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Cameroon:After PSS Nkwen,Gunmen Abduct Students, Teachers from Another School
November 21, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono (Buea-Cameroon)

Kumba is a major strong hold for separatist fighters

Kumba is a major strong hold for separatist fighters

Suspected separatist agents have staged an attack on Lord’s Bilingual Academy (LBA) Kumba, Meme Division of the South West Region of Cameroon, abducting at least 12 students, the college Principal and a teacher. The exact number of those kidnapped is still unknown as other media outlets in the town put the number close to 20.

The private school is located at Karama street beside Hotel Vianello. It is within the same area as the Global Bilingual College (GLOBICOL) who’s Principal, Adolf Achare, was abducted Wednesday last week. Gunmen entered the Lords Bilingual School at 09:00 local time (08:00 GMT) while lectures were reportedly on going.

It is reported that while the students were forced out of the college, the population of the area attempted rescuing the kids but the suspected separatists fired into the air.

Today’s incident comes exactly one week after similar abductions in the new layout neighborhood of Kumba II Fiango. In that incident, the number of students attacked was minimal.

The SDO for Meme Division, Chamberlain Ntou’ou Ndong, had dispatched the Divisional Officer (DO) of Kumba I, Roger Safou, to the scene for more findings while indicating that efforts are ongoing to free the hostages.

The abduction in Kumba comes almost a fortnight after nearly 80 students were safely returned after being taken from their school in PSS Nkwen in the North West Region of Cameroon.

Cameroon’s North West and South West Regions have been hit by a separatist rebellion since 2016. Armed groups have called on local residents to boycott schools until a referendum on independence is held. Protests against marginalisation by the country’s French-speaking majority have been met with a violent crackdown.

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Transparency in Military Spending in Sub-Saharan Africa Higher than Expected, New Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Report
November 20, 2018 | 0 Comments
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Africa Loses Billions of Dollars Due to Child Marriage, Says New World Bank Report
November 20, 2018 | 0 Comments

ACCRA, Ghana, November 20, 2018—Child marriage will cost African countries tens of billions of dollars in lost earnings and human capital, says a new World Bank report launched ahead of the African Union Commission’s second African Girls Summit on Ending Child Marriage taking place in Ghana this week.

According to Educating Girls and Ending Child Marriage: A Priority for Africa report, more than three million (or one third of) girls in Sub-Saharan Africa marry before their 18th birthday each year. Today, the region has the highest prevalence of child marriage in the world. Child brides are much more likely to drop out of school and complete fewer years of education than their peers who marry later. They are also more likely to have children at a young age, which affects their health as well as the education and health of their children.

While many African countries have achieved gender parity in primary education, the report notes that girls lag behind boys at the secondary level. In Sub-Saharan Africa, seven out of 10 girls complete primary education, but only four out of 10 complete lower secondary school.

On average, women who have a secondary education are more likely to work and they earn twice as much as those with no education. Estimates for 12 countries—which account for half of the African continent’s population—suggest that through its impact on girls’ education, child marriage is costing these countries $63 billion in lost earnings and human capital wealth.

“Primary education for girls is simply not sufficient. Girls reap the biggest benefits of education when they are able to complete secondary school, but we know that girls very often don’t stay in school if they marry early,” said Quentin Wodon, Lead Economist at the World Bank and principal author of the report.

Child marriage also leads to high fertility rates and population growth, the report notes. If child marriage were ended today, lower population growth would lead to higher standards of living, especially for the poorest.

The report confirms that keeping girls in school is one of the best ways to avoid child marriage. Each year of secondary education reduces the likelihood of marrying as a child before the age of 18 by five percentage points or more.

The report also documents the impact of child marriage and girls’ education on more than three dozen other development outcomes. For example, child marriage leads to higher risk of intimate partner violence, and lower decision-making in the household. Child marriage also affects the well-being of the children of young mothers, including higher risks of mortality and stunting (malnutrition) for children below the age of five.

