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07042018 - Investigate your ministers

Vanguard Newspaper 07 April 2018

20—SATURDAY Vanguard,

20—SATURDAY Vanguard, APRIL 7, 2018 any are disappointed with the Mruling party. The opposition has been presented a ridiculous opportunity. But a bleary-eyed,voluble, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has allowed beer-parlor habits distract it from diligent purposeful oppositional politics. The PDP has remained perpetually excited, intoxicated. The PDP sees itself as an inevitable choice of a frustrated electorate. The PDP is naive. It welcomes every scandal with revelry. It manufactures scandals when genuine ones dry up. It weaponizes misfortunes. It demonizes shortcomings. It interprets every failure of governance at the centre hyperbolically. It is unfettered by tact or politics correctness. It promotes bigotry in the name of empathy. It relies on anarchism to provide vigilantism. The PDP has carried on as if it has another country to replace a burnt Nigeria with. The economy is recovering slowly. Foreign direct investments are coming back. The PDP points to the persisting astronomical prices of goods and predicts a coming apocalypse. It does not offer an alternative economic blue print. The people simply have to look at its crocodile tears and believe in its competence. Unashamedly, it rose in ecstasy to welcome the adjustments Bill Gates advised in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. If you listened to their applause you would think Bill Gates endorsed and delivered their manifesto. A sober opposition party would have celebrated Bill Gates’ admonition with circumspection. First, Bill Gates came to wake the opposition from obvious slumber. Secondly, Bill Gates materially indicted the opposition too. The reference to poor funding for health and education made by Gates implicated both Federal and state governments. There is no PDP state that can boast of being ‘Bill Gates’ compliant So why was the PDP cheering so drunkenly? The PDP welcomes data that spell doom and dismisses data that warm the heart. That eagerness to brand data provided by the National Bureau of Statistics as counterfeit doesn’t help institution building. The Corruption Perception Index is given an exaggerated importance but rice production data are treated with suspicion. The party welcomed the Many persons have asked what is in a name. A dictionary meaning is that a name is a word, term or phrase by which somebody or something is known and distinguished from other people or things. Names signify special and tangible things, either living, as in the case of a person or an animal, or inanimate, as in the case of a place or a concept. People may change their names freely as long as the request is reasonable and does not impinge on the rights of others. Of course, some say, change is always constant in global events. In the business world a reason for changing name is to break with the past. Doing this means adopting a strategy to remain competitive in the market. An expert says from time to time successful businesses rebrand to create a new identity in the minds of customers, competitors and investors. Rebranding includes a change in the organisation’s name, logo, symbol, associated images and more; an effort to reposition in the marketplace and in the eyes of the public. But what will make a national oil company that has done very well in the last 50 years to change its name? The Norwegian national oil company has commenced its rebranding strategy as it would change its name from Statoil to Equinor. The energy giant is changing its name to one without the word “oil” to reflect a diversifying energy company rather than an oil and gas super major. Equinor combines “equi” to suggest words like equal, equality and equilibrium. The “nor” signifies the company’s Norwegian origin. Statoil shareholders would vote on the PDP: A hysterical, tabloid opposition NBS when it announced the slip into recession. But treated it with contempt when it announced an exit from recession. But returned to cheer its data gathering efficiency when it said job losses have been enormous. A responsible opposition must protect our institutions. It would need them to rebuild the country. The PDP pretends that its manifesto lies in a certain sterling performance of the past. That very PDP has not offered a coherent plan to save the country from the menace. The wretchedness of the opposition leaves public discourses on national issues filled with noise and tantrums rather than contending positions and competing reasons unfortunate pedigree that Nigerians rose in unison to reject in 2015. The APC government has left mouths agape. So much was expected from it. But a PDP that clings to a disreputable past, and makes excuses for corruption, in the name of promotion of rule of law, cannot inspire anyone. The PDP’s shiftlessness will ordain an apathy that would benefit a ruling party that is asking for time to find its rhythm. Gruesome violence has become Renewable energy blues: Stat atoil changes to Equinor change at the company’s annual general meeting scheduled for May 15, 2018. The Norwegian government, as majority shareholder in Statoil (with 67 percent equity), and the five unions that represent Statoil employees support the proposal to rebrand. Since the 2015 Paris Agreement oil and gas majors have been re-evaluating a fossil-fuel-only portfolio and rebranding. The renewal strategy is to cooperate with other countries against climate change. By 2020, the company will invest a quarter of its research funds in new energy technologies including offshore wind, carbon capture and energy efficiency. Statoil acquired a 40-percent share asset in Brazil solar development project as well as a 50 percent share allowing Statoil to participate in future solar projects. Statoil is a key energy security partner for the UK and pursues a broad range of activities relating to energy production and sales in Britain. Statoil in partnership with Masdar, commenced the operation of the first floating wind farm in the world, the Hywind Scotland. Statoil is a leading supplier of natural gas to epidemic. The Federal Government has been, at best, sloppy. But the PDP has not offered a coherent plan to save the country from the menace. The wretchedness of