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Vision 2020: Obasanjo’s Agenda, Dead On Arrival, Mere Joke – APC

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Programme Ruined By Complacency, Infrastructural Decay, Lack Of Human Capital –Soludo

Most APC, PDP Leaders Are Totally Incompetent – CUPP

Successive Governments Abandoned The Vision – -Johnson Chukwu, MD Cowries Asset

LUKMON AKINTOLA

LAGOS

Vision 2020: The Birth

In 2006 when Vision 2020 was conceived by erstwhile President Olusegun Obasanjo, the idea was genius-like, a magical route to utopia.

The need to plan on a noticeable growth pattern after almost 30 years of underdevelopment was really exciting such that it was quickly executed.

It was the same excitement that gripped Nigerians, especially those languishing in poverty. For this sect, Vision 2020, was the road to the promised land, as all they had to do was hold on and survive till 2020, and they would be home and dry.

For them, the country would have made a turn for good, and become the global destination for businessmen and women, one of the 20 largest economies in the world.

In the eye of the common man, simply put, the dividends of Vision 2020 would rid the country of all suffering, sickness, poverty, unemployment among other challenges. Such was the expectation from Vision 2020.

“They told us in secondary school then that by 2020 all would be okay, Nigerians won’t have to travel abroad again, we won’t have to import anything, we would be self-reliant, but I am married today with children, and it is all the same thing, in fact even worse, “ Bukola Ajasa, a Lagos-based lawyer told Saturday INDEPENDENT.

Drafted by some of the greatest eggheads from Nigeria and abroad, they toiled night and day for over nine months to achieve a draft of the document, before it was officially launched in September 2009.

Though considered ambitious by some, some insisted that if properly articulated and executed to its fullest capacity, and with other rightful indices in place, the policy was capable of turning Nigeria into one of the biggest economies in the world, making it consolidate its leadership role in Africa and turning the country into a significant player in the global political arena.

Why not, after all the country had already been recognised as possessing the biggest economy in the West African sub-region due to its resource endowment and coastal location. Indeed, such potentials made world powers.

Aside from this, there were provisions for almost all concerns in the policy, as the draft covered matters concerning special interest groups such as women, people with disabilities, media, labour, youth and what have you.

The policy was also robust, as it had the National Council on Vision 2020, National Steering Committee, National Technical Working Group, The Stakeholder Development Committee, the Economic Management Team and many others.

Despite all of these, there were however problems likely to affect the proper execution of the policy. The issues put were teething problems.

A country highly dependent on positive fluctuating crude oil prices, also lacking in infrastructure development, poor distribution of electric power, and a poor manufacturing industry among others, it would indeed be hard to achieve some of the goals of the policy with these issues.

But Nigerians who hoped to benefit from the policy were comforted by the fact that the target year was several years away.

Planning Stage

A policy well-drafted, its executors realised that for it to become a reality, it had to be broken down into sections, and hence there was the Building Solid Foundation stage. This was projected to last between 2008 and 2010. This stage was to see to the execution of the first two components of the framework, the National Council on Vision 2020 (NCV2020) and the National Steering Committee (NSCV 2020) by April 2007, with a review of the NSCV2020 and all current strategies and related documents. It was also supposed to refine the framework of the Vision 2020 development process.

Achieving the MDGS enroute 2020, was the next phase and it was also to run between 2011 and 2015.

By end of January 2008, the NSCV2020 was expected to set up the National Technical Working Groups, one in each of the key areas of national priority and all stakeholder groups were expected to establish their Vision 2020 Committees. The committees were to work closely with stakeholder vision committees to develop detailed action plans and implement strategies, and commence execution of stage one of the vision.

The third stage was tagged Becoming A Top 20 Economy By 2020, expected to span between 2015 and 2020. At this stage, the NSC would have developed detailed key goals and targets that must be met to achieve convergence with the projected position of the top 20 economies. The goals and targets would be cascaded into sectors and sub-national levels.

Actualised, Nigeria would have been a fantasy land flowing with milk and honey by 2020.