Educating girls and promoting gender equality is part of a holistic effort at the World Bank, which includes financing and analytical work to keep girls in school, prevent child marriage, improve access to reproductive health services, and strengthen skills and job opportunities for adolescent girls and young women.

The report was published with support from the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and the Global Partnership for Education.

* Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Uganda, and Zambia.

Contacts:

In AccraKennedy Fosu, (233) 302-214142, kfosu@worldbank.org

In Washington: Patricia da Camara, +1 (202) 473-4019, pdacamara@worldbankgroup.org

To read the report, visit: http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/268251542653259451/Educating-Girls-and-Ending-Child-marriage-A-Priority-for-Africa

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McKinsey shows Africa is the world’s next big growth market
November 20, 2018 | 0 Comments
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Imprisoned Cameroon journalist beseechs financial support
November 20, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono (Buea-Cameroon)

Michel Biem Tong expected to appear before the Yaounde Military Tribunal on December 5

Michel Biem Tong expected to appear before the Yaounde Military Tribunal on December 5

Imprisoned journalist Michel Biem Tong has solicited help from Cameroonians especially financially as he languishes at the Kondengui Maximum security prison in Yaoundé.

Michel Biem Tong, a web journalist was arrested in late October and transferred to Kondengui after spending several weeks in a cell at the Gendarmerie headquarters and has since been charged with propagation of false statements, supporting terrorism and contempt against the Head of State.

Journalist Michel Biem Tong locked up at the Kondegui central prison has written to Cameroonians soliciting for support especially financially to help him during his stay in the prison cell.

It is from his prison that the journalist wrote an open letter where he indicated that he was mentally strong and thanked all those who have been supporting him since his arrest.

He reassures the people that before his innocence which he has never ceased to claim, his morals remain intact and he believes there is surely a good way out of all he is going through.

After expressing his gratitude to the people for their support, the journalist besought them to help him financially by saying “as everyone who has been to the Kondegui central prison can testify, the prison is extremely expensive and our survival only depends on our financial capacity”.

He adds that those who want to support him could get to his family so that their support could reach him. Michel Biem Tong is expected to appear before the Yaounde Military Tribunal on December 5, 2018 to answer charges brought before him.

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Cameroon: Two Buea University staff abducted
November 20, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono (Buea-Cameroon)

At least two members of staff of the University of Buea has been abducted by unidentified gunmen, the Vice Chancellor of the institution Ngomo Horace Manga has revealed.

Mr George Arrey, a contract officer at the Research and Cooperation Office and Dr. Doumta Charles , Lecturer and Head of Service for Records at the Faculty of Health Sciences were abducted on the 10 and 16 November respectively, the Vice Chancellor said in an official statement

“These acts are meant to intimidate, create fear and panic among staff and students and disrupt the smooth functioning of the acaemic year,” the Vice Chancellor said.

Students and teachers have been the target of armed men since the escalation of the crisis in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon.

It’s just been over a week that Dr. Paul Mbufong, lecturer at the University of Bamenda was buried after he was murdered in Bambili. The University of Bamenda has since accused armed men of carrying the act.

Reports from Bamenda and Buea indicate a timid presence of students on both university campuses as with the rising insecurity.

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Buea has cautioned his members  of staff and students to take various security measure around neighbourhoods where their security and safety could be threatened.

“The University (of Buea) is recommending that staff and students residing along the Muea to Mile 14 neighbourhoods to be vigilant and seek alternative accomodation in safe areas while the State is putting in place measures to protect the staff, students and University property,” the Vice Chancellor Ngomo Horace Manga said.

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Cameroon: Anglophone General Conference Postponed for the second time
November 20, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono (Buea-Cameroon)

Cardinal Tumi

Cardinal Tumi

The Anglophone General Conference, AGC has been postponed for the second time. According to reports from some local media, the reason for its postponement is due to the fact that the government has refused authorization for the conference.

A press conference by Cardinal Tumi will be granted on November 20 in Douala to reveal the reason for the postponement.

