Africa: Phones And Planes, The Nigerian Government Goes Shopping Again By Japheth J Omojuwa

Nokia 8800 gold
By Japheth J Omojuwa

If you are ever in doubt with the notion that big governments fail big time, the current Nigerian government will shove that doubt down your mind. If there ever was a bad advert for government, the Nigerian government would serve as the poster brand. Over the past few months the largesse of public funds have found their way into private pockets and enterprises like stockbrokers, airlines, banks, textile companies even as farmers will likely get their own token – if the phones reach them - as government looks to share phones worth about N60 billion – pre denial – or at least 10 million phones amongst as many of them. One expects that with the popularity of ghost workers in Nigeria’s public companies, ghost farmers are certain to fill up a lot of that space. While all of these attempts at “saving the economy” always have attempts at logic in defense of them, they often fall flat in the face of common sense, rational economic decision making and at least when put against the test of scale of preference and government’s history of pumping money into private interests.

84 stockbrokers enjoyed N22.6 billion pre-Christmas cheque from the government last year. This was touted as a forbearance of margin loans but was in effect an incentive to take risks that the public will always come to bear. The same companies were only a part of companies that had refinanced their debts by, in some cases selling off their assets. The 84 companies bailed out are not likely to be seen as the moral hazards they truly are, in a country where government officials and their cronies are bailed out on everything from organizing weekend parties to flying all over the world to treat headaches, fix tummies and the other nameless diseases. The message here is clear enough; no matter how irresponsible your firm has been, the government will give you a clean state. In Nigeria today, it is essentially more profitable to be irresponsible than to do things right.

The aviation sector survives almost entirely on government’s subsidies.  The government had released N300 billion (just about $2 billion) to according to its own words “save the aviation industry.” Of course years after, the industry remains unsafe and unsaved. One of the beneficiaries of the fund, Air Nigeria who got N35.5 billion has since been disbanded. The owner of the company Bar. Jimoh Ibrahim was accused of using the money to purchase banks in Sao Tome and Principe - where he doubles as some sort of envoy to Nigeria - and other properties in UAE’s Dubai. Hard to doubt these allegations, because just before the airline finally died on the weight of mismanagement it did not even have enough money to fuel a Lagos bound flight from London. Passengers were appealed to fuel the plane despite having paid the full cost of the flight. Absurd yes but absurdity has become normalcy in our climes.

As if obsessed with failure, the government has new plans to buy 30 aircrafts as part of its “plans to boost the operations of the aviation industry.” How many Nigerians can afford air travel let alone do that regularly? It costs some $500 at times to fly to and from Lagos to Abuja. The industry is the reserve of the rich yet government “is leaving no stone unturned” to ensure privileged Nigerians enjoy smooth and safe flights. The Textile Industry enjoyed a N100 billion bailout but it remains in jail. The monies as usual have not been accounted for and no one is asking questions because the government keeps throwing new distractions anyway. The latest in this distraction ballad is the N60 billion phones for farmers.

After the Permanent Secretary (PS) of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development came up with what she probably thought was a Thomas Edison-esque idea, Nigerians spared no words in their condemnation of government’s continued effort at always getting the simplest things wrong. In a face saving attempt, the Minister of the said ministry Dr. Adesina said his PS was quoted out of context. According to him, “N60 billion to buy phones for farmers is a lie” but 10 million phones for farmers is true. Of course, at the end of his statement – which can be found here http://shar.es/4fp1d one is left wondering what the minister had said differently from his PS. It sounded like the same song by different musicians. One only sang it for longer. Is the government trying to procure 10 million phones for farmers? Are we saying that in a country with 110 million phones, farmers do not have phones of their own? Are we saying that were Nigerian farmers to release a document containing their scale of preference, phones will be number one? With some 60 per cent post-production waste, inadequate irrigation, bad road, not to talk of inhibiting export policies, farmers would rather the government thinks with its head and not its stomach. If government must spend, it should at least spend with priorities in mind. Farmers already spend a lot of money on middlemen to access government support, it would not hurt them to spend one final one to acquire phones for themselves if truly it would help cut out these middle men.

