Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hitting our target!

The following is my take on the issue and I came to this conclusion after much contemplation, and reading so many comments on the presidential debate and election and blah blah blah....and after looking around my environment and getting repeatedly pissed at the fact that till now we all havent got it. We are all getting carried away by who was eloquent, who appears bold and confident, who seems competent etcetera...what happens if we elect the seemingly correct candidate into office, and 4 years down the line we are on the same spot. No light (power), no railways, no infrastructural development and no progress (which is a very likely possibility)

Even Obama who understood change so well had (and is still having) a hard time translating promises into real time deliverables. And the candidates we have today do not measure up to Obamas credentials (except maybe the more intellectual types like Utomi and others...just my opinion anyway)

Bottomline is that beyond being avid spectators of the race to the big seat in Aso Rock, we should be keen to look at other issues that do affect the fortunes of a nation. I know that bad leadership will always be inimical to a nations progress, but we should not get carried away only by the man or men who will occupy the presidency but also at the systems and issues that affect leadership as a whole in Nigeria. They are afterall only men

Issues like establishing systems to make our leaders listen to us (even if it means getting on the streets like Egypt and Tunisia); accountability in public office; security and the police; public-private partnerships as a tool for development; the educational system and health sector; fighting corruption.

I am saying that when we as a people make a case for these kinds of things, then we will have MORE CONTROL over the way our leaders lead us. I am also saying in other words that even if we elect the best possible candidate, without a system of checks and balances, he may become either terribly misguided, or sadly complacent. 

I personally am tired of getting my hopes dashed. I place no faith in any one particular candidate. I would be more hopeful if people are united by common values and ideas. 

However if I were asked who I would vote for among our present crop....hmmm.....

I would have preferred a Prof Utomi as president, and someone experienced in politics (but of integrity) as VeePee.

However that is just a pipe dream (dreaming is still free last time I checked).

It is obvious that NONE of our present crop of candidates is qualified or competent...Perhaps in Nigeria we should consider scrapping the position of President and institute a 'Presidential committee' so that we could have a combo of people leading the nation, with the likes of Utomi, Fola, Buhari, Shekarau and Ribadu all together...(another dream I know)

For me I am concentrating on life after the election, I am looking at 4 years from now, I am looking at you and man is a perfect leader. The uprising in the Mid East shows us that leaders cannot take us anywhere if we are unwilling to lead ourselves.

That is my take on the issue. You can quote me

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Keys to Nigerias Infrastructural development

My Naija peoples, in this post I am talking about Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), a sustainable effort between the public and private sectors, in which each contributes planning and needed resources to accomplish mutual shared objectives. It is plain as the nose on my face that dynamic partnerships between the public and private sector have become the cradle of economic growth and development across the globe. All over the world, PPPs have continued to drive infrastructure development.

Since the 1960s, major capital projects in the developed world have been executed through PPP arrangements. In the past few decades, developed economies such as the United Kingdom have showcased a variety of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) for the delivery of infrastructure, public utilities and large-scale projects. Emerging markets such as India and South Africa are also recording successes using tried and tested partnerships to create, expand and modernize infrastructure.

Overwhelming evidence indicate that PPPs are relatively cost efficient, foster best practices for sharing and transfer of risk, assure superior value for money, save time, streamline contracts and simplify procurements, facilitate innovation through public-private cohesion, eradicate bureaucratic and political processes, encourage technology transfer all the while delivering infrastructure and services. The World Bank estimates that every 1% of (government) funds invested in infrastructure leads to an equivalent 1% increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

No one can deny the fact that Nigeria’s infrastructure challenge is enormous. The Managing Director of Urban Development Bank of Nigeria (UDBN), Mr. Kunle Oyinloye, last year, said that the nation requires about N32 Trillion for infrastructural development in the next ten years to meet the federal Government’s vision 20-20-20 economic targets.

Unfortunately, Nigeria has not had an encouraging record of investment in infrastructure. Lately however, attention to infrastructure development is gaining momentum. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently called for the establishment of a Nigeria Infrastructure Fund where funds could be mobilized and developed to address Nigeria’s huge infrastructural deficit. It also stated that in terms of estimated funding gaps in infrastructure, Nigeria needs to invest $100billion (about N15 trillion) over the next 10 years.

Evidently, the government alone cannot gather together the resources (finance and expertise) to meet this need and the involvement of the private sector is not just desirable, but indispensable. It is no wonder therefore that the majority of infrastructure projects currently underway at both state and federal levels are powered by PPPs.
And opportunities for these types of partnerships abound. The Cross River state (CRS) government for example is seeking investors to develop the agricultural sector as it aims to see the region become a major food producer and exporter. Advantages of investing in Cross Rivers Agribusiness? Export promotion zones, a port, accessibility to Lagos and Abuja. These provide easy links to large markets and encourage faster clearance of goods.