It should be recalled that there has been some opposition to the holding of the conference in Buea. Most notably is the Mayor of the Buea council who on numerous occasions has reiterated his stance that no such conference will take place.

Recently, the spokesman for the conference, Dr. Simon Munzu pulled out due to threats for his live. He was replaced by Elie Smith who is a strong promoter of the conference.

The AGC was initially fixed for July 25, 2018 but was later adjourned to Nov 21 and 22 which has witnessed another shift to a yet to be disclosed date. Will the 3rd Edition of the AGC hold? A question many are now asking.

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Angola Oil & Gas 2019 Conference & Exhibition Promotes New Petroleum Investment, Signals Resurgence of Angolan Economy
November 20, 2018 | 0 Comments
A resurgent Angola with a new political mandate and investment priorities will be the focal point of the Angola Oil & Gas 2019 Conference and Exhibition to be held from June 3-7, 2019 in Luanda
LUANDA, Angola, November 19, 2018/ — The 2019 Angola Oil & Gas Conference and Exhibition, to be held in

Diamantino Pedro Azevedo, Minster of Mineral Resources and Petroleum, Angola

Diamantino Pedro Azevedo, Minster of Mineral Resources and Petroleum, Angola

Luanda from June 3 to 7, 2019, is officially endorsed by the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Petroleum of Angola and organized by Africa Oil & Power; Angola Oil & Gas 2019 supports the government’s goal to bring greater investments to Angolan oil fields and highlight the recent reforms made by President João Lourenço that will significantly boost Angola’s competitiveness; The conference will be a platform for the government to disclose new opportunities for the oil industry in Angola, including the licensing of new petroleum blocks, new legislation for gas exploration and investment, exploration of marginal oil fields, onshore exploration and investments in all areas of the petroleum supply chain.

A resurgent Angola with a new political mandate and investment priorities will be the focal point of the Angola Oil & Gas 2019 Conference and Exhibition to be held from June 3-7, 2019 in Luanda. Angola Oil & Gas 2019 will be the main event of the national oil industry for this revitalized sector, addressing the new investment climate under the leadership of President João Lourenço, the role of a new national oil and gas agency in the development of the sector, and the issuance of new licenses for exploration and production companies. The Ministry of Mineral Resources and Petroleum is working in partnership with organizer Africa Oil & Power (www.AfricaOilandPower.com) to produce the country’s largest investment conference in years.

“Angola has been one of the world’s leading producers of oil and gas, and under the new administration of President João Lourenço, we are focused on revitalizing and increasing our potential exponentially. We intend with this conference to maximize the value created for the Angolan economy by bringing investors who can increase the competitiveness in the oil market and use the Angolan oil industry as the main catalyst for boosting the economy in general,” said the Minister of Mineral Resources and Petroleum of the country, Diamantino Pedro Azevedo. “The sector has seen several changes, including a sustained drop in oil prices. Thanks to the reforms, Angola is stronger and better positioned in the current investment climate. We look forward to using Angola Oil & Gas 2019 as a platform to capitalize on new business and spark new interest in the industry as projects move forward.”

Angola Oil & Gas 2019 will be the ultimate venue for the presentation of oil and gas projects, ongoing exploration activity, mergers and acquisitions and the presentation of companies operating in Africa’s second largest oil producer, with 1.5 million barrels per day. The conference will be the definitive platform for the government to disclose details about the 2019 oil and gas licensing round and to unveil new legislation for gas exploration and investment in marginal oil fields. Also a focal point of the program will be the creation of a new National Agency for Petroleum and Gas, which in 2019 will assume oil and gas licensing responsibilities.

The event will gather key governmental officials and C-level executives spanning the spectrum of the energy industry for a packed agenda of keynote presentations, moderated panel discussions, an exhibition, and networking gatherings. Angola Oil & Gas will put a premium on deal making and relationship brokering as Angola aims to attract investment in all segments of the petroleum industry. African ministers of petroleum will attend the event, as well as international investors and decision-makers.