Nigeria’s fuel subsidies often peak during election years. Bailouts are also rampant in the run up to elections. Many claim these monies are a reflection of efforts to build election war chests. This has not been proven but what has been proven is that the Nigerian government remains clueless at getting the right things right. Like the money released for national security year after year with the nation grappling with kidnappers, armed robbers and terrorists, funds released for food security have only left Nigeria with 112 million poor people, 70 million jobless people and fat politicians with fat foreign accounts. One of them – Governor of the least populous state - had 48 posh properties in FCT Abuja seized from him recently. He was Governor for only four years. That’s 1 house for every month he spent in office and those are the identified houses for Abuja lone! Incredible! The mathematics is pretty simple, the bigger money available to Nigerian public office holders to spend, the bigger money they spend on themselves, friends, cronies and relatives. This has been proven over and again. As the government goes shopping again, one only wonders who the beneficiaries are this time; agricultural farmers or political farmers?

 Japheth J Omojuwa is the Editor of African Liberty. © @omojuwa
 

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Thanks Deri

Just want to say more corruption grease to your elbows Deri.Your comments as usual lived up to expectation. Your GEJ,gets even the simplest presidential decision wrong.

The Excperts, Political Elites and Public Funds Diapora

Of course when our elected politicians distrusts Nigerian resident and experienced at home and rushed to Havard and other hard to pronounce elite institutes for experts this will inevitably be the end result. The first thing they tell you is that we are either under borrowed, under banked and/or under flown! Next they come up with pea-brained ideas that will gulp billions and whenever they are caugt out, they plea-bargain with the Courts and Prosecutoirs and promptly fall sick wehere they end up serving whatever sentence they get in hopiatlised Hotels at our expense of course!

Deri, the ever myopic one

I will not comment until i read from deri.

@Oleku idiot !: You suffer from Buharism. Keep to issues !

@Oleku idiot !

U claim ". What did Buhari achieve while he was the head of state in naija. Why hasn't he and his CPC openly condemn the murderous activities going on up north. Was he not thesame person who ordered the killings of corpers after he lost the last presidential elections."

So the question is why hasn't the moron C-in-C arrested Buhari or do u want Buhari to arrest himself ?
Let your moron brother do the damn job he was voted into do . He's the C-in-C. Let him do his job and get whom ever is responsibke for Boko Haram to get deserved justice.

If corruption has been a problem for 39yreas, your moron brother has now made it a culture. I thought he claimed he was breath of fresh air ... so what has changed from the famed 39years you fools hammer on.
How would these phones help farmers in crop production, good roads to get crops to market quickly, storage to store excess, access to cheap loans and farmland? These are the issues. KEEP SUFFERING FROM BUHARISM !

for how long will d rest of 9a depend on the SS anoda 50yrs

Tell us us the truth. That our awuf oil revenue from the SS, has found their way into the private pockets of the regional rogues from the east, west and the fulani north! They are the beneficiaries of the ongoing mass aka d stealing of our oil revenue. Sadly the vultures are the loudest noise makers we have here! And those who are scared of a split in 9ja- Only solution to the ongoing mess is for us to separate-For how long are we going to use our wasting assets to spoon feed parasites in 9a? Who do not want to do anything to generate money within their states. But to keep on sucking the ppl of the SS-then abuse their leaders daily on SR, when they yearn to go

FARMERS OR "FARMERS"

Pls, don't allow these guys to blind fold us. They are talking about "farmers" not the real farmers in the real sense of it. These "farmers" actually existed in their imaginary farms built by government money

FARMERS OR "FARMERS"

Pls, don't allow these guys to blind fold us. They are talking about "farmers" not the real farmers in the real sense of it. These "farmers" actually existed in their imaginary farms built by government money

Introducing. .phone,the newest farm tool.