The World Bank Sub-National Doing Business Report for Nigeria ranks CRS as one of the top four states for ease of doing business in Nigeria. The state’s One-stop Investment Center (OSIC) provides investment information, services and advice to potential investors. In addition, the state government is working to provide adequate infrastructure to meet growing consumer and business demands. These include:

• $150-million project to expand and upgrade Margaret Ekpo International Airport.
• Calabar Monorail
• $36-million investment on 19.8km rail connecting international airport, Calabar and TINAPA resort.
• Calabar Energy City, which is designed to develop an energy sector cluster with residential, commercial and industrial areas.
• Power Generation – there is an ongoing project to connect all communities to the national grid. There is also increased focus is also on renewable energy sources.

Akwa Ibom State has large deposits of a number of mineral resources that can be commercially exploited. And in Katsina state, preliminary results of a survey conducted indicates the presence of a large quantity of diamonds in the state.

All I am trying to point out is that opportunities abound for both the government and the private sector to take advantage of, for mutual benefits and for the development of the Nigerian society as a whole. Our slow national development is easily tied to the deficiency of  quality and functional infrastructure. In so many countries around the world including Africa, PPP strategies have been successfully utilized and exploited. Nigeria should not be an exception.

In Mr. Anti-corruption on point?


A RECENT issue of The Economist examined the presidential bid of Nuhu Ribadu, Nigeria’s former anti-corruption chief. Mr Ribadu made his name as the first head of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2003. In this role, he pursued politicians and civil servants who were embezzling the energy revenues of Africa’s biggest oil and gas producer

An interview with Nigeria's Mr Anti-Corruption

Nov 12th 2010, 16:23 by S.A. | LAGOS 

Mr Ribadu’s fortunes dipped when Umaru Yar’Adua took office as president in 2007. The sleazebuster was sidelined and later fled the country, returning only after Mr Yar’Adua’s death in May this year. He now hopes to run for the top job himself in elections due in early 2011.
Baobab talked to Mr Ribadu about whether he would be able to run a clean campaign in Nigeria’s often murky political scene.
Baobab: Why have you decided to run for president next year?
Nuhu Ribadu: I understand now that to bring about change I need political power at the highest level. That means the presidency. I have worked under a president, and many say we did a good job at the EFCC, but when change came [and a new president took office] all our work was destroyed. It was all reversed.”
Baobab: How will you use presidential power to continue your fight against corruption?
NR: Just appointing me will be half the answer. When people see me, they will sit up and know that the era of corruption is over. On the practical level, I will run a transparent government that publishes accounts online. I will create “whistleblower laws” to protect the identities of those who expose corruption. I will reform the police and the judiciary.
Corruption causes all the problems that we have here. It causes the poverty and the insecurity. And there is no one better qualified to address the problem of corruption in this country than me.

(True2Society: Let me interrupt at this point; a bold claim here by Mr. Ribadu wouldn't you say?)

Baobab: Nigerian political campaigns are costly affairs that often rely on the sponsorship of unsavoury characters. Can you run a clean campaign in a dirty system? For example, will you probe your sponsors to find out the sources of their wealth?
NR: Everything about me has always been clean and this will be a clean any case, I will not need as much money as other parties because I am not going to bribe anyone. My campaign is about winning over people with my ideas, not my money.
But I will not probe anybody. I am not the EFCC chairman here - I am a politician who is trying to get people to support me. If money is coming to change a system that needs change, why should [the source] matter? (T2S: Once again I interrupt. For someone who is supposed to be the nemesis of corruption, why wouldn't the source of money used for your political campaign matter? It could certainly be the cause of your downfall, if your enemies funded your campaign with money stolen from the national treasury, and then turn around and say you are an accomplice...Hmmm. I wonder)  Why try to destroy this opportunity?
Baobab: You have chosen to run against the ruling People's Democratic Party with the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). Some Nigerian are raising eyebrows at this choice. Bola Tinubu, one of the ACN’s most powerful members, has been under EFCC investigation for years. Does this concern you?
NR: You should not worry about individuals when you are working on a project of this magnitude. It might affect the outcome...I am convinced that the mission we are out to do is not about an individual.
Baobab: Your critics also note that you have never held political office before. Why not serve as a senator or governor for one term, and then run for president in 2015?
NR: We can’t wait for 2015. Nigeria's problems must be arrested immediately. There is no way we can allow this mess to continue. Also, for the first time, the ruling party is in real trouble. Goodluck Jonathan [the incumbent] is from a very small ethnic group...Sadly, even if he were the best person for the job, northern Nigeria would never accept it. He is not electable. 
(T2S: It just amazes me the way we can't do politics in Nigeria without taking a shot at the opposition. I though he just said a few sentences ago that his mission is not about individuals but about ideas???)