“This is the time for global oil and gas investors, and Africa-focused companies, to take a fresh look at Angola,” said Africa Oil & Power CEO Guillaume Doane. “The petroleum industry is set to benefit from the impetus provided by a new political administration and favorable oil prices, as well as the increasing influence of local companies. Angola Oil & Gas 2019 will be the catalyst for economic activity and investment in Angola, a platform to showcase the country’s enormous potential, explain the projects and meet the key actors.”

A comprehensive report on the Angolan energy sector entitled Africa Energy Series Angola 2019 will also be produced in tandem with the conference. The book will be an official investment tool for the Angolan oil and gas industry and will feature interviews and resources on Angola’s most pressing energy issues and opportunities, including the acquisition of new licenses and new exploration of the offshore basins, strategies for reversing oil production declines, the potential for onshore oil and gas exploration, the emerging role of LNG, building a strong domestic sector and diversifying the economy through downstream efforts.

 

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Atiku says he will boost oil investment, cut subsidies in election manifesto
November 20, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Teslim Olawore

Atiku Abubakar

Atiku Abubakar

Atiku Abubakar, Nigeria’s opposition presidential candidate has promised to boost Nigerian upstream oil and gas production and downstream production by attracting more investments, if he is elected president in the February general elections.

Atiku, presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), will run against incumbent president Muhammadu Buhari, under whose watch Nigeria’s economy suffered from the low oil prices that reduced export revenues. Nigeria’s oil industry also suffered from vandalism, and militant attacks on oil infrastructure in most of 2016 and early 2017.

While unveiling his policy plan on Monday, he pledged more transparency and efficiency in the management of the institutions in the oil and gas industry. If elected president, Atiku’s federal government will work to create an incentive regime to grow oil and gas resource bases, re-consider the introduction of bid rounds for marginal fields and bid rounds for blocks.

Inventors will be incentivized to tap unexploited resources in the mature Niger Delta Basin through policies that will encourage infill drilling, enhanced oil recovery, improved oil recovery, pressure maintenance, and full-field delineation and development. Exploration of the frontier areas inland will also be incentivized, Abubakar said.

The candidate will also incentivize the building of modular refineries in the northern parts of Nigeria, and partially privatize the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), according to his plan.

Atiku also pledged to deploy modern technology in pipeline surveillance and other security enhancements. The candidate promises to intensify the government’s dialog with the local communities in the oil-production regions.

Just last week, Atiku said that Niger Delta communities could keep all of the revenues that the oil-rich province produces. In an interview with the Africa Report, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar suggested that a sharing scheme might still be better for everyone.

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2019 will be takeoff year for Ghana – Finance Minister
November 20, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

Ken Ofori Atta

Ken Ofori Atta

Ghana’s Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta has promised that 2019 will be a take-off year for the West African nation. He says the government of President Akufo Addo plans to execute projects to lift the nation to the next level. The minister said they would be able to raise enough resources to fund their government’s ambitious programs in the 2019 Budget contrary to doubts by some analysts. Ken Ofori Atta enumerated that Ghana is expecting to raise $2billion from bond issued this year, the Sinohydro deal, the Minerals Act expected to securitize royalties from 500 million to 700 million dollars and Ghc1.8 billion annual GETFUND revenue to complete Education projects.

“One of the issues I’ve heard a lot about is the issue of whether we have the resources for these ambitious programs that we have taken and I just want to assure Honorable Members like we saw in the first three months we were able to one way or the other bring $2.25 billion dollars equivalent in cedis to support the work that we had to do when we came into power in the same vain this year we went to the market we were able to raise $ 2billion dollars which is the highest we’ve raised at the lowest interest rate with longest maturity and it was four times oversubscribed” he said.

“As you know Moodies has upgraded us to B+ so we are in a strong position. I think the Sinohydro deal, you all have seen what we are looking to do and I think the Vice President has negotiated very soundly so that resource envelope would also be available” the minister added.

The Finance Minister said Ghana is similarly fixated on Domestic Revenue mobilization vis-a-vis measures to curb leakages and corruption in the financial sector hence the allocation of Ghc180million to the Special Prosecutor to police the Public purse.

