How Trump May Join Obama To Deny Hillary Clinton The White House

Hilary Clinton is said to have signed a pact with her husband Bill Clinton when they were still students. According to the story, Hillary and Bill agreed that if she helps him become president, he too will help her become president.

Fast forward to 1992, Bill Clinton finally decided the time was right to throw his hat into the Democratic Party’s presidential ring. Bill Clinton as they say pulled out the stops. He told Americans that if they elected him, they would be getting two presidents (Hillary and himself) for the price of one. He showed them an old photo of when he met then President Kennedy as a student, as a moment when power was transferred to him from the well loved Democratic president. He told them he was The Man From Hope, a place from where hope springs anew for America.

Fast forward to 1992, Bill Clinton finally decided the time was right to throw his hat into the Democratic Party’s presidential ring. Bill Clinton as they say pulled out the stops. He told Americans that if they elected him, they would be getting two presidents (Hillary and himself) for the price of one. He showed them an old photo of when he met then President Kennedy as a student, as a moment when power was transferred to him from the well loved Democratic president. He told them he was The Man From Hope, a place from where hope springs anew for America.

Fast forward to 1992, Bill Clinton finally decided the time was right to throw his hat into the Democratic Party’s presidential ring. Bill Clinton as they say pulled out the stops. He told Americans that if they elected him, they would be getting two presidents (Hillary and himself) for the price of one. He showed them an old photo of when he met then President Kennedy as a student, as a moment when power was transferred to him from the well loved Democratic president. He told them he was The Man From Hope, a place from where hope springs anew for America.

The race was tough, but the comeback kid as he was called managed to stage a comeback after it seemed he was down and out. Helped by the return of independent candidate Henry Rose Perot who divided the political right, Clinton found it easy to beat George Bush Senior, a president who had just won a major war were he chased then strongman Saddam from Kuwait.

When Bill Clinton gave George HW Bush a bloody political nose and became president with Hillary Clinton by his side, he carved out a role for her that is akin to that of a minister of health. She would be in charge of revamping America’s health sector and making it more affordable for the poor masses that their party claims to stand for a project that was called Medicare.

Her job on Medicare has mixed reviews but aside from that put her firmly in the national spotlight and advertised her administrative credentials.
She later became a senator, and then ran for the presidency in 2008. She was the favorite to win until an upstart named Barak Obama stopped her from clinching the nomination of the Democratic Party. According to Hillary Clinton, all he had was a speech he made in 2004, while she brought real administrative experience to the table.

The Clintons are good at long-term politics. So, after Obama won the Democratic nomination, they arranged for Hillary Clinton to be made Secretary of State, a position that allowed her to burnish her foreign policy credentials. She visited many countries and spearheaded several important foreign policy initiatives. After some year she left to take up a job in philanthropy, running the Clinton Foundation, which helped keep her in the public eye for the right reasons.

The Situation Now
In 2016 there is no doubt that Hillary will easily take the Democratic nomination, which she couldn’t take in 1994. She has repeatedly beaten the only challenger who was brave enough to challenge her among the Democrats, Bernie Sanders in the primaries. So she is going to scale past where she stopped in 2008.

But it seems she faces an uphill battle from the strongman in the Republican Party, Donald Trump. Could another upstart upset Hillary’s planned return to the White House? Donald Trump has attacked her viciously since the campaign started, but he has also made it known that ‘he hasn’t even started with her’.

Mrs Clinton got a brief taste of what the Donald has in store for her when he roped her husband Bill Clinton into a recent dirty campaign battle of words, calling the ex-president a sexist abuser who abused women with Hilary Clinton’s knowledge and support. Hillary Clinton refused to continue the battle after her husband’s name was dragged in the mud by a Trump who’s ready to fight in the political gutters any day, any time; but recent happenings in the republican party, where a dignified Jeb Bush, running a cool and calm campaign was totally demolished by Trump, show that although refusing to respond to Trump’s attacks may look presidential, it is political suicide as far as this election cycle is concerned. Indeed, whenever other contenders like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio showed a willingness to get their hands dirty by trying to match Trump fire for fire their numbers rose in the polls.

