nigeria’s commitment to stronger economic cooperation with the republic of Algeria in various critical areas.

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The President restated the commitment on Thursday when he received the Algerian foreign affairs minister, and special envoy of the Algerian president, Sabri Boukadoum, in the Aso rock presidential villa in Abuja.

According to a statement issued by special adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the president said projects like the Trans-Sahara road, international gas pipelines, and other areas of economic cooperation would be given adequate attention for the good of the people of the two countries.

Buhari also emphasized the need for peace, tranquility and security in African countries, saying development and growth would depend a lot on how peaceful and secure the continent is.

In his remark, the special envoy said Nigeria was the pillar of Africa, and he had brought messages from his president, for the two countries to explore areas of collaboration.

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Agriculture & Nigerian Economy

We Have to Reduce Oil Production Cost, Says Osinbajo

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Osinbajo

Vice-president, prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has said the deal to cut oil production by the organization of petroleum exporting countries and its allies has resulted in lower revenue generation for the federal government.

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The vice-president, who was represented by the minister of state for petroleum resources, Timipre Sylva, said the collapse in crude oil demand due to the covid-19 pandemic caused the recent sudden slump in oil prices.

Osinbajo said on Tuesday that the ministry of petroleum resources had a mandate to drastically reduce the unit cost of crude oil production in the country in order to increase government revenue.

He expressed confidence that the country would achieve the desired goal of finding more hydrocarbon deposits in the Nigerian basins, notwithstanding the curtailment in production.

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