In any case, I posted this today because I was just wondering about the candidates presenting themselves to rule this nation for the next four years. I don't see any bright lights on the horizon when I think about that. However that is not to say that change cannot come through one of these individuals. Indeed Ribadu has earned some degree of respect from his exploits in EFCC. He is probably a good anti-corruption crusader but a poor politician (hey, just my amateur opinion).  Let us just hope, pray, wait and see...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Election time (Revolution!)

Fellow Nigerians
Let us re-strategize
We surely can’t continue
To listen to their lies

They promise us the world
Before they get elected
But after all is said and done
It’s we who are rejected

For greed and lack of vision
We waste our potential
They feast on our resources
They have no good intentions

The common man and woman
Must rise up from the dust
Vote with your conscience
Revolution is a must

A new Nigerian nation
Sunshine after the rain
We all must play our parts
Victory is ours to gain

Don’t leave it all to chance
Insist on what is right
Oppose corrupt officials
Resist with all our might

Shawn Asala © 2011

Monday, February 28, 2011

Nigerian Infrastructure Development and the Enterprise Revolution - An African Perspective

Author: peter osalor

The general state of infrastructure across the African continent and especially sub-Saharan Africa is acutely discomfiting. With the exception of South Africa, the continent's largest economy, the entire region is bogged down by severe infrastructure deficits that have frustrated development programmes and marred growth prospects. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries have been relatively better off in this regard with their efforts to drive area-wide development through trade agreements, resource pooling and multi-nation collaborations. Western Africa, on the other hand, has been bereft of similar benefits due to complex past and present exigencies. As a result, the economic potential of this region has hardly been scratched.
In June this year, the World Bank approved a $1 billion loan for Nigeria to fund multiple development programmes including expansion and enhancement of the country's massively deficient power sector. An amount of $200 million was earmarked for investment in networking and technical upgrades to improve electric supply. While this concessionary, interest-free funding comes as an undoubtedly welcome development, it amounts but to a tiny fraction of Nigeria's overall investment requirement in infrastructure. In August 2008, the Nigerian Debt Management Office (DMO) revealed that the country needed at least $100 billion in investment to develop four key infrastructure areas - power, rail, roads and oil & gas. The figure was calculated to align with the ambitious national goal of taking Nigeria to the top-20 world economies by 2020. Of the four sectors mentioned, power alone would require an estimated investment of between $18 and $20 billion over the next ten years. With a current installed capacity of 6,000 MW against the total requirement of 10,000 units, only 40% of Nigerians currently have access to electricity.
The collapse of basic infrastructure and social services was set off in the 1980s, after Abuja's unhealthy dependence on oil exports decimated its agriculture and light manufacturing sectors. The static oil economy wiped out traditional and emerging livelihoods, creating rampant unemployment, poverty and degraded living standards. By 2002, per capita income was below the level for 1960, when Nigeria gained independence from British rule. In terms of infrastructure decline, power happens to be the most hardly hit, but the government readily admits severe shortfalls in a many other areas as well. For instance, the rail network is in shambles and today accounts for only 1% of national transportation1. The port service likewise suffers severe bottlenecks and inadequate capacity optimisation. The over 100,000 km long road network is in disrepair at best and barely usable at worst.
Because of Nigeria's strategic location and the abundance of its natural resources, infrastructure development in the country has pan-African relevance. The human capital of 148 million that makes Nigeria the most populous African nation is a workforce of uncharted economic potential. The country's thriving informal sector, estimated to be as high as 75% of the total economy, also conceals tremendous possibilities for inclusive growth. Rapid SME development has hence been the mainstay of successive governments since the reinstatement of civilian rule in 1999. Nigeria's ability to kick-start an enterprise revolution that will fundamentally alter its macroeconomic imbalances remains the quintessential challenge of its 2020 goal.
Infrastructure development is clearly going to be the first building block in this endeavour, and ground realities are pretty harsh as present conditions go. For Nigeria, the larger impact of infrastructure deficits is the high cost of doing business, for large corporations and small enterprises alike. Lawmakers need to draw up a comprehensive blueprint to reverse this trend in a time-bound manner. The following are two key aspects in this consideration:
o The whole of Western African receives very nominal foreign private investment in infrastructure due to a slew of reasons ranging from high foreign exchange risks to low creditworthiness. The region's subdued ability to raise debt and inclination towards infrastructure sectors with limited regulatory intervention are further obstacles. Nigeria needs to lead the way in enhancing access to equity debt as a means of attracting projects with viable private participation.
o The ability of local finance markets to fund infrastructure projects is very low across the continent. Local long-term local financing is almost non-existent except in South Africa, which has been successful in developing an indigenous capital market for consistent funding on convenient terms. The absence of similar capacity in the rest of Africa means most of it is dependent entirely on grants-in-aid and soft loans from international development agencies.
For developing African economies, increasing foreign investment on infrastructure while simultaneously developing avenues for credible local finance is a daunting task. The current Nigerian government under President UM Yar'Adua acknowledges the challenge by listing infrastructure development as a cornerstone component of the 7 Point Agenda for realisation of the 2020 goals as well as the Millennium Development targets. Some recent initiatives in this connection include the setting up of a federal mortgage bank, a housing authority and a national road maintenance agency.
That infrastructure will be the prime driver of all socio-economic development in Africa is given. What remain unclear are the ways and means that individual nations employ, and the ground effectiveness of such measures beyond official statistics and proclamations. Nigeria has the unique opportunity not only to reverse decades of economic stagnation but also to hold up an effective model for accelerated growth to the rest of the continent. The success of its long-term ambition gathers wider significance because it is bound to have a gradual spill-over effect on its immediate geography.
Article Source:
About the Author