But the problem is that Hillary Clinton doesn’t have the appetite or the persona to match the kind of verbal attacks Donald Trump has so often used to demolish his Republican opponents, and neither does her husband, but that is exactly what is needed to trump Trump.
The thing is: In Donald Trump Hilary has some other serious obstacles.
Donald Trump has hinted that he will attack Hillary Clinton mercilessly over the State Department email scandal, where Hilary has had to apologize for using private email for highly classified State Department communications. Donald Trump believes what Hillary did was criminal and with his Twitter handle will seek to get America to believe the next abode of Hillary Clinton should be behind bars and not the White House.

Killing Of The US Ambassador In Benghazi: Former Republican candidate Mitt Romney who lost to Barak Obama in 2012 tried to squeeze out enough juice from this issue, arguing that Hillary Clinton was responsible for the death of the US Ambassador to Libya. He only stopped after he received a public scolding from Barak Obama. But Donald Trump is a tougher nut to crack. Expect him to dig up Benghazi and put all the blame on Hillary in such a way that her husband Bill would feel like really jumping into the ring to defend his wife, but would not be able to, because he knows Donald Trump will remind America of what he did to Monica Lewinsky and refer repeatedly to related issues.

This is because Trump has already found what he would use against Hillary, is not the accusation of low energy that worked so well against Jeb Bush, but rather, accusations that she helped her husband abuse other women. He has already done a test run on her and she reacted the same way George Bush and other Republicans reacted. Retracing her steps and ‘ignoring’ Trump.

Obama’s political sister: Trump used that tactic at times on Bush to great effect. He would attack George Bush’s brother, the former President Bush Junior, and accuse him of making the world a more dangerous place, with his adventure in Iraq. So poor Jeb Bush who initially wanted to separate himself from his dynasty by defining himself as ‘Jeb!’ in the elections was frequently turned into an emergency lawyer defending his older brother in Donald Trump’s court of history from charges that range from being President when 9-11 happened, to lying to the Americans that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.

Barak Obama is in no way biologically related to Hillary Rodham Clinton, but as far as Donald Trump is concerned Hillary is Obama’s political sister as far as it can be proven that she served in his administration. Trump will find a way to put both she and President Obama in the same cage on the issue of Syria. He will point to Hillary and say, ‘Look, she and Obama are responsible for the Syria refugee crises.” He will say, ‘Look, Hillary and Obama created ISIS.”

Hillary Clinton may not withstand and onslaught from Donald Trump in 2016, but statistically and dynastically, she is on the upswing. Why do we say so? at the last attempt she made for the presidency she was stopped at the primaries. If she is stopped at the general election by Donald Trump and his energized crew, it may mean that the next attempts she will take, she will actually win her the presidency, (if taken in 8 years time). Many presidents have won the election not on the first or second but on the third try.

To Save The Bush Dynasty, Jeb Bush Must Become A Senator

When it was announced that Donald Trump had won the South Carolina primaries, I was elated because He is my personal favorite to win the US Republican nomination. You ask why a Nigerian should be so interested in the US presidential elections?

You expect me to say it’s because the US is one of the countries whose domestic policies can have far reaching implications in the rest of the world, but I would say the truth. It’s because the US elections are always very interesting. I like the way US elections are held, with all the glitz and glamour and sound bites associated with it.

I guess I am not alone because I have read reports were it is said that a non US political party ran a US style campaign, perhaps with confetti and colorful visuals and opinion polls, etc.

Anyway in his case my joy at the victory of Donald Trump was tempered by the withdrawal of Jeb Bush from the Republican Presidential race. I gained my international political consciousness during the era of George Bush Senior. In fact, I recall a day when I was about 6 years old when I saw a cover page of Businessweek with 2 men on it standing behind lecterns.

I asked my mum who they were and she told me one was George Bush Senior, and the other was Michael Dukakis who were both running to become President of the United States of America. Ever since that moment, I have followed the political careers of the Bushes with keen interest.

(The other initiation into interest in international politics I had was when my dad was listening to the BBC, and it was announced that Nelson Mandela of the ANC had been released: I asked my dad what the ANC was and he told me it was a party. I was confused about what he meant until he explained to me what a political party was.)