the opposition leaves public discourses on national issues filled with noise and tantrums rather than contending positions and competing reasons. The PDP stands aloof , or stands in the middle sometimes, and fans embers of disunity. It has reached many demagogic diagnoses of the herdsmen mass murders. It’s preferred methodology is the exploitation of prejudices. It has not announced any comprehensive rational strategy to contain the violent herdsmen. The herdsmen’s crises will not vanish into thin air if PDP wins. It can only be solved by a holistic criminal justice and political engagement recipe honed by consultations. An opposition party is supposed to be a party of ideas and hope. The PDP latches on inanities and feasts on silliness. It organizes no seminars, it provokes no intellectual debates. A responsible opposition party can neither afford to become an aimless busybody nor can it adopt indolence, ’siddon look’, as a strategy. When PDP leaders are not taking oaths to confirm the death of a living president, they are peddling blatant lies as state secrets. The party has become a public fountain of conspiracy theories. It has done away with all compunction. Its championship of rumour mongering will leave a lasting damage on the polity. A responsible opposition party could have called for a comprehensive investigation of the Dapchi incident without betraying itself as, perhaps, sadistic. One moment the PDP was screaming ‘Bring Back Our Girls.’ And the British market, with a market share around 20 percent. It plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent per barrel by 2030. It also said it would reduce annual emissions from its operations by 3 million metric tons by the same year The Statoil 2017 outlook envisioned three energy scenarios to reform.The target is a diverse energy mix in fossil fuels and clean energy. The company said it will direct 15 to 20 percent of its total investments to profitable renewable and low-carbon solutions by 2030. The company said it aimed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent per barrel by 2030. It also said it would reduce annual emissions from its operations by 3 million metric tons by the same year. Statoil observers believe it is operating in a world where populist, nationalist, inward-looking and short-term priorities direct policymaking, where climate skepticism runs high and where disorder, conflict and power struggle apply at the expense of cooperation and trust. Statoil is believed to have reached its goal of reducing CO2 emissions from the Norwegian continental shelf accusing the president of being destitute of empathy. The very next, it was sneering at the rescued Dapchi girls, and confessing that it had always known Dapchi was a Federal government’s script, a farce. The PDP didn’t believe Chibok when it happened despite the fact that it controlled all national security and intelligence agencies. The PDP has to cure itself of cynicism. The nation is watching. The ruling party may be bumbling from national embarrassments to national disasters but the PDP doesn’t seem to have any sobriety for national governance. The party exploits principles but lives on opportunism. It will angle for votes by inflaming ethnic tensions. It will drive a wedge into any crack in the national architecture. It will pander to the IPOB in the southeast but it would not make the promise of a referendum an object of its manifesto. If you look round the country you will find the PDP perched on every available moral fence. The PDP that failed to restructure the country for 16 years now cries ceaselessly about defects in the national foundation. Yet it lags behind the APC in formal public engagement on restructuring. The PDP wants to rout corruption. But it is not decided on what to do with a multitude of prosecutions which it has labeled acts of victimization. It is not conscious of the moral confusion it seeds to publicly by its vacillation. It has bastardized all anti corruption efforts in selfish service of party solidarity. The PDP cannot distinguish chaff from substance. It discredits whistleblower activities. It treats seizures of proceeds of corruption with contempt. It doubts the achievements of the FIRS. It tarnishes institutions to spite the ruling government. That can’t be responsible opposition. A responsible opposition doesn’t need a huge omnivorous appetite for gossips and fables. Opposition is not a preoccupation in superstition and conspiracy theorizing. It is not underpinned by paranoid delusions. It may spend a few hours wondering who invited Naomi Campbell but it cannot dedicate itself to the scavenging of every compost heaps for petty scandals. It should spend years hashing out and evangelizing alternative economic pathways to enduring democratized prosperity. A responsible opposition would defend human rights without endorsing or promoting hate speech and bigotry. A responsible opposition could be opportunistic but cannot be governed by abject shortsightedness. Statoil is a key energy security partner for the UK and pursues a broad range of activities relating to energy production and sales in Britain ahead of schedule. It has entered into a CO2 storage partnership with Shell and Total. A November proposal was for the Norwegian Central Bank to divest its US$1 trillion sovereign wealth fund, SWF of oil and gas. That would rid the country of US$35 billion in fossil fuel stocks. As the populist movement continues in Norway, oil and gas production is still playing a significant role. President and CEO of Statoil, Eldar Sætre said “Statoil has for almost 50 years served us well.” “Looking towards the next 50 years, reflecting on the global energy transition and how we are developing as a broad energy company, it has become natural to change our name. The name Equinor captures our heritage and values and what we aim to be in the future.” “Equinor is a powerful expression of who we are, where we come from and what we aspire to be.” Eldar Sætre said his company is a values-based company, and equality describes how they want to approach people and the societies where they operate. The Norwegian continental shelf will remain the backbone of our company, and we will use our Norwegian heritage in our positioning as we continue growing internationally within oil, gas and renewable energy.”