The Reality

But what obtains today is the opposite of expectations. Hardly has any of the goals in the vision been achieved. There is hardly qualitative education for the average Nigerian. Also, the state of the country’s infrastructure continues to decline, as there is hardly infrastructure to mobilise all economic sectors. Yet there is a lack of a manufacturing sector that can add at least 40 percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Nigeria can hardly boast of a health sector that can sustain life expectancy of not less than 70 years, a modern technologically enabled agricultural sector that fully exploits the vast economic resources of the country. All of these and more were the anticipated dividends of the Vision 2020 policy.

Though economists say that Nigeria is currently the 27th biggest economy in the world, there are hardly visible parameters to prove this.

But how did Nigeria as a country get it wrong, how did all of the promises of Vision 2020 die, bearing in mind that almost all the BRIC nations covered by the Goldman Sach’s report which initiated the Vision 2020 policy are now leading economies?

The Problems

Former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Chukwuma Soludo painted a clear picture of the futility that Vision 2020 was from the start when he created the impression in an article that the concept wasn’t adequately researched and studied before its total execution.

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Soludo, who was also one of the think-tanks of the planning process of Vision 2020, narrated how he drew the attention of then, President Olusegun Obasanjo, to a Goldman Sach’s report on the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China), and the next 11 countries expected to have the largest economies by 2025.

According to him, the report had speculated a lower growth rate than what Nigeria had between 2004 and 2005. Soludo, in his article revealed that Obasanjo’s conclusion following his mention of the growth rate was that Nigeria could even achieve the vision by 2020, hence the conceptualisation and adaptation of Vision 2020, as against an unbiased position by Goldman Sach’s report.

As if that was not bad enough, the Vision 2020 policy was officially unveiled to top-level government officials that very day. This was done without any recourse for the validation of the Goldman Sach’s report, and indeed independent research by elite stakeholders to confirm the possibility of such a report being adapted in Nigeria, and to what scale.

In 2008, while speaking as guest speaker at the 6th Convocation of Babcock University, Ilishan, Ogun State, Soludo revealed the failure that the vision was likely to become when he said: “If Nigeria is to achieve the quest of becoming one of the global economic powers in 2020, the country must radically change its complacent attitude to work and decisively tackle the problem of infrastructural decay.”

Soludo also said: “We must be ready to work for 72 hours in a 24 hour day if Nigeria is to achieve the 2020 vision of becoming one of the great economies in the world.”

He also advocated for the development of a robust human capital base, adding that the country would need to establish structures that would empower Nigerians to develop their potentials.

On his part, Johnson Chukwu, Chief Executive Officer, Cowry Asset Management Limited blamed the failure of the policy on a lack of continuity, adding that there was no government to pursue it, as respective governments after the policy had evolved have been coming with their policies which were not aligned with the Vision 2020 policy.

Chukwu said: “If you look at Vision 2020, the performance target that was defined, I would think that most of the targets were observed in abeyance, they were observed in abeyance. If you look at the target in terms of educational coverage, we have never had this number of school-age children who are out of school. At the last count, we had more than 13,000,000 out of school-age children. In terms of poverty, the number has been more than 34,000,000, more than 40 percent of the nation’s population. In terms of housing deficit, we have not made any progress because we still have more housing deficit, we have about 17,000,000 housing deficit currently in the country. In terms of eradication of communicable diseases, maybe one or two like meningitis are said to have been eradicated. Maybe, on that front, we can say we have eradicated a few of the communicable diseases. So, that could count as a positive. In terms of infrastructure, we have not done well. So, on a score of 1 to 10, one could say most of the targets set for Vision 2020 were not met.”

Explaining the failure of Vision 2020, Chukwu said he doubted if anyone was ever focused on Vision 2020 after it was launched. According to him: “Each government has had its policy. The Yar’adua government came up with its Seven-Point Agenda. Then under Jonathan, they had the Transformation Agenda which was not exactly aligned to the Vision 2020 policy. Under the Buhari government, we have the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. On that basis, I will say none of the governments that came after the evolution of the Vision 2020 plan was focused on driving it.”

