Friday, May 31, 2013

How Democracy ruined Nigeria Manufacturing Sector

The Manufacturing sector in any economy is reputed to be the engine of growth and the ultimate pillar for sustainable growth and development. It is the steering wheel for the transformation of an underdeveloped economy to an advanced economy, our Industry correspondent AYODELE SAMUEL writes on its impact of 15 years unbroken democracy on the sector.

Before 1999, the manufacturing sector was blooming and growing, businesses environments were conducive and the sector contributed to national output. 

However as Nigerian roll out drums to celebrate 15 years of unbroken democracy, stakeholders in the Manufacturing sector and business operators are counting woes, to them democracy has not been a blessing to the nation's economy.

Despite its potentials as the engine of growth, an antidote of unemployment, a creator of wealth and the threshold for sustainable development, the manufacturing sector today has suffered severe decline in its contribution to national output. 

Their lamentation include that the Nigerian manufacturing sector is in a state of collapse as its capability to generate employment, create wealth, reduce poverty and contribute to gross domestic product, GDP, has been declining since 15 years ago, while elected democratic government keep paying lip service.

A performance of the sector in a report in 2009 from the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), the performance of the sector fell from nearly 13 percent in the early 1980s to about 4.13 percent in 2008, the performance of the sector according to MAN was however eroded by the global economic crisis which rocked key macroeconomic variables all over the world which led to reduction in the capacity utilization of the sector.

Also unemployment rates 5 per cent for the period 1976-1998. However, the statistics has dramatically increased since the closure of manufacturing firms in the country.

In 2009 MAN said about 820 manufacturing companies in Nigeria closed down or temporarily suspended production between 2000 and 2008, while the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry Mines and Agriculture NACCIMA last year said that no fewer than 800 companies shut up shop in the country between 2009 and 2011 due to harsh operating environment.

Akindele Alabi, a business expert in an interview with Peoples Daily said despite the global economic crisis, the manufacturing sector is suffering under the democratic rule.

" Before 1999, the government take manufacturing seriously, it was not politicize even though the Military head of states are not world best economist the economy was thriving doing business in Nigeria was easy, the business environment was far better than what we have today, 1999 till date, how many companies have folded up? How many of our graduates are roaming the street in endless search for jobs? Take a look at how democratic government open our borders at the detriment of local manufacturers, all these compounded the problem of the sector which had increasable grow in the last 15 years" 

Alabi argued that employment generation by the sector over the past 15 years has declined sharply, "Wealth creation has been on the decline also. Wealth can only be created when the prospective investors find the business environment conducive and profitable to do business. In Nigeria, since 1999 the operating environment is very harsh and un-conducive – from no power supply to insecurity of lives and property, as is currently seen in the northern part, in 2008 its was the Niger-Delta region of the country.

"The poverty level in Nigeria has been on the increase in recent times due to deteriorating quality of work life, especially in the area of reduction of job opportunities, high costs of living, poor infrastructure, and bad living conditions. Manufacturing contribution to GDP, which was 8.1 percent after independence, fell to 3.51 percent in 2011, what do we have today?"

Former MAN President Bashir Borodo while giving an extensive over view of the latest development in the sector, said since the return of democracy in 1999, "we have witnessed the emergence of political entrepreneurs and predators that have acquired political influence to direct and control economic policy. In the process they became predators, destroying the incipient industrial sector. They are not pro-industry and have succeeded in destroying major industrial sub-sectors, particularly the textiles, tyres, paper and vegetable oil. Their next target is the cement industry."

The emergence of political businessmen who amazed much influence after financing elections in the country, influence government policy towards the direction of enhancing unrestricted imports through waivers.

Also President, NACCIMA, Dr. Herbert Ajayi blamed the continued decline in the manufacturing sectors on political and economic factors, citing poor infrastructure and epileptic power supply as key impediments to the industries.

"The manufacturing industry as a whole operates on more than 70 per cent of energy it generates; using generators and operating these generators greatly increases the cost of manufacturing goods," 

Putting the country back on the path of recovery and growth will require urgently rebuilding deteriorated infrastructure and making more goods and services available to the citizenry at affordable prices. 