Since then I have keenly followed reports of politics from other countries as well as from my own country Nigeria, and I can tell you, it is interesting.

Okay, so Jeb Bush lost out and dropped out in South Carolina. One US publication proclaimed that the Great Bush Dynasty ended thus and with a whimper, not a bang. When I read that, the student of world history in me remembered several great dynasties that ended with supposed whimpers.

I remembered the Habsburg Imperial family that in their heydays ‘owned’ the title, Holy Roman Emperor – as supposed successors to the Julius Ceasars of ancient Rome. By wielding that imperial crown they oversaw a European empire that had within it at least 3 G7seven countries, namely France, Germany and Italy, and much of what is today called the European Union.

But when General and later Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte came into the scene, the Habsburgs were forced by political reality to abandon the title of Holy Roman Emperor. Another thought assailed me, and it is this: that empires and dynasties are a lot like hurricanes. They rise, they attain great power, and then they fall in such a way that you might remember the words, ‘How are the mighty fallen’. A hurricane starts as a tropical system, then develops into a full blown high category storm – but you know what, no matter how many roofs they carry or cars they toss about like toys, they’ll eventually end up as simple tropical storms, little showers that sprinkle without much force. It leads one to remember the words of King Solomon, ‘Vanity upon vanity, all is vanity’.

This is the state of political ruins the once powerful Bush Dynasty lies in today. Why do we refer to the Bush family as a powerful dynasty?

Let’s see: Of the last nine US presidential elections, a Bush has been on the Republican ticket for six of them, and has won five. Thus one family has controlled the destiny of arguably the most powerful nation on earth for a majority of recent history.

Under the Bushes America has fought great wars that toppled foreign powers, created new forces and redrew maps. A Bush has held America’s nuclear codes for 12 of the last 28 years. They are about the most powerful dynasty in the modern age in several ways.

They have achieved politically what many other dynasties can only dream about: convince a fiercely egalitarian nation to give a father and a son their most powerful post in the land in the space of just a few years apart. With Jeb Bush’s entry into the 2016 race it seemed the Republican nomination and US presidency was theirs for the taking. In fact, Jeb Bush was able to raise more money than all the other Republican candidates combined even before he declared his intention to run.

But everything came crashing down unexpectedly like a pack of cards.In spite of the Bush allure in the Republican Party; in spite of the policy heft and personal brilliance of Jeb Bush, his candidature had not the energy of a fierce hurricane but rather that of a receding tropical storm.

What happened can only be described as a hungry outsider (Donald Trump) coming in from nowhere to upturn things; and that is one of the regular occurrences in empires – hungry outsiders, not the expected powerful insiders being the ones who eventually hijack the system.

It happened during the Chinese imperial period – in 2008 it was Obama snatching the rug from under the feet of the Clinton dynasty, and putting at least an 8 year delay on their next big chance to stake their claim to the Democratic Party’s nomination.

This year it is the turn of the Bush family of the Republican Party. Look, it was not because of Jeb Bush that Jeb Bush failed. It was in spite of Jeb Bush that Jeb Bush failed. One thing that can be deduced is that America loves dynastic politics but it also loves a refreshing outsider who can come up with a message they weren’t expecting to hear. If that outsider comes with such, they would like to listen. America may believe in dynasty, but one wrapped in egalitarianism not in entitlement.

Winning the fundraising battle is not all that matters anymore, and the frontrunner is not known until after the first few primaries, not anytime before. That’s the new rule the American electorate has handed to its political class, at least as far as the presidency is concerned.

The moment Obama won the 2012 election was when he abandoned his presidential demeanor and scolded Mitt Romney for stating that Hillary Clinton was responsible for the Benghazi debacle. The rules are in a flux.

So, what remains for Jeb Bush to do? The Bush Dynasty is down but like the Kennedys can continue to define the future of their party, even in the midst of other heavyweights like a Donald Trump. The presence of the Kennedys as the lynchpin of the Democratic Party has not stopped the Clintons from building their own power base. As the Trump era begins in the Republican Party, nothing says the Bush family cannot remain in the lynchpin zone like the Kennedys in the Democratic Party. But for that to happen Jeb has one more job to do. Become the conservative lion in the Senate.

