Since 1999 when we returned to democratic rule, the so-called youths have not only been relegated to the backseat in the scheme of things, but are also happy being on the backseat. The Youths (as at then) that agitated for the ouster of the military in 1999, along with those that have been in the corridors of power since the days of President Shagari in 1979 are still here calling the shots, while the youths of today that are supposed to be running the show for the good of Nigeria are cheering them in the comfort of twitter, facebook, nairaland, palmchat, 2go etc. For instance, the “young” Audu Ogbeh that was elected member and Deputy Speaker of Benue State House of Assembly in 1979, appointed minister of communication under Shehu Shagari in 1983, elected chairman of PDP in 2001 is still active today as the substantive minister of Agriculture. This is a man that first tasted political power 37 years ago when some of us weren’t even born. Are there no young and vibrant APC youth that is capable of administering the sector? Our country has been on comatose since the generation of the present political leaders took over in 1966/7 till this day, yet, the youths of our generation are less concerned.
What has the generation of present day political leaders achieved since they took over the mantle of leadership from their fathers? I dare say that Nigeria has been retrogressing under their leadership. They couldn’t fix power, roads, schools and hospitals. The structural defect of our country that they contributed to bringing to fore in 1966 is yet to be addressed. They have wasted billions of tax payers money and our oil wealth organising talk shops that they tagged conferences and confabs without result. They couldn’t even fix the security sector, nor provide jobs to the teaming unemployed and a conducive environment for business to thrive. Under them, nepotism not only became celebrated but has been officially adopted. This present generation of expired leaders are not only corrupt but have instituted corruption in the system. Tribalism is their forte. When you look at the prominent political parties including PDP and APC, the same tired politicians are holding sway and swapping offices. Their loyalty is neither to their party nor the country but only themselves. They couldn’t even enthrone a culture of free and credible election that meets minimum standard. This present day generation of leaders have nothing to offer, they have showed it repeatedly, tested and failed woefully.
Before I go on, I wish to remind our youths of today of the feat achieved by their once upon a time predecessor. In their youthful days, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Ernest Okoli, Kofo Abayomi, Hezekiah Oladipo Davies, James Churchill Vaughan, Oba Samuel Akisanya, Nnamdi Azikiwe, etc. formed the Nigeria Youth Movement in 1933, this brave young Nigerians not only stood up to the British against the ill treatment of Nigeria citizens, they also participated actively in politics, won elections and were the movers of our independence in 1960. As youngmen, they assumed leadership positions in their regions and at the federal level. They may not be perfect as leaders, but history will always be fair on them as contributors to an independent Nigerian State. Till date we still celebrate them.
When former president Goodluck Jonathan in January 8, 2015 said and I quote,
I believe that the young Nigerians are the future, we are finished. We believe that the youths will be the ones that will take us to the moon, my generation has failed because we could not take Nigeria to the moon. I don’t want to address old people like me because we (his generation) are spent already.
I shook my head in shame though I agreed with him that his generation FAILED Nigeria including him, I still questioned the rationality for saying that young Nigerians are the future except he wasn’t referring to today’s youths. How could Jonathan call this generation the future of Nigeria when the generation of youths today are future-less? Which future does a generation of N.F.A(No future Ambition) has? This is a generation that are hustling to be appointed Special Assistant on Twitter, Facebook, Nairaland etc under the guise of Special Assistant on Media while their mates in other climes are leading political parties and government institutions, calling the shots and developing their societies.
This is a generation that sit down to expect their fathers in NLC and TUC to help them lead protest on the street while they tweet the outcome and update their facebook, palmchat, and other social media status. This is a failed generation that wouldn’t have done anything in 2010 had it been their fathers Soyinka, Bakare and co didn’t protest calling for the elevation of then VP Jonathan. This is a generation that sat down with their #OccupyNigeria hashtag while their fathers were in Ojota calling for the reversal of the ill advised subsidy removal of 2012. This is a generation that couldn’t even protest the CBN fraudulent recruitment of children of the ruling caucus and demanding for its reversal and removal of CBN Governor but sat in the comfort of their parlours to tweet.and disturbing the peace of social network. This is a generation that have resigned to playing fighter dog for politicians in the two major parties but are never invited when the spoils are shared. What kind of generation would see nothing wrong in the high rate of unemployment(which didn’t start under Buhari administration) but only whine in their rooms, resorting to try your luck with football betting companies? Ordinary Youth Wing these political parties refused to allow, neither are they giving up slots for young people in party, elective and appointive offices.
Is it not our peers in Burkina Faso that successfully brought down TWO military dictators within one year with some losing their lives in 2015? Is it not our peers in Egypt and Tunisia that brought down their dictator leaders? Is it not our peers that are on the streets of Brazil calling for the ouster of President Lima and prosecution of former president Sylva? Is it not our mates that are leading parties in South Africa? Why are we so comfortable taking back seats? Why are we comfortable with the fact that the old men are recycling themselves and slotting their kids?