Farm and phone? I do not see the correlation,when did phone became one of the farm tools. Will farmers start using phone as a tool for cultivation? or will it stand in place of tractor. Farmer that has no land τ̲̅ȍ cultivate,no fertilizer,no machinery τ̲̅ȍ work with. What will he do with a phone? τ̲̅ȍ call the president for help I suppose. I really don't know what Jonathan want τ̲̅ȍ achieve by this,one thing I'm sure of ĩş that he ĩş a confused man and lacks direction. With this type of idiotic and wastage of public funds I see no future for this country.

YEYE PEOPLE

Your piece is on target my brother. This is a rudderless government, to me is just an avenue to keep siphoning public funds. Honestly I don't know if the president, his ministers and their functionaries reside outside this country cos their thinking is completely out of what's on ground.

Your piece is on target my

Your piece is on target my brother. This is a rudderless government, to me is just an avenue to keep siphoning public funds. Honestly I don't know if the president, his ministers and their functionaries reside outside this country cos their thinking is completely out of what's on ground.

AVIATION

THESE FOOLS HAVE COME TO THE CONCLUSION THAT THE AVIATION INDUSTRY IS IN TROUBLE, BECAUSE THE ELITE CANT FIND A PLANE TO TRAVEL WITHIN THE COUNTRY ANYMORE AND SO THEY FIGURE IT IS BEST TO BUY MORE PLANES TO ACCOMMODATE THOSE THAT CAN AFFORD TO FLY WHILE AS THE POOR DIE ON THE BAD ROADS EVERY DAY. A FEW GOVERNOR DIE IN PLANE CRASHES AND ALL OF A SUDDEN THE COUNTRY WANTS TO BUY NEW PLANES WHILE AS THE POOR DIE ON OUR ROAD EVERY DAY HOW SAD.

lets do a little maths here

lets do a little maths here, if a phone cost #5000, 10 million phones will cost [5000 * 10,000,000= 50,000,000,000] i am getting tired of counting zeros already, thats approx. $333.333m. come on people wake up and mechanize your agriculture and stop thinking that way. most local farmers in nigeria use the traditional tools and there is only little they can do with that. can these mobile phones plant and harvest crops? if they do then its fine to purchase them.

DONT BLAME JONATHAN PLS

We are being laugh across the world, when Obasanjo presented Jonathan for re-election after Yaraduas death, instead of Nigerians to use their ballot papers to reject him, they did not only voted for him but gae him over 70% of the votes FOR FRESH AIR against Buharis 25%, now the same Nigerians that voted him are craying of kidnapping, unemploymant, mismanagement of public funds, terrorism, bad roads, poor electricity, armed robbery, poor schools and universities facilities and general lack of direction of where the country is heading . UP NIGERIA, VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE JONATHAAAAAAAAAANNNNNN 2015

Waiting for Deri

I will not waste my time passing any comment.The Jonathan presidency is a cursed one.I am here to read the comments from Deri and his moronic SS brothers. I always like to read their stupid comments. So Deri and co over to you.

Resign if out of ideas: Min. of Agric

These managers and not leaders will not stop to amuse us...Yes! we have managers and not leaders in Nigeria.

Why talking about phones for farmers? Does the minister know what is called "scale of preference" at all?

Where is the network to use these phones by the way? Who funds the credit for these phones? How does this phone help a farmer?

What farmers need is low interest loan to execute their projects, mechanized farming at low cost; good irrigation system; access to good road; access to fertilizers; breaking of monopoly enjoyed by Dangote and do...etc, and not mobile phone.

