Monday, 28 January 2013

Show Them the Ropes

By Yemi Onafuye

Succession is important to me now as a young person, not because I am overly anxious to take over power but rather because I increasingly grow concerned over what tomorrow hold for this great nation, Nigeria. Who are the leaders of tomorrow? This is something to worry about considering the fact that leadership has been the undoing of Nigeria thus far. If we would not remain undone, our leaders have to be different. 

I once came across two schools of thought. The first opined that leaders are born not made; the second stated that leaders are made not born. I agreed with the latter since the characteristics that make a person a good leader are learnt over time. Even if some of them are innate potentials, they have to be developed before they can be of use to anybody. This means it is a delusion to simply point at the youths once the question “who are the leaders of tomorrow?” is asked, without taking into consideration the fact that tomorrow’s leaders have to go through a making process, the result of which would determine what sought of leaders they become.   

Ezekwesili Got it Wrong! - Labaran Maku

Labaran Maku, Nigeria’s Information Minister, writes a rejoinder to a convocation address delivered by Oby  Ezekwesili at the 42nd convocation of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria.

The recent statements by Mrs. Obiageli Ezekwesili at UNN’s convocation ceremony on January 24, 2013, betray a surprisingly limited understanding of government finances. These statements are even more curious in light of the fact that she has held senior positions in government, and more recently, a position as a Vice President of the World Bank. However, rather than speculate about her motives, we would focus on the facts.

Sunday, 27 January 2013



I am hugely delighted to return to my alma mater the great and only University of Nigeria to speak at your 42nd convocation. Twenty eight years ago I sat just like you those of you who are part of the graduating Class of 2013; excited by my graduation. It was 1985 and I was very privileged to be one of the then only 3% of our own youthful population that had the opportunity of a university education. Today, you are still fortunate to be one of the yet paltry 4.3% of your own youthful generation with an opportunity for university education. For Nigeria that percentage does not compare favorably with 37.5% for Chile 33.7% for Singapore 28.2% for Malaysia, 16.5% for Brazil and 14.6%.  Our lag in tertiary education enrollment is quite revealing and could be interpreted as the basis of the competitiveness gap between the same set of countries and Nigeria. The reason is that “…. tertiary enrollment rate which is the percentage of total enrollment, regardless of age, in post-secondary institutions to the population of people within five years of the age at which students normally graduate high school…….plays an essential role in society, creating new knowledge, transferring knowledge to students and fostering innovation”. The countries with the most highly educated citizens are also some of the wealthiest in the world in a study by the OECD published by the Wall Street Journal last year. The United States, Japan, Canada, South Korea, Finland, Norway, Israel, United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia also have among the largest Gross Domestic Products. All these countries aggressively invest in education.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013



What is a host community? Who and who should benefit from the 10 per cent of all oil and gas earnings reserved for the oil producing areas through the Petroleum Host Community Fund (PHC) created by the new Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB)? What features should a community have to earn the title of a “host community”? In what way(s) would the Fund benefit the host communities?

These questions and many more dominated discussions at a consultative roundtable on the PIB organized by Spaces for Change, a Lagos-based public policy and advocacy organization. Participants comprised mainly of civil society leaders, oil and gas experts, legal practitioners, energy correspondents, former senior executives of international oil companies and representatives of oil producing communities. Diverse stakeholders' concerns about the PHC Fund provoked heated debates, strong arguments and counter-arguments for and against the establishment of the Fund. 

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

PHOTOSPEAK: Stakeholder Roundtable on the PIB

On Tuesday, January 22, 2013, Spaces for Change, with support from the Open Society Initiative of West Africa (OSIWA) convened a roundtable in Lagos to allow for continued dialogue among stakeholders on the community and environmental provisions of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). At the event, participants, comprising mainly civil society leaders, oil and gas experts, legal practitioners, energy correspondents, former senior executives of international oil companies and representatives of host communities extensively examined the criticisms and controversy generated by the establishment of the Petroleum Host Community Trust Fund in the new reform bill. Here are photos from the event:

L: Celestine Akpobari of Social Action, Port Harcourt; Dr. Bala Zaka, ex Shell executive, PH, Ikechukeu Ikeji esq. oil and gas legal practitioner, Raji Rasheed and Pamela Braide

Udeme Akpan, Editor, Energy Desk, National Mirror Newspapers

Betty Abah, Environmental Rights Action, Lagos

Sir Aiyegbeni Omonhinmin, energy expert

Monday, 21 January 2013

Communities, Environment and the PIB

Consultative roundtable discussion on

Friday, 18 January 2013

President Jonathan, a visit aint enough!

By Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri

It is no longer news that President Goodluck Jonathan paid a surprise visit to the dilapidated Police College in Lagos yesterday. The visit came on the heels of a shocking revelation by Channels TV exposing the rotten infrastructure at the college, and the alarmingly deteriorating conditions in which police trainees live in. 

Many online users on the social media have hailed this surprise visit. My good friend, Chetaala Ilo, went as far as describing it as a " classic administrative masterstroke in real meaningful governance and shows a genuinely concerned leaderhip at work!"...Really?

Before you clap, please recall that the GEJ-led Nigerian Government budgeted I TRILLION NAIRA in 2012 for national security. With all that money frittered away, the Nigerian Police College remains in a totally rotten state. Officers still pick bombs with their bare hands in violence-ridden Maiduguri, Borno State.  Many police stations across the country have no patrol vehicles. Those who have could hardly maintain them.

I am not impressed by a hasty visit to a rotten police college. Let me see fire and sack letters next week... let me see queries and criminal charges against those who misappropriated billions budgeted for the police. Let me see resignations. ..then I will believe this aint one of those photo shoots. 

Over to you, Goodluck Jonathan!

Picture credits: Sahara Reporters

Enhancing Community Participation and Environmental Protection in the Petroleum Industry Bill

Environmental degradation and inequality in allocation of resource benefits have been at the root of insurgency in the Niger Delta. While multiple groups have emerged to protest perceived inadequacies and injustices created by the structural and institutional imbalances, the introduction of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) represents an important opportunity for addressing the massive environmental devastation and improve community participation in oil exploration in the Niger Delta.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Reptiles Take Over Sen. Chris Anyanwu, Bethel Amadi Constituency Projects in Imo State

Wild jubilation erupted among the local populations in Uzoagba, Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State when Senator Mrs. Chris Anyanwu (representing Imo East Senatorial District) and Hon. Bethel Amadi (representing Mbaitoli/Ikeduru Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives) announced their joint decision to build a primary healthcare facility within their village. Ecstatically, local chiefs freely donated land for the project, followed by a colorful commissioning ceremony that attracted dignitaries from far and wide. The primary healthcare initiative, popularly known as “constituency project” initiated by the two Imo-born lawmakers was designed to make quality healthcare accessible to rural dwellers, especially the elderly, women and children.

Two years after that commissioning ceremony held amid pomp and pageantry, the constituency project is now totally abandoned, fully overgrown with weeds and home to all forms of dangerous insects and reptiles terrorizing the village. Local residents told Spaces for Change on December 31, 2012 that construction work stopped at the health facility two years ago. Frantic appeals and strong representations made by the traditional rulers to the lawmakers to complete the project yielded no response.
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