He must embrace the role that Ted Kennedy embraced so that his family doesn’t transform from a dynasty with current relevance into yesterday’s dynasty.

George P Bush, the son of Jeb is currently holding a state political job in Texas. But without a Bush in the federal levels of politics, the Bush dynasty might lose whatever shine remains of it nationally. But with Jeb serving in the senate or in a stop-gap federal position before a senate opening the end has not come for the Bush dynasty.

The senate is a perfect arena for Jeb to help the next administration and his party with the benefit of his policy proposals, and so keep the Bush name alive in people’s minds, until George P Bush comes of age.

What would the Bush dynasty bring to the table apart from bragging rights? Some Americans remember the end of the cold war under HW Bush; others remember Bush junior’s Compassionate Conservatism. The Bush dynasty would have to decide on a message that will capture the hearts of the conservatives. CAVEAT IS: They shouldn’t just do it in the Trump era, because the Trump message is likely to be hot for at least 8 years as far as the Republican Party is concerned and whether a Democrat eventually wins the presidency in 2016 or not.

The Bush dynasty may take comfort in the historical fact that some dynasties eventually recover after a bad fall. Examples include the resurgent Clintons who waited out the Obama era; the Grimaldis of Monaco who once lost their principality and the Al Sauds of Saudi Arabia who once lost their tribal lands. But this year is the year of Trump.

Buhari, Create Lake Chad Basin Agricultural Development Agency (LaCBADA)

This article is an attempt to get the Federal Government of Nigeria to suspend oil exploration in Lake Chad in response to drastically falling oil prices, and instead use the N37 billion allocated for oil exploration in the area to promote agriculture in the region. We will propose the creation of a new Federal Agency which we have given the provisional name Lake Chad Basin Agricultural Development Agency (LaCBADA) be created. 

For many years oil has been a money spinner and guarantor for geopolitical leverage, not only in Nigeria, but globally. Countries and communities that had oil, if they played their cards right, could overnight become, not just rich, but also politically influential, using their oil as a bargaining chip.

For example, countries like Saudi Arabia became enormously powerful after oil was found in their territory. There have been rumors that the Saudis used their oil clout to force a revolution in Iran in the 1970s that led to the deposition of the former Iranian monarch, the Shah.

There are rumors that the Saudis also increased oil output last year to decrease prices and punish Putin’s Russia for not listening to them on the issue of Syria. The Saudi-led arms embargo against friends of Isreal in the 1970s (even though it eventually failed) is another clear example of the political power that oil can bring.

So powerful did oil make Saudi Arabia, that all it took to influence the policy of powerful Western countries on important matters was frequently a phone call to the leader of the country concerned, threatening to withholding of Saudi oil or petrodollars, and the government of that county would duly change cause.

At the same time the expression, ‘as rich as a Saudi Prince’ became apt, as the princes of Saudi Arabia who are very much involved in the oil sector there are stupendously rich, thanks to oil.

In Nigeria, the Niger Delta militants during the heydays of Resource Control militancy, used their ability to disrupt oil production as a bargaining chip in negotiations with the Federal Government; and it is even argued that this ability was what convinced former president Olusegun Obasanjo to push for Goodluck Jonathan to be given the post of Vice President in the administration of Umaru Musa YarÁdua.

At the same time, oil made the states of the Niger Delta extremely rich, as they secured 13% derivation from oil as a concession from the Federal Government.

It is clear that oil has made many territories rich and powerful; and therefore understandable that the North or Arewa would be very keen on oil exploration in Lake Chad- given the geopolitical and economic implications of oil being found in the Northern Region; and the enthusiasm of the Federal Government over the years to promote oil exploration in the Lake Chad Basin is understandable.

For instance, between 2011 and 2013, the Federal Government through Prof. Jerry Gana, the Chairman of the North­ern Economic Summit, said that it approved the sum of $240 mil­lion to promote the search for oil and gas in the Lake Chad Basin and other areas of the North including the Bida Basin, the Benue Trough, and the Sokoto-Rima Basin.