Alabi said "if the problems in the textile industry and the manufacturing sector as a whole are to be effectively tackled, the Nigerian government and Nigerians in general must take definite measures to revive the manufacturing sector through deliberate policies that would overhaul the country's infrastructure and give locally manufactured goods better patronage. There is, therefore, the urgent need to fix infrastructure, particularly power supply, to save manufacturers the huge cost they spend on generators.

The government also needs to review other policies, particularly the unfriendly (high) bank lending rate, that are stifling industrial growth if Nigeria is not only to stop the factory closures and the attendant problems but to be one of the leading economies in 2020. China, with its attempt to encourage economic growth and be comfortable in the long run, had to reduce interest rate.

Alabi added that if the nation's monetary and fiscal policies works in tandem to enhance the growth and development of local industries and businesses, even more foreign direct investment will come to the nation's economy.
Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device from MTN

Life and Time of Pa Adekunle Ajasin

Late Chief Michael Adekunle Ajasin, 1st Executive Governor of Ondo State

CHIEF MICHAEL ADEKUNLE AJAS1N, Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR), BA (Durham) Dip. Ed (London), DCL (Sierra Leone) LLD (OSU), LLD (FUTA), Teacher, Head­master, Principal of Imade College, Owo, Proprietor and Principal of Owo High School, Councilor, Council Chairman. Member of the Federal House of Representatives, Governor of old Ondo State, the Asiwaju of Owo, Leader of the Yorubas, Chairman and Leader of Afenifere, Peoples Consultative Forum and National Democratic Coalition was bom in Owo to Peter and Deborah Ajasin on November 28, 1908. The eldest of five children, two of whom survived him - Mrs Rachael Morenike Ojomo and Mrs Mary Ajibola Aiyegbusi.

Education and Early Life
He attended St. James's School, Owo, St. Paul's (later Oloyede Memorial School) and entered St. Andrew's College, Oyo in 1923. He passed out of the College in December 1927 following a brilliant and enviable record. The CMS authority (who were his sponsor) subsequently posted him first to St. Andrew's School, Warri and later to St. Luke's School, Sapele, where he re­mained as Headmaster until 1943 when he left for Fourah Bay College, Freetown, Sierra Leone in the heat of the second World War. He graduated in July 1946 and proceeded to the Univer­sity of London for a Post Graduate Diploma in Education.

He returned to Owo in 1947 to become the Principal of Imade College, (a member of the Aionian Group of Schools) and one of the best schools in Western Nigeria, where he stamped his personality of high discipline, hard work, athletic disposition and academic brilliance on the thousands of pupils who passed through him and who are leaders in the Country today. He founded Owo High School in 1963 and within a short span of time the school has also produced a number of highly placed Nigerians in various spheres of endeavour.

Politics and Public Service
All his life, he was involved in political affairs of the people. Even from far away Sapele, he made his influence felt in the political affairs of Owo. He was by his education and experience, the obvious choice to represent Owo in the different constitutional conferences before independence. The Action Group (a Political Party which revolutionized the old Western Nigeria) of which he was Vice President was officially founded and launched in his home at Owo.

For a very long time in Owo, his political leadership was undisputed. He paid his dues in politics - rising from the lowest rank. He ran and won election as a ward Councilor, District Council Chairman, Divisional Council Chairman, Federal Legislator and Governor of the old Ondo State (an election in which he won the highest percentage of votes in the gubernatorial elections throughout the whole country in 1979). He was referred to as the 'Millionaire Governor' as a result of his feat of being the only governor to record votes of over one million. In 1962 he became the President of Egbe Omo Oduduwa and with the passing of Chief Obafemi Awolowo in 1987, the leadership of Awo's political family naturally fell on him. The unfolding transition program of General Ibrahim Babangida saw him become the rallying point for progressive political forces in Nigeria which culminated in the victory of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the Presidential Elections of 1993 - an election that has been acclaimed as the freest and fairest in the history of Nigeria.

It was the annulment of the election which brought out the best in him politically, for since June 1993, he became the arrow head of opposition to the nullification of the election and thereafter worked relentlessly for an early enthronement of democratic civilian rule as practiced in all civilized countries.