If the manager of Agriculture does not know what to do, he should resign!

wireless maize and cassava

The Nigerian maize, cassava, yam and other crops and fruits need to be connected through a telephone and wireless network. Perhaps you don't know that these crops do communicate the brothers in Aso villa. In fact the government needs to build a 4G network for maize, cassava, cows, pigs and chickens in order to increase their productivity. In 2013, government priority is communication with these items, after all, we have delivered our promised, we have satisfied all Nigerian, it is high time we expanded our program to green and animals kingdom.
Long life federal republic of Animal Kingdom

INSENSITIVITY AND FISCAL RECKLESSNESS-A MAD SPENDING REGIME

Almost all successful airlines in the world are run by the private sector,why spend on the purchase of 30 aircraft when we have a private sector,why not make it possible for them to access new aircraft through banks,what is wrong with this administration for goodness sake.The priorities of the present administration makes one suspect that they lack a sense of strategic objective.A regime that should concentrate on mass transit and good roads is busy spending on air craft,HOW MANY NIGERIANS FLY AND WHAT PERCENTAGE OF GOODS ARE MOVED AROUND BY AIR LOCALLY?
Our political leaders should please note that if the modern rail service planned as far back as the early days of OBJ-PDP was implemented by now we should be travelling and moving goods without tears,instead what we see is one feasibility study to another.Jonathan is taking credit of two running lines and just above 4000 megawatts of power generation but has the audacity to buy 30 aircraft for airlines.A SHAMELESS REGIME INDEED.

Impunity of Visonless Government 2

Government Major Functions in whatever way we want to interprete is:
(1) To establish justice, which is to say that government is to punish evildoers and protect those who do right (2) To ensure domestic tranquility, which is to say as long as the laws and policies of Nigeria are followed we maintain our right to free speech and to rally together for a cause (3) To provide for the common defense – Obviously this is done by the provision of an army and navy for protection from external threats. .,,(4) To promote the general welfare; the key word here is promote and not provide, for it is not proper for government to provide money and aid to special interest groups. Government's function is to promote through law and policy an economic atmosphere that allows all people to prosper.

The question therefore is are they acting in accordance or contrary to what is expected of them?
We will all give account either we like it or not....if not here, then there!

Food for thought in 2013

Government bailout in Nigeria

What an interesting piece! We know all these, we keep on brocating them but our government feels so unconcern because we only do the talking without any action. In Ekiti state, the government are asking some farmers to apply for agricultural loans. The farmers in the first instance are illirates, so they asked the litterates in government to assit in applying for the loans. The pseudo applicants only collect the loans as soon as they are applrove and give the farmers just a token to sign collecting the money. At the end of it all, its a failed project from the begining. Untl we take our destinies in our hands and learn to booth out unprofitable government officials, no western world will file our battle for us. The west are now knowing better, the financial aids given the improverished countries are borrowed, they want to face their own problems and kae thier citizens happier. End of story.

Impunity of a Visionless Government!!!

Common Sense they say is not Common afterall!
It is so sad that this Government continually allows Nigerians and the World to laugh at decisions that even Elementary School kids will never take. Or is it that when even the genius gets to position of authority their thinking is wiped out? If not why is it so difficult to manage the affairs of this country in a way that everyone can benefit on the long-run.
Their priority is so beclouded that they put the cart before the horse in their decisions.

@ Tundemash What's your problem...

Tundemash Buhari spokesman is always on SR just to display his hatred for GEJ's administration. Probably to dethrone him and crown Buhari the president of Sharia Islamic republic of naija. Naija is 52 years old with no tangible achievement on ground and you want us to believe that GEJ should be blame for the sorry state your tribesmen who led us for over 39 years left us with. What did Buhari achieve while he was the head of state in naija. Why hasn't he and his CPC openly condemn the murderous activities going on up north. Was he not thesame person who ordered the killings of corpers after he lost the last presidential elections. How then do you want us believe he's the messaih we need. Every naijas is aware Buhari and his cronies created boko haram to use it as a tool in belittling and distabilising GEJ's government. For your information GEJ will be in aso rock till 2019 when an Igbo president will emerge and rule till 2027, that's if there will still be one naija. One naija for oil