Some of us waste their MBs defending Jonathan and others but who remembered you when Jonathan’s son-inlaw was appointed SA to Governor Ben Ayade of Cross river state? Lai Muhammed is a minister and his son is a member of Lagos state house of Assembly, in the same house of assembly, Bola Tinubu has his nephew as member. TA Orji, a Senator has his son as Abia state house of assembly member, Atiku Abubakar’s daughter is a commissioner in Adamawa state, James Ibori’s daughter is a member of Delta state house of assembly, Admiral Nyako son is an incumbent Senator, the present Governor of Niger state is the son-inlaw to Abdulsallam Abubakar, Ibim Semenitari, the MD NDDC is the Daughter of Gabriel Toby, the former Deputy Governor of Rivers state under the disgraceful administration of Peter Odili. The men we devout our time and energy to defend are putting their kids to RULE us just as they ruled our fathers. The worse is Kwara state, where Saraki family has been holding sway since 1979. They allocated CBN positions among themselves but threw up police recruitment to us so that we will guard and serve their children in political offices and CBN, just as our fathers served them.
I am pained that i belong to a generation that pride in cowardice, suffering and smiling, and folly. It is a shame that this generation that I belong to is on the verge of entering into the disgraceful part of history as one that not only failed themselves but also failed the generation after them. This generation has successfully displaced the generation of the present day political office holders (who naturally are supposed to take back seat) as the most myopic and less visionary. This generation has successfully earned itself as a disgrace among its peers in Africa and the world at large. This generation I refer to the Coward Generation of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CGFRN). If you are between 25 and 40 years of age, this piece is an indictment on you. Those below the said age should learn from those within the age and not displace them in their place of disgrace when they become of age.
Despite the venom poured on this generation (which is deserving), I still believe that hope is not lost for us to redeem ourselves and earn our place among noble generations. I believe that we can look into our challenges and setbacks and address them in order to move from where we are to where we hope to be. This I shall address in subsequent piece…
May God Bless Us All and Bless Nigeria.
Coronavirus – Angola: Confronting the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Oil Price Shock
The COVID-19 pandemic and the shock from the falling price of oil have put severe pressure on Angola since the country’s second review under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) in December 2019.
Only months after the conclusion of the second review in December 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic reached Angola, ushering in economic and health crises. The decline in oil prices further strained the economy, which is heavily reliant on oil exports. The economic downturn and social distancing to contain the spread of the virus have been damaging, especially given the large informal sector.
A swift response to the crisis
The Angolan authorities adopted timely measures to tackle the challenges arising from the COVID-19 shock. Measures to protect public health included quarantine, social distancing, closing of borders with limited exceptions, closures of schools, restaurants, and public events, and limited transportation. The government recently approved a prudent supplementary budget for 2020 using a conservative oil reference price. It has also introduced a comprehensive set of fiscal and monetary measures to support economic activities.
On relief to help vulnerable people:
• Tax exemptions of value-added tax (VAT) and customs duties on goods imported under humanitarian aid and donations.
• VAT tax credit for imported capital goods and raw materials for producing essential consumption goods.
• Interest-free, deferred payment option for social security contributions.
• Regulation of prices for a list of medical goods.
On government spending:
• Freeze of 30 percent of purchases on nonessential goods and services.
• Reduction in the number of ministries from 28 to 21.
• Suspension of selected, nonessential capital expenditures.
• Decrease in travel and real estate investments.
• Additional liquidity support to banks and a liquidity line to buy government securities from nonfinancial corporations.
• A credit-stimulus program.
• Temporary suspension for debt service payments.
• Requirement for banks to provide credit to importers of essential goods.
A proactive external debt management
The government needs to safeguard its ability to continue to service its debt on schedule, even under the current trying circumstances. The government has therefore availed itself of the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative. They have also secured selected debt reprofiling operations with some of their large creditors.
Financial support from the IMF
On September 16, 2020, the IMF’s Executive Board approved the third review under the EFF and additional financial support to Angola to help mitigate the impact of the crises. Accordingly, the IMF has provided $1 billion to Angola, bringing its total expected financial support to about $4.5 billion under the three-year program. The authorities are strengthening their public financial management to improve accountability for the funds received from the IMF and debt relief from creditors.
The path to recovery
It is important for Angola to continue to stabilize the economy, control inflation, keep the reform momentum, and safeguard financial stability. It is also crucial to persevere with structural reforms, such as privatization, improvement in governance in state-owned enterprises, and strengthened legal frameworks. These reforms will help improve the business environment and pave the way for foreign direct investment and growth-enhancing economic diversification.