Four members of the National Assembly have died within weeks of each other. None of them made it to the biblical age of seventy years. For all their wealth and positions, they could not extend the inevitable; they could not negotiate their timeline on earth. One was said to be preparing for an outing when he breathed his last. Given their respective ages, they would have made plans for the future. Each to his own dream of grandeur; perhaps to become Governor, perhaps to become President, perhaps to acquire enough clout to become a kingmaker, perhaps to make tons of money and live a life of opulence in the latter years, perhaps to secure the financial future of children born and yet to be born. You can’t but wonder how much of their thoughts they gave to humanity, or country, or community. How much thought they gave to the spiritual aspects of life; their purpose in life and the reason God put them where they found themselves – one of them came from one of the poorest zones in the country. It’s easy to mouth ‘May their souls rest in peace’ and move on with our lives. But that would just be words and mere wishful thinking. Their deeds on earth had already determined where their souls would rest. Our deeds would determine where our own souls would rest as well. My message is not to them. They are gone to face the final judgement. The judges in heaven are unlike our earthly judges. They cannot be swayed by money, politics or tribe. It is to these judges that they will account for their deeds and misdeeds. It is from these judges that they will know whether their souls will indeed rest in peace or in permanent turmoil. What however is instructive at this point is that nothing material went with them. Not even their phones which are about the most intimate and personal possession we all have these days. My message is to their colleagues in the Executive, the Judiciary and the Legislature who move from one political office to another gathering huge financial moss along the way; who see service and looting the The long-suppressed fury of members of the All Progressives Congress, APC in the Southeast against Governor Rochas Okorocha finally burst out last Tuesday. It came when Mr. Osita Okechukwu, the director general of the Voice of Nigeria, VON in an unusual step called out the Imo State governor as a liability to the party and its leading 2019 presidential aspirant, Muhammadu Buhari. Okorocha, the only governor elected on the platform of the APC in the Southeast had come to regard himself as the visioner of the party in the Southeast region. He had in that vein about a year ago conferred the titular leadership of the party in the Southeast on the former president of the Senate, Senator Ken Nnamani. When party members from the region muttered, the governor went into a ramble on how foundation members of the party like Dr. Chris Ngige, Dr. Ogbonnonya Onu were unfit to lead the party in the region. In Imo State, several pioneer members of the party have been scandalised by the political foibles of the governor. Undoubtedly, one of the greatest accidents of the Okorocha story in Imo is the muscling out of some of the party’s most conscientious members including Uche Onyegocha, the former member of the House of Representatives. Onyegocha’s historical position in Igbo political renaissance is signposted by the fact that he was the first person ever elected on the Political office ice looter ers treasury as the same and are oblivious to the poverty and underdevelopment in the land. They have given to their departed colleagues what they think the dead deserves – tributes and platitudes. They have moved on with the business of the living which to them is exploiting the system and the poor. If the untimely death of their colleagues meant anything to them, they are still to show it. 2019 is their focus now and all options – intrigues, manipulations, religion, violence, – are on the table. Yet, it would do them a lot of good to pause and think a while. No one guaranties you tomorrow let alone 2019. And power, when you get it, is fleeting at best. May 2015 was three years ago, yet it looks like yesterday. Soon, many in this government would become ex-this, exthat. So, for those who want their souls to rest in peace when they eventually depart this world, this is the time to start working towards its realisation. To our politicians in their short sightedness, eternity is, well eternity; beyond the moment. The moment is about political leverage. The ‘two umbrellas of corruption’ (apologies Intersociety) in the political space, APC and PDP went out in utter shamelessness last week to accuse and counter accuse each other in public. APC fired the first salvo by releasing a tentative list of those of the PDP who were alleged to have looted the treasury. PDP responded with a more expansive list of alleged APC looters including their own stained members who had crossed over to APC and suddenly became ‘washed clean’ by the spirit and soul of APC. These revelations show that while PDP looted in office, Does Okorocha mean trouble for APC? platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, having been elected to the House in the first election the party stood for in 2003. Onyegocha’s moral fibre was further accentuated when he stood out as perhaps the only Igbo member of the House of Representatives who turned down the N50 million third term money. So, head or tail, Ndigbo say that they are at a loss whoever between