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How Nigeria’s State lost the Trust of its Citizens

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How Nigeria's State lost the Trust of its Citizens

One measure of the trust that a nation’s people have for the state is the amount of tax they are willing to pay.

However grudgingly, under an unwritten social contract people agree to part with a share of their income in the belief that the state will spend it more or less wisely.

The public goods provided range from schools, hospitals and roads to police, national defence and the running of the government itself.

Everyone benefits from improved services, a better educated and healthier population, safer streets and protected borders.

On this measure, trust in Nigeria’s state is at rock bottom.

According to the IMF, the country collected 6.3 per cent of gross domestic product in tax in 2020, the lowest proportion in the world, and far below the bare minimum the World Bank says is necessary for a functioning state.

Though there have been halfhearted efforts to raise the tax base, the story remains unchanged: Nigerians pay very little tax and expect very little in return.

In this, the state does not disappoint. Of the country’s 210mn people, some 90mn have no access to electricity. About 20mn of Nigeria’s children are out of school.

With no social safety net, some 40 per cent of Nigerians live in absolute poverty, defined as earning less than $1.90 a day.

Nigeria has a semi-decent road network, at least between big cities such as Lagos, Ibadan, Port Harcourt, Abuja, Kano and Kaduna.

But security is so poor that many people are too afraid to use it.

Nigeria’s security forces, mostly underpaid and under-equipped, are in a war of attrition against gangs of bandits, separatists, extortionists, kidnappers and terrorists.

The state of insecurity suggests they are losing.

It is easy to see how Nigeria got here.

For half a century, it has been pumping oil in quantities large enough to pay for a small elite, but not large enough to raise everyone’s living standards significantly.

According to calculations by Stefan Dercon, an Oxford professor, in 2010, when oil prices were riding high, Nigeria made $54bn from oil and gas, of which $38bn ended up in federal government hands.

That equates to only $340 per capita against $1,206 in Algeria, $2,965 in Gabon and a hefty $7,477 in Saudi Arabia.

In those circumstances, the name of the game becomes getting hold of oil rent.

With almost no money left over to fund public services, those who can afford it simply opt-out.

They generate their own energy.

They send their kids to private school at home (or preferably abroad).

They go to private hospitals. Even Muhammadu Buhari, president since 2015, spent much of his first four-year term in London seeking medical care that was presumably not available at home.

With nothing to gain in return, it is hardly surprising that those who can afford to pay taxes are reluctant to do so. The consequences are corrosive.

The rule becomes everyone for themselves.

At its extreme, this turns citizens and organizations into extortionists — the mirror image of the extortionary state.

*From FT*

One of Nigeria’s growth industries is kidnapping. In the year to June 2022, according to SBM Intelligence, a security consultancy, 3,420 people were abducted, with a further 564 killed in incidents associated with abduction.

Families see little point in contacting police and many negotiate directly with kidnappers, paying in total hundreds of millions of naira in ransom.

Oil theft is another extortionary racket.

This month, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company estimated that 400,000 barrels of oil were being stolen every day.

Nigeria has an Opec quota of 1.8mn barrels but is only able to meet about 1.13mn, the lowest in 50 years. In the Delta states where most onshore oil is pumped, the government regularly pays off the extortionists who blow up pipelines or employ them as poachers turned gamekeepers.

State refineries have not worked properly for years.

But there has been a proliferation of illegal refineries processing stolen oil.

In April, more than 100 people were killed when one blew up.

Next year, Nigeria will get a new president and a new legislature after elections in February and March.

In Abuja and Lagos, the chatter is of little else.

Yet unless the next government can rewrite the social contract between the state and its citizens, it doesn’t much matter who wins.

If a state cannot make its presence felt through even mildly effective tax and spending, it will not only be weak but part of the extortionist problem.

Unless the Nigerian state can somehow change course, it is hard to see how the centre can hold.

 

*David Pilling

Financial Times

(david.pilling@ft.com)

 

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In Osogbo, Tinubu restates commitment to job creation, credit for business owners

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In Osogbo, Tinubu restates commitment to job creation, credit for business owners

…Carpets Governor Adeleke for poor governance***

All Progressives Congress Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, took his message of Renewed Hope to Osun State on Thursday where he assured the people and party supporters of his commitment to create jobs for the unemployed and make credit available for business owners.

Speaking in Yoruba to a mammoth crowd of people who thronged the venue of the campaign rally at Freedom Park Osogbo, Tinubu said his administration would empower the people with the skill that will make them employable while ensuring that the youth will no longer spend years in university due to lecturers’ strike action, stating that his pledge to the people will remain a binding covenant.

“I make a social covenant with you today that the unemployed among you will get jobs. Those with no skill will be provided the relevant skill that would put food on their table. When we get to government, we will make soft loans available for market women and business owners.”

Taking a swipe at the current Peoples Democratic Party government of Governor Ademola Adeleke in Osun State for poor governance of the state, the APC presidential candidate charged the people that the APC administration will soon return to continue the good work.

“They were given a little opportunity to rule for some months and they started misbehaving, killing and creating unrest in Osun state.”

From his prepared speech which he didn’t get the time to read, Asiwaju Tinubu congratulated Alhaji Adegboyega Oyetola, who was declared winner by the governorship election petition tribunal.

He praised Oyetola’s tenacity, diligence, consistency and determination, which made him not give up until he got his stolen mandate back.

On his plans for Osun, Tinubu noted that the state, which is highly blessed with diverse resources, should be a destination for business and tourism across the country, promising to help achieve this if he becomes the president.

He said, “Osun is a beautiful state filled with virtuous, industrious and welcoming people. We will support Osun to become a manufacturing, industrial, agricultural and tourism paradise.

“You have fertile soil, abundant mineral resources, and a rich culture and history capable of attracting tourists from across the world.