The Buhari Administration has also budgeted N37 billion for oil exploration in Lake Chad. So committed is President Buhari about the need to promote oil exploration that in April 2015 as President Elect, he promised Borno elders that he would resume exploration in order to increase the export potentials on Nigeria, and also to balance cross regional perceptions and manage agitations as a way of enhancing the stability of the country.

Last year, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation announced that it was on the verge of a big oil find there from oil exploration done already.

But continuing robust exploration in the Lake Chad Basin of the commodity frequently referred to as black gold, is at this time the Right Idea undertaken at the Wrong Time. The reason is simply because the thumbling and unstable price of crude oil has made it a very bad investment at present.

When President Muhammadu Buhari took over as President, oil was at $60 to a barrel, at the time of writing this report, oil price is hovering around the $30 mark, a 50% loss.

As a result of this many oil exploration projects in many counties have been suspended with related job losses and business closures.

Earlier this month Royal Dutch Shell, announced that it had postponed the final investment decision (FID) on its Bonga South-West deep-water project in Nigeria.

The $12 billion project includes the construction of a new floating production, storage, and offloading facility,  a peek into the kind of investments needed to explore and develop any large oil finds in the Lake Chad Basin in this season where the price of oil is not what it used to be.

On February 19 it was announced that Mexico’s government owned oil company Pemex has postponed several deep water exploration projects as part of a raft of planned capital delays due to slumping crude prices.

In a PricewaterhouseCoopers report entitled, ‘Fit for $50 oil in Africa’ the investment advisory has stated that oil and gas explorers must rethink their capital expenditure on exploration activity across the African continent in the wake of the big drop in the global oil price.

If one good thing has come out of the current budget crises, it is the opportunity to reorder our priorities. The N37 billion allocated for oil exploration in the Lake Chad Basin and select parts of the North should instead be reallocated to agri-business development in those specific areas. A more surer investment for the North at this point is to bring back the groundnut pyramids that used to be synonymous with Northern agriculture in the 1960s.

Turning Lake Chad Into An Agricultural Hub

Over In the Lake Chad region today, farmers produce an array of agro-products including dairy products, fish, meat, grain and cotton and these businesses have a lot of potential for development – these businesses if supported rightly can increase national Food Security, generate more Jobs and badly needed Foreign Exchange for  the country.

But due to inefficient damming and irrigation methods as well as drought and deficits in rainfall the Lake has shrunk to about 90% from 1963.

To fight this water depletion, the multi-nation Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) has put on the drawing board a plan to replenish the lake by building a dam and 60 miles of canals to pump water from the Congo River and the Chari River to Lake Chad. And the World Bank has committed $10.6 million to the reversal of land and water degradation in parts of the lake.

These are the kinds of projects the N37 billion in our budget should be used for. The Federal Government should instead use the money to help implement the LCBC plan to replenish the Lake which is of economic importance to over 30 million people. Replenishing the water would give new economic opportunities to many youth in the area, and cool the anger that has led to dangerous being witnessed in some of the LCBC countries today.

If the money is spent on oil now that its future is looking a bit bleak and oil prices keep tumbling, it would have been a colossal waste of money and opportunity to transform people’s lives.

I hereby propose the formation of the Lake Chad Basin Agricultural Development Agency (LaCBADA) as an agency that will work to bringing to reality the agricultural benefits lying in the Lake Chad Basin for the benefit of Nigeria in particular and neighboring countries in general. LaCBADA will assist the multi-nation Lake Chad Basin Commission in the important tasks of:

  • replenishing the water in the Lake Chad Basin
  • training livestock herders on gaining access to grazing and watering areas
  • educating water users on efficient water-utilization methods
  • teaching fishermen more appropriate techniques for their trade
  • ensuring that there is adequate monitoring of the water resulting from mixing the waters of the Lake Chad Basin and other water sources, and also monitor their effect.

What I am proposing is a kind of Niger Delta Development Commission, but this time dedicated primarily to agricultural development of our own Amazon Forest (Lake Chad) and its environs. Agricultural development would then catalyze other forms of socio economic development and promote social stability in the region.