Okorocha or Okechukwu sees himself as a better champion of Buhari in the Southeast. That is what is called the devil’s alternative SATURDAY Vanguard, , APRIL 7, 2018—21 APC does not have the moral high ground on which to stand. And the members, mere floating butterflies with no ideology. A recent report by the International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law (Intersociety) seriously indicted our two main political parties which it claimed ‘budgeted, squandered and siphoned over $302 billion or N66 trillion in 15 years’ with little or nothing to show for it. The group came down heavily on the political class describing many of them as ‘Federal Political Criminals”. According to the report, out of the sum of N66trillion budgeted by the Federal Government, less than 30% or 19trillion was budgeted for capital projects for the entire population of 182 million people (NPC estimates May 2017), while expenditures (running costs and remunerations of less than 700,000 public servants of the Federal Government) incurred the remaining N47trillion or 70% of the entire budgets since 2003. In other words, less than 0.35% of the population of 182 million people have consistently accounted for over 70% of our budgets since 2003 ‘leaving the rest of the people in penury, acute backwardness and underdevelopment’. The Lawmakers of only 941 also came under a heavy criticism ‘for conspiring with the executive to loot the treasury through Appropriation Acts which entailed over bloated running costs and multiplicity of allowances’. It also pointed at the jumbo allowances of N13m and N12m per month as legislative running An early supporter of the 2015 Buhari presidential aspiration, Onyegocha like several early supporters of the president was frozen out from the government that was inaugurated. At home, the political foibles of his governor forced him out of the APC last year. So when Okechukwu intervened last Tuesday to the effect that Governor Okorocha should not be seen as the poster boy of the APC in the Southeast, he apparently meant sense to some people. Mr. Okechukwu’s intervention came in the wake of the continuing brouhaha that arose from Okorocha’s plans to foist his son (in law), Uche Nwosu as the APC’s governorship candidate in the 2019 election in Imo State. That scheme is already galvanising leading Imolites including Archbishop Anthony Obinna of the Roman Catholic Church to action. The Imo government, however, sees all such oppositions to its political So, for those who want their souls to rest in peace when they eventually depart this world, this is the time to start working towards its realisation costs as against the Top Office Holders Amended Act of 2008 which clearly fixed such at about 1m. The leadership of Organised Labour is not spared; accusing it of conspiracy by always pretending to care for the workers only to acquiesce once their demands are met. It also fingered the main stream media particularly Print, Radio/TV describing them ‘as offshoots of corruption which had the effrontery to organise panellists for discussions bothering on corruption, public decency and morality as well as annual ‘merit awards for excellence’. It also accused a good number of lawyers and rights activists as being beneficiaries of public theft ‘yet they go about pretending to be more catholic than the Pope’. This report, backed by figures and statistics, is a wakeup call for Nigerians. It explains many things. It explains how less than one million Nigerians have appropriated over 70% of the country’s wealth to themselves. It explains the reason behind our decaying infrastructure and deepening poverty. It explains why top public office holders live large in and out of office. It explains why those who have tasted the honeypot of politics never want to leave it preferring to float from one party to another, one position to another. More poignantly, it explains why we are rapidly falling behind in every index of human development. When these public thieves die, we go through the motion and say ‘may their gentle souls rest in peace’. There is nothing gentle about their souls. And there is no peace for the thief. schemes as treachery, and a call to battle. Okechukwu had in an interview with a national newspaper alleged “What we lost in APC is because of him. He is a man who doesn’t believe in himself, and he tells himself lies.” Okorocha’s media team which does not waste time to respond to any criticism was swift with his spokesman, Sam Onwuemeodo replying thus: “Mr. Okechukwu is among of those who have the erroneous feeling that the only way they can grow in APC is by attacking or pulling down Governor Rochas Okorocha. And the man has been doing it religiously without a response from us.” Okechukwu, Dr. Onu, the late Prof. Dora Akunyili were among the earliest facilitators of the Buhari political project. So when Okechukwu alleged as he did last Tuesday that Okorocha should not be seen as a poster boy for Buhari’s intentions towards Ndigbo, he probably may have stated the obvious. However, in the light of allegations of discrimination against Ndigbo by the Buhari administration especially, Okechukwu’s projections of himself as a better apostle of the Buhari philosophy could also be a tough sale. So, head or tail, Ndigbo say that they are at a loss whoever between Okorocha or Okechukwu sees himself as a better champion of Buhari in the Southeast. That is what is called the devil’s alternative. C M Y K