@tundefuck...it will take more than 3 years to equal 39 yrs...ii

you had your time in the sun and did not do shit in 39 years. the guy is in his first term and you are crying. three things...sit tight and act like you enjoying the ride, a sharp stick to the eye or better yet, fucking shoot yourself. you want a free phone??? be a farmer. OBJ the FARMER did not share and you are complaining because GEJ is sharing. it is farming stimulus...and obama did it. now you know how the shit smells...we smelt it for 39 fucking years. man up asshole and act like you fucking enjoying it. i hate to see you bust a clot and suffer an aneurysm.

@tundefuck...it will take more than 3 years to equal 39 yrs...

If it makes it more palatable to swallow, you can see it as a farming stimulus package. you morons were crying for fuel subsidy and now you are against a farming stimulus package. you had your turn and did what you had to do. now it is his turn...the least you can do is support him or stay the fuck out of the way if you can't. your boys couldn't get it done in 39 years and you expect him to do it in 3 years??? it ain't easy digging a truck out of a fucking ditch twice the size of truck. it will take him a second term and atleast two more terms for an Igbo president (imagine a nigerian president attired in okpu agu complete with isiagu chewing on oji).

Cell Phones Are Transforming Global Farming are we ready (iii)

By DAVID KNOWLES

In a nutshell, that means they’ve developed free, “ridiculously simple” to use, open-source programs that allow farmers to harness crucial information via cell phone to prepare for weather, and lets them see valuable, late-breaking news so that they won’t get ripped off when they go to sell their crops.

Phones Are Transforming Global Farming!!!. are we ready?(ii)

By DAVID KNOWLES

The future of farming? It’s here already. It’s found in a handy little invention called “the cell phone.”
At a dinner party the other night, I happened to be seated next to Rose Donna, a technologist who, along with former CDC epidemiologist Joel Selanikio, started a non-profit called DataDyne. On their website, the company describes its mission thusly:
Driven by the desire to increase the quantity and quality of data available for worldwide public health, and thereby to positively impact the health of developed and developing country populations, DataDyne.org works with sustainable mobile information technologies, including handheld computers, mobile phones, the Internet, and GPS, to create sustainable information flow in developing countries…

How Cell Phones Are Transforming Global Farming!!! are we ready?

How Cell Phones Are Transforming Global Farming
By DAVID KNOWLES

The future of farming? It’s here already. It’s found in a handy little invention called “the cell phone.”
At a dinner party the other night, I happened to be seated next to Rose Donna, a technologist who, along with former CDC epidemiologist Joel Selanikio, started a non-profit called DataDyne. On their website, the company describes its mission thusly:
Driven by the desire to increase the quantity and quality of data available for worldwide public health, and thereby to positively impact the health of developed and developing country populations, DataDyne.org works with sustainable mobile information technologies, including handheld computers, mobile phones, the Internet, and GPS, to create sustainable information flow in developing countries…

What an idiotic govt headed by a moron !

The tragedy is that some idiots would be here soon justifying the Jonathan stupidity, not for any cogent reason, other than because of his tribe. MORONS !

The morons, Deri, Oleku, SultanofMorons, Stanley Igwe, OC and Frank Williams won't be able to tell us what benefit would farmers get from this phone largess e from govt. Does the phone help in crop production? Would govt. also buy them credit for the phones from time to time ?

Why not just buy phones for every Nigerian and all problems are solved ! What an idiotic govt !

We have no leaders

Jonathan and his team have no vision for the country. The electorates must take what is happenning as a wake-up call and sanction all PDP candidate and all those that served in any PDP government in future elections. In a country that have a leader, this minister and the Permanent secretary would have been asked to resign or be fired. The fat lazy PDP functionaries have fed too fat and become lazy and insensitive. Jonathan's ,"I don't give a damn" is all written all over him and the policies of his government. He doesn't give a damn because he is already oiling his election rigging machinary.