By Amy Goodman and Denis MoynihanDemocracy NowThe world is facing the most serious humanitarian catastrophe since the end of World War II. Twenty million people are at risk of starving to death in Yemen, Somalia, Nigeria and South Sudan.
Tag Archives: Nigeria
Pity the poor petro-states. Once so wealthy from oil sales that they could finance wars, mega-projects, and domestic social peace simultaneously, some of them are now beset by internal strife or are on the brink of collapse as oil prices remain at ruinously low levels. Unlike other countries, which largely finance their governments through taxation, petro-states rely on their oil and natural gas revenues. Russia, for example, obtains about 50% of government income that way; Nigeria, 60%; and Saudi Arabia, a whopping 90%. When oil was selling at $100 per barrel or above, as was the case until 2014, these countries could finance lavish government projects and social welfare operations, ensuring widespread popular support. Now, with oil below $50 and likely to persist at that level, they find themselves curbing public spending and fending off rising domestic discontent or even incipient revolt.
Twenty years ago today my father and eight other Ogoni men were woken from their sleep and hanged in a prison yard in southern Nigeria. When the news filtered out, shock and outrage reverberated around the world, and everyone from the Queen to Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela condemned the executions.
What I recall of the long days and sleepless nights afterwards was the slogan that caught on with my father’s devastated friends and supporters; we were united in a determination to ensure that “his death must not be in vain”. So has anything changed?
Isis, a year of the caliphate: The seven wars in Muslim countries where ‘Islamic State’ is powerful or growing in strength
There are seven wars raging in Muslim countries between the borders of Pakistan in the east and Nigeria in the west. In all seven – Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and north-east Nigeria – local versions of Isis are either already powerful or are gaining in influence. Key to its explosive expansion in Iraq and Syria since 2011 is its capability as a fighting machine, which stems from a combination of religious fanaticism, military expertise and extreme violence. In addition, its successes have been possible because it is opposed by feeble, corrupt or non-existent governments and armies.
On Tuesday, General Muhammadu Buhari of the All People’s Congress (APC) unexpectedly emerged as the winner of Nigeria’s fiercely contested presidential poll, defeating the sitting President, Dr Jonathan Goodluck of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), by a considerable margin.
In recent months, news coverage of Nigeria has been dominated by a narrative of corruption, terrorism and violence. Following a six-week postponement of the election earlier this year, officially declared as an opportunity for a newly-formed multinational force to reclaim areas controlled by the Boko Haram insurgency in the country’s North, any forecast of a “peaceful” electoral transition was seen by many as highly improbable, if not impossible. However, General Buhari’s landmark victory, marking the first time in history that Africa’s largest country has elected an opposition party candidate, has, in fact, been achieved with a relatively smooth democratic transition.
In a move that is likely to surprise a lot of people in the West, Nigeria has elected for the presidency a man who truncated a democratic government three decades ago.
Former General Muhammadu Buhari won on Tuesday a keenly contested election, by a very slim margin, to become the first man in my country’s fifty-five years as a postcolonial state to unseat an incumbent government via the ballot box. This is a change.
Nigeria returned to democratic rule in 1999, after thirty-three years of primarily military rule. For four years, between 1979 and 1983, democracy surfaced briefly, until Buhari led a military coup to end it. He proceeded to run one of the most brutal regimes that Nigeria has ever seen. His Decrees 2 and 4 were aimed directly at press freedom and the right to free assembly, and a lot of people were imprisoned and killed under those laws.
The long-awaited Nigerian elections are nearing after a controversial six-week postponement. Now slated for 28 March, the vote may prove to be the most significant political event in Africa this year.
The 2015 polls come at a time when national confidence in Nigeria’s ability to provide security, fight Boko Haram and uphold the law is running low.
Coupled with the divisive competitiveness of the electoral race, the political and economic stakes of this election are the most significant since the end of the country’s military rule in 1998.
As Nigeria’s electoral commission on February 7, decided to postpone the presidential and parliamentary elections of February 14 to March 28 due to upcoming major offensives against Boko Haram, some observers had a sinister interpretation: the 175 million Nigerians and their right to free elections were now become hostages of the militant Islamists. Boko Haram’s in hand, it is indeed whether Nigeria is peaceful enough for the end of March elections. It also lies in the hands of the Nigerian military.
LAGOS, January 30, 2015 – This week my colleague Celia Lebur travelled to Chad’s border with Nigeria to hear the tales of men and women who escaped what may be the worst atrocity in Boko Haram’s six-year Islamist insurgency, the assault on Baga.
There was Aisha Aladji Garb, a young mother nursing the tiny infant boy she delivered on a canoe, as she fled across Lake Chad, which forms the border, to the safety of a refugee camp.
One doesn’t have to be a member of the opposition All Progressive’s Congress in order to consider President Goodluck Jonathan a colossal failure. Whether he is the most corrupt of Nigeria’s long list of venal leaders is debatable and possibly pointless, but what really rankles in all but the most partisan is the impunity he has allowed to be celebrated.
As I write, there are reports that $700mn in cash was discovered in the home of Diezani Allison-Madueke, the long-serving petroleum minister (where all the money comes from, or what is left of it), who was earlier accused of blowing N10bn on chartered aircraft over a two-year period while she admonished the masses to stop ‘pointing to corruption, if we are not prepared to bear some of the hardship.’