We are not against the exploration and drilling of oil in Lake Chad when oil is found, but we merely say that there should first be a foundation based on Agro-Business, especially now that oil prices are in the down-low. Furthermore, agriculture is the mainstay of a majority of the population in Lake Chad, and it will enhance their economic prospects if developed further.

The LaCBADA should not be a permanent agency, but rather it should last for the duration of the said N37 billion. Furthermore, LaCBADA should replicate the Lake Chad project in the other Northern areas slated for exploration, namely, the Benue Through, Bida Basin and Sokoto-Rima Basin.


Maritime University And The Niger Delta

“We are not going ahead with the university project (referring to Nigeria Maritme University (NMU), Okerenkoko), proposed by NIMASA because we have an institution in Oron, we have Nigeria Institute of Transport Technology, Zaria and we have the Nigerian College of Aviation in Zaria, which we could upgrade to a university status and NIMASA is proposing to build a new one.”

With the above words, Minister of Transport Rotimi Amaechi announced the stoppage of the Nigeria Maritime University, the first maritime university in Nigeria, which was conveniently cited in the Niger Delta, the region with the largest coast line in Nigeria.

The Niger Delta people who comprise many ethnic groups, including the Ijaw, Igbo, Ibibio, Efik and many others, has for centuries felt a great sense that their resources are being taken away from them by outsiders. They’ve have had such feeling, sometimes rightfully, and sometimes wrongfully that something that belongs to them is being taken away from them.

During the time of Jubo Juboha also known as King Jaja of Opobo, the Niger Delta had a serious quarrel with the British over access to the palm oil trade which the foreigners wanted to take away from them. The quarrel led to the death of King Jaja, and ultimately the Niger Delta lost that access. We may all be familiar with the story of Isaac Adaka Boro, who fought the Federal Government in the 1960’s because the Niger Delta felt they were losing out.

During the time of General Abacha, the Niger Delta, in this particular case the Ogoni People, felt rightfully that the fertility of their lands were being taken from them through uncontrolled and unpunished oil spillage. The struggle then, led to the death of Ken Saro Wiwa, a great Ogoni activist.

It is the same way  a large section of the Niger Delta feels today about the jettisoning of the Nigeria Maritime University by the Federal Government. They feel a morale-draining sense of loss, but it is not late for the Federal Government through Amaechi to reverse an order that is currently sinking the spirits of a people.

Why is it sinking the spirits of the people? For one thing, the maritime university is the first of its kind in Nigeria. It is the first specialized university in Nigeria.

According to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State who is a staunch supporter of the establishment of more specialized universities in Nigeria, NMU will give the right tools and   practical learning that will make graduates employers of labour, rather than job seekers.”

A  former acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Power Ziakede Aginighan listed the advantages of the NMU to include capacity building for Nigerians in the maritime industry, bringing in of direct foreign investment and the arrest of capital flight from the country, and you will agree with him that such will go a long way not only to improve the economy of the Niger Delta, but also that of Nigeria in general.

Chief Amaechi argued that NMU is not needed because there were other maritime education institutions in Nigeria, but the truth is that the other institutions are there to provide world class technical maritime education, but not the world class maritime managerial education NMU is there to provide. Both are two different aspects of maritime education which if Nigeria can train its citizens adequately in within Nigerian educational institutions, would arrest capital flight, and  improve the  economy in many facets, bringin peace and stability.

NMU’s establishment in the Niger Delta would go a long way over time to give Niger Deltans a greater sense of inclusion in the Nigerian project instead of the perennial sense of loss they have always felt.

The people of Niger Delta feel they have lost the headquarters of the oil companies like Shell, Chevron and Mobil to Lagos, a city that is not in their region when their region is the epicenter of oil production in Nigeria. For years there have been calls for oil companies to be mandated to set up their headquarters in the Niger Delta, where most of their operations are based. Those calling for this say that is the only just thing to do, and point to various economic benefits the Niger Delta has lost because those multinationals are not based there.

The people of the Niger Delta feel that they have lost their arable land and their fishing opportunities. Before the commercial exploitation of crude oil deposits started in their region, there was no pollution contaminating Niger Delta waters and killing their fishes. The lands were arable and they could easily cultivate them. But gone are those days, as oil pollution has caused serious economic devastation.

