…with our oil!
Every expert opinion solicited (and unsolicited!) on what to do with our expected oil revenues has emphasised watching the politicians and bureaucrats in charge of the sector. This advice was proffered over at jolly old La Jolla in Calif, at the conference convened by Exxon, down to the recent symposium of the African Business Roundtable. This isn’t surprising, is it?
After all, of all the countries in the world, politically, we most resemble our fellow ex-colonies in Sub-Saharan Africa — with which we share our post-WWII “coming-of-age” independence experience. And look how they’ve squandered their oil revenues!! Nigeria’s as good an example as any. Oil was discovered just before that country got independence in 1960; they experienced the OPEC post-1973 oil boom, but yet most ordinary Nigerians see their oil as a “curse”. Today, they see it as an “evil spirit” that corrupts and eventually destroys everything it comes in contact with.
Why? First and foremost, because very little of the hundreds of billions of dollars earned from oil flowed down to the poor. In fact, very quickly, the agricultural sector, which provided a livelihood for most pre-independence Nigerians, was destroyed. By 1974, Nigeria had moved from food self-sufficiency to being a net food importer. Billions and billions were expended on food importation, which couldn’t be reversed by several programmes like their “Operation Feed the Nation”. Too late was the cry!!
How different are we with the PNC-led govt’s wilful destruction of our agricultural lands on the coast that’s being removed form sugar? These lands were carved out from mangrove swamps by the sweat and blood of our forebears, yet we’re placing house lots on them in a world that’s literally starving for its produce. For all the talks about “diversification” of agriculture, what has this government done concretely? Zilch!!
Then, of course, there’s the massive corruption, theft, outright looting of the government treasury, and endemic fraudulent practices that followed the Nigerian Government getting involved in the oil and its ancillary businesses. And Trotman’s proposed that Guyana follow suit with his ridiculous US0 million oil services’ facility on Crab Island!
It is conservatively acknowledged that the equivalent of 250,000 barrels a day is siphoned off from the Nigerian treasury, and ends up in bank accounts in places like Britain, the US and the EU. When then British PM, David Cameron, was caught telling his Queen that Nigeria was “fantastically corrupt”, Nigerian President Buhari said he didn’t want an apology — just that Britain reveal the accounts hiding illegal funds, and that they be repatriated to Nigeria.
We’ve got to understand it ain’t gonna be easy to “watch de govt”, when the watchers are in bed with them!!
Who will watch the watchers?
Your Eyewitness still can’t get over the RISE folks saying they’re “Post-racial”. What’s that? Since their proposed constitutional change includes dealing with our “racial” voting here, does their existence before these changes imply we don’t really need the said changes? Or are they simply some more evolved beings? Your Eyewitness is quite skittish about this “post-racial” talk, after what happened after Barack Obama’s election — which was supposed to usher in that blessed state in “the land of the free and home of the brave”.
Rather than paraphrasing, why doesn’t Barrack speak for himself – as he did this January: “I think any talk of it being a post-racial America after my election was never realistic. African-Americans and other minority groups might have felt as if the problems that have built up over centuries, a wealth gap, an education gap; you know, significant poverty; that those things could be addressed overnight.
“(Some) also made an unrealistic notion that somehow, ‘Okay, that means discrimination’s over.”
Only those who feel it can know it, to fight it!
…at the CCJ
Do we have Jurists of the calibre of Belize’s Abdulai Conteh, who can comprehend the doctrine of “basic structure”, to rule on this case?
Or just the usual pedestrian plodders?