"Despite his old age, and sometimes ailing health, he continued to attend various meetings with the hope of finding a peaceful resolution to the political impasse. He dialogued with Nigeria's Head of State, General Sanni Abacha a couple of times; convened the first ever summit of Politicians in December of 1995 - all in an effort to find a just solution to Nigeria's problems. It was during one of the preliminary preparatory meetings for the Summit that he took ill and Dr. Alex Ekwueme had to take the chair.

While alive, his home in Owo became virtually a Mecca for leaders of all shades of political opinion in Nigeria as well as many dignitaries and diplomatic representatives of foreign countries. He welcomed friend and 'foe' alike.

Life Style
Chief Ajasin had an indomitable spirit, engaging in battle to uphold justice and defend the rights of the oppressed. Although born with royal blood in his veins, he was throughout his political life always espousing the cause of the ordinary people. He demonstrated in both his public and private life a high sense of probity and accountability which is difficult to beat. His whole life is a struggle for a better Nigeria using in particular education for his crusade. He was a humble and modest man - As aptly put by Chief Anthony Enahoro -

"He had the singular virtue of modesty, even humility. He never boasted about the historic fact that he was the undeniable architect of the free education which transformed the old Western region and became a shining example for other parts of the country".

He was a democrat to the core - never one to take decisions without consulting his followers. Once a decision was reached, he carried it out with utmost vigour. He was never known to relent. He was very loyal and dependable. He respected authority. Through thick and thin, he maintained an unflinching loyalty to the leadership of Chief Obafemi Awolowo both in the Action Group and the Unity Party of Nigeria. He never coveted any position - All positions and achievements he attained came to him naturally. It is no wonder that his leadership equally commanded so much respect and loyalty from his teeming followers.

He was a workaholic. Even at the age of Seventy-one when he became governor he brought an unmistakable dynamism of a much younger person to bear on governance of Ondo State. This is attested by the various achievements of his administration in the fields of Education, industrialization and rural development during his tenure as governor of the State.

He was honest to a fault - He led his life by showing good examples, he was not one to say do as I say and not as I do. Rather, he practiced what he preached. He was a highly disciplined and principled man. He was simple and lived a Spartan life. He 'stubbornly' pursued any cause for which he believed and was convinced to be right and just. He was very consistent. He had a very unselfish attitude to life. While the golden rule says do unto others as you would wish they do to you; He did more for others than he ever wished done for himself. He lived a life of selfless service to humanity and he was a source of inspiration to all who came across him. His doors were always open to everyone at anytime of the day or night, even despite the protocol at Government House, he never turned back any visitor no matter how 'small'. We can go on and on - but suffice it to say that the story of his life is that of an uncommon man.

It can be truly said of Chief Ajasin
"By Jove I am not covetous for gold, Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost. It yearns me not if men my garment wear, such outward things dwell not in my desire, but if it is sin to covet honour, I am the most offending soul alive "
- Shakespeare

Family Life
He was happily married to Babafunke (nee Tenabe). The marriage took place at Ido-Ani on Thursday, 12th January l939 - at the Holy Trinity Church. Barely a fortnight after the wedding Papa remarked in a letter to his uncle "Comfort is doing well she has started to show that she will be a dutiful wife and one that will make me happy". After fifty eight years of marriage it will be difficult to find a couple who can beat the record of happiness, faithfulness, respect and loyalty to each other as he and his wife. It was hoped that he would live a couple of more years to celebrate their diamond jubilee. He in his memoirs described his wife as

'not only a jewel, she is the priceless jewel of my soul. She is not just the woman behind the successful man, she is the soul of the man'

Hear what General Babangida had to say about him.
"As a husband and father, he personified the dignity and sanctity of marriage and family life as a lifelong institution"
Chief and Mrs. Ajasin are blessed with four children, Modebola, Waleola, Olatokunbo and Olajumoke.

Trials and Tribulations
His life was not all a bed of roses, even though he attained the peak of his career in all its ramification, he had his own share of problems, starting with - the political turmoil of the old Western Nigeria during which time, the Action Group and its leadership were subjected to all sorts of persecution.