Asked if the policy was too ambitious, Chukwu disagreed, stating that the issue was the absence of a Nigerian government to drive the policy. “If you look at the plan, there is no doubting the fact that should it have been achieved, the country would have leapfrogged in terms of social-economic development,” he concluded.

Detailing why the policy and others subsequently made by governments of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) failed, National Publicity Secretary, All Progressive Congress (APC), Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu said: “Part of the problem we have in this country is to put policies in place and not execute them or implement them haphazardly or half-heartedly. Obasanjo, who put the policy in place, how much of structure did he put to ensure the fulfillment of that vision? And the same thing you have under him, we had under subsequent PDP governments. They can’t see anything through because they have never focused on governance. They have focused on some other primordial issues, and are concerned about self-aggrandisement. Otherwise, why didn’t Yar’adua whose government was also a PDP government continue with the Vision 2020 policy? He abandoned it, even Obasanjo didn’t lay any foundation for it. How much of structure did he put in place for the transformation agenda? The next government came, the Jonathan government, and did not have anything to do with it, rather, it came with its transformation agenda. How much of transformation did we see under him? We only saw a few people whose lives were transformed by a form of massive stealing of public funds that they took, and they became overnight millionaires. And don’t also forget that even the millennium goals was also under the PDP government, and you know that Nigeria performed woefully because even that which was an international benchmark; we never met any of them. So, we are not surprised that nobody remembers that vision because right from President Obasanjo who put it in place, the whole thing was a joke. It was just a mere joke. It’s only now that you have a structured approach to governance. You can clearly define what this government is doing, and progressively you can see how it is advancing in terms of infrastructure, in terms of providing security. Obasanjo saw no vision, and if you can’t see any vision, you can’t implement one.”

Also Read:  APC's Godwin Obaseki Wins Edo Governorship Election

All efforts to get the reactions from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) failed as the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan neither picked his calls nor replied the messages sent to him.

Mallam Issa-Onilu, while evaluating the Change Agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari said: “We are supposed to be building on an existing foundation. But there is no existing foundation. You lay a foundation on infrastructure road maps. You lay a foundation with economic blueprint. You lay a foundation by putting in place a security strategy for the country. None of this was available in 2015. Now you can see clearly that Nigeria is becoming a massive construction site in terms of road, railway, waterways, and airports. And nobody can deny this, and it is in every one of the 36 states of the country including the Federal Capital Territory. So, people can follow the map, they can follow the graph, they can see what is going on. People in Lagos know that in a few months, they can take a modern railway to Ibadan, Abeokuta. People in Kwara know that in three years, it will be their turn. People in Kaduna know that after Kwara, it will come to them. The same thing in the coastal area of the South-South and southeast and also in Maiduguri. In the same way, we are having gradual and steady developments of road networks. And we knew what the security condition was before this government took over. If you were living in Abuja in 2015 and you are still living there now, you will know what I am talking about. You know half of Abuja was barricaded because of the tendency of someone bombing a public building; many of the roads were divided into two. We don’t have that anymore. There was a time in Abuja that you couldn’t just walk into a mall. If you are walking into one, it is with your heart in your mouth, but today you can walk into any mall without thinking of anything. There are still challenges, a lot of challenges, but nobody can deny that we are not making progress.”

Analysing the successes and failures of Vision 2020, spokesperson of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), Ikenga Ugochinyere said: “The vision is a total failure because if it had achieved any single thing, Nigeria wouldn’t have been the poverty capital of the world. We wouldn’t have been among the top 10 nations that are not secured. There is no way that if Vision 2020 had worked the banditry activities you are seeing in all parts of the country would be in the increase that is impossible. If vision 2020 which had a component that had to do with economic empowerment had worked and a greater number of people were pulled from the poverty level to a certain economic level, they wouldn’t have been involved in all sorts of petty crimes. Today, we have more petty crimes than we have ever had in the history of Nigeria. Young people are getting involved in all sorts. Even in Vision 2020, there is no room for educational revolution, then what happens to educational enrolment? Enrolment has dropped and about 13 million Nigerians are out of school. So, if you look at all the components that have to do with securing the nation, economic empowerment, education for all, they are a total failure. This thing is becoming a yearly ritual that the government comes with one stupid vision or the other. I call it stupid vision because they have no plan of building institutions that will sustain those visions. When a new government comes, they abandon the vision, which is one of the challenges. We are already hearing the present government talking about a Development Plan which is not a part of what we had in vision 2020.