Republic of Korea Contributes Rice and Cash to Assist Ugandans threatened by locusts
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed 5,000 metric tons of rice and US$300,000 in cash from the Republic of Korea to provide much-needed relief assistance to 781,000 people including refugees and Ugandans threatened by locusts.
“WFP is extremely grateful for the continued generosity of the Republic of Korea since 2018 and its appreciation of the immense humanitarian needs in Uganda, which were suddenly made even more complicated by COVID-19,” said WFP Officer in Charge Ryan Anderson.
”This contribution of 5,000 metric tons of rice found us at a crossroads when we were considering whether to make deeper ration cuts for refugees because of a shortage of funding, even as we have evidence that they already face high food insecurity,” he added.
Combined with other contributions, the rice may allow WFP to maintain rations for 1.26 million refugees at the current 70 percent of a full ration for a while. Valued at US$4.3 million, it will also meet cereal needs of 614,000 refugees in seven settlements towards the end of the year.
The additional US$300,000 in cash will enable WFP to meet the relief needs of 167,000 people in the northeastern region of Karamoja, which is the most food-insecure region in the country and is threatened by a combination of malnutrition among its residents, locusts, floods and animal diseases.
“The Republic of Korea is committed to supporting vulnerable groups of people in Uganda, especially refugees fleeing conflict and nationals faced by chronic food shortages and malnutrition,” said Ambassador Ha Byung-Kyoo.
“We also are very pleased to continue making contributions of rice, which we have heard is appreciated by the refugees and contributes to much needed dietary diversity,” he added.
WFP was forced to reduce rations for refugees in April to 70 percent of a full ration because of funding shortages. The economic pressures that COVID-19 has brought on donor capitals has further complicated funding to feed refugees. WFP is putting in place safety measures in 13 refugee settlements to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during food and cash distributions.
The Republic of Korea has contributed rice to WFP in Uganda annually since 2018 in support of 1.43 million refugees – the highest number of refugees hosted by any country in Africa.
The US$300,000 contribution will also contribute to supporting WFP assistance in Karamoja. Even though families in the region were able to harvest some crops in August, despite repeated sightings of locusts between February and July, the very presence of the pests in the region threatens both agriculture and vegetation needed for animals. Relief food helps to cushion families as the government and UN partners work to control the impact of locusts.
UAE May Reverse Visa Restriction on Nigerians Today Amid Airlines Ban
Nigerian Government Pressures UAE to Revisit Visa Restrictions
Barring any last-minute hitches, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), will today, review the visa restriction placed on Nigerian travellers, following the ban of Emirates Airlines from the most populous black nation.
Sources at the company’s his office in Lagos confirmed that the issue was being reviewed, and the “right” diplomatic approach taken.
This came as aviation stakeholders commended the Federal Government for going “tough and playing tit-for-tat with countries that would not accept Nigerian travellers into their domains.”
The Federal Government, following pressure from some quarters, banned Emirates Airlines from Lagos and Abuja airports, effective today, over refusal to grant fresh visa applications submitted by Nigerians.
The government earlier banned European carriers, with the exception of British Airways, over travel restrictions.
Emirates officials said: “We have met with the Nigerian government on this issue, and we assured them that we will resolve it. We are presently working on it.”
“I hope this issue will be resolved before Monday. One thing I will assure you is that the issue will be resolved earlier than expected,” a manager said.
The Chief Executive Officer of Finchglow Travels, Bankole Bernard, said assurances had been given on the matter.
He noted that Nigeria was third-biggest market to Emirates, adding that the UAE would do everything to sustain their operations.
“UAE should have resolved this matter long ago. The ban means that they will lose the market, and they know the implication.
A market lost is never easily regained. Right now, we are certain that the ban will only affect Monday flights, and hoping that things will be normal by Tuesday,” he added.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, at the weekend, via his twitter handle, announced the suspension of Emirates Airlines from Nigeria, saying the ban would take effect from today.
Emirates Airlines’ situation was reviewed, and they are consequently included in the list of those not approved, with effect from Monday, September 21, 2020,” he said.
The President Muhammadu Buhari administration had in August warned that Nigeria would activate the principle of reciprocity in granting permission to airlines to resume operations in the country as it reopens its airspace.
It said the decision was informed by the embargoing on flights from Nigeria by some nations.
Air France, KLM, Lufthansa, Etihad Airways, Angolan TAG, Air Namibia and Royal Air Maroc were not approved to operate flights into the country.
Aviation stakeholder, Julius Akintunde, said the measures were in the best interest of the economy.
Also speaking, Secretary-General of the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI), Group Capt. John Ojikutu (rtd), urged that the reciprocity should be done with caution in order for the Nigerian market not to be undermined by neighbours.
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