“A vote for me is a vote to develop all parts of this state and this country. Rural areas will not be forgotten but will be developed to support more economic activities and create better lives for the people.

“At the same time, our growing urban population – you city boys – will enjoy decent jobs and a living wage.”

Tinubu urged the people of the Osun State not to be deceived by the empty promises of Peoples Democratic Party Candidate Atiku Abubakar and Labour Party Candidate Peter Obi, saying both have nothing to offer.

While he said Atiku was only interested in stealing the nation’s resources and pocketing them for himself and his cronies, Tinubu likened Obi to the unprofitable servant who buried his talents, saying while Obi was Anambra State governor, he failed to use the state’s resources to develop it, rather saving them for no purpose.

“None of the other major candidates in this election have the capacity, integrity, knowledge or determination necessary to do what must be done. Only I, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, am prepared and up to the task of leading this country, our cherished homeland, back toward its best destiny.

“Do not vote for the candidate of the poverty development party, Mr. Privatise, Atiku Abubakar. When, as the Vice President of this country, he had a chance to make a positive difference, he chose the lesser path.

“He chose to use his position to enrich himself, his family and his friends. He sold Nigeria’s most prized assets for a fraction of their value. In the name of privatisation, he stole from your future to enrich himself.

“Worse, he has learned nothing. He has gone everywhere telling the Nigerian people that he is coming back to finish the job. He has promised that this time he will not steal your prosperity.

“You should not believe him or his greedy co-conspirators. The nation does not need the return of its Privatiser-in-Chief. Reject him and his band of foul jesters. They have no serious plans for this country. They resort to cheap and vile antics because they have no substance and no solutions.

“Be equally wary of the false messiah, Mr. Stingy, Peter Obi. This man’s promises are bold and his boasts are plentiful. Yet, when he was given the responsibility to lead just one state, he was overwhelmed by it.

“He could only stash away the money he was supposed to be using to develop the state. All the people of Anambra could hope for was that whoever came next would have better ideas.

“A governor is not a banker, expected to hold fast to his customer’s deposit. Obi was expected to build good roads, schools and hospitals”, he said, emphasizing that Obi rather, saved the money.

In another development, the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai has that Northern Governors we’re all solidly behind the APC Campaign.

“Let me assure you 100%, the entire Northern Governors of the APC are completely, wholeheartedly supporting the Next President Bola Tinubu…” stated Nasir El-Rufai, even as Gov. Masari says: “Give Me Names of Northern APC Governors Not Supporting Tinubu?”

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Fr. Alia emerges Winner of APC rerun Governorship Primary Election in Benue

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Fr. Alia emerges Winner of APC’s rerun Governorship Primary Election in Benue

Fr. Hyacinth Alia has been declared the winner of the rerun primary election of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue having polled 410,682 votes.

Chairman, Rescheduled Election Committee, Sen. Basheer Lado, announced Alia as winner in Makurdi on Thursday.

Lado said the first runner-up was Dr. Matthias Byuan who polled 14,592 votes while the second runner-up was Sen. Barnabas Gemade who scored 5,125 votes.

Prof. Terhemba Shija scored 2,217 votes, while Mr. Michael Aondoakaa and Mr. Iorwase Hembe scored 3,815 and 638 votes, respectively.

“The winner of the exercise is Alia. Having scored the highest vote cast. I declare him as the winner,’’ Lado said.

Alia’s candidature was later ratified by members of the party through a voice vote.

The party chairman, Mr. Austin Agada had put a question to members seeking to know whether the result was a true reflection of what transpired in the field and they answered in the affirmative.

“Having ratified Alia’s candidature, I therefore, declare that Alia is the governorship candidate of the party in Benue,’’ Agada said.

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2023 Presidency: Kwankwaso Neither Met Nor Discussed with Atiku — NNPP

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2023 Presidency: Kwankwaso Neither Met Nor Discussed with Atiku — NNPP

… Johnson reiterates, Kwankwaso not stepping down for, nor working with any candidates or Atiku***

 New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) says its Presidential Candidate, Sen. Rabiu Kwankwaso, has neither met nor discussed with his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) opponent, Atiku Abubakar or his representatives, on any working relationship on the 2023 presidential election.

The spokesperson, Kwankwaso/NNPP Presidential Campaign Council, Ladipo Johnson, disclosed this in a statement he issued on Wednesday in Abuja.

Johnson said that it was apparent that Kwankwaso was finishing the race stronger than other presidential candidates, especially Abubakar of the PDP.

He said this was clear as Abubakar seemed to be “gasping for air as his platform crumbles and is seeking a solid branch to hold on!”

Johnson said his response was important due to the statement by Abubakar that he was “in touch with Kwankwaso”.

He said the response was also key because of the false statements on social media that three million members of the Kwankwasiyya movement in the North East had moved to the PDP.

The spokesperson described it as orchestrated moves by Atiku’s campaign to pass a false and mischievous narrative to Nigerians that Kwankwaso was joining his team.

“The fact of the matter is that neither Atiku and Kwankwaso nor their representatives have met in private or at all to discuss any working relationship.

“They have only met during town hall meetings in the last few months!

“Nigerians will recall that earlier in the campaign the false narrative being pushed was that Kwankwaso was only strong in Kano!

“He suddenly has three million members leaving him in the North East?”

Johnson reiterated that Kwankwaso was not stepping down for, nor working with any of the candidates or Atiku Abubakar.

“We are in this race to win and uplift the standard of living of all Nigerians.

“Opponents who have seen the ground game and the grassroots campaign of Kwankwaso now understand, 24 days to the polls, that the voters at the grassroots, the average man and woman, have decided to vote for Kwankwaso and the NNPP as their party of choice.”

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