“All these development plans, when a new government comes are thrown away. Those projects are not continued because everybody wants to play to the gallery, and the institutions are not there. And that is why we as the opposition have been shouting that it is better to have a strong institution than to have a strong leader. Whosoever might have proposed Vision 2020 might have been a strong leader, but now he has gone; now you have nonentity as leaders at different levels. So, there is no way that those visions can be implemented. And this continues to be a style with which they keep looting the resources of the people. There is not going to be an improvement with the kind of leaders that we have, not just because President Buhari is incompetent which is not in doubt, but other leaders at different levels. Most of the leaders in the PDP and the APC are totally incompetent. So, how do incompetent leaders drive a vision? They don’t even know what a vision is asides from giving Wheel Barrows and Sewing Machines as empowerment. And that is why we said in our 2020 message that the future of economic development in the country and accountable leadership rest with the people. The people should stop being cowards and rise up against these leaders who are stealing their resources. Rise against any leader who is breaching the law. That is the only way that we can have a sustainable vision, if not politicians will continue to make decisions for you and continue to steal your money.”

However, a paper by the duo of K. Asaju and A. Albert titled ‘Vision 20: 2020 Realities and Challenges’ identified issues such as low development of science and technology, inadequate infrastructural facilities in terms of good roads, power, low level of industrialisation, lack of budget, policy inconsistency and continuity as challenges that hampered the actualisation of the policy.

The duo also listed ineffective human resources development, high rate of poverty and unemployment, high rate of corruption, and lack of good governance as other challenges of the Vision 2020 policy.

A failed policy, the implication is a worsening country, even as the dream of being one of the 20 largest economies stares the nation from millions and millions of miles afar.

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Opinion

Making Sense Of Oshiomhole’s Reprieve

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Reprieve

By

abiodun KOMOLAFE

 

Once upon a sociopolitical space, there was an unknown ‘Edo Boy’, who came into limelight through the Textiles Industry, where he was a paid secretary of its Union. (Conventionally, paid secretaries are never made political heads. But Adams Oshiomhole became the political head of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, which, in itself, was an anomaly). The emergence of the Iyamho, Edo State-born politician as a leader in Nigeria was aided by the society’s sociopolitical milieu. Why? A quick look should suffice.

 

First and foremost, the society’s worldview was laissez-faire and regrettably assuming. The ruling paradigm, then, was that man was created noble, and his inner nature was inherently good. Not only that, the uncertainty in the country’s political firmament, and the little or no skepticism as a political virtue on the part of the masses, all met at the table to foist the former governor on the hapless citizens of Nigeria. Besides, the complacency as well as the faith of the majority in a benevolent God who cares for all, thereby lessening the burden of responsibilities of good governance on governments, and the pliability of the government, under which Oshiomhole served as Labour’s first citizen, also aided his emergence as a force to be reckoned with. In other words, though regarded as NLC president, somewhere along the line, ‘Comrade’ became a tool in the hands of the government; and ‘the rest is history.’

 

But, how did the situation between Oshimhole and Godwin Obaseki become so messy that the latter is now calling for the former’s head? That the situation between the godfather, who practically installed the godson as his successor, to have so worsened means that something fundamental must be wrong. Again, for Obaseki’s camp to have confessed that it was only following in the footsteps of Oshiomhole clearly spoke to how he who lives in glass house must not throw stones. But, if we may ask: what gives our former governors this impression that they must continue to have a hold on the states where they have once served, if not for the reason of corruption? Why can’t they emulate Kashim Shettima, who is now at peace with himself as a former governor? Nonetheless, the feud in Edo is good for the masses, because such will always bring out the best in a democracy.