The people of the Niger Delta have an uncanny feeling that they may have lost the chance to benefit from their oil, because when oil was at a very high price, they agitated for 50% percent derivation, but got only 13%. Now the price of oil is in the downlows and no one knows when or if it will ever come up again.

The people of the Niger Delta feel that they have lost the presidency for now, with Goodluck Jonathan serving only one term as president before being defeated by Muhammadu Buhari. Yes, Buhari won fair and square,but some still feel that the fact that Jonathan who is from their area was beaten means that the Niger Delta lost.

They also feel they may have lost the amnesty programme, due to all the current uncertainty surrounding its future. In the heydays of the amnesty programme for Niger Delta militants, many Niger Delta youths, albeit predominantly those of Ijaw stock benefited immensely, and were able to travel abroad for maritime studies and return with enviable academic and technical qualifications and greatly improved economic prospects.

In fact, there is a widespread feeling among the people of the Niger Delta feel that the stopping of the Nigeria Maritime University project is a deliberate move to punish Niger Deltans for voting predominantly against Buhari in the last general elections. The Niger Delta people feel so down now, and having lost all the things I have mentioned above, they would have like to at least hold on to the maritime university – at least they would gain economically from it far into the future, as their youth gain revenue-enhancing academic qualifications from it. But they are now being told instead that they may also have lost the  university.

One of the greatest victors in world history, Winston Churchill said that in victory, there should be magnanimity, as in mercy. Let there be mercy.

It is alleged that the land on which the university was built was sold to the Federal Government in fraudulent circumstances. Let the fraud be uncovered, and let the perpetrators be punished. In fact, if absolutely necessary, let the university be relocated, but not outside the Niger Delta. They need to hold on to that university to make them feel a sense of inclusion in the Nigerian project.

Babatunde Fashola And Nigeria’s Coal Deposits

In 2006, when the then outgoing Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu anointed his then little known Chief of Staff, one Babatunde Raji Fashola as his chosen successor to the governor’s seat at Alausa, not a few feathers were ruffled.

Many of Tinubu’s disciples who had expected the Jagaban Borgu to name them as his successor had their hopes dashed, and many quickly decamped to other parties. As for the public, a lot of people were like; ‘Babatunde who’? So the then ruling ACN was left with a governorship candidate who didn’t have the support of a sizable section of the political elite in Lagos, and was almost totally unknown by the masses.

It looked as if the Jagaban had made a bad political move, but Tinubu, a politician known to follow his political convictions to the very end, irrespective of where the political pendulum seems to be swinging to, stuck to his guns, presented his candidate to Lagosians and managed to convince Lagosians to give Candidate Fashola a chance.

Today, millions of Lagosians are convinced that they and Tinubu took the right decision in giving Fashola a chance, as Fashola wrote his name in gold by many of his awe-inspiring actions as governor, and secured for himself a calling to Federal Service.

Clearing Oshodi

When Fashola came into office he immediately began to sanitize the unhealthy environment in many parts of the city. Take the strategic area of Oshodi for instance – it used to be an epicenter of traffic gridlock, and passing there was every motorist’s nightmare. It was more than that. Oshodi was a crime capital, a notorious place where pick pockets made fat profits plying their notorious trade virtually unchallenged, day in day out.

Oshodi was a place where muggers and molesters would operate boldly in broad daylight, not bothering to hide their faces. That was until hurricane Fashola assumed office. He fearlessly led a charge to sanitize the place, and today, the place, while still being far from perfect, has been transformed into a much safer, much more beautiful place than it used to be.

Where there was grime, there are now beautiful parks and strategically placed pedestrian bridges; and the police has now set up a permanent presence in several points in the formerly over-troubled zone. In this way did Lagosians feel the impact of Fashola’s administration.

The ex governor planted gardens in many areas of the state, and while the opposition sneeringly called him the Gardener Governor, they themselves cannot deny that their eyes have benefited from the lush green landscapes that wow by day and the street lights that wow by night which Fashola brought into being and which the current Governor Akinwumi Ambode has so creditably enhanced.