“the area we are going to need your help is the issue of domestic revenue mobilization which means  we deal with GRA in a much more positive and aggressive way of profit to taxes and deal with corruption and that is why we put so much money behind Martin Amidu”.

According to him, next year is going to be a serious working year for Ghana’s economic takeoff.

“Next year is going to be a seriously working year with regards to making sure the leakages are out, implementing this roll outs of infrastructure and industrialization which is another billion dollars we are looking to put behind so that we truly take off as a country”.

Ghana’s 2019 budget is anchored on strategic pillars of infrastructure expansion, Agriculture modernization, industrialization, Entrepreneurship, Improving Efficiency in Revenue Mobilization and Protecting the Public Purse as well as Social Interventions.

 

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Cameroon:Significant Course Of Correction Needed To Avoid State Collapse-Dr Chris Fomunyoh
November 19, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

Dr Chris Fomunyoh  says the government should release all political prisoners and detainees not charged with violent crimes and held solely because of the Anglophone crisis, and create an enabling environment for high-level, genuine dialogue to seek long lasting solutions

Dr Chris Fomunyoh says the government should release all political prisoners and detainees not charged with violent crimes and held solely because of the Anglophone crisis, and create an enabling environment for high-level, genuine dialogue to seek long lasting solutions

The president of The Fomunyoh Foundation (TFF), Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh has expressed concerns over the process and outcome of the recent presidential elections in Cameroon.  In a strongly worded statement issued today, Dr Fomunyoh, a highly respected expert on democracy and electoral matters in Africa said, while the efforts of the citizens and candidates were commendable, it was regrettable that their hopes for genuine democracy and meaningful change through the ballot box did not materialize, putting the legitimacy of the presidential election in question.

In a previous statement released in July, Fomunyoh had shared concerns on the political and security environment in the country, and categorically stated that the country was ill-prepared for the poll. He had also said the handling of the whole electoral process had left many Cameroonian wondering about the impact of these polls and the future of democracy in the country. This included concerns about the inability to conduct elections in the Anglophone regions of the North West, and South West; the lack of transparency in the tabulation and transmission of election results nationally; the contentious litigation of electoral disputes, and lack of unanimous acceptance of results.

He lamented that the killings in the Anglophone regions continue unabated, and every additional loss of life deepens the pain and suffering and further undermines prospects for national reconciliation. He added that the legitimacy of the presidential election outcome is contested by the main opposition candidate and many Cameroonians.

“Cameroon is more divided, more polarized, more fragile and more insecure than ever before in its modern history. Despite the legal trappings of today’s government, its legitimacy is seriously questioned by millions of our fellow compatriots and friends of Cameroon across the world. The credibility of many of our key institutions, including the newly established Constitutional Council, is at stake. Force, physical violence, hate speech, and ethnic stigmatization have become instruments of choice in public discourse and impact negatively interactions between state authorities and civilian populations,” Fomunyoh said

I call on the government to take concrete measures to regain peace, rebuild the country’s reputation and restore the dignity of Cameroonians.

I call on the government to take concrete measures to regain peace, rebuild the country’s reputation and restore the dignity of Cameroonians.

He however, demanded a significant course of correction to avoid more violence, further disintegration, and eventual state collapse. He concluded his statement by the submission of a ten point recommendations saying,

On Peace and Security: We need a holistic, comprehensive approach to stop the killings.

 

1) Release all political prisoners and detainees not charged with violent crimes and held solely because of the Anglophone crisis, and create an enabling environment for high-level, genuine dialogue to seek long lasting solutions.

 

2) Order an immediate ceasefire and lift curfews in the North West and South West regions to restore normalcy, enable youth to resume gainful employment, and facilitate the return of hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons and refugees.

 

3) Stop immediately the killings and destruction of property in Anglophone regions, and all forms of violence against civilians and security personnel.

 

On Elections: The contested legitimacy of the electoral outcome cannot be ignored.