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After Jimmy Carter left office as the 39th President of the United States of America, he confessed to a stunned world that, for the first time, he understood what ‘African leaders always feel when they want to leave office.’ Well, this statement might seem innocuous or harmless; but it was thought-provoking! The good thing about Carter was that he knew that he had no choice because that’s the Constitution; and Americans have a lot of respect for their Constitution! But, as far as the Africanness in us is concerned, the Constitution can go to blazes! That’s why former President Olusegun Obasanjo has the temerity to attempt a shameful 3rd Term ambition that adoringly placed a dent on what would, at least, have been an alluring legacy.

 

Let’s come back to the apparent lack of cohesion in the national All Progressives Congress(APC) and the notorious little foxes, such as Oshiomhole’sface-off with his state governor. Without doubt, these can spell doom for the continued success and sustenance of the ruling party, if not quickly and efficiently addressed. Yes, some forces may succeed in muscling Obaseki out of the 2nd Term race. But then, as long as Obaseki’s problem remains unsolved, Oshiomhole’s case will also remain precarious. Why? The governor is most likely to raise dust; and, if he does, that will be bad news for the party; no longer for President Muhammadu Buhari, but the party. After all, Buhari is already negotiating his way out of Aso Rock! The more reason the president must genuinely intervene now, even, when the waning nature of party supremacy in Nigeria dictates otherwise.

 

That’s not all! There is also an effect on the political participation profile of the masses. For instance, lack of cohesion in a political party is an indication that the party is disorganized. And, if it is, it will also yield itself to ineffective government. After all, nobody will want to put his or her faith in a party that lacks cohesion or effective organization. Not only that, discipline will become watered down, as nobody will be answerable to anybody. Talking about development, the masses are definitely going to be at the receiving end of this needless power tussle. Since needless marginalization in politics leads to economic insecurity, feeling safe, either at home or at work, will also become very difficult. Not even in a country where growing insecurity has manifestly become a diet.

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This also takes us back to the issue of party formation. Though political non-participation is just the resultant effect of the disarray that we now notice in the party system, party system becomes disarrayed as a result of the faulty foundation of the party in question. In other words, if we get it wrong at the level of party formation, the likelihood of such wrongness posing perennial problems is palpably high.

All things being equal, the brawl between Oshiomhole and Obaseki could never have been in good faith! Nonetheless, a virus that tarries for too long in a man’s life has the capacity to mutate and transform into aberrant, more hostile and vicious types. What we are saying here is: as an amazing Labour leader and politician, the APC National Chairman should realize that it is time to rethink his strategy and the endgame of his political ambition. Glaringly, the reprieve granted by the appellate court remains temporary until all pending cases might have been dispensed with. We also need to note that the aggrieved and the disgruntled have the option of ‘acting nPDP’, or going back to their vomit. This may be dangerous for APC!

 

Well, controversy or not; provable or improvable, Oshiomhole has done his bit! Won’t his Achilles heels be the inability to leave the beat when the ovation is still ascending? On the other hand, ‘power’, they say, ‘corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ Will Obaseki learn how to ‘give honour to whom honour is due’, especially, those who once fed him? Lastly, who’s right on the Edo story and who will write the last chapter of the national APC conundrum?

 

May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace in Nigeria!

 

*KOMOLAFE writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria (ijebujesa@yahoo.co.uk))

 

 

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Opinion

God Hasn’t Revealed When Covid-19 Will Leave Nigeria-Primate Ayodele

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Emir

Primate Ayodele Elijah is regarded as one of the top five prophets in the country. Over the years, he has made prophesies that have come to pass. In the wake of the global coronavirus outbreak, he spoke with Lukmon Akintola, on the pandemic, and other issues.

There have been several opinions about the coronavirus pandemic, what is your take about it?

It is a development that I have prophesied about in the past. It is something that I have been prophesying about over the years. It has now come to pass. In my book ‘Warnings To The Nation’, specifically page 193, the spirit of God said: “there will be some natural disasters in the regions of the world. I foresee an outbreak of a disease that will be of an epidemic status, killings, and attacks which will trouble world leaders, governments of the world will be troubled as countries like the United States of America, China and the United Kingdom will be making various researches on the strange epidemic status.”  We have been saying it for a while. In my book, Warnings to the Nation 2018/2019, page 16, we stated that there will be a sickness which the World Health Organisation (WHO) will be troubled about and they will be looking for a series of solutions for it. In my 2020 prophesy, I also emphasised it on page three. I said that I see a global economic crisis which will be caused by a sickness that will make the whole world seek a solution.