There was the conflict at Owo arising from the disaffection between him and the Olowo of Owo which unfortunately lingered on for so long to the detriment of Owo Community. What about the disloyalty within his party - the Unity Party of Nigeria during which his deputy played a disappointing major role. Unfortunately this led to the rigging of the gubernatorial election and the consequent conflagration which resulted in the loss of lives and property in Ondo State. We cannot end his tribulations without reference to the unjust treatment visited on him by the military. Contrary to all codes of human decency and natural justice which presumes that a person is innocent until proved guilty; the military government of General Buhari incarcerated him on the presumption of guilt while asking him to prove his innocence. He was tried thrice and thrice he was discharged and acquitted yet he was not released until General Babangida freed him 20 months later.

Inspite of his old age and ailing health, he was subjected to all forms of discomfort and stress, through detention, threats and harassment. Through all the trials and tribulations, he was undaunted, pursuing his goals with all the resilience, consistency, determination and belief in God.

It has been said of him that
"He ran a very long race, neither did he fall nor stumble, when he has run his own part of the race and finished tops and we (Nigerians) would not do our part, he took the baton again and led the way".
The Guardian, Oct. 10, 1997

To those who could be discouraged by obstacles to good life and democracy in Nigeria - those who would rather join them because they cannot beat them, the life of Chief Ajasin should serve as a shinning example for which the following quotation truly and aptly applies;
"Some say that the age of chivalry is past, the age of chivalry is never past, so long as there is a wrong left unredressed on earth, or a man or woman left to say, 'I will redress that wrong, or spend my life in the attempt,' The age of chivalry is never past, so long as we have faith enough to say, 'God will help me to redress that wrong; or, if not me, He will help those that come after me, for His eternal Will is to overcome evil with good". - C. Kingsley

During his life, Chief Ajasin had a number of honours conferred on him. He was conferred with the third highest honour of the Federal Republic of Nigeria - Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR) in 1982 by President Shehu Shagari, a proud alma mater, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, made its distinguished alumnus as Doctor of Civil Laws (Honoris Causa); a grateful Ondo State University honoured itself by bestowing on its founder the degree of Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa): and an admiring Federal University of Technology, Akure recognized this great man's worth with another Honorary Doctorate of Laws. He was a Honorary Fellow of Ondo State College of Education, Ikere-Ekiti.

He was also honoured with several chieftaincy titles, among which are: Asiwaju of Owo, Owosoyin of Ijero Ekiti, Adingbuwa of Ondo, and Obarimiyo of Akure.

Papa lives on as Bankole Anifowoshe, one of his grandsons put it "Papa will never die".

Thursday, May 30, 2013

SURE P man, Major-General Mamman Tsoho Kontagora (rtd), is dead. see his profile here

Deputy Chairman's Profile
Major-General Mamman Tsoho Kontagora (rtd), is dead.
He passed on last night at the National Hospital. Until his death, he was the deputy Chairman of SURE - P in charge of Project Delivery. He was one time Minister of the FCT and Sole Administrator of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he was fondly referred to as "Uncle K" by students who were found of him especially his effort to sanitize ABU.  

 Full profile

  Kontagora  a stellar soldier, a peoples General and a distinguished gentleman whose military career spanned over 35 years of service. Major-General Mamman Tsoho Kontagora was born on the 20th April 1944 in Kontagora, Kontagora Local Government in Niger State, Nigeria. He attended Central Primary School Kontagora between 1952 – 1958. Nigerian Defence Academy Kaduna 1964 – 1967. Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical Engineering from the Ahmedu Bello University, Zaria between 1967 - 1972.
He also attended the Naval Postgraduate School Monterry CA, USA and United State Army War College, Carlisle PA, USA. The brief period when Kontagora was in charge of the FCT saw a boom in construction of housing and infrastructure. He ceded a strategic plot next to the International Conference centre to the Abuja Horticultural Society to develop as a world standard park, now the Abuja International Peace Park, finally opened in 2003. He has received many awards and citations which are too numerous to mention but among which are;
  1. Award of Distinction: Nigerian Society of Engineers
  2. International Fellow, United State Army War College (USAWC)
  3. Outstanding Public Service Award: Success Digest Forum 1988
  4. First Niger State College of Education Academic State Union Award for the most outstanding Governing Council Chairman in Niger State 6th December 1995
  5. Commander of the Order of Niger (CON)
A one time Commanding Officer 11 Field Engineer Regiment Kaduna, Commander Nigeria Army Engineer Brigade (Ibadan), Commander Nigeria Army Engineer Brigade (Jos), Commander Nigeria Army School of Military Engineering (New Bussa). Major-General Kontagora was once a Minister, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Minister, Ministry of Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Director of Quartering and Engineering Services (Army), Chairman Implementation Committee on Army Projects (ICAP), Chairman Kontagora Emirate Development Association (KEDA), Chairman Presidential Monitoring Committee (PMC) on the Development of Stadia towards the Hosting of World Youth Football Championships: Nigeria 95, Chairman Governing Council Niger State Polytechnic Zungeru, Niger State, Chairman Administrative Audit Panel on Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Sole Administrator, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and Chairman Implementation of White Paper – Niger State Government.
Until his death he was Chairman Implementation Sub-Committee: Kontagora Emirate Education Development Committee (KEEDEC). Chairman Government College Kaduna Management Board and also the appointed Deputy Chairman of the Subsidy Re-Investment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) Committee which was inaugurated on the 14th February 2012 by the incumbent President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR. He is married with children and his hobbies are Working, Reading, Horse Riding and Gardening.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