Peter Osalor is a multi-skilled director, chairman of trusts, proprietor and consultant. Peter Osalor has been a successful entrepreneur since 1992 when he formed Peter Osalor & Co and which has since grown to a very large client base with a turnover of millions. He is currently a fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Nigeria (ICAN). Peter is also a member of the Chartered Tax Advisors and the Chartered Institute of Taxation in Nigeria (CITN).

This article was written sometime last year...however it's relevance to our present day society will remain timeless or 'dateless' as long as we continue to suffer from a complete lack of viable infrastructure.

"Growth potential is dependent on the quality of performance of infrastructure to a great extent - a fact the Chinese realised much earlier than us..." (

We need to advocate for infrastructural development as a way towards truly making Nigeria one of the top 20 economies of the world by 2020. More to come...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

S.P.I.R.I.T.:Governor Tunde Fashola- Spirited leadership

Governor of Lagos State, Nigeria
Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) is the recipient of the 2009 Yikzak Rabin Centre for African Development Governor of the Decade for Peace Award and the recipient of the 2010 Award of Excellence in Leadership of the Martin Luther King Jnr. Foundation.
He is the recipient of the 2009 Good Governance Award from the United Kingdom-based African Business Magazine. Here in Nigeria, he is The Guardian, The Vanguard and The Sun newspapers' Man of The Year for 2009.
Both nationally and internationally, he is acclaimed as one of the bright hopes for the future of Nigeria; one of the very progressive Governors determined to reclaim Nigeria's past glories through competent and transparent leadership.
In the past three and a half years, Mr. Fashola (SAN), has demonstrated excellence and uncommon commitment to his avowed pledge to lead the change that would transform Lagos into Africa's model mega-city.

Some of the key projects which his dynamic and proactive business-minded skills have inspired and advanced include the Eko Atlantic City project, the 10-lane Lagos-Badagry Expressway, the expansion of the Lekki-Epe Expressway, the Lekki Free Zone, the Bus Rapid Transit System, massive Infrastructure Renewal in all parts of the State, that has won the State honours from as far as Australia for undertaking the fastest infrastructure renewal ever in Africa, and the establishment of the Security Trust Fund.
His other achievements include Environmental Regeneration that helped reduce violent crimes by over 70% in 1 year; the massive cleanup of Oshodi and other metropolitan open sores once regarded as irredeemable. Concrete steps have also been taken towards improving Agriculture and Food Security among many others.

A passionate lover of children and the youth who represent the future of our continent, Governor Fashola has, in the three and a half years of his tenure, embarked on projects aimed at improving their lives and the opportunities open to children and youths in the State. They include, the construction of Maternal and Childcare Centres across the State to improve maternal and child health, immunization against polio and other child-killer diseases, the revitalization of voluntary uniformed organizations in the State's public schools to build character and leadership qualities in children and provide a choice away from street gangs, renovation and rehabilitation of classrooms as well as the building of new structures and the provision of educational facilities including desks and chairs.
Others are the provision of free uniforms and textbooks to pupils and students in public schools, provision of Summer Vacation jobs for students, the formation of youth clubs and societies in schools, including Climate Change Clubs and the Be Road Friendly Club designed to inculcate environmental and road traffic awareness respectively in children at an early age. These have been projected at making school more attractive to children; the school should also become that real centre of a well rounded learning.