What did the lord tell you about coronavirus?

The Lord has told me that coronavirus is meant to deal with the world.  It is a sickness that God wants to use to teach the world a lot of lessons. When the lord prophesied to me in October, he told me categorically that we should fast and pray in our church for seven Sundays and Seven Tuesday. He said that we should pray against a strange sickness that would come to disturb the world. It has come to pass now. Coronavirus is a pandemic which Nigerians will have to be careful about it. Nigeria must look into it very well because if we allow it to spread, I don’t want Nigeria to fall victim like that of Italy because it will generate a lot of problems.

It is a virus that appears to be affecting the rich as well as the poor, what do you say to this?

God is using it to punish the people who have disturbed and destroyed Nigeria. It will affect them one after the other, and that way they will know that the poor are suffering. It is a virus to punish the rich in Nigeria.

Some Pastors are known for their miraculous healings, why do you think they are yet to come out with their healing power?

If indeed there are pastors who heal people with viruses like this one, this is the time for them to come out.

What can we do about this situation?

We have not seen anything yet, and that is the reason why we need prayers to tackle this sickness. All the measures that the government has taken are good. I commend all of their efforts on this especially the Lagos State and the Federal Government. But all the same, we still need prayers.

What is your personal effort at combating this virus?

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God instructed me to do 10, 000 water and 10,000 anointing oil for free. He told me to disburse it to countries and states of the world where they have this virus. Anyone who is interested can come to my church to pick it, they don’t even have to see me. Just ask for it and it will be given to you for free. It can be taken to Italy where they can test it, and it will curb the spread of the virus, while those who use it will be healed. They can test it and they will see that this is just the work of God.

Is there a date that has been revealed to you in relation to the end of this pandemic?

There is no particular date that coronavirus will go. God did not give a date, but it will go. People should just stop permutating, it will go, but there is no date for it to go. It is not a virus that will just disappear, we just need to be focused on God and be prayerful to him, let us just keep begging him.

What advice do you have for the government about this virus?

The problem is that the government doesn’t listen to prophets like us, they believe that anything we say is political. Either it is political or not, a prophecy is a prophecy. It is to warn the leaders, if they had listened, they would have cautioned this virus before now. It has happened because our leader don’t take to warnings, they underrate God, and that is why God is now showing the world that he is supreme, he has supreme power over everything on earth. Doctors have been disappointed because it is beyond their own reasoning. I said it two years ago that Nigeria will still have a second economic recession. This economic recession is what we are about to experience now.  We have not seen anything in Nigeria, our economy is going down, and need serious prayers.

Where do we need to focus our prayers?

Let us pray against famine, we need to also pray against austerity and inflation. And besides this, I said it early this year that there will be a lot of confusion in the government, and I also said it in one of my prophecies that a strange illness will enter into the villa. It has happened now. They did not listen, the government did not listen to instruction, the government failed to follow God’s directive, and that is the reason we have all of these problems.

Can we do a review of your prophesies that have come to pass this year?

I have made a series of prophecies that have come to pass. I made prophesies such as the dethronement of the Emir of Kano, Emir Sanusi, the travails of Adams Oshiomhole, the earthquake that happened in Russia, this very virus ravaging the world, death of footballers in Nasarawa and Rangers FC. Also, the recent Boko Haram attack. I even mentioned the month of March. I also said that not all the Senators will finish their term. The removal of the Kano State Speaker is a confirmation of this prophecy. I also said that the Lagos State Speaker will have some challenges. The challenges have come now, and he should pray so that he can overcome the crisis. He should not take the crisis with kid gloves. I also spoke about the death of some journalists, a petroleum price crash which has happened. I am saying this now, there is a lot that the government needs to look into for them to succeed, for them to control this coronavirus. It is a serious matter.