The crisis of confidence that is disturbing and bothering Nigeria today started when there was no nation called such name. But the British colonialist conspired and condoned it pre Northern and southern protectorates, further post 1914 amalgamation for socio-economic remote controlled selfish reasons. 
May 29th, 1904 was when Othman Dan-Fodio and his brother Adullahi Dan-Fodio, primarily motivated by imperial desires using Islamic religion as a tool to invade the Hausa (Habe) kingdom. On that day, SERIKI YUNFA of Gobriyya (Present Gusua, Zamfara State) was beheaded by the Fulani invaders. Dan-Fodio then start invading and stealing the Hausa lands and establishing green flags as a token of spiritual allegiance to Sokoto where he made his spiritual capital. 

May 29th, 1922; The colonial opportunists conducted a lopsided and rigged inaugural census for the amalgamated protectorates called Nigeria without the socio-cultural inputs of natives for British economic purposes. Although, by then the colonial master had perfected an agreement with the Fulanis in collaboration with the subjected Hausas. Demographically, that was the first census in the entire universe that will apply demographic superiority to dwellers of Arid desert with such harsh living conditions as against tropical coastal line dwellers. 

May 29th 1959; The Northern region of Nigeria got approval for self-rule from the British conspiring colonialist two solid years after the West and East has got theirs. The reason is that as of then, the Fulanis has seen the spiritual power inherent in that day for their invading race. 

May 29th, 1962. State of emergency was declared in the Western Region by the Fulani Tafawa Balewa regime with the British colonialist behind the scene. It was during this period that Chief Obafemi Awolowo was put under house arrest and was eventually jailed for felony. 

The state of emergency was declared in consonance with the colonial master's position that the Western Region will be severely punished in future for pioneering the call and process towards independence (i.e. self-rule) from the British government. 

May 29th, 1967; This was the day the second round of ethnic cleansing of the Igbo people of South-eastern Nigeria took place as orchestrated throughout the North. Both young and old of the Igbo indigenes were eliminated and later go further to all other southerners. Note, that this event majorly culminated in the call by Lt. Col Odumegwu Ojukwu on all Igbo to return back to their geographical space towards the civil war. 

May 29th, 1999; It was for the above reasons the Fulani oligarchy imposed May 29th, 1999 as the hand-over day on us through Gen. Abdulsalam Albubakar (the then Head of State) and the imposition of same day starting from year 2000 as Democracy Day through their agent, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo. 

May 29th has no meaning whatsoever to the real indigenes of Nigeria. It only has meaning to the political thieves because it connotes their dominations; justifies their stronghold on Nigeria Nationalities and signals our collective sense of enslavement by the ruling elite. 
Since May 29 1999 how much has been stolen from Nigeria? How many companies have folded up? How many of our graduates are roaming the street in endless search for jobs? How many politicians has been jailed on Nigeria soil?
May 29th was not an Election Day or national mutual event day. What happens to colonial hand-over of October 1st 1960? What happens to October 1st 1963 republican day and October 1st 1979 second republic hand-over date and the usual October 1st Independence celebration days? 

Therefore, the Coalition for Yoruba Autonomy (COYA) totally disagree with May 29th as Democracy Day in Nigeria. We rather opt for the usual October 1st as our Independence cum Democr