Many previously misguided youths that used to make that place a dangerous zone have been given training and gainful employment. All this is not to say that crime has completely evaporated from Oshodi, but that the level of crime there today was greatly reduced by Fashola.

Saving Nigeria From Ebola

Another place where Fashola wrote his name in the sands of time was during the Ebola epidemic of 2014. Someone who knew he had Ebola had flown into Africa’s largest country and began to spread the ‘incurable’ disease. By the time the man died he had spread Ebola to so many people, including some of the health officials that treated him.

Nigeria was thrown into an existential struggle and was in a state of panic, and even the violence in other parts of the country then couldn’t overshadow Ebola in the news. It was estimated that before the disease could be contained in West Africa, it would have killed thousands of people. But what was not added in the estimation was that the man Babatunde Raji Fashola was Governor of Lagos.

Fashola successfully coordinated the state’s response to the epidemic in conjunction with other organizations and the epidemic was put under control in a way that generated international praise for Nigeria, considering the currently incurable nature of Ebola. Without Fashola’s hands-on, insightful approach to the crisis, Ebola would have wrecked more havoc on Nigeria’s population.

Fashola’s fight against transport offences greatly reduced accidents on Lagos roads, where motorists often drove on the wrong side of the road, sending many people to unscheduled visits to the hospital, or even worse, to the mortuary. (Thankfully, Governor Akinwumi Ambode has introduced another dimension to this fight.)

Fashola’s achievements as governor, except in a few areas where his policies seemed genuinely anti-ordinary-people was stellar and exemplary. My NGO, the Prince And Princess Charles Offokaja Foundation even benefitted indirectly from Fashola’s good policies. Also, I remember once when I sent him an email over the need to build a pedestrian bridge in my area because of the high number of accidents affecting people crossing the road there – his response was immediate. So, once again I give him a Big Pass Mark on his performance as Governor of Lagos State.

Now That He Is Minister

But now that he is Minister for Power, Housing and Works, he cannot afford to rest on his laurels. Unfortunately that is just what he seems to have started doing.

His biggest policy to date as Minister of Power is to mastermind the increase in electricity tariffs as a way to solve Nigeria’s electricity problem. As far as solving Nigeria’s current Gigantic energy problem is concerned, that solution is an non-solution. In fact, the additional monies generated may just end up in the pockets of some very corrupt public officials if care is not taken, as has happened in the past.

The solution to Nigeria’s power problem starts with coal. The most fundamental problem in the power sector is the scarcity of gas supplies for our power stations. Nigeria depends on gas for 80% of its electricity, but there is just too much competition for gas for Nigeria to depend on it for most of its electricity. Besides there has been great reluctance to cooperate on the part the oil companies that provide the gas due to complaints that government is fond of owing them. These complaints have led to the collapse of several agreements between the companies and the government for the supply of gas for electricity.

While the Federal Government splits hairs trying to secure enough gas to give us a manageable power supply, massive coal deposits which would have given us stable power supply lie untouched in Enugu, Delta, Kogi and other parts of the country. There is no reasonable explanation for this.

One common explanation often mentioned whenever the issue of non-exploitation of  Nigeria’s coal deposits to solve our power problem comes up is that coal burning for electricity causes massive environmental pollution.

The people who say this often quote consultants from more industrialized nations who have propagated these views for commercial interest. What they fail to tell us is that in these consultants’ countries coal power is often the biggest source of energy they use to generate electricity.

For instance; coal accounts for: 93% of South Africa’s electricity; 79% of China’s electricity; 45% of the United States’ electricity; 40% of Germany’s electricity, 78% of Australia’s electricity – and it goes on and on.

So, if all these countries use coal power to generate electricity, what is stopping us in Nigeria from doing the same? I know an energy consultant that can set up coal fired plants all over Nigeria within 18 months at very affordable price when compared to our gas stations.

There is a reason President Buhari gave Fashola a super ministry to handle, combining Power, Works and Housing under one man. It is because President Buhari has great confidence in Fashola’s ability to make great impact in Nigeria to the credit of his administration. What better way is there to make such an impact than to diversify Nigeria’s source of electricity away from scarce gas and towards abundant coal?