 

4) To dissipate the lingering cloud of illegitimacy over the election results, commit an international reputable auditing firm such as Price Waterhouse Cooper or Deloitte & Touche to conduct a technical audit of ELECAM documents related to the October 2018 presidential poll.

 

5) Make public the findings of such international audit in order to restore confidence in elections and the institutions in charge of electoral administration and oversight.

 

6) Launch immediately a high level Ad Hoc Committee on reforms to review the Constitution, election laws and other legal instruments, and propose by a set deadline recommendations on major reforms that must be undertaken in all sectors.

 

7) Assign the chairmanship of the Ad Hoc Reform Committee to an independent, seasoned, and well  respected jurist with an in-depth understanding of democratic governance processes.

 

8) Commit to implementing the reforms as soon as they are enacted, and prior to any further elections at the local, regional or national levels.

 

9) Under the new electoral framework to emerge from the Ad Hoc Reform Committee, organize early presidential elections that would allow for more transparent and credible polls whose legitimacy will not be questioned.

 

10) Avoid the manipulation of security and administrative services and pull back the country from the negative spiral of hate speech, ethnic stigmatization, violence and harassment of independent professionals, notably journalists, lawyers and teachers, who are pillars of every democratic society.

“I call on the government to take concrete measures to regain peace, rebuild the country’s reputation and restore the dignity of Cameroonians. This requires extraordinary steps, including those listed above, to address head-on the multiple crises we confront at this time,” Fomunyoh concluded his statement.

Fomunyoh, pictured here with Alassane Ouatrarra of Ivory Coast has a good track record of helping to facilitate dialogue and establishing democracies across Africa

Fomunyoh, pictured here with Alassane Ouatrarra of Ivory Coast has a good track record of helping to facilitate dialogue and establishing democracies across Africa

Fomunyoh who also doubles as Senior Associate and Regional Director for Africa and that Washington DC ,based National Democratic Institute is one of the first high profile opinion leaders to share proposals on the way forward for Cameroon as post-election tensions persist. Though he has resisted calls to run for President himself, many in Cameroon today  think that he may be one of those with right pedigree to play a mediating role in federating opinions as the country faces unprecedented crisis.

 

 

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Elections 2019: factors and projections
November 17, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Edwin Madunagu*

President Muhammadu Buhari (right) with Alhaji Atiku Abubakar

President Muhammadu Buhari (right) with Alhaji Atiku Abubakar

 The most important factor in the coming elections is that Muhammadu Buhari, the incumbent President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a powerful chief executive of state, is a candidate. He is seeking re-election into the office of President. That this is not a trivial or idle observation can be seen from a recent historical contrast, namely, that in the 2015 general elections, Goodluck Jonathan, the incumbent President, was not the most important factor in those contests. He was not the most important factor because he was a weak chief executive of state at the time of the contests and in the period of preparations for them.

 

To steer clear of mystification I propose that to be powerful in the context of our discussion is to be in relatively firm control of one’s political/electoral platform and the critical institutions of state, especially those of “law and order”; it is to be in power and not be afraid or reluctant to deploy it or sluggish in deploying it. The historical contrast we are sketching is that in the period preceding, and during the 2015 general elections President Jonathan had lost control of both his party and the critical institutions of state. You cannot deploy what you do not control. To attempt to do so is taking a grave risk. But in the current corresponding period President Buhari appears to be in firm control of party and state—at least up to the time of writing this essay. And beyond this, he has demonstrated that he is not afraid to deploy the forces under his control.

 

Another important factor in Election 2019 was the wisdom or sheer luck of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in electing Atiku Abubakar as its presidential candidate. All the contestants in the party’s presidential primary election were obviously qualified in the context of the existing social order, political culture and dominant morality in Nigeria. But Atiku’s candidacy—judging by his political antecedents—appeared most likely to attract the widest and largest support possible for the party. Again, to demonstrate that this is not an idle, opportunistic, after-the-fact wisdom it will be enough to recall that in the 2015 presidential election, it was widely appreciated that the PDP candidate and incumbent President, Goodluck Jonathan, was not the best the party could offer—given both the dominant political culture and the political conjuncture at the time.