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Can you be futuristic with your prophecies?

In 2023, if PDP wants to maintain the lead, they should look in the direction of the present Chief of Staff of Delta State, David Edevbie. This is because the All Progressive Congress (APC) will bring all of their arsenals to take Delta State. But it is a move which will not be possible. The present crisis in APC which we have foretold has happened now, APC is in serious trouble. I still maintain the fact that Adams Oshiomhole will not lead the party to the Promised Land. He is still going to have problems, they are still going to battle him, we are still going to see so many things in Nigeria, we are just sitting on a time bomb, our own crisis has not started. Nigeria’s crisis has not started, when it starts, we are going to see what will happen. In Anambra State, APGA should use Soludo as their gubernatorial candidate if they hope to win the next election. If APC wants to make headway, they should get ready to use Senator Andy Uba. If PDP doesn’t strategise very well, if they don’t put their house together, they might not get their bearing in Anambra State. Anambra State APC must also be careful because they will break, so PDP must seek divine intervention to pick the right candidate. Apart from this, Uche Secondus is going.

Take us to an international level.

In Ghana’s election, Mahama must be very focused, and put things right in their party. Mahama will unseat Nana Akufo-Addo. In the Benin Republic, I am seeing a small crisis. The opposition will not be allowed to make any positive impact and this will cause a lot of troubles. Cote d’Ivoire will hold a new election soon, the likely contenders, if the incumbent president does not contest, are Amadou Gon Coulibaly, Gbagbo, and Guillaume Soro. Gbagbo has more chances and he is most likely to win if only he strategises properly. Guillaume Soro can only win and become president if he works with people at the grassroots level.

What about Nigeria’s security situation?

The days of Ibrahim Shekarau are numbered. The Service Chiefs should also start packing their luggage because their time is up.

Tell us something about the forthcoming American presidential election

I have said it before that  Joe Badin will be given a ticket in the democratic party, but he will have to work very hard to unseat Trump in this five states Ohio, Califonia, Washington, Pennsylvania, and Colorado. These five states are where he will need to work hard if he wants to defeat Trump.

Can we look into the business sector?

Why not? Some banks will crash, while NNPC will experience a major crisis that will see the sack of some staff. Some states will go into economic troubles, economic recession, and they won’t be able to pay the N30,000 minimum wage.

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Opinion

COVID-19: Government should promote online shopping to curtail spread, job losses

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Online Business

Job cuts, layoffs, wage cuts, and employee redundancy have continued to exacerbate as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to disrupt social life, the economy and every other human activity across countries.

Hundreds of jobs have been wiped off like almost all the value chains including manufacturing, sales, and marketing, distribution, wholesale and retail, governance, aviation, tourism amongst others have been impacted negatively by COVID-19.

The aviation industry – one of the worst-hit as a result of travel restrictions imposed by many countries  – has recorded more job losses. For instance, WestJet has laid off 6,900 workers due to a downturn in business because of COVID-19. In a similar circumstance, Air Canada has put 600 pilots on compulsory unpaid leave pending improvement in the situation of things.

Coming home, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has estimated that the restriction on air travel by the Federal Government aimed at curtailing the spread of coronavirus would cost the aviation industry USD434m in revenue, 2,200 lost jobs, and loss of approximately 2.2 million passengers.

The Wall Street Journal put the U.S. job losses at around 5 million while experts have predicted that economic shortfall arising from the effects of COVID-19 could hit up to $1.5 trillion across the U.S. and a probable economic recession.

As travel bans, restrictions on large gathering and enforcement of social distancing amongst other preventive measures to curb the widespread of the deadly virus intensify, both the Federal and state governments in Nigeria are even rolling out stricter measures to halt the spread, some of which may hurt more in the long run.

Given that the number of infected persons in Nigeria has risen significantly including the confirmed cases of high profile victims (a state governor, a top aide of the president and families of prominent Nigerians), it is pertinent to advise the government to exercise caution in pronouncing total lockdown or shutdown of the entire system especially the e-commerce operators that become the obvious lifesavers in time of lockdown.

