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Thursday, 24 December 2015

Nigeria's Opposition Party Joins In Calls For Prayers

Nigeria's clerics and politicians have, over the last two weeks, been calling for prayers for the nation, and they have been joined by "Africa's largest political party," the People's Democratic Party, PDP, whose national publicity secretary, Olisa Metuh, has called on Nigerians to offer special prayers for Nigeria's unity.
These calls for prayers are only a ploy to distract Nigerians from the fact that the government has failed in its responsibility to make life at least bearable for the average Nigerian. Why the sudden calls for prayers when the truth is that these people who are asking us to pray are the very same people who have stolen the nation to its present stuporous state? God did not cause our problems; failed leadership did. It stands to reason therefore that prayers to any god or gods will not solve our problems. What Nigeria needs are leaders who are willing and able to put in the onerous and backbreaking work necessary to make a nation great.
The PDP was in power for 16 years (1999 to 2015) during which it midwifed an insane catalogue of corruption running into many billions of dollars. It was under the PDP led government that $16 billion was spent in the power sector by the Obasanjo administration between 1999 and 2007; today, Nigerians still depend on very low quality and unsafe generators imported by unscrupulous business men from China to power their homes. The police pension fund was stolen, nearly all the state governors could not pay workers' salaries and many workers and pensioners were owed months and even up to two years of salaries. Universities were regularly shut down and academic activities stopped dues to strikes by lecturers over pay and funding of the universities, there were multiple cases of governors, ministers, and top civil servants embezzling the equivalent of tens of millions of dollars in public funds. Even the banking sector was not left out as many politically connected business men and women collected hundreds of millions, and even billions, of naira in loans from the banks, many without collateral, and refused to pay back a cent.  Many bank CEO's have also been accused of aiding government officials in laundering stolen funds, and also stealing from the banks they head. There were only very few persons ever accused of misappropriating funds, and even the handful of persons convicted got very lenient sentences usually with the option of a paltry fine. Some of the convicted persons even spent their entire sentence in a luxurious hospital suite, claiming they had one chronic illness or another.
The examples above are, sadly, only a tip of the iceberg of the monumental corruption that has seen Nigeria lose at least $400 billion since gaining independence in 1960. Many of Nigeria's landmarks such as he groundnut pyramids in northern Nigeria have disappeared. Nigeria's mono economy of oil is in trouble due to record low oil prices. Nigeria used to export cocoa, but that source of income died soon after the lucrativeness of oil dawned on the political class. Nigeria is billed as the sixth largest producer of oil, but today, it imports refined petroleum products, flares all of its natural gas (literally incinerating billions of dollars monthly) and none of its four refineries, none of which has ever produced at 100 per cent capacity, work. The Nigerian state also kills enterprise by making Nigeria's business environment hostile to small scale businesses; those who refine petroleum products have their livelihoods declared illegal and destroyed because the government prefers to pay fraudulent oil marketers "fuel subsidies" than encourage and regulate small scale refineries which could end the endless queues at filling/gas stations.
Nigeria may have had the notorious distinction of being the origin of fraudulent emails and internet based scams, but its citizens are the victims of the ultimate scam of all - religion.

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