The Governor, during his first term in office, has also undertaken the construction of mini-stadia with the provision of sporting facilities to engage the energy of youths in the State in productive and responsible ventures. These were accompanied by establishment of Vocational and Skill Acquisition Centres that has graduated over 20,000 young people and provided jobs for them.

Born on June 28, 1963 in Lagos, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) is a truly made in Nigeria product. He obtained his First School Leaving Certificate [FSLC] from the Sunny Fields Primary School, Adelabu Surulere, Lagos, after which he proceeded to Birch Freeman High School, Surulere, Lagos and later Igbobi College, Yaba from where he acquired the West African School Certificate [WASC]. He, thereafter, went to the University of Benin, Benin City and graduated with a Bachelor of Laws [LLB Hons] degree in 1987. He was called to the Nigeria Bar in November 1988 after undertaking the statutory training for Barristers and Solicitors.
For the mandatory National Youth Service Corps [NYSC] programme [1988-1989], he served in Benin, the former Bendel State now Edo State. His flourishing private legal practice, running into nearly fifteen years, saw him acquiring appreciable expertise and vast experience in such areas as Litigation, Intellectual Property [registration of trademarks], Commercial Law, Mergers, Acquisitions, Right of Issues, Ownership of Shares and Equity of Corporations, as well as Land Disputes and Chieftaincy Matters.

In the course of his distinguished legal career at Sofunde, Osakwe, Ogundipe and Belgore; the law firm of K.O.Tinubu & Company and as Managing Partner, Lead Counsel, Babatunde Raji Fashola successfully pleaded many cases at High Courts, various divisions of the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, and to cap a successful legal career, he was elevated to the class of Nigerian Elite Lawyers in August 2004 when he was conferred with the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria [SAN], a leadership position of the Nigerian Bar and the nation's highest legal distinction and honour for lawyers.
He was appointed Chief of Staff by the former Governor of Lagos State [Governor Emeritus], Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who he later succeeded in office and served from August 16, 2002 to November 6, 2006, during which time he served as Member, State Tenders Board; Member, State Executive Council, Member, State Treasury Board, and Member, State Security Council amongst several other Ad-Hoc Committees/Panels. With the experiences he garnered he resigned voluntarily to contest for the Office of Governor of Lagos State under the platform of Action Congress [AC] Party now Action Congress of Nigeria.

With his victory at the April 14, 2007 Governorship election, he was sworn in as Governor of Lagos State on May 29, 2007. Since then, Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) has been able to bring to bear on the governance of Lagos State all the invaluable experiences he acquired over the years. Given the spate of achievements recorded so far [May 2007-2010] by the Fashola Administration, pundits and colleagues alike are wont to describe him as the 'primus inter pares' in Nigeria in the 5th Republic...

Culled from

I share this today as an example of the S.P.I.R.I.T. Nigeria needs for transformation. Here is an individual dedicated to SERVICE, who is PASSIONATE; has INTEGRITY; shows RESPECT for his office and in turn is respected; his leadership style is hinged on INNOVATION and executed by TEAMWORK. 

This is the new Nigerian SPIRIT!

A new Naija S.P.I.R.I.T.

I have been doing a lot of reading recently, specifically doing case studies of nations that through certain ideologies, strategies and efforts, have transformed themselves from third world countries to powerful nations that are the pride of their respective geographical regions.

To put it briefly, I have come to see that what Nigerians need is a new S.P.I.R.I.T: We need inculcate the values of Service, Passion, Integrity, Respect. Innovation and Teamwork!

I believe (and so can you) that if youths of this country can imbibe these qualities and apply them in all nation and society building endeavors, we will begin to see the dawn of a new era of development.

Don't just read this but take some time to actually think it through...Service. Passion. Integrity. Respect. Innovation. Teamwork....In our businesses, (selling pure water, garri or real estate), careers, everyday interactions, politics...political aspirations and negotiations, leadership positions...If we begin to integrate this S.P.I.R.I.T into all we do...well,...enough said for now.  

Stay tuned to this.... OK let me call it channel. In the coming days (or even hours because e get as the tin dey do me), I will be sharing more of my thoughts on this new S.P.I.R.I.T. Of course as usual, your thoughts and comments (on facebook and/or this blog) are most welcome