Reasons include the fact that the Nigerian economy is largely driven by the informal sector. About 70 percent of the working people earn daily wages, and total lockdown or shutdown will create ripple dysfunctions including worsening the current high unemployment level and inflation in the country. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported a 33.5 percent unemployment rate and inflation rate at 12. 2 percent as of January 2020.

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Countries like Nigeria whose economy depends largely on oil even face dire consequences amidst falling global oil price, which is around USD25 per barrel, down from USD65 at the start of the year. Credit rating agency Standards & Poor has even warned of a further slide in the oil price to USD10 amidst falling demand for crude oil due to coronavirus. This can trigger job cuts, especially in the Nigerian public sector as the federating states depend largely on revenue allocation from the central government.

In spite of the gloom and impending recession staring us in the face, however, the e-commerce industry can help reflate the Nigerian economy at this time, especially if well leveraged to serve as a buffer for hunger, starvation and job creation as demand for essential daily needs rises and scarcity of goods and services loom in the days ahead.

Logistics is a critical factor in lockdown or any emergency situation, which COVID-19 is heading to, if not urgently nipped in the bud.  Thus, e-commerce platforms like Jumia, Jiji, and Konga amongst others will enable Nigerians and other residents in the country to stay through this trying period.

In view of the rise in the number of infected persons, which may compel the government to declare a total lockdown or shutdown, or the elongation of the initial one-week that Lagos State government has declared with effect from March 26, the surge in demand for food, toiletries, and drugs in Nigeria is inevitable.

Certainly, sick people will need someone to get their prescribed drugs to them at home to prevent more deaths than COVID-19 would have caused. Families must restock as the supply of food and toiletries will run out someday soon, so they need to shop online and get their supplies delivered to their homes.

This is how the government and organizations in other climes are thinking, and Nigeria cannot be an exception. The good news, however, is that we have what it takes to respond to this challenge as appropriate.

For instance, Africa’s leading e-commerce platform, Jumia has innovated Food service that will be at full service to deliver healthy meals to people right in their homes and at the same time offer riders income on a daily basis while COVID-19 lasts.

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It has also commenced its innovative “Contactless Safe Delivery” on the checkout pages of Jumia mall. The ‘contactless safe delivery’ option enables customers to make pre-paid orders for products on the platform and get them delivered without a direct body contact or cash exchange with the agents.

 

Jumia Nigeria CEO, Massimiliano Spalazzi explained that the process is to help customers keep to safety and health-conscious directives in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. He said contactless promotes convenience, social distancing, and cashless measures are woven into one.

 

The availability of e-payment platforms including JumiaPay, EcobankPay, Paystark, Flutterwave, Opay, etc., will not only enable convenient shopping, efficient funds’ transfer as well as eliminate the risks of contracting coronavirus via physical cash exchange.

 

Tens of jobs will also be created as they partner with operators in the restaurant, hospitality, pharmaceutical, essential daily needs sectors as a result of increased demands for these essential needs during coronavirus shutdown or lockdown.

Good examples abound in regards to what e-commerce like Jumia, Konga, Jiji, etc. can do to help in time of COVID-19. E-commerce platforms including Amazon, Walmart and Papa John’s to mention a few, have demonstrated innovation in this regard by hiring more people in the midst of COVID-19. Amazon has announced a plan to hire additional 100,000 full and part-time workers as it foresaw a surge in demand for food, toiletries, drugs and other essential daily needs as more people stay at home.

Walmart has also unveiled plans to hire 150,000 hourly workers for its stores and distribution centers through the end of May as online orders surge with households stocking up. Spokesman Dan Bartlett added that the temporary jobs may become permanent as the company was reaching out to industry groups in the restaurant and hospitality industries, which are also affected by lockdown and travel bans.

“Obviously, people are going to make more use of home deliveries, it makes perfect sense,” Dan Griswold, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Centre said.

So, we can actually halt coronavirus from taking the shine off our active human and socio-economic ecosystem if we can push the frontiers of the e-commerce system to drive the vehicle for meeting the rise in demand for food, water, toiletries, and drugs amidst COVID-19 pandemic

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