On the contrary, in the 2015 presidential election, the newly-formed All Progressives Congress (APC) put forward its best: General Muhammadu Buhari. We must here, as always, not forget that the dominant, if not the sole consideration of the main ruling-class contestants and their platforms was what to do to win. That remains their dominant or sole consideration in the present contest. And should any reader respond that the need to win has always been the dominant or sole aim of all contestants—Right or Left—in all modern elections, I would so No: The Nigerian Left has never, fortunately or unfortunately, consciously put electoral or non-electoral victory as a realizable political objective.  And yet, as an interested researcher would discover, committed leaders and cadres of the Nigerian Left had made huge selfless sacrifices in every general election since independence.

 

A couple of weeks ago, a Nigerian state governor belonging to the All Progressives Congress (APC) was reported in several media outlets to have predicted that although Muhammadu Buhari, the presidential candidate of his party, would defeat Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the latter would not be a “walk-over” in the contest. I found myself reflecting on this statement which must have been made out of frustration with political colleagues and assistants. In the course of my reflection, I brought out from vacation my concepts of “power blocs” and “political forces” in Nigeria’s contemporary political struggle—which, we must not forget, is completely dominated by the ruling class.

 

Only a number of reminders or explanatory notes need be summarized and inserted here. One: Nigeria’s power blocs and political forces developed from Nigeria’s ruling class, and are of the ruling class. Two: Political forces are “mini” power blocs which—being historically determined—may or may not develop into full-blown power blocs. Three: Power blocs and political forces are different from, and deeper than political parties. Four: There are only two power blocs in Nigeria, and this has been so since the end of the Civil War (1967-1970). Five: The centre of gravity of one of the power blocs is located in the north of the country while that of the other is located in the south. Six: Only an effective political intervention of the Nigerian Left can begin to dissolve these divisions or render them impotent or irrelevant.

 

We are not now in a position to see and appreciate what exactly led the state governor to make the statement attributed to him. But starting from that statement we may move in different directions to endorse or dismiss it.

 

I have chosen to employ the concepts of power blocs and political forces to endorse a revised version of the governor’s statement. That revised version is simply that neither Buhari nor Atiku would be a “push-over” in the coming presidential election. Further broken down, this revised version means that Buhari and Atiku would be the main presidential candidates and that the contest between them would be tough and tight. And the route I would suggest for endorsing that double statement is through an examination of the ongoing contest between Buhari and Atiku in each of the two power blocs and in the main political forces. We remind ourselves again that these power blocs and political forces are ruling class blocs and forces.

 

Starting from the last couple of months the most important preludes to Elections 2019 can be listed to include political defections, separations, combinations, re-alignments; governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun States; enactment of electoral laws; registration of voters, distribution of Permanent Voters’ Cards; compilation of voters’ registers, determination and designation of voting centres; conduct of party primaries to elect candidates; further defections in response to party primaries; maintenance of “law and order” by judicial, armed and unarmed institutions and agents of the state in response to actual breakdowns or in anticipation of breakdowns; and continuous political struggles of different forms and at different levels.

 

The different forms that the political struggle now assumes and the different levels at which it is waged include intra-party, inter-party, state-civil, intra-state, armed and unarmed, above-ground and underground. Also, to be listed is what is now known as “executive orders” of the president and of the presidency. In all these struggles (waged directly and through “preludes” listed above), money—in immediately usable currencies and in large, very large, volumes—is a primary and powerful weapon, second in overwhelming potency only to state power.

 

That a party and a candidate can lose an election even with superiority in these two forces—money and state power—proves that there is a limit to what either of them or even a combination of them can be used to do or ordered to do. And that an incumbent government can be effectively challenged in the control and deployment of the two forces is a powerful corollary. Do we need to add that these lessons are more important and useful to the Nigerian Left than to the factions, power blocs and political forces of Nigeria’s ruling class?

*Madunagu, mathematician and journalist, writes from Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria.

 

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